One Apple A Day #688 – do what you love

Days are fading away, and every morning this feels a little less transient than the day before. While I loosen my grip on the past on one side, I’m surely not getting any more clarity about the future.
I feel as if I stranded in the present. Though, I’m not worried.
At the contrary, I am surprisingly relaxed.
However, this is not what I had in mind when I wrote the title of this post.
That is also a new thing. Usually, I add the title at the end, but it came up doing my stretching, and here I am.

I have only two minutes to give it a meaning. Or maybe I already did because writing is what I love.

You see, one of the questions I ask myself often these days is how to use this time for the best. What should I learn so I’ll be ready when this thing is over? Where should I put my attention so I can secure a prosperous future after all of this? What is the right thing I can to today so I’ll be ahead tomorrow?
And so on.
Do you have similar questions running in your mind?

Last weekend I finally accepted that I know nothing about the future. I know, there are plenty of forecasts out there, many experts are preparing all kind of scenarios. But here I’m talking about me.
And I know nothing about what’s ahead for me.
So, anything is possible.
Any new skill may or may not be the right one.
At this point, I can’t think of anything better than to do what I love, now.
What makes me happy today.
What makes my heart sing with joy today.

One Apple A Day #678 – I’m still here

Yesterday morning I had to catch an early train. Unable to perform my usual morning routine, I’ve used the time on the train to read some of the articles in my backlog. 

I often save articles that I feel may be interesting, but I don’t have the time to read. Some have been in my backlog for months or years. In the beginning, I felt guilty for saving things that I may never use. Like buying books only to keep them on the shelf. But over time, I’ve learned that all these resources always come back to me when time is ready.

So, yesterday morning this article by Jeff Goins appeared on my screen. It’s a long one with many good ideas, but it’s the part about the “morning chorus” that caught my attention.

One morning he was wondering why birds sing in the morning. 

He discovered that “most scientists believe that birds sing in the morning as a sign to their mates to indicate that they made it through the night and are still alive“.

I dug a bit more and learned that singing is a costly activity for birds, both in terms of time and energy. So, singing loud and proud first thing in the morning is like shouting everyone around that you are strong and healthy and made it through the night. 

I woke up with this image in mind, thinking about my need to start the day writing and sharing something while outside is still dark.

As Goins suggests, maybe I’m like a bird, singing in the morning to tell the world, “Hey, I’m still here. And if you’re reading this, so are you.


One Apple A Day #677 – morning meander

And then what?

This is the question that emerged this morning in my meditation.

A question that hit me in the guts and left me baffled. 

I do, I learn, I create, I grow.

And then what?

Do you ever ask yourself a similar question?

I sat there in silence, allowing for the question to do its work. And an image surfaced in my awareness.

The image of a circle and a toddler.

A toddler has no control over what happens in his life. Not on his environment. Not even on his own body. He is just fully present. Sensing everything, even if he doesn’t do what to do with what he senses.

Then, growing up, he begins to make sense of things. He learns, acquires knowledge and skills. He begins to fill in control. 

He gets stuff and then other stuff.

All make sense.

And then what? 

A new journey to the essence begins. 

A journey inward, not back.

A full circle.

One Apple A Day #667 – do not hurry

“It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and–what will perhaps make you wonder more–it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

In my experience, transformation is a journey. Often a long one. One made of thousands of small steps. 

Sometimes I feel that getting there is less important than the journey itself. Because when I focus on the journey, rather than the destination, the sense of hurry disappear and I can really savour every moment.

Yet, too often, I got anxious and eager to get to the end. To discover what awaits me at the top of the hill. 

I remember when I was a pilgrim a year ago with a group of men. Oh, how fulfilling it was to slowly walk during the day. No place to be but where we were. We walked in harmony within and without ourselves.

Until one day it was late, we were hungry, and it was raining. Darkness was closing upon us, and we knew that the place we were supposed to have dinner was going to close soon. The quality of our steps changed all of a sudden. We were all focus on getting there, we forget to wait for the slower ones or to pay attention to the nature around us. We just wanted to get there in time.

This post is a reminder to myself, to have faith in the journey I’m in. To let go of the hurry to get anywhere. To get the best from every step.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu

One Apple A Day #660 – Living on the edge

Learning new things, discovering new ideas, unearthing new connections. Can you think of anything more exciting?

Though, to expand our known world, we must learn to walk on the edge of it. Because there is where the change and the growth happens, at the boundary. Between what you know and what you don’t know, the familiar and the different, your past and the future.

I’ve been reminded of the importance of living on the edge of our knowledge and perception a few days ago in the mentoring programme I’m attending.
While we were examining the importance of networking and creating interactions that expand our world, I’ve learned about Mark S. Granovetter, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, and his work.

His theory is that weak ties, the connections with people at the boundaries of our “relationship bubble” are the most important. Because those are the connections that can open us to new learning and new networks. They are the one that can bring new perspectives in our lives.
On the other side of the spectrum, the strong ties that connect us with the people close to use, physically and emotionally, give us strength, safety and confidence. But they can also wrap us in a safe bubble, where we can surely feel good but we won’t be able to grow.

Obviously, walking on the edge is risky. But can you think of anything more exhilarating?

P.S. the title of this post is a clear homage to my teenage years.

How do you want to be remembered?

Alfred is a wealthy inventor and businessman. He has built a fortune thanks to his inventions. But he is also a tormented man. His inventions have been used for good and, unfortunately, for evil actions too. It’s 1888, no Internet or television yet. News travels a lot slower than now. Alfred has just lost his brother Ludvig in a tragic accident in Cannes. You can imagine his surprise when he read the obituary in a French newspaper.

“Dr Alfred Nobel, who made his fortune by finding a way to kill the most people as ever before in the shortest time possible, died yesterday”

They mistook the death of his brother for his. The title of the obituary was even harsher.

“Le marchand de la mort est mort”

They called him the merchant of death. Probably this is the reason why he established the famous Noble prize. He wanted his legacy to be about something good and positive, not about death.

This made me think of my father. He passed away unexpectedly in 2013. He was a good man. A man of strong integrity and with a big heart. He was also a little stubborn, but in that good way that makes you achieve your goals. Most of all he was my dad. I knew him mainly for our relation inside the family boundaries. A relation with its highs and lows, like any father and son relation. He was also active in the local community so I was aware that the whole small town was touched by his departure. What I didn’t expect was the hundreds and hundreds of people that came to his funeral. There wasn’t enough space in the church for everyone. Most of the people had to stay outside. They blocked the road, and we had to place loudspeakers outside. It was overwhelming. During the weeks after the funeral, I met countless people who told me how their life had been touched by my father. I didn’t know. He wasn’t just my dad. He was much more.

Both these stories speak about legacy. About the impact our lives can have on others and how they’re going to remind us.

In the months after I lost my father, I started thinking about my life, about what I was doing. What I was becoming. I started my inner journey to understand what I want to achieve, who I want to grow into and what is my purpose. I’m still traveling and for now, I have gathered questions more than answers. But I always prefer a good tough question to an easy answer.

One of those questions is “How do I want to be remembered?”.
I want to be remembered as a man who left his world a bit better than how he found it.

Like my father did.

The fact about Alfred Nobel is true. It’s uncertain if the wrong obituary is the reason that leads to the creation of the Nobel Prize, but it has most likely contributed. You can read more about him in this article.