It’s a Wonderful World

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Over the Rainbow It's a Wonderful WorldIt’s been 8 years today, September 18th, since my late husband Gregg and I married. At the GOMF French Meadows Summer Camp in 2003, Gregg and I sang the first song we ever sang together–Over the Rainbow/What’s a Wonderful World. It became our song, with Gregg singing the lead and me harmonizing, and we sang it at our wedding two years later. Here’s the video of that special moment for me at Camp two months ago when I could finally sing the song by myself without crying. The clouds are indeed far behind me. Jason King of Portland Oregon is playing the ukelele. We’re at the campfire. Happy Anniversary, Gregg. I am so glad our paths crossed.

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

It’s Tax Time! Do Your Receipts Reflect What You Intend for Your Life and Work? Are You Focused on What You Want? Are You Focused On What Matters?

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Do Your Receipts Reflect Your Intentions?To me, digging through receipts and tax papers is a form of reflection. The receipts and papers are key indicators as to how I’ve focused my time, energy, and money.

Each year, I gather receipts and papers to prepare of my parents’ tax return.  In prior years, this process was a no-brainer for me. For years, my parents had pretty much been living each day like they did yesterday. Last year’s receipts and papers presented a much different picture.

There were receipts for prescriptions to calm my mom, so my dad could care for her in their home for as long as possible.

There were receipts for home daycare for my mom, who suffers from dementia, so my dad could run errands, visit with his buddy, and not have to worry about leaving my mom alone or being gone too long.

There were no receipts for lawn care, home maintenance, and repairs. There was paperwork for the sale of their home of 40 years and their move to the senior community so they could focus their time and energy on what matters.

There were receipts for ambulance and hospital stays for my dad who suffered his third stroke because he did not make caring for himself a priority.

There were receipts to move my mom to a new home she shares with other folks who also suffer from dementia and the move of my dad to a 1 bedroom apartment in independent living — all on the same campus. There were receipts for blood sugar test kits, Depends, and natural foods because my dad stopped thinking that he didn’t want to die and started thinking he wanted to live — be happy and healthy, taking care of himself, doing things he loved to do, so he could take care of mom and enjoy their time together.

There were less receipts for medications for my mom who is thriving in her new home where she feels safe and loved.

There were receipts for donations to their church and many other charities because they have always given to those less fortunate.

There were receipts from the bulk food store — for almond bark which my mom loves and my dad buys as a special treat for her.

There were receipts from the Henry Ford and Bob Evans restaurant — where my dad took his grandson who came to visit from Arizona.

There were receipts for a road trip my dad and I took to visit his grandchildren who were vacationing on the west side of the state.

There were receipts for guitar strings and art supplies — because my dad started playing his guitar and painting again.

There were receipts for the sale of my dad’s car — because my dad decided to practice “safety first!” and utilize a transportation service.

There were receipts for the cable company — because he can watch the war channel and the western channel with his buddy and record movies to watch with me on movie night — our weekend tradition.

These receipts and papers — if I just looked at them as numbers — then I’d be focusing on the “doing.”  When I look at the essence, I am focused on the “being.”

I can see and celebrate the intentions we set and fulfilled; the values my dad, mom, and I embody; the obstacles we faced and overcame; the sense of purpose we restored, and how we accomplished so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. I could appreciate each moment, and the flow and process of life.

It’s my intention to make every receipt count, to make every moment count.

Do your receipts reflect your intentions for your life and work? Are you focused on what you want? Are you focused on what matters?

For more on handling life transitions, click here.

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Power of Appreciation: Who Could You See Differently? What Could You Celebrate?

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I was enjoying a rare day at home, working in my jammies, when I got the news that a man I worked with for over ten years had died.  His service was starting in just 45 minutes, so I quickly dressed, jumped in the car, and made it just in time.

His rabbi, younger brother, daughter, and granddaughter shared stories of the difference this man made in their lives: How he listened and took a genuine interest in them, made them feel loved and valued, and inspired them to pursue their passions; how they became lovers of music, dance, theater, and art because they experienced it with him through his eyes; and, how the twinkle in his eye, and hearty laugh, helped them to find humor in every experience, especially in difficult circumstances.

His children and grandchildren all nodded in agreement with every word. I was nodding, too.

And then, I remembered that when I was working with this gentleman, I didn’t appreciate these qualities. I was busy being focused on the work to be done and his ability or inability to get the work done. My head (at that time) was filled with thoughts of judgment and criticism because, in my opinion, he didn’t seem to enjoy his work, he wasn’t getting results, and I prided myself in being the queen of results.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Hmmmm….. What I focus on is what I see. What I focus on is usually all that I see. What I focus on creates my reality. Because of my focus, I missed out on truly experiencing the joy of this man. I missed out on appreciating and utilizing the gifts, the success, he was bringing to the table.

I wonder… What could have happened (for me, for him, for the organization) had I asked him about all of the loves of his life, and saw the world for a moment through the light in his eyes? What could have happened (for me, for him, and the organization) had he shared his life experiences, his love of the arts and what inspired him? What could have happened had our breaks and lunches and social events been infused with the spirit of the arts and children?

How might we and  how might I have approached our work differently? How could our results have expanded had we ignited our creativity, invoked our state of wonder, and revitalized our energy? What difference could we have made, how much greater could our results have been, had we and I approached our work with joy and aliveness?

As I reflect, I could beat myself up because of what I didn’t think, say, or do at that time. Instead, I choose to acknowledge and celebrate myself.

I am always in the process of creating the next version of the highest vision of myself. And today, the new, evolved version of me can SEE him and appreciate him. The new highest vision of me celebrates me thinking differently, powerfully, seeing and experiencing the divine spark in everyone one and everything, including myself.

I acknowledge and celebrate that I have grown from the Queen of Results to the  Queen of Significant Results! The Queen of Infinite Results!

Who could you see differently at work? At home?  What could you appreciate about them? What difference could that make? And what can you celebrate about you?

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Valuable Lessons I Learned from My Cousin Bernie

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Mary's Cousin BernieMy cousin Bernie died.  He was 69 years old.  Thirty three years ago, the doctors said he had six months to live.  When he was a child, the doctors said he wouldn’t live past twenty one.

Before the term was considered socially incorrect, Bernie bore the label “mentally retarded.”   Later, he was called “special” and that, indeed, he was.

I loved Bernie. I liked Bernie. I admired Bernie.  I learned a lot from him.

Take it All In

Bernie is the oldest of 23 cousins on my mom’s side of the family.  We gathered often—30+ Italians in close quarters—and it got pretty boisterous.  Bernie always had a sense of peace and content. While he didn’t actively participate with the many cooks in the kitchen, or the adults playing endless rounds of Canasta, or the kid’s games, or the singing and dancing, Bernie did participate. He was present. He had a twinkle in his eye and a satisfied smile, as he breathed in the “all” of everyone around him.

Listen

Bernie made it a point to have one-to-one time with me (and the other cousins.)  I always felt listened to when I was with Bernie. He adjusted our chairs so we were face-to-face. He looked me right in the eyes and used my name – Mary Jeannine – often. He asked open ended questions. He repeated what I said to make sure he understood it.  He started the conversation by telling me what we talked about in our last conversation and asking me what happened. Once, I hadn’t seen Bernie for over ten years and he remembered and asked me about our last conversation!

He expressed empathy and helped me to love and appreciate myself: Oh Mary Jeannine – you can run so fast, you love to sing, I love your smile, you must be so smart, you are so lucky…

When we were done talking, he always thanked me for the conversation and shared how much he enjoyed our little visit. Oxford once said, “Being listened to feels so much like being loved, we can’t tell the difference.” Bernie gave me the experience of being listened to. Bernie made me feel loved.

Give and Receive Compliments and Mean It

At some point in life, I started the practice of deflecting compliments. I didn’t say thank you. I’d point out how I could have been better. I’d say I was lucky or I didn’t deserve it. I felt obligated to come up with a compliment in return.

