Break the glass!

I held his hand. He knew about the great mysteries of the Goddess, but he knew about as much about love as much as I; even though he had traveled so far.

And he would have to pay a price: the initiative. Because the woman pays the highest price: the surrender.

We held hands for a long time. I could see in his eyes the ancient fears that true love creates and proves. I read the memory of rejection from the previous night, the long time spent apart, the years in the monastery in search of a world where these things did not happen.

I could see in his eyes the thousands of times I could have imagined this moment, the scenarios built around us, the color of our hair and the color of my clothes. I wanted to say “yes”, he would be welcome, that my heart had won the battle. I wanted to say how much I loved him, how much I desired the moment as well.

But I kept silent. I watched, as if in a dream, his inner struggle. I saw that he had before him my “no”, the fear of losing me, the harsh words he had heard in similar moments – because we all go through it, and accumulate scars.

His eyes began to shine. He knew I was winning all those barriers.

So I released one hand, grabbed a cup and put it at the edge of the table.

“It’s going to fall,” he said.

“Exactly. I want you to fall,” I said.

“By breaking a glass?” he asked.

“Yes, by breaking a glass. A seemingly simple gesture, but it involves fears that we will never come to understand,” I responded. “What’s wrong with breaking a cheap glass, when we have all done this without meaning to at some point in our lives?”

“Breaking a glass?” he repeated, “Why?”

“I can give some explanations,” I answered, “but to be truthful it’s only for the sake of breaking it.”

“For your sake?”

“Of course not.”

He looked at the glass on the edge of the table , I could tell he was worried about it falling.

I wanted to say that it’s a rite of passage, as he’s often said. That it’s forbidden. That glasses do not break it on purpose. That when we walk into restaurants or into our homes, we are always careful to move the glasses that are on the edge of the table. Our world requires us to make sure that the glasses do not fall on the floor.

However, I kept thinking, when broken by accident, we see that it was not so serious. The waiter says “don’t worry about it”, and I’ve never seen a broken glass be billed on a restaurant tab. Breaking glasses is a part of life and do not cause any harm to us, the restaurant, or the next person to sit at that table.

I took a bump on the table. The glass shook, but did not fall.

“Be careful!” he said instinctively.

“Break the glass,” I insisted.

Break the glass, I thought to myself, because it is a symbolic gesture. Try to understand that within myself, things were breaking of much more importance than a glass, and I’m happy for that. Look to your own inner struggles and break this glass.

Our parents taught us to be careful with glasses and with our bodies. They taught us that the passions of childhood are impossible; we should not remove men from the priesthood, that people do not perform miracles and that no one goes on a journey without knowing where he wants to go.

Break this cup, please, I thought to myself, and release of all these damn misconceptions, the habit you have of only doing that which everyone agrees with.

“Break this glass,” I say again.

He fixed his eyes on mine. Then, slowly, he slid his hand over the table, to touch the glass. In a quick movement, he pushed it to the ground.

The sound of broken glass caught everyone’s attention. Instead of covering up the broken glass or apologizing, he looked at me and smiled. I smiled back.

“Don’t worry about it!” yelled the waiter from across the restaurant.

But he did not listen. He had already risen from his seat, grabbed me by the hair and kissed me.

I pulled on his hair, hugged him with all my strength, bit his lips, felt his tongue moving inside my mouth. It was a kiss that had a lot attached to it, that had been born along the rivers of our childhood, when we did not understand the meaning of love. It was a kiss that was suspended in the air while we were growing up. It had traveled around the world through the memory of a medal, which was hidden behind stacks of books used to study for a public job. A kiss that had been lost many times before and had now had been found. At that moment, the kiss ended years of searching, disappointments and impossible dreams.

I kissed him hard. The few people who were at the bar must have looked and thought they were seeing just a kiss. They did not know at that moment, that kiss was the summary of my life, of his life, the life of any person who hopes, dreams and seeks his way under the sun.

In that minute, in that kiss, were all of the happy moments I have ever lived.

in “By the river Piedra I sat down and wept”


  1. pooja says:

    a story of such pure passion and deep love, can really help you resolve the conflict between your heart and your mind where in your heart feels pure passion and your mind portraits it as just another experience.
    really liked this story and the way its worded!!

  2. jem says:

    this was so nice!it somehow let me understand things! thank you.. you’re such a genius

  3. Precioso sí­ ese beso que si bien dura unos segundos permanecerá en la mente creando su eterna existencia, viajando en el tiempo.
    Este libro me hizo soñar.
    The Kiss

  4. Vera says:

    I am happy to say I have at least once broken a glass, just for the fun of it. :) It happened on my own balcony, I was feeling silly. My balcony was small and had a concrete floor on it so it broke pretty efficiently. The pieces lay there for weeks cos I was lazy to clean it up. :P I never used my small, concrete paved balcony that much.

    Had not read this book back then and still haven’t. :o I own it though and it is on my to-read list.

  5. Aena says:

    I wish so many people nowadays would “Break the glass” because they truly believed in something…………..and not just because they wish the glass to break.

  6. marie-christine says:

    MA K TUB
    Beauty Key Soul/Love
    Beauty is the Key to the Soul and Love

  7. Sujoy` says:

    Thank you sir …

  8. danelle says:

    does praying the rosary really good???

