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 Winter Solstice: A Day to Pause, Reflect, and Feed Your Spirit

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Winter Solstice Mary J. LoreThe word “Solstice” is rooted in two Latin words: sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “to stand still” because it appears as though the sun and moon stop moving across the sky. To me, celebrating the solstice serves as a beautiful reminder that my life is a part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing. So it’s the perfect time for reflection and re-affirmation of what matters most and what I wish to cultivate in my work and in my life.

I use rituals to celebrate the winter solstice in ways that have meaning for me.

Me – I  make a day of it. That’s me. I’m on a mission.  :)

I light candles and play music that inspires me. I take a walk, take in the fresh air  and the magic and beauty of everything around me. I meditate longer than I usually do — with special healing meditations for myself and the world.  I drink special tea and I fast. I take my self-assessment and watch my video and I notice the thoughts that come to me:  The celebration of accomplishments; the recognition of the values I embody, the relationships I have strengthened, the obstacles I have overcome; and the observation of what’s lingering, what’s out of alignment with the me I am in the process of creating. I write in my thankfulness journal. I re-affirm my commitments, prepare new ones. I do a lot of wondering and  just going with the flow.

Again, that’s me.

What could your ritual be?

  • Visit a place outdoors that’s special to you—a trail you can walk or a field you can lie down in, a hillside or rooftop perch that provides the perfect view, or a quiet place in your mind.
  • Watch the clouds, the trees, the sunset
  • Take a walk
  • Write a poem
  • Read a book that inspires you
  • Reconnect with someone
  • Make a list of what you are thankful for
  • Make a list of loving wishes for your family, friends, co-workers or the world
  • Reflect on your aspirations for the coming months — creating the next version of your highest vision of yourself
  • Prepare a simple meal of organic grains, winter vegetables, and herbal teas
  • Eat alone and enjoy the solitude of your own company
  • Bathe in epsom salts
  • Breathe
  • Meditate
  • Be silent
  • Light a candle
  • Sing a song

If you have children in your life, you might organize some special activities to share with them, such as:

  • Identifying winter plants on a short walk
  • Spreading a pine cone with peanut butter and bird seed and watching from a window as the birds eat from it
  • Drawing pictures of winter scenes in your neighborhood
  • Cutting pictures from magazines that remind them of what they are thankful, pasting them on paper and then talking about it
  • Writing an acrostic poem in which you use “solstice” as the root word and use each of its letters as the beginning of a line in the poem.
  • Watch together from a warm window as the sun sets and give thanks for both the darkness and the light.

What’s one thing you could do to re-establish your connection with nature and family and what matters most to you? What’s one thing you could  do today to feed your spirit and nurture your soul?

For additional ideas and inspiration, take a look at these:


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