Life Tasks, Forces and Global Events in Coelho’s Life

Five life tasks, life forces and global events play a role in the HWM and will be presented in terms of the life of Paulo Coelho. The definitions of the concepts have been provided in Chap. 4.

Life tasks, life forces and global events will be analysed and integrated in the framework of the five life tasks during the different stages of Paulo Coelho’s life. Findings for each of the life tasks across the life span summarised in tables are provided to provide overviews on the findings of the data analysis.

Life Task 1: Spirituality

Spirituality is viewed as encompassing life-enhancing benefits (Witmer & Sweeney, 1992) in Sect. and is used to analyse the dimension of spirituality across Paulo Coelho’s life span. The concept will be referred to if the data on Paulo Coelho allow it.

Paulo Coelho’s Early Childhood (1947-1953)

Focusing on spirituality in Coelho’s first years, his description of the period and his communication with God (a) were strongly influenced by his parents’ belief and the fact that he had been brought back to life by his mother’s prayers and a nun (Morais, 2009). Coelho started to pray to God when he was 3 years old and he believed in guardian angels taking care of him and the absence of the guardian angel being responsible for him being naughty (Morais, 2009, p. 39). His communication with God was regular and intense.

The choice of practice of religion (b) was strongly influenced by Coelho’s family: He grew up in a Catholic home, with his mother being rooted in a strong Catholic belief (Coelho, 2006, p. 11) and both parents being devout Catholics (Morais, 2009). This parental religious influence had an impact on Coelho particularly during his childhood, and endured for his entire life in terms of prayer and his special connection to St Joseph (Table 7.1).

Table 7.1 Life task spirituality in Coelho’s early childhood

Life span

Life task spirituality with sub-categories

Periods in Paulo Coelho’s development

(a) Description and

communication with God

(b) Practice of religion


Conceptualisation of humankind’s place

(d) Nature of


(e) Contemplation of nature of meaning of life

1. Coelho’s early





Source: Researcher’s own construction

In the data, no information is available about his early childhood years in terms of c) the conceptualisation of humankind’s place in the universe; d) a consideration of the nature of immortality; e) or the contemplation of the presence and nature of the meaning of life. However, it can be assumed that through the parents’ strong Catholic belief, Coelho learnt that life is a gift of God that needs to be lived according to God’s will.

During this period of Coelho’s life, the following life forces played a significant role in his life:

Family Coelho grew up in a very close family context in a middle-class security estate, in a very safe environment. The data do not provide any information on how the family communicated internally; however, according to the parents’ religious background, communication about religion and spirituality were important topics. Coelho’s family was strongly associated with the concept of a resilient institution (DeFrain & Asay, 2007).

Religion Coelho’s early family life was based on the Catholic religion, which provided his mother and him with hope, meaning, social well-being and harmony. Religion in the family defined a way of acknowledging a higher being and Coelho took on the parents’ religion and regular prayers during his early years (Morais, 2009).

Education The first four and a half years, Coelho was educated at home by his mother, who was a housewife. He learnt social, emotional and ethical behaviour at home. Not much is known about this time from Coelho’s perspective; however, the accessible information provides an impression of a safe and caring environment (Morais, 2009). At the age of four and a half Coelho left the parental home for the first time in his life to join the formal educational pre-school system for 2 years before entering school (Morais, 2009).

Community Coelho spent his first years in a middle-class area of Rio near Botafogo beach in a security complex, being part of the community of the complex, which consisted of members of the extended family and neighbours. Besides his family, the members of the security state might have influenced Coelho’s spirituality; however no information is provided in the data.

No information could be found on how the media, the government and business or industry affected Coelho’s life at this stage.

Furthermore, no direct information about the influence of global events on Coelho from birth to 5 years has been found. It can only be said that his parents successfully tried to protect Coelho from influences from outside the security estate. Therefore, Coelho was not subjected to experiencing povery, violence, overpopulation or disease, unemployment, violation of human rights or competition for limited resources (Sweeney, 1998).

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