WGBH News' midday host Henry Santoro interviews author and journalist Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, about her newly released book, "I've been Thinking...Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life." Below is loosely edited transcription of the interview. To listen to their conversation, click on the audio player above.
Henry Santoro: Maria Shriver is a one-woman powerhouse. She's won many awards as a journalist, a producer and host, she's a New York Times best-selling author, as well as the founder of the Women's Alzheimer Movement. She also has four children to keep track of. But nobody knows more than Maria, that in order to make sense of it all, you've got to be focused. And in order to focus, you need some me time. And that's where her new book comes in. It's called,“I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations For A Meaningful Life.” Maria Shriver, it's a pleasure to have you at WGBH and to Henry in the Hub.
Maria Shriver: Thank you so much. Thank you for that beautiful introduction, thank you.
Santoro: You are very welcome. The passages in this book are an offshoot from your online publication, The Sunday Paper. What's the mission of that publication?
Shriver: It's to get above the noise of the week. It's a newsletter for people with passion and purpose, who want to get above the noise. And it's to tell people what I'm thinking of the stories of the day, of the news of the week.
Santoro: You think about the same things that we do. You think about your child going off to school, you think about, you know, things that we all must deal with in our daily lives.
Shriver: Absolutely. I think we all think about the issues that I write about in this book. We think about our faith or lack thereof, we think about power, why don't we have it? What is it? Success. What does it look like? Why don't I feel it? Letting go. Forgiveness. Kindness. You know, all of these issues I think, that are what make up "a meaningful life.”
Santoro: What's the importance of meditation in your life, or as I said in my intro, the me time that you deal with every day?
Santoro: Yeah, I think for me, it's a practice of grounding myself, of helping myself to calm down, to find the peace that I thought would come from success, but that I've now realized is inside of me. It's a practice that helps me go out into the world every day from a calmer place, a more compassionate place. So, I have found that in my life having specific practices helped me stay centered and helped me stay present in my life, as opposed to jumping into someone else's life and comparing mine to theirs and wondering why I don't have what they have, and all that stuff that makes you crazy.
Santoro: You have been living in California for some time, but I know — because I'm one too — but you're still a Cape Cod person at heart.
Shriver: I write about that in the book.
Santoro: I know you do. And that's why I brought that up, because — tell us about what it's like to go back to Hyannis Port?
Santoro: Well I write in the book, you know, after my parents died, I thought to myself, why am I coming back to Cape Cod? What is it? And is that more my past, or is that my future? What role does it play in my life? And my brothers are all in the Cape in the summer. And so, I find that I sometimes have struggled, like why am I going back to the Cape? And then I go back there, and I feel like this is a part of me. This is, this has memories, but it also has my present. It has my time to connect with my brothers and their spouses and their children. And I get to, obviously, go visit my parents who are buried on the Cape. And I go visit my cousin Caroline, who lives on the Vineyard. And I am able to find a part of me that exists there, that isn't with me in California.
Santoro: It is a very special place.
Shriver: Yes, it is ... It's so much a part of how I grew up and a part of the thoughts that went into this book. Many of them were formed on the Cape.
Santoro: What's the one piece of advice that you keep coming back to in “I've been thinking…”
Shriver: It’s that life, as my mother said, is a marathon, not a sprint, and that we can have it all, but it happens over a lifetime, and that you have to be patient.
Santoro: Well, Maria Shriver, it's been a pleasure speaking with you. The book is called, “I’ve been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.” And I'd love to run into you on the Cape sometime.
Shriver: Thank you. I'm sure if we both manifest it, it will happen.
Santoro: That's great.