Wow! What a book! I just finished it. In the back I found Paulo Coelho’s blog site: paulocoelhoblog.com. I’ve decided to reach out to Mr. Coelho. I’ll share what I wrote to him. But first, I’d like to share a few more quotes from “The Alchemist.” These quotes really touched me and I found significant meaning in them. I hope you can too.
“When you are loved, you can do anything in creation.”
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
“Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World.”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
“The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”
“I only invoked what you already knew.”
“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surly happen a third time.”
“His heart whispered, ‘Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.’ “
“Its true; life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend.”
And now, my letter to Mr. Coelho:
Hello Mr. Coelho.
My name is Steven.
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”
The ALCHEMIST has taught me to listen to my heart. And to pay close attention to omens. I am in prison. Just like you once were. I published my first ebook at the age of 38. You were 38 when you first got published. Omens? We’ll see.
I am in pursue of my Personal Legend. I am embarking upon a journey that will lead me to my treasure. You have inspired me beyond words and into action. I am the nations leading blogger from behind bars, with over 22K followers. I’d like to invite you to check out my blog and to read my 3 part series. This series is in response to THE ALCHEMIST, and has several quotes straight from your book. And now I will ask something of you: Will you please help me reach my goal of 100K blog followers? My journey is still young and I need some of that beginners luck that you talk about.
I eagerly await your reply.
Steven D. Jennings
As you may recall, when I first started to read this book I wanted to throw it against the wall and then roll over and go to sleep. But I refrained and gave it a chance. And boy am I glad I did. This book is giving me things that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. No wonder it spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list. And after 25 years, the book is still alive and well.
The rest of this post will be quotes straight out of this book. If you stop and give them serious thought, you’ll be able to apply them to specific aspects of your life. My hope is that you may be inspired. Enjoy.
“I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I’m beginning what I could’ve started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”
“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.”
“Sell your camel and buy a horse. Camels are traitorous: they walk thousands of paces and never seem to tire. Then suddenly, they kneel and die. But horses tire bit by bit. You always know how much you can ask of them, and when it is that they are about to die.”
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
“Men dream more about coming home than about leaving.”
“There is only one way to learn. Its through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So its better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.”
“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would’ve seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepard to achieve.”
“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him. We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them – the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. Its the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’ ”
“The boy and his heart became friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.”
“When something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.”
Let me interject here and point something out. When I first stared to read this book, I didn’t like it. The characters were too underdeveloped and the delivery of the story was weak. That was my perception.
Now I’m 142 pages into it. And because the characters and narrative are so underdeveloped, I’m able to easily plug my personal journey directly into this book. Every quote you just read, strongly relates to my personal journey.
What initially made this book so unappealing to me, is the exact same thing that has now made this book extremely powerful and influential to me. And all I had to do is be patient, proceed with an open mind, and seek out the positive.
Have a nice day.
This book has me conflicted. The message is great. But the delivery of the message sucks. So I’ll focus on what I’m getting out of this book as it relates to my journey of becoming a successful, happy, multi-millionaire.
The first is HOPE. When ”The Alchemist” was first published, it only sold two copies in 6 months. And the same person bought both copies. After a year went by, the book was dropped by the publisher along with the author’s contract.
The author didn’t give up hope. He kept his journey alive. He kept pushing forward because HE believed. As of today, ”The Alchemist” has been translated into more than 80 different languages, and has spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Even after 25 years, the book is still very much alive.
One day, I aspire to write a book like that. Or shall I say ”books” like that. “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” is just the beginning of my story. So much more is yet to come. Please share my ebook and my story with your friends and family. It’ll help me reach my goal of becoming a multi-millionaire before I get out of prison.
So not only does “The Alchemist” offer HOPE, but I’m also feeling INSPIRED. Inspired to enjoy the journey and all I encounter along the way. This book talks about omens, universal language, the principal of favorability, beginners luck, personal legend, and how the universe will come together to help one achieve their goals.
”The Alchemist” is teaching me patience. Because at first, I felt like tossing the book and not finishing it. But now I’m on page 61, and I’m actually enjoying it. I’m understanding it on a deeper, spiritual level. Read it for yourself and see how it touches you. Oh, it will touch you!
Here are just a few quotes that I can strongly relate to:
“Never stop dreaming. Follow the omens.”
