Nine steps to transform yourself into a river

“A river never passes the same place twice,” says a philosopher. “Life is like a river,” says another philosopher, and we draw the conclusion that this is the metaphor that comes closest to the meaning of life. Consequently, it is always good to remember::

A] We are always doing things for the first time.While we move between our source (birth) to our destination (death), the landscape will always be new. We should face these novelties with joy, not with fear – because it is useless to fear what cannot be avoided. A river never stops running.

B] In a valley we walk slower. When everything around us becomes easier, the waters grow calm, we become more open, fuller and more generous.

C] Our banks are always fertile. Vegetation only grows where there is water. Whoever comes into contact with us needs to understand that we are there to give the thirsty something to drink.

D] Stones should be avoided. It is obvious that water is stronger than granite, but it takes time for this to happen. It is no good letting yourself be overcome by stronger obstacles, or trying to fight against them – that is a useless waste of energy. It is best to understand where the way out is, and then move forward.

E] Hollows call for patience. All of a sudden the river enters a sort of hole and stops running as joyfully as before. At such moments the only way out is to count on the help of time. When the right moment comes the hollow fills up and the water can flow ahead. In the place of the ugly, lifeless hole there now stands a lake that others can contemplate with joy.

F] We are one. We were born in a place that was meant for us, which will always keep us supplied with enough water so that when confronted with obstacles or depression we have the necessary patience or strength to move forward. We begin our course in a soft and fragile manner, where even a simple leaf can stop us. Nevertheless, as we respect the mystery of the source that gave us life, and trust in His eternal wisdom, little by little we gain all that we need to pursue our path.

G] Although we are one, soon we shall be many. As we travel on, the waters of other springs come closer, because that is the best path to follow. Then we are no longer just one, but many – and there comes a moment when we feel lost. However, as the Bible says, “all rivers flow to the sea.” It is impossible to remain in our solitude, no matter how romantic that may seem. When we accept the inevitable encounter with other springs, we eventually understand that this makes us much stronger, we get around obstacles or fill in the hollows in far less time and with greater ease.

H] We are a means of transportation. Of leaves, boats, ideas. May our waters always be generous, may be always be able to carry ahead everything or everyone that needs our help.

I] We are a source of inspiration. And so, let us leave the final words to the Brazilian poet, Manuel Bandeira:

“To be like a river that flows
silent through the night,
not fearing the darkness and
reflecting any stars high in the sky.

And if the sky is filled with clouds,
the clouds are water like the river, so
without remorse reflect them too”


  1. karen fernandez says:

    Gracias coelhoo!! Gracias por hacerme entender el sentido q tiene la vida… es como un rio q fluye!!

  2. Tarun Kumar says:

    Simple yet inspiring “mantras” to lead a meaningful life…It captures the essence of all self-helf books more beautifully in ten points/paras…Saving it to my desktop as daily read…Thanks.

  3. Ofelia says:

    Muchas gracias, me encanta sobre todo la introducción “Un rí­o nunca pasa dos veces por el mismo lugar”.

  4. cristina cabral says:

    Pensar sobre água, rio, lago, ajuda sempre.
    Ps: Já estou com o Manuscrito em minhas mí£os. Obrigado Paulo

  5. Mohammad Ali Gaad says:

    Such great steps ! certainly i got inspired by Paulo coelho`s words and your advices are so heart touching especially i liked that “It is obvious that water is stronger than granite, but it takes time for this to happen”; indeed a great point. If we are weak no matter but even we can recover and prove our-self best.

  6. Ines says:


  7. angkana says:

    dear paulo
    after reading Manuel’s poem and many of your references relating life and river, i’ve accepted my life to be like a flowing river. your words always inspire me. with your help i’ve been a flowing river. thanks as always.
    p.s.- nice photo..
    with respect n love

  8. Hema bisht says:

    Chris you are looking really beautiful in this pic….nd thanx Mr coelho for giving us so much knowledge about life…..may god bless u..:)

  9. anne lei says:

    a nice photo out there. it looks like you are enjoying seeing the water falls down the glass.

