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A Warrior Charge into the New Year.
Paulo Coelho blows away the Guru!

March 18th, 2004

By Christopher Herz
The Health Guru /

I was on the Lower East Side of New York City at a poetry reading on New Year’s Eve.

Alone, the ghosts and spirits of times past were of no help to me. My connection to the world had somehow stopped. Lately, the ability to make a decision in my life had become such a paralyzing event, that I was walking around asking myself "How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?" The questions, rather than making a decision, began to be THE thing taking up most of my time.

Paulo Coelho blows away the Guru!

I ended up at the top of a fifth floor walk up drinking Garpa and playing cards ’till the sun came up over the city with some old friends. With his lady crashed out in the next room, my friend put down his cards and told me that he had just read a book where "Any word you read will blow you away." With that, he headed back inside to join his lady.

The book is entitled, The Warrior of the Light, by Paulo Coelho. A Brazilian writer, who wrote the best selling THE ALCHEMIST, Mr. Coelho writes words that make you accept being a human.

Arriving back in Los Angeles, I put many of Mr. Coelho’s words to use in my every day existence. I thought I’d bring you some of the results, as well as a hint of the writings of Mr. Coelho, in hopes that you seek further enlightenment through his works, as I will.

There is a tendency for all of us to fear making a mistake. We are taught from an extremely early age that we must be better than everyone else. "Mistakes can cost you!" we are told. The celebration has become so intimidating, we are afraid to play the game anymore. I had recently adopted a philosophy of letting the universe take care of everything. I figured it was leaning towards Zen life, and I let it go that way. Then I realized, in every situation I had placed myself in, I was in no way in control of the moment. Because of that, I was not able to move forward with my life.

I then read this:

The fear of making a mistake is the door that locks us up in the castle of mediocrity: if we manage to overcome this fear, we are taking an important step towards our freedom.

When I cam back to Los Angeles, I looked at it over and over again while riding on the Metro Red Line. What Freedom? Was I not using the freedom that is accessible to me every day?

Later that day, a friend of mine who was playing Viola in a weekend gig up in Los Angeles, called me and said he was having a huge Super Bowl party. Now, these days, like so many Americans, I’m broke. There was no way I could afford to eat away from home and entertain myself.

The questions started creeping into my head.

How can I afford that? How can I buy food when I get home if I party in Sand Diego?

I knew that if I didn’t go, I would be sitting inside my apartment just as broke, but without an adventure for the weekend. So, with 20 bucks in my pocket, I headed down towards the boarder for a mellow trip to Diego, Bro¡¦

We stayed at his mom’s pad which had the fridge stocked to the Hilt, with delicious treats, and an open invitation to eat whatever we needed. Much love to Ms. Lea for feeding me.

On Saturday, I tagged along at a wedding and stuffed myself at the reception. There, I met people who had no idea who I was. I told them I was a distant cousin of the groom who nobody talked to anymore, and, in fact, had snuck into the wedding.

My experiences there sparked a short story and a fresh breath into my recent creative drought. I took a step towards the energy of the universe rather than think that the universe would even conceive of coming to me.

At some point in the evening, I was posted up outside under the astonishingly clear San Diego night sky, loosing myself in the stars, and I hadn’t spent more then 12 dollars, and that was only because I snuck out of the ceremony and had a cup of coffee and a nice slice of apple pie at a place tucked away from the main road.

The point here is not the free ride to San Diego, it’s the fact that I made the decision to go. Without that, the possibility for something amazing to happen would not have existed. Thank you Paulo Coelho.

Humans have the capacity to create universes, all that stops them from doing so is the fear of failing. If we all fail at some point in our lives, what then is the point of fear? Mr. Coelho offered me a tangible vision of something I always knew to be true: Life is what you make it.

Let’s go back to more from the Warrior of the Light for a moment.

Lately, whenever I get together with friends, it seems like everyone wants to start dissecting the life and choices of everyone in the crew. This soap opera obsession we have with the lives of our peers, leaves us little time to deal with our own problems, and in fact, is a way for us to avoid dealing with them. The same goes for jealousy and envy, not to get too biblical here. I myself do this quite often, and it was only after I read the following passage in Mr. Coelho’s book, that I realized how it was affecting me.

He (the Warrior of the light) also avoids commenting on the behavior of others: in order to have faith in his own path, he has no need to prove that the path of the other is wrong. Those who act like that have no trust in their own steps.

A few nights after reading that passage, I found myself restless and pacing around the apartment. Without anything else to do, I picked up the phone and started calling friends and getting into deep conversations about their lives. I was giving advice and working out their problems with them. I then started thinking about how everyone else was living, and how they got on their paths. I turned to my cat and watched him curl up in the corner under the heater looking quite content.

I was in none of those places, yet that was where my energy was focused.

It is not selfish to think about yourself. It is only selfish to do so all the time.

So there is the beginning. Since reading his words, my mediation abilities have gotten stronger, my patience a bit thicker, and most importantly, the realization that what keeps me from making decisions is fear.

I believe that fear cannot be destroyed. It is, somehow, a natural part of living in the world. However, fear can be accounted for. Next time you can’t decide on something, just pick one and go through the door.

For more information on Paulo Cohelo and his works, feel free to visit:

Reading truly is one of the greatest motivators. Your Guru tells you to go on down to the book store and read this book. This man’s words are making the world more accessible for me. Reading does that.




The Health Guru - Christopher Herz

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