Focus on Kindness this Father’s Day

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the pillars of the society I want to live in. The society I want to work in. The society I want to grow old in.

Love, as I wrote last week, is the guiding principle of that society. There are several other principles as well, which I’ll get to over the next few weeks. But today, on Father’s Day, I want to focus on the concept of kindness.

Kindness, I believe, is one of the most important qualities that we can have. It’s what can lead us out of our current atmosphere, which is anything but kind.

We rarely recognize kindness as a form of strength, but it is. It takes strength to lead your life from a place of kindness — whether you are leading as a father, an elected official, a teacher, a CEO, or as someone in some other role.

Being kind starts with being kind to yourself. You know that inner voice that so often berates you and everyone around you? That voice that tells you that you’re not working hard enough? That you’re not keeping up? That says, ‘Who do you think you are’? Well, when that voice finishes berating you, it comes out of your mouth and reaches everyone around you.

So, start by changing the conversation in your own head. When you go to speak — whether it’s to your children, your colleagues, your partner, or even someone from an opposing political party — check yourself.

Is what’s coming out of your mouth kind? Are the words you are using positive, or are they critical, demeaning and cruel? Cruel words lead to cruel actions, and they leave lasting damage on a person’s psyche and emotions, especially children.

Kindness is different than niceness. Kindness requires thought, empathy, true concern for the other, and honesty. Honesty can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but necessary.
Kindness has principles. It’s not wishy-washy, bland or weak. And perhaps most importantly, when you exhibit it to another person, they can feel it. God-willing, they will want to emulate it, too.

That brings me back to men. Men are often raised to be tough, emotionless and intimidating. They are told that those traits are masculine. Kindness, like love, is often viewed as a quality of the weak. So many men think that if they are kind, that they just might get walked on, or over.

We as a society often play along with that notion. Our fear of the bully makes us laugh along as he berates his opponent with words that sting. We don’t have to look far to know the damage that all this meanness and rudeness is causing us.

The fact is, kind fathers raise strong daughters. Kind fathers raise good men.

Fathers, like mothers, often comes to their kindness in a round-about way. I know I have, and I know I wish I had come to it way earlier in my life. But, the truth is that I wasn’t raised with kindness as a guiding pillar. I was raised to be a tough, strong competitor. I was raised to make a difference in the world. I got the message — be it right or wrong — that kindness wasn’t going to help me “in the arena.”

That was a mistake because I have come to know that kindness not only helps in the arena, but it helps in every area of life.

So, on this Father’s Day, I want to shine a light on fathers who are leading from a kind space, and thus, from a strong place. I want to shine a light on men who are talking openly and honestly about their experiences as fathers, about what they learned from their own fathers, and about how they are using what they have learned to help others.

Fatherhood is, indeed, a defining role. It’s one that is being redefined by men everywhere. Today when I go out for a walk, I see men pushing baby carriages. I see them carrying diaper bags, showing up in records numbers to school functions, and showing up in equal numbers to their daughters and sons’ games.

I hear men talk about their emotional intelligence. I hear men talking about their children and how they want to be kinder, more attuned, and more involved.

My hope is that we can all exhibit more kindness towards one another because what we are exhibiting in our national discourse and in our politics is taking us down a numbing, destructive path.

Our families, our country, and our world need more kindness. Pope Francis, the father of the Catholic Church, has called for a revolution of tenderness to benefit us all. We need it.

So, on this Father’s Day, let us all celebrate the power of kindness — in men and in women. May we know that it exists within each and every one of us.

Love and kindness are among the most important and powerful pillars in a just, good and meaningful society.

My fellow Architects of Change, we can build this together.

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This Week, I’m Focused On Love by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

Lordy Moses, what a whirlwind!

As the noise of the news continues to get louder, meaner, more violent, more confusing, more divisive, and more heartbreaking, I have found myself trying to look through it all and find the cracks.

Yes, the cracks. As the famous songwriter Leonard Cohen once said, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

At this moment in time, I’m choosing to widen my gaze beyond my traditional news outlets and seek out the good— the light, the love and the truth — that is shining through. Surprisingly, I don’t have to look far because I see so many great examples of light, love and integrity everywhere I look. (Yes, I do.)

I hear songs about love. I see corporate campaigns about unity. I see concerts about oneness and marches for tolerance and understanding. I see people who are doing their best to help their communities and be of service to humanity.

