I frekin’ LOVE Barb Schmidt. Her and her daughter Michelle Maros, aka Strala Guide, and multi-talented gal, have become a close, extended family to me. They have so much energy, passion, and excitement and most importantly the tools to help people find peace within. Barb’s energy is contagious and its’ doing so much good in the world. She recently invited me down to Boca to give a talk-turned-Strala class on the field at FAU stadium.
We had such a blast basically celebrating and energizing our passions around Making Our Own Rules, which brings us right to our intuition, leading right to a super peaceful mind.
Barb’s new book, The Practice has been with me on my travels this week to Colombia and Mexico. I read a few lines before I pass out at night and usually wake up with it on my face or next to me, pages open, reminding me to Practice Peace.
I got a chance to catch up with Barb and ask her some burning questions I have about The Practice and you know. . life!
T: You have so much expansive physical mental emotional and spiritual energy. It seems knowing you that you never get tired. What is your source of energy and do you ever get worn out?
B: I start my day with meditation, then I carry that grounding energy through my day with a mantra practice that keeps me focused and in the moment. I’m definitely not perfect in my ability to stay in the moment, but the balancing that happens in meditation and the awareness I have when I’m not in the moment keeps me able to be present and in doing this I conserve my energy and use it wisely and efficiently. When we are scattered we use our energy quickly and uselessly. I end my day with a reflection, and then let all of it go and head off to sleep. I feel that I have lived a day very well spent, and rarely do I say “This is too much, I can’t keep going!” I use my internal practices to live my external life to the fullest!
I have more energy today at 57 than I did at 27! And it’s energy directed to a great service for others, and my self of course! When did the practice of peace become something you were drawn toward sharing and what are your goals in spreading your mission? When I started meditating regularly, every morning, I started feeling this deep connection to all life. The Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. are all mentors of mine and their messages of peace, unity and love touched my heart deeply in the early stages of my practice. And, 15 years ago I had a dream that I, the Dalai Lama and Mao Tse-Tung were in a room working out the details for peace in Tibet- I woke up saying to myself this can happen; all beings will feel peace and live in peace!! What is the most important secret for happiness?
My motto lately has been outer peace begins with inner peace
So, I believe that true, real happiness comes from within. Going inward, getting grounded in yourself to a point where you feel that you are living life in alignment with your truest self. Then you can go out into your day with confidence and ease, knowing that no matter what life brings your way, you have that strength, courage and confidence that not only will you survive, you will thrive!
Whenever I’m in a tough situation I close my eyes, take a deep breath and say to myself, “All is well” and a smile immediately comes over my face and I feel warmth and happiness from within.
T: What is something everyone should do every day to improve quality of life?
B: Meditate! I’m on a mission to get every person to meditate. And also to demystify meditation a bit for people. Though meditation has become so much more accessible and mainstream it still has this feeling for people that it has to be “figured out, and some day when I have time I’ll start this big practice!” My desire is for people to know meditation is the way to start your day, a way of sitting with yourself and checking in to see how you feel; see what’s going on with you. Buddhists call meditation practice sitting; they will say “I had my sit today!” I love this- so I teach meditation is all about sitting with yourself daily, before you launch yourself into your day. It’s your preparation for life; for your day! We wouldn’t go into a meeting unprepared so why do we begin our day without checking in with the most important person in our lives!
So all this being said, Meditation is for everyone, it’s personal and you make your practice totally your own. Like you say, make your own rules! I usually tell people to start slow, just take five minutes every morning to sit with your eyes closed and breathe, then you can increase the time as you wish.
T: What is something we should be doing every day but probably haven’t thought of?
B: Think more about the larger picture in life. Look at life as this big, beautiful expansive place, open and receptive to what life has to offer. I believe we have a tendency to put ourselves into a box and think of life as being small and confining. You speak of this so often- I love it! So I say often, open your eyes wide and dream big- there’s a whole big world out there, if one thing doesn’t work for you know that there are many, many more opportunities, we are not small, the world around us is not small, it is vast and beautiful.
Another big one is start moving physically more; have an ease mentality instead of pushing and forcing your way through life. Start thinking this way; “I will move through my life with ease, thinking about helping others in which my needs are included?”
T: What is your favorite color?
B: Blue- I’m a huge proponent of looking up first thing when I walk outside; the sky around us is a big, beautiful blue, wrapping us with love! AND- my eyes are blue so it’s the color that always looks good on me!
What is your practice to live with inner and outer peace?