Adventures in Imperfection

I Write Down Wishes So That They Come True

And when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you achieve it

~~Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

*****

It’s no secret to the people who live inside my bubble, that I’ve been unsettled all summer. That I’m antsy and tackling bones that won’t rest. On the days that I don’t travel for work, I walk through my flowers in the morning so I can catch the sun’s rays on the petals as well as check for dry soil and droopy leaves. It’s necessary and sets the stage for a productive day.

My evening ritual takes the same route–but it’s a medicinal meander and I use it to meditate and look for a family of owls who join me sometimes. 

My eyes land on bees and butterflies as my heart tries to leap through my rib cage to the huge sycamore overlooking my precious space. 

 

Each evening, thoughts drift to What am I doing? What is my purpose? Why am I here?

 

I was the daydreamer in my family–the weird kid with a penchant for Grimm’s Fairy Tales and wild horses. Someone with a five-on-the-Richter scale fantasy life held back by responsibility and the closed door of a confessional. All curled up on a couch, reading about other people doing all the things I wanted to do: travel the world, save someone’s life, protect the innocent, scribble pretty passages on parchment pages for other people to read.

I’d often be lost in a world of my own, and didn’t require the protection of wool blankets and night lights for me to carry those vivid imaginations into the real world. I knew I’d grow up, and be responsible despite my hankering for the high seas, dragons, and unicorns. I did  go to college, secured a great job, and launched a couple of different careers in healthcare. I had resigned myself to process improvement algorithms and CMS quality metrics.

Then I started to write.

And read.

And I started to have dreams again.

Stirrings.

Passions.

Wishes.

In your childhood, how many times have you heard one of the following?

  • If you tell your wish before you blow out your candles, it won’t come true
  • Don’t get your hopes up
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Think of a vivid dream you’ve had–either now or in your childhood. Remember how it made your skin tingle because it felt so real. How the hair stood up on the back of your neck or perhaps, how you gasped because you could feel yourself falling and trying to wake up.

Maybe you didn’t want to rouse because the dream was so sweet, laced with serenity and clarity. Maybe it was about someone you loved, someone you lost, or that baby sleeping in the room next to you. Perhaps you resisted the flutter of opening eye lids, or like me, would try to go back to sleep to resume the reverie.

How often have you smashed your joy because you thought things were going too well? Didn’t dare to wish for something you feared wouldn’t come true. That the shoe was going to fall off the other foot. 

How many times have you gotten excited about an inspired idea only to have someone you love and respect hack it down with common sense and good intentions? I don’t want you to be disappointed.

What if we were to take a different approach? Stand toe to toe with our wishes and dare them not to come true. Smash the critics, release the dandelion seeds, grab the star, and put the DO in just do it.

Write down wishes so that they can come true.

I’m grateful for my job and the food it puts on the table, but it doesn’t feed my soul like birds and bees and flowers and trees. My heart doesn’t swell with love and awe when I look at a spreadsheet, or hop on an airplane.

On average, I read one or two books/week–devouring words like it’s a last meal. For most of the summer, The Alchemist had been buried under Seven Brief Lessons in Physics and The Atomic Weight of Love. More than once, the burnt orange covered beckoned me to open, but I ignored the siren’s call of pretty parchment and opted for words I thought would be easier to grasp.

The Great Gatsby

Little Women

The Old Man and the Sea

But, Did you Die?

And yet, the book lingered in the spaces between mundane brain fire.  What is an alchemist? Who is the story about? Do I know anybody who has read it? 

I shoved the questions to the side and turned the pages of Thank and Grow Rich and practiced gratitude for thirty days straight. Straight to E-Squared–experiments, revelations, insights from a woman who lives thirty miles from me and travels the world because she willed it to be so. Even then, someone was conspiring to send me a timely message–pre-reads that were a perfect prologue to what came next.

The Alchemist moved from the shelf to the on-deck spot in my reading nook.

Did I move it there? I don’t remember doing so…perhaps the children from Miss Peregrine’s had been playing in the library.

I sit in the library with my husband almost every morning. The birds spray sunflower seeds from the feeders as we watch out the front window and greet the day. He peruses the newspaper while I systematically read the day’s passages from 365 TaoThe Daily Stoic, and Daily Secret. Sometimes, I’ll read a passage out loud, sometimes I’ll snap a picture and text it to a friend who might like the message for that moment. This daily ritual has become more sacred than my yoga practice and more consistent than the walrus-type running that often follows.

