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.

The Power to Choose Significance

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Mary Lore and Gregg Simmons 9-18-2005On September 18, 2002, I was in Taos, New Mexico for a week-end retreat. At the time, I was in the process of dramatically changing my line of work, transitioning from the world of finance and crisis management to the world of Managing Thought®. I had never been to a retreat before and the only reason I went was to meet Taoist Master Ni Hua-Ching. He had fully dedicated himself to help people raise their consciousness and bring about a better world and I wanted to learn first-hand how he had constructed this life for himself.

As it turns out, Master Ni didn’t show. He returned to China and put the retreat in the hands of his two sons. My first thoughts and emotions were of disappointment. I wanted to speak with Master Ni. Only Master Ni could make this retreat worthwhile for me!

I quickly recovered and with full faith that something valuable and meaningful could be gained, I wondered what it could be. I went to breakfast, sat down and looked across the table into the eyes of an amazing man who I married three years later, on September 18, 2005 – Gregg Simmons.

During our time together, I gained so much.

  • He helped me expand my capacity to love deeply, laugh heartily and live life fully.
  • He saw the love and light in me, held up the mirror so I could see it too, and he encouraged me to share this light with others.
  • He introduced me to his friends who are now my friends.
  • When he died suddenly just three months after our wedding, friends and family said it was a shame that our time together was so short. Because we were so in the moment in each of our moments, it felt like we were together forever. He helped me experience the true power of being in the moment.

As I reflect on this, I find a valuable and meaningful lesson.

On the surface, it seems that September 18th is a day of great significance for me.

To me, the real significance is in the moment, in the choices I made when I learned that I wouldn’t be meeting Master Ni. In that moment, I could have chosen to remain disappointed or get angry, leave the retreat or skip breakfast. I could have been so caught up in my emotions that I didn’t notice Gregg, or listen to him, or caused him to be disinterested in me.

Because I chose to wonder how I could gain something valuable and meaningful from the retreat to help me be of service to the world, I met the man who helped me to do just that.

I have the opportunity for significance all day long every day. As “stuff” happens, I always have the opportunity to choose who I wish to become and what I wish to create in this world.

I have the power to choose significance.

How can you choose significance today?

For more on this, read or listen to the Forward Thinking™ Reminder, Choosing Intentions.

P.S.  Gregg Simmons, it is my honor and joy to have been your best friend, lover, confidante, teacher, student and fellow adventurer.  Thank you for introducing me to carrot cake. I am enjoying a piece as I write this and I raise my plate to you!

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Transforming Guilt

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Transforming Guilt by Mary J. LoreToday is the 64th wedding anniversary of my parents. It’s also been two months since my dad made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. Recovering from his third stroke in six months, he decided to move from my parents’ new independent living apartment, to a small apartment, and move my mom to a home that specializes in care for those with dementia. This blog is seventh in a series on my parents’ recent move from their home of forty years and handling big changes in their lives.

When a counselor asked my dad how he was doing, he said that he felt the best he has felt in years. Then he added, “There are times I feel guilty.  When I’m enjoying myself, I feel guilty.  I think about my wife being alone, wondering why we’re not living together, feeling abandoned, thinking she’s been put away.”

The counselor said, “You shouldn’t feel guilty.” She went on to describe how well mom is doing, how well she is cared for and how much fun she’s having dancing and participating in activities. She then told my dad that he needed to take care of himself and finished with, “You shouldn’t feel guilty.”

Of course, after the first, “You shouldn’t feel guilty,” all that my dad heard was, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And after the second, “You shouldn’t feel guilty,” his brain was busy delivering to him his entire archive of thoughts and feelings of guilt and now he really felt guilty!

I later explained to my dad that guilt is a fight, flight, and freeze thought that his brain is delivering to him because something is happening that is different from what he hopes or expects or believes or has concluded from past experiences.

He shared that he never dreamed that he and my mom would end up like this.

I asked him, “What do you truly want?” He said when they got married, he vowed to take care of my mom, no matter what.  I asked him, “What are all the ways you can take care of Mom?”

He had a long list – he’s made sure she’s in a great place, with great food and company and care, he visits her every day, tucks her in at night, brings her chocolate, holds her hand, takes her to church and on a lunch date every Sunday, plays bingo with her, puts her on the phone with her sisters, tells her jokes, helps her to feel safe and loved.

