Monthly Archives: June 2013

Maktub – Paulo Coelho


“If you are still living, it’s because you have not yet arrived at the place you should be.”

“A man, who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keeps his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind.”


“Life is these walls, and fate is the shout that each of us makes.” said the shepherd. “What we do will be returned to us in the same form. “God acts as the echo of our own deeds.”


“We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing. Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us.”


“Those who embark in a new direction and want to keep a bit of the old life, wind up lacerated by their own past.”


God knows that we are creative artists when it comes to our lives. On one day, he gives us clay for sculpting, on another, brushes and canvas, or a pen. But we can never use clay on our canvas, nor pens in sculpture. Each day has its own miracle. Accept the blessings, work and create your minor works of art today. Tomorrow you will receive others.


“Out of a fear for shrinking, we fail to grow. Out of a fear of weeping, we fail to laugh.”


“Although the treasure may be buried in your house, you will find it only if you leave in search for it.”


“A person who forgives is washing and perfuming his own heart.”


“Fear is not a sign of cowardice. It is fear that allows us be brave and dignified in the face of life’s situations. Someone who experiences fear –and despite the fear goes on, without allowing it to intimidate him –is giving proof of valence.


“The lack of struggle weakens the soul.”


“Well, it seems that freedom for man consists of choosing his own brand of slavery.”


It is easy to be difficult. All we have to do is stay away from people, and in that way, avoid suffering. That way, we don’t have to risk love, disappointment, frustrated dreams. It is easy to be difficult. We don’t have to be concerned about phone calls we should have made, people who ask us for help, charity that should be extended. It is easy to be difficult. We just have to pretend that we live in an ivory tower, and never shed a tear. We just have to spend the rest of our lives playing a role. It is easy to be difficult. All we have to do is reject everything good that life offers.


“Objects have their own energy. When they are not used, they turn into standing water in the house –a good place for rot and mosquitoes.”


“You must be attentive, and allow that energy to flow freely. If you keep what is old, the new has no place in which to manifest itself.”


But it’s not important what we think, or what we do or what we believe in: each of us will die one day. Better to do as the old Yaqui Indians did: regard death as an advisor. Always ask: ‘Since I’m going to die, what should I be doing now?’


Our angel is always present, and often uses someone else’s lips to tell us something.
The sculptor, Michelangelo, was once asked how it was that he could create such beautiful works. “It’s very simple,” he answered. “When I look at a block of marble, I see the sculpture inside it. All I have to do is remove what doesn’t belong.” The master says: “There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor.”


 “Certain Jewish traditions have it that every man has a certain quota of luck, which he uses up over the course of his life. One can make that quota pay interest if he uses his luck only for things he really needs -or he can use his luck in a wasteful fashion. We Jews also say ‘Good luck’ when someone breaks a glass. But it means, ‘It’s good that you didn’t use up any of your luck trying to keep the glass from breaking. Now, you can use it for more important things. ‘”


“We are often incapable of understanding the blessings we have received. Many times we do not perceive what He does to keep us spiritually nourished. There is a story about a pelican who -during a hard winter -sacrificed herself by providing her own flesh to her children. When she finally died of weakness, one of the nestlings said to another: ‘Finally! I was getting tired of eating the same old thing every day. ‘”


If you are dissatisfied with something -even a good thing that you would like to do, but have not been able to -stop now. If things are not going well, there are only two explanations: either your perseverance is being tested, or you need to change direction. In order to discover which of those options is correct -since they are opposites -make use of silence and prayer. Little by little, things will become strangely clear, until you have sufficient strength to choose. Once you have made your decision, forget completely the other possibility. And go forward, because God is the God of the Valiant. Domingos Sabino said: “Everything always turns out for the best. If things are not going well, it is because you have not yet reached the end.”


The master says: “All roads lead to the same place. But choose your own, and follow it to the end. Do not try to walk every road.”


