Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Getting Your Internal House in Order
Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Getting Your Internal House in Order
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” — Deepak Chopra
As I watched the news unfold on Thursday about the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, here in California, a woman on the treadmill next to me at the gym said, “You know, you can’t go anywhere in this country anymore. Nowhere is safe.”
I’ve always known life is fragile. As someone who grew up in a family where two uncles were gunned down, I had that message drilled into me at a very young age. It’s one I have never forgotten.
But the idea that nowhere is safe anymore is a terrifying reality, isn’t it? How does one “live” when one feels that nowhere is actually safe to live? That’s a question each of us must ask ourselves these days.
For me, it’s all just another reminder to get my house in order. I don’t mean my physical house, per se. (Although getting my house in order over the summer really did help center me.) No, I mean my house of relationships. Because the truth is, you just never know.
No one wants to end up thinking, “I wish I had told my kids I loved them.” “I wish I had made amends with that friend.” “I wish I had told that person how important they were to my life.”
The list goes on.
Getting my internal house in order brought me a sense of peace and calm that has eluded me for much of my life. The first step was realizing that I needed to do it. The second was having conversations that I used to shy away from. Those conversations, while never easy, have brought me a sense of peace I could have never imagined.
Getting clear about who and what I value has really helped me feel more grounded in my being. It’s helped me remove people and items from my life that no longer serve me, bring me joy or make me feel at home.
Life is incredibly fragile. It’s uncertain. We are all living in the unknown. We are all living in precarious times. Just a day after the families in Thousand Oaks were left reeling from the shooting tragedy in their community, they were forced to evacuate their homes due to the threat of wildfires. Many more people have had to do the same throughout northern and southern California. The community of Paradise, CA, was devastated and destroyed by the fires in just a few hours. My heart breaks and goes out to all of the families impacted by these fires right now.
We just never know what will happen one day to the next. That’s why we must each decide whether we will live each day to its greatest potential, or whether we will succumb to the fear and belief that nowhere is safe.
Me, I want to choose to live my life from a hopeful space, even if it isn’t always easy.
On this Sunday, I do feel hopeful about our nation’s future after the elections this week. I feel hopeful knowing that more than 100 women are headed to Washington D.C. to serve as national leaders. I believe that these women will not only change our nation’s capital, but that they will change what gets done in our country as well. In fact, in our recent Shriver Report Snapshot Poll, respondents said that if more women got elected, they believed they would improve the values and ethics of our country. They also said they believed that these women would bring more attention to important issues like caregiving, Alzheimer’s and health care. I couldn’t agree more.
I would add that I believe these new female leaders will also make gun safety and mental health top priorities. If you need proof, look no further than Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate who lost her teenage son to senseless violence and has now been elected to represent Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.
I believe women like McBath will put these issues front and center on their to-do lists. And believe me, when women put items on their to-do lists, things get done. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.
I also feel hopeful this morning knowing that we sent a wave of new military veterans to Washington D.C. this Election Day. These men and women know what it means to put nation above party and on this Veterans Day, I want to honor them for all that they have already done, and all that they will continue to do on behalf of our country. Your service matters, and it is deeply appreciated.
So while the world can feel scary (and I know it is), we can also choose to be hopeful that things will get better. I believe that they will.
The truth is, you don’t have to run for office or go to Washington to create change. You can vote to create change in your life each and every day, just as my friend Martha Beck writes in her Sunday Paper essay this morning.
You also don’t have to witness a mass killing or lose a family member to violence to get serious about the issues that are confronting us all. You can start today.
You can start right now by getting your internal house in order. Sit down. Take a deep breath. Straighten out your physical surroundings. Organize your thoughts. Check in with yourself regarding your values.
Below is what I wrote after I got my internal house in order. I encourage you to repeat it to yourself this morning.
“My home is a place of beauty, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of order, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of joy, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of joy, as is the home inside me. My home is a place of safety, as is the home inside me. I don’t need anyone else to validate these truths for me. I need to validate them within myself. I am at home. I am safe.”
Take steps towards getting everything in order. You will feel better for it, trust me. When those you love know that you love them, you will feel calm. When you believe that you’re living a life of hope and purpose, you will feel fulfilled. You will feel safe.
That’s what I’m deciding to do today. The rest I’ll leave in God’s hands.
Dear God, when life is overwhelming and little makes sense, please help guide me. Please help me find peace and calm amidst the chaos. Please also give me the courage and the strength to take action and help however I can. After all, I know nothing will change if I don’t make a commitment to be a part of the change and make a difference. Amen.
