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 #629 – gratitude

It’s one of those cloudy mornings so typical in this part of Italy. The grey outside matches how I felt when I sat down to write. I was not feeling at my best this morning, both physically and emotionally. With my defences lowered a surge of negative thoughts was crushing my walls and seeping into my mind. I even asked if it was worth it to write anything this morning. You know, the typical questions: what’s the point? Who’s reading it? 

Bla bla bla. 

My mind was taking me down a negative spiral. But then I look forward and, there it was.

Oblivious of the grey sky and of my negative thoughts, an orange pomegranate was standing there among the leaves.

Fierce in all its extraordinary beauty. 

And I was reminded of how beautiful it is to be alive and to be able to witness the magic of nature.

So, I took five minutes to write everything I’m grateful for. And the energy of life came back. And with it, the desire to write.

A few years ago, when I was going through a tough period, I wrote a small gratitude pray. I used to read it every morning before everything else. Maybe it’s time to read it again.

One Apple A Day #604 – Connection

All of a sudden, the woods go silent. 

All the others are behind me and observing my movements, however, at that moment, I am alone.

There is nobody else. There is nothing else but me, the bow, the arrow and the prey.

It’s an incredible feeling that words struggle to describe.

Like being out of space and time.

Everything is happening incredibly slowly and fast at the same time.

I look at the prey. I choose the exact spot where I want to hit and then we are one.

The prey and me.

I can feel the connection as if there’s no distance at all.

I raise the bow, pull the cord and then liberate the arrow.

I know where the arrow is flying. I know where it is going to hit. 

I feel as if I always knew.

The arrow hits the exact spot that I visualise.

And then the world comes back.

The sounds of the woods, the voices of my friends.

I am back in the current space and time.

 

That was my experience of flow last Saturday. An utter sensation of just being one with everything. And everything happens effortless and naturally as if any obstacles have been removed.

It was not a pleasure for a good shot. That came only later.

It was a profound and potent sense of being whole.

It wasn’t the first time. I have the same experience sometimes when I’m writing, or when I’m immersed in a powerful conversation.

I’m still not sure how it happens. 

Anytime I try to deliberately create that feeling, I fail. 

And maybe that’s the secret. 

It’s not about trying more or harder.

It’s about setting the stage and allows for the flow to happen.

For sure, I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

Knowing your goal with clarity is not enough to get it. 

I must create a connection with it. I have to become one with my objective.

And then it will pull me towards itself.

P.S. Obviously, the prey wasn’t a real animal.

One Apple A Day #581 – back to the future

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Heraclitus

Two weeks ago, I moved into my family’s home.
I left this house 18 years ago and this small town four years later.
After that, I’ve been to many places, I’ve lived in a few different countries, I’ve met many fantastic people, and I’ve been blessed with a lot of incredible experiences. Some good, others not but all have contributed to me becoming who I am today.

And now I’m here, again.
Everything should be familiar around here.
But it’s not.
From the very first moment, I felt a weight on my chest.
Something was off, but I couldn’t understand what.
It took me a while to realise that my mind was picking a few known inputs and trying to retrieve existing patterns from my memory.
But it wasn’t working.
Those patterns are not mine anymore. New ones need to emerge.
Only when I stop trying to go back, and I decided to move forward that weight started to lift from my chest.

In the end, we are born to move forward.

Literally.

The human gait is designed to propel a person forward.

 

One Apple A Day #577 – shed the old skin

The other day I was walking in a park surrounded by the sound of thousands of cicadas. A typical soundtrack in the Italian summer.
But this time, a friend showed me all their abandoned skins on the side of the trees.

I’m fascinated by these transformation processes in nature, so I had to learn more.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

The female cicada deposit her eggs within slits in the bark of a tree. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, dig and hide into the soil.
The nymphs live underground for most of their lives. They have strong front legs for digging. They create their home close to roots, and they feed on their sap.

At some point, when they are ready to transform in their final nymphal state, they create an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge into the light. The find a tree and start climbing. During the climb, they shed their skin – a process called moult – for the last time. The new adult cicada emerges, the one we can hear in summer. The abandoned skins still clinging to the bark of the trees.

I find the whole process magical. When the cicada is ready to move into the adult life, it leaves behind the old skin so the new self can emerge to bring its magic to the world.

What do you have to shed and leave behind to bring your magic into the world?