To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.
~ from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho’s remarkable and charming tale, The Alchemist, is about the most magical of all journeys—the quest to fulfill one’s destiny. Evocative and deeply humane, the novel has inspired millions of its readers around the world with its lush, timeless and entertaining plot. I was first introduced to this book many many years ago. As soon as I read it I knew it was a gem, as meaningful and memorable as The Little Prince, by Saint-Exupéry. Inspiring in its simplicity and full of wisdom, its an exotic tale for children as well as adults. It’s a beautiful story with a message for every reader and journey of life.
The story is about Santiago, an Andalusian boy, who travels from his homeland in Spain in search of treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. Along the way he meets several interesting characters who point him in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to overcome the obstacles he encounters along the way. What starts out as a journey to find worldly treasure turns into the discovery of the most meaningful of treasures, those found within. The story is about the importance of listening to our hearts and the faith, power, and courage we all have within to pursue our dreams—the intricate path of our Personal Legend (personal calling). Coelho says, “whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend.” My take away from the book is that every day, every moment we have is a gift. Live your moment fully!
Thoughts? Have you already defined your Personal Legend? If so, have you acted on it?
Azuki Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
1-2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground pepper
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
5-6 cups vegetable broth
2 red bell peppers, diced
4 cups cooked azuki (also called adzuki) beans
cilantro leaves, for garnish
cooked wheat berries or other grain (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cinnamon, coriander, salt and pepper. Sauté until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 5 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash begins to soften, 5-10 minutes.
Once the squash has softened, use an immersion blender to pulse through the soup a few times, breaking up some of the squash pieces. Add the bell peppers, and continue to cook a few minutes before adding the beans. Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency, adding more salt, pepper and/or broth, if necessary.
If desired, ladle soup on top of a grain. I served mine with wheat berries, but you can use brown rice, farro, barley or another hearty grain of choice. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy!