Maria Shriver is the mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor reporting on the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. She creates socially conscious television, books, films and digital media with the purpose of informing, inspiring and igniting hearts and minds in a discussion that produce positive impact in the world.
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Why Thanksgiving Is My Favorite Holiday

pumpkin

We are heading into my favorite week of the year.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it represents everything that is important to me: My family (I just spent a few days with two of my cousins. How deeply meaningful it was to share laughter and connection with them), my kids, my friends, my open table, food, and my faith in this country.

 
I’ve thought a lot lately about welcoming people to the table—not just to my Thanksgiving table, but to my kitchen table on a weekly basis as well. I deeply believe that we all have a common desire to be welcomed, to be invited in, to be included—not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day of our lives. I know I do.
 
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The Power of the Moment

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The other day, I was sitting at lunch with my kids as they started to discuss the Texas shooting and started to wonder why the news had moved on from this story so quickly.


My son said, “Wow, that Texas story was wild. Why aren’t more people talking about that? Isn’t it weird that it just came and went?”


I thought about that. Stories used to stop us all cold in our tracks. Now, they just seem to come and go. Moments that used to bring a collective sense of grief—a collective sense of oneness—now seem to come and go without landing.

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My Birthday Reflection

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As I approach my birthday and a new year of life, I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am.


I’m blessed to live in this country. Blessed to have my family and my friends. Blessed to be in conversation with a loving non-judgmental god. Blessed to have work that interests me. Blessed to be in community with people who are good, kind, compassionate and inspiring. I include you, the readers of The Sunday Paper, as part of that community.

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The Power of Re-evaluating Your Beliefs

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The news of the week, as it always does, got me thinking. It got me thinking about politics. Thinking about addiction. Thinking about success. Thinking about how to live one’s life.


Every new year, I usually do some kind of inventory of my own life. But I can’t wait until then. I just can’t. (Plus, my birthday is around the corner, so now is as good a time as any.)


And the truth is, it’s not just the news that has got me re-evaluating. My body has also been speaking to me to pay attention. My heart has been calling me out. My mind is telling me not to get caught up in the noise, but to instead step back and think about the effect that the noise has on my life, and on all of our lives. Plus, it’s all been giving me a complex migraine, complete with vertigo and vestibular damage (don’t ask).

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What People With Passion Have in Common

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This upcoming Saturday is National Make a Difference Day, but for me, every day is an opportunity to make a difference.


Over the years, I’ve noticed that the people who are passionate about making a difference all have something in common: they have drive. They have a purpose. They have a goal.


I deeply believe that every one of us has a calling, a unique gift, and a specific reason for being here on this earth. I’ve spoken to so many people over the years who desperately want to find their passion, but can’t seem to land where they think they should. What I’ve learned, though, is that sometimes all you have to do is look within you, and around you.

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The Power of No

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I've been thinking a lot this week about the word "no."


No is a word that has great power in our lives and in our society. And yet, it's one of the most challenging words in our vocabulary.


Every time I've heard "no" in my professional life, I've challenged myself to defy it. To go around it. I've used it as fuel to keep fighting—whether it's in chasing a hard-to-get interview, or in proving to doctors and researchers that Alzheimer's does indeed discriminate against women, even when they told me it doesn't.


In fact, all of the Architects of Change we feature in this week's Sunday Paper have heard the word "no" at some point. Some have heard it from others, who told them that what they wanted to achieve could not be done. Others have said it themselves, declaring that one thing or another in our society is unacceptable and that they won't rest until they've done something to change it.

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I've Been Thinking: The Power of One

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I've been thinking all week about the power of one. One moment. One person. One action. Any of these can change your life forever.

It takes one person to fall in love with you to change your whole world around for the better. It also takes just one person with violent intentions to turn your world upside down.

All week long, we have listened and read stories of heartbreak, anguish, and pain about beautiful lives that were cut short. Lives forever altered. Families forever changed. Love stories that will never get their happy endings.

All week long, we have also listened and read stories about individuals who stepped into the line of fire to save someone. Often, these were total strangers who risked their own lives to save another. Individuals like concertgoer Jonathan Smith, who raced to rescue at least 30 people from the scene in Las Vegas. He was struck by two bullets in the process, then had his own life saved by another brave individual, off-duty officer Tom McGrath.

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I've Been Thinking

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"America is an idea. America is the greatest idea that the world ever came up with." — Bono


I just love that quote from Bono because it's so true. America is definitely the greatest idea that the world has ever come up with. 


Now, that doesn't mean our nation is perfect. It doesn't mean we don't have problems. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep striving to do better. It just means that the idea that defines the bedrock of this great nation is still the greatest idea ever. May we not lose sight of that.


America was founded upon an idea. We were also founded by people who took a stand. That's our heritage, and it’s part of what makes the idea of this nation so great.


This week, there has been a lot of discussion about taking a knee and locking arms. There has been a lot of discussion about how to respect our flag and our “National Anthem,” about how to acknowledge and address racism, and about how to define what it really means to be an American.

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The Power of the Mind

The-Power-of-the-Mind

The other day, my daughter said to me: “Mom, do you ever stop thinking? Does your mind ever turn off?”


Trust me, this was not a compliment.


I laughed and explained that, yes, my mind does turn off when I meditate in the morning (or, at least, I try to turn it off). But the rest of the day, I’ve gotta say… it’s thinking. Like, a lot.


