One Apple A Day #609 – love and presence

“I’ll protect you from the hooded claw

Keep the vampires from your door.” 

— The Power of Love, Frankie Goes to Hollywood

When we love someone, we want them to be happy. We want to protect them from any possible harm. We want to know and to let them feel that they are safe.

We create fences, made of love and affection, to keep all the evil of the world away.

Unfortunately, fences work in both directions. And sooner or later they become cages. Maybe large ones, perhaps beautifully decorated but still, cages. 

So, here’s another tension for me to reflect upon. The tension between the need to protect and make someone happy and the need to see them expressing all their extraordinary potential.

And then, while I’m writing these words, I realise that it’s my ego who’s talking. My ego with its needs and fears. 

The fear of my own pain if someone I love gets hurt. The fear of my own ego if someone I love is not happy. 

While I’m here, pondering on all these thoughts, my eyes go back to the card I picked this morning.

“Showing up for others.”

And that tension, all of a sudden, sublimes into something else. 

It’s not about protecting. It’s not about supporting or helping.

The best I can do is to show up for the one I love.

To be fully present.

One Apple A Day #608 – my source of trust

These last days I felt as if I’d been swallowed by the things I had to do. At some point, after days trying to swim my way to the other side of the river, I felt it was just too much. The current too strong for me to keep going.

During the weekend, I began thinking that maybe I just took on too much responsibility.

I woke up with all these thoughts in my head, already worried about the things I have to do.

As I always do, I did my wake up exercises, and then I sat down for my morning meditation. I picked a BeTheChange card to spark my reflections and voilá. 

“If you have a source of trust, you can take on more responsibility.”

Really? The universe must have a weird sense of humour. Or maybe there is a message for me in here. 

And slowly a little thought crawls its way through my tiredness and my worries. 

I’ve been so focused on the things I have to deliver that I lost the connection with my source of trust.

And at some point, the things that I wanted to do became the things that I have to do. Excitement grew into pressure and stress.

So, that’s my challenge for today.

To reconnect with my source of trust.

One Apple A Day #606 – back to you

Despite your best plans and intentions, sometimes things just go south.

Sometimes it’s an unpredictable blizzard sending everything upside down, other times is the compound effect of many small cracks that creates the perfect storm.

Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” — Mike Tyson

What do you do when your plans fail? When your list of priorities gets screwed? When your objectives become so hard to see that you start questioning them? When what you want and what you need seems to diverge?

It’s a scary place to be. And the messiness of the world can make things worst. I’ve seen people making themselves smaller to hide from reality, frightened of the next punch. I’ve seen others close their eyes and punch their way out, fueled by rage.

Anyone has a unique way to get through tough times.

When I’m lost in a storm, I look for my anchor. For my roots. And that means to go back to myself. To shift the focus from the “What” and “How” back to the “Who”. 

Who am I, here and now?

And from there, I start again.

One Apple A Day #600 – rituals and celebrations

This morning I picked the card “Ritual” for my morning reflections. Then, when I opened the laptop to write this post, I realised this is the apple number six hundred.
This ritual has been going on for quite a while now.
When I started, I planned to do it for 90 days in a row and then stop. But then it was such an enjoyable experience that I’ve decided to keep going. Every now and when I ask myself when will I stop. Will I ever reach the destination of this journey? Is there a destination at all?

I don’t know. What I know, or I should better say what I feel is that this small ritual of mine is aligned with who I am. I’m an explorer, and like any explorer, I have my journal or logbook to keep track of my discoveries so one day I’ll be able to share them with the world.

I’m well aware that celebrating significant milestones is essential. And this is one of those. It means I’ve spent 600 mornings in the last two years or so, writing and sharing something. Who would have known that someone like me, who gets quickly bored, would have stick to a habit like this one for so long? I know now that this is possible only when the practice becomes part of our identity. So, this morning post is definitely part of who I am.

With that in mind, I’m already thinking about the next post. The one I was planning to write today before I realise it was time to celebrate.

So, be aware, I have no plan to stop.

One Apple A Day #591 – being a channel

A sat this morning with a BeTheChange card asking me “What wants to emerge?“.

It’s undoubtedly a different question to ponder on because it shifts our perspective on things. It reminds me of one of my favourite passages from Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl.

“We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly.”

What wants to emerge right here and now, at this exact moment while I’m writing? I was trying to find some thoughtful reflection to share only to realise that again, I was tricking myself making everything about me.

So, I deleted what I wrote, and a memory came in from yesterday.

A conversation I had while I was on a long drive and listening to some music. It started with another question: a piece of art made by an awful person is still a piece of art?

That question quickly shifted to another one; does the author owns her or his creation?

We use to think at the author as the “creator”, someone who creates something out of thin air and so “owns” what she or he creates. But what if the author is just a tool? Someone channelling what wants to emerge into the reality of our shared world?

What would change in your life if you look at yourself as a tool instead of a creator?