Then I had a visit with Bernie, who was full of compliments for me. As I deflected each compliment, he paused, looked me in the eye and said, “I mean it, Mary Jeannine.” And he repeated the compliment – with emphasis.

He was steadfast in helping me to receive and absorb the gift of his compliment and give him the gift of my “Thank you.”  He helped me to really see and appreciate the “all” of me, the true me, and build upon that me to create the next me.

Focus on What Truly Matters

When Bernie asked me about my work, he asked a lot of questions. What set Bernie apart was that he didn’t ask about the doing. He asked about the being.  He had a knack for getting to the heart of my work:  Wow –You get to be around all those beautiful plants!  Wow—You grow flowers that go into bouquets! Wow—You get to fly in an airplane and meet new people! Wow—You help make machines that keep people alive! Wow—you wrote a book that people can go to a library and read! …. When Bernie talked about his job, his face lit up as he spoke about how glad he was to help others.

Bernie helped me focus on what truly matters. He helped me rise above the doing and reminded me of the joy and significance of every job I had.

 It’s One Thing to Be Intelligent and Another to Be Happy

When I was ten years old, Bernie said, “I’m not smart like you, Mary Jeannine.”  I was taken aback. I hadn’t really thought about being smart—or not. I tried and couldn’t imagine not being smart. Nor could I imagine how I could handle knowing that I wasn’t smart and worse (in my mind), others knowing I wasn’t as smart as them.

I didn’t think that if I was told I was mentally retarded, that I could love myself, be content, or have the courage or strength to be with other people. At that moment, I felt a profound respect and admiration for Bernie.  He wasn’t smart.  He was kind and loving and compassionate. He appreciated and expressed appreciation for everyone and everything around him. He was happy and he brought happiness to others.

Remembering Bernie

Andy Rooney once said, “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”

I am certain that Bernie has thousands of people who will remember him for the rest of their lives. And I am one of them.

I am so glad he was born, that our paths crossed, and that I got to experience and learn from the miracle of Bernie.

 

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Turning Tragedy into Inspiration: What is the Future you are Creating as you Experience the News of the Connecticut Shootings?

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Turning Tragedy into InspirationWe learn news of  the shootings and deaths of innocent children in Connecticut. We find ourselves filled with all kinds of emotions.

This is not surprising. Something has happened that’s painful and very different from what we expect, what we believe, what we have learned, what we hope for, and what we envision for ourselves and others. And when that happens, our brains do their jobs to keep us functioning efficiently and effectively, safe and out of danger. They immediately deliver to us fight, flight, and freeze thoughts and the emotions that go with them.

Anger, outrage, criticism, judgment, blame, revenge, hopelessness, powerlessness, sadness, despair, shock, and disbelief, are all fight, flight, and freeze thoughts.

Are these bad thoughts and emotions? No — they are not bad. They are gifts.

They serve as a moment of truth, a moment of grand awareness of who I truly am and what I truly wish to create in this world.

Anger, outrage, blame, criticism, judgment, and revenge for example, present the awareness that whatever I am experiencing is NOT in alignment with who I am and what I wish to create in this world.

Grief and sadness present the awareness of what IS important to me, what IS of value to me, and what I truly wish to create in my life and in the world.

This is true for us individually and collectively. Every event, particularly the tragic ones, serves as a defining moment, a significant opportunity to create the next version of the highest vision of ourselves as a person, a friend, a parent, a family, a teacher, a leader, an organization, a community, a nation, a world.

In this moment, I can choose to hold and re-act the fight, flight, and freeze thoughts or I can choose to focus on and create the next version of the highest vision of myself.

Re-act or create. It is up to me. It is always up to me.

Rather than label or judge a situation or a person as bad or good, I can decide who I am in relationship to it and choose the vision of what I wish to create from it.

I may think I am a victim. I am not a victim. I am a creator. I may think I can judge, even condemn. I am not a judge. I am a creator.

I create. Every thought I choose to hold is creating–for better or worse. Individually and collectively. And when it comes down to it, the essence of every thought I have is love or fear.

