Magic Moments

I just started reading this short book by Paolo Coelho called “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.” I’ve only read his “The Alchemist”, which was a lot like a bad movie—realizing you’re being manipulated and are being lead like a child to a specific morale by the author, but not caring so much because it feels so sincere and the lessons so important.
Well, “By the River Piedra” doesn’t seem to be much different. I’ve only just begun it, but there is a passage about “magic moments” in the day. “Our magic moment helps us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams.” He explains that sadness comes when we do not heed these magic moments, when we refuse their call and keep things grounded in the mundane.
As syrupy as his prose is, I know exactly what he’s talking about: it’s my refusal to go to a party because I don’t have a date; it’s my resistance to send a note of appreciation because it’ll be misinterpreted; it’s the choice to glower instead of being friendly to my fellow man; it’s the shyness in talking to a pretty girl—it’s all of these things and more, where the overriding motivation to not act is the juvenile assumption that it’s not that important, that there’ll be other times to act. But these moments are supremely important; they are the constituents of our lives. And we, or those in our paths, may not be dealt more time.
So tonight I’m in Florida. I’ve spent most of the day not opting for the special moments. I’ve been highly mundane, letting the past bully my future. But just before bed, after a sugar-induced narcosis, feeling a bit washed from the day, I uttered a stupid little phrase on my way to bed, “Love you.”
I knew it was probably my final opportunity for a magic moment on the day. And while it wasn’t a poem or even an, “I love you,” it was very much heard and, I believe, felt. I seized that moment and I felt an internal shift. I was a different, more expressive man after than I was before my utterance. I was transformed, however insignificantly.
And herein lies my opportunity to alter the future. In each of these discreet moments—these magic moments that Coelho thinks happen once a day, but I believe are accessible round the clock—I can make choices that undermine historical precedence. History is not determinative.

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