Maria’s Sunday Paper: Conversations Around My Kitchen Table
Maria’s Sunday Paper: Conversations Around My Kitchen Table
My kitchen table is always a busy place. (Not as busy as newsrooms or the White House were this week, but pretty busy nonetheless.)
I love family, I love food, and I love to invite people into my home to sit with me at my table. Oftentimes, I invite friends of mine or people I’ve met through my kids. Other times, I invite people who friends have suggested I meet because they’re doing something interesting in the world. I invite people who have different perspectives on different issues. People who think differently than me politically. People of different races. People of different faith backgrounds. I’ve even been known to cold-call someone I’ve read about and invite them to join me at my table.
It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from those who join me. I learn how little I really know. I learn how vast the world is. I learn how wide-open people’s hearts are. How much suffering there is. How many creative and inspiring ideas are out there bubbling in people’s minds.
The other night, my table was filled with spiritual leaders from all different faiths who were planning an excursion to Pando in Utah. They are going there to illustrate the “oneness” that is visible in nature, with the hope that it will help others see the oneness that exists in all of us who share our common home.
A few nights later, the topic at my table was about mental health. We were talking about how to talk openly to friends about their mental health and about our own. Out of the blue during that conversation, a friend shared that they have had thoughts of depression, despair and suicide. None of us had any idea they were feeling that way. It was yet another reminder of how critical it is for all of us to reach out and check in on friends and family, if nothing else to let them know that we are here and that they are not alone.
Another night at my table recently, we had a fascinating and eye-opening conversation about the world of gamers and the misconceptions many of us have about who they are and the world that they inhabit. It illuminated for me, yet again, how little we know about so many sectors of our world — including sometimes the world of those who are in our own families.
This Sunday, I’ll be talking to my kids and whoever else is at my table about John McCain’s new book (he won’t be there) and the excerpts I’ve read from his book this week. They’ve moved me and really had me thinking about how we have to learn how to respectfully disagree… I’m sure those around my table will also be asking questions like “Can you believe what unfolded at the White House this week?” “No, I can’t,” I’ll reply. Politics always finds its way into the conversations these days, no matter who I’m sitting with.
I love that so many different types of people congregate at my table from week to week. It keeps my mind humming. It feeds my curiosity, not to mention that it feeds me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Being in conversation — being in community and being in connection with others of all ages — is important to my mental health, my emotional health, and my overall well-being.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but the truth is that every day, every one of us could do ourselves a favor and check in with our mental selves and our emotional selves.
Do you know what you need to feel emotionally healthy? Do you know what you need to feel mentally healthy and physically healthy? Do you take care of those aspects of yourself? Do you have friends who check in on you? Do you reach out when you need help?
Being in community and inviting people into your life to sit at your table not only opens your mind, but it helps you feel connected and less alone. Social connection and feeling in community with others are critical to our emotional and mental health.
So, this Sunday, we are sharing several takes on health here with you in The Sunday Paper. We’re sharing the voices of individuals who have different unique and powerful perspectives on health — holistic health — because we care about you and yours. Imagine they’re sharing their stories around a kitchen table with you this Sunday, then feel inspired to reach out and invite someone over tonight to sit at your own.
As far as my kitchen table, I’m open to suggestions as to who I should invite. They don’t have to be people I agree with. The only rule is that they don’t disparage people and that they are calm in the way that they voice their opinions. That’s advice we all need to follow if we want to be in community together.
P.S.“I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life” is still on The NY Times Bestsellers list! Thank you to everyone who’s been reading and sharing, like @lalalaura85, who shared the below photo on Instagram from her desert getaway in Arizona! If you haven’t gotten a copy, click here to order. There’s still time before Mother’s Day!
