“Life is complicated for everyone.  Simple, then confusing and then clear.”

Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper-“I’ve Been Thinking,” is hands down my favorite email I receive weekly.

So along with countless others, I’m delighted her latest book, “I’ve Been Thinking; Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life,” has just been published.  It’s my go to gift now for everyone I love.

I’ve always seen Maria as a rare evolved being who belongs in each of the twelve major archetypes. From Caregiver, (she is the mother of four brilliant children); to a black belt Intellectual in curiosity with Peabody Awards in Journalism, to Taste-Maker to Advocate to Athlete. A former First Lady of California, she may have cruised into a Senate seat in California or even an oval office. Her family of origin is mythical.  This new book is already her 7th New York Times bestseller.

And yet “I’ve Been Thinking” is the powerhouse that takes a further leap into Maria’s true energy field and archetype as a Spiritual Visionary. This is about an ability to be still and think. It sounds simple, but I’ve found it’s not as easy as it sounds.

As Maria says, to figure out what we think “nudges us to start thinking about what we really want.”

But how many of us know what we really think and what we really want?

“My mother didn’t stop until she was eighty-eight,” Maria says. “She felt she had not yet proven herself so she kept working. I work on myself.”

What if we are our mothers’ daughters, and yet we are from different generations?  How do we pass along our definitions of certain words, like ‘deserve?’

For Maria’s mother, Eunice Shriver, deserve had no place or meaning.

Maria writes a chapter about how she had to learn to deserve.  To give herself permission.

Deserving is not a word that comes easily to me either or many others I know.

Now Maria guides us to keep an “I Deserve List.”

Not because it is an entitlement to what the world owes you – but a reminder of what you deserve to give to yourself.

I deserve to create my own lists.  To eat healthy foods I really love.  I deserve to go to sleep earlier.

To be loving and kind to my children and first to build a home within myself.  I must or there is no home for anyone.

I deserve to ask for help.  To be forgiven.  To forgive.

To grieve when I need to grieve.  To celebrate with joy.  To go at my own pace without self-judgment.

To believe in God and pray and reflect and meditate daily if that’s what works for me.  To stop as the world is spinning.   To allow myself to have a meaningful life.

To recognize, as Maria said, that “well known people don’t often have cause to really know themselves.” They are “visible and unseen,” at the same time.

What if this is true for us all?

What if we all deserve to be seen?

“Really seeing somebody is the most important gift you can give to a person. To be truly known and heard somehow. Not as our family, our job, or our husband.  If you have even one person who can do that, you have a real friend.”

What I really think and feel about “I’ve Been Thinking,” is that in every sentence and prayer, its author is my friend.

Thank you, Maria.