Riding out life's ups and downs Author: With her own experiences serving as background, Mary Carroll Moore shares her observations about how to handle whatever changes you face.

March 24, 1997|By Janice D'Arcy | Janice D'Arcy,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Mary Carroll Moore knows about change. In her 43 years she's had three volatile careers, gone from financial security to bankruptcy and back, endured two failed marriages and survived cancer. She's been there, done that and now, written the book.

"How to Master Change in Your Life: Sixty-Seven Ways to Handle Life's Toughest Moments," is the newly published culmination of Moore's experiences, and what she's learned.

Known to Sun readers as Mary Carroll through her nationally syndicated food column, the author grew up in the Homewood section of Baltimore. She left the city in 1972 for college in Boston, and didn't stop moving for 15 years.

She went from studying Russian at Boston University to learning French and food in Paris, to writing about food in Arizona. Then she moved on to California, where she studied for a master's degree, taught Russian and worked in several restaurants. She also, in the span of four years, married and divorced twice and founded a cooking school that flopped and left her financially destitute. By 1985, she was exhausted.

"I thought that was really the bottom of my life. I was so bad at change. I looked around and saw other people with the same sort of disorder in their lives, and they were handling it fine. But I was so low, I thought, wow, I must really be missing something," she said over lunch at a Charles Street restaurant last week.

She hadn't hit rock bottom yet. Two years later, at 33, doctors found a malignant tumor in her throat.

In 1987, she came to Baltimore to be treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital for thyroid cancer. After seven months of radiation treatment, the cancer was gone. She returned to California, determined to figure out how to find happiness in her life.

She began casually interviewing friends about how they handled change. She also delved deeply into her religion, Eckankar. Meaning "co-worker with God," Eckankar preaches that through meditation, keeping a daily journal and analyzing one's own dreams, that one's life purpose becomes evident.

It came slowly, but Moore eventually found happiness. Today she lives in Minneapolis with her husband of 11 years and says her food writing brings financial and professional stability.

In 1995, she wrote "Turning Points," a book she now calls her first draft of "How to Master Change." She also gave seminars and further researched why certain people deal with life's curveballs better than others.

Her latest book relies heavily on her own life story and the personal anecdotes she collected from years of research. In it she writes much about her own spiritual awakening, but is quick to emphasize that the book is not for only Eckankar devotees.

"You don't even have to believe in God to master change. You just have to believe there is order, a system to the universe. That not just chaos."

With tales of reincarnation, "inner guides" and the liberal capitalization of the word "Soul" punctuating her narrative, she acknowledges that her book is not for everyone. "There will be people who look at it and think this is all fluff.

"We're a nation of skeptics, and I'm one of them," she adds. "But I look at the New York Times best- seller list and see six out of 10 books about spirituality. I think we're moving in a direction where people are incorporating spirituality into there daily lives."

With that in mind, Moore still has a few mundane goals. She says her greatest ambition at this point is to make it into Oprah Winfrey's book club. "We all have to have a few fantasies," she smiles.

Moore will be discussing "How to Master Change in Your Life" and leading a workshop at 6: 30 p.m. tomorrow at First Class in Washington. Thursday at 7: 30 p.m. she will give a presentation, then sign copies of her book, at Borders Books & Music in Kensington.

Pub Date: 3/24/97

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