Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Follow your dreams

March 4, 2021

But be careful what you wish for…

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

In The Alchemist Santiago follows his dreams.

Federico Bolaños had a dream.

Federico Bolaños did not like coffee. Not that is until he had a coffee at a friend’s house. He could not believe how good it was. He decided to open a coffee shop serving quality coffee that tasted like his friend’s coffee.

Together with business partners Federico Bolaños opened three coffee shops, Viva Espresso, in El Salvador.

Alejandro Mendez did not like coffee. When he applied for a job at Viva Espresso he knew nothing about coffee, he did not even like coffee.

Federico Bolaños saw he had potential and offered him a job. Alejandro Mendez thought he would be waiting on tables, maybe grinding coffee beans, he learnt to be a barista, found he liked coffee.

Federico Bolaños had a dream. His dream was that El Salvador would win the World Coffee Championship. No producer country had ever won the coffee champions. Alejandro Mendez would win the world championship for El Salvador.

Alejandro Mendez entered and he won. He was World Champion barista in 2011.

Federico Bolaños did not stop there. He saw the hunger in the eyes of his young baristas. They begged him to let them enter. Once again, his barista won, this time coming third place.

But all this exacted a heavy toll on his business. Entering championships cost money. On their return they found the businesses was close to collapse, injection of new capital was needed. New investors were brought in and their first act was to oust Federico Bolaños.

But like Santiago in The Alchemist he did not accept defeat, he did not give up on his dreams, it was the start of a new adventure.

His help was ought by a South Korean coffee company. He won again, this time with a female barista, only the second female baristas in the history of the world championships. Federico Bolaños had trained three world champions.

Our modern day alchemists take coffee beans, use fire, and turn it into an elixir.

Many of the baristas of Viva Espresso, now ex-baristas, have moved on to open coffee shops with their colleagues.

Federico Bolaños has established Alquimia Coffee, Alejandro Mendez established 4 Monkeys Coffee Roasters.

The story of Federico Bolaños and Alejandro Mendez following their dreams is now a Duolingo podcast.

James Harper is host and producer of Filter Stories, a documentary-style podcast revealing the often dark reality but with glimmers of hope of the world of coffee. The untold stories hidden in your cup of coffee. He has also produced Adventures in Coffee, a Caffeine Magazine podcast (hosted by Jools Walker and Caffeine founder Scott Bailey).

A longer version of this post has been published by The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop on Medium.  [see Follow your dreams]

The Angeli Symphony

May 18, 2013

‘I told my wife I thought I could be a great composer. Understandably, she thought I was deluded. I couldn’t even read music, let alone write it’

I grew up being told I had all the musicality of a brick. I couldn’t read or write a single note; music just didn’t feature in my early years. Instead, my life followed a traditional path – I married my wife, Jo, at 21 and our daughter Emma soon came along. We were expecting another baby when things took an awful turn.

During labour, the contractions stopped and the doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. He performed an emergency forceps delivery, but there were terrible complications. Our baby died and Jo suffered serious injuries during the birth. Her life was in the balance and she needed major surgery.

I was devastated beyond words. I felt like giving up, but I had to hold it together for both Jo and two-year-old Emma. I felt utterly crushed and empty when I went to bed that night.

But as I fell asleep, I had a wonderfully comforting dream. All I could hear was music. When I woke up, I couldn’t stop replaying it in my mind. It wasn’t just a simple melody, but a symphony. And somehow I could identify each instrument and every note.

It felt very odd suddenly to have this awareness, and I wanted to see if I could make something of it. But I was working as a cook in a rural pub in Leicestershire and couldn’t just drop everything.

Jo and I never discussed the death of Ben, our baby son – it was just too painful – and we focused instead on bringing up Emma and our new daughter, Kate, whom we adopted shortly after Jo had recovered. Without an outlet to process what had happened, the music in my dream was a way of grieving for Ben, and the longer I put off recreating it, the more frustrated I became.

