One Apple A Day #652 – the universe is my teacher

There is something to learn in everything.

In pain and joy.
In failure and success.
In fear and love.
In friends and foes.
In peace and conflicts.
In the present and in the past.
In my stories and in the stories of others.

Because for the soul, heart, mind and body of a student, everything and everyone is a teacher.

It doesn’t mean that we have to reflect on everything we go through in life to extract a lesson. That would be exhausting.

But we must nurture the learner’s attitude in our mind, heart, body and soul.

Sometimes the learning is manifest, sometimes is subtle, and other times it is apparently invisible.
However, if we keep the learner’s attitude, the learning will manifest itself at some point, in its own way.

One Apple A Day #650 – The Two Me

There are two me.
One is the present “me”, the person I am, today. The second one is the future me, the person I want to be tomorrow.

My future self is a dreamy guy. He is resourceful, creative and abundant, with plenty of audacious goals and ambition. He relentlessly makes plans and design actions to fully realise his potential. He is the man of intentions.

My present self is a matter-of-fact person. The one who has to realise the plans made by the other me. But he has to deal with the limitations and boundaries of reality, and that often trigger a scarcity mindset. He is the man of actions.

When they are out of synch, things can become complicated.
The future me feels hampered by the present one, and that creates frustration in him. The present me feels pressured and misunderstood. When this happens, intentions and actions seem to follow different paths.

Sometimes, they act as a perfect team. Each one selflessly serving the other. Intentions flow into actions, and magic happens.

One Apple A Day #649 – find your rock

Ibiza, End of October 2011.

We had some gorgeous days so far. The weather is just perfect and because the summer season ended a week ago, everywhere and everything is so quiet.

But none of this is relevant right now, here.

I’m desperately clinging to the bench while I try to avoid looking at all the other people fighting and losing a similar battle against a common enemy.

Motion sickness is winning over just everyone but the sailors managing the boat. Everywhere I turn, I see pale faces and desperate eyes.

I can’t remember why we thought that sailing to Formentera was a great idea.

I’m ready to add myself to the line of people throwing up from the edge of the boat when I remember something. 

Years before, in a similar situation, a sailor told me to find a fixed point on the shore and keep my gaze on it all the time. 

Yes, the shore is still visible over there on the right.

I lock my eyes on a rock or promontory, I don’t know. It’s still, and that’s everything I need right now.

Stillness.

Slowly, I regain some control on my body and when the destination harbour becomes visible, I know I’m going to get through this.


A conversation I had yesterday brought back this memory. When we are going through a rough sea, swaying and swinging around under external forces bigger than us, it’s easy to experience something similar to motion sickness.

In those moments, it can be beneficial to have a fixed point. A rock on which we can put our gaze. Whatever we put our attention on will expand. If we put our focus on something or someone firm and steady, that stillness will grow within us, helping us sailing through the storm.

One Apple A Day #648 – space to wander

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love aphorisms. They carry so much meaning and power in just a few words. 

This one from Antoine de Saint-Exupery is probably my favourite one.

I have a tendency to fill up my life. To fall into the collecting mindset.

Once it was with things. 

I remember a period in my life when I was going around with my wallet full of old receipts and bills. It was so thick I couldn’t carry it in my pocket. Obviously, for no reason at all. Some of them were so old that they were faded entirely away.

And it was the same with all sorts of stuff.

Until I throw everything away and I started living with just what I need.

What a liberation it has been.

But the collecting mindset is still there. Not as strong as before, but sometimes it shows up. In this case, with ideas and projects. Something less visible but that can quickly fill up life.

This morning I couldn’t find an idea for my writing. The clock was ticking, and I was ready to give up this morning apple. I have so many things to do that I can spend too much time seeking an idea. 

I started reading some quotes seeking inspiration.

Then this one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery called me, from the bottom of an email I sent. And I realise that I’ve been filling up my life with ideas an projects and there is little space left to wander there where ideas grow.

 

Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to what I say yes to. 

Awakening creativity is a subtraction process.

One Apple A Day #647 – words and periphery

“It is this way with all of us concerning language: we believe that we know something about the feelings themselves when we speak of trees, colours, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things – metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.” — Nietzsche 

Sitting in silence, my mind was wandering among memories, fragments of conversations, words. There are days where I know what I want to share. I don’t have to reflect or dig within in search of ideas. It’s already there, right in front of me, perfectly on focus.

Other days I just wander until something captures my attention. It usually happens at the periphery of my attention, where things don’t have a well-defined shape. It’s more like a movement, something that my senses register, but my mind can’t fully recognise.

And this morning that fragment was something about words and names.

A flash from my childhood and my hobbies of giving fantasy names to everything. A fuzzy memory of a dear friend telling me that we should create a new job title, the “name creators”. People who go around and give names to things, so they become real.

