One Apple A Dy #701 – You reap what you sow and take care of

I was quite a lazy student. But luckily for me, the way school worked was a good fit for my inclinations, and that convinced my younger self that he was a smart guy.

It was my second year at university, and I was still sure I could carve my way out of almost every exam just by being smart. I was sitting before my physics professor for the second part of the exam; the oral test.

Physics was not one of my favourite subjects, but the professor taught very well, and I managed to score a good result in the written test without studying much.

I thought I was doing quite well when he came up with a question that left me speechless. I had only a vague idea of what he was talking about, so I started talking hoping that, if I keep putting words out there, I could find a connection that works.

After a few minutes, he smiled and stopped me.

You don’t know the answer, right?

Before I could say something, he continues “You remember me when I was your age. You think you’re smart, and that that is enough to carve your way through anything. But let me tell you, at some point, you’ll have to put in some work. Better sooner than later.

At that time, I paid attention only to the first part, and I took it as a compliment.

Later I realised that it was a wake-up call.

Having a gift is not enough. 

We need to do the work to make that gift grow.

They say that you reap what you sow. 

But that’s half of the story.

If you don’t water the seeds and take care of the plants every day, you won’t have anything to harvest.

You reap what you sow and take care of.

One Apple A Day #738 – lissome

Here it is, one of those days with no ideas whatsoever.

Fifteen minutes and a page to fill, where should I start?

This morning my BeTheChange card says “being creative with everything in my life“. 

In the text that comes with the card, Vanessa says that “we are all in this thing called creativity all the time“.

So, it must be here and now. 

My idea, the starting point must be here in this room, right now. 

I just need to open my eyes wide shut and let my reality speaks to me.

Wait a minute, someone said something yesterday during a workshop.

I can’t remember the exact words, but it was something like “we are always immersed in abundance, we just don’t notice it“.

Isn’t it the same for creativity? We are always surrounded by ideas and inspirations, we just don’t notice them.

Yet, noticing is a tricky thing, because most often than not, ideas have this tendency to appear at the periphery of my vision, like the sneaky movement of my lissome cat.

Today, I’ll pay attention to the movements at the boundaries of my perception.

One Apple A Day #725 – little by little

My brain is quite good at understanding things. In particular myself and my own behaviours. My mind can dissect the things I’ve said or done, find triggers and patterns, discover what I should change and how I can do things differently. It can also tell me compelling and reasonable stories.
My mind can do all of this. In hindsight.

However, when it really counts, my emotions and my instinct are way faster and louder than my mind.

Do you know that feeling? When you know what would be the right thing to say or do, but you talk and act differently?

To know or understand something in one thing. To live it or be it, is a whole different story.

What I’ve understood is that it’s all about practice. Using the mind to design and plan the exercises I need to become who I want to be.
And then going for it.
Day after day.
Until I’ll get to the point when my thoughts, emotions and instincts are in sync.
It takes time and a lot of failures.
But little by little, I’m getting closer.

One Apple A Day #723 – pay attention

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

Mary Oliver

I should probably stop here. 

What else could I add to Mary Oliver’s poem?

Yesterday I wrote that action precedes inspiration and that through deliberate creative practises, we can learn to be inspired. 

However, something was missing. 

Attention.

It all starts with paying attention.

So, this morning I wanted to write about it. About how inspiration ensues from the quality of our attention.

But it’s all there. 

In that poem by Mary Oliver.

It is just perfect.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

That is the power of attention at work. When we really pay attention, we silence all the noise, all the distractions, all the decorations so we can see the essence of it all.

One Apple A Day #722 – action precedes inspiration

“The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.”

Confucius

This morning I woke up with a few ideas I wanted to write about in my morning practice. But because I couldn’t easily pick one, I’m now stuck and unable to begin while a conversation is still going on in my head.

“This one is interesting!”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure I have enough clarity to write something meaningful.”

“On this other one, we have clarity.”

“But is it interesting enough to read?”

“And what about this?”

“I think I already wrote about that.”

In the meanwhile, time is running, and my morning slot for this practice is getting thinner and thinner. So, here I am. Writing even if I haven’t picked a subject. 

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this little morning practice of mine, is that action precedes inspiration. I can’t wait for inspiration to just happens before doing something. Inspiration ensues from my dedication to the creative process.

“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”

Steven Pressfield