To be young and alive.

The best lesson I’ve learned in the past few weeks is that we should never let the child in us die.

This was in 1994, I think. It was the second big air-balloon festival and there weren’t that many people yet. There was no facebook, blogging and digital photography just yet. Here’s my dad’s photo of me learning how to fly. In many ways this perfectly captures everything I’ve ever wanted to be. Fearless and free.

I was thinking of this photo earlier today when M and I were waiting to leave the house. She handed me a book of Paulo Coelho’s called The Manual of the Warrior of Light. It’s a thin beautiful volume of sayings. Here is my favorite one:

All the world’s roads lead to the heart of the warrior; he plunges unhesitatingly into the river of passions always flowing through his life.

The warrior knows that he is free to choose his desires, and he makes these decisions with courage, detachment and – sometimes – with just a touch of madness.

He embraces his passions and enjoys them intensely. He knows that there is no need to renounce the pleasures of conquest; they are part of life and bringjoy to all those who participate in them.

But he never loses sight of those things that last or of the strong bonds that are forged over time.

A warrior can distinguish between the transient and the enduring.

Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s funny how nuggets of inspiration lie in places we fear to tread. I’m not a big fan of Coelho because I think most of his books are a bit predictable. But I remember poring over a copy of The Alchemist when I was a high school freshman and for some incredible reason, the lines just spoke to me and I knew them even when I lost my copy of the book. But after that, none of his books came close and I wasn’t inclined to go looking into any of his writings. But this is what found me and that’s what makes it special.

It found me. Reckless and free.

2 thoughts on “To be young and alive.

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