Fight, flight, and freeze thoughts are rooted in fear. Thoughts of vision, purpose, being of service and making a difference,  wonder and possibility, thankfulness, and joy are rooted in love.

Thoughts rooted in love bring us peace and inspire us and it’s when we are inspired that we achieve long-lasting, meaningful change and significant results.

I choose to create. I choose love.

So as I see, hear, read, and process the news of the Connecticut shootings,  I notice my fight, flight, and freeze thoughts and the emotions as they arise and continue to arise.  I feel them.  I own them. I take a breath and I wonder what I wish to create and I choose thoughts that move me in a direction that serves, contributes and creates the  next version of the highest vision of myself.

I pause. I breathe. I wonder. I choose. I inspire. I create.

These are some questions I can ask myself  when I notice I am in fight, flight, and freeze.

  • What can I say or do right now for the greater good?
  • How can I make a difference in this moment?
  • How can I be of highest and best service in this moment?
  • What could I be thankful for in this moment?
  • How can I demonstrate love in this moment?
  • How can I help?

I can ask these questions with respect to:

  • Those involved
  • My children
  • My family
  • All children
  • All families
  • My school
  • Our schools
  • My community
  • My country
  • All of humanity

For example, I may notice that I am profoundly sad for the parents and the loss of their children. When I take my breath and wonder, I may notice that I am inspired to love and appreciate my children or institute “date night” with my children.  I may notice I am inspired to help coordinate prayer vigils, or activities to write letters or help the families in some way. I may be inspired to help institute programs to help children be safe or learn how to choose peace over violence. I may be inspired to practice being in the moment and practice experiencing the joy and adventure of each stage of my child’s growth and development. I may want to start practicing being kind to myself and others.

Or perhaps I notice I am critical of the educational system or the parenting of the shooter. When I take my breath and wonder, I may notice I am inspired to be a good parent and practice being a good parent. I may be inspired to teach my children about self-awareness and how to manage their thoughts and emotions. I may be inspired to become involved in a meaningful way with my children’s education or contribute to an organization that is dedicated to the treatment of mental illness.

The opportunities to demonstrate love, be of service, help, make a difference, and  affect the greater good are infinite–in any moment. And this is what lights our fire. This is what invokes our light and inspires us. We are all about creating the next version of the highest vision of ourselves.

What we do in times of difficulty can be our greatest success. For the experience we create is a declaration of who we are and who we intend to be.

Confucius said, “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life…”

How are you being in relation to the news of the day? What is the future you are creating?

 

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Creating an Ideal Marriage

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Creating the Ideal MarriageToday is the Anniversary of my marriage to my late husband, Gregg.

When Gregg and I decided to get married, we used the PrioriTreeTM process outlined in my Managing Thought book. We each wrote down seven words to describe what we each thought creates an ideal marriage.

Over the course of the next three months, as we walked, washed dishes, drove in the car, we discussed each word and together, we wrote down the story of us living that word – what are we doing, how are we being, when we are living that word.

The discussion was significant, because the words had different meanings for each of us and we could now understand how we could truly be of service to each other, bring out the best in each other, and invoke each others’ light.

These are our words:

Trust
Respect
Nurture
Glowing
Support
Partner
Value/Appreciate/Thankful
Sanctuary
Growth
Vitality
Fun/Enjoyment

I am so pleased to say that in the months that followed, Gregg and I, with love and lots of do-overs, fulfilled our vision.

The vision helped us to be so in the moment with each other, that when he died just four months after writing our vision, it didn’t feel like we were together for such a short time. It felt like we were together forever.

I am so thankful because this vision is now serving as the starting point, the baseline, for my future relationships.

I know that my capacity to love continues to grow. It is infinite.

Happy Anniversary, Gregg. I am so glad we met and our paths crossed.

 

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

What a Difference a Year Makes!