I felt desperately trapped and unhappy, and started to drop hints to Jo. “I think I could be a great composer,” I’d say. Understandably, she thought I was deluded. I don’t blame her – I couldn’t even read music, let alone write it.

I loved my wife and children, but I really wanted to see if I could be a composer. Jo reluctantly agreed to let me go to London and she gave me six months; I would keep in contact regularly.

I had nowhere to stay and ended up living in a squat, earning a few pounds here and there. One day I sat on a bench outside BBC Television Centre and a man stopped to chat. He was a musician called Anthony Wade and after I told him my story he listened to the very rough recording I’d made using a guitar I’d bought for 50p. He was amazed by it and told me that it could be magnificent if it was orchestrated, but that would take hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This was a blow, made doubly worse when I discovered that Jo had met someone else. I was devastated, but it made me even more determined to achieve my goal. I set myself the task of earning enough money to hear my symphony played by an orchestra. It took 15 years of working 20 hours a day as a business consultant, but finally I was able to search out Anthony Wade again, who was dumbstruck to discover the homeless person he’d chatted to had raised so much money.

He helped me put together a demo tape and put me in touch with the conductor Allan Wilson, who was initially deeply sceptical. After he listened to the demo, he told me that I had done the equivalent of brain surgery without going to medical school and that it could be a masterpiece.

Allan booked the Philharmonia Orchestra and finally, more than two decades after my son’s death, I would get to hear the music played as I’d dreamed it. As the musicians arrived at Abbey Road Studios, my heart was pounding so much I could barely stand it. I had sacrificed so much to arrive at this moment. Then the baton was raised and I heard my Angeli Symphony for the first time. I was incredibly moved. It was like seeing the birth of a child, as the notes were released from my dream at last.

The orchestra gave me a standing ovation after it was over, but I was so overwhelmed that it was hard to appreciate it. Fifteen years on, I have written another four symphonies: somehow musical ability has been released in me. I will never forget that first one, though – I still can’t quite believe I wrote it.

— Stuart J Sharp

Published in The Guardian.


April 26, 2013

Dreams Fleetwood Mac classic, The Corrs featuring Mick Fleetwood on drums, live Royal Albert Hall.

For Annie.

What if money was no object?

December 28, 2012

The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does. — Priya Sher

A wonderful lecture from the late Alan Watts.

Ask yourself. What would you do with your life if money was no object?

It is absolutely stupid to spend the rest of your life doing what you hate, to earn money to spend on things you neither need nor want.

Follow the advice of Paulo Coelho and follow your dreams.

For my lovely friend Iva who asked.

Steve Lawson interview for KindredHQ

May 3, 2012

Solo bass player Steve Lawson talking to KindredHQ.

Follow your dreams, play music for its own sake, because you love music, not because it will make you rich or famous.

The musicians featured in The Dewarists, play music because they love music.

The idea of a job for life no longer exists. You may be loyal to a company, but they will not be loyal to you.

Too many people live dead beat lives, do what is expected of them, rather than live their lives, do what they love, follow their dreams, then on their death bed look back and regret a life wasted.

Follow the path … pull dem weeds

April 18, 2012
Make your own path

Make your own path

 pull dem weeds

pull dem weeds

Listen with your heart

Listen with your heart

A worldwide project
has been launched.

The seeds
have been sown.

Follow the path
pull dem weeds
listen to your heart.

Like Santiago:
take risks
follow your dreams
read the signs
listen to your heart.

Break out of the prison
that is your mind.

your mind
other minds.

See that
blank wall
in your

Turn it
a Hoe Mama mural.

or what
is Hoe Mama?

Hoe Mama
an idea
a concept
a state of mind
a project
a community.

You too
can be
a Hoe Mama.

Want to join
what are you waiting for?

Hoe Mama
The Alchemist
Reading the signs
Live a lie and regret or take risks and follow your dreams

Reading the signs

April 10, 2012

We all make mistakes … No one learns a new language without making mistakes … By making mistakes, by daring to make mistakes, you learn. — Paulo Coelho

Like Santiago in The Alchemist I have always been able to read the signs.

