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Tag Archives: Paulo Coehlo

Solitude. A Photographic Journey.

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least, and it is commonly more than that, sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolu…

Source: Solitude. A Photographic Journey.

The photographs are wonderful and a quote accompanies each speaking to the essential nature of spending time with our self. It is in reflective moments that we spend in solitude that we rediscover who we are in trying to make our self whole.

The Hasidic scholar, educator, political activist, and philosopher Martin Buber said “solitude is the place of purification.” Through dialogue with our self, others, and the world, we grow to understand who we are and our place in the world in relationship to others.

I Opened a Book

Julia Donaldson reminds us that reading is potentially a mindful activity. We lose ourselves in the as we stride into the book, mixing magical elixirs, and making new friends with whom we share the journey.

For me, Paulo Coehlo is an author that I lose myself in his novels. There is something magical about them and his most famous book is aptly named The Alchemist. I recall the first time I read the book losing myself in it and not being able to put it down.

When we finish the book and we have been mindful in reading it, it stays with us and becomes part of us. I used quotes from The Alchemist in writing as it had left such an imprint on me.

I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

Be a Person

When we do something, even small things, it is important to the world and others. Our words and actions call out to the world and others. We invoke the world to respond and share something important with us.

William Stafford wrote about being a person. Who we are is what calls to us and our response to it. The call gives us purpose and voice. In our dreams and imagination, we find that calling, that sense of purpose.

Perhaps, it is about becoming the person who we are, and not just being the person who stands in this spot and moment. We are always becoming a person that we cannot fully imagine and anticipate in advance, but somehow that person resembles who we were just a moment ago.

Paulo Coehlo said that “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” In dreaming, we are always becoming a new person and the uncertainty of that makes life interesting for us and others.

Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own
call. After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.

Personal Legend: Life Lessons from Dancing

Personal Legend: Life Lessons from Dancing.

The link  begins with a quote from Paulo Coehlo about finding meaning in life. It becomes our personal legend when we find those things that add to our lives. We are remembered for dancing, teaching, singing, etc; whatever brings us and others joy.

The linked article ends with a poem from Joseph Campbell. He began the poem with “follow your bliss.” When we do, we find our voice and speak through our lives.

Parker Palmer and Thomas Merton pointed out voice and vocation are linked in etymology. They come from a place deep within us. We don’t even have to chase it. We only have to sit, be still, be quiet and our voice finds us. When it finds us, we dance as our voice accompanies us finding what brings meaning and joy in our lives and the lives of those we dance with.

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN IMAGES: THE SIMPLEST THINGS IN LIFE

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN IMAGES: THE SIMPLEST THINGS IN LIFE.

I mention my favourite poets regularly i.e. Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry and want to mention my favourite prose writer Paulo Coehlo. This post begins with a quote from Manuscript Found in Accra asking we let the simplest things reveal there extraordinary nature. The photography underscores this point.

It is in the ordinary the extraordinary is revealed is one of my favourite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh. When I am mindful, present, and attentive, I sense the extraordinary I rush past in my haste to get to the next moment.

Light Reading

While on holidays I read My Invented Country: A Memoir by Isabel Allende. It was a chance reading as I purchased the book at a second-hand store. Once I began reading it, I could not put it down and finished it in one sitting. A line that stood out was “I can’t pretend to know what part of my memory is reliable and how much I’ve invented, because the job of defining the line between them is beyond my ability. I have read that the mental process of imagining and that of remembering are so much alike that they are nearly indistinguishable.”  We imagine the life we live as much as we live the life we live.

Isabel Allende recounted her love for the poetry of Pablo Neruda. My favourite Pablo Neruda poem is Ode to My Socks. This is the last stanza: The moral of my ode is this:/beauty is twice beauty/and what is good is doubly good/when it is a matter of two socks/made of wool in winter. I remind students, when they write poetry, reveal the ordinary as the extraordinary. The knitting of socks was an act of love as was the wearing of the socks.

Kathy picked up a book by Paulo Coelho knowing how much I enjoy this particular author’s books. A line about life and its meaning is “A strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest. The bird unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.” With meaning in life, we discover beauty and fulfillment or, perhaps, they discover us.

Paolo Coelho spent time touring Europe including Spain and one result was his best-known book, The Alchemist. Spain was the homeland of a poet I enjoy, Antonio Machado. The following lines are from his poem, Cantares: “Traveller, the road is only/your footprint, and no more; /traveller, there’s no road, /the road is your travelling. /Going becomes the road/and if you look back/you will see a path/none can tread again.

There is never a shortage of great reading. We only have to find it.

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