Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: The Power of Coming Together
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” — Barbara De Angelis
The other day, I woke up to a text from my friend Matthew DiGirolamo.
Matthew and I worked together for many years. He’s a bright and creative writer and thinker, so I pay attention when he sends me a message.
Matthew said: “I think we should create an ‘Inner Peace Corps.’ Our world is in a mental and emotional health crisis and I feel like we need a corps of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, spiritual teachers, meditation coaches, etc. to be organized in a massive and coordinated volunteer effort. In times of tragedy and grief, they can help people process their pain, trauma, grief, and stress, and help them connect to their core emotions in a healthy way.”
An “Inner Peace Corps.” I just love this concept! Maybe it could also be called an “Inner Health Corps” or an “Inner Service Corps,” but regardless of the name, I think this idea is brilliant and spot-on. I hope you agree.
I’m going to work with Matthew on this idea. I’m also going to pitch it to my state’s new governor, who says his role model is my dad (founder of the Peace Corps). Yes, there are already so many wonderful organizations working around-the-clock to care for those who need support (and I hope you’ll reach out to one of them if you feel that you are in need right now). But, I think we could really benefit from coming together to build one go-to resource — a place where anyone who is hurting on the inside could quickly get support from someone else.
We could definitely use a service corps like this in California right now, where so many people have been displaced due to the fires sweeping across our state. These families need resources and financial aid, but they also need emotional support at this time of grieving and loss. For them, I have no doubt that this upcoming holiday will be incredibly difficult. One thing they need is to know that they aren’t alone and that there are people out there who want to help. It’s up to all of us to let them know that we’re here for them.
A national inner service corps like this could bring us together in so many ways. It could serve as a reminder that we are capable of serving one another — no matter our background, no matter our skillset. And, by answering that call of service, we would become more connected and more united by our shared humanity. We would also be reminded that we are one nation — one people — and that we all have it within us to help and heal another person. Our collective suffering could become collective healing, and it could start today. We just have to step up and serve.
I don’t think that we have to wait for this idea to become something official. We can start this Thanksgiving week as we gather around tables to share meals and give thanks. Connect to those sitting at your table. Listen to what they have to say. Ask them how they are doing (as in, “how are you really doing?”). And, if you have room at your table, then reach out and invite others to join you. So many people are alone during the holidays and would really appreciate your invitation.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by far. It involves everything I love: family, food, gratitude and conversation. I’m going to throw this idea out to everyone who gathers at my table this Thursday and ask them if they would be of service in the “Inner Peace Corps.” I’m going to ask them to be of service to the people in their own lives by listening to a friend or reaching out to someone who may be lonely or in need.
Matthew is right, our country is in trouble. People are hurting. They are spending a record number of hours immersed in their virtual worlds because their real worlds don’t feel safe, welcoming or loving.
One of the best cures for our anxiety and our loneliness, though, is connection. It’s building community and keeping those you love close. Sometimes all you need is dinner with someone who “gets you,” or who is willing to listen, to feel like everything is okay.
If you know someone who might be alone, then invite them into your life. Ask them to join you around your kitchen table. If you have family that you haven’t seen in awhile, then clear your schedule. I’m so grateful that my brother Bobby and his family are making the effort to come to Los Angeles to be with me and my family for Thanksgiving. I’m also blessed that I just got to spend a few days with my cousins Sydney and Caroline.
Moments with those I love, and whom I know love me, really fill me up. They make me feel grounded, safe and understood. They really serve me and help build up my inner life. I’m sure those moments do the same for you.
So, make room for the people in your life. Make time. See yourself as a member of the “Inner Peace Corps.” It’s so important that we make the effort to gather— not just during the holidays, but during all times of the year.
Together, we can be of service to those who need some internal support. We are one big family, after all. We are the American family, and many of us are hurting and feeling isolated, lonely and scared.
Let’s step up. Let’s serve one another. Let’s be friends. Let’s broaden our table and invite more people to gather with us. There’s no better time than this week to begin.
Are you in?
Dear God, please help me give thanks for all the blessings in my life. May I never take any of them for granted. Although there are times when I may feel lost, empty or alone, let me remember that my life is full. And, if I feel that I am in need of support, help me find the courage to reach out to people who are there to help. Let me also be a beacon of light and support to those who may need internal support themselves. Amen.