“The language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
“The mysterious chain that links one thing to another.”
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history or the world were written by the same hand.”
I encourage anyone to read this book. As you do, you’ll be able to identify and apply several principles and philosophies to your life. If you’re ready for some type of change in your life, this could be the book that catapults you into a new dimension.
My wife recently asked how my book group, Stone Catchers, was going. I told her that I quit because of a few guys that I despise.
She sweetly reminded me of what I wrote in a post called, STONE CATCHERS (WEEK 1):
“Within this class you can catch those potentially destructive stones and lay them to rest in your beautiful stone garden that represents peace, love, and harmony. The more stones you catch, the less they hurt.”
She also wrote:
“I’m sorry to hear that a few guys have been making it unpleasant. Steven Baby, you are the strongest, smartest, and the most understanding man I know. What matters in this class is your growth and the positive change happening within you. I love you and I recognize your powerful mental strength and self-control. You are amazing!”
In which I replied:
“Thank you for the encouragement to stick with Stone Catchers. I will. I need to learn to cope with a variety of different personalities. And this is a perfect opportunity to hone those skills. Mwah…you are a great source of inspiration for me. Thank you, honey.”
So I went back and joined the group. And now we’re reading a book called, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
The reviews are so phenomenal that they led me to believe I was about to read the greatest book in the history of the world. But by page 20, I was ready to do what I’ve done in the past. And that is to chuck the book against the wall, then roll over and go to sleep. So far this book is stupid and scattered. But like the literacy group itself, I’m going to continue on, and try my best to get something positive out of it. However, I’m struggling right now.
By staying in the group, it’ll help me with my coping skills as I endure child molester Ray Ray run his mouth. Every time he opens his mouth, I just want to get up and walk out. Which I did at the last meeting. And I hadn’t been back since.
By now, it’s clear how I feel. So what do I do? I feel like calling them out and exposing their bad intentions and devious ways. But who am I to do that? Another option I have is to remove myself from the equation. Quit the group. And just keep to myself. And for a moment, that’s what I did.
As I sit, think, and meditate on it, I come to the conclusion that I need these type of encounters/situations in order for me to grow and evolve. I need to face these type of inner conflicts as I challenge myself to remain positive and conduct myself appropriately.
Not because they deserve it, but because I deserve the inner positivity and peace that appropriate action attracts. And just because I don’t say anything to them, doesn’t mean I don’t harbor negative thoughts and feelings towards them. Because I do. And that’s wrong. I need to fix that.
Thoughts are things. The law of attraction operates through thoughts just the same as it does through actions. Therefore if I even as so much think in a negative manner, I’m essentially attracting negativity to myself. And it’s only a matter of time before negative thoughts will manifest into negative actions.
So now, at the age of 43, it’s time I recognize and really watch how my mind thinks. It’s time I utilize a deeper level of consciousness and truly control my mind and thoughts. It can be done. As I write this, my mind is already gearing up for my next course of action. And I feel like it won’t be as hard for me as I initially thought it would be.
Maybe I’ll say something nice to those two guys. As it is now, I don’t even talk to either one. I just sit back and think negatively towards them. And they have no idea. It’s all me. It’s all in my head. It’s my problem.
Well not anymore. I’ll find a way to overcome as I strive to live in peace with all of mankind.
As for the stupid book…ut…I mean, awesome book. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
Thank you for making this platform what it is. You and this blog have helped me tremendously. Thank you for all the inspiring comments. Keep em coming.
And a special THANK YOU to my amazing wife, Suzie. Your love, support, and encouragement have made me a better man. I love you, honor you, and appreciate you with all my heart.
For years I engaged in misconduct. As a matter of fact, I pretty much wrote a book on it. It’s called, “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary.” Today I reflect back to those sad days (and beyond) and I ask myself, “What could’ve reached me? What would’ve it taken for me to change my negative lifestyle?”
The answer is clear: meaningful activities that inspire intrinsic motivation, guidance, mentoring, and I needed mental practitioners who would’ve constantly provided positive reinforcements.
I dream and hope for a program that could change countless lives all over the country. The details are complexed, but the concept is simple:
Offer programs that inspire intrinsic motivation. Every state has multiple correctional facilities. So implement specific programs in the facilities that are best suited for those specific programs. For example, one facility could specialize in automotive and mechanic programs, while another facility specializes in animals and veterinarian programs. Lessen the criteria of these programs and make them available to those who have never had such opportunities.
