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Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Healing Our Nation Starts From Within

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” — Chinese

I’ve been thinking so much lately about what can bring us together and what can bridge our deep divide. All kinds of ideas have come to mind.

Some are so very basic, like “vote! vote! vote!” It’s a gift and it’s our civic duty, so let’s exercise that right on November 6 (which just happens to be my birthday).

I’ve also thought about the importance of seeking out our neighbors. It’s such a simple idea, and yet, it’s an important step in building community, connection and common ground.

So are Sunday dinners. I’ve talked about the power of them before and it’s an idea that I’m really hoping will catch on. Invite people from all different walks of life — people from different races, people who hold different political views, people who have different life experiences than yours. After all, if we want to bring people together, then starting in our own homes is a powerful place to start.

Starting is often the hardest part, but take the first step in that direction. Utter the words, “I’d like to invite you to my table.” Be open. Listen. Breathe. Allow yourself to be surprised by what you hear from others (maybe even from people in your own family). Be brave enough to rethink your own positions, given where our country is at this moment. We all have room to bend, reevaluate and compromise.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “These ideas are all fine and good, Maria, but we’re going to need something big, something dramatic, something country-shifting to really heal this divide.” Well, yes, I’ve thought about that too.

I’ve thought about joining together with others to start a national independent party. I’ve thought about gathering all those who want an alternative to our two-party system and forming a party that reflects the ideals of what I call “our purple nation.” That’s what you get when you combine red and blue: purple.

We’d propose principles like national service or a simplified tax structure where everyone pays. Yes, the wealthy would pay more, but everyone would be doing their part. We’d offer accessible and affordable health care for everyone, especially the elderly. We’d make Alzheimer’s research a top priority. We’d create innovative schools that are safe, inspiring and that seek to educate the whole student — mentally, physically, financially and emotionally. We’d care for our common home. (Yes, I know we’ve already made some progress on all these fronts in our country, but I think we still have a ways to go.) I could go on and on with ideas like the ones above — which I believe are non-partisan, sensible, rational and achievable — but I’m sure you could as well.

Then, as I was contemplating all this last week, a friend sent me a video. (It can be viewed in our views section below.) I had no idea what to expect when I hit play, but the experience moved me so much that it shifted my entire focus for this week’s Sunday Paper.

The video made me step back and contemplate the notion that, if I was truly happy with me — If I truly liked who I was and where I was — then I would be bringing that sentiment to all relationships in my life. I would approach others with compassion, with respect, and with love, and I would be able to do that because I would be good with who I am and where I was.

If I was actually content, then I would always be approaching the world and my fellow human beings with kindness, instead of anger. With acceptance, instead of judgment. With patience and calm, instead of anxiety. Yes, I do try to approach the world with these qualities each day, but as we all know, it isn’t always easy.

That possibility was confirmed for me in another life-shifting moment I had this week when I did my Architects of Change Live conversation with Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the bestselling book “The Four Agreements” and now the author of a new book called “The Three Questions.” During our conversation, Ruiz pointed out to me that each of us is the president of our own country, which is ourselves. He said that each and every one of us should be asking, “What kind of president we want to be?”

Do we, he asked, want to be abusive, mean, controlling and judgmental? Or do we want to be diplomatic, strong, generous and caring? Do we want to see ourselves as healers or dividers? Do we want to see ourselves operating from a place of fear, or from the belief that we all live in a common home with common hopes and dreams?

Ruiz’s words made me realize that the power to heal the divide does not rest in a political party or in a certain political person. It rests in each of us.

How we approach others is how we approach ourselves. If we are mean to ourselves, then we are more than likely going to be mean to others. If we hate and yell at ourselves, then it’s likely that we will hate and yell at others as well.

