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7 Ways to Live “Happily Ever After”


“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”
—Fawn Weaver

Chances are you have been to a wedding recently or you have one coming up—maybe even your own! It is not a surprise that spring and summer are popular times to get married. The weather is generally gorgeous, and a beautiful day can certainly be an auspicious start to a lifelong partnership, right? Nobody wants rain on their wedding day, do they? Well, I have heard that if it does rain, it can be a sign of good luck!

It is all a matter of perception, really. We can view anything as good or bad; it all depends on how we choose to look at the happenings of our daily lives. This is the first step in “living happily ever after”: seeing the challenges as opportunities for our freedom and growth. I believe that, in life, each of us is here to learn and to grow. When we believe this deep within, we can make “happily ever after” a reality.

Here are seven helpful ways to make a lifelong partnership even more fulfilling:

  1. Be in love. First with yourself, and then with your partner. When you have self-love, you know that you are complete and have chosen your partner out of love, not need.
  2. Be ready for the roller-coaster ride of a lifetime. Understand that there will be both “for better and for worse” times. Agree to take the ride together, knowing that sometimes one of you will need to be strong for the other and vice versa. Know also that there will be many good times to share together as partners as well as with friends and family. “Life is difficult,” said Scott Peck of The Road Less Traveled, and knowing this makes it easier to just put the seat belt on and settle in for the ride.
  3. Focus on the positives. Always keep in mind what drew you and your partner together. Be aware of all the wonderful reasons you made the mutual choice to share life’s journey. You might even want to make a list early on in the relationship. This list is something you can turn to year in and year out so that the positives will always be fresh in your mind . . . and marriage.
  4. Grow together. Know that neither of you will remain the same people you were on your wedding day. And this is actually a good thing! Life is about growth, learning, and seeking new opportunities and experiences. Encourage each other to grow. Stay connected with the changes each of you makes to continue to grow closer as you each grow in experience.
  5. Support each other. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader throughout life. Help your spouse reach his or her desired goals, while knowing that your partner will always do the same for you. Work together to make your dreams a reality, for each of you as individuals as well as for you as a couple.
  6. Remain best friends. After the honeymoon phase is over, it is easy to find yourselves going in opposite directions from time to time. Your separate jobs and outside interests will draw you away from each other. Certain things that bring you joy and satisfaction won’t necessarily be shared by your spouse. That’s okay! Even though you are technically a couple, you are still individuals! However, continue to draw each other back in through setting aside time for mutual interests and experiences.
  7. Be present. Always be prepared to give your spouse the gift of your presence—your full and complete attention. If ever you simply cannot be available to give your partner your Focused Attention, avoid trying to listen with one ear. Either set aside what you are doing or let your partner know how soon you can be fully available. This is a great way to show you care—and you truly do. That’s why you got married in the first place!

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.

An Ordinary Day For Extraordinary Adventures


“I just happen to like ordinary things. When I paint them, I don’t try to make them extraordinary. I just try to paint them ordinary-ordinary.”
—Andy Warhol

What if I told you the ordinary moments of your day are your extraordinary life! Imagine living life as if you were in a great movie—every moment on screen is written, directed, and acted according to a grand plan. Your words and actions tug at the heartstrings of the moviegoers, keeping them on the edge of their seats, awaiting your next move. Keep imagining this: The scenes of your life are carefully constructed to ensure a blockbuster hit, and the people in your life are your supporting actors, strengthening your role and making you look your best up there on the silver screen.

The above scenario—that each moment of life is beautifully designed for us—might be difficult to imagine. After all, as we all know, movies only run for about 90 minutes. And in that time, the characters on screen can age a lifetime! Unlike a movie that may skip from birth to death in a short time, our lives are made up of millions of “ordinary” moments from the time “we walk out on stage until the time the curtain falls.”

The movie of our life is lived in these amazing, seemingly ordinary moments, and that truly is what makes them, well, rather extraordinary. Every breath we take is a brand-new one, and every thought we have, every action we take, every interaction we have—moment by moment—is a new adventure. These things might seem familiar, we might have even done them before, but they are entirely new with each new moment that arrives.

The day is not one long thread. It has a beginning, middle, and end made of many, many individual moments. Most everyone today is saying, “Life is moving too fast!” I believe in order to slow things down we must experience every moment, really staying present in the here and now.

So try this experiment: Today, look at your ordinary moments as an extraordinary adventure that you are on. Each time your mind wanders to the past or future, take a deep breath and bring it back to the moment at hand.

Start practicing Focused Attention. Be fully present to each moment, and you will see things you might not have noticed before with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder. You may just feel that life has a beautiful rhythm, and it isn’t actually speeding up at all. It’s just perfect. Imagine this: you can be the moviegoer in your very own production, and sit on the edge of your seat curious and open for the next new moment to arrive!


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.

Letting Go of Today


A Nightly Reflection Activity

The Buddha said, “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” The Buddha is one of my teachers, and I believe he means that, in order to grow, we must let go of everything that makes us feel constricted, that holds us back. But let’s be honest here: it is often very difficult to shake off an upsetting experience. It has a great hold on us.

The third part of The Practice—Letting Go—is not about forgetting or ignoring our experiences, but rather about acknowledging them, feeling them, and then mentally setting the intention to let them go and filing away the lessons learned as well as the experiences we had. Our intention here is to go into sleep free of worrisome or repetitive thoughts, knowing the day is over.

