Love Your Path
--by Paolo Coelho (May 26, 2008)
1. The path begins at a crossroads. There you can stop and think what direction you want to take. But don’t spend too much time thinking or you’ll never leave the spot. Ask yourself the classic Carlos Castaneda question: Which of these paths has a heart? (…)
2. The path doesn’t last forever. It’s a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so be prepared to take leave of it at any moment. (…)
3. Honor your path. It was your choice, your decision, and just as you respect the ground you step on, that ground will respect your feet. Always do what’s best to conserve and keep your path and it will do the same for you.
4. Be well-equipped. Carry a small rake, a spade, a penknife. Understand that penknives are no use for dry leaves, and rakes are useless for herbs that are deep-rooted. Know what tool to use at each moment. And take care of your tools, because they’re your best allies.
5. The path goes forward and backward. At times you have to go back because something was lost, or a message to be delivered was forgotten in your pocket. A well tended path enables you to go back without any great problem.
6. Take care of the path before you take care of what’s around you. Attention and concentration are fundamental. Don’t be distracted by the dry leaves at the edges. Use your energy to tend and conserve the ground that accepts your steps.
7. Be patient. Sometimes the same tasks have to be repeated, like tearing up weeds or closing holes that appear after unexpected rain. Don’t let that annoy you; it’s part of the journey. Even though you’re tired, even though certain tasks are repeated so often, be patient.
8. Paths cross. People can tell you what the weather is like elsewhere. Listen to advice, but make your own decisions. You’re responsible for the path entrusted to you.
9. Nature follows its own rules. You have to be prepared for sudden changes in the fall, slippery ice in winter, the temptations of flowers in spring, thirst and showers in the summer. Make the most of each of these seasons, and don’t complain about their characteristics.
10. Make your path a mirror of yourself. By no means let yourself be influenced by the way others care for their paths. You have your own soul to listen to, and the birds to whisper translations of what your soul is saying. (…)
11. Love your path. Without this, nothing makes any sense.