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Tag Archives: Sacred Mantra

6 Steps For Being In The Moment While Grocery Shopping


A Focused Attention Activity

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”
―Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck may have written the above in jest, but I think she really nailed it! How many of us have gone into the store for just a few items or even for our week’s groceries only to come out with much more than we had planned for? And how about those impulse buys in the snack aisle or at the cash register? Do we really feel like the boss of our own lives when we do this? What happens to our control?

Do you want to have more energy and feel more powerful? If so, the next time you go shopping, consider practicing focused attention at the store, really being in the moment and buying only the items on your list. This is incredibly difficult, but it is also incredibly empowering! Here’s how:

  1. Look in your refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets, paying close attention to what is already there. Think about what purpose those foods will serve in your meal plans in the next week or month. Spend a few moments being mindful of what you already have.
  2. Next, think about what you would like to eat or serve to your family in the upcoming days and week. Consider questions like, Are these foods healthy? Are they sustainable? Where do they come from? Try to be aware of the origin of the food you intend to purchase. Simply be thoughtful about it. This is not about judging yourself; it is about becoming aware.
  3. Get out a piece of paper and a pen, and begin to make your list. Keeping in mind what you already have, carefully jot down each item you need for the day, week, or two ahead. (It is helpful to group your items into categories.) Make a mental note of which day you will serve a particular food and which meal it is for. You don’t have to create elaborate menus; some thoughtful attention is all that’s needed.
  4. When you arrive at the grocery store, take out your list. Look it over carefully once again. Have a pen handy so you can cross items off your list one by one. Ground yourself in the present moment by taking a few breaths and placing your attention entirely on being in the grocery store.
  5. Turn to your Sacred Mantra whenever you feel your mind wandering and look at the next item on your list and head toward that section of the store. Really try to stick to just what is on your list. As you put each item in your cart, allow the feeling of gratitude to wash over you. We are fortunate to be able to shop in a grocery store with so many choices at hand!
  6. Remain open and receptive to your fellow shoppers, offering a smile as you gather your groceries. They are part of your shopping experience just as much as the food on the shelves and in your cart. When you have marked everything off your list, check out but stay checked-in with yourself!

So often we look at grocery shopping as a chore, but when we do this “chore” with all of our attention in the present moment, we may have some insightful and meaningful experiences, and actually feel energized. I would love to hear your thoughts following this Focused Attention activity.


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.

How Affirmations Fit into The Practice


“Every thought we think is creating our future. ”
―Louise L. Hay

We all know Louise L. Hay. She is a motivational author and the founder of Hay House. Her first book Heal Your Body touched me deeply during my recovery from bulimia back in the mid-eighties. This book and her work, in general, are based on the premise that what we think affects us, not only on an emotional and mental level, but also on a physical level.

Whether or not there is scientific evidence to support this idea, I think we all know from experience that we are powerfully affected by the thoughts we have and the statements we make to ourselves.

I teach the repetition of a Sacred Mantra to bring the mind back to a more positive place when it starts down a negative, worrisome path. When it comes to The Practice, affirmations (positive, uplifting statements) can complement the repetition of the Sacred Mantra, but they do not take the place of it.

As I state in my book, “A mantra is sacred because when we use it, we are calling upon the strength of all the great saints, masters, and traditions that have used it before us for support, spiritual well-being, and deep connection.” When we use an affirmation, we are speaking directly to ourselves—sort of the way a mother would speak to her child.

The truth is, our mind can be like an unruly child—or even an untrained puppy!—and sometimes it simply needs the training and the reassurance that we can do it, conquer it, overcome it, achieve it, survive it . . .

Although we may know this truth deeply in our hearts that we are strong, capable, and loving, we sometimes need to remind ourselves in words that our brains can process and put into action.

One of the affirmations I turn to when I need a little extra assurance is “Barb, you are strong and capable; all is well.” I recite my Sacred Mantra before and after this statement, and it tells my mind what I already know deep within. Then, I can go tackle whatever it is that I need to take care of with confidence.

What affirmations do you use to support yourself throughout the day? If you don’t have an affirmation that you use regularly, perhaps you would like to choose one from below and see what happens the next time you use it. Let me know!

