Sunday, April 8, 2018

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

I've always admired Maria Shriver; always felt she was a smart, sharp woman, on top of her game, fearless, and always able to speak with kindness and compassion. This little gem of a book, chock full of wisdom from Maria, is just what I needed at this time in my life. I can't wait to gift it to my sisters. 

The chapters are short, and each focuses on so many topics we as women have overlooked or felt guilty about dwelling on for years. The power of being a woman; the power of forgiveness, and how it can heal us when we let go. The power of letting go of old beliefs and embracing new ones. The power to be okay with taking a break; to rest and recharge. Most importantly, the power of loving ourselves even in those times when we are less than we know we can be. 

At the end of each chapter Maria offers a simple prayer for each topic. I found myself pausing over each prayer, and thinking about each chapter. It's a small book; easy to tuck into a bag and carry around. Even though this book is short, it took me a few weeks of reading a few chapters, putting it down, ruminating on it, and then picking it up. It was, for me, a bit of a meditation. I sometimes feel less than, because I'm not a wife, or a mother. I have a great job, but I feel less than, trying to learn everything to be my best, and wondering if I've just left it too late to begin again. Maria's book gave me some peace, and let me know I'm not alone feeling these things. Perfectionism is overrated, and no one is perfect. Being cheerful and encouraging to others is a good thing, but if we're not loving to ourselves, and encouraging to ourselves, we're missing the big picture. 

Most of all, what I felt after reading this book was hope for myself; to keep trying everyday, and to have courage, but also to love myself when I don't feel particularly lovable. Meditation in any way we can get it, and in any way that feels good to ourselves is important. Whether it's listening to music, or going for a walk; running and listening to podcasts, or puttering around the kitchen. Reading a book in a quiet space, or driving in silence. They all count, and help us refocus. Prayer to whomever you pray to is also important. Just a simple ask for a good day helps set a positive tone and a positive frame of mind.

So I have to say thank you to Maria Shriver, and to Pamela Dorman/Viking Books for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful little book. It's something I would have skipped over in my hurriedness to read other books, exercise, and get through the week of work and obligations. And I can't wait to share it with my sisters. 

Rating:  5/6 for a book full of a woman's wisdom about life and how to live it. Maria points out that everyday is a new beginning, and paying attention and living in the here and now, loving ourselves and helping others is the way to living our best lives. 

Available in hardcover, large print paperback, and ebook--this would make a great birthday, Mother's Day, graduation gift! Or just a great "Hey I was thinking of you" gift.  

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