Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Making the Most of Right Here, Right Now
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison
This week, I’ve been thinking about how many of us spend our present lives stuck in the future.
“When I make this much money, I’ll finally do x, y or z…”
“I’ll travel one day…”
“When my kids are older, that’s when I’ll really get to living…”
“I’ll vote in the next presidential election, but I won’t this November because it’s not as important…”
The list goes on and on.
Needless to say, I’ve certainly done a lot of that kind of projecting in my own life. But I was reminded this past week that our present is all we have.
We have today. That’s it. We don’t get to decide about tomorrow. So the question we should all be asking ourselves is, “What am I doing today with the time I have, right here, right now?”
Someone recently said to me, “Maria, you’re so alive and awake.” This was the first time anyone had said this to me, and I must say, at first I thought this was kind of an odd thing to say to me. But then I let the statement sink in. I sat with it for a while, and now, I own it. I celebrate it. And, I’m grateful for it.
Yes, you’re damn right I feel alive. You’re damn right that I’m awake in my own life. I haven’t always felt this way, but I do now, and thank God for that.
I want you to also feel alive and awake. So today, ask yourself: “Do I feel alive?” “Am I awake in my own life?”
If not, then ask yourself what’s keeping you from feeling that way. Ask yourself, “What really brings me joy? What inspires me? What energizes me, motivates me, and interests me? What gives me hope today to keep living for tomorrow?”
When you ask yourself these questions, I encourage you to notice the voice that you use in your head. If it’s anything like mine used to be, then your answers might be tough, critical or relentless. Try to silence that negativity.
Over time, I’ve come to understand that a critical, unrelenting voice (the kind that says “who do you think you are?”) isn’t actually helpful. In fact, far too often it’s not even your own voice that’s hurling those insults at you. It’s the voice of critics you’ve met along the way.
A critical, demeaning inner voice can make you feel depressed, unworthy and/or dead inside. It only serves to bring you down instead of lifting you up. So instead, find the voice that recognizes your goodness, your strength, your compassion, your grace, your courage, your intelligence, your worth, and your right to feel alive. It’s in you. It’s your God-given right.
Once I was able to tap into that inner voice myself, I found that it enabled me to heal myself. It also enabled me to be kinder and gentler to others. I know it can do the same for you.
Talking to my inner self with a compassionate voice hasn’t made me weaker in any way. In fact, it’s made me stronger and more determined than ever.
This past week, we remembered the 17th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Seventeen years ago, thousands of people went off to work and never came home. Their calendars were full. Their dreams, without a doubt, motivated their present.
When my son and I visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York a few months ago, we were both really struck by the recordings of the phone calls that people made in their final moments to their moms, their dads, and their families. Those phone calls did not express their fears. Instead, they expressed their love and their gratitude for those who they loved most in that moment.
Just yesterday when I sat at the funeral of my cousin Christopher — a man who was so looking forward to his future — I listened to his family and friends talk fondly about the life he had lived and the impact that he had. Hearing their words, I was struck by the abundance of love that these people felt for him. Many said that if they had just one wish, it would be that they could let him know, right then and there, how much he meant to them and how much he was loved. They all felt he would be surprised at the outpouring of love for him, and even more surprised by how many lives he had helped save in his work in the recovery movement.
So today, my friends, thank God that you are alive. Wake up, express love and gratitude to yourself, and then express gratitude to the others in your life who you love, too. If you don’t, then how do you expect them to know how you feel?
Call your kids or your parents and tell them you love them. Don’t wait to tell someone those three precious words. Do it today.
Buy the person behind you in line at the coffee shop a beverage. Apologize to someone, if you need to do that. Speak up in your relationship today. (And, if you don’t feel like you can, or if you’re scared to speak up, then seek help. There are people who will be there for you.)
Find your voice. Register to vote. Dance. Sing. Get in touch with your body. Be kind to yourself because the alternative is downright mean. (I think we can all agree that there is enough mean and fear in the world already.)
Don’t wait for tomorrow to feel alive. Don’t wait for tomorrow to wake up to the miracle that is your life.
Get your living on, and do it today. It’s all you’ve got.
Dear God, allow me to give thanks for each minute that I have here on this precious Earth. Allow me to use my time in a way that honors my dreams and don’t let me ever forget to slow down and let those I love know it. Amen.
