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By Maria Shriver
March 18, 2016
Maria Shriver is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer and a best-selling author.

Start where you are. Not where you wish you were, but where you are.

Such a wise thought from Pema Chödrön and such a relief as well.

I like that because I finally like where I’m starting from. I’m starting from here and now. In the past I’ve spent too much time thinking about where I should be, beating myself up as to why I wasn’t “there.” I said to a friend a while back, “I’ve got to hurry up and get going and get there.” She quietly listened and asked, “Where are you in such a rush to get to Maria?” I paused unable to give an answer to her or to myself.

Where, in fact, was I rushing to? Good question. Where was I envisioning myself to be? Certainly not where I was.…I’m at peace with where I am in my journey. Because I’m at peace with me. My energy is different because I’m different. I’m aligned with me and my mission to be authentically myself. Not to compare myself to others or judge myself or others. My goal is to live in the present, not in the future or in the past.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. The future offers a chance to think that there will be a time when everything will be as we dream. Focusing on the past often leaves me questioning myself, criticizing myself or deluding myself. Both rob me of the present.

Today, on this Sunday, I’m grateful and excited. Excited that later in the day I’ll be interviewing my cousin Patrick Kennedy for our Architects of Change conversation series about his new best seller, A Common Struggle. It’s a brave account of his own struggles with addiction and mental health challenges. He wrote the book to open hearts and minds about the struggle that millions of individuals and families find themselves in when it comes to addiction and mental health.

I know that it’s never easy to share parts of ourselves that bring up feelings of shame, anxiety, fear and/or embarrassment. What I also know is that no one lives a perfect life. It doesn’t matter whether you were born into a famous family or not. No one is immune from some kind of struggle whether it be mental, emotional, financial or professional. Everyone has something to work through. And more often than not that struggle is tough and scary.

So this Sunday, start where you are. Align yourself with your heart and your mind. Focus on your mission. The past is gone. Today, this day, offers each of us a chance to be the person we want to be and are. Not the person we want to be in some distant future, but the person we are today.

Outside of my son’s room is a poster that belonged to my dad. It says, “Do a common thing uncommonly well.” My cousin Patrick has taken a common struggle and spoken about it uncommonly well.

Start where you are. Do a common thing like living in the present uncommonly well.

This article originally appeared on

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