Maria’s Sunday Paper: The Power of Healing
I know, I know. I know what happened yesterday. An American woman joined the royal family. Yippee!
I actually got up to watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. Yes, I did. I watched it because I’m a romantic at heart. I just love love stories, and theirs is an especially good one because it’s about more than just two people in love. It’s also about acceptance, race, second chances, overcoming differences, old rules and new traditions. That’s what love can do for you. It can let you see the world again with a fresh set of eyes. When two people take a stand for love, other people can see the world differently through their example.
Meghan Markle’s story is quite the American story. She is a child of mixed race who grew up in California. Now, she is the Duchess of Sussex and a woman recognized around the world. Markle has a huge opportunity in front of her to rewrite the definition of a royal for young women everywhere. My hope is that she continues to use her voice for causes she believes in and that she uses her American grit and strength to overcome whatever balls get thrown her way (because there will be many).
…Another American story that I’ve been thinking about lately is that of Sen. John McCain. The American hero has a new autobiography out on Tuesday called “The Restless Wave,” and I’ve been thinking a lot about it ever since I first read a few excerpts.
Of course, I was thinking a lot about Sen. McCain last week as I watched people rise up to defend his honor, his service and his character after a White House aide was flippant about his declining health. But, I’ve also been thinking a lot about him lately because I think his story has a lot to teach us all.
Sen. McCain’s story may not be a fairy tale like Meghan Markle’s, but it is one hell of an inspiring American story. I believe that both their stories have something in common: they have the power to heal.
Let’s face it. We desperately need healing right now. We need healing across our races. Healing across our genders. Healing across our political parties. Healing in our communities. (I’m praying for the people in Santa Fe, TX, as they work to heal from the tragic school shooting that took place there on Friday.)
Look, I know that many people don’t see a way to bridge the divide that we hear about all the time, but I don’t agree. Healing can happen when people want it to. It can happen when people believe it’s possible and when they see another example of healing that inspires them. You see this with relationships all the time.
Healing takes time. It also takes compromise, understanding, lack of judgment, and acceptance. Meghan Markle’s life and Sen. McCain’s book give us a lot to think about on all of these fronts.
In Sen. McCain’s book, he chastises us all for seeing a person’s political identity as a marker of their allegiance to country. He implores us all to find a way to disagree with respect and civility. He also speaks about sacrifice, purpose and service. If taken in, I believe that his words will ignite a wave of self-reflection amongst us all.
Are we using our voices loud enough against someone who is a master at lying? Or, are we guilty of silence?
Are we confusing TV toughness with inner fortitude? Or, as my friend Martha Beck told me this week, are we able to recognize that real inner fortitude comes from a place of calm — something we rarely witness on TV?
Do you compromise, or are you so stuck in your ways that you won’t give?
Do you seclude yourself in what Sen. McCain calls an “ideological ghetto,” or do you open yourself up to alternative points of view?
Sen. McCain’s words have certainly made me step back and reflect. They’ve made me ask myself many questions about how I approach my life and others.
“Can I use my voice more forcefully than I have in the past?” Answer: yes.
“Do I disagree with others respectfully?” For now, I give myself a B.
“Do I do enough to understand and listen to the experiences of those marginalized in our country?” Answer: I think I do, but I know I can do better.
“Do I use a person’s party affiliation to decide if they are patriotic or not?” No, this I actually don’t do. (Registering as an Independent has helped me recognize that we are more of a purple nation than we are red and blue.)
The list goes on.
I think Sen. McCain’s words — and his life, really — can serve as inspiration for us all to think about the ways we can do better, as well as the actions we can take to unify and heal. I think Meghan Markle’s story can do the same. It wasn’t too long ago that a member of the royal family had to abdicate his right to the throne because he fell in love with an American divorcée. Love heals. It breaks down barriers.
Today, we’re featuring voices in The Sunday Paper that all have the power to heal. My brother Timothy writes today about how we each have the power to heal — heal our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our fear of exclusion, our trust in one other, and so on. My friend Martha Beck talks this week about the importance of sharing one’s story and how powerfully healing the simple act of speaking up can be. Marcia Gay Harden talks about the power to heal across our age divide, while Lewis Howes talks about the importance of healing across our gender divide. My friend Angie Johnsey, a Sunday Paper columnist, talks about the importance of patience in the process of healing. And so it goes.
These days, I think it would behoove us all to listen to one another — to listen not only to those we love, but listen to those who we don’t know or understand as well. It behooves us to also realize that none of us truly knows what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes.
The best thing we can each bring to any situation or person in need is our power to heal. If we’re able to lead with that intention, then just think about what the world could truly be.
