Goals, Faith and Magic

photo by ShanaCathEileen
photo by ShanaCathEileen

Near the end of Harry Potter book three, Harry saves himself along with his friend Hermione and his godfather Sirius by managing a complicated and difficult bit of magic. Harry has travelled back in time, where he stumbles upon his past self and loved ones in harm’s way – about to be destroyed by the ghastly dementors. Transfixed by the terrible scene, time-travelling-Harry recalls having seen a shadowy, strangely familiar figure cast the spell that repelled the dementors and saved himself and his friends. Suddenly it dawns on Harry that the familiar figure he’d seen was actually himself. So he does something he’s never been able to do before – conjures a Patronus spell strong enough to drive away over a hundred hungry dementors. When she hears of it, Hermione is stunned:

“‘I can’t believe it…You conjured up a Patronus that drove away all those dementors! That’s very, very advanced magic….’

‘I knew I could do it this time,’ said Harry, ‘because I’d already done it.’”

Harry manages it because he’d seen himself do it before.

I wish I could catch a glimpse of the future me, right now, holding the published Saltwater Twin in my hands. Then I would know I can do it. Nevertheless, despite my inability to see the future, I’m trying to believe unwaveringly that this thing I want will come to be.

I’ve been looking up goal setting. It’s a popular topic on the web, which is rife with self-help articles that purport to offer ten steps to this or eight ways to that. I’m not fond of the word “goal” itself; it smacks of sports or business. So, I looked it up. It actually derives from the Middle English gol or boundary. I can appreciate that image: something marking the edge of a region, an invisible line that, crossed over, leads to uncharted territory. Still, the business of setting goals overwhelms me. I’m afraid I’ll fail to reach them, which will make me feel like a liar or lazy or delusional, all unpalatable options.

One of the big things the life coaches and business coaches and coaching coaches talk about is faith, the steadfast belief you’ll succeed at what you set out to do. One fellow went so far as to write that if you don’t believe you can get what you want, then don’t even bother setting goals. That’s a tall order. And a little discouraging – in that case, imperfect believers like me are doomed from the start.

Another thing the goal gurus recommend: make yourself accountable. Tell others your intention, put it out there so you’ll have to follow through. So, here goes: I’m setting a goal. I will finish The Saltwater Twin and Other Mythical Creatures in six months, by end of March 2014. I’ll have been blogging here about the process for two years and working on it for a good year before that. As of today, I’ve written eleven chapters. I have between five and nine more to go. I’m working on the working part – sitting down to write, revise, write. I’m working on the faith part, imagining that future me, having accomplished the thing I want to do. And if you’re willing, send me your good thoughts, crossed fingers, prayers – clap for this book like Tinker Bell.

Anyone else want to set a six (or eight or twelve) month goal? Who’s up for some very advanced magic?

photo by Brian Talbott
photo by Brian Talbott

7 thoughts on “Goals, Faith and Magic

  1. I know you will succeed in your goal of completing this amazing book, Maia, and your following will just keep growing as you touch more and more lives with your amazing spirit, your generous honesty, your equally intelligent and whimsical humor, your self-driven and inspiring work ethic, and your compassionate cooperation and connection to all those who you come in contact with. I am so sorry we have not been in touch lately, but I never stop believing in you and am as in awe of your talent and goodness as I ever was. You are truly one the people in this world who leaves it a better place, day by day. Heartfelt greetings and xo, Melanie


  2. I’m working on a memoir. I have 10 chapters in the can and about 10 more to go. Some of those 10 chapters are almost done — others are still floating around in my head. I think telling others about a work in progress is important. It keeps you accountable. Boy, wouldn’t you feel silly if you never finished, especially after making such a big fuss about it all? I mentioned to my partner that the scary part is right around the corner. What if my memoir stinks? Or what if writing a book isn’t everything that I thought it would be?

    Good luck with finishing. I’m sure the end product will be pure magic.


    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, mab! I think we just have to do the work, right? — and let what happens next sort itself out. I’ll be thinking of you typing away on the rest of your chapters, and sending good thoughts!


  3. Go, Maia, Go! While you may doubt inside, from the outside I’ve seen so much incredible perseverance that I don’t doubt one bit!


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