“I’ve always seen myself as the kind of person who puts my heart and soul into whatever is before me. It’s something that has always made me feel alive and given me purpose, identity, and meaning. I’ve given my all to my mothering, my family, my work, and my service.” Maria Shriver. January 24, 2021. Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper available at: https://mariashriver.com/sundaypaper/
Do you know Maria Shriver? You may think you know her persona, but until you read her writing, I think, like me, your perceptions of her are misperceptions. She truly is a person that puts her heart and soul into all aspects of her life, including her writing. She personifies keen living. Read on to see how her practices in life make her a model to follow to achieve keen living yourself.
“So if you grew up with a story that no longer serves you, simply close out that chapter and begin anew. Tell yourself what I now tell myself: You are not too much, Maria. You are not too little, Maria. You are not too needy, too weak, or unworthy. You are not invisible. You are not in someone’s way. In fact, you are the way! Your story is your most magnificent undertaking. You can make it awe-inspiring because it already is. Don’t look to others to validate your story or your existence. Don’t look to others to provide the love you missed out on as a child. Don’t look to others to mother you or father you. Don’t look to others to heal the child in you. No one can do that for you, nor should they.” Maria Shriver. January 10, 2021. Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper available at: https://mariashriver.com/sundaypaper/
Maria’s take on life is exemplary of living in a state of keen awareness of feelings, thoughts, frustrations, anxieties, and any challenges that life presents. She takes it all in and is able to decipher what message to take away from it all. She finds the answers when so many of us are searching for them. She truly does this while lifting up a community of readers by sharing her own state of mind. I admire her for it! How does she do it? After reading her book, “I’ve Been Thinking…” a few years ago, and following her Sunday Paper religiously, I have noticed her practices in life include:
Each entry in her book and her messages on Sundays include a prayer. How great is that? She opens her heart to the Lord and shares her conversation in prayer with a larger audience. That takes strength and determination. She has both. Not only does she include a prayer, but I truly believe she is a person who prays often. She has sought greater connection with God and finds it through prayer and reflection. The focus of her prayer for the nation as we started a new chapter this month with a new Presidential administration was that of St. Therese:
“May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born in faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
Prayer and reflection seem to be a part of Maria’s DNA. Never before have I found such a thoughtful, introspective public persona. Admittedly, before reading her aforementioned book in 2018, I never knew or wanted to know too much about her. My image of her was that she was a member of the Kennedy family, the media, and somehow connected to Hollywood because of her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of this seems so terribly disrespectful to her in retrospect. I conjured up my own beliefs about her predominantly because of the assumption that she was not someone I would like to know. All of that changed after a friend gave me her book, “I’ve Been Thinking…,” as a gift.
I could not believe how much I liked the book, and therefore how much I liked and respected her! After reading the book, you feel as if you completely met Maria Shriver. She is open, forthright, and revealing about her thoughts and feelings. It is a revelation. I completely enjoyed her book so much, I listened to her podcast, “Meaningful Conversations,” and I was thrilled when she started the Sunday Paper online. Now her reflections every Sunday set the mood for my day. Her spirit is one of positivity and truth. I so appreciate her ability and willingness to share her life lessons with her readers.
All of this would never be known without her gift of writing. I never knew anyone could write so personally and yet professionally week after week. She is a phenomenally thoughtful and reflective writer. She shares every week how her heart is feeling and what is happening in her mind. She lifts readers up to think in a more positive way. She is a completely inspiring person. I hope she never stops writing because she speaks from the heart and connects with her readers:
“If I’ve learned anything this year, and in this life of mine as a whole, it’s that accepting and surrendering to God’s will and God’s time, well, that’s something I need to get better at. And so, as I look ahead to this week and this new year ahead, my intention is to simply stay open. Simply stay hopeful and stay grateful. I say simply, but I know it won’t be simple. It’s really hard for me to stay open. It’s hard for me to stay vulnerable and accept what is.” Maria Shriver. December 20, 2020. Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper available at: https://mariashriver.com/sundaypaper/
Don’t we all feel that way at some point? I do. I can’t fathom opening myself up to the world the way she does, and yet she has inspired me to try to stay open. Be vulnerable. Accept God’s will. Know this is the right place to be. Be grateful. All of this can be done through prayer, reflection, and writing as exemplified by Maria Shriver.
Maria is gifted as a writer, activist, philanthropist, journalist, media leader, television host, spokesperson, and mother. I look up to her for all of her successes, but more than her outward successes, I admire her for her ability to pray, reflect, and write through life’s ups and downs. I hope to see more from her this year – whether through her podcast, “Meaningful Conversations,” starting again, her writing for the Sunday Paper, or watching her back on the Today Show. And just in case she ever reads this: Thank you. Your writing has been a blessing to me.
January 28, 2021
© 2021 Megan Davia Mikhail