Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: How to Stay Focused On the Light
“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future.” — John F. Kennedy
How does one stay in the know, without getting lost in the noise?
This is a topic I touched upon in my essay last week, but I want to raise it again because it’s a question that I think about almost every day.
It’s a question that I’ve started to pose to my friends, to thinkers that I admire, to our Sunday Paper columnists, and to those who actually are awake to what’s going on in the world. I want to know what they think and how they’re dealing. I want to know how they are balancing the weight of the world with the need to stay focused on one’s own life and inner world.
After all, living one’s life from an open, light-filled space does require focus. It requires a firm commitment to look up and look forward so that you don’t get dragged down by all the noise, rage, jealousy and anger out there.
For me to stay focused on the light, I’ve started to implement some changes into my daily life:
- I’ve streamlined how I consume my news. That means I don’t check Twitter constantly. I don’t keep the TV news blaring in the background of my home. I don’t click every link that gets sent to me. I don’t get distracted or alarmed by the false urgency of every “breaking news” alert online and on TV.
- I’ve limited my time on social media. I check it during my downtime, but not all the time. I try to follow accounts that inspire me and unfollow the ones that stir up feelings of jealousy or frustration.
- I’ve made time (as in capital T) for social engagement in my life. I schedule it and make it a priority, just as I would any other item on my “to-do list.” I’ve also blocked off time in my schedule to read and write poetry since this brings me joy.
- I write down the qualities and the values that I want to bring forward in my professional and personal life. I start each morning by reading my list out loud before I meditate. Doing this helps me start each day from a place of focus, intention and calm. I haven’t always done this, but now I realize just how essential it is.
As the world rages on and as others try to drag us into the noise, it’s critical that we have the tools we need to resist this pull. That’s why I want to encourage you to find your own tools and practices to guide you through your days.
I know that I want to be informed, but I also can’t know everything. Trying to stay updated about every last thing isn’t good for anyone’s mental health or clarity.
That’s why it’s equally important for me to consciously seek out stories that give me hope, that restore my faith in humanity, and that make me smile. That’s one reason why we’ve added the “Yippee! Moment of the Week” to The Sunday Paper. I’m so glad you seem to be enjoying it.
I’m also aiming to keep an open heart and an open mind about the news that I do consume, especially as the 2020 presidential race kicks into gear.
Rather than rushing to form opinions or cast judgments, I am striving to stay open to every person’s perspective on how to move our country forward. That’s one reason why I sat down to interview former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on his book tour this week. While there are many different opinions about Schultz’s prospective presidential run, he is still a self-made man who has designed his life and his company with the mission of making a difference.
His words in our conversation made me think, as did the words of Sen. Amy Klobuchar during her CNN Town Hall this week. I’m trying to listen to the words of everyone interested in the race, so that I can reflect on their points of view and better shape my own.
Noise is everywhere, I know. But the truth is, you don’t have to be in the noise to be “in the know.” You can rise above it, but it has to be a choice that you make each and every day. Many of you tell us The Sunday Paper helps you rise “above the noise,” and for that we are grateful. After all, it is our mission to share news and views that inform and inspire you each week.
Below, I share with you my list of values that I read to myself each morning. This list will keep evolving, but so far I’ve found these words and this practice very helpful in keeping me focused on the path toward the light.
-Be calm. Be clear. Be consistent. Be kind!
-Be creative. Be collaborative. Be curious. Be kind!
-Be compassionate. Be courageous. Be conscious. Be kind!
-Be strong. Be smart. Be scrappy. Be strategic. Be kind!
-Be passionate. Be purposeful. Be persistent. Be patient. Be positive. Be kind!
-Be flexible. Be focused. Be firm. Be forgiving. Be kind!
-Be informed. Be inspired. Be imaginative. Be innovative. Be kind!
-Be open-minded. Be open-hearted. Be open. Be kind!
-Execute excellence. Expect excellence. State expectations. Be kind!
-Set goals. Set boundaries. Set expectations. Be kind!
