One Apple A Day #504 – being the mountain

This morning I was reflecting on compassion, sympathy and empathy. And then I remembered this beautiful cartoon based on a talk given by Brené Brown on Empathy.

It’s less than 3 minutes so it won’t take much of your time, but she beautifully explains what empathy is.

“Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”

A few days ago I was reflecting with some brothers about compassion and empathy. We came out with this inspiring image of being the mountain in the storm. Being able to share the pain of others without hiding from it, feeling it as if it is mine. But at the same time, being centred as a mountain, offering a grounded presence where they can find peace.

One Apple A Day #502 – create space for stories

The last workshop that I co-facilitate was held inside a gorgeous farm. The whole area was a delight for the senses; the blooming cherry trees, the peacock welcoming us in the morning, the shiny green of the spring all over the fields.

The area is quite vast, so to have lunch we had to walk for about 10 minutes from the building where we were working to the restaurant. Midway on the walk, we passed by a vegetable garden where an old man was working. When he saw us, the old man stops what he was doing, and he asked us if we knew how to smell a plant. We were late for lunch, but earlier, at the beginning of the workshop, we made a commitment among ourselves to slow down.

So we stop and, like a group of curious kids, we naturally spread around him. We learned that to sense the scent of a plant the secret is being kind and loving.

But we learn a lot more than that.

Mario, that was his name, told us a personal story of how he discovered love holding his one years old niece in his arms.
It was a magical moment for him and for us.
And it happened because we intentionally slowed down and left space for the unexpected.

Every story needs someone willing to listen. We all have extraordinary stories to share but too often there is nobody there to listen to us.
Our life is to busy. There is always something we have to do and somewhere we have to be.

When we slow down, we can create space to welcome the stories of others.
And discover extraordinary people.

One Apple A Day #445 – Step aside

This morning I decided to surrender to the Be The Change cards fully.

Usually, when I sit down to write the apple of day, I already have some running in my head. I still pick a card most of the time. It helps me spark my writing in the direction of what I want to share.

But this morning I woke up only with some vague thoughts.

So, when I set up for the writing practice, I decided to let the cards determine the topic. And they did. A card dropped out of the deck when I started shuffling.

I had to sit in silence for a good minute to let this invitation to sink in.

“Step aside & make space for others.”

What does it mean for me to step aside? Is it about work? Or my relationships? Who are the others I can make space for?

One of my guiding principles is “kindness”. I firmly believe in the power of being kind.

Today, this card made me realise a sort of a paradox.

My way of being kind has always been to help and support others.  I am kind to others, and they are the objects of my kindness.

But that put me right in the middle of the stage.

What if being kind is not about me giving help or support, but it’s about me stepping aside and making space for them?

So they can help themselves.

So they are the protagonists of their stories.

Like this card today.