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Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Make Yourself a Light

“Make of yourself a light.” — said the Buddha, before he died.

The picture above is a space in my yard where I go when I need to center myself. It is my sanctuary. It is where I come when I feel overwhelmed. It is where I sit when I can’t figure out what I think about, well, anything.

There is so much to think about these days. There is so much to fret about. There is so much to get angry about. (How about Jon Stewart testifying this week to a near-empty Congress with all the families from 9/11? His message was powerful and should fire us all up.)

There is also so much to be excited about. So much to be hopeful about. So much to be grateful for. When I sit in my backyard and look at the calm statue pictured above, that’s where I end up—in a place of peace, a place of calm, a place of gratitude. “Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Buddha’s Last Instruction.” (You can read it in our Sunday Paper Reflection section below.) So, that’s what I want to focus on this morning: making myself a light.

That invitation goes out to each of us every day. It’s also a challenge that each of us can decide to answer take on, regardless of what’s going on in the world. You can make yourself a light for yourself, for your family, for your community, for an issue you care about, or for injustice in the world.

On this Father’s Day, I want to shine a light on all the men who step into this role with light, joy, purpose and passion. I want to shine a light on those who take it seriously. Who show up to their roles, regardless of whether or not their fathers showed up for them.

A father’s positive involvement can change a child’s life. It can build character, instill values, and inspire hopes and dreams. Fathers can make themselves a light in their children’s lives. So today, I want to honor those who have thought deeply about this role. I want to shine a light on the men who do the work. Men who father their own. Men who father the fatherless among us. May we honor those who have stepped into the lives of those who need a father and said, “Let me make myself a light in your life.”

On this day, I find myself thinking about my own father, who died several years ago. I know there are many for whom this day is bittersweet. I also find myself thinking about my four brothers, my kids’ dad, and all the other men who I know who have stepped up and stepped into the role of fathering in their lives. To them, I say, bravo!

Men are encouraged to be providers. They are encouraged to be tough and to be strong. May we also encourage them to be lights in their children’s lives.

We need lights in our world today. We need people who want to be lights, and who want to shine their light on others. We need people who pause before they speak, who take a beat before they act, and who are strong enough to ask for forgiveness when they stumble (as we all do).

So on this day, if you are feeling angry or disillusioned about the world around you, find that space where you can go to gather yourself. Find that space where you can go to reflect. Find that space where you can go to reconsider and remind yourself why you are here in the first place.

Are you here to sow division and hate? Are you here divide and conquer? Or are you here to take up the invitation of the Buddha? Are you here to be a light in your world and in another’s?

It is up to you to make yourself something that makes you feel good. Decide what that is today. Be a light today, and also shine a light on a man or father who you love.


Dear God, may I make myself a light in the world. May I also shine a light on those who are doing good and who have had a meaningful impact on my life and those I love. Amen.

Did you enjoy what you read? Forward it to a friend or share on Facebook!


Want to Be a More Involved Dad? Author Stoney Stamper Has Some Advice.

In his book “My First Rodeo,” popular daddy blogger Stoney Stamper offers a collection of stories that reveal the ups, downs, and delights of being a family man, from a guy who never dreamed of being one. 

Do You Have Painful Childhood Memories? Rabbi Steven Leder Reflects on How He Reframed His Own.

SP columnist Rabbi Steven Leder offers an emotional account of the final years he spent with an often difficult, but stalwart, father who suffered from Alzheimer’s and the personal lessons he learned. 

Are Young Men Going Through an Identity Crisis? Read Our Exclusive Q&A with Author Warren Farrell.

In this exclusive Sunday Paper Q & A, Warren Farrell, Ph.D., author of “The Boy Crisis,” discusses why boys in today’s society are struggling and offers advice on what we can do about the problem. 

Want Your Sons to Grow Into Strong, Compassionate Men? Dr. Michael Richert Has the Roadmap.

In his latest book “How to Raise a Boy,” Dr. Michael Reichert offers a timely roadmap for helping boys grow into strong, confident men at a time when many are in crisis. 

Want to Be a Better Friend Without Losing Yourself in a Relationship? Sr. Joan Chittister Tells You How.

In this inspirational essay, SP columnist Sr. Joan Chittister offers advice on finding a true and sacred friend, and also how to be one.


1. Architects of Change of the Week: Jon Stewart and 9/11 Victims Stewart appeared before a House committee this week, demanding additional funding for 9/11 victim compensation fund. His impassioned speech led to the bill being passed the following day. 

2. News You May Have Missed: Drug Overdose Deaths Are Waning According to data released June 11 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the drug overdose death rate dropped between 2017 and 2018.

3. News to Make You Think: Scientists Will Trap Themselves Under Ice to Understand Climate Change This fall, the largest Arctic research expedition in history will be launched: a 12-month, $134 million, 17-nation effort to document climate change in the fastest-warming part of the globe. 

4. News You Can Use: Work-Life Balance Is a Myth. Do This Instead. Authors of the book “Nine Lies About Work” urge us to reframe our thinking that work is “bad,” and the rest of life is “good.” 

5. News for Your Mental Health: Practicing Self-Distancing Can Give You Better Perspective on Life: Researchers have discovered that the practice of “self-distancing” allows you to step back in order to give you a better perspective of your situation.

6. Yippee! Moment of the Week: These Students Gave Their Teacher the Perfect End-of-Year Surprise New Jersey students pooled their money to get their beloved teacher tickets to see “Hamilton,” a show he’d been trying to see for years.


WAM’s Move For Minds Returns: Bigger and Better Than Ever!

June is National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the perfect time to announce that Move For Minds 2019 – The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s biggest event of the year – will take place on November 2nd in Los Angeles.

We’re pulling out all the stops this year! Our founding partner, Equinox Fitness Clubs, will host the event, which brings Maria Shriver together with ground-breaking researchers, neuroscientists, and leading health and wellness experts for a day of fun, fitness, and information that will transform your mind, body and soul. We hope you’ll join us! 

THE WOMEN’S ALZHEIMER’S MOVEMENT is a global movement of game changers, groundbreakers, and cultivators of hope. We’re working to wipe out Alzheimer’s and change the future for all minds


The Sunday Dinner Club: We’re all about igniting conversations, and no better place to do that than at your dinner table. We’re here to help you get started.

This Week’s Conversation Starter: What have you shined a light on lately? How are you making yourself a light in the world?

A Recipe For Your Dinner: This delicious, Asian-inspired recipe for Hong Kong Steak is from our recipe content partner Chef Katie Chin and her book Everyday Chinese Cookbook. 


This week, we share this beautiful reflection by the late Mary Oliver. In “The Buddha’s Last Instruction,” Oliver reveals the true nature of good leadership and the wisdom we would most like to pass on to others.


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, and more!

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