Notes From My Diary

By Paulo Coelho
The Bali Times

August 1999

I must enjoy all the graces that God has given me today. Grace cannot be saved. There is no bank where we can deposit graces received and then use them later as we wish. If I don’t make use of these blessings, I shall lose them forever.
God knows that we are life’s artists. One day he gives us a chisel for sculpting; the next he gives paint brushes and a canvas; then he gives us a pen to write with. But we will never manage to use a chisel on a canvas, or a pen on a sculpture. Every day a miracle. I must accept today’s blessings, to create with what I have; if I do this with detachment and without a feeling of guilt, tomorrow I shall be given more.

March 2000

A lawyer friend of mine, Renato Pacca, has sent me an interesting text: some biological studies show that a frog placed in a recipient containing the same water as its lake stayed motionless during the whole time the liquid was being heated. Frogs do not react to the gradual increase in temperature (environmental changes) and die swollen and happy when the water boils.
On the other hand, another frog tossed into the same recipient with the water already boiling, immediately jumps out. A bit scorched, but alive nonetheless!
Sometimes we are like boiling frogs. We don’t notice changes. We feel that everything is just fine, or that what’s wrong will go away – it’s just a question of time. We are about to die, but we just stay there, stable in our apathy, floating in the water that is getting hotter and hotter as the minutes go by. We end up dying, swollen and happy, but without having noticed the changes all around us.
There are boiling frogs that still believe that the essential thing is obedience, not competence: those who can, give orders, and those who are wise obey the orders. And how does all this apply to real life? It’s better to jump out a bit scorched, but alive and ready to act.

June 2001

Life is like a big bicycle race – the aim being to fulfill our Personal Legend.
At the outset we are all together, sharing camaraderie and enthusiasm. But as the race develops, the initial happiness gives way to the real challenges: fatigue, monotony, doubts as to our own ability.
We notice that some friends give up the challenge – they are still in the race, bit only because they cannot stop in the middle of the road. There are many of them; they pedal alongside the support car, talk to one another and fulfill their duty.
We end up distancing ourselves from them, and then we are obliged to face loneliness, surprises at unknown bends in the road, problems with the bike. And after some time we begin to wonder if it’s worth all the effort.
Yes, it’s worth it. Just don’t give up.

© Translated by James Mulholland

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