Right now, I find myself trying to turn away from the grown men and women who routinely hurl insults at one another on social media and TV. I find myself turning away from those in Washington D.C. who seem to delight in the “he said-she said,” while millions of our fellow citizens are struggling. They’re struggling in unsafe neighborhoods and schools. They’re struggling to survive paycheck to paycheck. And, they’re living in fear that they will lose their health care or other vital services, like Meals on Wheels.

Sure, I watched James Comey testify on Thursday (I wasn’t going to miss that). Yes, I followed the British election results with great interest on Friday. I still listen to the news. I’m a journalist and a citizen, and I want to be informed. I just don’t want to be taken down by what I’m witnessing play out in our politics and in our national dialogue.

Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the examples of love that I see because they reinforce my belief in humanity. They inspire me to work harder, do more and focus on hope.

Now, I know that the word love gets thrown around a lot. I, myself, have struggled with it in my life. But, nonetheless, it is still my favorite four letter word!

Thank God I know what it feels like to be loved. I work hard to spread love wherever I can because I know it’s the healing and unifying connection we are all seeking. And yet, it seems to evade us so easily.

Why is that?

Why do bullying, grandstanding and power-mongering take precedent over love? Why is exhibiting love harder than exhibiting meanness? Why do so few leaders talk of love? Why do so few leaders exhibit it on the world stage for us to witness? Is it because it’s viewed as weak or soft?

Love, as my friend Elizabeth Lesser once said, is a muscular concept. It takes strength to love and to receive. It takes strength to pursue it and to put it forth as a guiding value in your life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so over the meanness, the negativity and the gaslighting. I don’t want leaders who threaten or intimidate. I don’t want leaders without any emotional intelligence. I don’t want leaders who are too scared to even talk of love, much less lead with love. I just don’t, and I’m not afraid to say it.

The good news is that the cracks give us glimpses of the leaders among us who are leading with love, and who have the guts to say so.

So, my fellow citizens, if you have love in your heart, step up. Step out. You are what the world needs now more than ever. Love is the most powerful weapon on the planet. Imagine if we all decided to lead with it.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. … Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you.”

Imagine if we all spoke from that space. Imagine if we all interacted from that space. Imagine if we all approached one another with love, light and truth.

It’s within us. We just need to let it rise to the top and lead with it. We need our leaders to lead with it.

Love. It’s our best defense, and it’s the only way all this other noise will fade to the background.

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What We Should All Be Doing This Memorial Day Weekend

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

Reflect. Remember. Rest. Recharge.

That’s what I want to do this Memorial Day weekend because I feel that everything is moving way too fast — the news, our politics, our conversations, our relationships, and our lives.

When everyone is in such a hurry, balls inevitably get dropped. Hurtful things get said. Personal and political misunderstandings occur. Crazy things happen, and no one takes the time to say, “Hey, wait a minute…”

What are we doing? What are we thinking? Where are we going? Let’s stop. Let’s rest a minute. Let’s reflect on what is happening now, and on what has happened. Let’s take a beat and gather ourselves so that we can refocus, recharge and move forward in a more unified way.

I mean this sincerely and seriously. It’s time for all of us — regardless of our age, our gender, or our political leanings — to be more conscious, more considerate, and more compassionate, not to mention less angry and less judgmental.

Now, before you scream, “How can she talk about resting when bombs are going off that are killing young children? When politicians are threatening to cut programs that for many mean the difference between life and death? When the ice caps are melting? When Washington is embroiled in a who knew what, when? When the world feels like it’s coming apart at the seams?”

Well, I would suggest that this is exactly the moment when we need to rest.

Now, resting isn’t something I grew up with. In fact, I think it’s fair to say it was scorned upon in my home. If either of my parents saw anyone resting, well let’s just say…no one would have dared to try.

But, I’ve come to realize that resting is of value. It doesn’t mean you are weak or too tired to go on. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you’re un-American (even if Americans like to think of themselves as the hardest, most competitive and most driven people on the planet).

Resting is important. It’s important for your mind, your body, and your heart. When one rests, one can recharge and refocus. One can dream. One can tap into their creative spirit and into their consciousness. One can be at one with one’s self, with one’s own divinity, and with one’s own purpose and mission.

The truth is, I’ve run through a lot of my life, only to discover that the most successful people get more done when they slow down and rest. (Author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has some amazing insights into this in his new book. You can read an excerpt below.)

