One Apple A Day #655 – Mens sana in corpore sano.

Mens sana in corpore sano.”

How often have you heard this Latin motto?

Me, millions of time. 

But it never sounds more accurate as in mornings like this, when I wake up with a massive headache.

Trying to keep my mind on even the smallest thought is a challenge, let alone doing my morning writing ritual.

However, I wanted to give it a shot even if I know that the results won’t probably be listed among my best pieces.

One of the reasons I’m writing despite this morning pain is that, to me, that Latin motto works both ways. Indeed, when I’m healthy and fit, my mind thinks clearly and works definitely better. But when my mind is engaged, it’s as if signals are sent to my body saying “come on, wake up, here’s the key to some more energy“. 

Right now, word after word, the tension on my neck is releasing, and I start feeling a little better.

The second reason is that I don’t want to miss the opportunity to cast a vote for the person I want to be.

One Apple A Day #654 – subtraction

I remember driving in the middle of nowhere in Patagonia. We were the only one on the only visible road.
Around us, just nothing.
No buildings, no mountains, no people.
Nothing but the horizon.
And it felt so close.

Or when you climb up a mountain, and you get to the peak on a sunny, crisp autumn day. Your sight can get incredibly far, and you can see more.

And there is the autumn. With all the leaves falling on the grass, revealing the core structure of the trees and leaving space for the new sprout that will arrive in Spring.

Since yesterday, the word “subtraction” has been wandering in my mind.

Throughout our life, we accumulate layers and layers of structures, beliefs, assumptions and stories. And our soul, wrapped under all these tiers, loses the ability to see clearly.
I know I did.
The same way we take the time to clean our houses and throw away old stuff, we should do for our soul, mind, heart and body.
Find some time for subtraction, peeling away what we don’t need anymore, what fog our mind and clog our heart.
And rediscover the beauty of the horizon.

One Apple A Day #653 – being me

“When I shifted my attention from the change I wanted back to my identity, the change I was seeking just happened.”

This is a powerful insight that a dear friend gave me yesterday. 

In the past, when I wanted to change something in my life, I put all my energy and focus on the change I wanted to make.

Too many times, however, I’ve lost myself in the changes I was seeking. I was so focused on changing something in my world that I forgot who I was in that world. When that happened, I find my self lost and disconnected within the same changes I was longing for.

It is only when I shift my focus inward, that I can root my life in who I am and navigate through changes without losing my centre. 

While changes can depend on many factors. I’m the only one in the whole universe, who can be me.

“Know who you are because no one is better at being you than you are.” — David Droga

One Apple A Day #652 – the universe is my teacher

There is something to learn in everything.

In pain and joy.
In failure and success.
In fear and love.
In friends and foes.
In peace and conflicts.
In the present and in the past.
In my stories and in the stories of others.

Because for the soul, heart, mind and body of a student, everything and everyone is a teacher.

It doesn’t mean that we have to reflect on everything we go through in life to extract a lesson. That would be exhausting.

But we must nurture the learner’s attitude in our mind, heart, body and soul.

Sometimes the learning is manifest, sometimes is subtle, and other times it is apparently invisible.
However, if we keep the learner’s attitude, the learning will manifest itself at some point, in its own way.

One Apple A Day #651 – merging flows

“Energy flows where attention goes.”

These few words are a powerful reminder of the power of attention.

But what happens to our energy when our attention is spread in many directions?

In my mind, I used to picture this situation as a lake feeding too many rivers. Because the water in the lake is limited, only a small amount of water flows into each river.

A logical solution would be to close some rivers, so the remaining ones will receive more water and flow with more strength. 

However, being an explorer I love to try to new things and open up new streams. So, I struggle at the idea of closing some streams of water to favour others.

But yesterday I have a small aha moment. The kind that arrives unexpectedly while you’re doing something else.

In the material world, a river can’t be moved. Not easily at least. But in my imaginary lake, I can merge more streams into one to create a bigger and more powerful river.

So, it’s no more about giving up on something but being creating in joining smaller streams into a bigger one.

One Apple A Day #650 – The Two Me

There are two me.
One is the present “me”, the person I am, today. The second one is the future me, the person I want to be tomorrow.

My future self is a dreamy guy. He is resourceful, creative and abundant, with plenty of audacious goals and ambition. He relentlessly makes plans and design actions to fully realise his potential. He is the man of intentions.

My present self is a matter-of-fact person. The one who has to realise the plans made by the other me. But he has to deal with the limitations and boundaries of reality, and that often trigger a scarcity mindset. He is the man of actions.

When they are out of synch, things can become complicated.
The future me feels hampered by the present one, and that creates frustration in him. The present me feels pressured and misunderstood. When this happens, intentions and actions seem to follow different paths.

Sometimes, they act as a perfect team. Each one selflessly serving the other. Intentions flow into actions, and magic happens.

One Apple A Day #649 – find your rock

Ibiza, End of October 2011.

We had some gorgeous days so far. The weather is just perfect and because the summer season ended a week ago, everywhere and everything is so quiet.

But none of this is relevant right now, here.

I’m desperately clinging to the bench while I try to avoid looking at all the other people fighting and losing a similar battle against a common enemy.

Motion sickness is winning over just everyone but the sailors managing the boat. Everywhere I turn, I see pale faces and desperate eyes.

I can’t remember why we thought that sailing to Formentera was a great idea.

I’m ready to add myself to the line of people throwing up from the edge of the boat when I remember something. 

Years before, in a similar situation, a sailor told me to find a fixed point on the shore and keep my gaze on it all the time. 

Yes, the shore is still visible over there on the right.

I lock my eyes on a rock or promontory, I don’t know. It’s still, and that’s everything I need right now.

Stillness.

Slowly, I regain some control on my body and when the destination harbour becomes visible, I know I’m going to get through this.


A conversation I had yesterday brought back this memory. When we are going through a rough sea, swaying and swinging around under external forces bigger than us, it’s easy to experience something similar to motion sickness.

In those moments, it can be beneficial to have a fixed point. A rock on which we can put our gaze. Whatever we put our attention on will expand. If we put our focus on something or someone firm and steady, that stillness will grow within us, helping us sailing through the storm.

One Apple A Day #648 – space to wander

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love aphorisms. They carry so much meaning and power in just a few words. 

This one from Antoine de Saint-Exupery is probably my favourite one.

I have a tendency to fill up my life. To fall into the collecting mindset.

Once it was with things. 

I remember a period in my life when I was going around with my wallet full of old receipts and bills. It was so thick I couldn’t carry it in my pocket. Obviously, for no reason at all. Some of them were so old that they were faded entirely away.

And it was the same with all sorts of stuff.

Until I throw everything away and I started living with just what I need.

What a liberation it has been.

But the collecting mindset is still there. Not as strong as before, but sometimes it shows up. In this case, with ideas and projects. Something less visible but that can quickly fill up life.

This morning I couldn’t find an idea for my writing. The clock was ticking, and I was ready to give up this morning apple. I have so many things to do that I can spend too much time seeking an idea. 

I started reading some quotes seeking inspiration.

Then this one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery called me, from the bottom of an email I sent. And I realise that I’ve been filling up my life with ideas an projects and there is little space left to wander there where ideas grow.

 

Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to what I say yes to. 

Awakening creativity is a subtraction process.

One Apple A Day #647 – words and periphery

“It is this way with all of us concerning language: we believe that we know something about the feelings themselves when we speak of trees, colours, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things – metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.” — Nietzsche 

Sitting in silence, my mind was wandering among memories, fragments of conversations, words. There are days where I know what I want to share. I don’t have to reflect or dig within in search of ideas. It’s already there, right in front of me, perfectly on focus.

Other days I just wander until something captures my attention. It usually happens at the periphery of my attention, where things don’t have a well-defined shape. It’s more like a movement, something that my senses register, but my mind can’t fully recognise.

And this morning that fragment was something about words and names.

A flash from my childhood and my hobbies of giving fantasy names to everything. A fuzzy memory of a dear friend telling me that we should create a new job title, the “name creators”. People who go around and give names to things, so they become real.

And finally, that quote from Niche appeared. Or better, I couldn’t remember anything about it, not even the author. It was only a thin thread, waving at the very end of my perception. I slowly shift my attention towards that thread until I found all the connections and the quote appears.

And I knew I wanted to share it and write about it. I wanted to write about an experience I had a few weeks ago when I learned the importance of giving a name to emotions. So we can recognise them and take care of them.

I wanted to do all of that, but then the time run out.

And what I’m left with is the feeling that I should explore more often the periphery of my perception.

One Apple A Day #646 – Recovery

I woke up with a heavy head, a stiff neck and a sore shoulder. 

I know, not a great start of the day. I’ve tried to follow my usual morning routine, but after a few minutes of stretching, it was clear that training wasn’t an option this morning.

So, I went back to bed, and I tried to relax my body.

This little experience of mine made me think of the importance of resting and recovery. Something we usually look at as a waste of time or an obstacle to our productivity.

It is so easy to overdue.

In my case, the combination of a few factors makes things worst. 

I am self-employed, so I can work whenever I want. There are no external boundaries separating working time from the rest.

I do something I love. 

I can’t remember who said, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Somehow it’s true, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to rest and recover.

Athletes are very well aware of this. Recovery is not a pause from training, it is an integral part of it.

It should be the same in any work we do. We should have recovery phases by design.

I’m not sure it will avoid waking up with a stiff neck, but I’m definitely going to put more attention on planning my recovery moments. So they won’t feel a waste of time but productivity boosters.