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Book Review of The Practice

Barb Schmidt has been teaching others about her spiritual routine, called “The Practice,” for over ten years in workshops and through her website. The Practice, a book that will teach readers how to alleviate stress and live a joyous life, is the culmination of Schmidt’s years of experience, her wisdom, and her teachings. If readers are ready to embrace peace, fulfillment, and happiness every day, The Practice can show them how through the principles of “Waking Up,” “Living Present,” and “Letting Go.”

Schmidt was the oldest of five children and learned from an early age to be responsible. Living in a low-income, Catholic household and dealing with alcoholism in the family, she thought that being “the best at everything” would lead to a perfect life. Schmidt worked hard and found a measure of fulfillment in rising steadily through the ranks at McDonalds, eventually owning her own franchises and cofounding the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of South Florida. However, despite her financial, martial, and material success, Schmidt felt unhappy and unfulfilled. 

After acknowledging an eating disorder and putting herself through treatment, Schmidt discovered the inner-peace that came as a result of working the Twelve Steps and sharing her struggles with others like her. Out of these experiences her journey began; Schmidt learned methods for achieving happiness and peace from many spiritual leaders including Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Marianne Williamson, Rumi, the Buddha, Jesus, and Gandhi. As she delved into the teachings of others and realized that being her own teacher helped her become confident, happy, and strong, Schmidt took her first steps toward cultivating the spiritual tools that would eventually become The Practice.  
A regular meditation routine has many benefits, including improving concentration, widening perspectives, increasing awareness of thoughts, and easing feelings of restlessness, among other things. The first principle The Practice teaches is called “Waking Up,” in which Schmidt explains to readers how meditation can help the mind, body, and heart to work together and make the day calm and peaceful. She answers the when, where, and how questions of meditation and urges readers to continue meditating despite their wandering thoughts and doubts. “If I can meditate,” Schmidt writes, “anyone can meditate!” 
“Living Present” is the second principle that The Practice allows readers to explore. At its core, this spiritual tool is essentially mindfulness—living in the moment and being present for every moment of every day. Schmidt teaches that mindfulness can be achieved by using three components: the sacred mantra, focused attention, and reading for inspiration. Schmidt goes in-depth for each of these components to help readers understand the importance and the benefits of living a mindful life. 
The process of the third principle, “Letting Go,” is directly related to the idea of reflecting at the end of the day. Schmidt asks her readers to practice reflection before going to bed so that they might better learn from the day’s experiences and let go of negative thoughts. “The purpose of reflection is to make peace with yourself at the end of the day,” writes Schmidt, “so that you can be present, aware, and grateful for the day ahead.”
Each chapter of The Practice ends with “Takeaway Seeds,” which are nuggets of information that summarize the important points of the chapter for the reader. Aside from explaining the inner-workings “Waking Up,” “Living Present,” and “Letting Go,” Schmidt delves into how to discover (or write) your own sacred mantra, the importance of getting to know your mind, and how to be a good listener. 
Awakening the mind, experiencing true happiness, and finding peace are within reach for those who use The Practice and learn from the wisdom of Barb Schmidt. This book makes getting into a spiritual routine easy; Schmidt provides helpful tips on the little things readers can do every day to live more fulfilling life.   
Benefits of The Practice include:
  • Removing obstacles that interfere with inner-peace
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Cultivating patience, empathy, and compassion
  • Developing courage to face change and fear
  • Overcoming bad habits
  • Making better choices
  • Reducing negative thinking
  • Finding wholeness


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