When people rest, they are kinder. They are more thoughtful, they are more focused, and they are more at peace with themselves and those around them. They are also better parents, better partners and better professionals. People who make time to rest get stuff done — and they do it without creating carnage in their wake.

So, on this Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial start of summer), I’m going to make rest part of my time off. In fact, I’m going to make it part of my summer and my life. (That is, after we come together next Sunday for Move For Minds. If you haven’t signed up yet, please join us in one of our 8 cities. Help us make a difference in the fight to save our minds!)

I’m also going to spend time this weekend remembering all of the brave military men and women who gave their lives for our country. I want to pay my respects to them and express my gratitude to the families that get left behind and who too often struggle alone to put the pieces back together (like our incredible Architect of Change of the Week Taryn Davis, a widow who has devoted her life to helping military spouses find hope and healing after loss).

I’m also going to spend time reflecting on the legacy of my uncle, President John F. Kennedy. It’s his 100 birthday tomorrow and his daughter, my cousin Caroline, has done such an amazing job helping people remember what her father stood for, what he fought for, and why his words still have such an impact today.

Caroline’s video says it all. It makes you think, “What do I stand for? What am I doing for my country? How am I giving back? How am I serving the common good?” (Complaining or railing on Twitter doesn’t count as serving the common good, by the way.)

So, before you say to yourself “I can’t rest. I don’t have time to reflect or recharge. I have too much to do…” Take it from me (someone who would have said those same words a few years ago). We are all going to end up in the same place, so what’s the rush?

Please rest. Please reflect on who and what is important to you. Please reflect on why you do what you do.

Recharge your batteries. Refocus your resolve. Remember that you are among the blessed. You are still here, so you still have a shot to make an impact with your life and benefit others. Why not take it?

Rest now. Because, trust me, we still have a lot of work to do.

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Reflections on a Whirlwind Week by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING
Have you ever had one of those weeks where no matter how hard you try to stay upbeat, cheery and positive, you just can’t?

Of course you have. That’s what this past week felt like for me, too.

This was one of those weeks where the news unfolded so rapidly that it was hard to keep up. It was hard to stop shaking your head; hard to not complain; hard to actually believe what was happening. It was hard to know exactly what to do.

I spoke to folks who were glued to the news and social media. They were dissecting it in real time trying to figure out what it all meant. Meanwhile, others I spoke to said they just couldn’t bear any of it and turned away.

In the world we live in today, it can be hard sometimes to see a clear path ahead. Few things feel certain anymore. These are confusing times, for sure.

It’s hard to know what to think when everything seems to be changing more rapidly than it takes to form a new thought. That’s why during times like these, I try and spend time away from the noise so that I can properly formulate my own thoughts.

I reach out to those whom I respect — people who I feel can offer perspective and who can remind me that we’ve been here before. (Tom Brokaw is one example. You can read his thoughts below.) I also read and/or listen to others whose words and thoughts lift me up and focus my mind on the positive. That’s not being naive. It’s simply acknowledging that there are issues unfolding around us and that we can choose how we respond.

I’ve lived through tumultuous times before. Assassinations. The turbulent ‘60s. Vietnam. Watergate. A president’s resignation. Iran Contra. 9/11…the list goes on.

I’ve learned that the will of the people trumps the mightiest of power players. I’ve also learned that unraveling takes time. So does clarity.

Give yourself permission to step away. Breathe. Ask yourself: “What do I think?” Turn to those with wisdom who have seen it all and who have lived to tell it. Stay attuned to the news, but don’t allow yourself to become consumed by it, either.

Know that this will not be resolved today or tomorrow, but it will be resolved.

So, find your resolve. Focus on what good you can do in your own life, or for your country that so desperately needs it. Our nation needs what we have to offer. It needs for us to turn down the volume, calm the “he said, she said,” and look forward to a future that’s more united than divided. I think we can all agree that we deserve a future that’s brighter than darker, more compassionate than critical, and more honest than what we have today.

I’m focused on moving us forward and uniting us. Will you join me?

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Something to Focus On Other Than Your Lips, Eyes and Thighs

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

I don’t care what you wear or don’t wear. I don’t care how much you spend on makeup and/or fillers. I don’t care if you’ve had plastic surgery or want to in the future. I don’t care if you’ve been divorced, dropped out of work to raise your kids, or worked like a lunatic your entire life.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Green, or a decline-to-state. I don’t care what your job is, how much money you make, or who you know or don’t know. I don’t care if you are a Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant or atheist. I don’t care if you identify as male or female, gay or straight, black, white, brown, or none of the above.