I am strong and capable.
All is well.
Today is special.
Inner peace is my birthright.
I am patient and compassionate.
I face fears with courage.
I make good choices.


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.

When Your Sacred Mantra Becomes A Sacred Friend


“’We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My God and My All. These are the prayer words of St. Francis of Assisi, and I have been turning to them for comfort and support for more than twenty years. These words are my Sacred Mantra. As I explain in my book The Practice and here on my website, the Sacred Mantra is “a word, phrase, verse, or prayer with a long history of use that is hallowed or considered holy by the tradition or culture from which it originated, which you have personally chosen for your use.”

I have been using my Sacred Mantra for so long now that I consider it my sacred friend. I have experienced and enjoyed the many benefits of having this tool—this friend—by my side and in my heart. My Sacred Mantra helps me put my stress in perspective, quiets down my mental chatter, helps me to gain clarity of thought, and brings me back to the present moment when my mind wanders to the past or future!

When I discuss the Sacred Mantra in my workshops, I often talk about using it during times of uncertainty, fear, worry, and stress. In the beginning, it takes a lot of practice to train the mind to turn toward the mantra rather than to the worrisome or agitating thoughts that do not get us anywhere. I always say, “If worrying worked, then keep doing it.” But we know it doesn’t. What does work is the Sacred Mantra.

When the mind becomes accustomed to turning to the mantra, we move more easily throughout our day with more patience, compassion, strength, and love. It is as if a good friend is holding our hand and showing us the way!

The Sacred Mantra keeps us present in the moment, giving us an opportunity to really be aware of our actions and interactions with others. It gives us greater control over how we respond to life—because, frankly, that is where we really are in control. Think of this tool as a “thought interceptor”; when your mind starts down a negative, fearful path, start repeating your Sacred Mantra silently to yourself to bring your mind back to the moment, back to the place of reality and choice.

When you use your Sacred Mantra day after day, it becomes rooted within—a part of your being. So not only does it help me during times of worry and stress, it also comes to me in times of joy. One of these occasions, as I describe in my book, was my daughter’s graduation from college. I felt such incredible happiness to see her reach this amazing accomplishment in her life, and suddenly, there was my Sacred Mantra, like a chorus resounding within me! My smile could not have been brighter.

This simple phrase, the deep meaning it holds, and its power are transformational. Mahatma Gandhi called his mantra, Rama, Rama, Rama, “his staff of life.” I urge you to consider choosing a Sacred Mantra for your use and experience the many benefits of this beautiful friend firsthand.


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.

7 Steps To Reflect On The Year


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Three days from today we will wake up, not only in a new day but in a new year. I am grateful for another opportunity to greet the moments of my life fully present and with a fresh perspective on what I wish to accomplish in life. Before I look ahead to the new year, I will honor this past year in a beautiful way by approaching the year’s end the same way I approach the day’s end: with a reflection activity.

In my book The Practice, I describe reflection like this, “Reflection is our final exercise of the day. This is when we scan our day and ‘officially’ let go of everything that happened in the day—all the ups and downs—so that we can wake up the next morning in the new day without attachments or regrets over what happened the day before. Without yesterday’s worries and stresses weighing us down, we can begin a new day with a peaceful mind and heart.”

So let’s begin now and approach the year’s end as if it were the end of a very long day and settle in for a few moments as New Year’s Eve approaches to review our past year and make a conscious choice to release our experiences—the good, the bad, and the neutral—while integrating the lessons learned so that we can move forward in 2015 with greater wisdom and deeper peace. Here’s how:

  1. Find some time in the day when you will not be disturbed, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes, and go to your meditation space or other quiet place.
  2. Get comfortable, but not too comfortable that you’ll fall asleep. The posture you use for meditation is probably best.
  3. Take a few deep breaths, allowing your thoughts to come and go without engaging or judging them.
  4. Sit in silence for a few moments, and then begin to repeat your Sacred Mantra silently to yourself until you feel your mind, body, and heart relaxing.
  5. Now, begin to visualize the highlights and lowlights of the past year in order as if you are watching a movie. As you scan the frames, let the year easily pass through your mind without judgment. Simply notice and release.
  6. Be confident in the knowing that you did the best you could at the time in every circumstance. The lessons learned remain with you, providing you with a solid foundation from which to approach similar experiences in the future.
  7. When you’ve completed your review, take a few more deep breaths and repeat your Sacred Mantra until you are ready to open your eyes. Then, if you wish, you can say the following affirmation, revised for the year’s end, from The Practice:

