September 5, 2008

How the The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho Influenced My Life

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The Subtle Influence of The Alchemist Paolo Coelho

For me, The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho marks a special place in my life. It was a transitional time when I was 22 years old. I found myself becoming dissatisfied with dogmatic religious perspectives that had ruled my life. On a whim, while on vacation at the parent's house of my girlfriend at the time I picked up this book out of boredom. A few hours later I was halfway through it and totally entranced in the story.

The Alchemist - An Archetypal Story of Self-Awakening

It was a simple enough story, yet the characters and events resonated with me in a way that I had not experienced in my then-limited exposure to personal development literature. At the same time, I was experiencing cognitive dissonance as what was written within the story conflicted with my paradigm at that time. Still, there was something intuitive about the way I kept reading the book - that still small voice that was saying "there is more than one truth out there..."

I've re-read The Alchemist numerous times since then and each time brings more trust and confidence that I can follow my dreams. And, as I write this... I am! My entire journey into personal development coaching, hypnosis, NLP, and transpersonal psychology have stemmed from this experience nearly a decade ago.

The Factors Involved in an Archetypal Story

To be clear, this post is not a summary of The Alchemist, which is probably one of the best known Paulo Coelho book titles in the English speaking market. Rather it is an overview of the hero quest archetypal story and a theme that pervades much of my personal development work and coaching. The archetypes (king, princess, police man, warrior, teacher, wise old man/woman, hero, child, maiden, business man... the characters identifiable by the roles they play and persona used) are identifiable. The theme that I've lived and seen in the lives of many other coaching clients is as follows:

1. Obliviousness - Going through the motions in life and following the status quo.

2. Disaster - The Call to the Hero's Adventure usually begins with loss (impacting relationship, health, or money) and this breaks the individual's paradigm for a short moment of time.

3. Release or Grasping - Letting go of one's paradigm and venturing into the unknown; or, moving deeper into the safety of the known paradigm (for example, something bad happens and a person decides to return to church even though it didn't do much for them at an earlier point in their life, but they take an active role in participating within the church functions in an assumed leadership position).

4. Rebirth - For the person who lets go and doesn't return to the perceived safety of the old paradigm they begin to find the perennial philosophy and archetypal story at play in the world and this opens up the pathway to their unique work. At this point, the work of a personal development coach is the most beneficial because you have already crossed the threshold.

Write The Archetypal Story of Your Life...

For you, perhaps your version of something similar is also unfolding... If I can help you move beyond fear, shame, or guilt and into fulfillment, confidence and meaning - just let me know.



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