Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

On rhythm and the road

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

‘There was something you didn’t mention in your talk about the Road to Santiago,’ said a pilgrim as we were leaving the Casa de Galicia, in Madrid, where I had given a lecture only minutes before.
I’m sure there were many things I didn’t mention, since my intention had been merely to share something of my own experience. Nevertheless, I invited her for a cup of coffee, intrigued to know what this important omission was.
And Begoña – for that is her name – said:
‘I’ve noticed that most pilgrims, whether on the Road to Santiago or on any of life’s paths, always try to follow the rhythm set by others.
At the start of my pilgrimage, I tried to keep up with my group, but I got tired. I was demanding too much of my body. I was tense all the time and I ended up straining the tendons in my left foot. I couldn’t walk for two days, and I realised that I would only reach Santiago if I obeyed my own rhythm.
I took longer than the others to get there, and for long stretches I often had to walk alone, but it was only by respecting my own rhythm that I managed to complete the journey. Ever since then, I have applied this to everything I do in life: I follow my own rhythm.’

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