Maria’s Sunday Paper: I’ve Been Thinking About Gratitude
Maria’s Sunday Paper: I’ve Been Thinking About Gratitude
There I was, sitting in a small back room at Molloy College, waiting to go on stage to talk about my new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…”
This was Wednesday, two days into my book tour. I had just driven two hours from Manhattan to Long Island and I was tired. I was sitting alone. I was feeling anxious. (Yes, I still feel anxious when I have a new book come out.)
I was trying to take a few moments to gather my thoughts. Trying to calm my mind and heart. Trying to remind myself why I had written this book and why I was doing all of this in the first place. Then, thoughts of self-doubt started to fill my head. (Yes, I gave up self-doubt for Lent, but like anything hard, this is a process.)
“Will anyone like my book?” I asked myself. “Of course, they won’t.”
“Oh my God, I should have added this line and not that one,” I thought.
There I was feeling a bit like “God help me.” Then, I heard my name introduced on stage. I walked out from behind the curtain and saw a packed room sitting before me. People filled the auditorium all the way up to the rafters. I looked up and around and the first thought that came to my mind was, “I’m in the wrong room! God help me! I’m in the wrong room!”
I looked around again in slow motion and, in that moment, I could feel my eyes well up with tears. I could feel my heart pounding. At that moment, standing on that stage, I went from thinking that I was in the wrong place to thinking that I was exactly where I needed to be.
I saw all of these people with my book in their hands. They had come to listen to me and to support me, and I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Overwhelmed with gratitude. Overwhelmed because I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Then, after a really moving, deep and, at times, funny conversation, I drove back to my hotel, went into my room and wept. Yup, I did.
I was feeling so grateful. So grateful to the people who showed up at that event. So grateful to all the people who bought my book this week and made it a No. 1 national bestseller. I was feeling so touched and so moved that I couldn’t even begin to find the words.
“I’ve Been Thinking…” is my first book since my mother died in 2009. It’s my first book since I’ve been on my own. I didn’t know what to expect, but all this week, I’ve watched as my friends, my loved ones and people I didn’t even know have shown up for me. They’ve spoken up and out for me. The feeling I have right now is overwhelming gratitude.
Putting something this personal out into the world is nerve-wracking and scary because you never know how it will be received. But, you know what’s worse? Having something inside of you that wants to come out and not doing anything to honor that feeling.
So, if you have something to say, say it. If you have something to write, write it. If you have something to paint, paint it. If you have a cause you want to champion, speak out.
Yes, the fear will come. Yes, the doubt will come. But you might be surprised by the friends who support you, by the strangers who show up for you, and by what the world has in store for you.
I wouldn’t have known any of these things had I not taken a step out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. So on this day, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my friends. Thank you to my family. Thank you to my faith keepers and to all the people I have met so far who have hugged me, encouraged me, and thanked me themselves.
There are so many good people out in our world. They may not get the attention they deserve amid the noise of all the loud and angry voices, but trust me, they’re out there. They’re out there working hard and living meaningful lives. I’m so honored to be in community with those people, and I’m so honored to be meeting all of you along the way.