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WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN THINKING
I’ve been thinking about the individuals featured below and how their views on the world rise above the noise…
TALINDA BENNINGTON, WIFE OF LATE LINKIN PARK SINGER, TALKS ABOUT OVERCOMING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS
Last week, I was joined by Architects of Change, Talinda Bennington, wife of late singer Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, and Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour, an organization that was established to change the culture of mental health. Since Chester’s suicide, Talinda works every day to fight the stigma of mental illness. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]
DR. MARTIE HASELTON OFFERS INSIGHT INTO THE WAY HORMONES AFFECT OUR BRAINS, BODIES AND RELATIONSHIPS
I love that Architect of Change Dr. Martie Haselton, author of “Hormonal: The Hidden Intelligence of Hormones,” is changing the conversation around the way we talk about hormones, our bodies, and fertility. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]
ALLISON PATAKI RELIES ON LOVE AND FAITH TO HELP HER HUSBAND RECOVER FROM A SEVERE STROKE
After her husband suffered from a devastating stroke in 2015 that included severe memory loss and brain damage, author Allison Pataki began to write him daily letters to provide him with memories he was unable to make on his own. Allison tells her story of love and transformative power in her new book, “Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience.” [READ AN EXCERPT HERE]
CHRISTINA SCHWARZENEGGER TALKS ABOUT ADDERALL EPIDEMIC IN INTERVIEW FOR ‘GOOP’
My daughter Architect of Change Christina Schwarzenegger and I were honored to participate in this interview for Gwyneth Paltrow’s media company “Goop.” Christina talks about the film we executive produced, “Take Your Pills,” which explores the rise in popularity and abuse of Adderall. [WATCH HERE]
JEFF RUBIN HAS MADE IT HIS MISSION TO FIGHT AGEISM IN TODAY’S SOCIETY
This week we honor Jeff Rubin as our Architect of Change of the Week. As a member of the Kentucky Institute on Aging, Jeff is a vocal advocate for the elderly who believes that every individual has the right to be heard and the power to make a difference, regardless of their ability or age. He is also the author of “Wisdom of Age: Perceptions and insights from one generation to another.” [READ HIS STORY HERE]
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Because the media was dominated this week by several unfolding political stories, you may have missed the other news that rose “above the noise.” Below we share a few stories that caught our eye and got us thinking…
1. The Dalai Lama Explains How to Deal With Negative Emotions: I always love to stop and listen to the Dalai Lama when he’s offering his wisdom. In the above video, he offers advice on how to deal with negative emotions to a group of women visiting his residence in Dharamsala. [WATCH HERE]
2. John McCain Talks about Trump, His Battle With Cancer, and His Problems with Washington: I have always admired Sen. McCain for his honesty and integrity. McCain, who is battling brain cancer, openly shares his thoughts in an exclusive interview this week for Apple News. His words will make you think about the importance of compromise, how we can unlock our political divide, and the art of respectfully disagreeing with someone. [READ MORE]
3. Two Black Men Arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks Settle With City for $2 and Creation of a Fund to Help Young Entrepreneurs: I am so impressed by the integrity of these young men who turned their wrongful arrest into something positive. As part of their settlement to release city employees of all claims, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23, will each be paid $1, plus work with officials to create a $200,000 fund that will assist young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. [READ MORE]
4. Waffle House Hero Raises Money for Victims’ Families: This young man is a hero on so many levels. James Shaw Jr., who wrestled an AR-15 from a gunman at a Tennessee Waffle House on April 22, has managed to raise over $158,000 for the victims’ families through a GoFundMe page. [READ MORE]
5. Teens Got a Mental Health Law Passed to Aid Fellow Students: I continue to be impressed by today’s young people who are standing up for their rights. After witnessing emotional distress among their peers without a place to turn for help, three Virginia high school students not only lobbied for more mental health resources in their schools, they demanded a law requiring mental health instruction for Virginia’s ninth- and 10th-graders. [READ MORE]
6. World’s First Loneliness Minister Explains How She Will Tackle ‘the Sad Reality of Modern Life’: As I’ve stressed many times, this is an issue that we all need to wake up to. Since her appointment in January, UK Minister of Loneliness Tracey Crouch is seeking advice from international experts on how to deal with the more than 9 million people who experience loneliness in her country. [READ MORE]
7. These 5 Habits May Help You Live Longer: This is information of which we should all be mindful. According to a new study published in the journal Circulation, there are five habits that can prolong your life expectancy by more than a decade. [WATCH THE VIDEO]
8. Colin Kaepernick: ‘Love Is at the Root of Our Resistance’: I was so moved by these words that were spoken by football quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He was recently honored with the Ambassador of Conscience Award by Amnesty International and spoke powerfully about being black in America and about the rage we should all feel about the injustice in our nation. [WATCH HIS SPEECH BELOW]
I am always inspired by the words of Architect of Change and poet Mary Oliver. The piece I’m sharing as this week’s reflection comes from her book, “Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver.” It reminds us that spring cleaning not only refers to physical clutter, but emotional clutter as well.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
JOIN ME THIS JUNE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S REGISTER TODAY!
I’ve been thinking… you might want to join us for Move for Minds 2018! This initiative of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement returns this June. Join me in person at these events as we work to make a difference in the fight to wipe out Alzheimer’s.
JOIN US ON THE “I’VE BEEN THINKING…” TOUR
SHOP OUR STORE: SEE OUR COLLECTION
Get Empowered. Pass It Forward.
We’re so excited to announce that we’ve added a few new items to our shop! Check out our stylish apparel to fight Alzheimer’s, created in partnership with Art With a Purpose. You can also order our newest product, the “Maria” candle – the same scent used in her office and home. Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to learn more.