I really don’t care.

What I do care about is your mind, and I want to get into it. I care not just because it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, although I do care deeply about mental health. (In fact, this campaign caught my attention and allowed me to approach the subject with my kids in a new way). I care because I want to help you protect your mind and make it last a lifetime.

Every 66 seconds, a new brain develops Alzheimer’s. Two-thirds of those brains belong to women, and no one knows why that is. To me (and I hope to you as well) that’s unacceptable.

It is my mission to find out why Alzheimer’s is robbing so many people of their minds in the prime of their lives. I’ve seen what Alzheimer’s does up close and I don’t want YOU to have to experience losing your mind or have to watch someone you love lose theirs. (Take my word for it, it is truly mind-blowing to witness.)

That’s why I was so grateful that Congress gave a $2 billion raise in funding to the National Institutes of Health last week. In March, I testified on this issue and asked Congress to protect NIH funding because it’s so critical to advancing our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s. I’m proud that this bipartisan action took place and that $400 million of the money will be going to Alzheimer’s research.

I have to say that I was deflated just a few days later, though, when Washington divided itself again along party lines and left those who depend on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) holding their breath.

Today, our Sunday Paper is focused on the most expensive health crisis facing our nation — Alzheimer’s — and what you can do to protect your brain.

We’ve asked a few amazing Architects of Change to share their views about what you can do today to save that thing in your head that controls your mind — that all-powerful organ that is so often overlooked.

My passion for the mind is what motivated me to start Move For Minds, an event that will be held in eight cities on June 4 and that focuses on engaging you in the areas that we know help keep your mind working at its best: exercise, nutrition, stress-reduction, social activity and more. I hope you’ll join me.

My mother always drilled into me the importance of developing my mind. She’d say, “Maria, your looks will go, but if you develop your brain, it will last you a lifetime and make all the difference in your lifetime.”

So, while I am trying to hold onto my looks as long as I can (haha), I’m primarily focused on my brainpower and yours. I care deeply about both.

Our minds are something we all have in common. Together, we can save them.

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“Am I Worthy? ” Reflection by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

The other day I was in conversation with my friend Matt.

Matt is a healer, a spiritual teacher, a health expert, a convener, a connector, a wanderer, and a world traveler. He’s someone who defies any one description. I love people like that — individuals who choose to live and work outside of the box.

Every so often, Matt shows up at my door (yes, he does) and we get to talking. Our conversations open my mind and enable me to see my purpose in life with more creativity, more clarity, and more conviction. What a gift.

The other day I asked Matt, “Is there anything that connects all of the people you work with? All of the men and the women? The rich and poor? The strong and the weak? ” He said to me, “Yes, there is.”

Whether they realize it or not, he said, everyone the world over asks the same question: “Do I matter?” They want to know, “Does what I do have meaning to others? To myself?” And underneath of that, what they really want to know is, “Am I worthy?”

“If you can come to believe that you’re worthy,” Matt said, “then your entire life shifts.” The key to feeling that way is all in your own mind.

Change your mind about that fundamental belief, and Matt says you can change your world, and the world at large. Wow! I love that because it’s so true and so empowering.

As Pope Francis said this week in his surprise TED Talk (see video link below), YOU are the future. You are the key and you hold the key. Think about that! Focus your mind on that concept. Wrap your mind around the power that resides within each and every one of us.

This message gets me so excited because I believe it 100 percent. I’d much rather talk about that than Donald Trump’s first 100 days. Focusing on what grade to give him takes me away from thinking about what I can do to make my world, and the world at large, better.

I have a vision for humanity and it starts with me. As Pope Francis said, it’s up to each and every one of us to lead. It’s up to each and every one of us to think about how we want to walk through the world with humility, tenderness, and a respect for the other. It’s doubly important to do this, he said, if you are in any position of power — perceived or otherwise.

I hope President Trump and all of our elected leaders from every party absorb Pope Francis’s message and challenge themselves over the next 100 days to walk out into our communities and into our world with the intention of making it better. I hope they think about the values that he spoke about: Caring, Tenderness, Respect, and the Intersection of Power and Humility. I hope they re-read the Parable of the Good Samaritan, as I have done, and think about how it is the story of today’s humanity. I hope they will think about the pope’s message that none of us are any better than any other of us.

