Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: The Joy of Connection

“When the world is complicated, the simple gift of friendship is in all our hands.”  — Maria

I’m so happy May is upon us because it’s a month that feels like spring. It feels light. It feels joyful. It feels full of possibility. Everywhere you look, you can see nature unfolding, blooming and becoming.

I’m feeling joyful myself this week because I feel centered and grounded in my life. My work brings me meaning and I have a mission that feels larger than myself. My children are healthy, kind, thoughtful and hard-working. (A day doesn’t go by when I don’t thank God for them.) I’m also feeling blessed that I get to meet so many inspiring and amazing people along the way. This week was no exception.

At the beginning of this week, my travels took me to a summit in Las Vegas to talk about women’s health and Alzheimer’s (I was the first woman to ever speak there!). Then, I traveled to San Francisco for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards ceremony, which honored 21 incredible female entrepreneurs who are driving change through their development of impact-driven businesses around the world.

I was blown away not just by these women’s ground-breaking ideas, but also by their confidence and their faith in themselves and their visions. These women’s stories filled me up, and their enthusiasm for making a difference motivated me to do even more. I’m sure that their drive, imagination and relentless pursuit of their goals will benefit us all. (Check them out here. They are all truly Architects of Change.)

As the week came to a close, though, it wasn’t my work or my travels that brought the most meaning to my life these past few days. Nope, it was my moments of friendship.

My week started in conversation with three friends from grade school who had trekked across the country to visit with me. Then, a few days later, I attended a lunch where another 40+ year friend received an honor for empowering women and people of color.

“How meaningful is that?” I thought. How wonderful is it to have friends of 30 years, 40 years and 50 years? How amazing is it to be able to sit down at a table and pick up with a story from grade school, high school or early career adventures?

Meaningful friendships are the bedrock of a meaningful life. I’m at a place in my life now where I know that these connections are some of my most valuable assets.

I hope my children can also have these kinds of connections as they get older. When they are my age, I hope they can sit around their kitchen tables with life-long friends and have deep, meaningful conversations about life, love and loss. May they also know that a healthy dose of laughter will help them handle it all.

That’s what a meaningful life looks like and feels like. It’s a table of people who know everything about you and who still love you, no matter what.

I wish that for you, too. If you don’t feel like you have enough people to invite to your table, then I encourage you to widen your definition of friendship and family. Think about who you know that could benefit from the chance at conversation and kinship. Reach out. Connect. The truth is, we all benefit from shared connection, and we could all use more of it. It’s vital to our well-being.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s as good a time as ever to focus on one’s mental and emotional well-being. (If you feel like you need resources to help, start here.) It’s also a good time to focus on what’s meaningful to you.

Over the years, I’ve learned that a meaningful life is one steeped in purpose. It’s also one grounded in relationships with family, friends, a higher power and community. Yes, you may face failure and hardship and pain along the way, but be brave enough to keep dreaming of new adventures and climbing new mountains. And, also be sure to bring people you love along with you on the journey.

Connection is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other on this path of life. So, don’t hesitate to ask for it or offer it to someone else. The joy you’ll feel will brighten your mood and give you a spring-like feeling that will carry you forward.


Dear God, thank you for the gift of the people in my life. May I love them, cherish them, and let them know that they are appreciated. Amen.

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On My Podcast “Meaningful Conversations, Therapist Marisa Peer Reveals Why It’s Okay to Be Different

I truly enjoyed sitting down with therapist and Architect of Change Marisa Peer, author of “I Am Enough.” In this conversation on my podcast “Meaningful Conversations,” Marisa shares what people actually fear the most — and why they shouldn’t.  and 

In His Latest Book, Best-Selling Author David Bach Explores the Secrets to Living the Rich Life

In the heartwarming parable “The Latte Factor: Why You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live Rich,” author David Bach, along with co-author John David Mann (The Go-Giver), uses a fictional account to teach us the “Three Secrets to Financial Freedom” and remind us that we don’t have to be rich to live rich lives. 

This Mental Health Month, Psychologist Joan Rosenberg Reveals How to Successfully Ride a Wave of Emotions

We are often confronted with a plethora of emotions, sometimes all at once. But there is a way to cope with the difficult ones, according to our friends at Spirituality & Health magazine, who recently spoke with Joan Rosenberg Ph.D., author of “90 Seconds to a Life You Love.  