This year is now over. I choose to live in the present moment. I am thankful for having been given this year and the blessings it has held. I take comfort in now releasing any challenges or successes I experienced this past year. I will spend this last day of this year with the peace and knowledge that January 1 is a new beginning, and I am always working toward the person I wish to be.

If you are feeling creative, write your own year-end affirmation. If you are finding it difficult to visualize the year, you may find some of the following reflection questions helpful:

  • Did I give my full attention to the people in my life?
  • Was I present for them? Was I patient with them?
  • How was my interaction with my family and friends?
  • How was my interaction with my coworkers and acquaintances?
  • Did I listen to what others had to say?
  • Did I use The Practice this year? How did it help?
  • Did I turn to my Sacred Mantra for support?
  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go well this year?
  • What are my blessings?

And there you are—that’s it. Simply spending some time sitting with yourself is a beautiful way to honor the year you just spent on this earth. I wish you all Happy New Year Blessings filled with love, joy, peace, hope, courage, and faith!


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.

Honoring Those In The Background Of Our Lives


Today is Boxing Day, and although we do not observe this holiday in the United States, I love the sentiments associated with the tradition of giving gifts of appreciation to the people who provide services to us and to our communities. For me, this day is a wonderful reminder to express my gratitude for those who make it possible for my family and me to have the necessities and comforts of life.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude.”
—Gilbert K. Chesterton

On this Boxing Day, let us all take a moment to think about all the people whose services make our everyday lives more comfortable. Many of us are in the wonderful habit of expressing our gratitude to the people who are closest to us, and today I am suggesting that we turn our focused attention toward those people whose roles in our lives we might sometimes take for granted.

The list of people who operate in the background of our lives is virtually endless. A fun and eye-opening activity is to make a list of a few of the items we use and consume throughout the day, and trace back how those items made their way to us and who we have to thank for having these gifts. For example, the glasses I wear help me to see the words on this page, and if not for the ophthalmologist, the office receptionist, the eyeglass technician, the frame maker, the lens crafter, the delivery person, and so on, the words on my screen would be too fuzzy to read! So . . .

Thank you to all the people who make it possible for me to see the world in focus!

Of course we cannot go around personally thanking every single person who touches us in some way, but we can all take a few precious moments of our day to send loving intentions to these people by way of our Sacred Mantra or just by making a silent prayer of thankfulness for their services.

We can also choose a person or a few people today to whom we can verbally express our thanks and offer them gifts of appreciation, as many traditionally do. Even a beautiful note of thanks in a card will go a long way in helping someone feel appreciated and acknowledged for the work they do.

A Note of Thanks to those in Service Professions.
Thank you for making a difference in my life.
I may not always be aware of your dedicated service,
but I do know that my life is better because of your hard work.


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 Tips For Slowing Down & Being In The Moment


“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
—Dr. Seuss

The twelfth and final month of 2014 has arrived, and many of us are probably wondering, Hmmm. Where exactly did this year go? It seems like it was just New Year’s Eve! Dr. Seuss’s rhyme couldn’t be more apropos! It is almost as if we jumped into a time machine and scooted ahead eleven months, and yet we know that so much has happened these past 8,064 hours!

Yes, that’s right—it has been 8,064 hours since last New Year’s Eve. To put this into greater perspective, we’ve just spent a little over 29 million seconds living our lives this year. Of course, nearly one-third of those seconds has been spent sleeping, assuming we get a full night’s rest. So, basically, 2014 has given us the gift of 19 million plus seconds to fully appreciate and participate in life, present and aware.