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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…
MARCIA GAY HARDEN REFLECTS ON THE EFFECT ALZHEIMER’S HAS HAD ON HER FAMILY
I so enjoyed chatting with Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden this week. Her new book “The Seasons of My Mother,” a moving memoir about her mother’s legacy and struggles with Alzheimer’s, is opening hearts and minds everywhere.
IN A COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS, TIMOTHY SHRIVER EXPLAINS WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO CHANGE, TO HEAL, TO GIVE
As part of this special edition on healing, I wanted to share this speech delivered by my brother Architect of Change Timothy Shriver at Mount Sinai’s 2018 Icahn School of Medicine commencement. In his inspirational address, Timothy urges the graduates that there’s no better time than the present to heal themselves, each other, and the nation.
MARTHA BECK EXPLAINS WHY HEALING OURSELVES REQUIRES CALMNESS FROM WITHIN
It’s always a joy to sit down with my dear friend Architect of Change Martha Beck. In this week’s enlighting discussion, Martha talks about the power of healing through self-acceptance and speaking the truth of our own stories.
LEWIS HOWES SHARES HIS INSIGHTS ON HELPING MEN EMBRACE THEIR VULNERABILITIES
I had a great conversation with former professional football player-turned-author and Architect of Change Lewis Howes. In his latest book, “The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives,” Lewis reveals that behind each mask, there is often pain. He’s encouraging people to reach out to men and have conversations about how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and what’s really going on.
ANGIE JOHNSEY TALKS ABOUT KNOWING WHEN IT’S TIME TO HEAL
MEGHAN AND KEITH ROWE WANT TO HEAL THE WORLD THROUGH HEALTHIER, CLEAN FOOD
This week, we honor Meghan and Keith Rowe, founders of White Leaf Provisions, as our Architects of Change of the Week. Following the birth of their son, Meghan and Keith quickly became aware of a lack of truly pure and organic foods that were farmed in an eco-minded way. With this in mind, Meghan and Keith, a classically French-trained chef, developed a company producing baby food that utilizes the benefits of Biodynamic agriculture. They are working with nature to bring about the purest foods while also healing the earth.
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. Bishop Michael Curry’s Royal Wedding Sermon Reminds Us Not to Underestimate The Power of Love: Love is the healing we all need, which is why I was so moved by the sermon delivered by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church, during the royal wedding service. In his stirring 13-minute speech, he implores all of us to put love at the center of our lives. 2. Op-Ed: We Must Never Become Complacent About School Shootings: I was very touched by this NY Times opinion piece that suggests that the shock of the constant school shootings across the nation is starting to wear off. I want to emphasize that we should never, ever get used to this kind of violence. Ever. 3. Older Couples Are Increasingly Choosing to Live Apart: Older adults are setting a new familial trend, according to a new report. Referred to as LATs (living apart together), these seniors say they prefer to live on their own while maintaining their intimate relationships. 4. Birth Rate Among U.S. Women Drops to All-Time Low: This is an interesting trend and I wonder why it’s the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the fertility rate in the U.S. fell to 60.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age for the second year in a row. 5. New Research into How Smartphones May Be Affecting Our Well-Being: I think we all need to take more time away from our smartphones. New research suggests that spending too much time with mobile devices “may shorten our attention spans, erode well-being and exacerbate anxiety and stress and may impair memory. 6. How Thoughtful Communication Can Improve Your Marriage: In an interview for NBC News BETTER, divorce attorney James Sexton shares what he’s learned about relationships and about successful communication is about more than talking about what’s bothering us — it’s about doing it thoughtfully. 7. Most Public School Teachers Spend Their Own Money On Classroom Supplies: It is a sad state of affairs that our teachers must spend their own hard-earned money in order to enrich their classrooms. According to a federal Department of Education survey released last week, “94 percent of public school teachers in the United States reported paying for supplies without reimbursement in the school year that straddled 2014 and 2015.” 8. Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz Gives Inspiring Speech About the Promise of the American Dream: Finally, this speech was given by Howard Schultz, founder and now executive chairman of the Starbucks Corporation, after he was awarded the distinguished leadership award by the Atlantic Council. I was moved by his perspective on the promise of America and the American dream and wanted to share it with you today.
This Sunday I wanted to share these moving words from Sen. John McCain’s new book. As he battles brain cancer and faces the end of his life, Sen. McCain’s words give us hope that, once again, we can all come together for the good of our country and ourselves.
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The now month-long initiative grows to all 93 Equinox Fitness Clubs this year, anchored for the first time by a nationwide tour that features Maria Shriver and kicks off on NBC’s Today Show Plaza!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.
This initiative of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement tours the nation this June for a series of events that raise awareness of the importance of brain health and raise funds for important women-based Alzheimer’s research.
A-List voices, including Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Dr. Lisa Mosconi, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Dale Bredesen, Bob Roth, Marcia Gay Harden and more, will be sharing their latest research, offering prevention tools and signing their best-selling books.