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How to Get Everything You Want In Life

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Out in the wilderness of southern Utah, the Red Rock Canyons served as a makeshift Atlantic Ocean, giving me enough space to think about moving in with my old friend Gary. I let the questions come: Was I breathing deeply? Was that happy nervous excitement in my voice, or abject fear? For the life of me, I couldn't be certain.
Barb, a simulation analysis engineer from Minneapolis, says that for her, fear is always part of the equation, but if she is doing something not because of fear, but despite fear, then she is doing what her heart desires. "If I don't hesitate, if I don't start trying to come up with all kinds of logic that will support my decision, it is probably the right one. If I have to talk myself into something, it's usually because I am trying to convince myself to do something that doesn't feel right in my gut."

Gail Harris has written a book called Your Heart Knows The Answer: How To Trust Yourself & Make the Choices That Are Right For You, which outlines strategies and simple practices to help you tune into your truest voice. "The voice of the heart is always positive and loving," she says, "even when it is asking us to change. It is direct and specific, empowering, grounding, centering, and relaxing. It is unwavering. It will keep telling you the same thing over and over, but it won't use your own logic against you. If it is negative and critical, it is not the voice of your heart."

After all the soul-searching and second-guessing and the final banishment of lingering doubt, Harris notes, the execution of our plans can seem like the easy part. Once you let yourself know that what you really want is to start a catering business, you head to Kinko's for business cards and flyers, check the want ads for kitchen space, and call up those rich friends who always rave about your cooking and see how much they would like to invest. If you've always wanted to write a novel, but have three kids under 6, you look into day care, call in a favor from your sister, and set the alarm for 3 a.m.

As the 10 of us heaved our packs on our backs for the final time on that backpacking trip, they felt lighter. (They were lighter, of course, after all the food we'd eaten, but we felt even more deeply unburdened.) The decision-making was behind us. Danika had a grade school to build in Pakistan, Sarah was off to find a new place to live. Tami had her brand new business to attend to in Sonoma. And me? I had to go clear shelves and drawers for Gary, and welcome him with a big, generous, open heart. And if I failed, if any of us failed, we would know we had tried our best to listen to our heart's desire, and moved forward, with honesty and commitment, and enough belief in ourselves to spread some around.

We have the right, the tools, and the capacity to live precisely the lives we want to. We are the gender that lifts cars off of babies, wins the Iditarod, and swims the English Channel, after all, and anyone who gets in the way of our heart's desire once we have really made up our minds better watch out.

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