David Brooks shared a similar sentiment in his NY Times column on Thursday. After reading his piece and after my conversation with Ruiz, I’ve come to realize that everything starts with our own character and how we care for ourselves. I don’t know that we would have this brutal divide if so many of us weren’t criticizing ourselves and beating ourselves up on a daily basis. If we all could just start by changing the way we care for ourselves and the way we care for our neighbors, then perhaps we would end up with a country that reflects the way we care about ourselves.

Our character reflects the character of the country. Our compassion and carereflect where compassion and care exist in our country. We can’t have a country that extolls these qualities of compassion and consciousness if we aren’t that way. At the end of the day, we get the country we think we deserve.

Healing ourselves, bridging our internal divides, accepting all parts of ourselves at every age… that’s the real work. And if we do it, it will allow us to begin to heal the divides in our neighborhoods and our country as well.

So, this morning, start with you. Yes, you. It turns out that inside is the biggest and most dramatic place to start. If you get that right, then everything else will begin to fall into place. You will fall into place, and the country you are leading will as well.

Dear God, please help me look inside myself. Help me to reflect on the pain, the suffering, the hope, the potential — all the feelings and experiences that lie within me. We carry so much weight on our shoulders each day, but I know that I won’t be able to fully accept the world with open arms until I offer myself that same gesture. Help me to heal what lies within and then help me to begin to heal what’s on the outside as well. Amen.


Dear God, please help me look inside myself. Help me to reflect on the pain, the suffering, the hope, the potential — all the feelings and experiences that lie within me. We carry so much weight on our shoulders each day, but I know that I won’t be able to fully accept the world with open arms until I offer myself that same gesture. Help me to heal what lies within and then help me to begin to heal what’s on the outside as well. Amen.

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‘4 Agreements’ Author Don Miguel Ruiz Says There are 3 Questions That Can Connect You to Your Inner Power

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with bestselling author and Architect of Change Don Miguel Ruiz. In his ground-breaking new book “The Three Questions: How to Discover and Master the Power Within You,” this beloved spiritual teacher draws upon his enduring message from “The Four Agreements” with a guide that helps us to find and use the hidden power within us to achieve our fullest lives.

Advocate Matt Jacobi Wants to Empower You to Be True to Yourself

Sunday Paper contributor and Architect of Change Matt Jacobi believes that in order to make changes to the world around you, you must start with yourself. According to Matt, the first step is asking yourself, “what do I want?” 

Humanitarian Zainab Salbi Explains How to Bridge Our Divides By Owning Our Experiences

This book could not have come out at a more perfect time. In “Freedom is an Inside Job,” my friend and Architect of Change Zainab Salbi reveals that in order to create meaningful change in a divisive world, we must turn inward first and experience an “awakening.” 

Author Erin Falconer Tells Women How to Accomplish More By Doing Less

I recently had an informative conversation with Architect of Change Erin Falconer, PickTheBrain blogger and author of “How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything.” Erin has some great advice on how to be productive and find your purpose.

At 86, Author Neltje Does It Her Way and Finds Inner Peace

I was so moved by this beautiful video shot by filmmaker Robyn Layton that I wanted to share with my Sunday Paper readers. It’s about a woman known as Neltje Doubleday, whose grandfather started Doubleday Publisher. The video, which is a companion to Neltje’s memoir, “North Of Crazy,” illustrates how she has reinvented herself over the years and found love and acceptance, even if she isn’t proud of every decision she’s made in life. We could all be so lucky to have that kind of peace when we’re older.

This Week, We Shine a Light on … Architects of Change Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, producers of the must-see Netflix film, “The Bleeding Edge”

Architects of Change of the Week: This week we recognize the organizers of The Mother Pac.

How They’re Moving Humanity Forward: Their ground-breaking film exposes some of the serious problems in the medical device industry. WATCH OUR CONVERSATION ABOVE


1. Female Candidates Come Together For Powerful Campaign Video: With the Nov. 6th midterm elections fast approaching, it’s important to note that women hold a record number of spots on ballots across the country. A new video, which features first-time congressional candidates, was created by Serve America PAC to motivate female voters. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE

2. 10 Tips for Getting People to Talk Across Political Divides: Never before has our country experienced such deep divides in our politics. This piece, published by Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, offers smart insight on how we might start bridging the gap.

