Interview with Barbara Schmidt & her new book: The Practice
Barbara Schmidt is an international lecturer, life coach and author of “The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness.” Barb is founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful World, designed to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace by incorporating workshops and weekly teachings with Barb and many of her esteemed mentors, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Andrew Weil, and many others. Barb is also the founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, a non-profit organization through which she teaches The Practice, and is her tool for spreading her belief that “outer peace begins with inner peace.” Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has rapidly expanded to include an online community via Facebook through their daily inspirational emails and weekly blogs. In 2014, Barb’s extensive achievements in fostering positive change earned her an invitation to the White House State Dinner.
What inspired you to write The Practice?
I grew up unhappy, feeling like I was on the outside looking in. In 1984, when I sought treatment for bulimia, I started to uncover all of the feelings that were previously buried inside me. I became whole and healed through therapy and the teachings of AA. Upon leaving treatment I went on a serious search to deepen my practice of the 11th step of AA- sought through prayer and meditation… conscious contact with God. In 2003 I started giving workshops and lectures at Florida Atlantic University as past of their Peace Studies program. I was teaching people how to find inner peace and happiness. After every workshop people would come up to me and say please put your teachings in an easy to use way and write a book. So in 2011 I founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching, and inspiring people to seek inner peace as the way to outer peace. So The Practice is this culmination of all that I have learned in the last 30 years; it is a three-part daily routine that gives me a great sense of grounding, peace and happiness. I believe strongly that, “outer peace begins with inner peace.” The Practice makes it easy for people to cultivate a regular practice; a beautiful way to be connected with themselves and others; finding purpose and meaning to life.
What can people expect from The Practice?
The Practice is a three-part daily guide from “Waking Up” to “Letting Go” at the end of the day. If you implemented one part of The Practice into your daily life every day you would find tremendous changes and grounding occur. It’s not about following a set of rules, but more about spending time with yourself, slowing down the speed of the mind, and getting in touch with the life that you wish to live. The poet Mary Oliver asks us, “Just what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” The Practice helps you get in touch with this idea that your life matters, we matter, and we have the power to create and live a life of magnificence.
Tell us about the 3-part framework. Why is it important to set-up any given day like this?
The Practice framework is this:
Waking Up: Meditation
We start the day when our feet touch the ground grateful for the gift of a new day and sit with ourselves with a 5 minute meditation or longer. In this sitting time we are calming the mind, connecting within, aligning the mind, body and spirit before going into your day. I believe strongly how you start your day sets the tone of your day. Starting our day with a sense of peace, strength and connectedness gives us a firm foundation to weather any of the storms life may send us.
Living Present: Sacred Mantra, Focused Attention and Reading For Inspiration:
The mantra is the tool that helps us carry the peace from our meditation and brings our mind back to the present moment every time we get scared, obsess about the past, or ruminate about the future. We are able to bring our mind to the moment for each part of our day. The reading we do is for inspiring us, comforting us and giving us great hope that we are human beings just like the great masters, saints and mystics before us.
Letting Go: Reflection- When the day is done, it is done.
In “Letting Go” just before bed we reflect on the day, the good and the not so good- take note then let it all go. We are actually setting the intention of, “leaving the day in the day.: It’s over and we can not change a thing we can only learn. By letting the day go we offer ourselves the greatest chance for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Breaking the day down into three tangible sections makes it easy for the reader and practitioner to follow. It’s not overly complicated or difficult, it becomes second nature. The Practice is a “way of life.”
For people searching for guidance, how does this book serve them?
This book lays out a step-by-step way with full instructions of how to become the creator, the self confident master of your life. It’s not about learning to follow a teacher, it’s about learning to become your own teacher, by going within daily, listening to the whisperings of your own heart and becoming your most worthy travel companion on this path of life. The Practice is not a religion, it is practical, and gives you the freedom and space to step into the person you came to this life to be.
How can someone find the right meditation practice for them?
I think a person’s meditation practice is very personal. It truly is about connecting within, and finding what works for you. The Buddha said “this is an experiential path you must try it for yourself.” So we try and we go within and little by little we start remaking ourselves from the inside out; we start feeling comfortable in our own skin and we just know exactly what is right for us. We become our own teacher. It’s not about rigidity, or strictness its about showing up; sitting with yourself every day with no expectations of the results. I say let go of rules and find what feels right for you. This you will be doing for the rest of your life, this is your life, and you have to love it.
Can you tell us about Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life?
Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life is a non-profit organization that I founded in 2011 to be a resource, teacher, and inspiration for the belief that “outer peace begins inner peace.” I woke up one night feeling that it was completely possible to have peace in the world if each person practiced, became aware of themselves, and found inner peace; inner strength. We fund workshops, lectures, speakers and programs designed to inspire and ignite peace and wellness throughout the world. We have had speakers like the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, the beautiful Buddhist nun Tenzin Palmo, Caroline Myss and most recently Gabrielle Bernstein. We also had wellness retreats with Jim Finley PhD and myself in Costa Rica. Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has a social media reach of millions of people worldwide, spreading the message of peace, love, and happiness.
Barbara Schmidt is such a captivating speaker that her radiant passion and charisma have garnered her the devotion of fans who travel across the globe to be part of her inspiring movement for global peace through inner peace. On May 13, 2014, Barb will launch her highly-anticipated book, The Practice, (HCI Books) the product of over thirty years of commitment to personal development and research. The Practice provides simple tools for managing stress, finding inner peace, and uncovering happiness. Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life
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