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.

One Apple A Day #427 – Words create Worlds

How much attention do you put on the words you use?

A few days ago, while I was checking the news online, a headline captured my attention. It was about UN chief António Guterres who, during an of the year press event, called all countries in the world for a renewed commitment to a “rules-based global order“.

Words create worlds.

They have this power.

This is why it is so important to choose wisely the words that you use.

In your own life but it’s even more critical when you are a leader. As leaders, the language we use helps shape the cultures we lead.

So, what does a “rules-based global order” says about the world the leader of UN envision? To me, it talks about a world based on fear and lack of trust. It talks about protecting the status-quo instead of moving towards the future.

Is this the world that you want?

I know for sure it’s not the world that I want.

I’m ready to commit to a “values-inspired global vision“. One driven by trust, love, compassion, forward thinking.

What about your words?

Are they reflecting the world that you want to create in your life?

One Apple A Day #425 – Collect vs Connect

Yesterday, during a lovely conversation about wisdom with two fabulous ladies, I was gifted with this insights; knowledge is about collecting dots, wisdom is about connecting them.

We live in an era of big data, sensors and deep learning.

We can measure almost everything.

We can know a lot.

But does all this knowledge make us wise?

I believe that real wisdom doesn’t come from having more dots but from finding ways to connect them.

With this idea in mind, I was reflecting about the way we talk with each other. Most of the time we enter a conversation to collect dots. Collecting is a one-way process from others to us. Yes, we may have to give something in exchange to obtain what we want, but all our focus is on what we get and not on what we offer.

Connecting, on the other side, is a two-way process. It’s not about the “what”, it’s all about the “how” and the “why”. When we enter a conversation to connect with others we must open up, we have to listen to a deeper level so we can open a new channel where things flow in both direction.

So, I have an invitation for you.

Next time you join a conversation, ask yourself this simple question: “Am I here to collect or to connect?”

One Apple A Day #423 – The silence within

I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at this empty page.
My process to write these short posts is very simple.
I start a 15 minutes timer, and I open an empty document.
That’s it.
Whatever comes out of my head ends up here.
There are morning when it’s easy.
The words were already there, waiting for this moment.
Other mornings, like this one, my mind is empty: no ideas, no thoughts, no words.
It’s funny because most of the time I can’t stop my mind from thinking no matter how hard I try. I usually struggle to slow down my thoughts, to take a pause and be present in the moment.
And now that I need my mind to work, I got only silence.

Though, there is incredible power in not thinking. We may discover that we have other sources of intelligence; some within us like the physical one and the emotional one. Others are unlocked when we connect to something bigger.

When we pause our inner voice, we can source the words from the universe.