Five Years in Paulo Coelho’s blog

Five years ago, a post I had written in my old blog Soul Work received this comment:

Paula Braconnot's comment on Soul Work (October 1, 2007)

It then led to a series of exchanges with Paulo Coelho’s team, then finally to an email exchange with Mr. Coelho himself.

On October 16, 2007, my post was reposted as such, in Paulo Coelho’s blog:

Title in Paulo Coelho's blog
The blog title, as posted in the Archives section
Post in Paulo Coelho's blog
The post as written in Paulo Coelho’s blog, October 16, 2007

* * *

That experience taught me three important things:

  1. Our idols and heroes are actually within reach.
  2. Never underestimate the power of the Web to make things happen.
  3. Trust your inner wisdom.

I’m revisiting all these now, not just to mark the fifth anniversary of my post being up on my favorite author’s blog, but also to remind myself that everything that I had written then still very much applies to me now. I wrote the original blog post nine years ago while I was in deep discernment over the direction my whole life was about to take, and while it first appears to speak about love it can actually apply to so many different areas of our lives. Now that I once again find myself in a life-changing crossroad, I need to remind myself that everything I need in order to make a decision is already here within me.

If, like me, you find yourself caught in a major crossroad and are in the middle of a deep search for meaning and fulfillment, then this post is for YOU.

Paulo Coelho-isms (Dedicated to my friend, Ellen Joy)

Note: Ellen, I saw your post and decided to look for my old blog posts filled with Coelho-isms =) This was written four years ago, the day before my now-fiance, Paul, and I had our “magical date.” It was a strange time, but I’m glad that I listened to my “treacherous heart” back then. Reading this again, I can’t believe that I wrote this at 23 (although I could tell that my soul was far, far older than that already)–and that these words ring truer now than they had back then.


A Spoonful of Sugar 2003, v.7 
Seeing Signs
By Niña Rica Marie L. Terol

“You’ll 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 unanticipated blow” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

(To CC and Niño and their art; and to Jean Paul, his music, and the [red] pill.)

Before anything else, I’d like to apologize to Mr. Pascasio (Nikko, is that you?) for not responding to his question on goals and ethics in this Spoonful.

Something amazing happened to me this weekend that I just had to share with everyone.

I came face-to-face with signs that I had never thought I would find. Signs that I had often prayed for but forgotten about. Until now.

When I saw them and recognized them for what they were, I felt as if I had seen ghosts from my past. I was stunned, overwhelmed, and scared. I could hardly believe what I was seeing and feeling, but I had to believe that they were real.

Coincidences happen once. But a string of coincidences that are somehow related to the subject of my discernment must mean something.

I cannot relate the details of my experience, but I’d like to talk about recognizing the signs that exist around us.

They are everywhere.

In The Alchemist, the bestselling work by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, a shepherd boy named Santiago leaves his Spanish hometown in search of a treasure. He encounters many interesting individuals—a gypsy, an old king, a crystal merchant, an Englishman, and finally, the Alchemist—all of whom teach him about understanding the Language of the World.

It is a language that can be understood by everyone who lives, including plants and animals. It needs no words, no foreign vocabulary and grammar, no special characters. Only a true understanding of our own Personal Legends—our reasons for being—and an openness of heart, mind, and soul.

Do you believe in signs? Some of you probably do, but many probably don’t.

We live in a very pragmatic and technical world that it seems foolish to talk about signs, much less look for them.

But think back to some of the decisions that you’ve had to make in your life. Did you decide entirely based on your clear-headed judgment, or did you get some help from a friend’s advice, a passage in a book, or a nagging feeling in your chest?

And how about some decisions that you didn’t make? Have you ever been at that point where you had to either move or stay, and you chose to stay not because you really wanted to, but because you were scared to move? Do you still get that nagging feeling in your chest that you should have done something?

I’ve felt that countless times in my young life. And with each time that I chose to ignore the signs, I felt that I was straying farther from my dream. The signs were leading me to a certain direction, but I stubbornly chose to go my own way. And I got hurt. Over and over again.

We do that fairly often, don’t we? We stay paralyzed and stuck to our little corner of the world because we’re scared of taking risks—especially personal ones. We’re scared of moving. We’re scared of changing. We’re scared of failing.