In today’s Sunday Paper, we share with you the voices of a few Architects of Change who are working in their own ways to make the world a better place. As Pope Francis said, we are all worthy of answering that calling. We are all worthy of challenging what is, imagining what can be, making a difference, moving humanity forward and ultimately, uniting it. We can do that by being the best version of ourselves and sharing that with one another.

Over the next 100 days, I’m going to double down on making the changes I want to see in the world. I believe that we all have the power within us to make this a better world — not just for you, but for everyone whose paths we cross. These are exciting, empowering, and inspiring days. Let’s get moving.

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https://www.ted.com/talks/pope_francis_why_the_only_future_worth_building_includes_everyone?language=en

We all have mental health issues. Here’s why it’s okay.

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

Not too long ago, I was speaking with a friend when he said to me, “You know, every single person — yourself included — has mental health issues.”

At first, I was surprised by his statement. Dare I say that I was even insulted by it. But as I reflected more on what he said, I realized that he was right.

Every single one of us does have mental health issues. Every single one of us has a mind and we all need to think about the health of it.

That’s why I think the conversations that Prince Harry and Prince William ignited this week are so important and groundbreaking.

I love that Prince Harry bravely told the world that grief had wreaked havoc on his life and that it was his brother who encouraged him to get help, which he did. I’m grateful that Prince William also used his platform to talk about how shock, grief and trauma live on in your body and your mind long after a traumatic incident has taken place, leaving you with post-traumatic stress issues and other mental health challenges.

Both of these young men gave us insight into how the shocking death of their mother impacted their lives. They gave us insight, but they also guarded their privacy. Bravo to them both for advancing the conversation surrounding grief, trauma, shock, depression, anxiety and mental health.

As someone who also grew up in a public family impacted by traumatic events, I found this to be such a seismic moment. To hear men talking bravely and openly about seeking help lifts the shame and stigma around it. To hear public people use their platform to help ignite a conversation that needs to be happening out in the open is such a relief and gift to us all.

As an Alzheimer’s advocate, I speak a lot about the mind and the brain. As a mother, I talk a lot about feelings and emotions with my kids because I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about such things. In fact, the very first book I wrote is a children’s book about grief, death, heaven and the questions we all have about this once-taboo subject.

When I was First Lady of California, I moderated a moving conversation at my Women’s Conference about grief, as my mother had died two months before and I was grieving. You can watch it click here.

 

As someone who has struggled with the concept for years, I wrote the introduction to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler’s seminal book “On Grief and Grieving” and I have in my own way tried to advance the conversation on this subject. My friend Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s new book about resilience and grief will, I’m sure, advance it further. I applaud Sheryl for wanting to make the topic of grief a mainstream conversation. (You can read an excerpt from her new book here.)

Life-altering events impact not just our hearts, but our mental health as well. The same event can impact the members of the same family in different ways. It’s naive of us to think that we can all just power on and power through without talking about how life’s ups and downs impact our minds and our bodies.

My friend was right. We all have mental health issues. That doesn’t make us weird or weak. That makes us human.

So, next time someone tells you or me that they are seeking counseling or have sought counseling — be it for the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, the loss of a job, anxiety, depression, or whatever else they deem traumatic — be gracious. Be compassionate. Be understanding.

After all, what Prince Harry said was both profound and telling: he just needed someone to listen. I might add that he also needed someone to protect his privacy. Both are in short supply. But now that we know, we can give those gifts to one another starting today.
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My Easter Reflections by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING
Today is Easter Sunday.

Somewhere along the way, it seems that this holiday has become all about bunnies and eggs and pretty dresses and chocolate. But to me, it is about so much more.

To me, Easter is all about rising. I’m not just talking about the way that Jesus rose from the dead, although in a way that’s my metaphor. I’m talking about the fact that today can be a moment when each of us chooses to rise in our own lives.

As I wrote last Sunday, my brother Timothy and I spent this past weekend at a retreat in New Mexico that was organized by Father Richard Rohr. Timothy had asked me for time together, and so off we went to listen, to learn, to connect, to be with one another, and to be at one with ourselves. (His beautiful daughter Rose joined us, too.)