  9. danelle says:

    in order to break the glass, one should be able to be fearless and to be brave to deal with the uncertainties ahead..

  10. Adriana says:

    I simply adore this book, and cannot help but commenting on it.
    This is one of my favorite parts of the book.
    Breaking the glass requires a lot of courage,and once it is done there is no way back. You’re taken either to glory or despair. Courage is needed to cope with both.
    Regarding the kiss, for others the kiss is only one more kiss out of the many kisses we get used to witness, but for them it is a story full of magic came true. The difference lies on this: we’re the only witnesses of the voice of our heart and should not expect others to understand it.

  11. Yinet Gonzalez Gomez says:

    I read that book when I was 14!!! at the time I did not understand what breaking the glass meant. now that I do, I will remember that sometimes what happens after we break it is way better than the feeling of having to keep it safe just because of what others my say. I love you people!

  12. ANAS says:

    I think this is not only message to express of love without any limit or fear but this has the message…
    “most of us “we spoiling lots of our golden moments, waisting life of ourself, realatives, neighbours and whom we are connected or depended b’se of fear of small things (for me fear has no measurement) as well as it has meessage of “importance of time”, yaap a lot… thank you Mr. Coelho

  13. […] from Paulo Coelho’s blog, […]

  14. Alice says:

    I recently re-read this book and in particular this passage caught my attention because is one of the most important passages of the story. Breaking the glass is breaking all the external bounds which move us like “puppets”. The kiss,after breaking the glass, is unexpected for him but also for the reader(for me at least :)) and this is exactly what happens after allowing love to flow without limits. The consequences of love are like this kiss: unexpected.
    To accept love means to let the unexpected happen and this also includes suffering sometimes. This is the most important teaching that Paulo gave me.
    Love is synonymous with risk without loss because anyway it teaches something and it always worthwhile.
    love, Alice
    ps: beautiful description of Pilar’s feelings and thoughts during the kiss.

  15. florence says:

    all I have to say is : Wow ! it almost brought tears up my eyes but it definitely brought a smile on my face :)

    I definitely must read this book, haven’t yet.. :) xx

  16. Jojo says:

    What I like in that passage is all the energy that one puts in the relation with the other to help break free the other. I each time I go through a passage make it a ritual. The intention is strong at the moment, the belief that the Spirit is the guide and witness and that the Spirit will always be there to bring me to where is my intention, being it’s in the same time. For the moment, I think I just broke a Big Big Glass … going from the ordinary world to the extraordinary world. I brake my glass to the known to enter the unknown, which I know profoundly is the path for me. When hesitation and doubt present themselves, I remember the act of the broken glass and rememorate to myself the moment.

  17. Laurie says:

    This segment changed my life… My gratitude to you is eternal… <3

  18. Kitty says:

    really nice and true story…
    my fianceè has a great quotation on his facebook account, it says: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” dont know where he got it from, but it matches very well.
    and I exactly know this feeling written she has while that special kiss. I had it when my love kissed me first time… and he makes me feel like this with every other kiss!!!
    its unsayable how it feels to find ur true love!!!

  19. pam says:

    THE KISS! two lips held in sacred breath. I hope Paulo you have FELT in the flesh the sacredness of this union of shiva, shakti jesus mary mother and father that you so freely write.This is a time of great importance in the spirit of the human pathos,mother earth a sacred being encourages our awareness of DIVINE love.Only you in your heart are able to answer this question?

  20. Jinsol says:

    Thank you so much, Paulo. :)

  21. Eva says:

    When I first read this I read ‘the glass’ as ‘glass walls’.
    I am very aware of the glass prison I live in but have not found a way of destroying the walls. Sometimes I find a door and step out for a few moments or open a window and let in the outside for a time. Mostly I am safely inside and all six sides are very tightly sealed.

  22. Amarnath says:

    Thank you very much sir, I love it.

  23. Sari Plamroth says:

    wieeeeeeee… I love this part in the book..its so, as I call it – soulflying…I have been breaking so many glasses when I have been angry, but to do so in a joyful way its better ;)


  24. simran says:


    1. ali raza says:

      not more den u…!!

  25. […] exactly when I need them most. Take for instance the excerpt he posted a couple days ago – “Break the glass!” from his book By the river Piedra I sat down and wept. If I did not feel compelled to stay near […]

  26. Sanjeev says:

    Thankyou my writer!!!

  27. lamyae says:

    absolutly wonderfull nd deep,just love it<3

  28. Mercedes says:


  29. danelle says:

    i have read that from that passages from your novel
    “By the river Piedra I sat down and wept”…A great novel!!!!

  30. leila says:

    if glass breaks in Lebanon we say that The BAD has been broken, i.e. any bad eye will not have its effect. so it is positive in our side of the world. Great piece of writing m. Coelho!

  31. Mamito Jr. says:

    Thank you so much to Mr. Coelho and the others who have wished me happy birthday and offered loving comments! I have read each blog and comment since my friend led me to reading The Alchemist. He insisted I read either New Years Day or Eve. I have long been inspired by the comments and ideas presented here. I have learned quite a bit and admire all of you. I will be patient and receive love.

  32. dola gift says:

    the beating of my heart skipped for a moment while reading this…thanks a lot sir…

  33. googleoo says:

    Have you had a look at what the blog looks like with all the different languages?. It is a feast !Too good for the eyes.