Sunday, 11 September 2016

Still Afraid of the Dark?

I have only just started reading the book Brida by PauloCoelho. I bought it for 7000ugx at a Nakumatt Book Clearance sale about a month ago. I have read The Alchemist before, but my favorite Paulo Coelho book is Veronika Decides to Die. I find it really fascinating how he writes such simple stories to explain such profound things. His stories remind me of the kind you’d hear around a camp fire at night.  I often wonder where his inspiration comes from. How does he piece his stories together? How does he spend his days? When his muse appears does he lock himself up in his office and write profusely? Does he sit for hours on end just meditating on the concept of 'life'? Is he part of some secret society?  I am scared to google him in case it ruins the mystery for me.

Back to the Brida story… I am already 50 pages in but I am hooked. I know that when an avid reader finds a good book they must enjoy it slowly, because who knows when it will happen again? It might take me days, months or years before I stumble on another book that excites me just as much. Or worst case scenario the beginning of a book draws me in, and then the plot betrays me and falls apart, like a glass of accidentally spilled wine… then before I know it I’m lost in an inescapable maze of a book that started off so well.  I have read some reviews about the book on Goodreads and I am a little deflated, I hope I won’t be disappointed like a majority of readers. So for now I shall stick to writing about the first chapter. I may be in denial. Oh well…

In the first chapter, Brida goes off to find a special spiritual teacher, who decides for her first lesson, to leave her alone in a forest at night. This would send any normal person into panic, but there are some clever hidden lessons in this writing….

"There was only the strange noises. Brida felt dizzy with fear she thought she might faint. But she mustn’t. Now that she was quite sure he was nowhere around, fainting certainly wouldn’t help matters. she must stay in control." ~ Paulo Coelho

For me, this speaks about life in general. Life is hazy sometimes.  Often, I can’t see the bigger picture. There are many times when we are trudging through the day by day routine, unable to see the point of our existence or where we are going. It can be disappointing, scary, boring and depressing. I have experienced moments when I have just figured out one situation only to be thrust into another. It can be a professional situation, a family situation, friends etc… How do we keep selves together during those times? How can we learn to cope with dark situations? How do we use them to our advantage?

“When she was a child, she would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, feeling terrified. Her father would carry her to the window and show her the town where they lived. He would talk to her about the night watchmen, about the milkman who would already be delivering milk, about the baker baking daily bread. Her father was trying to drive out the monsters with which she’d filled the night and replaced them with the people who kept watch over the darkness. ”~ Paulo Coelho

 There are so many hidden messages in this one paragraph.

  • Brida’s father showing her that the night is necessary in life.

  •  Her father showing her a different perspective to the darkness.

  • Night is not just the absence of light, but a time which people use the precious quiet time to prepare for the day, even to keep others safe.

Then there is the reference to the monsters Brida created. 

Fear in our minds + cuppled with a lack of understanding of the darkness + impatience =  A whole multitude of ‘monsters’. 

Then as Brida takes us through the memory of her father’s lesson, we are reminded as readers, that she is recalling all this while laying alone in a forest where she was left by the teacher. She had to be still in the moment to do this. 

She had to find the stillness within her, in a frightening situation. 

She has to be patient with herself as she learns to navigate through this strange experience.

 How many times have we been surprised by our own strength in unfamiliar challenging situations? 

In the end, she makes it through the night and leaves the forest in search of the next lesson. The fear is forgotten. She walks away with the additional tools she needs to get through the next moment of darkness

"The night is just part of the day. Therefore she could feel as safe in the dark as she did in the light. It was the dark that made her invoke the protective presence. She must trust it. And that trust was called Faith. No one could understand Faith, but faith was what she was experiencing now, an inexplicable immersion in blackest night." ~ Paulo Coelho

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book…..

Quick Update....
The first chapter was the best and only good chapter in the book. I feel betrayed. (#JustMyOpinion)


  1. Hahaha I can definitely relate with Paragraph one and two. Ps: those books are now on my To-read list :-)

    1. The first chapter was the only good chapter * distressed tears*