One Apple A Day #691 – homecoming

I was fully immersed in a conversation with Vanessa when this word hit me. I didn’t know why, but I felt I had to stop for a second and jot it down. I couldn’t let it go until I knew it was safe somewhere.

Homecoming.

I don’t know where you are right now.
Someone is home.
Someone is stuck somewhere dreaming about home.
Some are in a house they don’t feel home.

All of a sudden, my body has been confined in one place.
But what about my mind, heart and soul? Where are they?
Are they home too, or are they still trying to hold to somewhere else?

I had this image of a halo effect, like the tail of a comet. My body abruptly dragged home while the rest of me was still clinging to the many places and people of my life.
There are parts of me that are missing right now.
Dreams, ambitions, projects, connections.
They were all out there when my body was forced within here.
Yeah, this thing took something from me.
Though, the connection is still there.
Like an elastic band, pulling them back home.
And the more they come home, the more I feel whole and in peace.
It is a process.
A sort of homecoming.

One Apple A Day #684 – start somewhere, but start

This morning, when I sat to do this little writing practice of mine, I was at lost. Many thoughts and ideas were floating in my mind, but nothing was carrying that spark I needed to begin writing. 

It happens, more often than I’d like. Over the years, I’ve learned that the biggest mistake I can make is to indulge in this wandering of the mind, waiting for the right idea to start. More often than not, I get even more lost. 

In these cases, what I do is to take anything and being writing. Usually, it is a recent memory such as a fact, a conversation or something I read.

This time, I decided to start from a little story my fellow coach Ian McKechnie told me yesterday.

It’s the story of a small group of Hungarian soldiers who got lost in the Alps during the First World War. After three days of heavy snow, they were giving any hop to make it back to the camp where the rest of the troop was. They were desperate but then, of them find a map in his pocket. With renewed hope and energy, they followed the map and made it back to the camp. When their lieutenant asked to see the map, he discovered that it was a map of the Pyrenees. Having a map, even if a wrong one, was enough to calm them down, so they were able to think more clearly and, most importantly, to take action.

Two things happened this morning when I found this story in my pocket.

The first is that I started writing, and even if I didn’t know how to use the story, I ended up with a new post.

The second thing is that while searching for some information about the story, I discovered this fantastic article, that I’m going to read in full later, on the rhetorical power of anecdotes and how easy it is to twist a story when it doesn’t fit our thesis.

If you don’t know where to start, check your pockets.

One Apple A Day #678 – what are your questions?

What’s next? What’s going to happen? How is it going to be once we are out of this situation? What will be the new normality? What world will we find, when we will wake up from this nightmare?

Conversations are full of questions, lately. Questions to which I have no answers at all. Sure, the prediction game is an appealing one, at least when it’s done with people with a positive attitude. But it feels driven more by the desire to escape the present than by a genuine will to create the future.

I prefer another quest instead. One driven by different questions. Who do I want to be? How do I want to show up? Tomorrow, sure. But also today. What can I do today, right now, here to be that person? What would that person do in this situation?

I’ll be honest, it’s not an easy quest. I get lost often. Confused between who I am, who I want to be, and who I think I should be. But I keep asking and searching. Every day a new opportunity to shine a bit more light, to advance another tiny step.

It helps me stay grounded in this uncertain time.

One Apple A Day #677 – You must not be your own obstacle.

Having more time, and need, for inspiring conversations is undoubtedly one of the positive sides of this collective pause in which we are all in. 

Yesterday, I was talking about energy and protection. 

How often, driven by the desire to protect our energy or the source energy of a project or organisation, we end up limiting the creative potential of that same energy. For all the right reasons, we get in the way of our own potential.

I was reminded of an episode of “Chef’s table”. A Netflix series telling stories of some of the most celebrated chefs in the world. Jeong Kwang is the protagonist of one episode, but she is not like the others. She has no fancy restaurant. She’s a Buddhist monk working in the kitchen of a monastery in South Korea. Yet, she’s recognised as a fabulous creative chef.

At one point, with the same grace with which she prepares the food, she said to the interviewer:

“Creativity and ego cannot go together.

If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly.

Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.

You must not be your own obstacle.”

One Apple A Day #674 – it’s all perfect

“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”

This is what Katsumoto says to Nathan Algren in a scene of “The Last Samurai”. 

The quest for perfection.

This scene came up for me yesterday in a conversation with my friend and mentor, Sujith. We were reflecting on how many things that happened in our lives in the last weeks were perfectly timed. As if they were part of an invisible but perfectly crafted plan.

That image came to my mind when I realise that the quest for perfection is not an outward hunt. It is, instead, a practice through which we learn to see the perfection in everything.

When we become aware that everything is perfect, then everything becomes an opportunity. We unleash infinite creativity and abundance.

Perfection then, it’s not a characteristic of something but rather an inner state. An elusive and fleeting one, indeed. 

That’s why the quest for perfection is a lifelong practice. But, as Katsumoto says, a worthy one.