3. Want to Fight Climate Change? Educate a Girl: My daughter Christina, who curates many stories for our Sunday Paper, flagged this one for me. Recently, a coalition of researchers, scientists, business leaders and policymakers came together for Project Drawdown, a multidisciplinary effort to identify the most substantive solutions to end global warming. One of the solutions? Educate a girl.

4. Mental Health Issues Will Rise as Global Temperatures Increase, According to New Study: This information is disturbing but makes sense. According to a study published in the journal PNASA, a rise in average monthly temperatures is tied to a small increase in mental health issues.

5. Women’s Pain Taken Less Seriously in Hospital Treatments: This is another interesting piece sent to me by Christina. It reports that pain experienced by women is often treated differently than that of men and that, because of the opioid epidemic and pain medication shortages, doctors must limit who gets pain medicine. Studies have shown that in men and women reporting similar levels of pain, women were less likely to receive any pain medication

6. What Women Get Right About Connection and Empathy: I found this op-ed piece to be very insightful. New York Times author David Brooks reveals the importance in politics and in life, the importance of social emotional connection.

7. What Parents Need to Know About Bullying: With with depression and suicide rates up due to school and online bullying, this is an important read. There are 12 bullying myths and they’re not necessarily what you think. 

8. In NYC, Young Adults Can Now Borrow Clothes and Accessories For Their Next Job Interview: This is such a great idea. A new program at the New York Public Library has been established to help jump-start the professional careers of young adults. 

9. It’s Not About the Nail: I was at a meeting this week and a producer asked me if I had seen the video “It’s Not About the Nail.” I think this clever piece gives us all something to think about. Let me know what you think. WATCH VIDEO BELOW


The Three Questions: How to Discover and Master the Power Within You” by Don Miguel Ruiz: In this beautiful and inspiring book, spiritual teacher Don Miguel Ruiz builds on the message of his international bestseller “The Four Agreements” with this profound guide that helps us find and use the hidden power within us to achieve our fullest lives. 


“Freedom is an Inside Job” by Zainab Salbi: This is a must-read for us all. In her latest book, bestselling author, humanitarian and TV personality Zainab Salbi observes that in order to bridge the deep divide we are now experiencing, we must turn towards our inner world. 

How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything” by Erin Falconer: Erin Falconer, editor in chief and co-owner of the highly popular self-improvement site Pick the Brain, deftly explains how overscheduled, overwhelmed women can do less so that they can actually achieve more. 

“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  and


This healthy, smoothe and creamy Cauliflower Puree is the perfect side dish for your Sunday Dinner or Thanksgiving dinner. You can also find it in my dear friend Cristina Ferrare’s new book “Food for Thought: Recipes for Ultimate Mind and Body Health,” being released Dec. 4th.

We hope you’ll keep sending along photos of your family dinners. E-mail us here and we’ll share them in upcoming editions of The Sunday Paper.


So inspired by this beautiful reflection by the Dalai Lama. He reminds us that true altruism is reflected by our desire to help others.

Good for You, Your Mind & the World

Visit the shop on to get Maria’s book “I’ve Been Thinking,” her coloring book for Alzheimer’s “Color Your Mind,” the Maria candle, Rivet Revolution bracelets benefiting The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, her new Maria BrainHQ program, and more!


The Sunday Paper elevates the voices and ideas of those who are seeking to make a difference and move humanity forward. To that end, we proudly support the work of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, which is making a difference by fighting Alzheimer’s and working to change the future for all minds.

Here’s a news story this morning that will help..

Alzheimer’s Brain Scientist Explains How She Stays Mentally Fit: There are many ways to exercise your brain, but some are more effective than others. Jessica Langbaum, an Alzheimer’s prevention specialist, explains this and how her brain exercise is simply going to work.