Dreams and nightmares

No one will realistically think that you can make a living out of literature in Brazil. I faced many difficulties. When I was young, my parents in a desperate act of love, as they cared for me, sent me to a mental institution. They thought I was mad, as I wanted to be a writer. However, I was absolutely convinced about what I wanted to be.

The fact that you know your dreams is not enough. It is not good, living with the fact that you have it in you. You have to think of measures to manifest your dreams and be brave enough to pay the price of it. In a way, I postponed my dreams, and I was almost 40 when I dare to write my first book, The Pilgrimage.

And my second book, The Alchemist, was first published and then put out of print by my first publisher. “This title will never sell more than 900 copies”, he said. Today “The Alchemist is among the best selling books of all times.

If you are hurt about something that is meaningless to you, you can blame anybody else for it. But it is quite complicated to be hurt about something that is meaningful to you.
Then you get confused, as you know the dream is there. And the dream is not going to leave you as long as you live.
But besides the pain, there is also a great joy. You are fighting for something meaningful. Defeats are part of life, IF you don’t decide to quit.
And at the end of your life, you will understand: the journey was fantastic.

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  1. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

    We must follow our dreams, before having to return to our life, to answer the child within us: “Yes, you see, here’s what I’ve done of our life.”
    Let us stop, then.
    And let us ask the question tonight: “What is my biggest dream?”.
    But also: “What is my worst nightmare?”
    But if we were not able to approach this dream, this is perhaps because life does not leave us this choice. Many conditions are necessary, especially for people who depend on us. Sometimes the path is set, and we must follow, without looking back, and hold hands of those we love. Pursue the road of his dreams, would also to abandon them at the roadside. Do we have this right?
    It is perhaps this, that would eventually, our worst nightmare, that to hurt those we love, to satisfy our most beautiful dream …

  2. Heart says:

    One little dream coming through for me; Meeting Paulo and getting his autograph on my shoulder;


    Life if full of magic moments and there is the big dream inside of us and showing up in the horizon..

  3. Hi Paulo, this has to be probably one of my favorite posts!! I feel more alive than ever now, doing what I love than I ever did. Like you said, it is not always a smooth road, sometimes you feel like you came to dead end…when it is meaningful to you, you will not stop at the dead end, you will turn around and find your way!
    I met a man while I was in Chile, I wrote a story about how at some point in his life, he stopped living his life the way others (parents, teachers, friends) expected him to and pursued his dream of being in the theatre. Furthermore, along the way, he discovered himself and the many emotions he had buried inside. Today, he has toured all around Europe and South America for the past ten years.

  4. Kealan says:

    The more you know about your dream, then the best to be able to deal with the falls.

  5. Tarek says:

    Beautifully said! There is no (re)birth without visiting Hades! Dawn has no meaning without the darkness it clears! It always follow the darkest phase of night!

  6. merce says:

    Dear Paulo,
    First off, thanks for sharing.
    Sometimes you need an awakening experience to realize what your dreams are. And that could not happen until you’ve finished another career and you’ve got a comfortable position. Much courage is needed to jump into the unknown. But when the herald comes from your inner world, you are able to summon up all the courage, bravery, despite the high price you have to pay and the unknown time you’ll be paying for it.
    I took the plunge. And although there are moments when it seems as if I’m going through the night dark of the soul, I’m living my passion. At the end, my passion is what gives meaning to my life.

  7. Marie-Christine says:

    In dreams I see
    Dre am s
    dire ame es
    The soul is telling me

    In night mares
    i see a link with the water
    There is the night and there is the sea
    It’s all about water
    We are all frighten to jump into the water at night.
    Is that the psy che ?
    It’s all about sounds and waves again for me.

    With love and gratitude,

  8. Neeraja Raj says:

    My name is Neeraja Raj and last year, I won the Emirates Literature Festival Award in Dubai and I got your limited edition pen! It’s so beautiful, thanks so much. It was my dream come true. I also heard you had written notes for us but we never got them. Anyways, I’m an ardent admirer of your novels… the Alchemist is amazing. I’m currently writing a novel after my exams and would like some guidelines. Thank you again!

  9. Xabbu189 says:

    The life what we got is too short so just listen your heart becouse of the truth is there. Sometimes without any logic or whisper amazing things for you. But if you follow these your boundaris are broken and you will be the happiest one in this life…

  10. Adriana says:

    I know the feeling, I know about nightmares. I know about paying the price. I’m so liberated and proud of having done it.
    Thank you so much for having guided me through this awfully difficult and painful process.

  11. Tara Hamdi says:

    I am a mother of 2 beautiful daughters, I believe in having hope and dreaming on, without the dream and having a goal, you can’t go on in life.

