Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: The Power of You
When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” — Honore de Balzac
My friend Martha said something to me the other day that stopped me cold. “I have an idea for you,” she said. Having no idea what her idea could possibly be, I said, “Go for it. Tell me.”
Now, Martha knows me well. She knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears. She’s stood beside me when it was dark and she has constantly and consistently pushed me into my own light. When a person like that says they have an idea for you, pay attention.
Martha went on to tell me that a mutual friend who had recently been in a meeting with me remarked, “I didn’t know how smart Maria is. I didn’t realize who she was until that meeting. Why is she holding back her power?”
Martha continued, “Why don’t you take a week and walk into every encounter – personally and professionally – and say exactly what’s on your mind? Why don’t you take a week to feel your own personal power? Don’t be afraid that you might offend people. Don’t be afraid you might scare people. Don’t be afraid of your own intensity. Step into it and see how you feel.”
There was silence on my end of the phone—from me, that is. Silence because she not only made me think, but because deep inside I knew she had a point, as did her friend.
Like many people, I have—more times than I care to admit—dimmed down my own power, my own light. Perhaps I was scared of what was inside of me. Perhaps I was scared of my own anger, rage or intensity. Perhaps I was afraid of feeling vulnerable and pushing people away. Perhaps I was scared that everyone would leave the room if what was inside of me actually came out. (On more than a few occasions, that’s actually happened.) So over time, perhaps without even realizing it, I’ve dimmed my light in certain situations.
But then I met Ken.
I hadn’t known who he was before our first meeting. He’s smart, successful, knowledgeable. He and his team showed me and others a presentation they had made about the Alzheimer’s crisis. They thought it was great. I thought it sucked.
When Ken asked me for my thoughts, I said, “It’s good!” He stared at me and said, “I don’t believe that’s what you really think. Tell me what you really think.”
I said, “Oh, no. You don’t want to hear what I really think.” He assured me he did. And so, I unleashed. Out from inside of me came a torrent of power. When it was over there was silence in the room. Total silence for what felt like an eternity. Then Ken spoke directly to me.
“That,” he said, “was a thing of beauty. It was an honor to witness a mind like that, a fierceness like that, a heart like that. Thank you.”
I could feel my eyes well up with tears.
“You don’t scare me,” he said. “You dazzle me.”
Ken blew my mind. He sat across from me and smiled. He loved what came out of me, and in turn, he let me love what was inside of me. He gave me a priceless gift. He did it again last week when he sat in yet another meeting with me. When I told Martha my Ken story (which was a bit like her friend’s story), she pointed out to me that Ken couldn’t have given me that gift unless I had shown him my power.
“Go on,” she said. “Step into what’s inside of you. Don’t be scared of it, go for it! The time for dimming is over. The time for dazzling is now.”
I share this story because I know there is something in each of us that we are scared to let out, so terrified are we of the power within us. We may think it’s anger or rage. It might be, but it’s also our truth. It’s our personal power. We worry that it might scare people. It might cause people to leave. But what if it reveals to you the Kens of the world? After all, they are the ones you are supposed to be sitting across from.
Dimming your light and your voice isn’t fair to anyone, especially yourself. Dimming your light prevents your whole self from shining through. Dimming your light leaves you feeling inauthentic and dishonest. Dimming your light leaves you feeling unheard and unseen.
So, I’m going to take up Martha’s challenge, both personally and professionally. (I suspect the personal part will be more challenging, since I’m more comfortable using my voice professionally and publicly.) I’m going to take the dimmer off during the times I feel afraid and see what happens. For sure some may leave the room. But it might reveal exactly who I should be in the room with. That’s exciting to me.
So this week, I encourage you to tap into your own power and your own voice. When you feel yourself holding back, let go. When you can feel yourself shrinking, rise up and roar. And, if you feel like you’re in the presence of someone who doesn’t like it when you shine, then ask yourself why you’re letting them dim your light.
The time for fearing your own power is over. So, find a room filled with people who love the light — mine, yours and ours.
Dear God, please help me step into my power. Help me speak my truth and share my voice when I feel the need to be heard. Allow me to feel whole when I do speak up and let me remember that no good ever comes from dimming the light that you gave me. Amen.the outside as well. Amen.
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VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Elizabeth Lesser Reminds Us of the Power of Hope to Awaken Our Spirits
In this inspiring essay written by my dear friend Architect of Change Elizabeth Lesser, Elizabeth reminds us why it’s so important that we shift our perspective in conversations with others and with ourselves, particularly these days.
Joan Chittister Says that Allowing Ourselves to Dream Can Help Move Humanity Forward
This is an absolutely beautiful piece by Sunday Paper columnist Joan Chittister. In “Allow Yourself to Dream,” Joan reveals that we must never allow our advanced age to hinder our ability to be better people. She writes,”We do not have the right to give up growing just because age is assumed by many to have eclipsed the possibility.”
