“A map is not the territory it represents.” — Alfred Korzybski
We love shapes and forms because they answer to our need for predictability. They create order and help us understand reality and make informed decisions. They can also be measured, so they allow us to gain clarity about where we stand. They defined boundaries.
However, we should always be aware that the shapes and forms that we used to interpret reality, are products of our mind.
Countries, religions, organisations, social norms.
They are all shapes and forms that we put on top of reality to make sense of it.
But they are not reality.
When we convince ourselves that those shapes and forms are the reality that they become cages, taming our human potential.
“Perception always intercedes between reality and ourselves.” — René Magritte
This is why art is vital.
Artists remind us to look beyond shapes and forms to see the infinite essence of everything.
“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” — JFK
Too often we underestimate the power of the small choices and actions we make and do every day. Most of our time in life is made of small acts, sometimes apparently insignificant. But, each one of them contributes to building your identity. And, most importantly, while you may not have control over the big events that happen in your life, you surely can choose how you want to show up every day.
I love how James Clear explains the power of the daily action in his book Atomic Habits.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
So, who are you voting for today?
This post is inspired by the Be The Change card I pick this morning; “How do I show up every day” and by the realisation that the writer within me reached 500 votes this morning.
All human beings are extraordinary.
Within each one of us, there is a universe of wonder, ready to expand if only we create enough space.
I just came back from a workshop with other 15 people.
They are what you may misjudge ordinary people. Like the ones that you meet every day when you go on with your life. The colleagues you see every day in the elevator, the parents waiting outside the school, the bankers, the plumbers, the guy driving the car in front of you and so on. Everyone trapped into a role, our universes compressed within the boundaries of the doing.
But once we created together a safe space in which each one felt safe to expand the being, the magic happened.
All these extraordinary universes, no more tamed by the boundaries we imposed on ourselves, flooded into the shared space. They fused together, and a new collective awareness emerged, one that embraces all perspectives and wisdom.
And when it was time to go home, a spark of that wonder was shining in the eyes of everyone.
All human beings are extraordinary, we need to create a safe space where this extraordinary potential can get out and shine.
Anytime you help others shine, the world gets a little brighter.
It’s a gorgeous morning here on the hills in the North East of Italy.
I’m sitting outside, writing this post on a bench surrounded only by the sounds of nature. I can’t say how many different animals are singing from the woods around this place. There are no other guests, and the people working on this farm haven’t arrived yet. So, I can savour every bit of this moment. The crispy breeze, the warming sun, the goat staring at me from her corner and the peacock walking around as if I’m just an accessory to his world.
I am the witness of a morning party celebrating the beauty of life. And out of the blue, this scene from the Peanuts appears in my mind.
Charlie: “Someday we’ll all die, Snoopy!”
Snoopy: “True, but on all the other days we will not.”
If you divide a number by infinite, no matter how big that number is, the result is always zero.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend about how easy it is to get trap into the desire of doing more, achieving more, having more.
It may be for fear of missing out (FOMO), or for the willingness to be in service. Or maybe is just that we love so much for what we do that we crave more of it.
The result is the same.
It’s just never enough.
It happens to me sometimes.
I got so focused on doing things that I forget to savor the moment.
Yesterday morning, while I was driving home, the sky was so clear that I was able to see the Dolomites in all their majestic beauty.
That view reminded me that life, even the longest one, is practically nothing compared to eternity.
This post is just a note to myself.
No matter how far and how fast I walk, the horizon will always be somewhere in the distance. But if I pause, breathe and lift my gaze, the horizon will come to me.
“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein
Yesterday I wrote about our natural frequency.
This morning in my meditation, this idea of vibrations came back to me. I remember reading on Rupert Spira book, The Nature of Consciousness that “The body appears in the mind as a series of sensations and perceptions, and the mind is a vibration of awareness. As such, the body is not something solid made out of matter but a condensation or localisation of and in awareness.”
If everything I experience – myself, others, the world – are different and unique modulations of the same awareness, then to hurt anyone or anything means to hurt myself.
