When you stop walking… by Paulo Coelho on June 5, 2012
In one of my books (The Zahir), I try to understand why people are so afraid of changing. When I was right in the middle of writing the text, I came across an odd interview with a woman who had just written a book on – guess what? – love.
The journalist asks whether the only way a human being can become happy is to find their beloved. The woman says no:
"Love changes, and nobody understands that. The idea that love leads to happiness is a modern invention, dating from the late 17th century. From that time on, people have learned to believe that love should last for ever and that marriage is the best way to exercise love. In the past there was not so much optimism about the longevity of passion.
"Romeo and Juliet isn’t a happy story, it’s a tragedy. In the last few decades, expectation has grown a lot regarding marriage being the path towards personal accomplishment. Disappointment and dissatisfaction have also grown at the same time.”
According to the magical practices of the witchdoctors in the North of Mexico, there is always an event in our lives that is responsible for our having stopped making progress. A trauma, a particularly bitter defeat, disappointment in love, even a victory that we fail to quite understand, ends up making us act cowardly and incapable of moving ahead. The witchdoctor finds and gets rid of this "accommodating point”. To do so, he has to review our life and discover where this point lies.
Because, according to the story that we were told, at a certain moment in our lives "we reach our limit”. There are no more changes to be made. We won’t grow any more. Both professionally and in love, we have reached the ideal point, and it’s best to leave things as they are. But the truth is that we can always go further. Love more, live more, risk more.
Immobility is never the best solution. Because everything around us changes (including love) and we must accompany that rhythm.
I have been married to the same person for 33 years, but methaphorically speaking, the same marriage contains several "new marriages” during our relationship. Our bodies and souls changed, and we are still togeher. If we wanted to keep on as we were in 1979, I don’t think we would have come so far.