One Apple A Day #683 – start with “I”

This morning, my Be The Change card is a challenging one.

Stop with the “you”. Start with “I”, “We”.

A card that, to me, talks about responsibility.

What’s the meaning of all of this?

This is a question that pops up often around me lately. And when we can’t find an answer, the question quickly moves into a quest for someone or something to blame. 

Because there must be a meaning in all this madness that the world is going through, right? Or at least, it must be someone’s fault.

This card reminds me of two significant things.

The first one is that if I am part of the system I want to change, I am part of the problem. So, if I really want to be part of the solution, I must stop looking outside and begin thinking about how I can change.

“A truly significant change to your world will almost always require some kind of corresponding change to your self.” — Dave Gray

The second is that asking for the meaning of this situation is as pointless as asking for the meaning of life. I am the one who’s asked to give meaning to my life. 

“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. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.” — Viktor Frankl

I often use quotes from Viktor Frankl book, “Man’s Search For Meaning”. This should give a hint of how much that book has impacted my life. 

I’d say that this is the perfect time for you to read it if you haven’t already.

One Apple A Day #676 – spread the change

From the way this virus is spreading, I feel we can learn some lessons on how we can create change in any system.

Homeostasis​ ​is​ ​the​ ​natural​ ​tendency​ ​of​ ​an​ ​organism​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​its​ ​stable​ ​condition​ ​and environment. It’s a tendency that applies to any system in our lives. Our​ ​inner​ ​beliefs,​ ​​​habits​ ​and​ ​​environment,​ ​they​ ​all​ ​work together​​ ​to​ ​create​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​our​ ​life stable and steady. Any time we try to change a system, ​those​ ​same​ ​forces​ ​that​ ​have​ ​established​ ​the​ ​current​ ​equilibrium​ ​will​ ​fight back to keep as it is.

The more we push to change the system, the more those forces will pull in the opposite direction.

It’s similar to what happens when we pull an elastic band. If we use a lot of force to pull it quickly, we will meet a lot of resistance, and it will be hard to ​keep​ ​the​ ​new shape.​ ​We will likely have to ​are​ ​to​ release the band and let it ​slide back to its natural status.

This virus is showing us a different approach to change. It is not so aggressive to trigger all our defences. At the contrary, in the beginning, it went mostly unnoticed. Our systems didn’t react immediately, so it had the time to spread and compound. When we became aware of it, it was already everywhere.

If we want to change something in our lives, in our organisations or communities, rather than go head-on, we may try a more subtle approach. One based on small​ ​but consistent daily​ ​improvement​ ​that compounds to create the change we want.

One Apple A Day #685 – the creative rhythm

I was sitting here, trying to find something to write about, an idea around which I could create a good post.
As you can imagine, no idea was coming forward.
And then I realised that I was falling trap of the outcome; I wanted so much to create something good that I forgot the whole purpose of this practice; becoming an author.

This morning I picked a Be The Change card, my first after a few weeks. The card says “dare to let go of control”. When we start a creative process, as this small writing practice of mine, the desire to control the outcome can get in the way. It narrows our sight, and we become blind to all the opportunities that surround us. And while I write this, I’m aware that this kind of laser focus on something, is also a powerful skill. It’s the secret of many great performers.
We need both approaches, the divergent one that opens us to the omens of the universe. And the convergent one that cuts out all distractions so we can hit the target. It’s very much like breathing; we need both inhaling and exhaling.

The secret then is to find the right creative rhythm. As our body does with breathing.
Feeling when it’s time to sense and listen, and when it’s time to focus and act.

One Apple A Day #677 – on maps and darkness

I love frameworks and schemas. I love finding them and, some times, creating them. And the simpler they are, the better.
I get the chills anytime I find a frame that helps me read the reality at a glance. A useful framework is like a treasure map. It provides me with guidance to move through reality and find what I’m looking for.
Frameworks and structures create also order. They draw lines dividing and connecting things, so I can make sense of what I experience.

At the same time, I cherish chaos and the shapeless space outside and between frames and structures.

Lately, I’ve realised how much energy I spent trying to fit into some frames or boxes while at the same time, I was evading or escaping them. It is as if a side of me wants to belong to something while the other side craves the freedom of nothing.

Not sure what this post is about. There are morning when I wake up with such clarity that my fingers write on their own. Other mornings are foggier. I have glimpses of something, an image, a word or a feeling. Those days, writing is like walking in the dark. My steps are hesitant, not knowing where I will end up. If I ever get somewhere.

This morning is one of them. And weird enough, when it’s too dark to see, maps become useless. So, maybe this what this post is all about. Reminding me that maps are useful, but when it’s dark, my only guidance is my senses and my inner compass.

One Apple A Day #672 – I need to love more

Power + love.

Again.

Since I wrote about it last week, this Be The Change card has been coming back almost every morning. This morning again, I shuffled the cards, closed my eyes and picked one. 

