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:
* * *
That experience taught me three important things:
- Our idols and heroes are actually within reach.
- Never underestimate the power of the Web to make things happen.
- 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.
A Spoonful of Sugar 2003, v.7
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)