At the end of the movie, when Katsumoto is dying, he looks a the cherry blossom floating around him, finally able to find that perfection.

“Perfect. They… are all… perfect…”

One Apple A Day #673 – conversations

These last days, I’ve been struggling with my rhythm, my practices and rituals. Been disciplined is way harder than it used to be only a few days ago.

I feel like a sailor, wandering in the middle of the ocean under a night sky without stars. All the cues I learned to read to understand where I am and where I am going, are not there anymore.

Even time has changed.

It flows differently.

As I wrote yesterday, it is what it is, and I can’t change this situation.

But I can change myself.

It is time to find new cues, to learn new ways to navigate through life.

One idea, in this period, when we are forced to keep distance between each other, is to nurture the connection with others.

I will fill up my sky with a new constellation made of conversations.

One Apple A Day #671 – Run Baby Run

My life is blessed by the presence of fantastic people with I can engage in inspiring conversations.
The other day I was telling my dear friend Luca, that sometimes I feel like a child lost in a crowded place.
I don’t know if it ever happened to you as a kid. Or maybe you’ve witnessed it. A child going around with her parents in a crowded place, like a square or mall, side by side. Then, maybe because she sees something fascinating or her parents got distracted for a second, the child loses the grip on her parent’s hand. All of a sudden, the parents are nowhere to be seen. Everything becomes big, dark and scary. The child, frightened and desperate, begins running around frantically to find her parents.
Sometimes, I feel like a lost child. And I find my inner child running around looking for the adult version of myself.
Though, we all know that the best solution is to stand still and wait to be found, fear pushes me to run around. Wasting energy and time.

Luca helped me see that, in my running, there may also be the desire to get out of a painful situation as soon as possible. The faster I run, the sooner I’m out.
How often does it happen in life? Because we are in pain, we accelerate thinking that this way, the pain will go away sooner. Instead, too often, we are just wasting energy, and a pause would help us see things more clearly.

Then the day after Giulia reminded me that, in our continually accelerating and changing society, we teach people that they must go faster if they want to keep the pace.
Run baby run.
But is true? What if we challenge the idea that faster is better?
Maybe, if we try to stand still, breath and wait for a moment, the way forward will find us.

One Apple A Day #697 – uncertainty

In the last weeks, this virus that’s disrupting our lives is the topic in most conversations, directly or indirectly. On the news, on social media, plenty of experts are doing their best to explain what’s happening. And, most importantly, what is going to happen. 

On this second aspect, I heard many different, often contradicting forecasts in a range that goes from “it’s nothing” to “we are doomed”. 

Only a few openly say that they don’t know.

“The human brain is a prediction machine. The primary reason the brain remembers the past is to better predict what will work in the future.” – James Clear

But what if the past can’t give us any clues about what is going to happen? What if even the people who are supposed to know what’s next, don’t have answers?

We are so used to know what’s happening next that this uncertainty is frightening. 

How can we make a decision today, if we don’t know what will be the scenario tomorrow?

It is a challenging time. Even more, a defining time at a global scale. 

In this chaos and uncertainty, I’m reminded of a magic formula, taught to me by a dear friend a while back.

“I don’t know.”

One Apple A Day #695 – the paradox of simplification

A few days ago, I had an inspiring conversation that made me reflect on the risks of oversimplifying reality. I’m talking about that tendency to view every situation through a binary filter. Such as “right or wrong”, “us and them”, “good and bad”, “winners and losers” and so on.
In Being At Full Potential, we call this the State of Binary Awareness. A state of awareness from which everything is reduced to a duality.
Reducing things in life to a binary perspective, it’s a way to cope with its complexity that comes from our need to belong; my tribe and the rest of the world.
Though in this increasingly connected world, I feel that this simplification makes life even more complicated. It creates tensions, conflicts and divisions.
It is a kind of paradox.
Maybe, if we accept that life is complex and that there are infinite nuances in everything, we can relax all these tensions and free ourselves from the dividing walls we built.

One Apple A Day #692 – the “who” questions

Where do your stakeholders need you and your team to be in 3-5 years?

This question was asked yesterday by David Clutterbuck during a webinar on team coaching. Indeed, a powerful question. One that shifts the focus on the team’s growth and evolution.

So, this morning I woke up with my own version of that question.

Who do I need to be in 3-5 years, to better serve my vision?

I love all questions starting with “who”. We live in a challenging, changing and uncertain world. What used to work only a few months ago is not working anymore. What it’s true today, may not be tomorrow.

In this context, goals, plans or strategies may sound hollow.

That’s why I believe that it’s vital to shift our attention to our growth as human beings. As individuals, teams, organizations and communities. Then, whatever happens in the future, whatever comes in our way, we will be able to adapt and respond.

“For all our discussion of the abstract power of societies, they are still made up of individual people. When two people connect, they form a relationship. A group of relationships forms a community, and the place where communities intersect is what we come to know as society. Each of us is responsible for forming the social codes of our communities.” – Source