Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Use Your Life

I read The Alchemist perhaps fifteen years ago, but never fully grasped Paulo Coehlo's journey until today, when his semi-autobiographical The Zahir presented the key clue. In The Zahir, Coehlo chronicles his lifelong resistance and eventual surrender that allowed him to craft and publish The Pilgrimage at age 40. The Pilgrimage, his first novel, depicts his journey along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the transformational route in northern Spain that Shirley MacLaine also eloquently described, in The Camino.

I decided to read The Pilgrimage in 2012 after ingesting Coehlo's latest autobiographical masterpiece, Aleph. But it's only now, learning the order in which he wrote his books (The Pilgrimage first, then The Alchemist, beloved worldwide) that my ah-ha erupted: In The Alchemist, the young protagonist is named Santiago! With this brilliant literary echo, Coehlo conveys how he has become the path, his experience informing his journey and infusing the reader with faith in the outcome.

This is the essence and purpose of my own life work: to use what I have understood at each stage of my unfolding in service to the next, and to all with whom I come in contact. Are you using your life to its maximum potential, pouring the elixir of who you've been into who you're becoming?

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