Today, I am asking myself, “Was I fully present for every one of those seconds?” I know it is incredibly difficult to say, “Yes, I have been present for every one of those seconds!” With all we want to accomplish and achieve in an ordinary day, it is easy to get caught up in fast-forward mode and find the seconds ticking away unnoticed. In fact, this year with the launch of my book The Practice and the book-related events and interviews that ensued (in addition to all my other activities and obligations), some parts of my life felt like they were happening at a quickened speed!

I am blessed that I have cultivated a practice for the past thirty years that allows me to slow down and check in with myself every morning. This “sitting with myself” aligns my mind, body, and heart before I go out into the world. I’m literally plugging in to me first—which gives me a greater perspective on the day, a grounded place from which to respond to others, which places me in a much better position to really “be” in the moments of my day.

This time of year always has a sense of “hurry up and get it all done.” We generally feel a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety. As the year comes to a close, I offer the tips below to slow down just enough to really appreciate our lives and the people we love and to truly be in the moment for the remaining 2.5+ million seconds of 2014.

  1. Wake up & stop. I cannot repeat this often enough. Rather than get up and hit the ground running, sit with yourself for 5 minutes of quiet contemplation and meditation to bring yourself into the present moment and to feel connected within.
  2. Practice Focused Attention. You have 86,400 seconds each day (counting sleep) to practice being present. These are opportunities to really be fully aware of the moment! Take one area of your life this month and give it your full attention: when you’re having dinner with family or friends, be there fully (no phone or newspaper); when you are on the phone, sit down and really give the person “all of you”—no TV or walking around doing chores. Or try this one: no texting or talking on the phone while driving. Give the road your full attention.
  3. Turn to your Sacred Mantra. One minute you are fully appreciating the moment, and then, suddenly your mind goes off in another direction and you become lost in “random thoughts” about the past or the future. We all do this, but to really be present in the here and now, a sacred phrase can interrupt the thoughts and bring your mind back to being in the moment.

* * *
Having a daily framework for life like The Practice has been an essential part of my life for decades. This year especially, I have deeply felt the importance of slowing down enough to appreciate the many millions of moments I had been blessed with. The time might have “flewn” as Dr. Seuss playfully states, but I truly know I lived each moment.


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.

“Teach Your Children Well”


“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“Teach your children well,” wrote Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and I believe these are some of the wisest words ever written. It has been said that the future belongs to our children, and the future I envision is one where all people—young and old—across the world can live in peace, well-being, and happiness.

My purpose in life is to spread a message of peace to all who will listen. I believe deeply and say regularly, “Outer peace begins with inner peace,” so I teach tools for cultivating inner peace in our lives in my book The Practice. When we feel peaceful, strong, and loving, these feelings permeate everything we do and have a ripple effect on those around us.

Reflecting Peace
We all know that children pick up our vibes and copy our behavior, so what better way to instill in them a sense of inner peace than to reflect that within ourselves? I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach parts of The Practice to high school students in my area and in other workshops geared for young people. I love how receptive they are to the idea that each of us has a steady source of inner peace that we can turn to throughout the day for support. I have even convinced some of them to sit in silence for one minute when they wake up before using the phone or computer!

As a child and a young girl, I didn’t have tools for cultivating inner peace, and so I found myself looking outside to the world for peace and happiness rather than within. It was a long, difficult road for me to find my way “home” to myself. For many, the times feel different in this age of technology and kids really do seem to have more stress and issues facing them; however, the desire for peace, courage, and happiness is never changing.

It Is Never Too Soon to Start a Practice
Whether or not you call it meditation, it is never too soon to teach children the idea of sitting quietly with themselves first thing in the morning and learning to allow their thoughts to come and go without judgment or engagement to start their day at their best.

Helping your child select a Sacred Mantra—or as I often call it with students, a Focus Phrase—gives them a positive, calming word or phrase to turn to when they are feeling stressed, scared, angry, or sad throughout the day.

As the day comes to a close, teaching your child how to reflect briefly on the day and then leaving it in peace can help them sleep more soundly, knowing that they did the best they could.

