One Apple A Day #743 – does it make sense?

This question has been walking with me since yesterday.

Does it make sense?

Whatever I’m doing, writing, saying, thinking right now. 

Whatever it’s happening to me or anyone else in the world at this moment.

Does it make sense?

In the dictionary to make sense means to have a clear meaning. 

So it’s something different from being reasonable, right, or logical. And also from being pleasurable, satisfying or rewarding.

Something makes sense when it’s meaningful.

Viktor Frankl wrote that “the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way.” 

I believe it works for everything in life. Things don’t have a meaning; we give them a meaning. 

Last days I learned that only when I sense the meaning of what I do, I make it work. If it doesn’t make sense to me, I go in half-hearted. Even if it’s the right thing to do or the most reasonable in that context, I don’t achieve the desired outcome.

Things are even more complicated when it’s not about making sense of my choices or actions, but of events on which I don’t have control. Yet even in that case, it’s up to me to make sense of them.

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.” – Viktor Frankl

One Apple A Day #732 – do something

It’s my father’s birthday.
He would be 72 this year.
He wasn’t a man of many words, but he sure was a man of actions.
Where something needed to be done, he would just step up and do it.
His wisdom was in his deeds.
To a shy kid as I was, it looked like he always knew what the right thing to do was. I now know that probably he didn’t, not always at least, but that never stopped him for doing his part.

I’m more comfortable with words. I always had.
Though, yesterday during a meditation, I had a flash.
I want to do something.
There is so much going on in the big world.
This pandemic and its many consequences, the fight for equality in the USA, the climate struggles.
But also here, close by.
People whose business have been disrupted, kids without schools, the rise of individualism.
I want to do something.
In my own way, as I’m not my father.
As he did, because I also am my father.

One Apple A Day #715 – beneath the layers

For almost two decades, I worked in the digital industry. Over the years, I observe the same pattern in many products or services.
It starts with a smart and simple solution. Sure, usually it’s not perfect, a bit rough on the edges and with some small bugs, but it works.
So people love it and use it, and the product gets traction. Users ask for improvements and new features, and the software begins to grow. The developers add new layers of code. Maybe they are even new developers, hired to keep up with the success of the solution. Every now and then, someone wants to leave a footprint on the product, so new pieces are added. Even if they weren’t asked for.
All works fine until, all of a sudden it doesn’t. It may be because a new competitor enters the arena disrupting the game. Or something turns the industry upside down. Or maybe it’s just a nasty bug that compromises the whole product. Whatever the reason, a radical change to the core of the product would be needed. The problem is that there are so many layers that nobody knows what to do. They all worried that even the slightest change, would crumble everything.
Some stick to what they have until they slowly become irrelevant. Others rebuild everything from scratch because it’s easier than changing what is.

My feeling is that something similar happens to people. While we climb the ladder of success, moving forward in our career, we add layers over layers. Success and failures, experiences, knowledge, skills. We keep adding following a linear path. Until something disrupts our journey to the top, or maybe we get to that top, and we discover that our core is covered by so many layers, we can barely remember who we are.
I guess it happened to me at least once or twice. Likely for me, I always found people who helped me clear out all those layers and see what wanted to emerge from my core.

One Apple A Day #704 – scribbles, pain, healing

When I’m in meetings, I often jot and scribble. Sometimes I do it to fix something that has been shared, sometimes to capture a thought that I want to share. And sometimes there’s apparent reason or connection with what it’s happening in the meeting. 

I don’t know where the words come from, the pen moves and then a drawing or some words are there, ink on paper.

Yesterday, during a meeting I wrote in red a sentence.

“Pain is individual, healing is collective.”

This morning, when I got to my desk, those words were there, staring at me among many other nonsensical scribbles.

“Pain is individual, healing is collective.”

Reading it, it feels so true to me, even if I can’t remember why I wrote them. Anytime I’m in pain, being it a physical or emotional one, I usually close up. I become self-centred. My own struggle is the only thing I can see. I feel as if nobody can understand the pain I’m going through.

The healing process is rather an opening one. 

It begins with sharing my pain with someone I love, so they can help me. Often in my experience, the act of opening up to someone is enough to reduce the pain and heal.

One Apple A Day #702 – Taraxacum officinale

The name in English is dandelion, from the French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth”. Where I grew up, we call it soffione, from the Italian word “soffio” meaning blow. 

Because that was the game when we were kids. To blow it so all those white things would fly in the air, and we would be left in awe. Imagining how far they would go, what they will see in their journey.

As a kid, I thought the dandelion was a weak plant. I mean, a flower that can be disrupted by the blow of a child, can’t be a strong one. For sure not like one of those reliable and grounded trees in the woods.

Later on, I learned that those “white things” are seeds, or better they carry the seed. And they are perfectly designed to travel long distance using the wind, so the seeds can spread on a broader area.

In nature, there are trees with strong roots, and there are fragile flowers that can travel anywhere. And they both thrive when they follow their nature and are in their environment.

I believe that a vital ingredient of a joyful life is to be in tune with our own nature. To really be aware of who we are, what are our inclinations, what do we love, what makes us feel energized, and in which environment we thrive. 

Like a dandelion blown in the air by a child.

What makes you thrive?