For weeks, the parchment orange peeked out from under my iPad. When did I buy this? Why haven’t I read it yet?

Curiosity made me open to the first page–the shepherd boy and his dream made me stay.

I read The Alchemist on two airplane rides–out to Little Rock, AR and then back to Kansas City. I texted my friend midway through, Have you read this? I can’t put it down.

Have you met Fatima? She texted back.  

Her words felt like a promise that somehow I must be on the right path.

Paying attention to omens.

Watching for signs.

Listening to the wind.  Imagining that I could send messages to my loved ones via the Levanter.

Santiago, the crystal merchant, Fatima, the Alchemist and a sycamore tree. My dreams had returned.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

What we put forth, we receive a thousand times over. It’s more than karma, it’s a simple truth and not-so-hidden secret to happiness. We are connected by blood, friendship, experience, tributaries, highways, and faith. The message of love I give to my family is one that reverberates to my neighbors and on down the line.

What you do. What you say. What you think. It all matters. WE all matter.

No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.

This ramble is not only a tribute to Paulo’s words, but a love letter to you and to anyone who has ever shoved aside the naysayers in pursuit of a dream. Even at fifty, I feel the stirrings as strongly as a young shepherd boy who dropped everything he knew, crossed the desert, and ultimately found his  heart’s desire.

Tell me, friend, do you know your heart’s desire? Are you chasing it right now?

 

******

If you’ve read the book, you know why I am so moved. If you haven’t read it, please find me at my Instagram account.

For the entire month of August, I am going to be posting a photographic perspective of Santiago’s story in hopes that you’ll feel as inspired, moved, and full of joy as I was. I’m still searching for my Personal Legend and would love some friends for the journey.

All quotes from β€• Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Find me on Instagram right here!

472 thoughts on “I Write Down Wishes So That They Come True

  1. I have really enjoyed what you have shared on Instagram about this book and am so happy it has brought you back to a place you love to be! I always love coming here because your words always say just what I need to hear. We need to slow down and enjoy life more with what we love and cherish, not just the necessities that help us thru it.

    Beautiful post my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello fellow dreamer! I was chatting with friends earlier today and made a mental note of how thankful I am for dreamers AND realists. The practical ones keep us dreamers grounded, and we let them borrow our wings.
      Thank you for being here and commenting – I truly appreciate it.
      Michelle

      Like

  2. Impressive!! I got the same feeling. It seems Paulo wrote about me. I am travelling right now. It is happening, step by step, what is written in the book but with my own story. That is life. The story of our lives if we act and listen to our heart and act and… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this so much! It just goes to show how much the universe does conspire to help us in attaining and achieving our dreams because this was exactly what I needed to read. I am one of those people who only half wishes because I’m so afraid of disappointment, but I am going to try this! I am going to do some full wishing! ❀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I used to be that worried wisher, too.
      No more! I’m realistic, but not afraid to hope for the best…even in what some may consider hopeless situations.
      Best wishes on your journey. I hope you write about it – I’d love to read it!
      Thank you for being here πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. Hello, fellow dreamer. I’ve searched for dragons and fairies my whole life…love reading the books that make them real.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it!

      Like

  4. When I first read the book, I had to pause after every few lines to breathe in and out the meaning of what I’d just read, more impressed and inspired every time.
    The second time I had my diary and a pen with me, I wrote every one of those lines that had taken my breath away in the first read.
    There were so many, I had to write down so much. But worth it πŸ™‚ Paulo Coelho is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sure I will ! By the way I’m really new to WordPress and I was hoping if you can help me find bloggers with similar posts and interests as yours ! I’m having difficulty searching hahaa! I’m 23 years old and I feel like a dinosaur in this blogging world lol

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Lol! You are doing great! I always found new friends by reading comments on others’ blogs. In fact, if you scroll through these comments, I think you’ll find a lot of like-minded bloggers!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My goodness. This warmed my heart. I think this is what I’ve been needing to read, not just because of a stressful week, but for things that have been within and without my control. I needed this. Thank you for reminding me to breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a milkweed in early autumn! The sun was just right – iPhone photo πŸ™‚
      Thank you for noticing the details – one of the best parts of this wild and precious life ❀️

