“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” ~ Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
Following a recent article that I was privileged to have had shared by Paulo Coelho, I have been asked numerous questions about my connection to him.
Like with most people who resonate with the words of Paulo Coelho, I remember the definitive moment that he came into my life, like it happened today.
I was going through a particularly difficult period many years ago, when a very good friend of mine placed a copy of The Alchemist firmly in my hands and gently suggested I read it.
At the time, although intrigued, I was not up to reading. I wasn’t up to anything at all in fact, other than wallowing in my own grief due to a personal tragedy that had absorbed me into myself.
So, I placed it on the side to come back to another day.
However, the very next day, my sister popped by to see me and in her hands was also a copy of The Alchemist. “Read it, immediately”, was all she said.
Now, my attention was alerted, the same book—twice? In two days? I had never heard of this book, yet, now I had two copies now sitting on my shelf staring at me, demanding to be heard.
In the words of Paulo Coelho, “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”
He never fails.
On the third day, a third copy of The Alchemist arrived in the post from a friend who lived at the other side of the country.
By this point, my focus removed itself from me and was firmly placed on these three books.
A miracle? I pondered. Surely not! Must just be a coincidence, I excused.
And as Paulo explains;
“Miracles only happen to people who believe in miracles. But, to many people, when something magical happens they say, ‘Oh, it’s just a coincidence,’ or, ‘This is something we can explain.”’
I used to believe in miracles—as a child. I’m even convinced I used to be able to fly when I was very young, I can remember every vibration that my body felt. Yet, of course, this must have just been a regular vivid dream, because of course humans can’t fly! Can they?
“Only children believe they’re capable of everything.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Aleph
So what had happened? What changed?
“Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Over the years I had gotten so caught up in being a responsible grown up, trying to keep up with societies expectations and trying to be someone who I was not—that I had completely lost who I was!
And not only that, I had forgotten how to believe in the miracles of the universe. Not just the huge life changing miracles, the tiny hidden ones too, which can be found in every small thing, every day.
“Read. Forget everything you’ve been told about books and read.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes.
So I read. And I read and I read and I read some more.
The strangest thing is that while I read and while I let every word penetrate, I felt like I was not reading at all. It felt like I was talking to someone who knew every intrinsic part of my soul, someone who had been with me at every step during the very best and the very worst parts of my life. In fact, the resonation was so deep that it felt like while I was reading, I was simply talking to myself.
There were times when I was so overwhelmed with the words, I had to stop, take a few moments, lay the book down next to me and just breathe, inhaling the powerful messages that were dramatically alerting me to what I already knew.
It felt like a confirmation.
It is okay.
To be me.
Exactly who I am, nothing more and nothing less.
“Hide your craziness behind a beautiful smile. That’s all you need.” ~ Paulo Coelho
I learned a thousand million things through the books, some so small they were barely noticeable while others were incredible and I immediately knew they would be the catalyst needed to change my life.
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” ~ Paulo Coelho
So, here is just a little of what I learned.
I must make decisions and stop allowing opportunities to be missed.
“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Always listen to my inner self—it knows everything.
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an anticipated blow.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
And try harder not to listen to other people’s judgements and opinions, it is my life and my responsibility to live it the way I choose.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Not to be afraid of failure. Mistakes are all part of life. Even if all else fails, I will still manage to take a lesson from it.
“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Always be aware of who is by my side and remember to ask myself why they are there.
“Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
And when someone hurts or betrays me.
“Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Love freely, without expectation and never foolishly believe that love is something I can control.
“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.” ~ Paulo Coelho
When I set my heart and mind on something, I need to pay attention to the signs, follow them and allow the universe to lead the way.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Enjoy every moment that love offers, as quickly as it comes, it can also go. Submerge in it, pay attention to it and live fully in each moment I have. Don’t hold on, just love.
“Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s an art. And like any art, it takes not only inspiration but also a lot of work.” ~ Paulo Coelho
“When you love each other, you have to be ready for anything. Because love is like a kaleidoscope, the kind we used to play with when we were kids. It’s in constant movement and never repeats itself. If you don’t understand this, you are condemned to suffer for something that really only exists to make us happy.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Adultery
“Love can take us to heaven or hell, but it always takes us somewhere. Therefore, be prepared to travel…” ~ Paulo Coelho
“When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
And sex will mean something very different if there is no passion.
“Anyone who is observant, who discovers the person they have always dreamed of, knows that sexual energy comes into play before sex even takes place. The greatest pleasure isn’t sex, but the passion with which it is practiced. When the passion is intense, then sex joins in to complete the dance, but it is never the principal aim.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes.
“Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes.
It is said that men think about sex for approximately 11 minutes every day. To be in love, truly in love, there is no ending or beginning and making love is a continuous act.
“Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
We don’t own anyone and we are foolish to think we can.
“In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel. It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I am convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.” ~ Paulo Coelho
“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.” ~ Paulo Coelho
If I am unfaithful, I am cheating myself more.
“If I must be faithful to someone or something, then I have, first of all, to be faithful to myself.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes.
I must never take for granted what I have around me or what life is capable of showing me. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Live in the moment at all times, whether that moment is a good or a bad one, it will show us a greater version of reality. The past has passed, the future is not yet here, I am only alive in this moment right now.
“In magic—and in life—there is only the present moment, the now. You can’t measure time the way you measure the distance between two points. ‘Time’ doesn’t pass. We human beings have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we’re always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn’t act as we should have. Or else we think about the future, about what we’re going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await us around the next corner, how to avoid what we don’t want and how to get what we have always dreamed of.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Aleph
And to summarize everything;
“All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
One thing that I, and others who have read these books have noticed is that the right book always seems to come when I need it most. Not only that but whenever I reread the books—depending on what stage I am at my life, I get a totally different message every time.
I followed the signs, I looked for miracles and they came to me in abundance.
When I finished reading the books, an invitation arrived directly from Paulo Coelho inviting me to attend a party that he holds every year to celebrate St Joseph’s day.
Since then, I have been blessed to meet Paulo, his family and close friends on many occasions—reading that very first book was just the very first step on a miraculous magical adventure that Paulo and the universe invited me to explore.
“The world has a soul and whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of many things.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Provided by Author