Teaching young people these three simple tools and helping them to develop a regular practice of using them will lead to a cultivation of their inner sense of peace. The vibe and message they will be sharing out in the world will be one of peace and love. How amazing it is that their generation has the potential to become the generation that brought light to all.


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.

My 30 Years Of Recovery


“Something in the wind has learned my name
And it’s telling me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There’s a pleasing sense of happiness for me.”
—“Top of the World” by The Carpenters

A pleasing sense of happiness. When I hear these words, I take a deep breath in and then let out a sigh of profound joy. I am grateful to know what a sense of happiness feels like. I hadn’t always felt it. In fact, thirty years ago this month, I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem, that the happiness I had been seeking all the years leading up to that moment could not be found in all the outward “riches” I had acquired.

In the preface of my book The Practice, I write, “One October morning in 1984, I read an article in the paper that talked about Karen Carpenter’s battle with anorexia, which she lost on February 4, 1983. Now more than a year later, reading about how she lost her battle with this eating disorder. . . shook me to my core. As I read on, it dawned on me that I, too, had an eating disorder: mine was bulimia. I started to cry, and a voice inside me said, You must get help. The voice was strong, loud, and firm, so I felt moved to listen.”

The voice I found that morning was “the love that I found” for myself, and it gave me a new, higher perspective—as if I were on top of the world, and I could envision of future of self-love and fulfillment. I now had a desire to do whatever I must do to get better and live the magnificent life I had always dreamed of living. So, on October 31, 1984, I checked myself into a treatment center. I cannot believe that thirty years have passed, and I had the courage to get help. I am now living the happy, fulfilling life of my dreams.

My weeks in recovery enriched and changed my life. In The Practice, I go on to say, “From the moment I arrived for my six-week stay, I felt safe, accepted, and loved. . . . I had a beautiful sense that I was not alone, and I connected with people from all walks of life. . . . The treatment center introduced me to the Twelve Steps, to which I will always be grateful for my recovery. With each week that passed, I found even greater strength and wisdom in the support I was receiving. It was there that I became immersed in inspirational reading and spiritual instruction, finding comfort, hope, and strength in the teachings. By the end of my stay, I had an incredible desire to live a more spiritual, more meaningful life.”

That deep desire is with me daily through dedicated practice, including meditation, mantra repetition, focused attention, and reflection. With each choice I make and challenge I face in life, I am connected to my inner strength and passion to remain on the path I have chosen for myself.

On my 30-year anniversary, I offer my personal experience of transformation, recovery, and love to anyone suffering from an addiction, whether it is to drugs, alcohol, an eating disorder, or any other debilitating activities that interfere with your living the magnificent life you are capable of living.

  1. As human beings, we hit bottom and come to a place where we are ready to live differently.
  2. We admit we are powerless when we are not connected to our Source within, and then take up a spiritual path of our choice.
  3. We begin making moment-by-moment choices, taking one step at a time toward living our lives of greatness.

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 “Sit” with Negative Feelings and Experience Life


We all feel the urge to push away feelings that are negative—feelings that make us feel bad, sad, lonely, angry, or just pretty awful! But the truth is these feelings are a natural part of the human experience. The highs and lows, the twists and turns, are really all part of life—of being able to learn, grow, connect, rest, and celebrate. So, I say with all truth, no matter what we are feeling, we must find the courage to “sit” with the feeling and not push it away. This is our opportunity, truly our great fortune, to fully express ourselves in every aspect of our lives. This is big. So just what does it mean to “sit” with a feeling? Well, I love what the magnificent poet and mystic Rumi says here:

“This human being is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.”

Oh my gosh, “clearing you out for some new delight”! I love this! When we look at negative feelings from this perspective and think of our bodies as a guesthouse, sitting with a feeling means giving it the full attention we would any guest in our home. “If there’s anything you need . . .” we often tell our guests. So if a negative emotion should come for a visit, we can ask it, “What do you need from me?” Then, we can breathe and take a moment to listen, really listen, to what it has to say. The answers will come in sensations, thoughts, and memories.

Feel the sensations. Where in your guesthouse is this emotion sitting? Do you feel it as a pain in your neck, an upset stomach, shortness of breath, or somewhere else? Pay attention to the sensation, and relax that area as much as possible. Stretch, rest, breathe . . . do what is necessary to make your “guesthouse” a little more comfortable.

