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Tag Archives: The Practice

A Year of The Practice


“It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.”
—Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper

I am so amazed by how quickly time passes. It has now been a year since the May 2014 launch of my book The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness, published by HCI Books. A year . . . unbelievable ! And what an amazing year it has been. I have met so many beautiful people all over this planet. and I have seen what I know to be true: At our core, we are all loving, good human beings.

Reflecting on the speed of this past year brings it straight home to me how fast-paced life can be and just how truly important it is to practice being mindful, being right here in the present moment on a daily basis. This is, after all, what my book and my life’s work is all about.

With my travel, speaking, and studying over the course of this very busy year, I am still thriving and full of energy thanks to the tools of The Practice. I wake up every morning and sit with myself, preparing for the day ahead. And then I use the other tools to keep me rooted in the present moment. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I did not want to miss a single second!

I stayed connected within each and every moment as I traveled around the country and abroad, sharing my lifelong passion of spreading outer peace through inner peace, at book signings, lectures, interviews, and workshops. When I think about this past year, it is a template for how to truly live every day—not just special days, weeks, or years. I believe the whole point of our lives is to be here in this present moment, open and receptive to what life has for us—fully present. This is easier said than done, for sure, but with a daily practice of connecting within, we can all begin the journey of living our most precious lives with passion and presence.

I am not saying I didn’t feel stress or any of the other emotions we have as human beings during this past year. Of course I did! Rather, I was able to manage any stress or uncomfortable emotions I felt, moment by moment. With a daily practice, we can all learn to stop, take a breath, and start again. We come to understand that we cannot control what’s happening in the outer world, but we can control our responses to what’s happening.

So, if I started to get nervous that no one would show up for the next book signing on the schedule, I would “change the reel of thoughts,” take a deep breath, repeat my Sacred Mantra, and stay in the moment, letting the future moment take care of itself with the deep knowing that I would be okay no matter what. It’s that easy.

We can change our negative, wearisome thoughts into positive, present-moment thoughts. It is this staying in the moment—not letting my thoughts carry me away—that gave me so much energy and reserve to travel, speak, and be at my absolute best all around the world.

5-12-2015-year-of-the-practiceI just returned from the launch of the UK edition of my book. While on tour, I connected with people who share my passion from various cities throughout the UK, concluding with the beautiful Irish city Dublin. It wasn’t all business, though! My beautiful children, Michelle and David, were with me, and we had such a fabulous time together! Here we are in front of a bookstore window, and that’s The Practice behind us!

Souvenir Press, my UK publisher, designed a different cover of my book (which you can see just above Michelle’s head). No matter the packaging—the message is still the same! I would say sort of like people: No matter how we look on the outside, inside we are all incredible human beings who are meant to live magnificent lives.

I offer my love and heartfelt thanks to all of you for making this year so very special for me! Together, we are bringing love, strength, and peace to the world around us every day!


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.

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.

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.

3 Ways to Be Inspired by Words of Wisdom


“We read to know we are not alone.”
—C.S. Lewis

Reading for inspiration is one of my most sacred and fun pastimes. The masters, mystics, saints, and teachers of the past have much wisdom to share with us. Through their experiences, they help us make sense of our world in ways we might not otherwise notice. They support us in our own struggles and decision-making when it comes to living life as we truly wish to live it.

Although this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart—and is, in fact, an essential part of my daily practice—it is not often that I focus on this much-loved activity when I speak about The Practice. Today, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you three ways to be inspired by the words of the wise men and women in our lives, both past and present.

  1. Study with the Masters
    One of the activities I write about in my book The Practice is called Studying with the Masters. I suggest choosing a book from the recommended reading list for The Practice—or another that you find inspirational—and start a process of copying down a paragraph (or even a single sentence) that has particular meaning to you. Then, in your journal or notebook, begin writing your thoughts on the passage. When you do this daily, you essentially become a student of that wise person, and the lessons learned will be carried within you throughout your daily life.
  2. Learn from Today’s Teachers
    There are many notable teachers today who have great insight to share on living with purpose, meaning, and well-being. Many have gone through hardships and express how they overcame life’s challenges in their stories. Others provide written guides for making the changes we wish to see in our lives. On occasion, they visit our hometowns to offer seminars and workshops. These books and presentations are wonderful avenues for exploring your inner world and transforming your outer world.

    Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life hosts amazing teachers who share their stories and teachings here at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Just last night, we had the rare privilege to be with, learn from, and be inspired by the first Western woman to become a Buddhist nun, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. She has been one of my most profound teachers for the past fifteen years, and I am blessed to call her my friend. If you are looking for a book to begin studying with a master, I highly recommend her most recent book Into the Heart of Life.
  3. Listen for the Words of Everyday Wisdom
    Another source of wisdom are the words people share with us. It may seem so commonplace that we sometimes fail to notice it! From small children to the elderly, everyone has a unique perspective on life—a different way of looking at things and approaching the world. Start to listen carefully to what people say, really be in the moment with Focused Attention, and notice when they say something that touches you deeply.

The world has many incredible sources of wisdom—from ancient times to the present day. Immerse yourself in reading—and listening—for inspiration every day. This beautiful practice of “Studying with the Masters” truly begins to transform you from the inside out! It is your class in Life!


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.

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.

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.

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.