    Thank you Paulo for those nice words that will inspire many to dream on.

    Tara S.Hamdi ( Tara Hamdi)

  12. IB says:

    I like the nightmare and dream analogy. It reminds me of a saying I like to quote when I lecture about Unconventional Wisdom. “I didn’t say it’d be easy, I said it’s be worth it.”

  13. Hector says:

    Todos los seres humanos estamos expuestos a las pesadillas y criticas casi la mayoria destructivas. pero debemos aceptarlas como criticas constructivas y aprender a sacar provecho de ellas.

  14. cristina cabral says:

    Paulo sem sonhos, a alma ní£o vive, ela se alimenta, í s vezes me sinto desalmada, preciso correr atrás dela, e só de ver ela de longe, crio alma nova.
    Beijos Cristina

  15. Hector says:

    Felicitaciones senior Coelho; Por haber vencido esa peeadilla que sus padres sin creer ni querer afectarlo, lo hicieron pasar. A veces el amor paternal se equivoca y sin pensar en las consecuencias no cede a las aspiraciones de sus hijos. Por lo tanto merecen su perdon!!!

  16. Nina Ramirez says:

    He tenido muchas pesadillas en pos de alcanzar mis sueños,pero siempre trato de seguir soñando,he sido herida muchas veces y aún así­ no dejaré de intentarlo.
    Muchas gracias por compartir sus experiencias
    Mucha salud y bendiciones!!
    Un gran beso…Att Nina

  17. Martina says:

    I could not sleep and was looking for an answer. I felt helpless and was looking for a sign. I opened the blog and find my answer. Your words help me. Thank you, I can dream now reassured.Hamburg. 05.05.2012, 23:55.

  18. Martina says:

    I could not sleep and was looking for an answer. I felt helpless and was looking for a sign. I opened the blog and find my answer. Your words help me. Thank you, I can dream now reassured.Hamburg. 05.05.2012, 23:53.

  19. Martina says:

    I could not sleep and was looking for an answer.I felt helpless and was looking for a sign. I opened the blog and find an answer. Your words help me. Thank you, I can dream now reassured.Hamburg, 05.05.2012, 23:46.

  20. Lyl says:

    No regrets.I touch,feel,hear,see…my dream everyday and with him many other dreams awaken.It is something that cannot be contained in a book,it doesn’t come from imagination..I’m living it..I write everyday though,I sing,I laugh,I live..simple as that but most importantly I love,the best reward.I always knew deep down hey..feels nice to say “hey see I was right” that love is the cure,the savior,it doesn’t make you sleep,it wakes you up,it’s not fairyland,it’s I will be there in times of storm and in times of celebration.

  21. Annie says:

    these are haunting words..”When you die, there is a small child within you, who will ask, why didn’t you follow me? ”

    I prefer to say this to little me:
    “I m coming!!! ….”

    Love and gratitude

  22. mary says:

    the measure of a dream is a quanta of factors.

  23. Sombra says:

    Creo que hay que luchar por los sueños y seguir lo que te dicta el corazón. Y las señales que llevan hacia el o te apartan de el, por quizás no es lo que necesites alcanzar en ese momento. Por ello le escribo, pues no se como hacerle una pregunta. Perseguí­ un sueño, tuvo momentos magicos y doloros, aun sabiendo desde el principio el doloroso final que podí­a tener, seguí­ en ello, comprendiendo y estando al lado de la otra parte. Aunque la mente me dice que lo olvide, no dejo de precibir sensaciones para no desistir en ello, y seguir esperando en como acabara esta historia aunque cada uno ha seguido su vida. Con lo que quiero decir, que por casualidad llegó a mis manos su libro, “El Zahir”, aunque ya seguí­a sus letras, con el “Alquimista”, este libro me impresionó y cautivó, por que veí­a reflejada muchos aspectos de mi historia personal. Luego le ha seguido “El preregrino, Camino de Santigo” que me ha enseñado ciertos conceptos que me han servido para afianzar mis creencias espirituales, las cuales fueron bastantes tocadas e indagando sobre su bibliografí­a, me encontre en internet con “El demonio y la stra Pryme”, que me atrajo por el tema tratado el Bien el Mal, tema con el cual ultimamente tení­a esa lucha interna, sobre todo desde esta experiencia. Hoy he decidio empezar a leerlo, y aquí­ esta lo que me ha sorprendido y la vez inquietado, hoy necesitaba una señal que me guiara en esta lucha interna, y a medida que voy leyendo, aparece la ciudad de donde vive ahora esta persona tan especial para mi, ¿casualidad?, hay por favor decí­a para mi en mi pensamiento, el libro parece muy interesante y empieza con eso, todaví­a no se revela el nombre del protagonista, por favor, por favor, ahhh tiene su mismo nombre. Aunque se detalla pocas veces, sólo en la parte que vuelvo a pensar, menos mal que no sale escrito mucho, vuelva a salir, por que los personajes se cuestionan, “por que llamarlo extranjero, si se llama….”. Y resulta me quedan ya pocas hojas para terminarlo, pero este libro, refleja en casi su totalidad de mi experiencia personal, de todo lo que me he cuestionado en este tiempo, habí­a pensado escribir esta parte de mi historia, pero no sabí­a como enfocarla, y resulta que ha llegado a mis manos, ya esta escrita. No se, es muy dificil expresar lo que quiero transmitir. Pienso que usted con su conocimiento y ya al haber leido este libro, se que no es nada raro lo que he sentido y siento. Creo en esa lucha entre angeles y demonios. Me gustarí­a saber desde su punto de vista, desde su prespectiva como traducirí­a esta simbologí­a, el nombre del extranjero, la ciudad, la similitud con mi experiencia de lo que le pasa a la protagonista, la lucha interna, que hoy al ver su blog tenga esta entrada.. Gracias por estas narraciones que nos hacen reflexionar y seguir.