  10. nikamarie says:

    Paulo, I absolutely love the picture of you and Chris. So much enthusiasm and love for life!

    1. chris says:

      yes anne lei & nikamarie ! this picture ‘sparkles’ life & who these fantastic pple ‘are’ :o)) awwww

  11. nikamarie says:

    As I sat in class yesterday learning new things, I had imagined in the past this moment, but briefly and let in the wind only for it to return to me and manifest. Now the moment feels so surreal, but as I listen, communicate, and interact I know that it is all real, change is taking place inside and out a dream that I dreamt (birth given to; now growth).

    I will be as free flowing as the river and allow my light to shine and join with the light that is all around flickering in the waters reflecting in the sun and the stars.

    Fear has tried to show its face as I entered new waters, but my soul knows that fear is only bondage and I desire to feel the waves and be tickled by the butterflies in my stomach as I am one with the river and many with the sea.

  12. Jeff says:

    In my experience flowing water is one of the best teachers of acceptance and surrender.

    How will I recognize my teacher when I see her?

    1. chris says:

      how beautiful your reflection jeff… i believe that u will recognize her… and unexpectelty (sorry im dutch), i wish u that :) namaste

  13. Anulal says:

    Dear Paulo, I have been following your blog, since I read Fifth Mountain, your book, I read for the first time. Now it’s many years. And I can tell when the river of Paulo reflects the full moon of your magnificent soul. This is one such day, one such example.
    I say this because I received with the reflected moon light and what only a river can deliver: inspiration, peace, life.
    Much love,

  14. Susana says:

    The river of our lives,
    flows slowly enough to cleanse and ease our aching limbs,
    it has the power to hold our deepest fears,
    for the moment at least.
    Taking nourishment from the water…
    we quench our thirst first and reawaken our souls,
    ..the essence of who we are.
    Here, we give ourselves this gift of transparency to carry on with our journeys.
    Tasting this pure, cold nectar of life makes our reason to be, chills our insides, and as we feel it trickle down our needy throats..the sweat of our toil drips down our skin forgotten,
    for the moment, at least.
    Let me flow like the river and go where it goes,
    allow me to rest and take in this cool, cool invigorating source,
    I will see here the reflection of all …and touch the wonder that I cannot hold.
    And my senses will come together in a joyful reunion, reminding me of the flow and what it means to be alive.

    1. Lesley says:

      wow…a very lovely poem. :-)

  15. Anders says:

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
    Is he then not a river or is he a more forceful river carving his own path regardless of obstacles?

  16. Cinzia Bastogi says:

    Troppo bello e forte paragonare la propria vita ad un fiume. Sei tostissimo.
    l a mia vita, e’ un torrente calmo, ma talvolta precipitoso e quando e’ tranquillo nelle piccole insenature aspetta che il nemico prima o poi passi,
    per poi poterlo attanagliare.

  17. Ruben Marquez says:

    Paolo you are one of the best writers I ever see… The Alchemist one of my prefer books… I love the way you see life and the easy way you explain complex things… I will only mention the only part that may be not agree with you is when you say something about the bible or god. I think you don’t need it in order to people understand or like what you write about. Your own concept and personal way is good enough to touch the heart of every person that read something from you… I hope people don’t feel offended or take this personal, I just want express my personal opinion and yes … I am not religious person, I believe in Life as one… I wish the best to everybody, specially Mr. Coelho

  18. Sarah says:

    Through the metafore of the river, I understood the deep sense of life, the meaning of the Aí»m, the Unity of every element, the importance of time which is always running so that can just remain the present…
    All that I know today I learned it from the Hermann Hesse’s master piece “Siddharta” and experienced it, not just with my intellect, but with my ears, heart and stomach.

    Here I let you the quote, because it really deserves its place in this topic :

    “The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth…in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future…Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man are only separated by shadows, not through reality…Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence.”