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What a Difference a Year MakesIt’s been over a year since my mom moved to a home where residents experience memory loss. I am so happy to report that she is thriving. She participates in the daily activities, wins every trivia game, helps out with dishes, laundry, and the care of fellow residents, dances like there’s no tomorrow, and loves to sing. Last week she was in a fashion show. Every afternoon, she has dates with my dad, who lives in the next building. They enjoy holding hands, snuggling, and laughing at dad’s amazing compendium of jokes. My dad is thriving, too. He’s playing guitar again, watching war movies with his buddy, working out everyday, recording his life stories for his grandchildren, enjoying movie night with me, daily afternoons with his sweetheart (my mom!) and the company of everyone he meets. And he gets to see mom interact with others, enjoy herself, and being loved by her fellow residents, which brings the biggest smile to his face.

In the year before their move, my mom wanted to die, would not leave the house, and argued about everything. My dad suffered three strokes and his world kept getting smaller and smaller.  And now, one year later, they are thriving.

Is everything perfect? No. Is everything perfect? Yes.

They are focused on what matters.  They are living, laughing, and loving.

And I so admire them. Happy 64th Anniversary!

 

To read about the lessons in Managing Thought during the transition of my parents from their home of forty years and how to think powerfully as we face difficult life changes, click here.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

A Women’s Guide to Thriving After Prostate Cancer

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A Woman's Guide to Thriving After Prostate CancerI met Cindie Hubiak when I presented a workshop on Managing Thought® to the Board of the Arizona Society of CPAs. Cindie, the President of the Society, impressed me on so many levels.

First, that she engaged me. She feels very strongly in giving her members tools to help them thrive as CPAs, as business owners, as leaders, and as human beings. Cindie clearly understands the significance of self-awareness and choosing thoughts that are aligned with who we truly are and what what we wish to create in our lives, our businesses, and our relationships.

Second, her ability to involve and inspire her team and her members. She is clearly of highest and best service, has fun, and achieves significant and meaningful results.

Third, we both tell people we are glad they were born when we wish them a happy birthday. :)

What most impressed me is Cindie’s personal story and her commitment to helping women whose partners are suffering or recovering from prostate cancer.   She provides the tools to honor and grieve your losses, strengthen your relationship, and lead fulfilling lives — mentally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually.

If you or someone you know is dealing with prostate cancer, order her book: A Women’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer.

Her book isn’t just for women. It’s for men who want to empower the women in their lives and ensure their relationships thrive.

Also, visit Cindie’s website www.SolutionsForIntimacy.com. It’s an amazing resource.

P.S. Thank you, Cindie for the difference you are making.  I am honored to be included in your book as a Resource for Moving from Surviving to Thriving.  You show so beautifully and poignantly how managing our thoughts leads to self-awareness, creativity, and a life of gratitude even when we are experiencing cancer.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Do Your Receipts Reflect Your Intentions?

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You may find it amazing that the words “doing taxes” and “appreciating each moment” could be in the same blog. It’s not surprising to me.  What I focus on creates my reality. So it follows that how I spend my time, energy, and money creates my reality.

To me, digging through receipts and tax papers is a form of reflection and the receipts and papers are key indicators as to how time, energy, and money were focused during the year.

This last weekend, I spent gathering receipts and papers for the preparation of my parents’ tax return.  In prior years, this process was a no-brainer for me. For years, my parents had pretty much been living each day like they did yesterday.

This year ‘s tax info presented a much different picture.

There were receipts for prescriptions to calm my mom, so my dad could care for her in their home for as long as possible.

There were receipts for home daycare for my mom, who suffers from dementia, so my dad could run errands and visit with his buddy and not have to worry about leaving my mom alone or being gone too long.

There was paperwork for the sale of their home of 40 years — the letter informing us that the sale had fallen through and then the subsequent sale of their home to a neighbor.

There was paperwork for their move to the senior community to an apartment in independent living.

There were receipts for ambulance and hospital stays for my dad who suffered his third stroke.

There were receipts for the move of my mom to an apartment where she lives with other folks who also suffer from dementia and the move of dad to a 1 bedroom apartment in independent living — all on the same campus.

There were receipts for donations to their church and many other charities because they have always given to those less fortunate.