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VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Christian Author Max Lucado Tells Us How to Find Inner Peace Through Scripture
With so many of us suffering from depression, anxiety and stress-related illnesses, we are always seeking ways to find inner peace. In his latest book, “Anxious for Nothing,” bestselling Christian author and preacher Max Lucado guides readers through Philippians 4:6-7 and explains the key “concepts of celebration:” asking for help, leaving our concerns, and meditating.
Author John O’Donohue Tells Us Why Our Differences Might Actually Unite Us
I’ve always loved the philosophy of the late bestselling author John O’Donohue. In this excerpt from his recently released book, “Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World,” O’Donohue explores how opposites and differences are crucial to bringing us together.
Alzheimer’s Advocate Nihal Satyadev Tells Us Why We Need a Village – Of All Ages – to Care for Our Elderly
Architect of Change Nihal Satyadev is the founder and CEO of The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s. In this powerful essay he wrote for The Sunday Paper, Nihal explains why it is up to the youth of America to recognize passion for social justice, innovation, and volunteerism when it comes to caring for our elders.
Spiritual Teacher Mitra Rahbar Reminds Us to Appreciate the Blessings We Already Have
This is a beautiful essay written exclusively for The Sunday Paper by spiritual healer, teacher and my friend, Architect of Change Mitra Rahbar. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, Mitra reminds us to take a step back and appreciate what we already have in our lives. “In reality, our blessings are endless,” she writes. “Each one of us is abundant on so many levels.”
Life Coach Nicola Salter Explains How to Open Our Hearts Through Acts of Gratitude
In this time of Thanksgiving and taking stock of our lives, Architect of Change Nicola Salter reminds us that it’s important to open the door to our hearts through acts of gratitude and appreciation to ourselves, first and foremost, before running to “put out fires” for others.
NEWS CURATED…FOR YOU
1. How to Help California Wildfire Victims: This week has been a really difficult one for so many people in California. Many of you have been asking how you can help the thousands of people that were affected by this week’s devastating wildfires. This piece from TIME magazine offers information on how you can assist and send aid.
2. Marie Colvin ‘Illuminated the Cost of War Through Individuals’ Pain’: This is an illuminating piece from The Guardian about my friend Marie Colvin, a fearless war correspondent for The Times who was tragically killed while covering the siege of Homs in Syria.
3. A Successful YouTube Creator Is Taking a Burnout Break: Lilly Singh, one of YouTube’s biggest creators, is taking a break from the platform. Singh, also known as IISuperwomanII, said recently that she is “mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted” and plans to take time for herself to recoup her creative energy. I admire her for speaking up for what she needs.
4. United Shades of America’s W. Kamau Bell Explores Gratitude in a Divided Country: This is an interesting Q & A from The Greater Good. W. Kamau Bell, comedian and host of the CNN show United Shades of America, discuss how he views the place for gratitude in our currently divided nation.
5. Stan Lee’s 1968 Essay About the Evils of Racism Is Still Relevant Today: This essay by Marvel creator Stan Lee, who sadly passed away last week, is a powerful read. In 1968, during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Lee penned a powerful piece about the evils of hatred and racism.
7. SNL Mocked His Appearance. Here’s Why Republican Representative-Elect Dan Crenshaw Didn’t Demand an Apology: After “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson made fun of former Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw for losing an eye in battle, they reached out with an apology. I think we can all learn from how he handled the incident with dignity and decorum. Davidson and Crenshaw also appeared side-by-side on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING
“Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado: When it comes to anxiety, depression, and stress-related illnesses, America is the frontrunner. Thankfully, in the most recent book from New York Times bestselling author, Max Lucado provides a roadmap for battling with anxiety and healing from it.
“Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder” by Chip Conley: In this inspiring book about repurposing your life to find your passion, Chip Conley writes to about the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker.
“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
Cristina Ferrare’s Holiday Cheer Smoothie would make a healthy “cocktail” prior to your Sunday Dinner or Thanksgiving meal. You can preview the recipe on our website today, but also find it in Cristina’s new book “Food for Thought: Recipes for Ultimate Mind and Body Health,” out 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
I found this beautiful poem by Edgar Guest appropriate to share this Sunday before Thanksgiving. He reminds us that we can be grateful for the little things in life, like laughter and “roses by the wall.”
THE SUNDAY PAPER PROUDLY SUPPORTS…
New Report Offers Road Map to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk
“Most people think of Alzheimer’s as an older person’s disease, but it starts in the brain 20 to 30 years before symptoms.” WAM Scientific Advisory Council Member, Dr. Richard Isaacson, and his team at the Weill Cornell Medicine Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic are creating a comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease risk reduction program.
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