“Something in the wind has learned my name
And it's telling me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasing sense of happiness for me.”
—“Top of the World” by The Carpenters
A pleasing sense of happiness.
When I hear these words, I take a deep breath in and let out a sigh of
profound joy. I am so very grateful to know what a sense of happiness
feels like. I haven’t always felt
this way. Thirty years ago this month, I admitted to myself that I had a
problem, that I could no longer live this way, that the happiness I had
been seeking all the years leading up to that moment could not be found
in all the outward “riches” I had acquired.
One October morning in
1984, I called in sick to work—something I never did, but I just
couldn’t face another day “out there.” There was an article in the paper
that morning discussing Karen Carpenter’s battle with
an eating disorder, which she had lost more than a year earlier. I was
so in love with the Carpenters and their music that Karen’s death had
hit me really hard. As I read about her battle with anorexia and
subsequent death, I felt the shock of it reverberating
to my core. In my mind, Karen Carpenter had had everything—beauty,
fame, and wealth—but she must have felt the same way I did inside:
alone, scared, and unhappy. It was then that I finally admitted to
myself that I, too, had an eating disorder—bulimia. The
tears came like a flashflood, and a voice inside me clearly and firmly
said, “You must get help.” The voice was strong and loud, and I felt
moved to listen.
The voice I found that
morning was “the love that I found” for myself, which gave me strength,
courage, and a higher perspective—as if I were “on top of the world.”
In that moment, I knew deep within that if I were
to ever be happy, ever envision a future of self-love and fulfillment, I
must get help. I was desperate, and I felt like I would rather die than
go on living this way. I knew that if I continued down this path, I
surely would! In that moment of feeling how
close death was, I found inside myself a desire to do whatever was
necessary to get better. So thirty years ago today, on October 31, 1984,
I checked myself into a treatment center. Today I am still in awe of
the courage that took!
Today, I am happy, strong, and loving my life so completely that I often look into my mirror and say, “Thank you.”
My six weeks at the
treatment center changed my life. The experience was deeply enriching. I
felt safe, loved, and accepted by a wide range of people, and I had a
beautiful sense I was not alone. It was there that
I was introduced to the Twelve Steps. Every day that passed fostered
even greater strength and wisdom within me. I became immersed in reading
for inspiration and spiritual instruction. I found comfort, hope, and
strength in the words of great teachers and
guides. When my time at the center concluded, I left there with an
incredible desire to live a more meaningful and spiritual life.
I had a deep knowing
that I must embrace the 11th Step of AA: “sought through prayer and
meditation to deepen my conscious contact with God, as I understand him
or her.” This is what has fueled my thirty-year journey.
I maintain my unwavering desire to live this way through dedicated
daily practice, including meditation, mantra repetition, focused
attention, and reflection. With each choice I make and challenge I face
in life, I rely deeply on my inner strength, faith,
and courage to remain on the path I have chosen for myself.
On my 30-year
anniversary, I offer my personal experience of transformation, recovery,
and love to anyone suffering from an addiction, whether it is to drugs,
alcohol, an eating disorder, or any other debilitating
activities that interfere with your living the magnificent life you are
capable of living.
1.As human beings, we hit bottom and come to a place where we are ready to live differently.
2.We admit we are powerless when we are not connected to our Source within, and then take up a spiritual path of our choice.
3.We begin making moment-by-moment choices, taking one step at a time toward living our lives of greatness.
Barb Schmidt is such a captivating speaker that her 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. Barb is 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
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.