The Fifties (1997-2006)

During the fifth decade of Coelho’s life, selected data refer to the topic of love.

Coelho wrote “Veronica decides to die” (Coelho, 2000), the book about his experiences in the asylum, although he had promised his parents not to talk about them. Coelho worked through this traumatic experience with his parents and thereby experienced (a) the ability to be intimate, trusting, and self-disclosing with them, particularly before the death of his mother in 1998 (Arias, 2001). Coelho understood that all the family members had suffered through this experience of the asylum (Arias, 2001) and redefined it at this late stage as an act of love.

In this decade, Coelho experienced love with his parents: he had talked with them about his experiences in adolescence and his parents asked him for forgiveness (Arias, 2001). Although he had experienced a srtong possessive style of parental caring, he (c) experienced a non-possessive way of caring from them that respected his uniqueness and his ability to write. Coelho’s parents showed the presence of an

(d) enduring, stable, intimate relationship at this stage; they supported him, respected him and his career and success in a non-possessive way.

With regard to the publication of books, Coelho wrote “The wanderer”, a collection of texts, many on spirituality and the meaning of life in the context of God (Coelho, 2007). In this collection, he described his idea that love was mirrored in God’s actions, which were an echo of the actions of the individual (Coelho, 2007).

Coelho published the book “Eleven minutes” (Coelho, 2003c) in 2003. It dealt with love and how to “touch the soul” - through love or lust? The topic is revealed through the description of a Brazilian prostitute who falls in love and concludes that love will always make one suffer.

In this creative work, Coelho explored the tension created by the (a) the ability to be intimate, trusting, and self-disclosing with another person; the tension to receive as well as to (b) express affection with another and (c) the capacity to experience or convey non-possessive caring that respects the uniqueness of another. In this book, Coelho explored on a deep intra-psychological level the opposite of the experience of d) the presence of enduring, stable intimate relationships in the protagonist’s life. He thereby explored the tensions between and within these states of love, which lacked the (d) presence of an enduring, stable intimate relationship on the one hand and did not emphasise (e) concern for the nurturance and growth of others, but as in the previous decade the self-reflexive state and self-care in a lust or love relationship. For the first time, Coelho touched openly on the topic of love and lust and on the question of (f) satisfaction with a person’s sexual life or the perception that the need for is being met, or both.

“The zahir” (Coelho, 2005) was dedicated to Cristina, referring to the spiritual and sacred moments they shared on the mountainside. It was the first book that included a dedication to Cristina and showed Coelho’s abilities to be (a) intimate and self-disclosing with regard to his relationships. It also showed (b) the ability to receive and express affection with Cristina. Although the data do not give information on the relationship between Coelho and Cristina during his fifties, the dedication showed (d) the presence of enduring, stable intimate relationships in Coelho’s life and (c) the capacity to experience or convey non-possessive caring that respects the uniqueness of another.

Another creative work, “The zahir” (Coelho, 2005) dealt with the topic of possessive love, the opposite of the healthy characteristic of love according to Myers et al. (2000), and was founded on the experience of (c) non-possessive caring, the obsession of love and how it affected a persons’ feelings and attitudes (Calderon, 2009) (Table 7.29).

Coelho addressed the topic of love in his books and on an abstract, philosophical level, wrapped in intra-psychological reflections. However, hardly any information on his practical approach to love or detailed information on love in his life is available.

Impacting life forces:

Family During this decade, reflection on and re-evaluation of the relationship with and love for his parents and Coelho’s time in the asylum were important.

Table 7.29 Love in the fifties

Life span

Life task love with sub-categories

Periods in Paulo Coelho’s development

a) The ability to









b) The ability to

receive as well as express affection with



c) The capacity to experience or convey nonpossessive caring that respects the uniqueness of another

d) The presence of enduring, stable intimate relationships in one’s life

e) Concern for the nurturance and growth of others


Satisfaction with one’s sexual life or the

perception that one’s needs for physical touch and closeness are being met, or both

7. Year 50-59

X fulfilled

X fulfilled

X fulfilled

X fulfilled

X fulfilled




Source: Researcher’s own construction

Coelho wrote a bestseller about the relationship with his parents, madness and sanity. He reconciled with his past in terms of parental love and declared his love for Cristina publicly (Coelho, 2005), thereby emphasising her importance in his life (Morais, 2009).

Business/Industry Coelho discussed love on an abstract level in his books (e.g. Coelho, 2006, 2010) and reflected selected components of love, as mentioned by Myers et al. (2000). Through writing, he explored love on a deeper, self-reflexive level while gaining success as a writer through love and passion.

No significant information on any of the other life forces, such as religion, education, community, media and government regarding the life task of love is available. The data do not reveal any kind of influence of global events during this period on love.

In conclusion, the characteristics of love emphasised by Myers et al. (2000) are expressed during this decade with regard to Coelho’s parents (Arias, 2001) and to Cristina (Coelho, 2005; Morais, 2009). He explained the unfulfilled need of compassionate love during earlier years with regard to his parents, reflected the fulfilled love with Cristina and touched on the tension of fulfilled and unfulfilled love components in “Eleven minutes” (Coelho, 2003c) and “The zahir” (Coelho, 2005).

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