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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is that rare good read that is both profound and enjoyable.

The main character, a lowly shepherd boy, is put through his paces as he aims to fulfil his destiny. On his journey he is guided by what seem to be a series of wise guides and challengers, including the enigmatic Alchemist himself. Will he be distracted by other opportunities that open up on his path, or hold to his vision?

Awareness of this book was in my consciousness for a long time before I actually read it. I knew many people rated it, but had never got around to looking at it for myself. Standing in the esoteric section of a bookshop before Christmas purchasing a serious tome for my partner I had the urge to look for a lightweight read to put with it. My eye fell directly on The Alchemist and the decision to buy was made in seconds.

When my partner started to read it after Christmas he was bowled over by the profundity of its message and how pertinent it was for us both at this point in our lives. He thought I must have read it before! It was very much a guided purchase. Reading it myself I could see it was absolutely the right book at the right time with the right message for us.

I think many people need the same message at this point in time: to fulfil your true destiny you need to avoid distractions, pleasant or otherwise, to focus on your goal and be prepared to overcome obstacles. You need to read the signs that are put on your path, notice the synchronicities and follow the guidance you receive.

So many of us settle for second best, because to stop before you actualise your dreams feels safe and to continue on is risky, yet how many people really make it through to fulfilment of their destiny without ever taking any risks? To settle for second best (or third, or fourth best) is to live life with a regret that you never really tried to fulfil your goals.

I loved the landscape painted by Coelho in The Alchemist. Travelling through the Egyptian desert on camelback and arriving at the oasis was just wonderful. I could vividly imagine undertaking such an adventure myself.

The boy meets with a colourful array of characters, some friendly, some beautiful, some treacherous, some with true wisdom to impart like Melchizedek and the mysterious Alchemist himself. There is a magical quality to these wise guides that makes one wonder whether they are all One.

If you have a dream, a destiny to fulfil, read The Alchemist and be inspired!

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