One Apple A Day #448 – be creative with your weaknesses

I believe in the transformative power of small daily practices.
If I want to learn a new skill, develop a new behavior or become better at anything, I create a daily habit. Something, small that I can integrate seamlessly into my life and in my environment.
I love to experiment and play new practices.
It transforms everything into a playful experience.

For a new practice to stick, it must match my passions, my values, and my strengths. This way I can create the consistency needed to make it a habit.

The other day, however, I was facing a different type of challenge.
I didn’t want to learn something new.
I needed to stop doing something.
I wanted to get rid of a habit that it’s affecting my focus and my productivity.
When I don’t have something planned like a meeting or a session with a client, instead of tackling an item in my to-do list, I end up wandering aimlessly online between useless videos and not-so-interesting articles.
At the crossroad between work and idleness, I just go with the path of less resistance.
Anytime this happens, I feel guilty.

I tried many solutions from better planning to external accountability, but nothing really worked.
I know how to create a habit, but how do you get rid of one?
One that plays on my weaknesses.
In this case laziness.

And then, in a session with my fantastic coach, it hit me.
The answer was in that same weakness.
I just needed to be creative by being more who I am.
In this particular case, I decided to use my passion for stories as a way out of the unwanted habit.
I now keep a novel always at hand. Anytime I feel I’m dragged towards a time-wasting activity, I take out my book, and I start reading.
I’m still not doing the things in my to-do list that I should do.
But at least I don’t feel guilty at the end of the day.

One Apple A Day #447 – Of wisdom and soul

Every morning I do this small ritual using the Be The Change cards.
I sit down with my eyes closed, and I shuffle the cards.
The intent for this ritual changes every day; an inspiration for my writing, a new perspective about something that it’s stuck in mind, or just an idea to kick off the day meaningfully. Then I pick a card, and I let it sink in my awareness for a few seconds.

This morning I went through my ritual as usual with the intent to find inspiration for this post.

But I while I was observing the card that I picked — Deepening into own wisdom — I realised that I chose two cards. There was another one stuck behind.

As you can see in the picture above, the second card has the word “Soul”.

The invitation from the cards is so vivid and compelling that I don’t think there is much I can add.

More and more in the last months, I’m becoming aware that my path to wisdom is taking me beyond my mind, my knowledge or my understanding.
It is a journey of the soul and into the soul.

“It’s the heart that knows the path. The mind is just there to organise the steps.” — Jeff Brown

One Apple A Day #445 – Step aside

This morning I decided to surrender to the Be The Change cards fully.

Usually, when I sit down to write the apple of day, I already have some running in my head. I still pick a card most of the time. It helps me spark my writing in the direction of what I want to share.

But this morning I woke up only with some vague thoughts.

So, when I set up for the writing practice, I decided to let the cards determine the topic. And they did. A card dropped out of the deck when I started shuffling.

I had to sit in silence for a good minute to let this invitation to sink in.

“Step aside & make space for others.”

What does it mean for me to step aside? Is it about work? Or my relationships? Who are the others I can make space for?

One of my guiding principles is “kindness”. I firmly believe in the power of being kind.

Today, this card made me realise a sort of a paradox.

My way of being kind has always been to help and support others.  I am kind to others, and they are the objects of my kindness.

But that put me right in the middle of the stage.

What if being kind is not about me giving help or support, but it’s about me stepping aside and making space for them?

So they can help themselves.

So they are the protagonists of their stories.

Like this card today.

One Apple A Day #443 – it happens

Not all days are good days.
Sometimes things don’t go as we expected or as we would like them to go.
It happens.
To everyone.
Nobody is immune to sick days.

What do you do when you find yourself in one of those bad days?

Do you push harder to get to the other side or do you shrug your shoulders and keep going as if nothing happened? Do you let the negative thoughts to steal your focus or can you set the problems aside and keep moving?

I believe that negative days are great teachers.
When I feel that adversities are getting in my blood, I know that there is a lesson to learn for me.
So, I pause, I take out my journal, and I start writing until the negative thoughts are out of my head, or a solution manifests.

What do you do when you have a bad day?

One Apple A Day #440 – The volcano

“The religions start from mysticism. There is no other way to start a religion. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was a fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Doctrine becomes doctrinaire. Morals become moralistic. Ritual becomes ritualistic. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it.”

Yesterday I found this powerful metaphor from David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk. The beauty of this metaphor is that it can be applied to any organisation.

Just replace the word “religion” with “form” or “configuration”. With the word configuration, I mean all the visible and invisible elements that define the “HOW” of an organisation.

Then replace “mysticism” with “consciousness” or “energy”; the true self, the bigger “WHO” of an organisation.