There were no receipts for lawn care, home maintenance and repairs, and less receipts for doctor visits because all that is taken care of at their new home.

There were receipts for blood sugar test kits, Depends, and natural foods because my dad stopped thinking that he didn’t want to die.  He decided he wanted to live — be happy and healthy, taking care of himself, doing things he loved to do, so he can take care of mom and enjoy their time together.

There were receipts for golfing — something my dad loves to do and couldn’t do while he was caring for my mom 24-7.

There were receipts from the bulk food store — for almond bark which my mom loves and my dad buys as a special treat for her.

There were receipts from the Henry Ford and Bob Evans restaurant — where my dad took his grandson who came to visit from Arizona.

There were receipts for a road trip my dad and I took to visit his grandchildren who were vacationing on the west side of the state.

There were receipts for guitar strings — because my dad is playing his guitar again.

There were receipts for the cable company — because he can watch the war channel and the western channel with his buddy and record movies to watch with me on movie night — our weekend tradition.

These receipts and papers — if I just looked at them as numbers — then I’d be focusing on the “doing.”  When I look at the essence, I am focused on the “being.”

I could see and celebrate, the values my dad, mom, and I embody, the obstacles we faced and overcame, the sense of purpose we restored, and how we accomplished so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. I could appreciate each moment.

It’s my intention to make every receipt count, to make every moment count.

Do your receipts reflect your intentions?

For more on handling life transitions when caring for your aging parents, click here.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Happy Spring! It’s time to Renew Your Intentions

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Mary Lore Spring RenewalThe sweet smell of spring is in the air. Trees are budding, bulbs are blooming. It’s a time of renewal. And a great time to refresh and renew ourselves.

Many of us are experiencing incredible shifts in our lives, experiencing grief over the loss of what once was, and fear of the uncertainty that lies ahead.

We think something’s wrong and nothing is wrong. We are experiencing the same type of challenge that a seed faces when it bursts through its seed casing; that a seedling faces when it bursts through the surface of the soil and is exposed to the light and the wind and rain, and; that a bud experiences when it bursts into flower.

We are in the midst of creating the next highest vision of ourselves.

Our brains, bless their hearts, have no idea how to help us during this amazing transition.

You may notice that old, negative, weak thought patterns are emerging. They can be the result of our previous practices of fight, flight, and freeze thoughts. They can be the result of conclusions we’ve drawn on what the brain believes are similar experiences. They can be a result of habits we’ve developed in dealing with past circumstances.

Remember to see these thoughts for what they are—thoughts. We are the observer of these thoughts, and we can choose whether to utilize these thoughts or not.

When these weak and negative thoughts reappear, they can be frightening. You may ask yourself, “Why are they back? I thought this was long gone, not a part of my nature anymore?” The key observation and reminder here is that the reappearance of these thoughts is, in fact, a form of detoxification—a purification of your thinking. Old, negative, weak thinking stored in your brain from past experiences is rising to the surface to be washed away. The fact that you are observing the thoughts and emotions, and not unconsciously surrendering to them, is indicative of the growth you have achieved and worthy of celebration.

Take a moment to acknowledge how far you have come and affirm your commitment to creating the next highest vision of yourself.

If you have no idea what that next highest vision of yourself is — then it’s time to re-invoke the state of wonder. Wonder what’s next, with genuine curiosity, and a sense of adventure.

Then take care to re-establish your connection with your highest awareness and re-align yourself with your true nature: Do the things you love to do, that energize you, vitalize your health, and make you smile and laugh.  Help someone. Take time to be quiet each day. Practice thankfulness.

When we are in a state of purpose and intention, wonder and possibility, thankfulness, calm and happiness, we are in touch with our highest awareness and become inspired. We receive creative ideas on what to do next and how to do it and remarkable things start to happen.

I invite you to watch this inspiring video as part of your spring renewal and refresh process: Intentions, Affirmations, and Resolutions for Creating a Life Well-Lived.

What’s one thing you could practice to refresh, renew, and create your life well-lived?

 

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.