One Apple A Dy #700 – how do I feel now?

ou know or can know so much about yourself. 

You can measure your performances, check your heart rate anytime, get every possible health check, ask experts and know everything about your body and your health. 

You can play memory and logic games, do intelligence tests, assess your personality, your behaviours or your emotional state, discover your learning style and learn everything about yourself, your abilities and traits.

You can know almost everything about yourself.

But do you ever ask yourself “How do I feel now?” 

I’m a motorsport nut. In the last years, I’ve read many stories of tensions between the riders or drivers and their engineers. While the formers talk about feelings, the latter rely only on the numbers. When feelings and numbers go in different directions, tensions and conflicts arise. Unfortunately, because numbers are objective and easier to rationalise and explain, too often, they trump human feelings and sensations, even when results are poor.

In a way, we are trapped in the idea that if it can’t be measured, it’s not worth our attention. That famous quote from Peter Drucker, “what gets measured gets managed“, unfortunately, expanded beyond business and in all aspects of life. 

Ironically, Drucker never said that. And more ironically, those words are the first part of a sentence with which the journalist Simon Caulkin summarised a paper published by V. F. Ridgway in 1956.

“What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so.”

Some things can’t be measured, yet they really matter.

The challenge is to accept to know a little less and begin to feel a bit more every day. Just asking a simple question like “how do I feel now?

One Apple A Day #690 – listening

I believe that listening is one of the most critical skills everyone should develop; the capacity to truly listen to others, to ourself and to everything around us.
We often invited to speak our truth, to find our voice, to share our ideas. But what’s the point if nobody is listening.
It’s the art of listening, that transforms intention into impact.
Listening creates a liminal space where ideas can emerge. Even the ones that can’t be verbalized. Because to truly listen, it means to go beyond words. It is about making ourselves available so we can create and hold a safe space where what’s hidden beneath the surface can come through.
Because the pain that’s not listened to becomes hate. The fear that’s not heard becomes rage. Unheard love becomes resentment.
That is my wish to myself.
To become a relentless listener.

One Apple A Day #689 – look for love

On a slow and rainy Sunday morning, I was looking for something to listen while doing some house chores. My dear friend Luca suggested me Simon Sinek’s podcast a while ago, and I thought “why not?”

The podcast, titled “A bit of Optimism”, is a series of conversations between Simon and various guests on different topics. You can find it here.

I went for the episode “Extreme Listening with Deeyah Khan”, and in those 52 minutes, something shifted in my heart. 

Deeyah Khan is a Muslim woman who spent a lot of time with white supremacists and made the documentary “White Right: Meeting the Enemy“. 

There are so much wisdom and inspiration packed in this conversation that I can’t sum it up in a post. But there’s one important take away that I’d like to share.

In such a divisive time, I’m often wondering what can I do or say to help at least reducing the distances. Simon and Deeyah help me understand that I don’t have to say anything. 

I need to listen more and better.

I need to listen to others with “the sincere desire to understand the things that they love.

Active listening is a quest for love.

One Apple A Day #748 – loud water

Yesterday evening I was in a workshop, and my dear friend Luca guided us through a powerful practice. It was a simple recentering exercise in which he invites to expand all our senses, one by one, so we could notice more.
I was sitting at my desk, and the first sound I heard was the water flowing out from the well in the garden. Anchored on that sound, I gradually expanded my attention, and the world came alive: the birds singing, the TV in a near flat, a neighbour working in its garden, some dogs playing somewhere, the cars passing by in the distance.
The power of attention is just mindblowing.

This morning, with that rich experience still in my heart, I decided to move outside for my morning practices, near the well.
The familiar sound of the water spring welcoming me while I sat for my meditation practice.
But the experience hasn’t been what I expected. The sound of the water was so loud that it covered everything else. I couldn’t hear anything but the water flowing. I even struggled to listen to my own thoughts.
I realised that when we have something in our life so loud – such as a need, a pain, a thought, a desire or even love or joy – we can’t hear anything else. That single thing can fill up our senses and numb ourselves to everything else.
Next time I feel someone is not listening to me, I’ll ask if there is something in their life so loud that they can’t hear anything else.
Maybe I can help.

One Apple A Day #739 – the unheard parts

“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

African proverb

I read this proverb a few days ago in a post about the riots in the States. 

I thought it was a powerful perspective on what was happening. And it still is. 

However, since the first moment I read those words, I felt there was something more in it, something speaking from and to a deeper place in me. I just couldn’t figure out what it was.

Until yesterday, when I stepped in the space created by my friend Vanessa and there it was.

If I replace the word “child” with “gift” or “need” and I recognise that I am the village, then it makes utter sense. 

At least to me.

What are the gifts that I have and that I’m not embracing? What are the needs that I’m not paying attention to? What are the parts that the whole is ignoring?

It’s time to pay attention, to listen, to embrace.

Before the unheard parts burn down the whole.