Strategically place mental practitioners around the facility to offer positive reinforcement, mentoring, encouragement, etc.
Work with outside companies that will hire some of these highly skilled men the second they’re released.
If this simple, realistic concept was properly implemented nationwide, I guarantee the recidivism rate would be lower than the current 66%.
I’m always saying, “It’s a matter of time before the universe responds.”
If you’re being positive, productive, and treating people with love and respect, then you’ll get positive, productive results and people will treat you with love & respect.
It’s such a simple truth to life. Yet so many people can’t grasp the concept. Or perhaps they don’t know it exists.
That was the case with me. I was just living life. Unfocused. Reckless. Didn’t have a clue. Fighting. Drinking. Ignorant to the Universal Laws, such as The Law of Attraction.
Then it happened! At the age of 20, the universe responded to my lifetime of negativity. The bottom line: 43 years in prison!
Good or bad, the universe will respond.
So let me share the good with you.
I’m on a path that leads to peace, love, and harmony. I’m positive and productive. I treat everyone with dignity & respect. This positive lifestyle serves me extremely well. The universal response is incredible.
Just the other day the universe gave me another favorable response. I got a huge manilla envelope in the mail. It was from a man in Papillion, NE. His name is R.L. Pelshaw. AKA: Bob.
Bob was a successful Midwestern real estate broker, developer, and consultant. His 25 year career also included investments and consultation for a large variety of businesses.
Bob is responsible for more than $600 million in career transactions. His success was the result of positive, proper action.
But not everything he did was positive and proper.
He misused $135,000 of SBA loan proceeds. Do you think the universe will respond favorably to that?
He was charged with a felony and served a 10 month sentence at Leavenworth Federal Prison Camp.
Today, Bob is back on track and doing great things. He wants to help people stay out of prison. So he launched The National Hire Ex-Felons Campaign.
Bob also writes for the Truth About Prison – Network (TAP-X).
TAP-X is a great supporter of the cause, and wants to help the incarcerated, their families, and those about to be incarcerated.
Bob is also the author of several books. He sent me a copy of “Illegal To Legal: Business Success For (ex) Criminals.” This book is awesome! I recommend it for anyone wanting to start a business but has challenges to overcome…such as being a convicted felon. Check it out at: Illegal To Legal.
I share all of this with you because this is all great news!
Bob came into my life because of the good that I do. And now he is a wonderful blessing that I greatly appreciate. He bought and is reading my ebook, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary. Once finished he will write a review and post it on his blog. He’ll also get TAP-X to put the review in their newsletter.
I know this type of support and generosity from him is just another way that the universe is responding to me. It validates my efforts and inspires me to keep on fighting the good fight with love, patience, and understanding.
Here is an excerpt from my ebook:
Suddenly I had fifteen guys surrounding me as I stood in the middle of the kitchen. I would have stabbed anyone who tried to make a move on me, and they all knew it. Most of these guys were just acquaintances; none were good friends. I felt like an outsider among a well-established hostile group. I snapped into warrior mode and was ready to take on anyone who might get within striking distance. I didn’t take into consideration, or care for one second, how bad I might hurt someone. And it really never occurred to me that I could get hurt.
What I really needed at that moment was someone I trusted to come in and tell me, “Okay, Steven, that’s enough. C’mon. Let’s go.” Like Ryan had done the night before at Jackson’s house, and so many other times at previous parties. But on this night, Ryan was at a bar, and I was alone. I had no one to calm me down and soothe my anger. It manifested and spread inside me to the point that I was ready to kill.
As I stood surrounded by a mob of people, someone opened the back door. The circle of people broke and created a path to the door, like I was a rabid raccoon. I was persuaded to leave without further incident—at least for the moment.
I arrived at my apartment ten minutes later. I was too mad to unlock the door, so I kicked it open. Inside was just as cold and dark as the outside. I hadn’t paid my electric bill in four months, so they finally turned off the electricity. The only power I had was coming from my neighbor’s apartment through an orange extension cord plugged into a six way outlet. This powered a lamp, TV, VCR, and stereo.