This week, I found myself thinking about the tragic earthquake in Mexico City. As I read story after story, they broke my heart and reminded me yet again how fragile our lives can be. (Learn how to help here). So, if you have an outstanding beef with someone—a person you once loved, or who was once your friend—try to resolve it now. Time is precious, and our world is fragile.

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This Is What Happens When You Open Your Eyes

This Is What Happens When You Open Your Eyes

Yep, he’s at it again.

Pope Francis that is. That man has a way of getting above the noise and it’s not just because he’s the Pope. Pope Benedict rarely got my attention, but this guy… well, he’s different.

This week, Pope Francis spoke up about climate change. He directed his message at all of us and sounded an alarm that if we don’t review the choices we’re making about Mother Earth, then there will be hell to pay.

Okay, he didn’t actually say “hell,” but that was the gist. He warned that “history will judge us for our decisions” and that we “will go down” if humans fail to curb climate change. But, it was this line from his speech that really stopped me in my tracks: “When you don’t want to see … you don’t see.”

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What I Learned During My Spiritual Break

What I Learned During My Spiritual Break

I’m writing this as I would write a note to a friend who I haven’t spoken to in awhile. I’m back from my self-imposed spiritual break and wanted to check in. How are you? How is your world? How are you feeling on this day about our larger world?

I know I don’t have to ask that question of Mother Earth. She feels as angry as she’s ever been. But, I hope those living directly in her path feel supported by the outpouring of love, unity and assistance that is coming their way.

At a time like this, it almost feels mundane for me to talk about my time away this past month. But, The Sunday Paper is dedicated to trying to provide a sanctuary and a moment of reprieve from the storms that surround us — be they climate-related, political, or otherwise. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll bring you up to date on my last few weeks.

My time away in August was wonderful and productive. Before I left, I wrote down a list of intentions for my break. I wanted to step back from the noise of our world so that I could reflect, reconnect and approach my life and work with a renewed sense of passion and purpose.

There were so many times along the way that I wanted to jump back into the world of social media to comment on this or that (North Korea, Charlottesville, Heather Heyer and her inspiring mom, Houston and Hurricane Harvey, etc…) So many times that I wanted to drive my car back into the office so that I could feel plugged in, connected and purposeful. But, I didn’t.

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If You’re Looking to Strengthen Your Family, This Message Is For You.

If You’re Looking to Strengthen Your Family

Family has always been the most important part of my life. It’s what brings me joy. It’s what gives me strength. It’s what gives me purpose. And, yes, it’s what gives me an identity.

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The Power of Boredom, Breaks and Creativity

The Power of Boredom, Breaks and Creativity

Let’s face it. Boredom has a bad rap.

Or, at least it had a bad rap with me for the longest time. I grew up thinking that there was almost nothing worse than being bored. So, I worked, and I worked, and I busied myself, and I did everything I could to try and stay two steps ahead of the old boredom curse.

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This Is the Time to Rethink What We Know

This Is the Time to Rethink What We Know

“Summer is a great time to rethink how we are working, how we are learning, how we are consuming our food, our energy, and our time. It’s a great time to rethink our lives and how we are living.”

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Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Reflections on a Whirlwind Week

Reflections on a Whirlwind Week

Have you ever had one of those weeks where no matter how hard you try to stay upbeat, cheery and positive, you just can’t?

Of course you have. That’s what this past week felt like for me, too.

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What I’m Thinking About This Mother’s Day

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Today, I want to move beyond my own intimate experience with motherhood and focus on what I believe the world at large is yearning for right now. Simply put, that is Mothering — on a big stage and on a big scale.
 
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Something to Focus On Other Than Your Lips, Eyes and Thighs

Photo by AgsAndrew on Istock

I don’t care what you wear or don’t wear. I don’t care about how much you spend on makeup and/or fillers. I don’t care if you’ve had plastic surgery or want to in the future. I don’t care if you’ve been divorced, dropped out of work to raise your kids, or worked like a lunatic your entire life.

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The One Question on Everyone’s Mind

The One Question on Everyone’s Mind

The other day I was in conversation with my friend Matt.

Matt is a healer, a spiritual teacher, a health expert, a convener, a connector, a wanderer, and a world traveler. He’s someone who defies any one description. I love people like that — individuals who choose to live and work outside of the box.


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We All Have Mental Health Issues. Here’s Why It’s Okay.

We All Have Mental Health Issues. Here’s Why It’s Okay.

Not too long ago, I was speaking with a friend when he said to me, “You know, every single person — yourself included — has mental health issues.”

At first, I was surprised by his statement. Dare I say that I was even insulted by it. But as I reflected more on what he said, I realized that he was right.

Every single one of us does have mental health issues. Every single one of us has a mind and we all need to think about the health of it.

That’s why I think the conversations that Prince Harry and Prince William ignited this week are so important and groundbreaking.

I love that Prince Harry bravely told the world that grief had wreaked havoc on his life and that it was his brother who encouraged him to get help, which he did. I’m grateful that Prince William also used his platform to talk about how shock, grief and trauma live on in your body and your mind long after a traumatic incident has taken place, leaving you with post-traumatic stress issues and other mental health challenges.

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My Easter Reflections

My Easter Reflections

Today is Easter Sunday.

Somewhere along the way, it seems that this holiday has become all about bunnies and eggs and pretty dresses and chocolate. But to me, it is about so much more.

To me, Easter is all about rising. I’m not just talking about the way that Jesus rose from the dead, although in a way that’s my metaphor. I’m talking about the fact that today can be a moment when each of us chooses to rise in our own lives.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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