About ten years or so ago, I was sitting in my grandma’s kitchen with her and her brother. They were sharing funny stories of their childhood when my great-uncle, out of the blue said “Fabio, you know what the problem is nowadays? There is not enough love in the world“.
I still remember vividly that moment.
A few years after, my girlfriend took me to a talk by Sujith Ravindran. At that time I didn’t know him, and I didn’t know that it would be the beginning of a life-changing friendship. I don’t remember all the details of that evening, but one sentence remained with me since that day.
“Fear is the opposite of love.”
This morning I picked a Be The Change card saying “Power + Love.”
I immediately recalled those two moments.
When I read the news, I realized that too often power is driven by fear and as such, it is used to divide us.
And I’m honest, sometimes I feel there is nothing, as an individual, that I can do.
I feel powerless.
But this card, this morning, reminded me that maybe, there is one thing I can do.
I can choose love.
“Love is the experience of that oneness of being” — Rupert Spira
“Who am I?” is one of the toughest questions we can ask ourselves.
Any answer we can think about is just an approximation.
It is like measuring the mass of a black hole in space.
By definition, we cannot observe black holes directly because nothing, including light, can escape from inside them.
Astronomers determine the mass of a black hole by measuring the impact they have on what’s around them — for example, measuring the orbit of the stars around the black hole or analysing how the gravity of the black hole affects the light of near stars.
We do the same when we have to answer the question “Who am I?”. Our essence has no form so we can’t measure it with objective parameters. This is why we define who we are by talking about the impact of our identity on our world; our work, our beliefs, our why, our role and so on.
I believe the only direct answer to the question “Who am I?” is “I”.
And even if I know that I will never find an answer that can satisfy my analytic mind, it is vital to keep asking that question and searching the answers.
P.S. I’m not an astronomer so my description of how the black holes are measured may not be accurate.
I began journaling years ago.
It’s one of the morning rituals that help me reconnect with myself.
Over the year I’ve adapted my journaling to my changes, but one thing never changed; I never read what I write. Never.
Once my thoughts and feelings are out of my mind and heart, black ink on white paper, they are gone.
I don’t read what I write in my journal because I soon realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
Every transformation starts with an honest conversation. One in which we acknowledge that we want to change something and we bring it out in the light.
I always knew that these kinds of conversations with others are difficult. There is the fear of the judgment, of the pain that we can feel or cause, of the unknown that can emerge.
But it was only when I started journaling that I realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
I never thought that I could be so good avoiding the truth when talking with myself. I could lie to myself even when I know, obviously, that I am lying.
Yet, no transformation can start without an honest conversation with myself. My never-read-it-again journaling ritual is a safe space where I can have a frank dialogue with me.
Do you have a safe space where you can talk honestly with yourself?
Riding my motorbike I learned that I must always choose wisely where to point my gaze. Due to a well-known effect called “Target Fixation”, if you focus on an obstacle, like a pothole, you are most likely going to hit it no matter how much you want to avoid it.
Your whole body follows your gaze.
And the bike direction is informed by your body.
So, to have a smooth ride one of the most important things is to be constantly aware of where your attention is while you’re riding.
You can even if you don’t have a motorbike. Try to walk straight towards a point while keeping your head turned and looking all the time at another direction. You will struggle to keep a straight line.
I found this principle very useful in every aspect of my life.
My attention drives my actions.
When my attention is not aligned with my goals, I struggle to keep myself on track.
If you’re not getting where you want, maybe your attention is not aligned with what you want.
It’s often a surprise when you meet, in person or through stories, the man or woman behind the artist.
I remember some encounters after which I was perplexed, asking myself “How can this person be the same who wrote those beautiful and inspiring songs?”
On the surface, this distance between the person and the artist may seem a lack of authenticity. But if we look a bit deeper, we can see that they are just different vibrations of the same energy.
Human beings have the potential to do things that are bigger than themselves. Things that go beyond the limitations, weakness and miseries of their human form.
This ability is more evident in artists, but it is innate in everyone.
We all have the power to go beyond our human form.
To make our actions and words bigger than ourselves.
We are all artists.
Are your actions and words bigger than yourself?
Are you inspiring and uplifting yourself and others beyond your limitations?
We’re all born creative. It’s our nature.
