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Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ivy

The Alchemist

Gabrielle Hickmon

I have always loved to read. My mom used to make me listen to the Hooked on Phonic's tapes in the car and I'd sit at home in front of the TV watching polar bears sound out words or whatever. lol. Bookstores are one of my favorite places on earth and I used to love library's before Cornell made them stressful. (Basically, I've been a nerd for forever and enjoyed reading before Cornell came into the picture with all of her work/reading/research papers.) 

Enter The Alchemist. I picked this book up when I was last in Michigan because it was all over my Instagram feed and enough people I respect/think are cool or interesting were talking about it + I had heard about it in passing before a few times. When I tell you that I have never read a book so fast before.. I was on the Shortline coming back to Ithaca after being in NYC for the past few days and I devoured this book. 

It's funny because this book is all about paying attention to the "omens" (I like to think of them as signs, but whatever) and following your personal legend. It's probably a sign that I read this book when I did because I've been meditating on discipline a lot the past few weeks. And, God has really been showing me that He wants to give us the desires of our heart if we do our part and trust in him. I feel like I've been writing on the same ideas lately and maybe that's because I need to drill them into my head or because someone else needs to see this - it's probably both. 

Here are 5 things I learned from reading The Alchemist combined with things I'm going to work on (stemming from those lessons of course). 

  1. "And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it." 
    • I've been doing this thing in the morning where I wake up, read the Bible and write down the "word of the day." I made a vision board and wrote down my priorities for the summer because something magical happens when you dare to articulate what you want. When you have the gall to put it all out there.. things start to happen. 
  2. Making a decision is only the beginning of things. 
    • So, once you figure out what it is that you want, what your "personal legend" is. You've got to decide to work towards it. BUT, that decision is only the first step in finding your treasure so you have to be prepared to make more decisions and follow the path laid out for you. 
  3. "You've got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way makes sense." 
    • This quote to me is all about perseverance and discipline. (I told you it was a sign that I read this book when I did.) The story of the shepherd really teaches us that while life is about the destination, it's also about all of things that you learn along the way. We have to find a balance between paying attention to the things going on around us and working towards our goals/dreams/treasure. Sometimes, the journey makes sense on its own. And, sometimes the journey makes sense once you reach the end or the other side. Slow down and stay in tune to what is going on around you. 
  4. "The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity." 
    • This is something that I'm really going to have to work on. I'm a big planner and I know that I miss things in the here and now by always looking ahead. I want to have a bit more faith in God/the future/myself because things always work out how they are supposed to when you act and do accordingly. If I keep the faith, listen to my heart, and keep working, there's no way things won't turn up for my good. (The universe is conspiring to help me(us) remember?)
  5. "If I am really a part of your dream, you'll come back one day...I want my husband to wander as free as the wind that shapes the dunes." 
    • This scene with Fatima and the shepherd really spoke to me because I identify with both parties so strongly. Fatima is a woman of the desert and she understands the need to wander and follow your personal legend. The shepherd loves Fatima. This makes him not want to leave her even though he knows what his personal legend is and that he is close to achieving it. What I think is so beautiful about their love for each other is that it was based in trust and freedom. Both loved the other person in a way that made them feel free. As a young woman full of dreams and hopes for a family, I often wonder if I can have it all (a strong(fun)(supportive)(full of laughter and love) relationship, family, and amazing career). Fatima and the shepherd taught me that when love is based in freedom and trust, it knows no bounds and can survive anything *fingers crossed* because it's pure matter and will always return. 

Basically, this book is super motivational and if you haven't read it- you should. Thanks to all who recommended it and have discussed it with me. I know it's a read I'll be returning to often. 

Life is generous to those who pursue their personal legends... I hope you'll have the courage to pursue yours. Start, by reading this book!