Father Rohr was joined by Wm. Paul Young, best-selling author of “The Shack,” and Cynthia Bourgeault, a modern-day mystic and Episcopal priest. It was an amazing, moving and profound experience on so many levels, and it culminated with a beautiful mass.

For me, the retreat was the perfect way to go into Holy Week. It gave me time to think about life, think about my own story, and think about the highs and lows of life — not just of my own, but of all of ours. For as Father Rohr said, if you have a soul, then you must acknowledge that everyone else does, too. They also have highs and lows and dark and light.

That beautiful truth was one of so many takeaways I had from the weekend.
Here are 20 profound truths that I thought were worth sharing:
1)
We are all united in our brokenness and in our suffering. What is broken in you makes you human, not bad. Acknowledge it.
2) Revelations happen from the inside out, not the outside in. Allow for them.
3) We think we need to know someone before we can love them, but divine thinking is to love before you know. Love unconditionally.
4) One of the biggest challenges we face today is loss of meaning. Find meaning wherever you can.
5) Religion has become too centered on sins. We were taught that our sins separate us from God, but that’s not true.
6) If you always have to convince your parents to love you, then you never trust that they do. Note to parents: focus on the love your child is seeking.
7) There are moments in all of our lives when we are blind, then we see. Open your mind to other ways of thinking and seeing. That will get you out of the dualistic frame of mind of good vs. bad or right vs. wrong. Open your mind to a third way. It’s more creative and playful.
8) The contemplative mind approaches things in their completeness. Be contemplative in action. They actually go together.
9) Most thinking is simply the result of an obsessive mind. Find ways to turn yours off.
10) You have to pull the rug out from under yourself. Only then can you live in the flow. In choosing to accept the unknowing that life presents, you’ll be able to accept the flow.
11) Wholeness is when the way of your being matches the truth of your being. And the truth is, you are a very good creation. Note to self: accept this truth as it is.
12) The opposite of more… is enough. Remember that.
13) In order for your “yes” to matter, your “no” has to matter, too.
14) Everything comes down to your capacity for presence. Your mind dwells in the past and the future. Work with it to focus on the present.
15) Most of us carry shame in our bodies, so we punish them. Integrating your mind and body helps you be present.
16) See yourself as doing God’s work. My takeaway: if you see yourself this way, see others as doing it, too.
17) We often hold onto other people’s stories of ourselves. Know your own story and tell it.
18) Electricity can only operate in a circuit. There has to be a giver and a receiver. Remember that.
19) You will know what you need to know when you need to know it.
20) Your experiences are yours and yours alone. My takeaway: rise to your own calling. Each and every one of us has a calling, a mission, and a purpose. Our challenge on this day and all days is to rise to that calling.

The final thought I will leave you with today is this: I would never have gone to this retreat had my brother Timothy not asked me for the time. I’m so glad he did.

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Do you take time for yourself?

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I’ve Been Thinking

 “An omen from God.”

It was from my brother Bobby, who was in Morocco for a board meeting of the organization ONE and (Red), which he co-founded with Bono. ONE and (Red) both work to save lives. Saving lives has, in fact, been my brother’s life’s work. (It has actually been the life’s work of all of my brothers — Timothy as chairman of the Special Olympics International, Mark as president of the Save the Children Action Network, and Anthony as the founder and chairman of Best Buddies. But today, this story is about Bobby.)

Bobby has raised more than $465 million dollars through (Red) for those with HIV/AIDS in African countries. He has raised millions more for the Special Olympics through its A Very Special Christmas albums, which he co-produced with Jerry Moss and Vicky and Jimmy Iovine. (It’s great music worth listening to any time of year.) And, these last several years, he has also worked tirelessly to try and secure housing for homeless veterans in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is home to the largest V.A. facility in the nation, but not a single new housing unit has been built there yet. That should piss everyone off. It doesn’t, but it should. (Bobby’s most recent op-ed implored President Trump to build this housing to help the homeless vets, since he vowed to take care of them as president. Bobby’s plea has yet to be answered.)

 

Bobby has devoted his life to working on behalf of others. That’s why an exchange he had with a doorman in Morocco stopped him in his tracks.

The doorman, who was trying to grab my restless brother a car, turned to him and said, “We have time here. Not like you in America. You have no time, so you do not live.”

This really made my brother stop (a huge feat, by the way). “You have no time to live. Make your time yours,” he wrote to me from halfway around the world.