One Apple A Day #590 – power and love

A few apparently disconnect things that maybe are not (disconnected).

Sunday I was checking the news online when I had one of those a-ha moments. The more I was reading, the more I was feeling bothered. Even worst, some anger was boiling there.

All those negative news were finding their way into my system. All the hate, the oppression, the suffering, the divisive words they were intoxicating my mind and my heart.

So, I’ve decided to take a full day off the news. And it has been so refreshing that I’m going to take a whole week of detachment from the news.

Yesterday I heard on the radio that it was the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I remember reading the book The Day of the Bomb by Karl Bruckner, more than thirty years ago. It is a children’ novel about that event, and I still feel a knot in the stomach, remembering that story.

I went to bed yesterday asking myself how is it possible that we use all this incredible potential to harm others.

Then this morning, after my training, I walked in the bedroom to pick the BeTheChange cards for my morning reflections. I didn’t put them away in the box yesterday, so they were still there laying on my bedtable. And the one on top caught my attention. It says “Power + Love”.

Inside the booklet a quote.

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

One Apple A Day #589 – my changing loop

“Being in your true essence makes it less of a struggle”.

This BeTheChange card led me into my morning reflections.

Over the years, I’ve experienced many times the struggle of not being aligned with who I am.

When my actions are aligned with my identity, they just flow. But when they are not, everything is a burden.

After many trials and errors, this is my process when I want to achieve something.

First thing, I understand what I want to achieve. I need clarity of the goal to know where to put my attention.

Once I have clarity about what I want, I ask myself who the person who achieves that is. In short, who do I need to become to get what I want?

Then I design a new set of behaviours to install in my life based on my future self. But that’s not enough to sustain the new practices. I’ve learned that I need a set of structures and strategy to support those new behaviours. This is where knowing my present self, with my strengths and weaknesses, is essential. I design structures and strategies around my present self, so they can sustain my journey towards my future self.

One Apple A Day #585 – rituals and lines

As you probably know from some of my past posts, I’m a petrolhead. Or gearhead, depending on where you’re from.
I love motorcycle and car racing.
In a race, both machines and people are pushed to their limit.
When you’re going at 300Kmh on a track, there is no time to think about your next move or how to approach the next turn.

If you listen to a racer interview, you may hear them talking about “lines”, or better, the ideal line or trajectory.
On every track, there is usually one ideal line. It is the one that maximizes the speed in every point of the circuit while minimizing the distance covered. Following the perfect line make a massive difference between a winning lap and a poor one.

So, every racer spends some time to learn that line. Finding it, it’s a combination of science, knowledge, feelings and plenty of practice.

But even when you have found that perfect line, it’s not easy to stay on it for a whole race. Circumstances evolve during a race: there are all the other racers aiming at that line too, the changing weather, the evolving grip of the tarmac and the tyres, and the increasing fatigue both physical and mental.

This is why racers need clues. They fix in their memories a set of visual clues along the circuit that they use to quickly understand if they are on the perfect line. After a while, they are not even conscious of those clues. They just sense them and then act accordingly.

Rituals for me are like those clues.
I design them to help me stay on my ideal line. The one that connects me with the person I want to become. Every time something pulls me away from my ideal line, my rituals help me getting back to it.

One Apple A Day #583 – walk the talk

They say that words create worlds. That’s why it is essential to take care of the quality of our conversations, they are incredibly powerful.

But it’s when our words transform into actions that they realise their full potential. It is through our behaviours that the world we create manifests itself into reality. It is so easy to forget this part.
Words are seductive. Our own in particular. Sometimes we get caught in them, and we forget to act. At least I do.

The other day, I shared some compelling idea with a friend only to realise later that I wasn’t following my own advice.
It was a revealing moment.

So, this morning, I am having an honest conversation with myself.
About the things that I’m not doing.

What world do I really want to create?
Who do I need to be to create that world?
What would that version of me do in that world?

And then do it.

Acting every day as if that world already exists to give it a chance to manifest.

Every choice we make, every word we say, every action we do, we are casting a vote for the world we want to live in, and for the person that we want to become.

One Apple A Day #580 – the paradox of freedom

This morning I picked a card with a yellow bird flying away from an open cage, towards its freedom. With the image, there are also a few coloured words saying “Engaging + Freeing all the energy!!!“.

Yesterday, a dear friend reminded me that sometimes, driven by the fear to lose our freedom, we build our very own cage around us.

It is a kind of paradox about freedom. And if you’ve read me before, you know my fascination with paradoxes.

The more you’re afraid to lose your freedom, the more you lose it.
You are so suspicious of any potential cage that you trap yourself within an invisible one.

I’ve seen this thing happening many times to friends, and I did it too. I carefully avoided commitments, I steered away from some choices only for fear of finding myself trapped into something from which there was no way out.
And in doing so, step by step, I was creating an invisible cage.
One from which there really no easy way out.

So, I think my personal learning here is that freedom must not be protected, it must be lived and engaged fully.