Saturday, October 20, 2007

Paolo Coelho's Closing Cycles

Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been one of my inspirations in following my “personal legend”. I went as far as e-mailing him (he has a blog, by the way) and telling him how his stories inspired me to make changes in my life. He gave a very short, polite note (or perhaps his secretary did, as Mr. Coelho probably gets a lot of fan mail) that kept me in high spirits for days.

This is an except from one of his essays which I find very moving. It is entitled “Closing Cycles”. Let’s hear it from the master:

“One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.

Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments in life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parent’s house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned to dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved... everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will feel bad at seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and past at the same time… What has passed will not return: we cannot be forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back…

…Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.”

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