A popular post from January 2008
By Heather Moore
Recently, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s an international bestseller that many of you are certainly familiar with. The novel is brief, filled with a thought-provoking story and peppered with insight. But what struck me the most was the author’s introduction at the beginning of the book.
He explains that each of us have our own personal legend, or personal calling. I’d like to relate it to the writers in each of us.
Coelho says that not all of us have to “courage to confront our own dream.”
He gives us four reasons or obstacles as to why this is the case. As you read through them, think about your own goals and reasons for writing:
1. “We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea . . . there comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible.”
2. “Love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.” Coelho points out that those who love us want us to be happy.
3. “Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path.” Defeats happen and we will suffer along the way. “Once we have overcome our defeats—and we always do—we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence.”
4. “The fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.” Coehlo says the “mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt.” We forget about the challenges it took to reach our goals—“this is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest.”
This rang true for me. I could see a definite pattern as I look at my writer-self. I’ve been told that getting published is nearly impossible. I’ve worried about those I love and the sacrifices it might take to follow my dream. I worry about giving it my all, only to come away as a failure. And finally, when I do have successes step by step, I wonder if I should renounce it since I don’t want others to feel like they couldn’t reach their dreams.
But I love Coelho's closing comment: " . . . if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God . . . and you understand why you are here."
I believe that all of us are "worthy" to follow our dreams.