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. More

The Power of Relationships

budgies-are-in-the-roost-on-the-green-background-picture-id682216822 The Power of Relationships

Love. It’s that four-letter word that makes our world go ‘round.

Artists sing about love. Writers write about love. Painters paint about love. Protestors take to the streets carrying placards that plead for more love. And, every once in a while, a political leader stands up and speaks about the importance of leading from a place of love. (I wish this happened more often than it does.)

I believe in love big time. I also believe that we can all get better at loving ourselves and loving each other.

Love is easy and love is hard. Even if you’ve been burned by it, you still want to put your heart back in the fire. It’s just that good. It’s just that necessary. It’s just that vital to your health.

Because love is such a big topic, I talk to my kids about it a lot. I talk about what I’ve come to learn love is, and what it isn’t. The truth is, I don’t think we talk enough about the reality of everyday love. So often it presents itself to us in small moments, but we’re too busy to stop and notice that it’s there, much less give gratitude for it.

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The Power of Community

hot-air-balloons-1867279_1280 The Power of Community

The other day, my brother Timothy spoke to a packed stadium as he opened the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle.

As he talked about “taking a stand for inclusion,” everyone in the stadium rose to their feet. Tears filled their eyes. Hearts burst with inspiration. A friend who was there even told me that he left the stadium feeling more hopeful about humanity and our country than he had in ages.

Meanwhile that same night in Los Angeles, my friend Suzanne took her kids and a few friends to an open-air revival of the musical “Grease.” She said that she, too, was struck by the joy that filled the amphitheater. She, too, was moved by how easily everyone came together to enjoy themselves, to be kind to one another, and to be in community.

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What I’m Thinking Ahead of this Fourth of July

4thofjuly What I’m Thinking Ahead of this Fourth of July

The other morning when I sat down to meditate, my mind was bouncing all over the place and I struggled to access a place of calm.

 

One second, I was thinking about my children. The next, I was thinking about the children who have been separated from their parents at the border. I could feel myself feeling their fear and anxiety and I shuddered at the thought of what they must be going through.

 

Then, I found myself thinking about the terror inside the newsroom in Annapolis. I felt terror inside me as I thought about how unsafe everyone seems to feel these days. In fact, just the other day, I cautioned my kids not to get into a fight with someone on the road (or anywhere else for that matter). I cautioned them that everyone has so much rage and anger these days that you have to be careful in every circumstance. You just never know.

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Now Is the Time to Find Your Voice. Now Is the Time to Care

butterflygirl Now Is the Time to Find Your Voice. Now Is the Time to Care

I’ve changed this column numerous times over the past few days.

 

Why? Because words matter, and I wanted to convey a message this week that is hopeful, yet still has just the right amount of indignation to it. After all, this is a moment that requires some indignation.

 

Over the last few days, I have found myself stopping, staring, shaking my head, and getting upset at what I’ve seen. My friends, this is not a moment to scroll by. This is a moment to make your voice heard. I’m not just talking about the important issue of immigration. (I think we all know that immigration reform is needed, and I do believe that we can come to a conclusion that is both compassionate and respectful of our borders.) I’m talking about making your voice heard on all issues that we face today, and that we’ll continue to face in the days, weeks, and months to come.

 

This is not a moment to lose your mind and rant and rage. I don’t believe that ranting and raging works. What I do believe works is using our voices in a forceful, confident, and collective way. What works are voices that express just the right amount of outrage, just the right amount of shock, and just the right amount of care — as in, capital CARE.

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Making Memories That Last a Lifetime

Making Memories That Last a Lifetime Making Memories That Last a Lifetime

I’ve been thinking about how to make each and every day matter. How to make each and every day memorable and meaningful.

 

If the last week or so has taught us anything, it’s that people are super fragile. All of us are, at one point or another. It’s hard to know what’s really going on inside the hearts and minds of others, including those we care about most. So, the most important thing any of us can do with our lives — and with the minutes of our days — is to try our best to make them matter for ourselves and for those we care about.

 

On this particular day, Father’s Day, I’m thinking a lot about my father and the memories we shared during the time we had together. I’m also thinking about all the other fathers I know who are stepping up, showing up, and trying to be as present as possible in their children’s lives. Happy Father’s Day to you!

 

Like motherhood, fatherhood is the job of a lifetime. And, like many mothers, there are fathers who also doubt themselves and struggle with their role as a parent. They wonder about their importance and their influence on their children. They wonder if they’re getting things right, or if they’re messing up. They ask themselves, “am I better at this than my own father was?” So many men tell me that’s their hope and their desire. They also wonder, “What will my children remember about me after I’m gone?”

