In the midst of my hiatus from art-making, I've decided to re-read an old Paulo Coelho favorite, The Zahir. I have returned to this book various times ever since I first read it several years while I go through different obstacles and turning points in my life. I have returned to it again as I deal with turning points, milestones and changes in interpersonal relationships. But no matter my reason for revisiting the Zahir, I find that it speaks to me for the following reasons:
The Zahir was a fixation on everything that had been passed from generation to generation; it left no question unanswered; it took up all the space; it never allowed us even to consider the possibility that things could change.
In other words, conform, conform, conform. If you do not, you will be punished and expelled from your tribe. I love how Paulo Coelho questions this notion in his books and I think this is why he resonates with so many people. Throughout my life, I've felt like a salmon swimming upstream, trying to find my own path that isn't the one laid out by society. When I graduated from law school and realized that I didn't want to be a practicing attorney and told people about my desire to be pursue my passion for art, some thought I was crazy, others were horrified and others even distanced themselves from me. Years later, I'm lucky enough to know that people admire me for being true to myself and feel inspired to do the same for themselves.
I feel that I'm at another crossroad in my life where I feel the shroud of monotony and conformity trying to overtake me and I'm going through my own personal quest to shake myself free of it. Needless to say, I haven't figured it out but am grateful that I'm aware enough to stop and question things.
So as I meander my way about things, I recommend picking up The Zahir, with the sincere hope that it speaks to you in a way that is fulfilling and eye-opening.