What thoughts arise? Did something just happen to bring this “guest” into your life? Acknowledge the cause of the emotion without passing judgment; be aware and notice. Simply knowing where the feeling is coming from gives you the opportunity to look at it and say, “Yes, I understand why you are here. It’s okay to feel this way.”

What memories come up for you? Is it something that happened long ago, which you have just been reminded of? Or is it something that’s been with you recently and now wants to be heard? In each case, you have the opportunity to look at the memory, acknowledge its presence, and just “be” with it without passing judgment.

Embrace your visitor. Once you have made your guest—this difficult feeling—comfortable, and you have acknowledged the reason it wants to visit you, stop, sit, and spend some quiet time embracing the feeling, welcoming its presence and trusting that it has beautiful lessons to teach you. While sitting with the feeling, repeat your Sacred Mantra, which allows you to endure the feeling, giving you the chance to accept it as part of your life experience—all the while breathing deeply into the sensations you are experiencing. Then, give yourself permission to sit with the feelings for a few minutes of meditation.

When you have completed this process, you become aware of the choices and actions you can make, which may include sharing what is going on with a friend or professional. Or you may feel ready to release the emotion, having really embodied its presence. In this being with the feeling, we are allowing space. We are becoming aware and we are able to get comfortable with the uneasy feelings, thus allowing the process of healing and teaching. In this beautiful way, we truly experience all that life has to offer!


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.

A Spotlight on Sacred Mantra Art


“Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The outside world often feels chaotic, tumultuous, and stressful. So often, we feel helpless or powerless to do anything to “set it right”—especially when it comes to senseless tragedies, natural disasters, and world conflicts, which we have no shortage of lately.

Of course, out of disasters and tragedies comes the desire for most of us to become involved in causes, donate our time or resources, and take actions to effect change and growth. However, there will always be cases when we still feel helpless and, quite frankly, sad, and we simply cannot do anything but send our loving energy to heal a situation.

For decades now I have been sending my love, prayers, and healing energy out to the world by writing my Sacred Mantra. If you have read my book The Practice, attended my workshops, or visited my website, you know that a Sacred Mantra is a hallowed phrase of your choosing that you turn to throughout the day for support and connection to your inner sense of well-being, love, and power. My Sacred Mantra is “My God and My All.”

Writing my Sacred Mantra is a powerful, meditative, and transformative experience for me. I use a small notebook and write “My God and My All” again and again while focusing all my attention on sending loving, healing energy to wherever it is needed—whether that’s to a country, a family, someone close to me, myself, the world, or any other being or group. I have found this to be a profound and moving way to know deeply that I am absolutely making a difference for the greater good by directing my energy and love in this way.

I have an “artist” inside of me—I believe we all do! So an intimately creative way to work with the Sacred Mantra is to write it within the white spaces of a line drawing to create Sacred Mantra art. I do this for many reasons—not just because I love to! When the world seems like a “hopeless mess,” creating mantra art is incredibly comforting. If a friend is experiencing a particularly difficult time, giving him or her my Sacred Mantra art as a gift lets my friend know how deeply I care. The list of reasons I create Sacred Mantra art is virtually endless.

sacred-mantra-artI mentioned in a previous post and in my book The Practice that I created Sacred Mantra art for my daughter, Michelle, when she went away to college. For four years, I filled in various beautiful line drawings I found and sent her loving thoughts by way of my mantra art. Truth be told, it helped me immensely to stop worrying so much about her and obsessing over the fact I had no control! This is one of the pieces I did for her.

If this activity speaks to you, you may wish to download one of the line drawings on my website by clicking here. With sharp colored pencils or fine-tipped markers, begin writing your Sacred Mantra in the spaces until all of the white space is filled up. All the while, keep your attention focused on sending loving energy to whomever your artwork is intended. I guarantee your finished product—your loving energy on paper—will be a breathtaking masterpiece physically, mentally, and spiritually. You may even want to frame it as I have done with some of my “works of art.”


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.