(k) Gender identity

The narration does not refer to the concept of gender identity.

(l) Cultural identity (Myers & Sweeney, 2008).

Coelho refers to his (national) cultural Brazilian identity during the farewell ceremony with Petrus (Coelho, 2003b, p. 192). Coelho emphasises his cultural and religious identity through RAM, being initiated into the master’s circle in the RAM tradition. With this initiation his cultural identity changes: By regaining his sword, he has created a new cultural identity, the one of the mastery of RAM (Coelho, 2003b, p. 217). The road to Santiago means for Coelho not only a spiritual transformation, but also a reconstruction of his cultural and religious identity as a RAM master. This new cultural identity, which incorporates all the experiences and transformations lived through on the road to Santiago, contributes to his increase in wellness.

Work and Leisure

For Coelho, work is highly important when he starts the journey. Although his wife promises him that she will take care of the work at home (Coelho, 2003b, p. 10), Coelho cannot let go of it and when the Gypsy at the beginning of the story tells him he could find the sword for him (Coelho, 2003b, p. 20), he would like to make a deal with him and attend to his work at home, reunifying with his friends. Even in Chapter. 3 - The creator and the created - Coelho is worried about work at home that he does not attend to. Petrus emphasises (Coelho, 2003b, p. 33): “I am very glad to be here. Because the work I did not finish is not important and the work I will be able to do after I am back will be so much better.” The present moment gains in importance and during the journey becomes more important than the work at home. The walk becomes a leisure-time activity that gives Coelho new energy for his work at home. Leisure time - filled with the long walk - becomes the source of creativity, physical activity, social engagement, as defined by Myers & Sweeney (2008), and shows a positive effect on emotional wellness (Myers & Sweeney, 2008).

This creative work contains only a few references to work and leisure and it is not the main topic of the book. The underlying issue is clear, however, that alternating work and leisure is important. Petrus comments at a marriage ceremony (Coelho, 2003b):

They look like working people. Hunger and need have required them to work together. They learned the practices you are learning without ever having heard of RAM. They find the power of love in the work they do. (p. 98)

Petrus connects work to love and highlights work as a learning experience, as long as it is filled with love. Work then becomes a source of passion, commitment, spiritual learning and practices when it is done with love - it becomes intrinsically satisfying, as explained by Myers, Sweeney, and Witmer (2000).

In the epilogue, Coelho provides the outlook and closes the circle of thoughts: After the journey he looks forward to going back to work (Coelho, 2003b, p. 225). He is re-energised and the way in which he refers to the concept of work is not filled with a feeling of heaviness and responsibility, but rather with a feeling of lightness and joy, passion and love. The importance of the balance of leisure and work is clearly stated in this book. On a meta-level of argumentation, it can be said that the leisure time and walk was the preparation for his work and his first successful publication, “The pilgrimage”, which was most probably written with passion and love.

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