I wrote this post a year and a half ago on one of my other blogs, Raising Smart Girls. If you want to find out more about me, you can spend some time there. I’ll be the first to admit I was absolutely clueless about mothering highly sensitive, gifted young girls, but over time, I’m learning a lot about them…and me in the process. I don’t think someone who is sociopathic can help as many people as I have helped on that blog. My middle daughter had selective mutism, and one of my passions was to help other parents make sense of this quite debilitating social anxiety disorder.
In my process of becoming a more fully functioning person…a person who is working on transcending her personal demons, I read. A lot. The following is something so special to me. And I’m re-printing it here (slightly modified).
I don’t think I have ever been so consistently touched by someone’s writings as I have with Paulo Coelho. I have read Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Alchemist and Warrior of the Light.
I have no idea how a Brazilian has come to know so much about what goes on in my mind, but miraculously, he does. What an absolutely beautiful thing to see the dark areas of your self mirrored in someone’s writings and see how they are illuminated and yet treated with compassion and love. It’s incredibly healing. [And yet, Paolo, I forgot the lessons].
I have found a spiritual guide of sorts in him. I found a major source of comfort and redemption in his writings. I find his insights into human nature woven into spellbinding stories that uplift and inspire. I appreciate his belief that we are all capable of going beyond our limitations and finding the strength to meet our destiny and share what what is good about us with others, and yet recognize that we, at times, will falter on our path.
In his writings, I don’t have to choose to choose between atheism and dogmatic religion, nor do I have to be ashamed of my own dark side, because, as you all ought to know, we all have one. It is thinly veiled under the guise of ‘civility’.
From the Warrior of the Light:
A Warrior of the Light knows that certain moments repeat themselves.
He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.
“I’ve been through all this before,” he says to his heart.
“Yes, you have been through all this before,” replies his heart. “But you have never been beyond it.”
Then the Warrior realizes that these repeated experiences have but one aim: to teach him what he does not want to learn.
A Warrior of the Light is never predictable.
He might dance down the street on his way to work, gaze into the eyes of a complete stranger and speak of love at first sight, or defend and apparently absurd idea. Warriors of the Light allow themselves days like these.
He is not afraid to weep over ancient sorrows or feel joy at new discoveries. When he feels that the moment has arrived, he drops everything and goes off on some long-dreamed-of adventure. When he realizes he can do no more, he abandons the fight, but never blames himself for having committed a few unexpected acts of folly.
A Warrior does not spend his days trying to play the role that others have chosen for him.
I feel amazed and energized and uplifted by his writings.
I want sacredness in my every-day life.
Sometimes I’m able to achieve moments of sacredness.
I know I can cultivate more, now that I know what I am looking for.
I followed some false leads on the road I’ve traveled, listened to some ‘advice’…some not so bad or wrong…just not for me.
I believe there we are all connected by our humanity, by chemistry, and biology. I do think we need a spiritual life of some sort. LIFE itself is sacred because we only get one world and one chance to do it right (well, in MY world anyway, even if I have other lives, I doubt I’d remember them).
I think that I had to spend a long period of darkness (pain, doubt, confusion, self-reproach) in order to become more completely acquainted with the darker aspects of myself fully before I could come out of it and find some measure of freedom. (I get glimpses of it now and then).
I had recently come across his blog and have immensely enjoyed his Declaration of Principles.
My favorite principles:
Everything which is done in the present, affects the future by consequence, and the past by redemption.
Each human being has the right to two blessings, which are: the blessing to do right, and the blessing to err. In the latter case, there is always a path of learning leading to the right way.
I thank God for finding his life-enhancing impact on my life and I am immeasurably blessed by Coelho’s work.
Paolo…I forgot your teachings. I seek not only enlightenment…but redemption. I have seen and experienced so much of this world that ordinary people wouldn’t be able to tolerate, not only through my work, but in my own curiosity about things, including the dark side of the human psyche, and simply because I go where I am needed to bear witness and record life’s tragedy. My own openness to experience opens me up to some pretty intense things.
I wonder if Carl Rogers knew all of what I have experienced, if he could understand the clash of opposites that resides in me. I have witnessed some scary things in my life, both personally and through my work. I have also witnessed holiness and what I believe to be the hand of God.
I might share some more of my stories. Not of things that happened TO me, but things I have witnessed first hand. Things that I can’t easily reconcile with. But with all my heart and soul, I try.