One Apple A Day #679 – compassion

I noticed an increasing tendency to hold others to standards that we can’t live up to. Or maybe it’s just me doing that. I realise that sometimes I expect others to have a coherence that I don’t have. To expect them to always walk their talk and judge them when they don’t.
All of this while I’m the first to fail.
It is so much easier to judge others. As if in spotting their shortcoming and failures, it means I’m better than them.
But am I?
Or am I just escaping my own responsibilities towards myself first, and the others too?
We all are on this same bumpy ride called life.
We slip, we fall, we bleed, sometimes we get lost.
We are human, a never-finished always in-progress work of art.
Compassion is about seeing perfection in this imperfection that we all are.

One Apple A Day #761 – Like the aubergine plant

I’m sitting outside this morning. While I write these words, the water keeps flowing from the fountain.

Water doesn’t care about my struggles, my worries, my thoughts. Or anyone else’s. She just does her thing; flowing.

The same for the plants in my garden; they are all being themselves.

And in doing so, they realise their natural potential.

The aubergine plant, for example. 

When we put the plants on the ground, we had high hope. I love aubergines. However, things didn’t work as expected. The plants struggled to grow, and after almost two months, I began to accept the idea that I wouldn’t have any aubergines in my garden.

Then, a few weeks ago, something happened. A small dark and shiny fruit (yep, aubergine, or eggplant, is a fruit) appeared. Yesterday we picked the first two beautiful and perfect two.

The plants just keep doing their things. They didn’t care about what was happening around, about my worries, or my lack of trust. 

They just kept being themselves until they realised their mission.

It is me, with my complicated mind, my free will, my relentless thinking that I have doubts. That I can’t figure out what my mission is.

In a meeting yesterday, someone told me “you just can’t stop being you“. And maybe that is the key.

Being me. Always.

Like the aubergine plant.

No matter what.

Until the fruits come for the world to see and enjoy.

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.