I do not know if it is an innate ability, but for most people it is an alien concept.

In Faith Under Fire, Canon Andrew White discusses how in Baghdad, people have come to understand the importance of signs.

For the people of Baghdad, these signs can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

We all make mistakes. Those who do not make mistakes, are not perfect, they are the sad individuals who never take risks, do not follow their dreams, then in their dying days, regret a wasted life.

Live a lie and regret or take risks and follow your dreams

It is through taking risks we progress.

What is wrong, is not the making of mistakes, but to not learn from our mistakes, to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

If we put our hand on a hot plate and it burns, what do we gain by repeating the exercise?

Sometimes though we do not read the signs, or we read them incorrectly.

Paulo Coelho talks about reading the signs.

He then tells a lovely story, brought to life with illustrations by Ken Crane.


Live a lie and regret or take risks and follow your dreams

April 8, 2012
When you want something ... - Paulo Coelho, Ken Crane

When you want something ... - Paulo Coelho, Ken Crane

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

Canon Andrew White

Canon Andrew White

Paradise is being able to say: “I made some mistakes, but I wasn’t a coward. I lived my life and did what I had to do.” — Paulo Coelho

God comes down to earth to show us our power. We are part of His dream, and He wants that dream to be a happy one. — Paulo Coelho

Have pity on those afraid to take risks, because they will perhaps never experience disappointment or delusion or suffer as those do with a dream to follow. — Paulo Coelho

When you dream, you can enjoy the luxury of being yoursef. Make it a reality. — Paulo Coelho

Is it not sad that most people spend their lives living a lie, living what society expects of them, not being themselves?

Last week I watched the film Veronika Decides to Die, based on the book of the same title by Paulo Coelho. A deeply moving film.

The mad are those outside Villete who are living a lie. If that is not insanity, what is?

In The Alchemist, follow your dreams.

And yet how many do?

They ignore their dreams until eventually they forget they ever had any dreams.

Approaching death, serves to focus our mind. We then, when it is too late, regret our wasted lives.

Bronnie Ware works with the dying. She has documented their regrets, which can be summed up as failure to follow our dreams, failure to be ourselves, the lack of courage to take risks.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Top five regrets of the dying
Regrets of the dying

There are those who bemoan the luck of others. Those called lucky learned to grasp the opportunities life offered them, to read the signs, to take risks, to follow their dreams.

Jesus warned those who chose to follow Him that they they would have a heavy cross to bear but that theirs would be the kingdom of heaven.

Reflection on The Nail at St Mark’s
‘I Thirst’
Love Wins
Gospel of Thomas

Santiago took risks, followed his dreams.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho wished to be a writer. No, it is not possible. You must be mad! He followed his dreams, he became a writer, his works have inspired others.

The Alchemist Himself
A Warrior’s Life by Fernando Morais

Montegrappa celebrated their centenary 1912-2012 with the launch on St Joseph’s Day of The Alchemist pen, a joint venture between Montegrappa and Paulo Coelho.

Montegrappa launch The Alchemist pen

Some saw it as a waste of precious materials, a sordid commercial venture. To others it was a work of art, inspired by The Alchemist, slow fashion not fast fashion.

Canon Andrew White wished to be a medic and a priest. No, not possible. He became both. He suffers from MS. He has what must rank as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. He loves his work. His heart is full of joy. He fills the hearts of those around him full of joy.

Faith Under Fire
Under siege but vicar of Baghdad is still spreading the word

Mio dreamt of meeting Paulo Coelho. On St Joseph’s Day her dream came true. To Mio, a miracle. Her lovely smile, sparkling eyes, filled those around her with joy.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

March 22, 2012
for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

For Mio Baba meeting Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was a dream come true. A miracle. She was so happy.

Mio first read The Alchemist six years ago when she was 22. She then read many more books, including Veronika Decides to Die and The Zahir.

She wanted to know more. She did a search. She came across Yumi Crane.