Filmmaker Sara Hirsch Bordo Shows Us the Power of Young Women Speaking Their Truth
Filmmaker and Architect of Change Sara Hirsch Bordo has put the spotlight on several remarkable women in her acclaimed documentaries. In her latest project, “We Go Higher,” she hopes to bring to the forefront “a new kind of collective community of young female warriors and to support them as they begin directing light on each other.”
Patti Davis Says Now More Than Ever, We Must Face Our Fears
Sunday Paper columnist Patti Davis sent us this eye-opening piece about how to face our fears. She writes that we always have choices in how we deal with strong emotions, especially during these difficult times. She reminds us to never give in to denial and to always hold on to faith.
Olympian Runner Kara Goucher Explains How to Write and Run Your Anxieties Away
I recently had a great conversation with two-time Olympian and Architect of Change Kara Goucher, author of “Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence And Becoming the Best Version of You”. Kara talked to me about what she’s learned about using writing to build your mental strength and self-confidence.
On ‘Today Show’ with Hoda, I Open Up About My August ‘Spiritual Cleanse’
I had a great time last week co-hosting the fourth hour of The Today Show with my dear friend Hoda Kotb. We chatted about last August’s “spiritual cleanse,” during which I took a break from electronics and embraced connecting more with my children and work.
NEWS CURATED…FOR YOU
1. Women Getting Mad, Rebecca Traister Talks About New Book on Female Anger: Love that bestselling author Rebecca Traister has written a book about how women’s rage drive politics. In a recent interview on C-Span’s BookTV, the author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger,” talks about women needing to own the power of their rage. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE
2. Can You Define Yourself in Just Three Words?: My daughter, Christina, sent me this interesting piece from the New York TImes. The story reveals that, in an era of acrid partisanship, political beliefs figure into our identities and helps us better understand what areas of our lives we use to define ourselves.
3. What Would Happen If Everyone Truly Believed Everything Is One? This is an interesting read from Scientific American and another great find from my daughter, Christina. What if we believed we were all part of a singular “one?” How would that change our perspective on each other and our differences?
4. Sen. Ben Sasse Confronts America’s Epidemic of Loneliness: I’m so glad this issue is being addressed. In his new book, “Them: Why We Hate Each Other – and How to Heal,” Sen. Sasse expresses that loneliness is one of this country’s biggest public health problems.
5. Revealing the Rich White Civil War: This is a fascinating piece about a recent study, “Hidden Tribes,” which breaks Americans into seven groups, from left to right. It illustrates just how divided we really are in this country.
7. Jamal Khashoggi’s Final Column: ‘What the Arab World Needs Most is Free Expression’: This is heartbreaking and yet so inspiring and telling. Jamal Khashoggi wrote this piece for The Washington Post before he went missing in Istanbul. He talks about the need for a free press in the Middle East.
8. A Surprise School Assembly Leaves Custodian Deeply Touched: I love this video of a school that held a special assembly to honor their custodian, “Mr. Eugene,” for his hard work and dedication. It goes to show you how one simple act can change a moment, change a day, change a life. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING
“The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully” by Joan Chittister: In this inspirational and illuminating book, Sister Joan Chittister examins the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises.
“Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You” by Kara Goucher: Olympic runner Kara Goucher shares her secrets to conquering self-doubt and improving running performance using proven tools from the field of sports psychology.
“Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger“ by Rebecca Traister: New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Traister provides vital, incisive exploration into the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement.
“OMD: Change the World By Changing One Meal a Day” by Suzy Amis Cameron: My friend Suzy is a real leader in the plant-based food movement. Her new book will teach you how you can eat better not only for your own health, but for the health of our planet as well.
“What Can a Citizen Do?” by Dave Eggers: This book is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today’s youth about what it means to be a citizen.
“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
RECIPES TO SHARE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
This warm and healthy Cream of Tomato Soup with Homemade Ricotta Cheese & Arugula Pesto is sure to keep you warm this winter and is a great starter for your Sunday 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 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
This morning, I wanted to share this poem by Galway Kinnell. Any time I read it, I’m moved by its sentiment that we all have good and loveliness inside us, even if we can’t always see it for ourselves.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE
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THE SUNDAY PAPER PROUDLY SUPPORTS…
And, since so many people in the Alzheimer’s and dementia space are also dealing with the realities and hardships of caregiving for a loved one, this morning we wanted to share a great read from one of our WAM Champions, Maria Deneau.
Alzheimer’s Caregiver Burnout: How to Get the Help You Need, From Someone Who’s Been There
JOIN US IN DALLAS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZ
Join Maria Shriver and The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at The Joule Hotel in Dallas on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, for a powerful conversation with renowned neuroscientists about the health of women’s most important asset: their brains.
SHOP THE MARIA 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!
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