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The Power of Shifting Your Perspective

The Power of Shifting Your Perspective The Power of Shifting Your Perspective

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of shifting your thinking.

 

I’ve written in the past about shifting my own thinking from “I have to…” to “I GET to” I also wrote last week about my shifting my thinking on time from “It’s happening to me…,” to “It’s happening FOR me…”

 

Shifting your thoughts can shift your perception of a person, of a place, of an event, or most importantly, of yourself. How you view yourself is truly dependent on how you think about yourself and your life.

 

Do you see yourself as a victim? If so, try shifting to survivor. Tell yourself, “I am a survivor.” Just use the word over and over again.

 

Do you see yourself as weak and indecisive? Then tell yourself that you are brave, clear and confident instead.

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The Power of Timing in Our Lives

The Power of Timing in Our Lives The Power of Timing in Our Lives

Not too long ago, someone asked me why I hadn’t published my book, “I’ve Been Thinking…,” sooner. After all, I’ve been writing these essays and sharing them in The Sunday Paper for years, so I could have easily published it a year or two ago.

 

But, as I told that person, and as I’ve told others on this journey, I honestly couldn’t have put it out any sooner. This book came out when it was supposed to for me. It came at just the right time.

 

I think so many of us are in a rush these days. We’re in a rush to get on with things. A rush to get over things. A rush to be where we think we are supposed to be.

 

But, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that stuff happens when it’s supposed to in our lives, not always when we think it should. At least that’s been the case in my life.

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The Power of New Beginnings

sunflower-2071186_1280 The Power of New Beginnings

“Your soul senses the world that awaits you.”


That’s the last line of a poem by one of my favorite poets, John O’ Donahue. It’s called “New Beginnings,” and I just love the image that it conveys. A world awaits you and your soul.

Several years ago, I printed out the poem, put it in my wallet, and promptly forgot about it. Then last Sunday as I was sitting in a parking lot, I rediscovered it.

The crumpled piece of paper caught my eye as I was rummaging through my wallet trying to find one of those crazy punch cards for juice that my son makes me buy.

“What’s that?” I thought to myself as I spotted the wrinkled paper.

I unfolded it and found the poem. There, sitting in my car in a CVS parking lot, I read it once again. Tears streamed down my face.

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The Power of Healing

The Power of Healing The Power of Healing

I know, I know. I know what happened yesterday. An American woman joined the royal family. Yippee!

I actually got up to watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. Yes, I did. I watched it because I’m a romantic at heart. I just love love stories, and theirs is an especially good one because it’s about more than just two people in love. It’s also about acceptance, race, second chances, overcoming differences, old rules and new traditions. That’s what love can do for you. It can let you see the world again with a fresh set of eyes. When two people take a stand for love, other people can see the world differently through their example.

Meghan Markle’s story is quite the American story. She is a child of mixed race who grew up in California. Now, she is the Duchess of Sussex and a woman recognized around the world. Markle has a huge opportunity in front of her to rewrite the definition of a royal for young women everywhere. My hope is that she continues to use her voice for causes she believes in and that she uses her American grit and strength to overcome whatever balls get thrown her way (because there will be many).

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Conversations Around My Kitchen Table

Conversations Around My Kitchen Table Conversations Around My Kitchen Table

My kitchen table is always a busy place. (Not as busy as newsrooms or the White House were this week, but pretty busy nonetheless.)

I love family, I love food, and I love to invite people into my home to sit with me at my table. Oftentimes, I invite friends of mine or people I’ve met through my kids. Other times, I invite people who friends have suggested I meet because they’re doing something interesting in the world. I invite people who have different perspectives on different issues. People who think differently than me politically. People of different races. People of different faith backgrounds. I’ve even been known to cold-call someone I’ve read about and invite them to join me at my table.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from those who join me. I learn how little I really know. I learn how vast the world is. I learn how wide-open people’s hearts are. How much suffering there is. How many creative and inspiring ideas are out there bubbling in people’s minds.

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Making Time for What You Value Most

Making-Time-for-What-You-Value-Most Making Time for What You Value Most

This week was a good time to think about what you value in your life.


France’s President Emmanuel Macron delivered an impassioned speech to Congress this week about what he values and what he believes in. Hearing him speak got me thinking about my own beliefs and values.


“Our strongest beliefs are challenged by the rise of a yet unknown new world order,” Macron said. So true. There are so many forces these days that are testing our values and our beliefs — those we hold as individuals, and as nations.


That’s why I think it’s a good exercise for all of us to stop and think, “What do I believe?” “What do I value?”


