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Living Life From The Inside Out


“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
—Swami Vivekananda

I spent the first quarter of my life living from the “outside in.” In other words, I was searching for things outside myself—such as success, wealth, validation, and possessions— to make me feel whole and complete. I grew up in an alcoholic household, feeling disconnected from others, feeling alone and uncertain, and unaware that I was already complete.

By age 21 I had attained all the success society tells us we need to “have made it.” But for seven years, I also suffered from the eating disorder bulimia. In 1984, I woke up and said, “I can’t live this way anymore,” so I checked myself into treatment. During my six-week stay, I learned that to feel complete, I simply needed to start living my life from the “inside out.” Through therapy, meditation, yoga, reading for inspiration, and other mindfulness practices, I discovered that by living life first from within myself—learning to accept and love myself—I could then go out into the world to make it complete, rather than the other way around.

Albert Einstein once wrote, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Don’t you just love this? Albert Einstein’s wisdom here teaches that each of us, individually and collectively, completes the universe. Forgetting that we are already whole leads us to think we must take from the universe, that what is outside of us is what we need. However, it truly is just the opposite: We must give to the world from the whole of our being so that we can all achieve the success of life well lived, as an integral part of humanity and what lies beyond.

How do we begin living from the inside out? The first step is “wake up and sit”; go within through a daily practice of meditation and get in touch with the part of ourselves that knows on a very deep level that we are connected to one another and that we are strong, courageous, secure, and loving.

This is our true source of happiness, that feeling of completeness we yearn for, which we can share with the world through our words, actions, and deeds. We are complete. We are enough. There is nothing we need to take from the universe. It gives to us freely when we realize that the source of everything we need is already within.

I set the intention on a daily basis to live my life from the inside out. I sit with myself every morning and connect with me before I go connect with others. This is our preparation for whatever may come our way during the day. We cannot control anything in the external world, but we can control how we will respond and which choices we will make to thrive! What can I suggest to you for living your best life in mind, body, and spirit? Find your practice and practice it—with your whole being!


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

4 Ways To Be Your Own Best Valentine


Oscar Wilde famously said in one of his plays, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” This heartwarming statement has such deep meaning and is so much truer than we may be aware. Loving ourselves and feeling excited by our own presence and the mystery of our lives—and ultimately being our own best friend—is the foundation from which we live our greatest lives!

This Sunday, February 15, I am thrilled to be hosting the “I Love Me Workshop: Fall In Love with Yourself, Mind, Body, & Spirit” at The W Hotel Union Square in New York City, from 1–6 p.m. Joining me is an incredible lineup of women who really embody self-love and are living their magnificent lives to the fullest: Kathryn Budig, Michele Promaulayko, Keri Glassman, Veronica Bosgraaf, and Tara Stiles.

If you are joining us, I am looking forward to seeing you and sharing an amazing day of meditation, thought-provoking discussions, yoga sessions, and music. If you are unable to attend, sign up for the live stream and join us for this day devoted to practicing self-love.

As a preview, with this Valentine’s Day 2015 upon us tomorrow, I propose that we all make a conscious effort to love ourselves unconditionally, the way we would someone who is very precious to us. After all, from the beginning to the end, no one is closer to us than we are to ourselves! Here are a few ways to remind us of how incredibly special we are:

  1. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Flowers brighten a room, warm a heart, and bring a smile to our face. Go to your local florist or market and spend some time smelling and appreciating the present moment with the beautiful bouquets before choosing one that speaks to your heart.
  2. Create a Sacred Mantra Heart. Download and print out this line drawing of a Valentine’s heart, and then get out your colored markers or pencils, and begin to write your Sacred Mantra in the image over and over again until all the white space is filled in. While you write your mantra, focus on self-love and self-appreciation. Display your finished Sacred Mantra artwork as a reminder of your love.
  3. Write yourself a love note. If you have some nice stationery or a card or even a blank piece of paper, write yourself a love note. In this letter, write about all the things that are wonderful about you. Be creative and honest; don’t hold back. This is about appreciating and deeply loving the beautiful person you are. This is not about ego; it’s about true love. When you’re finished, place it in a book you open often as a beautiful reminder for years to come.
  4. Do something nice for yourself. This can really be anything! Maybe you buy yourself a little gift or treat yourself to a spa service. Maybe you just spend some time in the garden, take a bath, or have your favorite meal. Whatever you choose, make sure you plan to be in the moment, truly being with you and take the time to make this experience special. You truly deserve it!

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.”
—Buddha


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

3 Ways To Find Meaning In Everyday Life


“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest
expression of the state of being human.”
—Viktor E. Frankl

We can often get caught up in the thought that we must be doing something noteworthy and extraordinary for life to be meaningful. Thinking like this may cause us to go through our days on autopilot, waiting for the big occasions, the major accomplishments, or the life-changing events that will mark our lives. I want to assure you that there is meaning everywhere; our ordinary life is our spiritual life, our meaningful life.