I asked him, “What are all the ways you can take care of yourself so you can take care of Mom?” Again, he had a long list of things he could do to take care of his mind, body and spirit, which of course, included being with friends and enjoying himself.

Then I asked him what he could practice thinking when he experiences guilt. He decided to acknowledge the guilt thought, without blame or judgment, and remind himself how much he loves his wife and how he’s fulfilling the promise he made 64 years ago–to take care of her, no matter what.

What are you telling yourself you should or shouldn’t think? And what could you prefer to think?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Overcoming Obstacles

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Overcoming ObstaclesPicture this:  It’s packing day. Moving day is tomorrow and I get a voicemail from the realtor to say the sale of my parents’ house has fallen through! The buyers’ bank, which had pre-approved the mortgage, has discovered that the buyer had co-signed on a loan that went south and is now backing out of the deal. This blog is fifth in the series sharing lessons in Managing Thought during the recent sudden move of my parents from their home of forty years.

My eyes opened wide.  My jaw dropped.  I gasped.

The voicemail continues as the realtor explains that they have eight people who want to see the home immediately. She is confident they’ll have another offer soon. And all I am hearing is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…because I am busy thinking thoughts that are much louder – Oh my God! What do I do? Everything is almost packed. When my dad hears the news, he could have another stroke! How could this happen? They pre-approved the loan! I can’t show the house now. It’s a mess…..

I took a breath, exhaling deeply, and thought about what I was thankful for. Immediately, I realized I was thankful that the realtor called me, and not my dad. And I was thankful that I knew how to manage my thoughts, that I could see these fight, flight, and freeze thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, not reality, and that I could choose powerful thoughts of vision, purpose, and wonder…which led me to wondering what was possible.

I asked the realtor what the quickest possible close with a new buyer could be. She told me a cash sale with no inspection. I wondered how we could find such a buyer and let it go.

Now on to the big question – to move or not to move?

I knew my dad would be worried about the money. The plan was to sell the house first and then move so they wouldn’t have the expense of two homes and so they could use the proceeds from the sale to purchase the long-term care guaranty option, which guarantees their care for the rest of their lives.

I reflected on the original vision, purpose, intention, of the plan to move right away.

In moving now, my parents qualify for independent living. If my mother’s dementia progresses or my father’s health deteriorates, they would not qualify for independent living, and then would not be eligible for the long-term care guaranty. The long-term care guaranty brings my father peace of mind and the ability to fulfill his intention of taking care of his wife and himself until their death.  The new home, with all of its services, allows my dad to focus his energy on what matters most and to have some fun. The new home allows my dad and mom to get out, interact with others, take part in activities, go on dates and have a great quality of life.

I became inspired and decided to move forward with the move, trusting in the process.  I shared all this with my father including the wondering about the cash sale buyer. My dad then said his neighbor had expressed interest in buying the house several months back. I called the neighbor.

The end result – We moved the next day. My parents got their first month free in their new home. And in that month, the neighbor bought the house for cash with no inspection! My parents purchased the long-term guaranty and all is very well in their world.

We often set goals expecting things to happen a certain way to achieve the goal. Invariably, something happens that’s different than we expect, and our brains deliver us fight, flight and freeze thoughts. Without self-awareness, these thoughts of worry, frustration, blame, fear etc. can rule our world. When we practice managing our thoughts, we know that life isn’t always in a straight line. It can be curvy. And when something happens that’s different than we expect, we can pause to add light, take that breath, choose powerful thoughts of vision and purpose, thankfulness and wonder and be amazed as remarkable things start to happen.

How can you practice self-awareness to overcome obstacles?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Power of Imagination

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This blog is blog number four in a series of reflections on lessons in Managing Thought during the recent sudden move of my parents — lessons we can apply every day at work and in life.

When I was helping my parents with the move, I found bags and bags and bags and bags of bags! I share this to give you an idea of what my dad was feeling when he said, “What am I gonna do with this stuff? It won’t fit in the apartment. Maybe we shouldn’t move.”  He was clearly experiencing the flight and freeze of fight, flight or freeze.

As he started rummaging through it all, he became increasingly overwhelmed, “Why did we keep this? We don’t need that,” criticizing himself and my mom.

