The Alchemist

Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World.
The Alchemist

Have you ever read a book and wondered why you haven’t read it before? I just finished my new favorite book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Of course I had heard of Paulo Coelho and of The Alchemist, I just never read it. I didn’t know what it was about and I guess the title didn’t appeal to me. But Brene Brown quotes from The Alchemist and it made me curious, so I got it from the library. Now, I want to read everything Paulo Coelho wrote.

The Alchemist tells the story of a Spanish shepherd boy that dreams about a buried treasure at the pyramids. He decides to follow his dream (destiny) and travel to the pyramids. During his journey he learns about the Soul of the World, to not give up and listen to his heart. I found it the most inspiring book! It’s simple, inspiring, beautiful and profoundly deep. I just couldn’t put it away. What a gift to be able to write a book like this.

A few beautiful quotes from The Alchemist that I love are:

Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him.

Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

And these are just a few quotes. The book is full of it. Very inspirational and I if you haven’t read it yet, I would definitely recommend doing so. Even if you’re not into the “deep stuff” it is still a beautiful story worth reading.

If you’re interested, you can get the book on Amazon.

 

What to say

When I was young I was very shy. Saying anything (and I mean anything, just saying hi) to people I didn’t know (too well) required a lot of courage. What I didn’t realize at that time is that it can even be harder to talk to family.

Thinking back, I don’t think we ever shared a lot of things at home, not how our days had been and especially not feelings. I’m proud to say I’m getting better at talking, small talk as well as “bigger” stuff. Usually it’s easier to talk to people that are not related. Makes sense I guess when you consider a family has a history and certain patterns.

So what do you say when you want to deepen a relationship? I try to tell more about the ordinary things of life. I’d say that’s step 1. And then what? Open up? Doesn’t sound too complicated until the moment is there.
And it’s one thing to talk about how you’re physically doing. Even though I find it not so easy to talk about yet, it would probably help them understand me better. Sometimes I feel that they think I’m able to do much more than I actually can. If they do, it’s because I haven’t been clear enough about it. And yes, there are moments, days, if I’m lucky even a few weeks that I can do a lot (which is still less than the average person). Then there are days and weeks it’s hard to just get out of bed and do the necessary things.

And there’s how you’re emotionally doing. Let alone if there are things that annoy/bother or just flat out hurt you. What to say then? Oh, and what if you’re not even sure exactly what it is that bothers you? Is it just me or do other people have that as well? Something is bugging me and I’m not sure what. Realizing it may very well be something on my part I’d rather not bring it up. Somehow I doubt saying: “Hey, you’re bothering me and I don’t know why” would lead to a constructive conversation 🙂

Even if I know what is bothering me, then there’s the delicate art of what to say how and when. Personally, I find it very helpful to not respond immediately (if I can). There are times that I’m too emotional and just blurt out how I feel. Admittedly, not my most productive state. So, if I’m up to it, I will not respond at once, but first think about it when my head is clear. Then, if I decide to get back on it, I will make sure I’m calm when I bring it up. Trying to remain calm during the conversation, which can be challenging.

For everyone who can use a little encouragement:

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Confucius

 

 

Prisoner or pioneer

Anger is just a cowardly extension of sadness. It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone than it is to tell them you’re hurt.
Tom Gates

When I read this, I was like: yes…that’s pretty much it. When I’m angry, often (or maybe always?) I feel hurt. Saying you’re hurt makes you vulnerable and in order to avoid that, I’ve developed a habit of being angry instead.

Luckily, wisdom comes with the years 🙂 . I started to realize that the only person hurt by my anger was me. I learned to look inside: what is it that makes me feel hurt and angry and why? What does that say about me? Could that person possibly have another (better) intention with these words than I think. And even if they meant for it to hurt, does that have anything to do with me or with them?

I’m working hard on becoming all Zen, peaceful, mindful and whatever and sometimes…. Ok, much more often than I’d like to admit, I feel anger wash over me when someone does and/or says something that (to me) suggests I’m not perfect. I’ll be honest, after trying to be perfect for as long as I can remember in order to be loved, even the littlest thing can set me off (depending on how I feel). Not proud of it, but I will own it (now that I feel good, I may deny when angry 🙂 ).

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.
Deepak Chopra

So I’m trying to work my way through my anger. When I’m aware that I get angry, I breath in and out and take some time to think about it. It’s still very challenging to look at my own behavior and admit I could’ve done things differently. It’s still hard to say I’m sorry, because that still feels like admitting I’m not perfect and makes me fear rejection. And that’s ok, just as long as I keep in mind that it’s something I imposed upon myself and isn’t real and I can get past that thought.
I’m a pioneer, going where I’ve never been before.

Daring greatly

A couple of years ago, I made drawings of my cat and my rabbit. Despite having some limiting believes about my drawing skills, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. Not the work of a great artist, but I actually thought it looked good enough (maybe even to hang somewhere in my house). Pleased with my accomplishment I showed someone my drawings and this person responded with: Yeah… wouldn’t hang that in the living room.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore, like all the air had been punched out of my lungs. I felt like crying and crawling away in the smallest and darkest place I could find. It hit me, really, really hard. Having issues with perfection, I was quite proud of myself for being ok with something that wasn’t perfect, and then this. So much for ok, I put the drawings away in the attic and never had the courage to show them to anyone again.

Right now I’m reading “Daring greatly” by Brene Brown. It’s about vulnerability in a world where things are “never enough”. About the things we do to armor ourselves against being vulnerable and what it does to us and others and how we can learn to open ourselves up. I recognize a lot in this book. How I want to be perfect in everything I do, because I feel when I don’t I won’t be worthy of love. That’s why I was so crushed about the remark of my drawings. It wasn’t about the drawings not being good enough, it was about me not being good enough. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned a lot and yet it is still challenging to let go of the “perfection armor”.

I’ve decided to start challenging myself to try to not want to be perfect anymore. I know I can’t reach perfection and it’s not exactly making my life easier and/or more enjoyable. Instead, I’m aiming for being myself and knowing I’m good enough the way I am.

As part of this challenge I decided to add the drawings I made, because I don’t want to be afraid anymore of what other people think. And regardless of what others think of the drawings, I want to feel I am still good enough. Daring greatly by taking one small step at the time.

flup nan