One Apple A Day #670 – Mors tua vita mea

Mors tua vita mea” is an idiomatic expression in Latin, born in the Middle Ages.

The literal meaning is rather dramatic, “Your death is my life” and it refers to the fight for survival, like in a war or battle, where your defeat is necessary for my victory.

In a more broader sense, this phrase embodies the idea that one derives an advantage for someone else failure

Your loss is my gain.

It is an expression that distils competition, individualism and opportunism. It is often used to describe the harshness of life by those who feel life as a continuous struggle for survival.

A few events lately made me realize how many people are still trapped in the mindset of self-preservation. In a paradigm of scarcity, so we have to fight for the same resources. And the winners take it all.

I’m referring to good honest people, who have no desire to harm anyone. But when you’re trap in that mindset, you become blind to the consequences of your actions. Caught in the idea that everyone is willing to do everything to get what they want and protect who they love, you just do the same. 

It’s the law of the jungle baby.

But we are not in the Middle Ages anymore. And the only outcome of approaching life with this mindset is that, in the end, everyone loses. 

And I don’t believe having better rules, laws or structures will change anything. If we create new structures from an old mindset, we will just sustain that mindset.

What is needed is a shift in consciousness. 

One that moves us from self-preservation to self-realization.

“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving, we do.” — Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (a 19 years old activist)

One Apple A Day #668 – love, power, change, time

I woke up with the words from an article I read yesterday still whispering in my mind. I thought those would be a perfect input for my daily apple. I was already savouring the idea of pondering on and playing around those words.

Before beginning my writing practice, I did some stretching, I drank some water, and I sat to meditate. Following my morning ritual, I picked a BeTheChange card to ease my way into a deeper level of reflection.

It was the card saying “Power + Love”. 

Again.

For the third morning in a row, the same card came up.

What does this card keep telling me that I am not seeing?

So, I was there, still on the outside but with quite a chaos on the inside. 

I tried to focus on what I wanted to write about but those two words, power and love, kept coming back.

Then I had a flash. A memory from my school years. Power is also a word used in physics. It has something to do with change and time. Immediately after, other words from a book I read last summer surfaced in my mind.

I didn’t know what to do with those flashes when I opened my eyes. So, I rushed to my laptop and did a quick search.

“In physics, power is the rate of doing work or of transferring heat, i.e. the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. As a physical concept, power requires both a change in the physical system and a specified time in which the change occurs.” – from Wikipedia

So, the way I’ve decided to read it, my power is my ability to infuse energy into a system to change it within a specified time. 

What about love? Using Rupert Spira words, “Love is the experience of that oneness of being.

So, if we are one, to change someone or something, it means to change me.

The words I wanted to write about at the beginning were about leadership. The words in the card I picked reminded me that leadership begins with my ability to love and infuse energy in my own change.

One Apple A Day #664 — stillness

“Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfilment.

Not seeking, not expecting,

she is present, and can welcome all things.” — Lao-Tzu

A friend sent me this a few days ago, and these words have been working within me since then. 

There are moments in life where we feel as if we are swimming in muddy water. We can’t see clearly, and the more we move, the more the water becomes murky. It looks like everything we do, everything we say makes things worst. At the point that we begin wondering if there is a way out at all.

“Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?”

To stop and wait seems counterintuitive. Yet, it’s only when you stop moving and agitating the water, that the mud starts to settle. 

What does it mean to stay still in your situation? What would happen if you do nothing and say nothing for a while?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?”

This is the tricky part for me. Because when you stop moving and the mud starts to settle, impatience grows. The more the water becomes clear, the more the desire to see through, to get the answer raises. 

It is then that your inner strength is tested.

Can you resist the desire to act and wait for the right action to emerge?

How will you recognize it?

A good sign is the feeling of detachment from the outcome. When you’re not focused on anything but the present moment, that’s when the eyes of intuition will show you the way.

One Apple A Day #658 – a drop

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” ― Rumi

Maybe it’s because it has been raining for days. 

Or maybe because I’ve been thinking and talking about belonging and identity.

Anyway, these beautiful words from Rumi appeared in my awareness. And when I read them, I think that it’s not one or the other for me. 

I am both.

I am the entire ocean in a drop.

I’m aware that there is so much more in me, and in everyone, that I can’t even imagine. It goes beyond my ability to understand. And that’s perfect because not knowing is what allow me to take the risk and allow this bigger who to emerge.

But I am also a drop in the ocean. 

I am part of the whole and the whole at the same time.

Even more, I am a drop in many oceans at the same time.

And again, there is much more in the ocean that goes beyond my imagination. And not knowing is what allow me to take the risk to plunge into the water with all the other drops and see where we can go together.

“Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,

and in exchange gain the Ocean.

Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,

and in the arms of the Sea be secure.

Who indeed should be so fortunate?

An Ocean wooing a drop!

In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!

Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.” ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

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 #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 #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 #644 – not so obvious

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. —Henry David Thoreau

No matter how much we study, travel, discover or see. We will never know everything there is to know. Each one of us will only understand some fragments of the world and reality. 

Nobody has full knowledge of reality as a whole because reality as a whole is unknowable.

Sure, we all walk on the same world and share the same reality. We label that reality as “objective”. And because it is objective, we assume that we all view it in the same way. 

But, as most of us as experienced, it’s not so simple. Each one of us experience that shared reality uniquely and subjectively. 

It’s understandable. Our limited mind would explode or freeze before the infinite complexity of reality without a simplified model to process it.

Problems arise when we forget about this subjectivity, and we assume that our fragment of reality is the whole of it. And we began what Dave Gray in his book “Liminal Thinking” calls “the battle for the obvious”.

“The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.” ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

One Apple A Day #642 – The Power of Belief

Your beliefs drive your behaviours. And your behaviours determine the outcome you achieve.

Stronger beliefs make you act smarter, better, and with greater resilience and determination. 

Beliefs are so powerful that they shape your identity and life.

When you believe in something, you just filter reality accordingly. I would say that you model your reality around your beliefs. That’s how powerful beliefs are.

When you truly believe in something or someone you overcome fear, doubts and anything that stands in the way of your action. 

Yet, you should never forget that your beliefs are not the truth.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius

You create your beliefs over the years, mostly unconsciously. They can make you incredibly powerful and effective, they can help you focus. But they can also limit you, making you blind to the infinite possibilities of the world.

I’m not sure about what I wanted to share this morning. Beliefs are a vast topic.

My reflections have been kindled by some conversations but mostly by witnessing the power of believing in something greater. And I’m wondering. Does that power come from the object of that belief or from the act of believing itself, from within?