Today’s 20 Questions interview is with Barb Schmidt, lecturer, life coach and international best-selling 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.” 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. Here are her answers to my 20 Questions.
20 Questions — Soul-Style
1. Who are you?
I am a spiritual teacher, wife, mother, business woman, philanthropist and lover of helping people love themselves and live a magnificent life!
2. What do you do?
I am a spiritual coach and teacher whose life purpose is to help all beings find their source of strength, power and peace within. This year I launched my first book, “The Practice” — it’s a daily 3-part guide teaching peace, love and empowerment to each person, believing that outer peace begins with inner peace. I started the non-profit Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, teaching people how to make happiness and love their way of life. All proceeds of the book go to this non-profit.
3. Why do you do it?
I was an unhappy girl until the age of 28. I found this deep source of strength and love and completely transformed myself, and it truly is my deep passion and life’s purpose!
4. How did you find your way to it?
For the past 30 years I have been on a spiritual journey of finding life’s greatest meaning through meditation and daily spiritual practices.
5. How do you feel when you do it?
Like I can accomplish anything — and I deeply love myself and all beings!
6. What is the joy that keeps you up at night?
Knowing that peace, love and empowerment for all beings is possible! It will happen!
7. What is one thing you still have to practice every day?
Patience — I want peace and harmony existing in the world now!
8. What are you always searching for?
A way to show people that they have everything they need and want right inside of them, deep in their hearts. All they have to do is sit down every day and connect with themselves within.
9. What have you found after searching?
I have found that a young girl of 10 who felt insecure, unhappy and alone can become a woman of 57 who loves herself, loves life and is able to live the meaningful life she is meant to live regardless of how stressful and difficult the external world can be.
10. How do you stay connected to your inner core of peace?
I sit down with myself first thing every morning and meditate. Meditation is connecting with yourself before you launch into your day! I haven’t missed a day in decades!
11. What makes you feel led or guided?
My inner voice, God, higher power; that deep knowing within; the whisperings of my heart.
12. What do you do when you can’t hear God (or the Universe, or Source, or your intuition) speaking to you?
I sit down and be still; it’s in the sitting still that we learn to hear and be still. When we can’t hear God it’s because the noise in the mind is too loud!
13. What is the difference between resistance and fear?
Resistance is knowing that I’m afraid and choosing not to take the step. It’s not always easy to name that we are afraid/that we are feeling fearful.
14. Where does the idea come from that we are broken, unworthy or undeserving?
As a young girl, this is how I felt most of the time. We get this notion from our environment, our surroundings, that we are not good enough, that we are unworthy, living life from the outside looking in. And once we get this feeling it’s hard to change it, because it’s totally fed and dependent upon external situations and people.
15. How do you move past that to connect with others on a soul level?
We must live a life grounded from within. We have to start a practice of connecting with ourselves within, listening to our inner voices, our inner guidance that’s there to support and love us. When we live our lives completely externally, we are at the mercy of things happening in the external world. In all of my teachings, I say to people, “Live a life that is as internal as it is external; then you will be in balance. Live each day connecting within before you go out into the world.”
16. What is the most direct way to create a feeling of peace in the home or workplace to reflect that state of inner peace we have (or seek to have) inside?
Take time to de-clutter and simplify your space. Notice what is around you, on your desk, in your bedroom, and bring in artifacts that are calming and peaceful to your soul, that make you smile when you look at them. It’s all about choosing what feels good for you in your life and really becoming aware of what’s around you.
17. What is your number one tool for practicing self love?
Absolutely, first thing in the morning sitting with myself in meditation. In this quiet time I am disconnecting from the outer world, stepping away from computers, phones, television, etc and listening to the voice within. I’m developing my sense of intuition, gaining the ability to know what my body needs at any given moment.
18. How have you developed such a tremendous inner confidence in your purpose and your role in life as a teacher and a coach?
Truly spending time with myself every morning for thirty years! With a daily meditation practice I have developed the ability to “be” with myself and listen to my inner voice.
19. Why does the concept or feeling of unity or being at one with the universe seem so fleeting, and what specifically can I do during the mundane everyday moments to sense more of that wonder and fullness?
We are deeply connected to all beings, nature and the Universe, from within. We live our lives in the external world and forget that we need to come back in from time to time to “check in with ourselves.” My teaching with “The Practice” is that we must spend some time in the inner world and then go into the outer world. With my 3-part daily guide, we start the day grounding ourselves within and then we go out into the world with tools for “connecting within” throughout the day, a minute here and a minute there.
20. What is something I can do, if coaching or healing isn’t necessarily my job, to effect peace and change in the world — is there something we can do to strengthen the muscle that helps us believe that “being” the change we want to see in the world is enough?
We must remember that our actions and our voices make a difference every single day! So if we can choose love rather than hate, compassion over anger, patience instead of impatience, we are being the best person we can be, everyday, with all we meet. This has a ripple effect on the entire world — we are effecting change in the world!
Thanks, Barb! What a powerful example of optimism and positivity. Do you believe that your actions and your voice can make a difference every day? I hope so — I do, and it feels just as good to be a giver of peace as it does to be a receiver of such grace and love. If this message speaks to you and you would like to join Barb’s team as a Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life Ambassador, click here. And locals, take note! Barb will be at Anderson’s Bookshop right here in Downers Grove on October 16th! I will be there…leave me a comment if you’d like to join me, and stay tuned next week for (WOW!) Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark!
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