  24. Olta Canka says:

    Hope you know how important is the fact that you are sharing this experience of yours just as you lived it.

    I have a dream.
    Need to make a choice just because I want to.
    All that was fought in small battlefields now it has to be done in bigger ones.
    All that was done in Moon Light now it has to be done in Day Light.
    Courage has to move the mountains ahead.


  25. rick says:

    thanks, i needed to read this at this moment

  26. Empié says:

    Mi sueño, como he contado alguna vez, es ser músico.

    Ahora mi cabeza no me termina de dejar de hacer lo que quiero, y me limita a la hora de ser creativo, de interpretar, y muchas más cosas que dependen de la cabeza. Sin embargo como se que me curo y que recupero capacidades, espero pacientemente. Mientras espero no estoy con los brazos cruzados, hay cosas que no puedo hacer todaví­a pero hay otras que si, y la verdad es que estoy casi todo el tiempo cultivando mis “dones”.

    El dí­a que las puertas cedan no me parará nada. Entre tanto las criticas de la gente que no quiere que crezca intentan herirme y retenerme en mi sitio, a veces lo consiguen a veces no, sin embargo tengo la vista puesta en mi objetivo y no pararé.

    Un saludo, es curios como al verte vulnerable, al ver putos débiles, algunos intentan humillarte y herirte para que no crezcas, pero pienso en Cristo, pienso en como entró en Jerusalen, entró montado en un simple burro, el burro simboliza la perseverancia, la resistencia, el trabajo duro, el aceptar golpes y humillaciones y seguir avanzando. Así­ fue como entró Cristo en Jerusalen, quien lo dirí­a cuando posiblemente antes de todo ello serí­a un pobre carpintero, pero… Un Rey con harapos es un Rey.

    Un saludo. Trabajo, espero, sano, mañana actuaré.

    “Que muestren arrogantes sus brillantes armaduras por la mañana, por la tarde la victoria será mí­a.”

    1. toñi says:

      La música es una de las energí­as más poderosas del mundo, además de la energí­a electrica. ¿sabes que los pitagóricos estudiaban e investigaban sobre un tipo de música del universo que ellos llamaban “armoní­a”? iba vinculada a las matemáticas, porque la notas musicales también han sido creadas mediante el método matemático. Dicen que cuando un gran sabio se despega de su cuerpo los grandes maestros pueden escuchar la “armoní­a” la música que produce su alma cuando se libera del cuerpo. Es maravilloso que desees ser músico, si la música y la inspiración suenan dentro de tu mente…sigue adelante…porque la música es un don, un don muy especial!
      Ahí­ van mis ánimos para que hagas realidad tu sueño! Un fuerte abrazo!. Toñi.

    2. Empié says:

      Una de las cosas buenas de ser músico es que aprendes a escuhar, y lo primero que hay que escuchar es a uno mismo, y separarlo del ruido de fondo de las opiniones y deseos de los demás.

