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I’ve Been Thinking

Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life

By Maria Shriver
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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I’ve Been Thinking by Maria Shriver

I’ve Been Thinking (2018) is a collection of thoughts, quotes, and prayers to accompany you through daily life. Whether you’re young or old, religious or agnostic, have both feet on the ground or find yourself in a difficult place, it will inspire you to chart your own path to a meaningful life.

Key idea 1 of 7

It’s important to pause and reflect so you can change direction if you need to.

Despite what people’s social media accounts may have you believe, no one lives a perfect life. Behind the scenes, our lives are full of twists and turns, of loss and love, of beautiful coincidences and nasty surprises. 

The problem isn’t that life’s not perfect. The problem is that we get angry, sad, and frustrated because we expect it to be. 

But here’s the thing. We can’t change the things that happen to us. But as famous writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou advised, “If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” 

Here’s the key message: It’s important to pause and reflect so you can change direction if you need to.

Changing the way we think about things means we can also change how we react to them and strive to become the most caring, considerate, and compassionate version of ourselves.

Of course, these changes take time, and time is a precious resource in today’s busy world. 

That’s why it’s the most important gift you can give to yourself. As often as you can, slow down your life and press pause. This means consciously scheduling uninterrupted time in your day that you can use to think, reflect, and just be in the present moment. 

When you do this, you will notice that many things in your busy life are not what they seem – and not as they need to be. You may pause and realize that, even though you had a crappy day at work, you are surrounded by colleagues who admire and respect you. You may pause and reconsider passing on the gossip you just overheard in a snarky text to your friends. You may pause and find that the anger you’re feeling toward your spouse is really sadness over the death of a friend. 

So whenever you’re struggling with a situation or decision that your imperfect life throws at you, pause! Think about what you would like your values, purpose, and mission in life to be. Recall the times in the past you’ve demonstrated strength, wisdom, and courage. Remember that you’re not defined by the things that happen to you, but by how you choose to deal with them. And then move in the direction of who you want to be. 

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