As I walked in, I turned on the lamp and sat in the dimly-lit room. My mind reflected the darkness of the room; evil thoughts ripped my soul. I hated myself and hated that my life was headed nowhere.
I was constantly fighting with friends and family. My own brother wasn’t talking to me after, while in a drunken rage, I had kicked him in the face and smashed his guitar. I spent all my money on alcohol and weed. Rent was past due and I had no idea how it would get paid.
No one really understood how my mind was thinking then, not even myself. All I knew for sure was that I drank every day and I was losing control. I was becoming more aggressive and more violent. I needed help and I knew it. I didn’t like the person I was, and the more I grew into that person, the more I disliked myself. And if I didn’t even like myself, I naturally hated those around me. I was sick.
I knew I was failing life. That hurt. I had too much pride to accept reality. I didn’t have the skill or the maturity to change my reckless lifestyle, even though, in the brief moments I was sober, I constantly thought about how I had to change. I’d numb the pain by drinking, which only made things worse. I’d sober up and realize I had just sunk a little lower, remembering I had just beaten up another friend, or punched my brother, or trashed another party.
I would even trash my own mother’s house. When I lived with my mother, all she wanted was for me to respect the rules she implemented for her house, but of course I didn’t. I was constantly drinking in her home and bringing my friends over to drink with me. My drinking was out of control. I was out of control.
I was a ticking time bomb.
The more I fought, the bolder I got. I had no fear of dying, nor did I care if I killed someone.
Ask any addict or alcoholic who’s on a path to rock bottom, and most will tell you that they don’t care about life. They don’t care if they live or die. They don’t care who they hurt.
I loved to fight. It was like a drug. I was addicted to the chemicals my brain would release, the adrenaline rush fighting would give me. Alcohol just gave me the liquid courage to act out against the slightest provocation. Once I was sober, I would realize what I had done, and I would regret it.
I hated myself. I hated my life. I hated making my mother cry. I had pushed my brother away. Most of my friends weren’t really friends; they were only nice to me so I would leave them alone. They were afraid of me. I was a loser. I had no future. I felt helpless.
All these revelations hit me hard on that night in1994, sitting in my dimly-lit apartment after yet another piss-poor showing. But instead of resolving to change my ways, I decided I didn’t want to live anymore. And I couldn’t simply kill myself—I had too much anger and hate to spread around. I wanted to take out the people at the party who I thought had done me wrong.
My phone rang, snapping me out of my trance.
It was my friend Jeremy. I had never had any problems with Jeremy because he knew how to stroke my ego. He never argued with me or did things to piss me off. Instead, he would agree with me, laugh at my jokes, make sure I always had a full beer, and come find me when it was time to smoke a bowl.
That was the type of person I got along with: people who were nice to me because they feared me. If they didn’t fear me, I could sense it, and more times than not, I’d try and give them good reason to fear me.
Jeremy was calling to see what I was doing, because I usually had parties at my apartment. But with the power cut off, it was not exactly a place to host parties.
I told Jeremy I was about to crash because I intended to get up early and go target shooting in the morning. I asked if he had any 12 gauge shotgun shells. He said he had a few lying around and that I was welcome to come get them. I grabbed my 12 gauge, and off I went to Jeremy’s house.
He managed to scrounge up six shotgun shells by the time I got there. Once I closed my hand around them, I knew nothing was going to stop me. I handed him $70 in cash.
“What’s this for?” Jeremy asked as he followed me out.
“It’s for you. I won’t be needing it,” I said as I got into my car, setting the handful of shells on the passenger seat.
Jeremy’s voice grew concerned as he sensed something was wrong. “Steve, what are you about to do?”
“Nothing,” I said as I put the keys in the ignition. Jeremy stood in the way of the door, clearly nervous now. He asked again, more forcefully, “Where are you going?”
I replied, “You’ll read about me in the paper tomorrow.”
I wanted to convince these people they had messed with the wrong person. In my sick mind, everyone needed to acknowledge my superiority and treat me with respect. If they didn’t, it would cost them their lives.
Before I was stuffed into the cop car, I took my last breath of free air.
I was 21 years old and new to prison. I guess I was supposed to be at least a little scared. I wasn’t. I was new to prison, but I wasn’t new to violence. My sermon on the mount included the lesson that the violent shall inherit the earth. Inside my mind and body was a raging storm that I knew not many people could match.