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WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN THINKING
The Architects of Change below will inspire you and make you think.
Author Sharon Salzberg Explains Why There’s Always Time to Claim Our Calm
Author Claire Bidwell Smith Explains Why We Should Take Time to Grieve and Care for Our Anxiety
Claire Bidwell Smith’s latest book, “Anxiety, the Missing Stage of Grief,” offers deep insight into why many of us suffer from anxiety. In this excerpt from the book, Claire draws from her own personal experience with loss. I’ve written a lot about grief and it’s a subject that I don’t think we can ever talk about enough. In light of my cousin’s passing, in light of September 11, and in light of this beautiful new book, I wanted to share this excerpt with you today.
In Honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, Journalist Greg O’Brien Reflects on His Mother and His Own Battle With the Disease
This is a hauntingly beautiful piece by author Greg O’Brien. Greg, who suffers from Alzheimer’s himself, recalls how the disease affected his mother and his own life. In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, which is this coming Friday, September 21, I wanted to take this time to honor those who suffer from the disease and their families.
Author Mallika Chopra Explores Why It’s Never Too Early to Introduce Your Kids to Meditation
I believe meditation is so beneficial for our minds, especially when introduced early in life. In her latest book, “Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More,” author Mallika Chopra shows kids how to lower stress levels through several easy-to-do exercises.
This Week, We Shine a Light on … Photographer Elmore DeMott For Her Inspiring Photographic Series, “Flowers For Mom”
Architect of Change of the Week: In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21, this week we honor photographer Elmore DeMott, who started a project called “Flowers For Mom” in honor of her mother who suffers from the disease.
How She’s Moving Humanity Forward: Since August 2, 2016, photographer Elmore DeMott has taken a photograph of a flower every single day in a total of 20 states and 11 countries. Entitled “Flowers For Mom,” this series is Elmore’s artistic response to her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE…
1. Company Hires Homeless Moms and Changes Their Lives: I love that this non-profit company gets these women off the streets, out of shelters and into a meaningful job. The Employment Plan employs homeless moms to make coats for the homeless. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE
2. Why Happiness Gets Better With Age: I truly do believe this. According to this well-researched piece in TIME magazine, “old age is often a time defined not by sorrow, dread and regret but rather by peace, gratitude and fulfillment.”
3. ‘What Serena Got Wrong,’According to Martina Navratilova: This is an interesting take by the former tennis champion on the controversial Serena Williams “code violation” incident. Though Navratilova agrees there is a double-standard in the sport, she feels the bigger question should be, “What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents? ”
4. Minnesota Orchestra Takes a ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ in South Africa: I always say that your service work leads you to amazing opportunities, and this is a perfect example. Laysha Ward, a member of the advisory committee for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Music for Mandela, talks about a once-in-a-lifetime celebration that took place in Minneapolis and South Africa.
5. Science Reveals the Health Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation: An interesting read about the scientific research that looks into the health benefits of meditation. It reveals that there is a positive effect on those that suffer from depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
6. Obama Re-Assures Us that America Will Be Okay…As Long as We Vote: I hope this message from former president Barack Obama will inspire us all to vote. In it, he reminds us that Congress reflects the values of the country. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING
“Food For Thought: Ultimate Recipes for Mind and Body Health” by Cristina Ferrare: In I’m so excited that my friend Cristina’s latest book will be out in time for Christmas. Join her in the kitchen where she teaches you how eating the right foods can keep you healthy, vital, and strong.
“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
SHARE YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
Last week we asked you to send along photos from your Sunday Dinners. Sunday Paper reader Jackie Jarvis of Ontario, Canada, sent along these joyful photos of her family gathered together.
Jackie tells us: “I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than spending the time preparing a meal for a group of people I care about. The idea of sitting around the table enjoying a dinner I have prepared while sharing stories and reminiscing about loved ones and times past, and in this case four generations of my family, is priceless.”
Thanks, Jackie, for opening up your home to us! This was my yippee moment of the week. We hope you’ll send along photos of your family dinners, too. E-mail us here and we’ll share them in The Sunday Paper.
For this week’s reflection, I’m sharing this beautiful poem written by DeeDee Sinatra, one of our talented Sunday Paper ambassadors. In this piece, she speaks of discovering her own purpose in life.
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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.
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