      Like

  6. The book is amazing and it inspired me too. It wisdom got to connect the dots of my wondering mind and the energy of life in my veins and got a chance to listen to the words of my consciousness that answered many questions but I’m still searching and finding my way as many of us are.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just love your article, I haven’t read the book yet, but it feels like you’re talking about me and my feelings with beautiful words. Just lovely wise words ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michelle, I love the post the photo’s and the spirit you convey. I havent read The Alchamist but once some ten years ago was forced (big sisters can do that) to read ‘The secret’ by Rhona Byrne. Since I have altered my life and learned to give thanks; be greatful. I am, as we all are on a journey and on mine my dream is I feel, as if I have it in my hand. Another fabulously rich post to be proud of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ellen – so wonderful to hear from you.
      The Secret – I read a “daily” version of that each morning. Big sisters are the best!
      I hope you’re all settled in your new home!
      Thank you for being here ❀️

      Like

  9. I got a copy of this book exactly 7 years ago. It was from someone who quite broke my heart but became somebody memorable to me. I consider this as the book that changed my life. 360 degrees, point-of-no-return kind of thing. He passed away a few years back but still, my Personal Legend lives on despite having to battle depression. It’s such a nice thing to see your most favorite book continuing the magic it did for you. I know you really had the time of your life while reading it. I did. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a beautiful gift from someone special to you. I’m so grateful you shared what must be be bittersweet memories. I hope you are still chasing your Personal Legend.
      Thank you so much for being here and taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it!
      Michelle

      Like

  10. I really enjoyed this post! It seems like a lifetime ago that I heard Paulo Coelho interviewed on a BBC radio World Service program, while I sat in traffic in Singapore. I forgot his name immediately, but I remembered the unusual book title.
    A few months later, struggling to find inspiration to read anything, I walked into a bookshop in Beijing. Looking back, I feel that my hand was drawn to the shelf. I walked out with a small brown paper bag with a copy The Alchemist inside, like contraband.
    I read the book in tea houses and coffee shops as I travelled. I don’t need to tell you how it moved me. You already know the power in those pages. That power was doubled when I recommended it to other. I could see the journey etched on their face, as we talked about it.
    Your post has, for a brief moment, taken me back to that place. Life has changed so much in since that day 7 years ago. I must find that dog-eared copy and revisit its wisdom. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David,
      Your comment gave me goosebumps. Your journey in finding and reading The Alchemist feels like poetry. Amazing story. And, I hadn’t thought about the doubling power of sharing this with others – that has indeed been the case. I’m hopping over to your site right now – I love learning about and meeting kindred spirits 😊
      Thank you for being here and taking the time to comment.
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Michelle, I have to tell you a tiny little story that unfolded today. You are part of it!
        This morning I opened WordPress Discover for the first time in weeks, or maybe months. Your post was the first post to catch my eye. It was a joy to read, a post that transported me. We connected.
        Within the hour, I received an email from the editor at WordPress Discover to tell me that one of my posts has been selected to be featured next week. The universe feels everything, and teaches us something new each day, if we choose to listen to it. πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful day! Best wishes, David

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Looking toward the future might be promise and unpromising to others. You have given young adults a chance to look at it from a respectable adult view. Someone who feels her heart pounding as she continued reading. How images flows in her mind as if she’s seeing it on Television. Maybe even shivering or gasping at the parts that make you just stop and think, “Holy smokes!” It’s people like you me and my fellow Bookinators

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s people like you who encourage young adults to see it as it is and know that once you open a book it never gets old. It continues to become more exciting than the last.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I felt the same way when i read the alchemist. It really pushed me to write and pursue what i love. Such an inspiring book and it’s even more inspiring when I learned about the journey that the book had to reach international fame for it to reach us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so awesome, Lori!
      Here’s how naive I was – I didn’t realize that the book had been around so long until I noticed that mine said “25-year anniversary” edition.
      The message is timeless.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment ❀️

      Like

  14. I’m glad that Discover led me to this post and your blog. Your writing speaks to something within me — I used to dream all the time and the future seemed full of possibility. But then stuff happened, life became a little more prosaic and I stopped dreaming as much. I want to get back that feeling of possibility and excitement!

    Going to check out The Alchemist again. I read it once when I was in my early teens (I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a child!) but the meaning was too deep for me to understand then. Now I’m in my mid-20s I can probably appreciate it more. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Grace,
      Your comment is so wise and insightful. Isn’t it crazy how the life we are living, can be the same one getting in the way?
      I only wish I would have known that at time age – you have a head start!
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment – it means the world to me!
      Michelle

      Like

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