The weird thing is, we’re not scared of not succeeding.

And that’s probably the greatest tragedy of all. Paulo Coelho says, “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

I’m not fatalistic, and I still believe that we make our choices. Nothing is pre-destined to the point where we’re no longer required to act on anything. But I believe that signs guide us to the right path, so that we can achieve our dreams sooner.

These signs are found within us, in the stillness of our hearts, in the deepest recesses of our being.

To actually see them, and recognize them for what they are, we have to clear ourselves of all doubts, fears, and worries. We’ve got to remove the trappings that stay stuck inside us. We’ve got to know who we really are and what we’re really meant to do. It’s a painful task, but it will be even more painful to go through life not knowing our life’s purpose, our life’s worth.

Listen to your heart. Just try.

(I’ve always been a mind-over-heart person, but the moment I listened to my heart everything just fell into place. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”)

Here’s another passage from The Alchemist:

“Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?”

“Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”

“You mean I should listen, even when it’s treasonous?”

“Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.”

“You’ll 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 unanticipated blow.”

Good luck with your life’s pilgrimage. May the signs be with you.

(Written: July 23, 2003)


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Harveen says:

    👍I alwYs always look fwd to ur posts Nina. Soch younger than me n so much a guide!!! Kisses hugs. All will be well cause u are a dreamer n a doer. I hope I also find my life s purpose…..even at forty;)

    1. ninaterol says:

      As always, THANK YOU for the warm wishes, Harveen! Yes, I believe that we can ALL find meaning and purpose at any age! As they say, 40 is the new 30–and maybe even the new 20! Haha 🙂 *Love, light & hugs*

  2. Paulo Coelho says:

    I will publish it in my own blog in two days from now ( Nov 5)

  3. tabassom says:

    I am so much eager to be able to talk to mr.coelho in a conversation way i mean straight with himself but just 8-9years ago i coukd do it with sending an email to him and he answered me.

    1. ninaterol says:

      Let’s hope for more serendipitous interactions then, @tabassom! Thank you for reading and commenting in my blog 🙂 *Namaste*

  4. mohamed saed says:

    Heartfelt thanks, Nina for such an inspiring post. Though written 9 years ago, the message is still valid and will remain so for ever due to your selflessness and sincerity of your purpose. I have always felt that an anonymous hand always comes to my rescue. Let me call what you have termed Signs as guidance from God simply because we were not born out of our own choices and we do not know when we have to leave this world for good and all.

    1. Ashy says:

      Estoy apenada ,siempre escribo en el blog de coelho y no se porque motivo ,no entran mis mensajes,si alguien puede ayudarme

      1. ninaterol says:

        Lo siento, Ashy. Hablo español muy poco solo, y no se como te puedo ayudar. 😦 No sabemos como Sr. Coelho escoge posts para su blog, pero estoy segura que si siempre escribes en su blog, algún día encontrare tus palabras en su blog. 🙂

  5. Ashy says:


  6. Ashy says:


    1. mohamed saed says:

      I am sorry that I cannot understand the language in which Ashy has commented. Can some one traslate it for me if is in response to my comment. Thanking you

      1. ashy says:

        ALWAYS SCRIBIA and we had good connection with other readers, I had thought FANTASTIC ENERGY that had been generated and suddenly, I can not communicate with them.
        THANKS and I would like to tell me some of this BLOG.

        Reply ↓
        Ashy on November 8, 2012 at 12:46 AM said:

  7. ashy says:

    I’m sorry, I always write in blog Coelho and not because why not enter my posts, if anyone can help
    Ashy, please

  8. fuad says:

    I don’t know how to listen to my heart. Mostly I listen to my feelings like FEAR AND SHYNESS. Is that listening to heart? PLEASE ANSWER ME. Thank you.

    1. ninaterol says:

      Hi @fuad, I know how you feel because I’ve felt that many times before. 😦

      Here’s a scenario: pretend that FEAR is the topmost layer of your emotions, and SHYNESS is the layer under that. If you REMOVE the layers of fear and shyness, what do you see? What else is there? What do you think about BEFORE shyness and fear set in?

      Those could hold the clue to what your heart is really telling you. Good luck with your own journey. 🙂

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