I suggested to Dad that he focus on what he wanted to keep. I imagined Dad doing what he loves to do.  He loves to cook, golf, read, listen to music and educational tapes, go on walks, exercise, tinker, purify his water, watch war movies.  He often said he’d like to get back to doing water color.

We had agreed to take this “journey of a thousand miles”, one step at a time. So I first suggested he gather everything he wanted to keep relating to his art supplies. When that was done, he focused on his golf keepers. Then he gathered the books and tapes he wanted to keep …

As he gathered these things, he perked up. He started talking about what he planned to paint and how he could set up his bench in his room. He spoke of the golf league he wanted to join and jotted down a note to himself to call about signing up. He wondered how he could practice French and put that on a list to talk about with the activities director at his new place. He was no longer stressed and concerned by all the stuff. And he was developing an action plan to accomplish his vision. The stuff that was left was what was left! He could choose to give it to friends or family, donate, sell, recycle or put in the trash.

When we take a moment to imagine ourselves doing and being what brings us joy and inspires us, then we become inspired and we receive ideas on how to create what we imagine. When we stay focused on what we truly we want, on what really matters, in work and in life, we receive ideas on how to create and expand upon what we really want.

We don’t waste time, energy, and money, getting rid of or letting go of what we don’t want. What we don’t want or what doesn’t matter is no longer a focus and shows itself out.

Einstein said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”

Are you focused on what you really want? Or on what you don’t want? What could you imagine?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Power of Purpose

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The Power of PurposeThis blog is third in a series of reflections on Managing Thought – lessons learned during the sudden move of my parents from their home that also apply to big changes and challenges we face every day at work and in life.

Picture this: My father is 85, recovering from two minor strokes, fatigued and stressed from caring for my mom, 83, suffering from dementia. Now he and I are faced with the daunting task of downsizing and moving in just three weeks.  As we looked around the house filled with forty years of stuff accumulated because “we might need it someday,” my dad could feel the blood pumping in his neck.

Dad said, “Maybe we shouldn’t move.”  When I asked what he meant, he said, “It’s just too much. Where’s the furniture going to go? It won’t fit. What are we gonna do with all these books? And the garage and basement – how am I going to get through all that? Maybe we should just stay put.”

I exhaled deeply, acknowledged his fear. At any age, moving is a major task, a major life event and a major source of stress. For my dad, caring for my mom, taking care of the house, managing the house, and worrying about their future is also a major source of stress.  To him, with moving or staying put, he was choosing the lesser of two evils. Using logic, he decided to move forward with the move because the stress of moving lasts a month and the stress of staying put continues to build for the rest of their lives.

I asked Dad to tell me the purpose of living at the retirement community. What could it bring to him and mom.“ Mom will feel safe. I can run errands and visit with friends and know that if she needs help, there is always someone there. We get to “go out” to eat and go for walks every day. It’ll be like we’re dating again.  I can make new friends. We can have company and invite them for a nice meal. When it’s time for Mom to move into the special care facilities, I can see her every day … The list went on and on and with each item, Dad’s eyes grew brighter and his posture straightened.

Then ideas started flowing. “I can pick out the books I want to keep and the rest I can donate to the friends of the library. I might be able to get back to painting – do you think there’s room in the new place for my art supplies? There are some tools I want to keep. I can invite my grandson and my neighbor to pick out what they want. Are there companies that help with selling stuff?”

What we feel and what we experience depends on our focus. When Dad focused on the difficulties and choosing “the lesser of two evils,” his thoughts caused stress and shut him down. When he focused on his vision and purpose, he became inspired. Inspired, he became energized and creative. Instead of contracting, he expanded in a direction that served his purpose.

What’s your focus? What’s the purpose of what you’re doing? What does it bring you and others?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Changing Overwhelm to Wonder

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This blog is the second in a series of reflections on the lessons in Managing Thought during the recent sudden move of my parents—lessons that apply equally to the big changes and challenges we face every day at work and in life.

When my 85-year old father learned he had three weeks to move out of his house of forty years, he was paralyzed. Recovering from two minor strokes, caring for his wife, my mom, suffering from dementia, living in a house with forty years’ and four children’s worth of stuff, it’s not surprising he was overwhelmed.

