The Practice - Simple Tools for Managing Stress

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An Interview with the author of The Practice - Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness, Barb Schmidt.

I love Barb Schmidt's The Practice, a small and unassuming handbook that introduces (or reminds us of) basic cross-cultural tools for stress management and greater happiness.

This work is built around three pillars - waking up, being present, and letting go - all of which are present in the judeo-christian and muslim traditions, as well as eastern thought. Through the use of mantras, meditations, and other easy to follow and accepted techniques, Schmidt teaches her readers truly simple solutions to help with handling our complex and stressful lives.

Barb Schmidt is the founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful World, a community outreach program through Florida Atlantic University (FAU) 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, a three-part guide to practical spirituality in the modern world and 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 (with posts reaching over 10 million people), 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.

Join her for a live chat Tuesday November 11, 2014 at 4pm ET.

The Practice

1.              What brought you to meditation?

When I got out of the treatment center for my bulimia, the 11th step of AA sent me on a serious search of an inward, deep connection with God. I read The Road Less Traveled and started becoming interested in meditation and Eastern religions.

2.            How did The Practice/A Path help you overcome your greatest challenge?

When I started a path of self-discovery, and deep connection with God, little by little in meditation I started to get to know me - all of the good and all of the not so good things that happened in my life.  I believe that my spiritual path has helped me accept me, all of me, and has helped me feel complete; helped me be open and receptive to life; vulnerable. Through this acceptance of my life I have overcome my fear of not being good enough, not being lovable, not feeling complete or whole.

3.         What prompted you to found The Practice?

I have a deep desire to help all beings realize their magnificence; realize that peace is within; you just have to sit with yourself; get to know yourself; accept yourself fully and you can and will live your greatest life! I want outer peace in the world and this begins with finding inner peace; and The Practice can help do just that.

4.        When was the first time you meditated?

I grew up Catholic so I have always had the tradition of praying before bed; praying before meals. But I actually first started meditating in 1984.

5.            What was your inspiration in writing this book?

I want to change the world- I want to change people’s lives- I want all beings to realize their greatest lives- I want outer peace and love in the world and I know deeply that this first starts with inner peace. So The Practice is a toolkit for bringing inner peace into life. Being a recovering addict myself, I have a strong passion for helping people overcome addiction and live the great life they can live.

6.            There are so many self- help books out there what makes yours stand out?

I feel that I’ve taken thoughtful deep practices, like meditation and explained them as an easy to understand and follow guide for life. I have given many personal examples as well as used many quotes from so many of our greatest teachers. I’m hoping that as people read this book they say to themselves “I can do this- I want to do this- I want to live my most magnificent life!”

7.            What is your mission for PMPL?

Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life is a movement to peace, and wholeness. It’s a vision I have of changing the world through inner peace. The Practice is a path; method for living a self-empowered life, managing the stresses of life, and uncovering the happiness and greatness that we all have within. We have become such an external society of beings and we must start living our lives from “the inside out”. We cannot live the life we wish to live at the mercy of the external world. When we take the time to go within each day, ground ourselves, we can take on the challenges of the world; our lives with strength, security and patience. Having patience, managing our stress, living with peace and love is changing the world; fulfilling the mission of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life.

8.        What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read, spend time with friends and family, walk and play with my dog Ellie, yoga, pilates, walking, skiing, watch football and basketball.

9.        What would you like for people to take away from your book/message?

We all have everything we need within us to live the greatest life. We have all the security, strength, courage we need without needing anything from the outside. We can have complete control over what we do and say and how we let life affect us- we can manage our stress, we can learn patience and we can live the life we wish to live.

11.        What spiritual teacher has influenced you the most?

There are so many it’s hard to pick one! I am such a firm believer that we are all meant to be our own teachers and it’s our job to get there. If I had to name a few I would say, the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Palmo, James Finley, Scott Peck, St. Francis of Assisi, Sri Ramakrishna, Gandhi; see I can’t just name one!

12.        What is one simple thing everyone can adapt into his or her lives?

We can all stop, breathe, smile and spend a minute just being!