Archives for July 2007

Conversation with Paulo Coehlo by Israel Mlambo

Not exactly answered my ‘direct’ question wherein I asked at which point does one stop being nice and becoming a doormat or laughing stock – this was regarding the degree of tolerance one must reserve especialy when interacting with others. Nevertheless, Coelho’s message is insightful (probably because I’m a fan). See Paulo Coehlo’s response below and my email request …

To read Paulo’s answer, please visit Israel’s blog.

The mother giraffe makes her child suffer

By Paulo Coelho

The giraffe gives birth standing up, so the first thing that happens to a new-born giraffe is a fall of about two metres.

Still dazed, the baby tries to stand up on its four legs, but its mother behaves very strangely: she gives the baby giraffe a gentle kick which sends it sprawling. It tries to get up and is again knocked down.

This process is repeated several times, until the new-born giraffe is too exhausted to stand. At that point, the mother kicks it again, forcing it to get to its feet. After that, she does not push the baby giraffe over again.

The explanation is simple: in order to survive predators, the first lesson a giraffe must learn is to get to its feet quickly. The mother’s apparent cruelty finds support in an Arabic proverb: ‘Sometimes, in order to teach something good, you have to be a little rough.’

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This song always in my mind

Alchemy by defenestrated

I love Paulo Coelho so very dearly. Watch him teach us something.

Please visit defenestrated’s blog @blogspot : muttering in a corner to watch more videos and read the rest of the article.

The elephant and the rope

By Paulo Coelho

This is the procedure adopted by circus trainers to ensure that elephants never rebel – and I suspect that it is also what happens with a lot of people.

When still a baby, the elephant is tethered by a very thick rope to a stake firmly hammered into the ground. The elephant tries several times to get free, but it lacks the strength to do so.

After a year, the stake and the rope are still strong enough to keep a small elephant tethered, although it continues to try, unsuccessfully, to get free. At this point, the animal realises that the rope will always be too strong and so it gives up.

When it reaches adulthood, the elephant can still remember how, for a long time, it had wasted its energies trying to escape captivity. At this stage, the trainer can tether the elephant with a slender thread tied to a broom handle, and the elephant will make no attempt to escape to freedom.

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Veronika Decides To Die by Andrea

I polished off this quick read in two days on the beach. I initially picked it up as one of the “buy two, get one free” deal at Barnes and Noble, mainly because I liked Coelho’s other book, “The Alchemist.” This book takes place over approximately one week, and begins with the main character, Veronika, attempting suicide. Her reasons aren’t extraordinary; she’s not seriously depressed (although some would argue that she must be in order to try to kill herself), she hasn’t had any recent crises, she’s young, attractive, employed, sociable. She simply feels that her life has become stagnant, and suicide is her solution. She takes four packs of sleeping pills, one by one, and drifts into a coma from which she awakens days later to find that she’s not dead, but in a mental hospital. She’s told by the head physician that her heart was severely damaged while she was in the coma, and that she has less than a week to live. Despite being given medicine to “prolong” her life, she experiences several attacks and symptoms of heart failure during the ensuing days. The book shows how this information affects not only Veronika, but several of the other patients as well, and clarifies the differences in the realities of the “sane” and those of the “insane.” I appreciated the progression of events and character development as each person evolved, and found the story not depressing, but uplifting.

Parts of this book were inspired by actual events in Coelho’s life. He was in a mental hospital three times in the sixties, and while he never wrote directly about them, this was his way of incorporating his experiences into a book.

Netflix rating? 4/5 stars.

This Article’s written by Andrea. Please, visit Steph and Andrea’s blog to read more from them.

Our interesting Minister of Culture

Paulo Coelho by Linda Chan

For those attorneys looking for inspiration to live in the moment, they may want to read The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist has many discussions on Muslim practices, and the ways of the Arabs. However, many of the talks are similar to the teachings of Buddhism and Christianity, and perhaps other religions. Reading the biography of Coelho, it turns out that Coelho was not a Muslim, but actually a member of a Catholic group.

The Alchemist is about …

To read the rest of this article, please visit Linda Chan’s blog.

The importance of prayer

By Paulo Coelho

One day, a man received a visit from some friends.

‘We would very much like it if you could teach us what you have learned over the years,’ said one of them.