Can you think of someone more creative than kids playing? They can transform every object in a new game, any space into a new world.
Then something happens while we grow up.
Studies are showing that our creativity dry out while we go through school and when we become adults, for must of us, it looks like it’s gone.
We get stuck in the logic trap.
We do things only when they are reasonable.
When we can predict the outcome. And in doing so, we become blind to what is possible beyond what is probable.
Unfortunately, when we are called to face the unpredictable, some crack. They can’t see a way forward, and so they hide moving backwards.
But we are all born creative.
Creativity is there.
It doesn’t disappear.
We just need to create space in our life for creativity to expand.
When I feel stuck in something, and my mind can’t find a way forward, I ask myself questions such as:
- What would I do if this was just a game?
- What would I do If I know I can’t fail?
A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. — Steven Pressfield
Who do I serve?
Last week, during a compelling conversation with a dear friend, this question came up for me.
This is not an easy question yet I feel it is a fundamental one.
We all live and work in this tension between our inner purpose, needs, desire and the purpose, needs and desire of the world outside.
At the beginning I thought that I should be able to sacrifice my own needs for a greater good; to move from ego to eco. But then I realised that the answer was coming from my desire of feeling one of the good ones.
My second stage of this self-inquiry brought me back to the self. To serve others, I must serve myself first. So, through serving myself, I will be able to serve others.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. Why does it have to be either/or? What if it’s an and? What if I can serve both myself and others at the same time? But how is this possible? What does it mean when my purpose and the purpose of others is different? Should I dedicate myself only to causes that are aligned with my own needs and desires?
Something was missing so I kept exploring, and then I read this sentence from Rupert Spira: “If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong.”
If I remove the boundaries between myself and others, that tension disappear. It’s no more about helping one or another. It’s about serving a higher vision. One the goes beyond this tension.
Rupert Spira wrote that “love is the experience of that oneness of being.”
Then the way forward is through love. Or, as Saint Augustine said:
‘Love, and do whatever you want!’
Tough morning this one.
I struggled to get my mind starting, and my routine didn’t help this time.
My mind is still foggy, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to write anything meaningful.
Luckily for me, I have the BeTheChange cards to help me in this small daily practice. This morning I picked two cards for no reason, it just felt right.
One card says “I inspire people”.
I’m not sure I do, but this card gave the boost to start writing despite my slow mind.
The second one says “Truth is desperately important”.
In this historic moment when every topic is so divisive, this message feels so important.
The time for this practice is almost gone – I told you my mind is very slow this morning – so I’ll use the word of someone else to share my feelings about truth.
“If we really want to speak the absolute truth we should remain silent.” —Rupert Spira
When I was looking for my definition of innovation, I found the amazing work on the topic of Professor Benoit Godin. His definition is the results of his extensive research on the history of innovation.
“Innovation is a deliberate human change to something existing to create something new.”
The word that struck me the most in this definition is “deliberate”.
Innovation does not just happen. It is a deliberate change.
To me, that means that to create innovation is not enough to declare it or to make some once-in-a-while strategic choices such as building an innovation team, hiring the right people, learning new methodologies and buying smart tools.
Innovation is an attitude that we must practice every day.
Too often we look at incredible innovations as if they came out of a magical burst of creativity of some talented guy or team.
I can understand why.
Most of the time the ideas that changed everything were completely unpredictable just an instant before they surface.
But those a-ha moments did not happen by chance.
They were the results of a deliberate choice to be open, curious.
They sparkled from an attitude of innovation.
“With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead, we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic.” —F. Nietzsche
Take a pause.
In the last two days, I discovered the power of slowing down.
It is as if all the parts of me, that have been flying around while I was busy doing stuff, all of a sudden sank back and I’m whole again.
You are pulled in many directions every day; your attention and energy split in small streams.
But the world around you spins so fast that you struggle to keep the pace while keeping all the parts of your life together.
All of you together.
You’ve learned to prioritise and focus on one thing to maximise your performance. And in doing this, sometimes you feel you are sacrificing your integrity.
I see you.
I feel the same.
That’s why I’ve decided to take a pause last days.
To slow down until I was staying still.
And while all those streams, all those part of me were coming home, I began feeling whole again.
If you feel you’re losing your integrity, just breathe.
Take a pause.
Even if only for a few seconds.
Take a pause and just breathe.