  1. Consider the Dandelion…
    At the end of my book The Practice, I share why the dandelion was chosen to represent the spiritual life as part of the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life logo. The dandelion is such an “ordinary” flower (or weed, as some might call it), and it is found abundantly on lawns and in fields and even in the most inhospitable places. Yet, the dandelion has many extraordinary health benefits and amazing properties. We search the fields in the distance for the flower that will take our breath away, but it is right there at our feet, shining brightly like a sunburst.
  2. Experience Life in Real Time…
    Like the dandelion, those awe-inspiring moments we all hope to experience are everywhere! We often miss them because we are looking beyond the moment toward some future moment that we believe will bring us wisdom, joy, peace, and love. Stop here and pause a minute; those beautiful qualities are always with us—even in the most inhospitable of circumstances. When we look within daily through a practice of sitting in silence, aligning our mind, body, and spirit, we begin to see the outside world with a deep knowing that, if we are to find meaning, we need look no further than the ordinary moments that make up our days. How do we do this? By being present to what is right in front of us.
  3. Practice Focused Attention…
    Know that everything in life can have importance and value, even the simplest and most mundane tasks, when we are open and aware. The next time you are doing something “ordinary” like washing the dishes, taking care of a routine function at work, or grocery shopping, practice Focused Attention by placing your attention entirely on the task at hand. Whatever your task, great or small, know that you are doing the most magnificent thing you could ever possibly do…living in the moment.

I close with a quote by Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, whose life and message serve as great inspiration for us to lead our most magnificent lives:

“In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp it was possible for spiritual life to deepen…we retreat from the terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom.”


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Winter: A Time To Go Within


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

Brrrr. This has been a cold start to what may seem like a very long winter ahead! In some parts of the world, it might feel like winter has been in full swing for months. However, the Winter Solstice, which officially marks the first day of winter, is still two days away in the Northern Hemisphere! In my post “Autumn: A Time for Letting Go,” I spoke about how fall is the season for letting go—the way a tree releases its leaves in preparation for the cold days to come. Now, I suggest that winter is a time to go within. When we go within, we connect with a quiet inner world that is waiting to warm and comfort us.

In winter, a tree appears desolate and barren from the outside, but there is a richness within and myriad processes taking place that allows the tree to survive and actually thrive in the harshest of conditions. This is what I find so amazing when I see a tree in winter: Everything it needs to survive can be found within. And the beauty is, the same is true for us.

In winter, nature calls us to take a rest. This does not mean we will have less to do, but we are reminded, with the harsh conditions, that we may have to slow down, take more care, and be more mindful and purposeful in our actions to reserve our energy and to use what we have wisely. By sitting with ourselves, in much the way a tree in winter just sits with itself, we turn inward and focus our attention on what is going on deep inside us, on what it is that gives us purpose and meaning. The nourishment that courses through our bodies, the energy that keeps our hearts beating, the light that radiates from our core—these life-giving gifts comfort and warm us even in the darkest and longest nights of the year.

With this image of nature in mind, the next time you sit down to meditate, think of yourself as a tree in winter. While the environment outside may seem harsh, know that inside of you is everything you need to remain grounded, strong, flexible, and nourished. Yes, you are out there in the world, but you are not at the mercy of its conditions. Then, release this image and just be . . . strong, beautiful, and mighty like the tree.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

Make Up Your Mind To Be Happy


People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be,” said Abraham Lincoln. And so I ask you, “Did you make up your mind to be happy today?”

What does the mind have to do with being happy? Happiness is a choice, and it is one we can choose to remember every morning when we open our eyes to the new day. We are not at the mercy of the thoughts in our minds that get us feeling down or negative. We always have a choice. So ask yourself, “Will I choose to be happy today?” And then answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

Lincoln’s sentiment is the first sentence in my book The Practice. I heard this quote when I was in grade school. These words had a deeply profound impact on me and prompted my lifelong quest for happiness. What I have discovered is that the 16th president of the United States certainly knew what he was talking about!

I went into treatment for bulimia at the age of 28 and discovered how to “make up my mind to be happy.” I learned that being happy means loving myself completely. It means being connected within to my Source, my God, for my power, strength, and love. It means that my happiness is not dependent on anything in the external world—it is completely “up to me.”

Moment by Moment…
“Making up our minds” is about learning how, little by little, to take the reins of our thoughts and steer them toward positive ones and intercept the negative, anxious, fearful words that go around and around in our minds. This happens with a daily meditation practice to begin the day, and then using a sacred mantra, our breath, and affirmations throughout the day. We cannot control anything that happens in the external world, but we can have a say in how we act and how we wish to live. This is to be happy.