When he asked me to help, I wasn’t surprised when my brain also bombarded me with thoughts of overwhelm. I deeply exhaled, invoked the state of wonder and asked myself, What can I say or do in this moment to help my dad? Out popped Lao-Tzu’s wise words, The journey of a thousand miles begins in a single step, and together we decided to take this journey of a thousand miles one step at a time.

I then wondered, What could the first step be? Out popped the wise words of Confucius – 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.

So I suggested he start with his bedroom.  He went through his drawers and closets and desk, and removed what was to be discarded, donated or sold. When his room was in order, he woke up in the morning and went to sleep at night with the constant reminder of the completion of that first step. He breathed out a sigh of relief, breathed in the power of his accomplishment and felt empowered to take the next step.

When something happens that is different from what we expect or believe or concluded from past experiences, our brains present us with fight, flight or freeze thoughts. Thoughts of overwhelm, paralysis, avoidance, anxiety, fear, this can’t be done, and worry, for example, are all fight, flight and freeze thoughts. When we re-invoke the state of wonder, we receive answers that move us powerfully from fight, flight or freeze in a direction that serves our purpose.

We don’t suddenly accomplish a huge undertaking, we accomplish it in steps.  And when we acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishment of each step, no matter how small, we become inspired and invoke a power within to envision and accomplish the next step. Often, it’s helpful to start with something small that’s highly visible so we are constantly reminded of and celebrating the accomplishment of our first step and subsequent progress. In doing so, we become inspired and wonder what the next steps could be.

My Dad very simply and powerfully, with a bright smile and a twinkle in his eye, said, “Okay, Mare, what’s next?”

What huge undertaking overwhelms you? What one step could you take? How can you celebrate your progress? How can you turn overwhelm into wonder?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Are Your Decisions Based in Love or Fear?

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This is Valentine’s Day, a day we pause and think about love.

Usually we think about people we love. Yet love affects more than our personal relationships. Because when it comes down to it, everything we choose to think, say, or do is rooted in either love or fear. Everything. So let’s take a moment to think about our thoughts and the decisions and actions that follow.

Our decisions in business to (and how to) lead, follow, motivate, participate, compete, market, sell, hire, fire, save, spend, attack, defend, invest, report, communicate, train, merge, divest, evaluate, reflect, analyze, unite or divide …  Read More

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved. To see all of Mary Lore’s blog features on the VistageBuzz Business Leadership Blog, Click Here.

Managing Thought Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day Goes Live Today!

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Daily Inspiration from Mary LoreI am pleased to announce Managing Thought Daily Inspiration (Thoughts of the Day) is live today!

Each day I’m posting three powerful thoughts via Twitter. So follow Managing Thought on Twitter and get notified as each one posts. You can also visit the Managing Thought Twitter page http://twitter.com/managingthought to see them collectively or check back on this blog and see the latest in the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right hand menu bar.

These thoughts have themes. The first theme is reflection. Each day, for several days, the tweets present thoughts about reflection – one of the most powerful actions. Why the themes? Because thinking differently, thinking powerfully, takes focus and practice. It is practice that makes permanent.

In the heat of the moment, our brains go into action and present us with fight, flight, and freeze thoughts practically instantaneously, followed very quickly by the series of reactive fight, flight, and freeze thoughts we have practiced for years and got quite good at.

The good news is that we can change the thoughts our brains deliver by focusing on what we want to think, on what truly matters in each moment. With practice, it becomes easy and natural for us to think powerful thoughts before we say or do anything.

Each series of  tweets helps us stay focused on what matters in each moment throughout the day and helps us be creative, inspired, and impactful in all we do.

I invite you to give it a try. Follow Managing Thought on Twitter.

When you see the tweet, exhale deeply, inhale deeply, say it out loud, say it again louder, say it again while smiling. Or hand write it three times. If you’re not in a place where you can write it or feel comfortable saying it out loud – think it, think it louder, and think it while smiling.  As you find yourself in reactive mode thinking old, uninspiring, reactive thoughts, wonder how you could practice the thought of the day in this moment, and in this moment, and in this one.

Notice the powerful impact your new thought has on the results achieved because you are focused, grounded, and proactive versus reactive. Notice how inspired and energized you become.

And then leave me a comment. Tell me what happened. Inspiring minds want to know!

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.