06/28/2021 / Review

I've Been Thinking by Maria Shriver

There are times when I just need a book that helps me relax my mind while gathering my thoughts. This is that book. The introduction helps to set the tone for a peaceful time where Shriver's words gently helped my own wonderings come to the forefront of my mind. When she wrote, "My writings come from a place deep in my heart and mind. Friends and family have often joked that I think too much and should relax. But for me, thinking and then writing about my life and the world around me helps me to get clear and find peace," I felt a sisterhood of thought as I could of written those same words about myself. 
I've Been Thinking is not a book that needs to be read cover to cover. Rather than chapters, it is a written in a manner that invites the reader to glide through and find the theme that resonates at that moment. I've subscribed to Maria's digital newsletter, The Sunday Paper for a while now, and this book "evolved" from her column, " I've Been Thinking". Themes,  rather than chapters, offer invitations to contemplate.  A few that captured my thoughts included  "I Am Who I Chose to Become", "The Power of Peace Starts from Within" and "What I'm Carrying With Me into Each New Year".  Thoughtful quotes are included with each theme. For example, "We're in Need of a Social Kindness Movement" shares the quote attributed to Mark Twain, "Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see".  

Prayers and meditations are woven throughout. Maria writes, "While I use the word 'God' to describe a force larger than myself, I know not everybody does. I'm just sharing with you what has helped me navigate my own life. As they say, 'Take what you like and leave the rest'." 

I highly recommend this book to use in reflection and as a guide as you contemplate your mindful moments. 

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Kathleen Palmieri

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Learning Facilitator, and a fifth grade educator in upstate New York. She reviews professional texts and writes education articles for Middleweb. As a writer with a passion for pedagogy, Kathleen's focus is on education practices and strategies, as well as her own experiences as an educator. She has presented at math conferences, writing workshops, actively collaborates in literacy projects, and networks globally.