I couldn’t wait to get into my first prison fight.
In prison, there’s no ref to stop the bout, and no ref to stop me from choking, biting, and gouging eyes out. Nor did my morals or ethics prevent me from using these tools. Alongside my high school coach’s wrestling techniques, I mixed in head-butting, hard-biting, elbows below the belt, eye-gouging, nut-grabbing, and anything else available. When you fought me, you were gonna get bit and have flesh torn off your body—preferably out of your face.
It was June of 1995 when I walked into the chow hall for the very first time. I looked around at all the people and I asked myself, “Alright motherfuckers, who’s first? Which one of you assholes am I going to have to make an example of?”
In order to see how far someone has come, you must first realize where they started.
My dear readers, I warn you, my book “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” is violent, graphic, and raw. The content will be disturbing to many. To this day, I am very disturbed by it. However, I feel it’s necessary to share. I held nothing back while writing this book. And at times, it was hard for me to speak the truth. The truth hurts.
In order for me to heal & forgive myself, I had to confront the ugly truth head on. Stone City is the result of that confrontation. As I wrote the pages of this book from my prison cell, it taught me a lot about myself. It mainly taught me how I was and how I don’t want to be.
Today, I continue to work hard on redemption and on changing my ways.
Here’s a little glimpse of my book, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary.
“…Please understand I love you all, but when people f**k with me, kill ‘em all.” Those were the last words I wrote in my journal before I did a crime that got me 43 years in prison…” (chapter 1)
“…I wanted to convince these people they had f**ked with the wrong person. In my sick mind, everyone must acknowledge my superiority and treat me with respect. If they didn’t, it could cost them their lives…” (chapter 1)
“…everyone else was huddled together, backed into a corner…the screams got loud as I pointed the gun toward them and pulled back the hammer…” (chapter 1)
“…As I walked into the chow hall for the very first time, I looked around at all the people and I asked myself, “Alright mother-f**kers, who’s first? Which one of you a**holes am I going to make an example of…” (chapter 2)
“…As I let him up, he was a mess. Blood mixed with tears rolled down his face from both his bright red eyes, both sides of his upper face were already starting to swell, and he had two gashes on his left cheek, one from my top set and one from my bottom set of teeth…” (chapter 2)
“…Even in prison, life consists largely of choices. When will I start making the right decisions? Will prison make me worse, or will I find a motivation, or inspiration, or strength, and genuinely change?…” (chapter 2)
I am sharing the journal I kept while I did 7 months in the hole…
Dec. 25, 2008 @ 4am
I spent a hour cleaning my floor with a bar of soap and a wash rag. Then I moved my mattress to the center of the floor. It’s gotta be at least 20 degrees warmer down here. Because up on the rack, I’m against the exterior wall where it’s -40 degrees outside.
Today I was supposed to leave the hole. But two days ago they told me I’m not getting out and I’m now on Ad Seg status. Which means I sit in here until they say I’m ready for mainline. That could be awhile. Some guys sit on Ad Seg for 9 months to a year, or more.
So at this point, I just don’t know. I’m fixing to find out…..one day at a time.
Now back to my book.
I am sharing the journal I kept while I did 7 months in the hole.
Journal entry from 12/22/08:
I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I’ve started writing my first book, “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary”. But as I write, I’m not sure how to structure it. I need to check out more books so I can find a format I can follow. Until then, I’ll put my writing on hold.
Today a Case Manager came to my door. He said they found some PS2 games in my property and I need to send them out. I asked if I could come see him next Monday when I get out. Because I want to go through my property and send out other items too. To my surprise, he said yes.
I want to send out my little see-through digital clock. Why? Because its time to get a new one. This one you can’t see in the dark and it sucks. But it sure would make a nice gift.
The real reason why I wanted to send out my clock is because that’s where I hid a tiny memory card that had over 300 pictures on it. The clock was see-through. So you could see inside it and you could clearly see the memory card. But I had it placed in such a way that it looked like a natural component on the small circuit board.
Sometimes the best hiding spots are in plain view. Although I was confident that no one would find it, I wanted to hurry up and send it out just so I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Being sneaky and manipulative takes its toll. Especially when my conscience is constantly telling me to stop being bad and start doing the right thing.