I believe that when this awareness grows in us, then peace is the natural outcome. It is so simple, yet not easy.
To most of you, this thought may sound naive.
Though, I believe that only if we realize that we are one, a sustainable transformation will be possible.
“If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong. That is the experience of love.” — Rupert Spira
In the early 1990s, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and his wife Hanna where studying patients with brain lesions that were affecting their ability to feel emotions but not their reason capabilities. They observed that when emotions and feelings are impaired, we are unable to make decisions.
Anytime we need to make a choice, we all want to make the most reasonable and objective one. This is particularly true in working environments. We are often pushed to leave our emotions out and make rational choices. The incredible amount of data to which we have access at any moment should always allow us to make the right or at least a good decision.
But does it?
I remember when we had to choose our second flat to rent in London. We spent weeks browsing websites, talking with agencies and viewing options to find the perfect fit. In the end, we choose one that ticks all the boxes. We never really enjoyed that place. After one year we started looking again. Only this time we left more space to our feeling. We ended up with the most unexpected, and a bit fool choice, where we had our best time in London.
What would happen if, instead of ignoring them, we observe and become aware of our emotions and feeling?
“It is emotion that allows you to mark things as good, bad, or indifferent.” — Antonio Damasio
I am fascinated by the paradox of human behaviors. And they are everywhere.
Everyone wants to be heard, so we all talk louder and louder (figuratively on social media, for real in meetings) and as a result, nobody listens.
When we are drowning in a problem, we double the effort. But as the instructors teach in swimming lessons, the more you move to stay afloat, the more likely you’re going under.
When we feel lost, we go anywhere to find ourselves. Yet, when we were kids, they taught us that if you are lost, you should stay where you are until your parents come and find you.
We want for everyone we love to be happy, so we sacrifice our own happiness for them. And if they do the same, what remains, in the end, is only the sacrifice, while the joy is gone. What would give more pleasure to someone that loves you, to see you happy?
I don’t have a magical recipe, but lately, I found that there is enormous power in taking a pause to step out of the race and just observe.
One of the good things about travelling is that it forces me to reassess my habits.
Our life runs on habits. And of most of them, we are not aware.
Without automatic habits, we would have to think deliberately before doing anything. That doesn’t sound efficient at all.
Luckily for us, our brain and body have the incredible capacity to identify and implement patterns that allow us to function efficiently in our environments.
Automatic habits are vital elements of our life, as long as they are good ones. With good ones I mean the patterns that help us thriving and improve the quality of our life.
But the same process also works for bad habits. The ones that don’t support our growth but impact negatively on our life.
When behaviour becomes automatic, it also becomes invisible.
So, most of the time we are not aware of our habits, nor we can’t distinguish a good from a bad one.
Any change begins with awareness.
There are three practices that I found helpful to gain awareness about our automatic habits.
Introspection, using a tracking system and travelling.
The first one helps you take a pause and observe your life from a new perspective.
A tracking system can help you notice the effects of invisible behaviours in your daily routine.
Travelling takes you to new environments and disrupts your habits. In my case, it forces me to reassess my morning rituals to understand which ones are essential.
Nobody is small enough to not have an impact.
I heard this sentence yesterday from the leader of an organisation that aims to solve one of the biggest challenges of our world.
Before the significant challenges of humanity such as climate change, inequality, human rights and so on, it’s easy to feel powerless.
I often feel powerless.
These days I’m listening to leaders who are committed to change the world, who are dedicating their lives to higher causes.
In the beginning, I felt small.
But then, the more I listened to them I realised two things.
Before being leaders, innovators or changemakers, they are human beings.
Like you and me.
They are not cut from a different cloth.
Their superpower is being human. A power that we all have.
The second thing is that every choice, every action albeit small, counts.
It may not seem so in the moment, but it counts.
It’s natural to think that significant shifts in the history of humanity are the result of a single massive event. But in reality, they are the compound effect of many small choices and actions.
Because it is the last drop that makes the cup run over, but all the drops before are the ones that filled the cup.