    1. Susana says:

      Thank you Sarah for this. xx

  19. angelina palma says:

    we are like the flowing water of a river trying to reach our goal, some became stagnant and eventually dries but some was able to made it to the end… they may be rocks along the way that hinder us , but seeing how the water surpassed these huge obstacles teaches us that if we cannot overcome challenges we should learn to undercome them…

  20. Pilar de a Orillas del Rio Piedra says:

    Me encanta la foto!! ser como un rí­o.. siempre fluyendo.. naciendo.. el agua.. es ví­da… gracias Paulo, beijos, love
    Pilar e Juan Carlos.

  21. joelle fourcroy says:

    Si j’avais í  í  raconter mon histoire, elle serait beaucoup trop longue í  lire. Alors je vais écrire quelques lignes pour vous dire comment j’ai vécu.J’en ai parcouru des chemins parsemés de fleurs , j’ai écouté chanter les oiseaux, le vent souffler dans les sapins , arrosé mes fleurs mais il y en a beaucoup í  dire . Mon itinéraire fut difficile í  parcourir car je n’avais pas de carte pour me diriger dans mon existence .J’ai paremé ma petite vie de petits bonheurs en me racontant de jolis contes avec de drí´les de personnages rencontrés ici et lí  . Mais les esprits qui me hantentviennent entí¢cher mon parcours car ils viennent me terroriser le matin et la journée et le soir pour m’endormir .. Mon chemin fut jonché de rochers , j’avais de mauvaises chaussures pour marcher .Parfois il suffit d’un peu d’imagination pour trnsformer votre vie en un conte de fée. Mais les vilains esprits sont toujours lí  mais parfois j’arrive í  le dompter car c’est moi qui raconte de vilaines choses dans mon í¢me C’est pourquoi je me transforme en une petite fée bleue pour pouvoir écrire d’autres contes . Merci Paulopour votre Petite histoire . A bientí´t .

  22. katie says:

    oh, I love this photo <3

  23. toñi says:

    Cuando era jovencita me encantaba un poeta que se llamaba Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, hace un rato me he acordado de una de sus poesí­as y he tomado el libro que la estanterí­a para buscarla, era una de sus poesí­as que más me gustaba, te la escribo ¿vale?:

    Del salón en el ángulo oscuro,
    de su dueña tal vez olvidada,
    silenciosa y cubierta de polvo,
    veí­ase el arpa.
    ¡Cuánta nota dormí­a en sus cuerdas
    como el pájaro duerme en las ramas,
    esperando la mano de nieve
    que sabe arrancarlas!
    ¡Ay! pensé; ¡cuántas veces el genio
    así­ duerme en el fondo del alma
    y una voz como Lázaro espera
    que le diga “Levántate y anda”!

    Buenas noches, abrazos,

  24. Yeray says:

    Me encanta!!!!! Tengo la sensación muchas veces de estar en un rí­o que no acaba nunca sin mar ni montañas.

  25. Fred Furst says:

    As much as I like this, the very reason why we click blog posts with “how to” in their titles is what keeps us from actually flowing.

  26. Fabio says:

    ed è per questo che rifiuto tutto cií² che mi viene trasmesso come,un input da seguire,dai vari santi,santoni chiese,moschee…politicanti,filosofi.. perché nessuno ti puí² dire il tuo percorso da fiume.
    Ogni essere umano ha il suo, mai farsi trasportare da un altro fiume o seguire percorsi gií “affermati” noi dobbiamo arrivare allo stesso mare con il nostro,istinto ed la nostra personalití ,diciamo il nostro “essere” individuale.

  27. Mary says:

    In each molecule of H2O are spaces.
    Use your imagination to fill those spaces with love.
    The molecules welcome such action.
    The molecules themselves love humanity.

    At least in MY imagination they do.