The master says: “Write! Whether it’s a letter, a diary or just some notes as you speak on the telephone -but write! In writing, we come closer to God and to others. If you want to understand your role in the world better, write. Try to put your soul in writing, even if no one reads your words -or worse, even if someone winds up reading what you did not want to be read. The simple fact of writing helps us to organize our thoughts and see more clearly what is in our surroundings. A paper and pen perform miracles -they alleviate pain, make dreams come true and summon lost hope. The word has power.”


A legend of the desert tells the story of a man who wanted to move to another oasis, and began to load up his camel. He piled on his rugs, his cooking utensils, his trunks of clothes -and the animal accepted it all. As they were leaving, the man remembered a beautiful blue feather his father had given him. He retrieved it and placed it on the camel’s back. With that, the animal collapsed of the weight and died. “My camel couldn’t even bear the weight of a feather,” the man must have thought. Sometimes we think the same of others -without understanding that our little joke may have been the drop that caused the goblet of suffering to overflow.

The Summer Without Men – Siri Hustvedt


Sometime after he said the word pause, I went mad and landed in the hospital. He did not say I don’t ever want to see you again or It’s over, but after thirty years of marriage pause was enough to turn me into a lunatic whose thoughts burst, ricocheted, and careened into one another like popcorn kernels in a microwave bag.

A cruel crack of hope.


The trouble with me was that the inside had touched the outside.


The words seemed true, but when I tried to elaborate, all further commentary seemed merely decorative.


When I listened idly to their talk during the minutes before we began and after I had dismissed them, I often felt the girls’ speech was interchangeable, without any individuality whatsoever, a kind of herd-speak they had all agreed upon, with the exception of Alice, whose diction was not infected with as many likes and sos, and yet even she fell into the curious, moronic dialect of Early Female.


… and you were always stepping around his feelings, trying not to upset him.


… the passionate exclamation scraped like sandpaper on his soul.


My mercurial fluctuations in the course of a single evening made me feel as if I had a character made of chewing gum.


My mother, however, insisted that the man was “quite all right in his mind”; it was the rest of him that needed restraining.


Perception is never passive. We are not only receivers of the world; we also actively produce it. There is a hallucinatory quality to all perception, and illusions are easy to create.


… we carried them, our parents, with us to each other.


There is no answer to the riddle, no documentation—just the flimsy, shifting tissue of remembering and imagining.


Did he ever do a domestic chore in his life besides the dishes? Did he or did he not tune you out regularly as if you were a radio? Did he not interrupt you in mid-sentence countless times as if you were an airy nothing, a Ms. Nobody, a Missing Person at the table?


There is a wistful sadness when fertility ends, a longing, not to return to the days of bleeding, but a longing for the repetition itself, for the steady monthly rhythms, for the invisible tug of the Moon herself, to whom you once belonged: Diana, Ishtar, Mardoll, Artemis, Luna, Albion, Galata—waxing and waning—maiden, mother, crone.


Later I came to understand that Boris responded far more directly to the indirect; that is to say, his real emotions surfaced only when mediated by the unreal.


Not telling is as interesting as telling, I have found.


The renowned Greek physician Galen believed that female genitalia were the inversion of the male’s and vice versa, a view that held for centuries: “Turn outward the woman’s, turn inward, so to speak, and fold double the man’s and you will find the same in both in every respect.”


“While it is true that the mind is common to all human beings,” wrote Paul-Victor de Sèze in 1786, “the active employment thereof is not conducive to all. For women, in fact, this activity can be quite harmful. Because of their natural weakness, greater brain activity in women would exhaust all the other organs and thus disrupt their proper functioning.


The contemporary literary imagination, it seems, emanates a distinctly feminine perfume. Recall Sabbatini: we women have the gift of gab.


The story they all took home on Friday was not true; it was a version they could all live with, very much like national histories that blur and hide and distort the movements of people and events in order to preserve an idea.


What once was the future is now the past, but the past comes back as a present memory, is here and now in the time of writing.


A comedy depends on stopping the story at exactly the right moment.