I share this with you today because I believe it to be deeply true. Time is our most precious resource, but very few of us use it as wisely as we could. We rush through our lives with our eyes on our phones, trying to get through one thing after another. We rush around trying to get somewhere that we think will make us happy. We rush around so much that in the midst of it all, we forget to actually live.

Do you make time to live? Time for yourself? Time for your friends? Time for your family? Or are you too busy?

I’m writing this early so I can go spend time with my other brother Timothy, who asked me many months ago to “spend time” with him. “Give me a weekend,” he said. “I want time with you.” So I did, and we are spending this weekend at a retreat in New Mexico with Fr. Richard Rohr and others. (I’ll write about that next week.)

On this Palm Sunday leading into Holy Week, I hope you take some time for reflection, intention and rest. I hope you take some time to decide whether you are you so busy with everything else in your life that you have forgotten those closest to you, maybe even yourself.

That brings me back to my brother Bobby. Two months ago, he moved away from Los Angeles, which is where he had lived for more than 20 years. He packed up his life and his family and left.

At first, I was angry because I felt like he was leaving me behind (I know that sounds selfish, but it’s how I felt initially). Then I came to realize that what Bobby needed was time. Time for himself. Time to breathe. Time to recalibrate. Time away from LA. Time, perhaps, to save the life he had skipped over on behalf of others. I pray that he finds the time to live the life he is seeking.

Today at The Sunday Paper, we hear from others who have taken the time to listen to their own hearts and forge a different path forward. May their stories and their advice help you think about how you can do the same. And if you already have, I want to hear from you. How have listened to your heart? How have you made time for yourself? How have you made time to live?

All of this brings me to my favorite poem by my friend Mary Oliver, “The Journey” (you can read an excerpt below). She reminds us that there’s only one life you can save: your own. So start there. If you have time after that, go for it. But make what you do with your time matter. Make it meaningful. You only have so much time here on earth. Take time to live your life. I’m passing on the omen from a world away. I hope you have time to think about it.

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Thinking about Care by Maria Shriver

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I’VE BEEN THINKING by Maria Shriver-Sunday, March 12, 2017

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about care. The word. The concept. The act of it.

Care was something that was front and center in our political discourse this week. The Republicans put forth their new healthcare proposal (a.k.a. Trumpcare) on Monday and spent the week debating it. Meanwhile, the Democrats (like my cousin Congressman Joe Kennedy III) took to the floor to fight for retaining the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Care was also front and center of my mind on Wednesday, International Women’s Day. I got to thinking about all of the millions of women whose lives are devoted to caregiving — whether that’s because it’s their profession, or simply because it’s who they are and what they do.

I also thought about care on a personal level this week. I had a small surgery on Monday that made me dependent on the care of others. My children cared for me, first and foremost. Then there were the doctors and nurses who I didn’t even know, but who stepped up to care for me and care about me during my time of need.

All of this got me thinking about what care means to me in the most practical of terms. How do I define care? What do I care about personally, professionally and politically? How do I show that I care? How do I know someone cares about me, or will care for me? Can a political leader really make you feel cared for? Can your boss? Should he or she even have to care about you?

I think so. I think care is one of the most valuable and important principles for a healthy family and for a healthy country.

I think this is a good time for all of us to think about what care means to us. Many see care as soft, but it’s anything but. Care is a tough, muscular concept. It takes courage to care. It takes passion to stand up for someone or something that you believe in and care about.

This week, I had the chance to speak with a few Architects of Change who have put care front and center in their lives. I was so moved by their caring and so inspired by their work. Their caring has literally changed lives and they are worthy of being honored here in The Sunday Paper. (I hope you will also be touched by their stories, which you will find below.)

I myself am trying to build a more conscious, caring, compassionate and connected world, and I’m trying to do that while also not caring too much about what others think about me and how I live my life.

We must each balance our own idea of care with the world’s cold sharp judgments that stop the tender-hearted among us from stepping forward. Remember, those who judge you don’t know you, nor do they care about who you really are. If we want to find our passion and our purpose, we have to care about something deeply, and yet not care about what other people say about what we’re doing. So, care for yourself. Care for others. But don’t care too much what others think or say. Get that right and you can change the world.

My mother used to always say to me, “If you have your health, you have everything.” I would add that if you have someone who truly cares for you and about you, then you have something money can never buy. You have the whole wide world.