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Home arrow Psychology arrow The Life and Creative Works of Paulo Coelho : A Psychobiography from a Positive Psychology Perspective
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(d) Emotional awareness and coping

Through the various exercises and the ritual, Coelho becomes emotionally aware and strengthens his ability to cope with situations. After having gone through the first exercise, Coelho experiences sensations and emotions with which he has to deal on an intrapersonal level (Coelho, 2003b, p. 28). On the seventh day of performing the exercise, Coelho reaches a kind of ecstasy and a state of complete happiness (Coelho, 2003b, pp. 33-34) which indicates his intensified emotional awareness. Furthermore, Coelho learns how to cope with negative thoughts and thus becomes more aware of the emotional impact of thoughts and words (Coelho, 2003b, p. 45; Chapter 4, Cruelty). Both aspects, the ecstasy of happiness and the transformation of negative into positive thoughts, contribute to Coelho’s wellness, to a holistic approach to a healthy walk of life on an emotional, spiritual and psychological level.

(e) Problem-solving and creativity

In the beginning, Coelho follows his guide, trusting him. However, after 6 days he experiences that he has walked in circles for the past 6 days because of a shifted focus on the aim instead of on the process of the walk. The lessons of mindfulness and self-responsibility are learnt and Petrus explains the importance of problemsolving: “You are so concerned about finding your sword that you forgot the most important thing: you have to get there” (Coelho, 2002b, p. 35). Problem-solving for Petrus is based on mindful attention to the present moment, dealing with the prob?lem of the moment (managing the way), to resolve the problem of the aim (the finding of the sword) later. For the solving of the problem, the ability to read the signs on the way towards the aim is needed. However, problem-solving has another important incorporated aspect: The change of perspective, a change in speed and the attitude to the task. Problematic routines are addressed through this change of perspective (Coelho, 2003b, p. 38). Change therefore does not need to happen on the outside to resolve a problem, but can also happen on the inside of a person (intrapsychologically) to resolve problems. Coelho (2003b, pp. 38-39) highlights that problem-solving is strongly related to an inner attitude (Coelho, 2003b, pp. 38-39) and (self)awareness. Coelho actively applies a problem-solving attitude after he has been left alone on the Road to Santiago. Creatively, fully mindful, aware and changing towards Petrus’s perception, Coelho manages the final part of the journey to find his sword with an active problem-solving attitude. Problem-solving guides him towards self-mastery and towards a strong intuition: The problem of finding his sword is resolved by self-guidance based on listening to “inner voices in the fog” (Coelho, 2003b, p. 217) and the interpretation of a sign on the way (“guided by a lamb”). (Coelho, 2003b, p. 221). The change of his inner perspective and the decoding of outside signs lead Coelho to find his way and resolve the problem.

 
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