Do you know what you believe in? Do you live your life according to those beliefs and values? None of us are perfect at walking our walk, but what I’ve found helpful is to stop and check in with one’s self and assess how one’s values and beliefs are lining up with one’s actual life.


For example…


Do you talk about saving the planet and then not recycle?


Do you talk about the importance of parenting and then look at your schedule and see that you are a workaholic? 


Do you talk about women’s empowerment, but as a business leader, you refuse to provide paid family leave?


Are you a registered Democrat, but in your mind and heart you are more purple than blue and yet you’re afraid to register as an Independent? Or vice versa?


Do you talk about brain health and then not follow what doctors tell you? (My daughter told me to add this because I need to do a better job at what I’m telling others to do, like managing stress and eating less sugar.)

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Finding a ‘Yippee!’ Moment in Every Day

Finding a ‘Yippee!’ Moment in Every Day Finding a ‘Yippee!’ Moment in Every Day

A profoundly simple idea came to me last weekend.

It came way before I watched the Comey interview. Way before the Time 100 list came out. Way before Jeff Bezos told us how many Amazon Prime customers there actually are. (OMG.)

The idea came to me as I was sitting in conversation with three old friends and a dog. I don’t know exactly whose idea it was, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the dog’s. 

The idea came out of one of those conversations that traversed the news of the day, the bumps of life, and the challenges at hand. As we were talking, we collectively decided that we all needed more joy in our lives. “Yippee moments,” to be exact.

What is a yippee moment, you ask? Well, it’s a moment you consciously celebrate. It’s a moment where you decide that you get to feel joy-filled at least once per day, since most of us don’t focus on finding joyful moments on a daily basis.

Most of us are so bogged down getting through life and attending to life’s never-ending stream of responsibilities that before we know it, we aren’t playing anymore. We aren’t celebrating anymore. We aren’t thinking “yippee!”

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Feeling Anxious? Find Where You Belong…

Feeling Anxious? Find Where You Belong... Feeling Anxious? Find Where You Belong…

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about belonging. It’s not something I recall thinking about much when I was a child. At that time, I knew where I belonged, and who I belonged to. (Although I must say, there were times I wondered how I ended up in the family that I did, haha.)

But, I think there comes a time in one’s life — perhaps it’s when your parents die, or your kids grow up and leave, or your marital status changes, or your job ends— when you wonder to yourself, “Where do I belong? Who do I belong to, if anyone? Do I belong here? Do I belong at all?”

I believe that having a sense of belonging is critical to your emotional, spiritual, mental and physical health. Belonging is grounding. It’s reassuring. It’s calming. It gives your life a foundation.

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Making Sense of Life’s Uncertainties

Making Sense of Life’s Uncertainties Making Sense of Life’s Uncertainties

The truth is, sometimes you don’t know what to think because nothing seems to make sense. Nothing that you thought to be true is. Everything you believed to be, isn’t. It all just feels fluid, unsteady, confusing and scary.

For me — for a variety of reasons — that’s how I’m feeling right now. But, what my life has taught me is that these moments pass and that the best way to get through them is to actually live through them and breathe each step of the way.

Breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. I’ve learned that when one feels unsteady, it’s best to try and visualize a wave. See the confusion, the fear, the sorrow, and the grief as a wave that comes in and out and, slowly, it will give way to a calm sea.

No doubt, the calm doesn’t come as quickly as you would like, but it will come with time. For me, knowing this to be true is what makes the unknowing in life more bearable.

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Honor Those You Love. Start Today

Honor Those You Love. Start Today

As I stood in the back of my church on Palm Sunday, I found myself thinking a lot. Actually, I came into church already thinking, as I had just spent an afternoon with a friend who was struggling with cancer.

A year ago, my friend was the picture of health—laughing, debating issues of the day, and planning her future like the rest of us. She is my age, and like my friend Nancy whom I wrote about last week, there is no future left to dream about for her, either. So instead, we reminisced about the past.

The past made us laugh. It was filled with adventures and possibilities. Dreams and opportunities. I called her on my way home and said, “Thank you for today. There’s nothing like an old friendship.” “So true,” she replied.

They say that youth is wasted on the young. So is our health. So, whether you’re young or old, I encourage you to value your friendships. Value your health. (I hope you’ll register and join me in June for Move for Minds 2018.) Value the moments you have now to let someone know that you care about them.

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And the Doctor Said, ‘Go Live Your Life…’

Maria-Shriver-And-the-Doctor-Said-Go-Live-your-Life

A few weeks ago, I went to visit my friend Nancy.


She didn’t ask me to come, I just went. I went because she told me the doctor (actually, multiple doctors) had told her there was nothing left to be done for her. Her cancer — the disease she had long kept at bay — had finally gotten the best of her.