Then the sentence reads: “The form starts from consciousness. There is no other way to start a form. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was a fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Ideas become risks. Principles become bureaucracy. Ritual becomes routine. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it.”

How many organisation do you know that are in that place? Where the original fire now is just some dead rocks?

And what about you?

Because this metaphor works beautifully also for us, as individuals.

Is your flame, your energy still alive or did you allow for the time to cover it beneath solid rocks?

Every transformation journey starts with removing all those layers of solid rocks to find the original fire and reignite the volcano.

One Apple A Day #439 – Integration

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

According to the gospels, the one above is the sentence that Jesus used to answer to someone asking if it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Roman’s empire.

Where I grew up, this sentence was often used to explain that spirituality and reality are two different worlds. On one side the real world, made of matter, in which we live. And above that the realm of the soul.

I thought spirituality was a journey of elevation.

And that same thought pushed me away from any spiritual work for a very long time. I couldn’t handle that fracture anymore. I couldn’t understand the kind of spiritual schizophrenia of people praying for love and acting with hate.

It took me years, a lot of falls and some inspired teachers to find my way.

Now I know that my spiritual journey is one of integration.

“Or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.” ― T S Eliot, Four Quartets

One Apple A Day #434 – An easy win

Today may be the most important day of your year.

It’s the 2nd day of this new year, but for most of us, it’s the first one of the chase of the new dreams, goals and aspirations we established for ourselves.

Dreaming and setting goals is an exciting exercise. It got us all pumped up. Yesterday our phone was flooded by wishes and inspiring messages.

Then, this morning reality comes knocking at the door, and suddenly those goals seem so big and so far away.

The first doubts pop up in our mind.

Where do we start?

What can we do today?

We have these big dreams, but we don’t know what to do, Today.

My wise friend Karen once told me “If you don’t know what to do, do something“.

The first step is the most important of them all. It’s the one stating to yourself and the universe that you are 200% committed to this journey.

So, doing something and start is more important than what you actually do.

But you need to start Today. You need to set things in motion.

Here’s a simple trick that my mentor Rossella taught me in one of our conversations.

Start with an easy win. Something so small and so easy you can not succeed.

Think about your goal and ask yourself: What is the tiniest and easiest thing that I am sure I can do Today and can take me an iota closer to my goal? 


This post was inspired by the Be The Change card I picked this morning. It says “Step forward, make yourself available. Commit.

One Apple A Day #431 – Being present amidst change

Have you already wrote your new year resolutions?

What do you want to achieve next year?  Do you have goals or aspirations? Are there new things you want to get or old ones to leave behind?

When I reviewed my last twelve months, I realised that most of the things that happened were unexpected. They weren’t in my plan for the year.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t even be able to think about some of them one year ago. They were entirely outside of my awareness.

This realisation left me with a big question; if everything changes in life, is it worth it to plan my next months?

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable“.

You should look at planning not as a way to draw a clear and detailed path forward but as a way to gain awareness about where you are, where you want to go, and why you want to go there.

About who you are and who you want to grow into.

Everything will change, you can be sure about that.  So, don’t be attached to your plan but anchor yourself to who you are and your values. This way you’ll be able to present and thrive amidst change.

One Apple A Day #430 – Trust

What is trust?

According to the dictionary, it is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something“.

For the same dictionary, a belief is “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof“.

I grew up learning that trust must be earned. That I have to prove to others that I’m worth of their trust. Though, according to the dictionary trust is the belief that something is true. And a belief doesn’t require proof.

Proofs are all about the past. When we use them to define our future, we are limiting our options to what is probable and predictable.

Trust is all about the future. It’s about what is possible beyond what it’s probable. It is about accepting that we don’t know what lies ahead and yet, we move forward. That we are not in control of anything but our choices.

Trust is a choice.

How would our lives change if we start with trust?

How would our relationships change if we choose to give trust instead of asking for proofs?

One Apple A Day #429 – Be the spark

Think about a relationship of yours.
One that is not working as you wish.
It may be with your lover, or with a member of your family.
Or maybe it’s a friendship or a professional relationship.

It doesn’t matter. Just pick one and reflect on the following question.

In percentage, how much the status of this relationship is your responsibility?

Zero? Fifty?

I believe the only possible answer is 100%.
Yes, you are fully responsible.
I know, you can’t change the other person.
And often you can’t improve the situation in which you are.
But as Viktor Frankl wrote, “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.

It’s only when you take full responsibility for something that you can become the spark that ignites the change.
And this is when the magic happens.
When you become the spark, something beautiful and surprising manifests.
New possibilities to which you were totally blind.

So, go all in, take full responsibility and be the spark in your relationships.