​Reading Challenge Kick Off: Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello

About 3 weeks back I initiated, or rather ‘launched’, if you would say that, the #LaFFReadingChallenge. The challenge’s start date was Aug. 15, which means I should’ve finished my first book of choice by Aug. 31st or earlier. Here’s what happened during the kick off:

Reading period: Aug. 15 – 31, 2016

Actual end date: Sept. 8, 2016

Tagal noh?

Experience:

• Reading wasn’t easy. I had to force myself to follow the rules and timeline.

• I procrastinated, having only read a few pages on the first two days and left with 240+ pages by Aug. 29th.

• I only read when I come home from work, which works for me, but even if I was already entering a state of trance while reading, I had to stop myself at one point because I need to sleep because, yep, work tomorrow.

• Just when I planned to finish the book (Aug. 31st), an urgent request for a detailed report was raised. Yes, overtime. I got home pretty late and was exhausted already. And there were days that I just didn’t feel like reading.

• I read quite slowly. Huhu.

What I learned:

• I need to give more time, commitment and dedication for my reading. Regardless of I do it before or after work, I need to ensure that the days allotted for a certain book is maximized.

• I need to stop procrastinating.

• Reading stimulates my brain. I’m not even having a hard time writing now!

About the book:

Reading this book was very timely for me. I could say that the ultimate struggle of most millennials, if not all, is searching for our purpose in life. To my surprise, this book has given me answers to questions I didn’t even dare ask.

For instance, how can one be so sure that he is doing what he loves to do? Simple. Know what makes your heart joyful doing. But how sure is he that what he thinks he loves to do is not influenced by the people around him and his surroundings? There goes your moment of silence.

Below are some excerpts that I wish to share with everyone:

“In some way that I don’t understand joy is infectious, as is enthusiasm and love. Or indeed sadness, depression, or hatred – things that can be picked up ‘intuitively’ by customers and other employees. In order to improve performance, we have to create mechanisms that keep these positive stimuli alive.”

“It’s the same with life: when all superfluous things have been discarded, we discover simplicity and concentration. The simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be, even though, at first, it may seem uncomfortable.”

“There are two kinds of letters,” I explained. “The first is precise but lacks soul. In this case, although the calligrapher may have mastered the technique, he has focused solely on the craft, which is why it hasn’t evolved, but become repetitive; he hasn’t grown at all, and one day he’ll give up the practice of writing, because he feels it is mere routine. The second kind is done with great technique but with soul as well. For that to happen, the intention of the writer must be in harmony with the word. In this case, the saddest verses cease to be clothed in tragedy and are transformed into simple facts encountered along the way.”

“Everything is at once so simple and so complicated! It’s simple because all it takes is a change of attitude: I’m not going to look for happiness anymore. From now on, I’m independent; I see life through my eyes and not through other people’s. I’m going in search of the adventure of being alive.

And it’s complicated: Why am I not looking for happiness when everyone has taught me that happiness is the only goal worth pursuing? Why am I going to risk taking a path that no one else is taking? After all, what is happiness?”

Love, they tell me. But love doesn’t bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it’s a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it’s sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we’re doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.

“I was always trying to be who I am but could never manage it. I was always trying to impress other people, have intelligent conversations, please my parents, and at the same time, I used every means to do the things I would really like to do. I’ve always forged my path with blood, tears, and willpower, but last night, I realized that I was going about it the wrong way. My dream doesn’t require that of me. I have only to surrender myself to it, and if I find I’m suffering, grit my teeth, because suffering will pass. ..Let me finish. In the journey where suffering seemed to be the only rule, I struggled for things which there was no point struggling.”

There is only one difference between teacher and disciple: the former is slightly less afraid than the latter.


Now reading: By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept

Follow my misadventures on Instagram for daily updates: @lahainaandtheflipflops

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