Why she thought, was the facebook picture of Yumi Crane with Paulo Coelho?

She wanted to know more. She contacted Yumi and asked.

Yumi told her of meeting Paulo Coelho in Istanbul at a St Jospeh’s Day party which he hosts every year with his friends. Of signs. Of the Alchemist stone, a story she and Ken Crane told as we sat around a table a year ago after the St Jospeh’s Day party.

Mio wished to go to Australia to improve her English (I suggested England would be better). She asked her boss. He said yes, then said no: If you want to go to Australia get a new job. Learning languages is not valued in Japan.

She was very disappointed.

When Ken learnt of her story, he contacted Paulo told him of Mio and her story and asked: Could Mio come to the launch of The Alchemist pen in Bassano del Grappa?

Paulo said yes, but went one better, he said bring her along to the St Joseph’s Day party that night, a party that was to take place in a medieval Venetian castle.

When Mio was told of the invite, she could not believe it. It was a miracle.

All four of us walked to The Alchemist launch. It was pouring with rain, we arrived dripping wet and squeezed in at the back.

After the launch, as Paulo walked out, he spotted us three and gave each of us a hug, Yumi, Ken and I.

We then introduced Mio.

Paulo gave Mio a big hug. Had she died on the spot she would have gone to heaven happy.

The best was yet to come. That evening we were going to Paulo’s St Joseph’s Day party at Castello Superiore di Marostica.

A taxi came to pick us up to take us into Bassano del Grappa from where we would be taken to the party.

Had Mio got her books for Paulo to sign? No, in the excitement she had forgotten. Not to worry we told her. The taxi turned around and she picked up her books.

At the castle she again met Paulo. Her books were signed. I introduced her to Christina Oiticica (artist and Paulo’s wife) and to Rudolf Schenker (founder and lead guitarist of German rock group Scorpions).

A dream come true for a very lovely person.

She made me two lovely origami figures on the train we caught to Venice two days later as a souvenir to remember her by, but sadly these got squashed in my bag.

I have another lovely surprise for her. A very special present which I know she will love.

Strange dream

March 13, 2012

I was talking with the hotel manager. He offered to show me around their new hotel next door. I said not now, in the morning, later in the afternoon when I come in from the sun.

I was eating lunch. The tables werre small. I was on my own. Nearby were two girls I knew from a previous trip. Also not far away was another girl who I knew from a recent trip. My parents were there, they also had a table each.

Then a man sat with the two girls. I was really annoyed as I could have joined them but did not due to little space at the tables.

I decided to leave my lunch unfinished and walk to the sea. I walked and walked. Eventually I reached the sea. I passed a wood where an excavator was at work. I went back to have a look. It was digging out a deep dark pool.

Other woods I passed had excavators hard at work but I did not stop and take a look.

I walked and walked along the sea. I could not understand why I did not reach a place I knew.

Then I realised I was not walking by the sea, I was walking by a river. A shallow, fast flowing river. Not only that I was walking upstream.

I turned around. I found myself walking along a path like a canal towpath.

The path must have turned into a road, as I found myself in a car with a friend.

He slowed at a bend as the road was very narrow. An idiot chose to overtake.

We passed a large mansion, then turned into a mansion where my friend was living.

I did not know where I was. I could not understand why the road terminated at this house. I asked would he please take me back to my hotel. He could make use of the pool, and if anyone questioned who he was say he was a guest of mine and I had gone to bed as very tired.

I then awoke.

I was baffled. I had been out in Tenerife, not Devon as I thought in my dream. The countryside I walked through was like Devon. The hotel I thought I was at is by the sea set in an arid landscape in the Middle East.

We rarely remember dreams. We rarely remember we had a dream.

Sometimes I dream whilst awake. I do not mean day dreaming, when our mind wanders, I mean a dream, and yet awake, fully aware of what is happening around. And that awareness is not a dream as it is the same when I wake. I am aware whilst I am dreaming that I am dreaming.

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