We can learn to live moment by moment, making the choice to approach life with an attitude that will bring us an underlying sense of joy or at least the greatest good in every situation. This doesn’t mean we will not experience a whole range of emotions throughout our day. Rather, it is about gently bringing our mind back in the direction we want it to go, actually feeling the feeling in the moment, choosing an action to take or no action at all, and then letting it go.

This takes conscious effort, mindfulness; this is what is meant by making up our minds to do something. Like making our beds, making up our minds is something we must do every day. It is a practice. We tuck in the corners of the sheets and smooth out the wrinkles, but we know the bed is going to get messy again when we get in it at night. We do it anyway. This training and discipline is a daily practice. And this is what leads to happiness!


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

4 Steps for Breaking Negative Patterns


“What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.”
―Madeleine Albright

How do we live in freedom? There is an inherent desire in all of us to be free, to be in control of our own lives. So just how do we release the thoughts and influences that negatively affect our lives? In my thirty years of practice, I have found that the key is to first start recognizing these thoughts and the power we give to our external circumstances.

When we allow ourselves to be at the mercy of the chaos and drama that happens around us, repetitive, unhappy thoughts have a tendency to keep us stuck in a cycle of fear, anxiety, stress, and addictive behaviors. We desperately want to control the world, thinking we know what is needed. But we absolutely cannot control what happens around us, so this is a fruitless effort. It’s only by becoming intimately aware of what is going on in our minds that we can make a choice to either continue traveling a circular path or move forward with renewed determination to create permanent change in ourselves—to really live in freedom

So, why does this seem so difficult? In one word, distraction. As we all know, the media’s job is to convince us that some new possession, program, or pill is the key to our happiness, our freedom. It diverts us from the truth, and we end up confusing our identity and security with outward things. We become distracted by these empty promises and dead-end solutions. If there were truth in advertising, the vast array of gadgets and gimmicks should have provided humanity with peace and happiness by now—but this is far from the case!

Despite all the outward promises, our problems don’t get resolved without action. And the Buddha actually says, “right action.” What is this right action we can take? I’m incredibly excited and hopeful to share with you that more and more people are coming to the same conclusion as the great teachers, saints, and mystics of the past:

Meditation and other spiritual practices are a means of tapping into the source of strength, fearlessness, peace, happiness, and freedom within each and every one of us.

The following four steps can help you get on this path of right action, too:

  • Step 1: Get to know your mind
    Understanding how our mind operates by tapping into our inner “source of strength and security” through the daily practice of meditation is the first step toward living our lives in freedom. With a daily practice, we begin to become aware of the thoughts we are having on a daily basis. With this awareness, we can cultivate our minds—actually train our mind to think with awareness and to make choices that are in line with our intention to be free of whatever holds us back from living the magnificent lives we wish to live.
  • Step 2: Practice daily
    Through daily practices such as meditation, mantra repetition, focused attention, reading for inspiration, and reflection activities, we can nourish our minds, strengthen our bodies, and live with certainty, with completeness, and with love. These are the tools that give us an alternative to anxiety-provoking thoughts about past and future events that can drive us to fall back into negative patterns. A daily practice shows us that living in the present moment is where we find the happiness and confidence to really live our lives in freedom.
  • Step 3: Say “no” to quick fixes
    In this day of “there is something out there to fix everything,” we continue to grasp at quick fixes. This is like patching a leaky boat with tissues. A Zen master once said, “Life is like getting into a leaky boat and heading out to sea.” This definitely speaks to the uncertainty of life that we all feel from time to time. In the face of this truth, of course, we have a general sense of uneasiness, worry, apprehension, and fear. In this “leaky boat,” we can sink at any moment! When we accept the uncertainty of life, we just never really know what is going to happen in any given moment, we are no longer taken off guard when something goes “wrong,” we stand firmly planted in ourselves, and we recognize that we have a choice to face challenges without reacting out of fear or retreating back into unwanted behaviors.
  • Step 4: Slow down
    The chaos and speed of life often interfere with taking the time to go within, sit in quiet, and restore balance. But it is precisely this connection to ourselves that is the key to breaking negative patterns. To change the outward life we are living, we need to slow down and spend some time each day cultivating our inward life. Little by little, we move out of fear and stress and can begin making the lasting changes we choose to make.

These four steps do not make our problems and challenges disappear, but they do allow us to see them from a fresh vantage point. The Practice, beginning with a morning meditation, helps us develop a deeper understanding and the will to change harmful ways of living. And despite all the problems of the world, we begin to feel that the world is not a hostile place that holds us back from leading a life of magnificence.

With the great source of strength we have within, we become balanced in the outer world, giving us the knowing that we are in control of our inner life, we are light, confident, and free, which is then reflected beautifully in the outside world. Our life has a sense of rhythm. With each “right action” we make, we are patching our leaky boat


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.