‘I’m old,’ said the man.

‘Old and wise,’ said another of his friends. ‘All these years, we have watched you praying. What do you talk to God about? What are the important things we should be praying for?’

The man smiled.

‘In the beginning, I had the fervour of youth, which believes in the impossible. In those days, I used to kneel before God and ask him to give me the strength to change humankind. Gradually, I came to see that the task was beyond me. Then I started praying to God to help me change the world around me.’

‘Well, we can certainly vouch for the fact that part of your wish was granted,’ said one of his friends. ‘For you have helped many people by your example.’

‘Yes, I have helped many people by my example, and yet I knew that I had not yet found the perfect prayer. Only now, at the end of my life, have I come to understand what I should have been praying for from the start.’

‘And what is that?’

‘To be given the ability to change myself.’

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Feed the crows…and they will eat your eyes

The Alchemist by Saket Agarwal

I have read Paulo Coelho ‘The Alchemist’ numerous times over the years; and have recommend as a ‘must read’ to all”” believers and non believers! As this book has this amazing quality to transforms the way you perceive life with its triumphs and failures alike…
The Alchemist presents a simple tale based on plain truths and places one can identify with. As Coelho says “simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them”.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Saket’s blog at blogspot.

The monastery might close

By Paulo Coelho

The monastery was having a difficult time. According to the latest fashionable idea, God was just a superstition, and young men no longer wanted to become novices. Some went to study sociology, others read treatises on historical materialism, and gradually the small community that remained realised that they would have to close the monastery.

The old monks were dying. When one of them was about to deliver up his soul to God, he summoned to his death bed the few novices who were left.

‘I have received a revelation,’ he said. ‘This monastery was chosen for something very important.’

‘What a shame,’ said one novice. ‘There are only five of us left and we can barely cope with the ordinary tasks, let alone something important.’

‘It is indeed a great shame. Because an angel appeared to me here on my death bed and told me that one of you five young men was destined to become a saint.’

And with that, he died.

During the funeral, the young men kept looking at each other in some alarm. Who would be the chosen one? The one who had given most help to the villagers? The one who always prayed with particular devotion? The one who preached with such fervour that he reduced the others to tears?

Moved by the thought that there was a saint amongst them, the novices resolved to postpone the closure of the monastery for a while and they began working hard, preaching enthusiastically, repairing the crumbling walls and practising charity and love.

One day, a young man came to the monastery door. He was impressed by the work of the five novices and wanted to help them. Only a week later, another young man did the same. Little by little, the novices’ reputation spread throughout the region.

‘Their eyes shine,’ said a son to his father, when asking to be given permission to enter the monastery.

‘They do things with such love,’ remarked one father to his son. ‘Look, the monastery is more beautiful than ever.’

Ten years later, there were more than eighty novices. No one ever found out if the old monk’s prediction was true, or if he had merely found a way of using enthusiasm to restore to the monastery its lost dignity.

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thoughts. by moradolluvia

i picked up paulo coelho’s like a flowing river a few days ago at mph, and i’d just finished reading mitch albom’s for one more day.

paulo coelho’s books are, like mitch albom’s, thought-inspiring and some ideas jump out at you, depending on what answers to your particular frame of mind.

for one more day examines the relationship between mother and son – a son’s struggle between being “daddy’s boy and mommy’s boy”, an adolescence’s difficult time with his mother, and as adults, how sometimes we take our parents for granted still, always assuming that they will always be around us. although i like this book, i find tuesdays with morrie a better read.

i’m hooked on paulo coelho’s works ever since candice introduced the alchemist to me three years ago (which also helped tremendously in my interview with the professors from nus arts & social sciences that year). like the flowing river is a collection of his short stories and his reflections, which like his other works, explores the meaning of life. i especially like his preface, where he described what it means to be a writer. one realizes that, like many things which have evolved, so does words. a word carries many meaning; besides the primary one as explained by the dictionary and by its root word, societies and perceptions add new layers and meanings to it. that is what coelho did in his explanation of a writer.

