Summaries and Conclusions

The main research question of this study was:

How can the life of the writer Paulo Coelho be described in terms of the holistic wellness model and the stages of faith development?

In the following, the responses to this research question are summarised and conclusions will be drawn.

Paulo Coelho’s Life and Creative Works in the Context of the Holistic Wellness Model

Generally, the life of Paulo Coelho reflects many aspects of holistic wellness, including all five life tasks, as well as the life forces, as summarised in the following section.

Summary of Holistic Wellness in the Life of Paulo Coelho

The analysis shows that with regard to the life tasks, spirituality, self-direction and love are strongly emphasised life tasks, while work and leisure, as well as friendship, are less emphasised life tasks throughout Paulo Coelho’s life.

The importance of life tasks change, based on the experiences throughout the life span and in the context of the various creative works (see Chaps. 7 and 8).

Spirituality is a dynamic concept that is reflected in Coelho’s life and in his creative works. From the 1980s onwards and from his call to become a writer, it included communication with God, strong emphasis on magical experiences and a move from a powerful and strict patriarchal God towards a loving God. Later in his fifties and sixties, Coelho deepened and reconsidered his spiritual concepts, as well as his meaningfulness in life: God had become a personal (male and female) God whom he experienced in nature and while travelling.

While Coelho in his thirties was still looking for self-direction and self-control as a writer, he regained self-worth through writing “The pilgrimage” and recreated his personal identity during the journey. During his fifties and sixties, self-direction was extremely important with regard to realistic beliefs, emotional awareness, problem-solving and redefining his traumatic experiences, as described in his biographies, statements and autobiographical novels, which are acknowledged in this study as important sources of analysis of information (see Chaps. 1 and 3).

Loves became very important for Coelho when he met his Cristina and during the pilgrimage. He learnt to experience the three forms of love, his definitions of love changed and he deeply explored love across his life span and described it extensively in “Aleph”.

The life task of work and leisure was not discussed in any detail and both concepts were hardly differentiated as work and leisure. He used both concepts as opportunities to self-reflect and to create meaningfulness. He never spoke about work or leisure time - for Coelho the distinction was not important, since his focus was fulfilling his life’s dream, no matter whether he was working or relaxing.

The concept of friendship changed during his lifetime. It is a concept that he hardly discussed and a life task Coelho silently worked on throughout his life. He hardly mentioned it. However, according to the in-depth analysis of his life and his works, Coelho viewed friendship as important and highly appreciated in his late fifties and during his sixties. A transformation from a rather practical approach to friendship to a more loving approach was indicated in the findings (Fig. 9.1).

The holistic wellness model in Paulo Coelho’s life (Source

Fig. 9.1 The holistic wellness model in Paulo Coelho’s life (Source: Researcher’s own construction)

The life forces that were primarily active throughout the life of Paulo Coelho were family (during his childhood and teenage years his parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents, later Cristina) and religion (first his Catholic upbringing, his satanis- tic affiliation, the RAM practices), while the life forces of education, community, media, government, business and industry were less emphasised. Coelho experienced a strong transformation with regard to religion: He turned to a highly integrative approach during his fifties, referring to aspects of different (world) religions and integrating various aspects of religions into his concept of spirituality.

The emphasis on life tasks changed at different points in Coelho’s life: spirituality gained importance from his 20 to the present, self-direction was relatively strong from childhood onwards and love was strongly emphasised from adolescence onwards. Work and leisure seemed to become integrated concepts across his lifetime, particularly from the time when he started his career as a writer. However, the first- and third-person documents rarely refer to work and leisure. Finally, the concept of friendship was only mentioned in the context of friendships around work- related issues. The life task of friendship only seemed to gain importance at the end of Coelho’s fifties and during his sixties.

Spirituality, self-direction and love contributed particularly to Paulo Coelho’s holistic wellness. He suffered from depression, doubt and frustration during certain periods of his life, primarily regaining his wellness through spiritual reflection, meditation, travel, rituals and exercises. He regained holistic wellness by defining clear self-direction and refining it in times of doubt and depression. Finally, his strong love for his wife and her strong love for him contributed significantly to his holistic wellness. Self-direction and love are connected to spirituality and Coelho used his creative works to reflect on these interrelationships of the concepts to reconnect and readjust his thoughts and life style throughout his life while reconstructing meaningfulness in his life.

Reconstruction of holistic wellness across the life span (Source

Fig. 9.2 Reconstruction of holistic wellness across the life span (Source: Researcher’s own construction)

Interestingly, global influences, as well as most of the life forces, did not play a particularly important role in the life of Paulo Coelho. Global influences that had an impact on his life are hardly described and are therefore seen as influencing his life minimally.

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