Power + love.

The card comes with this inspiring quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“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.”

For a while now, there have been tensions in my neighbourhood. Someone has stepped over the collective interests to pursue their own benefit. As with many things, they used a legal loophole to achieve their desired outcome. But with that, also came more conflict and tensions.

Looking at the whole situation with the lens that this card, “Power + Love” gives me, I can see that in this situation, the balance is fully tilted towards power.

I have the power to do it, then I do it. If you have the power to stop me, then do it. And so on.

And power, without love, is reckless and abusive.

Love is the missing factor in this equation. But how do I bring love back into the picture?

What does it mean to love more in these circumstances?

These are the questions I’m going to carry with me today.

Power + Love.

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 #662 – love and protection

To protect something or someone we love is noble.
However, when this word came out in a recent conversation, the first emotion that I felt was fear, not love.
To protect means to keep safe from harm, something or someone.

So, it is an act motivated by fear. But fear is the opposite of love.

So now I’m torn.

Can we love and protect at the same time?

If we spend our energy to protect something, we won’t have much left to infuse into that same thing and make it grow and thrive.

If we go all in, infusing all the love we can to make it grow and thrive, we may become blind to the risks around us.

I know, probably I’m just overthinking as I often do. But these thoughts have been spinning in my head since yesterday, and I need to let them out, so I can clear up my mind and move ahead with my day.
That’s one of the purposes of this writing practice.

Plus, I pick my Be The Change card, and it says “Standing in the intersection, leading from the space in-between“.

So, I’ll stay in the intersection between love and protection, and lead my day from there.

One Apple A Day #656 – Where are you?

Where are you now?

How do you feel where you are?

Who are you where you are?

Have you ever paid attention to how places affect how you show up, on your identity?

Think about the places where you live and work. Are there places where it’s easy to get things done and others where you struggle? Places when you are smart and others where your brain is sluggish? 

Is there a place where you feel energized while others drag every drop of energy out of you?

A place is more than what you see.

A place has its own stories. It has its own energy. Its own consciousness.

A consciousness shaped, little by little, by the lives and stories that happened in and through it.

That makes the energy of the place where you are stronger than yours.

You should never underestimate the power and influence that the environment has over you.

In 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote that “Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment“. We may resist for a while, but over time the environment will shape our behaviours.

So, if you don’t feel energized where you are. If you feel you’re not the real you. Then maybe, you need to tune in and get out to clear your energy.


The drawing on this post is part of the BeTheChange project, a magical set of cards sourced by my dear friend Vanessa of Crafting Connection. These cards are a wellspring of inspiration for my personal reflections and for my work as a coach and facilitator. Check out her work and discover their power.

One Apple A Day #643 – the wellspring inside

“Coming up from a wellspring inside.”

I didn’t pick the card this morning. It felt on the floor while I was shuffling the deck.
For a while now, I have been thinking about the potential the lies within us. I’ve been pondering on the need for external help to express that potential as if we don’t trust enough our own potential.

And then, this morning, I picked this drawing, these colours and these words and I sat to meditate. And I struggled. I wasn’t able to focus, my greedy mind was all over the place mixing past, present and future.

I realised that the sturdier walls holding back my extraordinary potential are within me. In my case, it’s my overactive mind and its need to prove its capabilities. Whenever I try to access my other intelligences, to connect with that wellspring inside, my mind gets excited and creates resistance.

That is why we need, or at least I need, help from the outside. Something or someone I trust enough to let go of my inner resistance so I can connect with the wellspring of creativity and beauty I hold inside.

I honestly think that we all need that kind of support. The good news is that there is plenty available around us, we just need to reach out.


The BeTheChange cards are such a creativity opener for me. They help me confront my inner walls from their more fragile side, the outside one. So that I can source my inspiration from my wellspring inside.

One Apple A Day #635 – Mutual listening

Today, in my morning meditation, I focused on listening.
Considering that I’m going to facilitate a group on listening and that I picked a card saying that “a deeper level of listening is needed”, it was a natural choice.

While I was breathing into this thought, I realised that lately I’ve been talking and thinking and about listening more than I’ve been doing it.

My recurring struggle aligning what I know with what I do.

I tell a friend to take some time off and walk in nature, while I spend most of my time sitting with my laptop. I write about the importance of having clarity about who we are to guide our steps, and I don’t take time to explore my own identity.

How easy it is to get trap into the doing. When our intentions and actions are not in sync, that’s a good sign that we are losing the connection with our true self.

Listening is a good example. It is easier listening to others than to my self.
Yet, this apparent weakness hides also an opportunity.
If it’s easier to listen to others, than maybe we can help each other in this.
We can be the listeners for others while others are the listeners for us.
Through meaningful conversation and trust, we can create a space of mutual listening.

Fancy a conversation?