      Yo toco por gusto, siempre lo he hecho. Escucho música porque me gusta, tampoco suelo hablar mucho de música, escucho lo paso bien, ese sentimiento me basta y me sobra. Es una vocación, evidentemente para vivir tengo que hacer cualquier cosa, pero si hay un deseo en mi, si quiero algo de verdad, ¿por qué voy a renunciar a luchar por ello?. Ya sabes como la gente intenta influenciarte con sus comentarios para que hagas o dejes de hacer lo que ellos quieren, a veces con buena intención otras con mala, pero al fin y al cabo mi vida es mí­a, y muchas veces las opiniones de los demás no son las correctas, y como buen músico, me escucho, y hago lo que siento que tengo que hacer, al menos hoy, mañana puede que suene otra melodí­a en mi interior, pero si siento que tengo o no tengo que hacer algo, lo demás no me importa demasiado.

      Un saludo Toñi. A veces uno se deja influenciar por opiniones, o por creencias, o por lo que sea, y deja de escucharse a sí­ mismo, en el momento en que tú y tu corazón sois uno, el mundo pierde su poder sobre ti, y al fin y al cabo, cada cual sabe que es lo mejor para sí­, independientemente de lo que se supone que hay que hacer o dejar de hacer, me he dado cuenta que muchas de las cosas que creemos modos correctos de comportarse, se imitan de las pelis, o de los comportamientos que ves por la tele, o pretender influenciar nuestro comportamiento por algún tipo de interés personal. Cuando estás arriba, haces lo que tú quieres hacer, y ya está.

      Un saludo Toñi, me alegro de volver a escucharte de nuevo, hasta pronto.

  27. Elena says:

    it’s a very interesting topic,but my question is how you can remember your dreams?!I’m 32 and maybe or certainly as a child I had dreams but I don’t remember.How can I turn back in time to see thouse dreams?As a child I listen my parents who tried to teach me about beeing good,not beeing selfish,get good votes at school,respect the others.But they didn’ taught me how to dream,they thought dreams are stupid,they always think to go to work and raise their child and that’s it!I want my dreams back,because now I’m feeling like living somebody’s life and I’m not happy!
    Elena from Venice(Italy)

    1. Susana says:

      it sounds like your dream is calling to you Elena. Guess we all owe it to ourselves to keep in tune with what it is that makes us feel alive…I wish you all the best in realising whatever dream you have – being somewhere else for a while – gives us breathing space (not saying you should leave Venice!)..Ciao xx

    2. Elena says:

      Thank you,Susana!

  28. richard hughes says:

    sometimes… it takes more than one or two try
    to achieve your goal and fufill your dream.
    my dream is to spread the love through my singing.
    i thank God everyday for my passion !
    dear paulo,love and respect

  29. Shine says:

    Its very difficult Paulo, and its terrifying journey. But the fact is also there that obstacles make you rise, force you to change. Its a scary yet an exiciting journey. Thanks for reminding that I may quit, but my dreams will live with me and that my life will have no meaning without them. Loads of gratitude. Avantika :)

  30. O pesadelo pode demorar para acabar… mas uma hora ele acaba… Persistíªncia e paciíªncia atrás dos sonhos. É complicado, mas é possí­vel.
    Obrigada por tanta sabedoria.

  31. Gina nunez says:

    Precious reflection thanks for sharing! I’ve read three of your books in English and in Spanish. Looking forward to reading you in years to come. Viva la cultura y la literatura de Coelho!

  32. Cynthia says:

    I have some questions to ask about the novel “Brida”. First I would like to know about incarnation, that if the soul reincarnates, how does it hold accountable in front of God for what it did right and wrong? Every person is responsible for his/her actions in life. If they’re reincarnated, how does God judge them? And also, Paulo has spoken many times of his christianity, yet in many novels he addresses the issue of finding God through orgasm, which everyone knows that in church that is only allowed after marriage. Paulo is one of my favorite writers but there are some things that just don’t add up in my mind, or maybe I misunderstood… I would like some explanations; thanks to anyone who can provide them.

  33. Well says:

    ok, time for a noble dream by John Lennon:

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace

    You, you may say
    I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world

    You, you may say
    I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

    1. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

      The best song ! The best !
      I would be that kind of dreamer and could”Imagine all the people sharing all the world”
      Thanks so much, to Well, for this post, particularly poignant for me.
      M. Christine G.

  34. Megan says:

    Your words always resonate so deeply with me Paulo. It shocks me that you struggled to find a publisher for The Alchemist because it is my favourite book. I can’t even imagine not having ever read it… You give me the courage to pursue my own dreams of wanting to be a writer. Thank you for your glorious words of wisdom, they’ve come just at the right time, as usual.