-State my vision clearly, calmly, and consistently. Stay the course. Keep my eye on my goals and do something every day to move the needle forward on those goals. Be kind!
-Inspire hearts and minds. Be a force for good in the world. Move humanity forward. Stay above the noise. Be kind!
So this week, think about what you value. Think about your priorities. Think about how you can seek the light. If you’re looking for a way forward and don’t know where to begin, then just start by making a list like mine. It can be the very first step toward living and breathing the life you want.
Dear God, please help me find the light this week. Help me to lead my life with intention and with values. Help me to be the light I am seeking and shine it on others. Amen.
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INSPIRING VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Jon Bon Jovi and His Wife, Dorothea, Share Their Work to Change Lives, One Soul at a Time
On this week’s episode of my “Meaningful Conversations” podcast, I sit down with two of my favorite people, Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi, to discuss the work they are doing to bring dignity to the issue of homelessness and hunger. and
Elizabeth Lesser, a Self-Proclaimed ‘News Junkie,’ Explains How She Stays Buoyant in Difficult Times
Unfortunately, the media is often quick to broadcast the names of the “bad guys,” instead of the unsung heroes who are making a difference in our communities. In an exclusive essay this week, my dear friend and Architect of Change Elizabeth Lesser shares how she stays focused on the “ordinary folks doing extraordinary things,” and how you can, too.
Howard Schultz Explains Why He Wants Us to Reimagine America
As I wrote in my essay above, I had the opportunity this week to interview former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz during his book tour stop in Los Angeles. In this thought-provoking conversation, Howard talks about his new book “From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America” and why he’s considering running for president in 2020 as an independent centrist.
Angie Johnsey Created a 5-Day Plan for You to ‘Claim Your Calm’
INFORMATIVE NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
1. Barack Obama Discusses Masculinity with Young Men of Color: This is so important for all young men to hear. At a conference for his My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Oakland, CA, Former President Barack Obama sat down with young men of color to address the heated issue of toxic masculinity.
2. The Life of Today’s Teenage Boy: This is a great read from Esquire. It’s an essay about a 17-year-old Wisconsin boy in the age of the #MeToo era and part of a new series about growing up in America today.
3. Women are More Prone to Sexual Boredom Than Men: This eye-opening piece from The Atlantic reveals that “women, more than men, tend to feel stultified by long-term exclusivity—despite having been taught that they were designed for it.”
4. Why the Social Revolution Needs to Start From the Ground Up: According to New York Times columnist David Brooks, the problems that afflict us can only be solved by a social and spiritual movement that rises “from people like us.”
5. Why Caregiving for Baby Boomers Is Becoming a National Crisis: This situation has become inevitable. According to this Time magazine piece, “43 million unpaid caregivers in America are joining the ranks of the oldest old.”
7. How Your Happiness Can Be Infectious: I love this uplifting piece from Greater Good Magazine. After taking the course, The Science of Happiness, students share stories of how their personal joy spread to the people around them.
8. Yippee Moment of the Week! My daughter Christina sent me this heartwarming video that features seven surprise military homecomings. It left me weeping, but also feeling inspired by those who serve our country and their families.
THE SUNDAY PAPER IS A PROUD PARTNER OF THE WOMEN’S ALZHEIMER’S MOVEMENT
The Link Between Menopause and Alzheimer’s
This is such an important message from Dr. Lisa Mosconi, a WAM Scientific Advisory Council Member: “The truth is that Alzheimer’s is not a disease of old age, it’s a disease of middle age.” Learn more about her work around hormonal changes and how they may affect the development of Alzheimer’s.
A RECIPE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
|This fun and easy recipe for Fast and Sloppy Joes was created by Dr. Dean Ornish, author of “UnDo It: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases.” It’ll make a great meal for your Oscar night fun!|
A SUNDAY REFLECTION
SHOP, SHOP SHOP! AThe Maria Shriver Collection: Good for You, Your Mind, & the World
Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com 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!
PRAISE FOR THE SUNDAY PAPER
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