Lisa Robbin Young

by Katrina Hawley

[Editor's Note: This is Day Five in the Be Your Own Guru series. Katrina lives in Hadley, MA - just far enough from Boston to not be in Lockdown, but close enough to recognize the danger at her door. She submitted this post before the tragic happenings of the past few days, and it's a fitting reminder that sometimes, the best way to make forward progress is to go backwards.]

We spend so much time in our lives looking forward, moving forward, and dealing with things in front of us. It’s almost as if our bodies are trapped in tunnels - constantly moving forward, unable to shift direction. We forget to check the periphery of our space or of our lives. We lack time for exploration.

And heaven forbid that someone should move backwards…

Literally, and especially figuratively. All of this "forward motion" leaves us without awareness of so many parts of our lives - both in movement and beyond. We stop rotating our spine to see the world around us. We forget to look up. Our breath gets stuck in our sternum, our oxygen levels decline, and our necks tilt forward. Even our spines compress, as a gradual shrinking forces our bodies into the tunnel of forward movement. (more…)

It's all well and good to strive for excellence, but excellence is about more than just putting in your 10,000 hours. Those hours need to be focused, deliberate practice. Without that, you'll be hard pressed to reach the full potential of your undeniable gifts.

Be warned: you can spend 10,000 hours of your life on anything, and just because you get good at something doesn't mean it's the thing you're supposed to be about in the world. I've spent thousands of hours doing things that I don't enjoy (and I got pretty damn good at them, too), because I thought I had to. I'm really good at a bunch of things I have no interest in, and that I know are not part of my great work on this planet.

If you're interested in digging deeper into finding your own great work, have a look at Stephen Cope's book "The Great Work Of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling" on Amazon. If you've already got clarity on your calling, and you're ready to launch into creating a plan of deliberate practice, take a peek at the Get Your Year In Gear program. It just might help you create the space you need to do the things for which your future self will thank you.

[Editor's note: this is a re-post from December 2011. Part 3 of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived. Here are posts 1 and 2]

This is an ongoing topic of discussion for me. Fear is one of my most blogged about topics. So imagine my surprise when I attended a local metaphysical church and received a reading dealing expressly with fear. As accurately as I can recall, here's what she told me:

"For you, fear is everything. Spirit wants me to tell you that you need to put pen to paper, make a list, and write down all that you would do if there were no fear. You are capable of some amazing things, once you get past the fear."

Oh, snap!

The other reading was about a heavy weight that I've been carrying that will be lifted soon. I'm hoping that's something to do with my oldest's graduation from the wilderness camp he's been at for nearly two years now.

But I digress...

For those of you new to, or uncomfortable with the idea of intuitive readings, I try to take an approach that's comparable to what scripture tells us regarding prophecy and those who prophesy. At this moment in my life, I don't believe that anyone has all the answers for my life, so I'm willing to take any guidance that is presented to me and take it under advisement in prayer. It is foolish, to me, to ignore such gifts, and equally foolish to take them blindly at face value. Since I often get intuitive hits myself, I know that you can't always explain how or why you "know" something about someone or a situation. That doesn't negate the value or potential validity of the message being offered.

So as I'm wrestling with this intuitive guidance, my friend, Amy Oscar, decides to launch a December writing circle with this prompt.

Each year, I pick a theme and a song to undergird my doings for the year. This year's song was "The Motions" by Matthew West, because my theme was "Enthusiasm". I wanted to infuse everything I brought to the table with spirit, zest, and life. I didn't want to go through the motions or pay lip service to anything I was about this year. I'd say I hit my goal most of the time, although there was definite room for improvement in this area.

For 2012, I chose "Brave" as my theme, and the song "Brave" by Nichole Nordeman was a perfect fit for my continuing journey. In light of the whole fear thing, I find it equally illuminating that relinquishing fear is part of being brave.

So on my journey, I'm bringing bravery.

My journey includes pit stop destinations of two new books, a new music CD (it's been a few years since the last one), and an interactive television program where viewers can actually be part of the program and help shape the direction of the story lines. And, if I have to, I'll go it alone, but I plan to enlist the help of many friends for this journey (that would be you, and others, silly bean!).

I'm also bringing my can-do attitude, my duct tape, pocket knife, laptop, smartphone, and chewing gum. MacGyver would be proud, me thinks.

Lastly, I'm leaving behind a lot of baggage.

I look at my living room, which is slowly starting to empty out of storage unit mode and back into living room mode. I recognize that I (and my family) have carried around a lot of lifecrap for years and years. Like the boxes in the living room, it will be a slower, more deliberate process to clear out. I am determined to leave as much of it behind in 2011 when 2012 dawns. For me, this is at least as significant as any of the pitstops my 2012 journey may provide.

Oh, and presuming the world doesn't actually end in 2012, I'm looking forward to plotting a virtual retreat during the holidays next year.

Let the games begin!

[Editor's note: this is a re-post from January 2011. Part 2 of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived.]