  28. it's hand y says:

    ah ah ah Nice show of hands:).
    w orking hand in hand
    adding elements of art
    good synch from both sides :)
    with love
    h and y yin yang

  29. Dear Mr. Paulo Coelho,

    Hey!!I am from India. I just wanna say I Luv reading ur buks.Ur knowledge is impressive.N I LUV UR THOUGHTS. Such a pure soul u have.I get connected with the characters of ur buks n i enjoy reading it.U r such GREAT AUTHOR.

    Wish u a successful Life n all ur dreams come true


  30. Graeme says:

    Sorry Paulo again D and E…The organism needs volatility/stress for it too flow better, without these *obstacles* it starts to perish, the volatility makes it grow. You need to be the fire and wish for the wind (up to a point). This is Antifragility and it has now been emprical mapped (mathamatically).

    1. Graeme says:

      And please dont quote G, its not the point. You need to fail, your greater upside is via negativity not via benifits, its actually by searching for hollows and Stones, for in these places are your greatest rewards.

  31. Annie says:

    What a fantastic photo!!!
    you both are so amazing!!

    Love and Gratitude

  32. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

    What a photo so fun to watch and joyfull ! ;-))))))
    Thank you for sharing this obvious contagious joy.
    With blessings and love
    M christine

  33. Seema says:

    Amazing photo of you and Christina, looking like you both are a melting bed of two streams of a river.

  34. Roger Ellman says:

    Wet as we were, happily swimming, then floating, then drifting.

    Float and dip, like a bobbing thing.

    Peaceful in motion as in place.

    The day gave way, the days do you know, to a night timed with a deeper hued sky.

    This way the current flowed, that way it ebbed.

    We are dry as a cinder, warm and protected.
    We are in the river as the driver of our life thus projected.

    Oh well!

  35. rema says:

    wow. at its best. thanks

  36. Kanwal altaf says: u do when words seize to inspire u?y does that happen?

  37. ~paula says:

    where does this river go
    for that I know not
    what banks she passes
    what roots dip into her being
    and there find life…
    the raven was sent forth
    my waters dried up
    his locks are black
    thick and wavy
    he cast his shadow
    i walk only within its lines
    who will provide my water
    who will quench my thirst
    blackbird, blackbird
    why do you weary me
    why is your eye on me
    why do you sit and stare
    feet perched on cedar limbs
    my throat is parched
    my skin so dry
    where is the balm
    the ointment of Gilead
    the salve to anoint my eyes
    that I might see
    only your eye moves
    always on me
    when will you fly
    come to my tree
    when will the river move
    and i will be free again
    to run into the sea
    blackbird blackbird
    my branch is empty
    my roots are dry
    they cling to these banks
    consumed with thirst
    my raven my love
    your beauty consumes me
    your wisdom i long for
    anoint me my love
    open my eyes
    search my heart and try me
    know my anxious thoughts
    feel the river of life inside me
    it longs to move
    my harps are hung by your banks
    your willows adorned with sadness
    tuned to mourning
    my river yearns to sing
    it longs to move
    it runs to you…
    for there you sing
    and my heart sings there too
    come closer my love
    take me with you
    your strong current
    that moves my soul forward
    your pulse called life
    ever moving
    in you I choose
    no fight
    no struggle
    only the grace you offer
    ever moving
    ever being
    ever flowing
    times swift hand
    soft but hard
    for all that I am
    all that I’ll ever be
    came through your power
    in your loving hand…

  38. toñi says:

    Es preciosa la foto vuestra, bueno a mi me lo parece. La belleza depende siempre de los ojos que miran …supongo. Me gustarí­a …bueno yo veo cosas en las fotos de las personas que otros no pueden ver, me gustarí­a poder ver en las palmas de vuestras manos , ya sabes, los sí­mbolos del fuego sagrado.
    Bueno, cada persona puede ver lo que puede ver y cada persona puede tener lo que debe tener. Es una foto preciosa!!
    Un saludo y un abrazo,

  39. eleonora says:

    bellissima foto

  40. Liza says:

    You are one great inspiration to me Paulo….Thank you so much for inspiring us, may i be able to totally forget my painful past and move forward to a brand new life with the love of my life….Peter.