She looked me in the eye and said, “What do you suggest I do?”


I looked at her. Her beautiful eyes locked with mine and I felt as if my heart were on a magnetic wave with hers. “Good question,” I replied.


What does one do when something like cancer gets the best of you? What does one do when there is nothing left to do, but enjoy what’s left? What does one look forward to when there is almost no forward to look towards?


I asked her, “What do you enjoy? What brings you joy?”


“Being with friends,” she said. “Being by the ocean. Letting the sun hit my face.”


“And so,” I said, “Let’s do that…”

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Changing the Way We Think About Fear

maria-shriver-changing-the-way-we-think-about-fear

As I travel around the country for my “I’ve Been Thinking…” book tour, I continue to be moved by the conversations I’m having with people along the way. This week, I was particularly struck by the conversations I’ve had with people about fear.

Fear. It’s one of the scariest and most complex emotions that we face as human beings. It can paralyze us and stop us in our tracks. Or, it can motivate us to keep fighting and keep pushing forward. Pushing through fear is not easy, I know. But it really is up to each of us to decide how to manage this nerve-wracking emotion that wreaks havoc on so many of us.

This week, I felt moved as I watched so many students push through their fear and use it as a motivator to stand up and speak out against gun violence, walking out of classrooms across the country. Rightfully so, these students and their parents are terrified of what is happening on school campuses across America. They don’t want to live in fear any longer as they sit in class or drop their kids off at school. These students and those who support them are using their fear to propel themselves and others into action. I am so inspired by their indignation and I admire the way they are using their voices.

My mother once told me that you are never too young to create an impact. You are never too young to make a difference. You may have to be 35 to run for president, but you don’t have to be that age to make a difference. That’s why I bow down to these students and I look forward to joining them next weekend as they mobilize again for “March For Our Lives.”

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Finding Your Way in Times of Transition or Uncertainty

maria-shriver-finding-your-way-in-times-of-transition-or-uncertainty

As I’ve traveled the country these past few weeks for my new book “I’ve Been Thinking…”, I’ve had the opportunity to meet thousands of people.


In my conversations, I’ve been struck by the number of people of all ages who have told me that they feel as though they are in “transition.”


Yes, that’s the word that keeps coming up over and over. Transition.


“I just got out of college and I’m in transition.” “I just left my job and I’m in transition. “I used to be a lawyer and now I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I’m in transition.” “My kids just left for college…” “I just got fired from my job…” “My boyfriend just left me…” “My mother just died…” “I’m a caregiver and I can’t make ends meet and I’m in transition…” And the list goes on.

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I’ve Been Thinking About Gratitude

maria-shriver-im-thinking-about-gratitude

There I was, sitting in a small back room at Molloy College, waiting to go on stage to talk about my new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…”


This was Wednesday, two days into my book tour. I had just driven two hours from Manhattan to Long Island and I was tired. I was sitting alone. I was feeling anxious. (Yes, I still feel anxious when I have a new book come out.)

I was trying to take a few moments to gather my thoughts. Trying to calm my mind and heart. Trying to remind myself why I had written this book and why I was doing all of this in the first place. Then, thoughts of self-doubt started to fill my head. (Yes, I gave up self-doubt for Lent, but like anything hard, this is a process.)

“Will anyone like my book?” I asked myself. “Of course, they won’t.”

“Oh my God, I should have added this line and not that one,” I thought.

There I was feeling a bit like “God help me.” Then, I heard my name introduced on stage. I walked out from behind the curtain and saw a packed room sitting before me. People filled the auditorium all the way up to the rafters. I looked up and around and the first thought that came to my mind was, “I’m in the wrong room! God help me! I’m in the wrong room!”

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I’ve Been Thinking…

maria-shriver-ive-been-thinking

The other day, I told my friend Elizabeth what I was thinking. She responded in the best way possible.

“You are,” she said, “right on time.”

Her words landed and made me feel grateful and joyful. Here I am exactly, where I’m supposed to be.

This week, my new book “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful LIfe” arrives in bookstores everywhere. Right on time. The fact that there’s a book at all is a testament to you, the readers of The Sunday Paper. Many of you suggested that I curate my “I’ve Been Thinking” columns and bind them together into a book. Voila, here it is!

This book couldn’t have come out last year or the year before. I wasn’t ready then. But, now I am. Thank you.

Today, I’m knee-deep in gratitude to those who have helped me, sustained me, and supported me along this journey we call life. I like where I am. As Hafiz says, I like that I am in a place that God circled on a map just for me.

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