I’ve Been Thinking . . .Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life | Maria Shriver

Summary of: I’ve Been Thinking . . .Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life
By: Maria Shriver

Introduction

Embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth with Maria Shriver’s ‘I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.’ The book summary urges readers to change their perspectives by pausing, reflecting, and appreciating the present moment. Delve into the importance of prayer, meditation, and gratitude practices as a means to attain inner peace and clarity in our lives. Learn from the valuable leadership skills of motherhood and the power of extending care and compassion beyond our immediate families. Explore the significance of grieving, embracing change, and reevaluating beliefs to become kinder, wiser, and more compassionate individuals.

Life is Imperfect

Our lives are full of twists and turns, of loss and love.Instead of getting frustrated with a life that’s not perfect, we must change the way we think about things and become the most caring, considerate, and compassionate version of ourselves. It’s important to pause and reflect, change direction if needed, and consciously schedule uninterrupted time in our day to think and reflect. We must remember we’re not defined by the things that happen to us, but by how we choose to deal with them.

Cultivating Inner Peace

Maria Shriver shares how prayer, meditation, and gratitude practices can help individuals attain inner peace, regardless of their religious beliefs or background.

Maria Shriver grew up in a devout Catholic family where prayer was mandatory. Although she no longer believes that Catholicism has all the answers to life, she continues to pray regularly, often asking for guidance, hope, and forgiveness. Shriver believes that prayer is not just about faith but a powerful tool for understanding oneself.

Shriver notes that prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be religious and shares the Jesuits’ process of discernment as an example of prayer guiding decision-making. Other practices, such as meditation and gratitude, are also proven ways of cultivating inner peace.

She suggests starting the day by listing three things to be grateful for and ending the day with a ten-minute meditation to let go of stress and worries. With consistent practice, these habits become easier and lead to inner peace, which can then be translated into relationships, workplaces, and society, making the world a better place.

Motherhood as Leadership

The book argues that motherhood requires leadership skills that our society could benefit from. Being a good mother involves more than feeding and clothing children; mothers advise, console, and encourage their children to become the best version of themselves. Good mothers see the potential of each child and build a great team. The book calls for our leaders to adopt some motherly qualities such as care and compassion. The author argues that a social kindness movement propelled by motherly love has the power to make our world a better place.

Extend Your Motherly Love

Maria’s journey from an empty nest to a full heart teaches us to extend our love beyond our family.

Maria realized that being a family was not limited to blood relations when her youngest son left for college. She learned that her motherly love could extend further than her immediate family. She started by inviting friends, neighbors, colleagues, and distant relatives for Sunday dinner, creating a new tradition to show people that she cared for them.

Caring is a skill that you can develop, practice, and extend to others. And it will leave your family and communities stronger. Listening with purpose and intent to others is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to anyone, no matter their age, origins, politics, or religious beliefs. Empathy is a valuable skill to hone in a world where everyone carries different baggage.

Forgiveness is hard, and it can take a long time to release the fear, hate, and resentment in our hearts, but it is an attribute of the strong. If you can learn it, you will feel more powerful than ever.

Remember to express gratitude to the people in your life through words and gestures as it is a sign of care and can be a rewarding experience both for you and them. Do not skip the thank-you note for a thoughtful birthday gift.

In conclusion, Maria’s journey from an empty nest to a full heart teaches us to extend our love beyond our family and care for our friends and communities.

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