  41. Olá queridos!

    Nos trilhos da alma…conversam com água rs?Bjs lindos

  42. LoveM says:

    Sunny river bank
    Here comes effervescent joy
    Bubbling down the stream

    Going with the flow
    Where ever the stream may be
    You are still the sea

    Wisdom of water
    Always falling flowing down
    Into love’s valley

    Weary bedtime call
    Heavy like a deep blue rock
    In a waterfall

    Silently it drops
    Stillness of a waterfall
    Soundlessly it plops

    A pile and a post
    This garden.. these river rocks
    Anchor me the most

    Late afternoon sun
    receptive.. reflective pool
    Enlightened waters

    Lit by awareness
    Your entire life flowing like
    A river of light

    Can you comprehend
    Why the rivers laughing be
    Cause their brooks came down

    1. eleonora says:

      molto bella ..grazie

    2. Ashray says:

      Pretty poem and funny sounding part “Soundlessly it plops”.


      I have nothing intelligent to say but this.

    3. joelle fourcroy says:

      Magnifique , très joli poème . Quel talent .

  43. Ronak Baldha says:

    Read your blog first time sir and might I say how lucky I feel v_v

  44. Que sabias palabras. Realmente me motivo hoy.

  45. “May our waters always be generous, may we always be able to carry ahead everything or everyone that needs our help.” [H]

    Amen !

    Thank you, Paulo.

  46. Gonzalo says:

    Hermosa comparación con la vida, espero ser un rí­o generoso con amplios márgenes fértiles y que algún dí­a sirva de transporte.
    Espero que se equivoquen los filósofos, por que hay un solo momento en mi vida que quisiera que se repita, si no se equivocan los filósofos, por lo menos que sea similar.
    Una gota, dos gotas, un arroyo, dos arroyos, un rio, un mar o infinitas gotas.
    Paz y Amor

  47. Homo conscius says:

    river, mountain, lake or sky, sense a quality, just try.

  48. Annie says:

    A river of teardrops
    makes me wanna go away
    Away in time ,
    what was will never again come by

    The girl asked one day
    ‘papa, why the river changes colour in the night?’
    ‘it’s one of the river’s magic tricks,
    when you grow up
    One day you ‘ll find out how and why’..

    Love and gratitude

  49. toñi says:

    Hola buenas tardes Paulo!
    Es muy bonito lo que acabo de leer sobre “la vida es como un rio”, además es cierto. He tenido momentos en que el agua se mezcla con remolinos o depresiones y todo estaba fangoso, ahora el fango se ha estancado en el fondo y me encuentro como si fuera un lago dentro de un valle. La verdad es que es una sensación de paz muy gratificante. No sé si algún dí­a este lago que es mi vida se extenderá para mezclarse con otros rios, no lo sé pero tampoco me preocupa demasiado saberlo.
    He leido mensajes de personas que han recibido mensajes en sus correos a través del blog o algo así­, no sé si te interesa o no …pero yo no he recibido mensajes de nadie ni insultándome ni intentando ponerse en contacto conmigo. Y si algún dí­a los recibo, …les daré la importancia que merecen, es decir ninguna. Creo que estoy por encima de todo eso, y también quiero expresar que me parece muy mal que otras personas hagan algo así­. Si nos queremos comunicar entre nosotros para eso tenemos este blog. Si queremos conocer a personas fí­sicamente para eso tenemos nuestro propio entorno. Quiero decir que yo lo que explico aqui lo explico bajo el nombre o pseudonimo de Toñi, pero me podrí­a llamar Manolo ¿no?. y en mi propio entorno no explicarí­a las cosas que explico aqui porque sencillamente no me hace gracia. Me quedé un poco ” a cuadros” de ver lo que la gente es capaz de hacer, pero bueno en este mundillo tiene que haber de todo ¿no?.
    Un abrazo a todos y buenas tardes,