As a prominent, high-profile woman juggling many roles, Maria Shriver knows just how surprising, unpredictable, and stressful everyday life can be. In her new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life,” the award-winning journalist, author and mother of four shares her reflections for those seeking wisdom, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration on the road to a meaningful life.
“My hope is that people will feel a connection or get comfort from what they’re reading,” Shriver told the Herald. “My goal is that [the book] be a companion for them to use and pass along to people that they care about. It’s hard for people to know how to infuse reflections, prayers, and ground themselves in their own belief systems…to find that place of strength and calm so we go out better into the world.”
In the 240-page, small-sized hardcover book, published by Dorman Books/Viking and scheduled for release on Feb. 27, Shriver offers up lessons she’s learned along the way and meditations she’s kept by her side as touchstones to help her negotiate the challenges that arise in everyone‘s life. She shares inspiring quotes, prayers, and reflections designed to get readers thinking, get them feeling, get them laughing, and get them through in one piece on their journey to what she calls The Open Field — a place of acceptance, purpose, passion and joy.
As if being a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times bestselling author, an Alzheimer’s advocate, and an NBC News special anchor isn’t enough, Shriver, also served as the First Lady of California for six years when her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the state’s governor.
She, of course, grew up in a family that was driven to serve: her uncle John F. Kennedy was president; uncles Bobby and Teddy Kennedy served in the U.S. Senate and also ran for the presidency. Her father, Sergeant Shriver, was founding director of the Peace Corps and led the nation’s war on poverty (he ran for president as well.) Her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, started the Special Olympics, and with her husband, raised Maria and her four brothers.
Whether it was running for office or doing altruistic acts, Shriver’s family was big on “saving the world.” And that put a lot of pressure on her throughout her life.
“My [own] world wasn’t important, my family was extremely focused on helping others … but I saw people [in my family] killing themselves or getting killed, and I started to think ‘what about me? What do I deserve? Why am I working 24 hours a day, or trying fixing everyone else and their issues?’ I had to come up for air.”
Now, she says, she’s learning to do these things from a place of newfound inner peace through mediation, gratitude practice, and by implementing prayer, organizing her day, and by recognizing the boundaries. “I reach out to people, and do a better job of asking for help, I’ve changed tremendously.”
Shriver says we are always evolving and learning, and hopes that her book will be a bedside companion. “I offer the tools,“ she says “… to stay above the noise, and find that sanctuary. I can’t tell someone to do Transcendental Meditation (which she practices), but I can tell them how it works for me. The book is an offering — at the end of the day, we’re all responsible for [knowing] what we deserve, how we want to be treated. I embrace all the complexities about myself.“
Ending each chapter with a prayer offering, starting with “Dear God…” Shriver says that the reader can put in any words they want. “I practice Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism … if you want, you can pray to the tree in your backyard, or it could just be a moment of silence. It’s more than religion — it’s inspiration and counsel.”
“We were so thrilled when we were asked to host Maria Shriver for her latest book,” says Carol Hoenig, co-owner of Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine in Rockville Centre. “She comes from such a highly respected family, and has always been a class act, no matter what life throws at her. We knew her event would be too big for the bookstore and are grateful for our relationship with Madison Theatre. We’re looking forward to her interview with Larry Davidson, former host of Davidson & Co. and Writers on the Vine.”
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Madison Theatre, Molloy College, 1000 Hempstead Ave., Rockville Centre. Visit www.madisontheatreny.org or call the box office at 516-323-4444 or visit www.turnofthecorkscrew.com or call 516-764-6000.
: Tickets are $25 and include a copy of her new book.