I have been reading every book written by Paulo Coelho as I found a connection to the author in his journey for spiritual truth, for truths on the origin of the universe, on magic and potentcourage-450x200 ial. Many of his stories have not only captured an essence of my story but obviously to millions of people worldwide. He has a great way of making you feel like his has lived your story, which leads me to believe that we are not all that different in our struggles, though we valiantly profess otherwise. The very thing we fear is for the world, especially those whose opinions who truly matter to us, is for them to see the parts of us that make us shudder with revulsion. No matter how hard we try to gloss over the parts of us we most dislike, it seems to find a way to trickle into our life and infect the very things that should give us the greatest joy. It often taints the motive of why we do things, meaning that it is often for our redemption we cast our efforts towards a noble cause, though quite often redemption is never allotted to us by our darkest self, leaving us still sitting in the shadows of our soul. A passage from the book “The Valkyries” Paulo was being tested by the Valkyries to see if he could reclaim his life and his gifts he had bartered off in a deal to save his soul. In an outpouring of rage and hatred, at the peak of a ceremony he was in, he realized that “he had always forgiven, not because he was a good person, but because he was a coward. He was afraid that he couldn’t see things through to the end, he always allowed his heart to give in at the very moment when he should had stood up for himself”.
As I read that passage my guts twisted as I realized, though I always knew, that I too have been guilty of not standing my ground, not standing up for myself and allowing others to dictate the degree of happiness I was allowed to enjoy, allowing others to determine my self-worth. The sad part is we all know this and yet we often allow it to occur. And of course this lends itself to a lack of trust in various relationships we may have, and by trust I mean not allowing our vulnerabilities to be exposed in an effort to protect what we most abhor about ourselves from those who we would desire to become most close to. The dichotomy can be devastating, to desire love and connection but never trust it. So what is the answer? My journey has lead me to believe that unless you can stand alone, be in your own space, and love all that is dark and all that is light, you can never stand with another. As Paulo Coelho had recognized within himself, his cowardice was often cleverly disguised as generosity of spirit, so learning to develop our internal strength and being able to own our own truth, to know what we believe and stand up for it regardless of what the critics may say. I think that is what hurts us the most, not so much the actions of others but the silent knowledge that we are allowing it to occur and are unwilling or seemingly unable to stand up for ourselves. That is the lesson perhaps we must learn, how to stand on our own, how to take stock of what is amazingly beautiful of what is inside of us this very moment, and to show such gratitude for who we are, the gifts we were born with, so that it overflows into the world in a torrent of life and acceptance. It’s an inside job.
David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler