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Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: What Is It You Plan To Do?

“When it’s all over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.”  — Mary Oliver

The other day, I was talking to a friend about the people who have most impacted our lives. She shared with me a moving encounter she recently had with a stranger and remarked, “Isn’t it odd that a total stranger had that kind of impact on me?”

I said it’s almost always a stranger that ends up shifting your life. In fact, my own life has been deeply impacted by several total strangers over the years.

My friend paused and was slightly aghast. “What do you mean? How can that be?” she asked.

Before someone becomes your friend or partner, they are a stranger to you, I explained. Something about them moved you and then you delved further into conversation — deeper into connection — and got to know them better.

Sometimes it might also be the words of a total stranger in a book or a poem that move you so deeply that you shift everything you thought you knew and embark on a different course.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, who passed away this week, came into my life just like that. Her words have touched and moved me so profoundly over the course of my life. Eventually, she went from being a total stranger to a loving, loyal friend and for that, I am forever grateful.

I met Mary through her words. We were intimate friends before I even met her in the flesh. When we did finally meet and I shared with her the impact that her writing had on me, she brushed it off. She was slightly embarrassed by my adoration, but still, she let me in and through conversation and sharing, we became deep friends. (One of my most memorable moments with Mary was when we sat down for a conversation for You can read it here.)

The question Mary posed to me and millions of others through her work was “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Those words have reverberated in my heart and mind nonstop since I first saw them printed on paper. It’s such a beautiful and profound question and I just love its premise, which is that we all have one wild and precious life and what we do with it is ours to decide.

Do you know the answer to that question in your own life? Are you even contemplating that question? Are you, as Mary encourages in one of her other beautiful poems entitled “The Journey,” listening to your own voice? Are you silencing the whispers of others in order to save the only life you can: your own?

Mary Oliver lived her one wild and precious life. She lived her own unique journey and her bravery inspired others to do the same.

Strangers come into your life in a myriad of ways. Some through books. Others through chance encounters. I know we are taught growing up, “Don’t talk to strangers and “don’t trust strangers,” but I couldn’t disagree more. If we don’t talk, converse and share with others, we will end up isolated, alone and lonely. We won’t build the connection and sense of belonging we so desperately need.

So this morning, I encourage you to be open to someone you’ve never met — a stranger whose name you may not know at this very moment, but who may end up being one of the most important people in your life.

That brings me back to the friend I was in conversation with. She used to be a total stranger to me, but now she is one of my most valued, trusted and generous friends.

God bless you, Mary Oliver. Thank you for your words. Thank you for the questions you pondered. Thank you for the journey. I’m so grateful for our friendship. I’m so grateful that you let this stranger in. I’m so grateful for all the meaningful conversations we shared.

Keep living that one wild and precious life of yours in heaven. And, p.s., don’t forget to write.


Dear God, please give me the strength to live my one wild and precious life. Give me the courage to embark on my own journey and silence outside voices so I have the strength to listen to my own voice and your guidance. Amen.

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‘Meaningful Conversations’: My New Podcast Launches Tomorrow, with My Friend Rob Lowe! 

I’m so excited that my new podcast “Meaningful Conversations” is premiering Monday, January 21st, on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen! In my first episode, I sit down with my dear friend Rob Lowe to talk about family, relationships, career and living a meaningful life. Join me each Monday as I sit down with changemakers to have a smart, spirited and spiritual conversation about the topics we’re all thinking about, but not talking about nearly enough. 

Sen. Kamala Harris Says We Must ‘Speak Truth’ to the Challenges Facing Our Nation

In her new book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Sen. Kamala Harris offers her perspective on how to lead during challenging times.

Jack Kornfield Reminds Us To Live Our Most Meaningful Lives With Compassion and Self-Love

I love this essay from our SP Columnist Jack Kornfield. Too often, we live with guilt and pain for one reason or another. Jack says, “Always remember to put your trust in compassion and self-love. From this comes a shift of identity, a release from the covering of clay, a return to our original goodness.”

In His New Book “Undo It!,” Dr. Dean Ornish Explores How the Power of Love Can Heal Our Lives

Architect of Change Dr. Dean Ornish, author of the new book “UnDo It!” with his wife Anne Ornish, explains why your quality of life is meaningfully influenced by how well you love and how well you are loved. 

Timothy Shriver & The Aspen Institute Release Report Says That We Can Go ‘From A Nation at Risk’ to a ‘Nation of Hope’

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, of which my brother Timothy is a founding member, has just released a report that reenvisions the way children learn in American schools. Instead of just focusing on academics, the report makes detailed recommendations for how social, emotional, and cognitive dimensions can be added to learning so that all children can succeed in school, careers, and life. 


1. Gillette Airs Controversial New Commercial About “Toxic Masculinity’: My son Christopher sent me this powerful ad and it gave me chills. This new Gillette commercial that calls out “toxic masculinity” has sparked both praise for and criticism. I’m curious: What do you think? WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE

2. Kate Middleton’s Brother Reveals His Private Battle With Depression: With devastating honesty and courage, James Middleton discusses his private battle with depression. This insightful piece is a must-read and serves as a reminder not to judge what goes on in the mind of another person.

3. The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s: This is a great read by clinical psychologist Mary Pipher. She reveals that by the time women reach their 70s, many have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. 

4. British Campaign May Enable Doctors to Prescribe Art, Music, Dance, and Singing Lessons For Mental Health Treatment: This campaign is so progressive. The British Health secretary has unveiled an initiative that may allow the country’s doctors to prescribe therapeutic art- or hobby-based treatments for ailments ranging from dementia to psychosis, lung conditions and mental health issues.

6. How to Start a Journal Practice That Can Help You Change Your Life: I love that so many great articles about the benefits of journaling are coming out in conjunction with the release of “I’ve Been Thinking…The Journal.” In this piece from “SELF,” the author offers tips on why using a journal can help maintain a healthy emotional and mental state.

7. Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’ Tips Are Spreading Joy Throughout the Country: Marie Kondo is fast becoming a household name thanks to her bestselling books and hit Netflix show. What fans seem to love most is her message: “to seek out and increase the tranquility in one’s space and amongst one’s things.” 

8. Yippee Moment of the Week! I love the pure joy and enthusiasm of UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi during this incredible performance last week at the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s no wonder Ohashi earned a perfect score and this video has gone viral. 


How a Hormone Released During Exercise Could Help Keep Our Memory Sharp

A hormone called Irisin, released during exercise, may improve brain health and lessen the damage that occurs during Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published this month in Nature Medicine.

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


This hearty, protein-packed black bean soup from my dear friend Cristina Ferrare is perfect for a rainy or snowy cold day. You can get 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.”

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.


For today’s reflection, I wanted to share a video of Mary Oliver reading her poem “The Journey” at my Women’s Conference in 2010. “The Journey” is one of my all-time personal favorites and reminds us not to stray from our own personal journey, regardless of the distracting voices around you. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

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 how we can improve The Sunday Paper? Do you have ideas for content or changemakers that we should include? If so…



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