Motivational Speaker Gordana Biernat Reminds Us to Stay True to Ourselves

I am so honored that writer, speaker and Architect of Change Gordana Biernat has written an exclusive essay for The Sunday Paper. In her piece this morning, Gordana writes that we are all born as flawless beings, “the shining ONE,” and this is something we must never forget as move forward in life.

Martha Beck Tells Us How Life’s Wallops Can Propel Us Into a Personal Revolution

This is such an insightful essay by SP columnist Martha Beck. She reminds us not to despair when life’s hardships hit us hard. According to Martha, “sometimes it takes a wallop to effect some serious personal evolution.




1. This Beautiful Video Reminds You that Love Is All You Need: I wanted to lead the news section with this lovely video, narrated by actor Will Smith, because it illustrates the power of love. It’s also a reminder that love is all we all need right now. 

2. Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Unfollowed Prince William and Kate Middleton on Instagram: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have come up with a brilliant idea to “shine a light” on different charities and causes by changing the accounts they follow each month. For the month of May, @sussexroyal will follow 16 other accounts, such as Born This Way FoundationHeadspaceI Weigh and Kind Campaign, all charities and organizations helping to raise awareness about mental health conditions and solutions.

3. Is Suicide Prevention an Empty Promise?: 
This eye-opening New York Times piece was brought to our attention by Sunday Paper Ambassador Molly Godfrey. As we enter Mental Health Awareness Month, we need to be aware that “many of the problems that lead people to kill themselves cannot be fixed with a little extra serotonin.”

4. Scientists Identify New Type of Brain Disease That Mimics Alzheimer’s: Doctors have discovered a type of dementia that could be more common than Alzheimer’s among the oldest adults and closely mirrors the disease, according to a report published Tuesday in the journal Brain. 

5. Tech Billionaire and Wife Donate $30M to Help Solve San Francisco’s Homelessness Problem: Bravo to Marc and Lynne Benioff, our Architects of Change of the Week, for using their resources to benefit others and to move humanity forward. The couple has donated $30 million to launch research into the root cause of homelessness and find ways to end it.

6. Yippee! Moment of the Week: I so admire the strength and courage of this young man. Fourth-grader Rumari raised his hand in class one day and asked his teacher if he could address the class. What he did was tell his fellow students that he had autism. When he was finished, he was embraced by his classmates. 


Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Gut If You Want to Improve Your Brain Health and Wellbeing’

Dr. Marc Milstein, a renowned scientist and speaker, explains how the microbes in your gut not only influence the brain, but can play a role in disorders such as dementia, autism, and Parkinson’s.

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


Meaningful Dinner Club: We’re kick-starting a new idea to encourage you to gather around your kitchen table with people you love and share a meaningful dinner together each week. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to put down our phones and communicate face-to-face with one another. It’s also a chance to ignite meaningful conversations, which are the birthplace of new ideas that can Move Humanity Forward. We were calling these Sunday dinners before because I like to do mine on Sunday nights, but others have reminded me that these meals can happen any night of the week. That’s why we’re trying on this new concept of calling them “Meaningful Dinners” instead of just “Sunday Dinners.” Let us know what you think.

The Ingredients of a Meaningful Dinner: 1) Set an intention. 2) Say Grace. 3) Serve healthy food. 4) Start a conversation (don’t forget to listen and be open-minded!) 5) Tell us how it goes.

A Recipe For Your Meaningful Dinner: This recipe for Soba Noodle Salad is from actress Tembi Locke’s book “The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health” by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, Ph.D’s. 

This Week’s Meaningful Dinner #ConversationStarter: Who is someone who has touched your life and made it more meaningful? 


This beautiful and inspirational poem from L.R. Knost is a reminder that regardless of where we are in our lives, and no matter the difficulties we face, there is always a new day for us to rise again.

SHOP, SHOP SHOP! AThe Maria Shriver Collection: 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!


Do you have feedback on The Sunday Paper? Do you have ideas for content or changemakers that we should feature in an upcoming edition? If so, connect with us below.



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