We sometimes foolishly think we can change what has happened, but the truth is the day is over. There is no going back. Through the process of letting go, we go into our night’s sleep free of anything that might hold us back and wake up the new day with a fresh perspective and a little greater in knowledge and awareness.

If you have never practiced nightly reflection, I suggest that you give it a try this evening. Take a look at this part of The Practice by clicking here. In my book The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness, I offer a whole chapter on Letting Go with more insight into this essential end cap to my daily practice.

Remember DO NOT be hard on yourself if you have difficulty letting go—no judgments and no expectations, just the intention to let go of the day. Like everything, learning to let go takes practice. So simply set the intention to release the day and make peace with yourself. If you get stuck on a thought during your reflection or even as you are falling asleep, turn to your Sacred Mantra and breath for support.

If it has been a particularly trying day, I use these wise words, which I truly love, by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could; some blunders
and absurdities have crept in; forget them as
soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall
begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to
be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Letting Go is a beautiful practice for the day’s end, and you will see it spill over into your day to come. In this practice, you are training your mind to let go of things as they arise throughout the day.

If you feel moved to share your experiences with me tomorrow when you wake up in the new day, I would love to hear how this experience was for you.


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.

Do Something Nice Today


“Together we can change the world, one good deed at a time.”
— Anonymous

To give pleasure and joy—this is exactly what we are doing when we do something nice for someone. Isn’t it such a wonderful gift, a great feeling, to brighten another person’s day? Often, all it takes is a few kind words, a thoughtful deed, or even a smile. When we do something for someone from that place in our heart where love and compassion reside, our good deed can be transformational and far-reaching.

Kindness also tends to have a boomerang effect, right? A person for whom we have done a kindness is likely to pay it forward to someone else as they journey throughout their day. And if they do, who knows, perhaps our one good deed or statement will get carried on a wave of kindness that might make its way right back to us..

As Princess Diana once said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” So kindness isn’t something we do so that we will receive a favor in return. Rather it is a selfless act that will nevertheless have a positive affect on our own lives.

I’ve chosen this topic for today’s blog post because October 5 is National Do Something Nice Today. How wonderful to have a whole day dedicated to this idea! But can you imagine if we dedicated a whole month or year . . . or even a whole lifetime to this? That’s what Mother Teresa did through her work with the Missionaries of Charity. While not everyone can dedicate their lives to selfless service as this great woman did, there is certainly something each of us can do every day to make life a little easier or brighter for someone else, even if that is as simple as a friendly smile.

Kindness takes many forms, both large and small. As you go about your day, try to notice opportunities to do something nice for the people in your life as well as for strangers you encounter throughout the day. Below I offer a few general ideas that can fit many different types of situations. I encourage you to get creative. Think outside the box as you spread kindness today!

  • Lend a helping hand
  • Offer words of encouragement
  • Give a sincere compliment
  • Support another’s efforts
  • Donate your time
  • Say hello to passersby
  • Be present and listen closely
  • Give a thoughtful gift
  • Make a comforting gesture, such as a hug or smile
  • Bring levity and laughter to a situation
  • Spend quality time with others

By spreading the seeds of kindness, our good deeds and words will bloom like flowers. Everywhere we go, the fragrance of our love will be carried on the wind. This is such a beautiful thought to imagine: the whole earth as a bountiful garden of kindness! Doing something nice goes a very long way. . . .


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.

Alone Time: It’s How We Connect with Ourselves


To some people, the idea of being alone doesn’t sound very appealing. In fact, many people view it as something negative and to be avoided. If I’m alone, they think, there must be something wrong with me. In many instances, they may even seem to prefer other people’s company to their own. The truth is, they might actually be afraid to be alone with themselves. I know this because this had been true for me many years ago.

When being alone is too difficult, some people will turn to a harmful distraction to avoid it such as drinking or drugs—or, as was true for me when I was in my twenties, an eating disorder: bulimia. Overeating and purging kept me numb. This addiction is how I avoided being alone with myself and facing my feelings. However, during recovery, I discovered that our alone time is essential to connecting with ourselves.

Being alone gives us a chance to really experience who we are with authenticity and complete honesty. In solitude, we see ourselves from our own perspective, free of concerns about how we might appear to others and what they think of us. Little by little, we peel away those outer layers. In this alone time, we discover our true nature, who we are when no one’s watching—beautiful, kind, and loving—and then connect within to that source of strength, support, and love that assures us we are perfect in this very moment.

In my life today I am no longer afraid of being alone. I actually treasure quiet time and love going on silent retreats! I enjoy many solitary activities, but my morning meditation is the most precious to me. It is in this quiet time with myself that I know, at a deep level, that even though I am sitting alone, I am truly one with everything. This feeling remains with me throughout the day in all my interactions—with others as well as with myself. I feel deeply connected.

In my book The Practice, I talk about my early days of feeling lonely and alone, like I was the on the outside of life looking in and thinking that I would just love to be “somebody,” to be needed, to matter. In treatment for my bulimia over thirty years ago, I learned to meditate. For the past eighteen years, I have been meditating first thing every morning, knowing that in each quiet “sitting with myself,” I am connecting within. I am overcoming my feelings of separateness and aloneness. This brings me great comfort and a beautiful feeling of being connected to myself and everything around me.

What is your story of finding yourself and feeling strong in your own skin—feeling connected?


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.