On this day, in this week, that’s truly what I’ve been thinking…
P.S. I did manage to think about a few other things this week, too. Like, how great is it that the CEO of Dicks Sporting Goods stores banned assault riflesfrom his stores? And, how brave are the students and families of Parkland, FL, who have lost and grieved, and yet still bravely spoken out about changing our gun laws? And finally, how smart was it for John Kelly to finally get the security clearance issue in the West Wing under control? I mean, really…
VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
NINE TIPS FOR LIVING A MEANINGFUL LIFE
|I’m grateful to our partners at NBC News for pulling these highlights from my new book and sharing them online this week. I hope the reflections shared here will give you something to think about this morning. [READ MORE]|
OTHER GREAT THINKERS MOVING HUMANITY FORWARD
LEADERSHIP EXPERT HATTIE HILL EXPLAINS HOW TO FIND PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE AND WORK
This coming week, I will be sitting down in conversation with Hattie Hill, the president and CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the foodservice industry’s leading resource for women. Today in an exclusive essay for The Sunday Paper, Hattie shares her perspective on how we can imbue our everyday actions with a critical sense of purpose. [READ MORE]
FOUR DYNAMIC WOMEN EXPLAIN WHY IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START OVERORDS
I have always believed it is never too late to discover your passion and purpose, even if it means starting over. Also this week on TODAY, I sat down with four remarkable women who created second successful chapters of their lives. [WATCH OUR DISCUSSION HERE]
CAROLINE BOUDREAUX QUIT HER JOB AND FOUND HER PURPOSE SAVING THE WORLD’S ORPHANS
After an eye-opening trip to India, Architect of Change Caroline Boudreaux quit her job and set out to help save the eight million children residing in orphanages all over the world. With no background to justify such a bold idea, Caroline took it one day at a time, never giving up on her belief that one person could indeed make a difference. Today, her organization the Miracle Foundation is successfully helping children around the world find loving and supportive homes. Her story blew me away and I know it will have an impact on you, too. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE]
CHANGEMAKERS MOVING HUMANITY FORWARD
WOMAN BRINGS JOY TO HOMEBOUND CANCER PATIENTS: This week, we honor Jennifer Caraway, founder of the Joy Bus Meal Delivery Program in Phoenix, Arizona. The Joy Bus is the only organization of its kind in the region striving to improve the quality of life for homebound cancer patients by providing delicious, healthful meals, alongside personal attention and much-needed companionship. Her work is proof of the healing power of friendship and food. [READ JENNIFER’S INSPIRING STORY]
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
1. Olympic Athletes Share Their Advice on How You Can Achieve Your Goals: This video motivated me after watching it this week, and I’m sure it will do the same for you. Each and every athlete in this category is a champion and achieved their goals because they believed in themselves and in their abilities. Learn how you, too. [HEAR THEIR ADVICE]
2. Deciding What to Give Up for Lent? Take the Church of England’s “Plastic Lent Challenge”: My daughter Christina (our Sunday Paper roving reporter) flagged this piece for me. The Church of England has asked parishioners to give up using plastic products and packaging — both which have become a major environmental issue. I’m definitely adding this to my Lenten practice. [READ MORE]
3. Nothing Worked for This Woman’s Depression. Then She Tried Meditation: I’ve always said that meditation should be an integral part of everyone’s daily lives, and this incredible story illustrates that point. The author, who had suffered from depression for most of her entire life, explains how taking up meditation literally turned her life around. [READ MORE]
4. Tired of Your Smartphone? Try a ‘Dumbphone’ Instead: Like a lot of people, I have a love-hate relationship with my smartphone and how much I rely upon it. That’s why I found this viral story, which explores why old-school phones are making a comeback, to be so interesting. [READ MORE]
5. Tragic Deaths After Surge in Surgical Centers: I read this article — a joint piece of reporting by USA Today and Kaiser Health News — on a plane on Friday. I found it to be terrifying, upsetting and disturbing. If you are headed for surgery at a surgical center, read this before you go. [READ MORE]
6. City Hires Homeless to Keep City Clean: I applaud the leaders of Fort Worth, TX, for coming up with this innovative solution to address their homeless problem. The city is giving its homeless men and women a new sense of purpose by hiring them to clean up local streets. [WATCH TO LEARN MORE]
ON THE ROAD: WHAT I’VE BEEN THINKING
HOW MY PERSPECTIVE ON SUCCESS HAS CHANGED OVER TIME: I hope to see many of you on the road over the next few weeks as I embark on my “I’ve Been Thinking…” book tour. But, for those of you who can’t, I will occasionally share videos from the events. The clip above is from my AOL Build discussion this week, where I talked about many topics, including how I measure success in my life today. [WATCH NOW]
JOIN US ON THE “I’VE BEEN THINKING…” TOUR
When I was First Lady of California, I created the Minerva Awards to honor extraordinary women from all walks of life. Among those I had the honor of recognizing was revolutionary self-help author Louise Hay, who received her Minerva Award in 2008. Today in honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to share a meditation from her with you here today. It offers words to produce self-love and help us move past our own self-doubts.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
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.
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT I'VE BEEN THINKING
"We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.” — Anne Lamott Earlier this week, I had dinner with my friends Martha and Ro. They used to live just a short...read more
"Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” — Barbara Kingsolver I love Mother’s Day because I just love, love, love being a mother. It’s such an honor to bring a child into this world. It’s such a humbling experience to try to get it “right”...read more
"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...read more