One Apple A Day #440 – The volcano

“The religions start from mysticism. There is no other way to start a religion. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was a fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Doctrine becomes doctrinaire. Morals become moralistic. Ritual becomes ritualistic. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it.”

Yesterday I found this powerful metaphor from David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk. The beauty of this metaphor is that it can be applied to any organisation.

Just replace the word “religion” with “form” or “configuration”. With the word configuration, I mean all the visible and invisible elements that define the “HOW” of an organisation.

Then replace “mysticism” with “consciousness” or “energy”; the true self, the bigger “WHO” of an organisation.

Then the sentence reads: “The form starts from consciousness. There is no other way to start a form. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was a fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Ideas become risks. Principles become bureaucracy. Ritual becomes routine. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it.”

How many organisation do you know that are in that place? Where the original fire now is just some dead rocks?

And what about you?

Because this metaphor works beautifully also for us, as individuals.

Is your flame, your energy still alive or did you allow for the time to cover it beneath solid rocks?

Every transformation journey starts with removing all those layers of solid rocks to find the original fire and reignite the volcano.

One Apple A Day #439 – Integration

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

According to the gospels, the one above is the sentence that Jesus used to answer to someone asking if it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Roman’s empire.

Where I grew up, this sentence was often used to explain that spirituality and reality are two different worlds. On one side the real world, made of matter, in which we live. And above that the realm of the soul.

I thought spirituality was a journey of elevation.

And that same thought pushed me away from any spiritual work for a very long time. I couldn’t handle that fracture anymore. I couldn’t understand the kind of spiritual schizophrenia of people praying for love and acting with hate.

It took me years, a lot of falls and some inspired teachers to find my way.

Now I know that my spiritual journey is one of integration.

“Or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.” ― T S Eliot, Four Quartets

One Apple A Day #438 – Authentic

According to the dictionary, something authentic is “something of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.”

I feel authentic anytime my words, and my actions originate from who I am.
Even when I make mistakes.
Even when words don’t come out easily.
Because being authentic means being human.
And accept that I am perfect in my imperfection.

One Apple A Day #437 – I don’t control the outcome, just the process.

I love this moment of the day. I sit here with some relaxing music, and I write for 15 minutes or so.
No goals. Just the act of writing.
It amazes me how I’ve been able to keep this practice for so long, despite my proven lack of self-discipline.

Unfortunately, any time I tried to apply the same strategy to work on my book, I failed. Again and again.
The practice of writing daily on the book never took off.
I used the same strategies: the same time of the day, same duration, the same tool.
Nothing!
After a few days, something gets in the way, and the practice is gone.

It has been going on for months. As a result, I blew up all my deadlines on the book project, and it became very frustrating.

With all deadline gone, I started losing my grip on the outcome. Questioning if I will ever see the final book.
And then, something happened.
When the outcome faded away, the habit of writing daily started to stick.

I realised that what makes this habit easy to keep is the total absence of outcome. I write every day just for the pleasure of writing.

I don’t control the outcome, just the process.

The moment I gave up my desire to control the outcome, I was able to focus on the process and make it work.

One Apple A Day #436 – you don’t have to fix everything

The other morning I was waiting at the traffic light for my turn to cross the road. Before me a couple with two dogs, a big one and a small one. Both beautiful and sociable. The smaller one, in particular, was cute and playful. When the light went green, and we all cross the road, I noticed that it cannot move one of its legs, but it was walking and jumping around as if everything was normal.
It made me think about our ability to adapt to our own limitations.

At the end of 2015, I realised that something had to change in my life.
I began my self-awareness journey reading, studying and doing self-development programs. I quickly realised that I was the one that had to change. I needed to transform myself so I double-in my commitment to self-development. I read and studied more, completed better programs, talked with many people to seek advice.
With every insight I was discovering about myself, new opportunities to grow and change were emerging.
It was an exciting journey.
The feeling of transformation was addictive, and I wanted to change everything. To become better and better.
Until I got stuck.
A few things were not changing despite all my efforts.
And I felt like I wasn’t making any real progress.

That was the moment when I learned that there are parts of me I can not change. No matter how hard I try, I won’t change them.

We don’t have to fix everything. Sometimes we have to accept that there are things we cannot change and with this valuable insight move on and live our life.

“When we let go of the things we cannot change, it frees up the energy to focus on changing the things we can.” — Tasha Eurich

One Apple A Day #435 – To be heard, start listening

“The desire to be heard is as deeply seeded as the desire to be loved. For some people, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other end.” ― David Levithan

The longing to be heard and seen is part of our human nature. It is a manifestation of our need to belong, to be loved.

In a world that is more and more crowded, in which we are flooded with data and information, and in which everything moves and changes at ludicrous speed, being heard seems a nearly impossible challenge.

People are desperately trying to be seen.
In this desperate effort to be heard they shout louder and louder.
At the point that we can’t hear anything else than our own voices.

Isn’t it ironic?
The yearning to be heard and seen is making us deaf and blind to others.

What if, the only way to be seen and heard is to stop talking so we can start observing and listening to others?

One Apple A Day #434 – An easy win

Today may be the most important day of your year.

It’s the 2nd day of this new year, but for most of us, it’s the first one of the chase of the new dreams, goals and aspirations we established for ourselves.

Dreaming and setting goals is an exciting exercise. It got us all pumped up. Yesterday our phone was flooded by wishes and inspiring messages.

Then, this morning reality comes knocking at the door, and suddenly those goals seem so big and so far away.

The first doubts pop up in our mind.

Where do we start?

What can we do today?

We have these big dreams, but we don’t know what to do, