One Apple A Day #727 – a strange journey

The journey of life is a strange one.
It is an infinite one.
One in which we never arrive.
Yet, we’re always in the perfect place.
Exactly where we are meant to be.

Oh, the power that inhabits in this tension.

Being able to see the perfection of the present moment.
Of the here and now.
And yet, to keep moving forward.
To strive for the unknown.

One Apple A Day #726 – you are water

I am human.

You are human.

I know, I’m kind of stating the obvious here.

But is it?

How often do we forget that we are human beings? That we all are human.
Depending on the circumstances, I can assume many different shapes.

I can be a son, a brother, a writer, a coach, a driver, a voter, a customer, a worker, an employee, an Italian, a local, a stranger, a friend, an enemy and so on.

Though, beyond all those forms and shapes, I am human.
With all my feelings, wounds, beliefs, memories, hopes, fears, desires, dreams, shortcomings and talents.

I am human. Like you. Like everyone else.
And I’m writing it here, this morning, as a reminder to self.
Because anytime I forget we are all human, I lose the connection and my energy and will fade away.

Two waves in the ocean were having a conversation as they flowed toward shore. The larger wave was extremely depressed, and the small one was peacefully flowing along.
“If you could see what I see from up here,” says the large wave to the small one, “you would not be so happy.”
“Well, what is it?”
“In not too long, we will crash into the shore, and that will be the end of us.”
“Oh that,” says the small wave. “That’s okay.”
“What, are you crazy!?”
“No. I know a little secret that tells me it’s all okay,” says the small wave. “Would you like me to share it with you?”
At this point, the large wave friend is both curious and suspicious.
“Will I have to pay a lot of money to learn this secret?”
“No, not at all.”
“Will I have to do zazen [sitting meditation] for thirty years in the lotus position?”
“No, not at all,” says the small wave. “Really, the whole thing is only eight words.”
“Eight words!!! Well, tell me already!”
So the small wave says ever so gently, “You are not a wave. You are water.”

from The Mystery of Love By Marc Gafni

One Apple A Day #724 – one and many

For a long time in my life, I thought about a person through an atomistic paradigm. One in which something can be understood in isolation, regardless of the context. I felt that I should have been able to identify who I was, no matter the circumstances. That I should have been the same in every situation. 

But I wasn’t. My behaviours were different depending on where I was and who I was with.

I remember asking myself “who’s the real me?”

Because I was unable to find an answer, I was confused and insecure.

The fact is that I was always the real me, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my behaviours were so inconsistent.

It took me years to realise that something can only be understood within a particular context. 

In his book Principles of Topological Psychology, published in 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin defined a simple yet powerful equation. 

Behaviour is a function of the Person in their Environment, or B = f (P,E).

My behaviours are informed by both my identity and the environment in which I am. Which one has more influence in a specific situation? It depends on how much I’m centred in my own identity.

One Apple A Day #721 – they are us

An inspiring conversation on a post by my friend Marc Winn sparked some challenging thoughts in my head.

Lately, I hear many people around me talking about “they”, the crooked leaders, the controlling organizations and governments who want to dominate “us”, the people. But aren’t “they” people too? Aren’t these organizations made of people? Aren’t “they” sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbours of someone like we all are?

Some times I feel we talk about leaders as if they are from a different planet. 

But they are not. 

They are human beings. 

They are us too.

And if that’s true, the when do “they” become something different from “us”?

And then a thought hit me. What if there is no difference? How can I be sure I will behave differently in the sit of one of the leaders we all despise so much? 

What if the only difference between me and “them” is that I don’t have a position of power in my community?

Talking about “them” instead of us is comforting. It makes us feel that we are not responsible for what’s happening. It’s all “their” fault.

As Marc wrote in his post, “we are only as strong as our weakest link, and that weakest link could be the perpetual story and belief that there is a ‘them and us’. In the end, we are all in this together, and for me, there can only be a sustainable future if we collectively believe and act in that way.

We all have a role to play in creating the future.

One Apple A Day #715 – beneath the layers

For almost two decades, I worked in the digital industry. Over the years, I observe the same pattern in many products or services.
It starts with a smart and simple solution. Sure, usually it’s not perfect, a bit rough on the edges and with some small bugs, but it works.
So people love it and use it, and the product gets traction. Users ask for improvements and new features, and the software begins to grow. The developers add new layers of code. Maybe they are even new developers, hired to keep up with the success of the solution. Every now and then, someone wants to leave a footprint on the product, so new pieces are added. Even if they weren’t asked for.
All works fine until, all of a sudden it doesn’t. It may be because a new competitor enters the arena disrupting the game. Or something turns the industry upside down. Or maybe it’s just a nasty bug that compromises the whole product. Whatever the reason, a radical change to the core of the product would be needed. The problem is that there are so many layers that nobody knows what to do. They all worried that even the slightest change, would crumble everything.
Some stick to what they have until they slowly become irrelevant. Others rebuild everything from scratch because it’s easier than changing what is.

My feeling is that something similar happens to people. While we climb the ladder of success, moving forward in our career, we add layers over layers. Success and failures, experiences, knowledge, skills. We keep adding following a linear path. Until something disrupts our journey to the top, or maybe we get to that top, and we discover that our core is covered by so many layers, we can barely remember who we are.
I guess it happened to me at least once or twice. Likely for me, I always found people who helped me clear out all those layers and see what wanted to emerge from my core.