one of his stories highlighted the siginificance of a pencil’s qualities, which guide us in our lives:
a. a pencil’s function is for us to write with; one may be very capable of great things, but behind that capability, one always need guidance.
b. a sharpener brings suffering to a pencil once in a while. similary, one suffers pain once in while in life, but realize that the sufferings make you sharper, better.
c. a pencil allows an eraser to rub out mistakes – revisiting your mistake and correcting it as you go along may not be bad. it keeps you on track.
d. a pencil has two layers – an outer wooden casing and an inner graphite, which is where its essence lays. one’s soul is the essence beyond one’s appearance, which one has to pay attention to.
e. a pencil leaves a mark. in the same way, whatever one does leaves a mark as well; therefore, be aware of your every action.

there are many things we are aware of, and many things that we know about. it is just that sometimes, we have a tendency to let these things fall into the back of our minds. especially when we make mistakes. how much do we really want to revisit that memory stored inside us and actively seek ways of correcting it? we do, however, run the incident over and over again in our minds and think of a thousand million ways that “i could have handled it”. but do we run through in our minds how we want to salvage it? is backward-looking a human nature, or is it really, a choice?

in another of his recollections, he talked of the visit with widow of the late henry miller, who was about 30 – 40 years younger than her late husband. she did not get any part of the inheritance, which was divided between his ex-wives, but yet was not at all bitter about it. “love was enough,” she’d said.

love is really enough, when you know that you’d had spent quality time together.

Mother by Nowhere Man

She exists in the soul of the words, we speak.
She exists in the soul of the characters, when we write.
She can be found in the soul of the dance.
She exists in the soul of the rain drops, which fall, clouds which hover, sometimes ominous, sometimes blissfull.
She is beyond Good and Evil.
She is the Virgin (Mary) and she is the Witch.
She believes in only one rule, the rule of love.
She believes in letting go, rather than withholding.
She is the Woman, She is the God.

An inspired poem after reading “The Witch of Portobello” by Paulo Coelho.

Please visit Nowhere Man’s blog to read more from him and talk with him.

Veronika decides to die – by Martina

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
“I think that perhaps we always fall in love the very first time we see the man of our dreams, even though, at the time, reason may be telling otherwise, and we may fight against that instinct, hoping against hope that we won’t win, until there comes a point when we allow ourselves to be vanquished by our feelings…”

About the vid: dance performance inspired from a book “Veronica decided to die”written by world know famous author Paulo Coelho

Please visit Martina’s blog to read and talk with her.

Teaching the horse to fly

By Paulo Coelho

Let us divide the word ‘preoccupation’ into two parts – pre-occupation, that is, occupying your mind with something before it actually happens. This is what worrying is: trying to resolve problems that have not even had time to appear; imagining that things, when they do happen, will always turn out for the worst.

Naturally there are exceptions. One of them is the hero of this little story.

An old king of India condemned a man to the gallows. When the king had finished reading the sentence, the condemned man said:

‘You are a wise man, Your Majesty, and curious about everything that your subjects do. You respect gurus, sages, snake-charmers and fakirs. Well, when I was a child, my grandfather taught me how to make a white horse fly. Since there is no one else in the whole kingdom who knows how to do this, my life should be spared.’

The king immediately ordered a white horse to be brought.

‘I need to spend two years with this animal,’ said the condemned man.

‘All right, you will have two years,’ replied the king, already somewhat suspicious. ‘But if this horse does not learn to fly, you will be hanged.’

Overjoyed, the man left with the horse. When he reached his house, he found his whole family in tears.

‘Are you mad?’ they all cried. ‘Since when has anyone in this house known how to make a horse fly?’

‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘First of all, no one has ever tried to teach a horse to fly, and the horse might well learn. Secondly, the king is already very old and he might die in the next two years. Thirdly, the horse might die and then I’ll be given another two years to teach the new horse – not to mention the possibility of revolutions, coups d’état and general amnesties. And even if everything remains exactly as it is, I will still have gained two years of life with which I can do anything I like. Does that seem little to you?’

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Experimental Witch

Throughout my career as a writer, I’ve met people that trusted me without knowing me well and they have helped me, enabling me to follow my dreams. I’ve been visiting the pages of readers this last year and I’ve seen excellent works by actresses & actors, musicians, directors, etc.

That’s why I thought: why not make a movie together? I would retain the rights of the film based on my latest book The Witch of Portobello while developing this partnership. From then onwards, I’ve developed the following project :

To read and/or subscribe to the Experiment, please visit this page : Experimental Witch Subscription Page