  35. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    Thank you for this wonderful text. I’m convinced. A dream is always associated with risk. Towards the end of my book, the following sentence will stand. The main character says to a woman.
    “I can not win, that have already tried many before me. All have failed. ”
    “You will win, even if you do not understand why, or how.”
    Often in life it is so. Victory and defeat is something very relative. If you have done your best, then that is always a victory. In my opinion. It is important that at the end of the day, you can look in the mirror. Money and fame, no one can take, on the last journey. Which does not mean that it is harmful if have it. But in the end only love remains, and what you have done good.

    I wish you all a wonderful weekend

  36. Susana says:

    Thanks Paulo. I needed to read that this morning. The nightmare bit you write about is ringing true with me at the moment. My dream is being manifested at the moment, I’m sure of this, but I seem to be pulled in so many directions at the same time. Ok. I know I need to take measures as you write, which I’m doing…its the being overwhelmed part that I’m now struggling with, and wondering how I’m going to deal with some of the external practical aspects of making my dream happen. It’s all part of the process, right?
    God Bless you xx

  37. Akash says:

    Your words have always been an inspiration to me!
    And day by day I could relate better to what you are sharing.
    Last year end I resigned from my job, along with my equally crazy friend, leaving behind our past life we rode the bike amongst mountain, felt freedom that tasted yummy, breathing in us a new life, giving us the adrenaline rush that we only hoped for but never ever experienced before and simply so, made up our mind to find ourselves. Find our true selves beyond the adjectives of our education degrees, our jobs and our relationships.
    Romancing the Himalayas with pennies in our pocket, bike under us and the sky above. Our journey ended with 13000+ kilometers of ride.. 3 months of cracked spine, swollen bum on thud thud bike but intoxicated heart and excited soul…Yet the destination is far far away.

    Now back to town life, editing and writing our trip film, with limited resources, and no production house to support I truly understand that
    “It is better to take the risk, to be hurt, to go through some nightmare to fulfill your dreams.”
    we are truly grateful!

  38. arun says:

    aks – The Reflection: “Dream: My dreams are my assets and I love them.”
    EXCERPTS from the Note:- We dream because we are alive and whatever we see, it involves our hope and expectation towards the achieving the purpose………….we learn the best and ready to suffer the worst has come from dream.,…… Sometimes we just go for killing our dreams just to remain in comfortable zone of life without thinking that Life, itself is a dream… whatever we think is part of our dream. we progress with our dreams……. Dreams are rudder of life ………..We stop dreaming only when we are dead.

  39. Sheela Nandini says:

    “But it is quite complicated to be hurt about something that is meaningful to you.”

    Well said, Paulo!


  40. mani says:

    very nice ! Inspired !

  41. Saurabh Goel says:

    Who thinks differently is a mad to this civilized society!!!!

  42. Sonia says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences that motivates me to follow my Dreams..

    Have a good day !

  43. sandra says:

    today if you have not founded an internet based mega company by the age of 20 you are deemed a failure. your story is inspiring. it is the story of rejuvenation, 2nd chances, and hope.

  44. sofia says:

    es verdad hay que luchar por nuestros sueños, por lo que queremos ser y hacer de lo contrario nos sentimos frustados por no realizarnos como persona

  45. Psoe says:

    Cuando los sueños se convierten en pesadilla, será porque nos enseñan de qué estamos hechos?. O sí­ en realidad creemos qué los merecemos?. Ellos nos pertenecen y sólo Dios y nosotros sabemos realmente de qué se trata.. El resto del mundo seguirá pensando qué estamos locos mientras sigan pareciendo pesadillas a sus ojos, y lo peor es qué querrán salvarnos de ellas. Queda de nosotros dejarnos convencer o seguir luchando por alcanzarlos.
    Gracias por existir Paulo.

    1. Sombra says:

      Esto de acuerdo con tu reflexión. Coincido y era un pensamiento que me daba vueltas, “Sólo Dios y nosotros sabes realmente de qué se trata”.

  46. Paulo you are a big inspiration to many, to enable them to strive for manifesting their dreams. Do share with us your path, when you were unable to find a publisher and got hurt. How did you ride this wave and finally reach the shore, your dream?

  47. gg says:

    As usual, loved the blog :-) blog

  48. Evi says:

    I have some dreams who haven’t materialized yet. It’s hurt some time. But in the end I believe those dreams are shaping my life, make me who i am right now

    1. Susana says:

      Evi, I like what you write about your dreams shaping your life; hope mine are doing the same for me…and yes, I see what you mean when you say they are making you who you are right now..we are what we are, and what we dream..
      All the best to you,

  49. sara says:

    Dios da dones diferentes a cada uno y cada cual desarrolla el que puede no el que quiere, yo aun quiero, porque vale la pena que los demas usen su imajinacion y se den cuenta que la vida no es un cuento es una realidad.