And finally, that quote from Niche appeared. Or better, I couldn’t remember anything about it, not even the author. It was only a thin thread, waving at the very end of my perception. I slowly shift my attention towards that thread until I found all the connections and the quote appears.

And I knew I wanted to share it and write about it. I wanted to write about an experience I had a few weeks ago when I learned the importance of giving a name to emotions. So we can recognise them and take care of them.

I wanted to do all of that, but then the time run out.

And what I’m left with is the feeling that I should explore more often the periphery of my perception.

One Apple A Day #646 – Recovery

I woke up with a heavy head, a stiff neck and a sore shoulder. 

I know, not a great start of the day. I’ve tried to follow my usual morning routine, but after a few minutes of stretching, it was clear that training wasn’t an option this morning.

So, I went back to bed, and I tried to relax my body.

This little experience of mine made me think of the importance of resting and recovery. Something we usually look at as a waste of time or an obstacle to our productivity.

It is so easy to overdue.

In my case, the combination of a few factors makes things worst. 

I am self-employed, so I can work whenever I want. There are no external boundaries separating working time from the rest.

I do something I love. 

I can’t remember who said, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Somehow it’s true, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to rest and recover.

Athletes are very well aware of this. Recovery is not a pause from training, it is an integral part of it.

It should be the same in any work we do. We should have recovery phases by design.

I’m not sure it will avoid waking up with a stiff neck, but I’m definitely going to put more attention on planning my recovery moments. So they won’t feel a waste of time but productivity boosters.

One Apple A Day #645 – learn, always

“What is there to learn for me from this?”

Where “this” can be any experiences or situations, either positive or negative.

This is an important question that I’ve learned to ask myself as much as I can. In particular, when I go through something adverse or painful.

“What is there to learn for me from this?”

When I find something, even the tiniest lesson, to learn from an experience I live, then that experience becomes meaningful.

I know, it can be damn hard. 

However, I always found something to learn from everything that happened in my life. Sometimes, it took me literally years to discover what was my learning. Though, once I had that. Once I had uncovered my own lesson, all the suffering faded away, leaving space for new energy to come in.

One Apple A Day #644 – not so obvious

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. —Henry David Thoreau

No matter how much we study, travel, discover or see. We will never know everything there is to know. Each one of us will only understand some fragments of the world and reality. 

Nobody has full knowledge of reality as a whole because reality as a whole is unknowable.

Sure, we all walk on the same world and share the same reality. We label that reality as “objective”. And because it is objective, we assume that we all view it in the same way. 

But, as most of us as experienced, it’s not so simple. Each one of us experience that shared reality uniquely and subjectively. 

It’s understandable. Our limited mind would explode or freeze before the infinite complexity of reality without a simplified model to process it.

Problems arise when we forget about this subjectivity, and we assume that our fragment of reality is the whole of it. And we began what Dave Gray in his book “Liminal Thinking” calls “the battle for the obvious”.

“The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.” ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

One Apple A Day #643 – the wellspring inside

“Coming up from a wellspring inside.”

I didn’t pick the card this morning. It felt on the floor while I was shuffling the deck.
For a while now, I have been thinking about the potential the lies within us. I’ve been pondering on the need for external help to express that potential as if we don’t trust enough our own potential.

And then, this morning, I picked this drawing, these colours and these words and I sat to meditate. And I struggled. I wasn’t able to focus, my greedy mind was all over the place mixing past, present and future.

I realised that the sturdier walls holding back my extraordinary potential are within me. In my case, it’s my overactive mind and its need to prove its capabilities. Whenever I try to access my other intelligences, to connect with that wellspring inside, my mind gets excited and creates resistance.

That is why we need, or at least I need, help from the outside. Something or someone I trust enough to let go of my inner resistance so I can connect with the wellspring of creativity and beauty I hold inside.

I honestly think that we all need that kind of support. The good news is that there is plenty available around us, we just need to reach out.


The BeTheChange cards are such a creativity opener for me. They help me confront my inner walls from their more fragile side, the outside one. So that I can source my inspiration from my wellspring inside.

One Apple A Day #642 – The Power of Belief

Your beliefs drive your behaviours. And your behaviours determine the outcome you achieve.

Stronger beliefs make you act smarter, better, and with greater resilience and determination. 

Beliefs are so powerful that they shape your identity and life.

When you believe in something, you just filter reality accordingly. I would say that you model your reality around your beliefs. That’s how powerful beliefs are.

When you truly believe in something or someone you overcome fear, doubts and anything that stands in the way of your action. 

Yet, you should never forget that your beliefs are not the truth.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius

You create your beliefs over the years, mostly unconsciously. They can make you incredibly powerful and effective, they can help you focus. But they can also limit you, making you blind to the infinite possibilities of the world.

I’m not sure about what I wanted to share this morning. Beliefs are a vast topic.

My reflections have been kindled by some conversations but mostly by witnessing the power of believing in something greater. And I’m wondering. Does that power come from the object of that belief or from the act of believing itself, from within?