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VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Gisele Bundchen Reveals Why Discipline Is the Key to a Meaningful Life
I have always believed that realizing our goals begins with discipline, which is why I love this new book by successful model and philanthropist Gisele Bundchen. In “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life,” Gisele talks about the art of self-discipline and how she achieved personal success through focus, hard work and dedication. [READ AN EXCERPT HERE]
Author John O’Donohue Tells Us Why Our Differences Might Actually Unite Us
I’ve always loved the philosophy of the late bestselling author John O’Donohue. In this excerpt from his recently released book, “Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World,” O’Donohue explores how opposites and differences are crucial to bringing us together. [READ MORE]
19-year-old Ramon Contreras Is Leading a Movement of Young People Who Want to Prevent Gun Violence
We are happy to introduce our newest SP contributor Amelie Zilbert, a bright and motivated high school student who is determined to show that young people her age are committed to creating change for a better future. In her first piece, Amelie writes about Architect of Change Ramon Contreras, a 19-year-old political activist and filmmaker who founded YouthOverGuns–a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. [READ MORE]
Martha Beck Explains Why Voting Is Something Meaningful We Should Do in Our Own Lives, Every Day
This is an interesting take on the act of voting from our SP Columnist Martha Beck. She explains that voting does not only need to be something we do for elections, but for choices we make every day. [READ MORE]
NEWS CURATED…FOR YOU
1. Maj. Brent Taylor’s Widow Speaks Powerful Words About Late Husband: On this Veterans Day, I recommend you listen to this poignant, profound speech that was delivered this week by Jennie Taylor, widow of Maj. Brent Taylor, the Utah mayor who was recently killed while serving with the Utah National Guard in Afghanistan. She spoke to the press after Brent’s body arrived on U.S. soil Tuesday morning and her words really moved me. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE
2. November Election 2018: A Night of Historic Firsts: Tuesday was an incredible night for diversity — with groundbreaking victories for Native American, Muslim, black, gay and female candidates. [READ MORE]
3. How Women Candidates Changed American Politics in 2018: This is very encouraging news. A record number of Democratic women will be heading to Congress this year to make a much-needed difference in Washington. I’m excited to see what happens in the days ahead. Like a recent poll conducted by The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Genworth reported, Americans are hopeful that these female officials will bring positive change to the values and ethics of D.C. [READ MORE]
4. How Kindness to Others Can Also Make Us Happy: This is a sweet and timely piece by Washington Post contributor Steven Petrow, who has made it his “mission to both find and create more kindness in my world, if only because of the news headlines…” [READ MORE]
5. When His Mother Started Losing Her Memories, Photographer Found a Creative Way to Save Them: I love this son’s devotion. Shortly after Tony Luciani’s mother was diagnosed with dementia, he created the photo series “Mamma: In the Meantime” as a means to preserve precious memories. [READ MORE]
6. Why Is It So Hard to Be Vulnerable?: This is an interesting piece from “Greater Good” magazine. According to research by University of Houston professor and author Brené Brown, we judge ourselves more harshly than others do when we put ourselves out there. [READ MORE]
7. Why Sleep Deprivation Can Kill You: According to this interesting piece from “Business Insider,” about one-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep. And, sleeping less than 7 hours per night could have serious consequences for your brain and body. [READ MORE]
8. Minister Asks For 50 Mentors. 600 Show Up: I love stories like this. In an attempt to assist a South Dallas middle school fill seats at their first “Breakfast with Dads” event, a local pastor stepped in to help. He never imagined how many men would show up after his plea for help. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE
BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING
“Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life” by Gisele Bundchen: In this inspirational memoir, supermodel and philanthropist Gisele Bündchen shares personal stories, insights, and photos to explore lessons that have helped shape her life. [GET IT HERE]
“Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom For a Modern World” by John O’Donohue: This is a poignant and beautiful collection of conversations and presentation from John O’Donohue’s work with close friend and former radio broadcaster John Quinn. [GET IT HERE]
“Maverick and Me” Board Book Edition by Katherine Schwarzenegger: As a proud mom, I’m excited to announce that my daughter Katherine’s children’s book “Maverick and Me” was released this week in a board book edition. It makes the perfect gift for any child (and animal lover) in your life. I love this book, I love its message and, of course, I love her. Get it on [AMAZON] and [BARNES AND NOBLE]
RECIPES TO SHARE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
Cristina Ferrare’s Hasselback Sweet Potatoes would make a delicious and healthy addition to your Sunday Dinner or Thanksgiving meal. You can preview the recipe on our website today, but also find it in Cristina’s new book “Food for Thought: Recipes for Ultimate Mind and Body Health,” out Dec. 4th. [GET THE RECIPE HERE]
We hope you’ll keep sending along photos of your family dinners inspired by The Sunday Paper. E-mail us here and we’ll share them in upcoming editions of The Sunday Paper.
A SUNDAY REFLECTION FOR YOU
When so many of us are still reeling with the news of yet another shooting tragedy this week, I found this beautiful reflection by Pema Chodron to be extremely comforting. It reminds us to face our discomfort and to allow it in like a “natural warmth.”
THE SUNDAY PAPER PROUDLY SUPPORTS…
We educate, engage and empower you to learn more about your cognitive health and care for your mind so that it can last you a lifetime. [LEARN MORE HERE]
Preventing Alzheimer’s: The Greek Island Where ‘People Forget to Die’
I reported on a fascinating story for TODAY this week. Millions of people live with Alzheimer’s in the U.S., but the disease is almost non-existent on a remote Greek island nicknamed “the place where people forget to die.” Residents of Ikaria stay healthy well into their 90s and even 100s with very little risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other diseases of old age. [WATCH HERE]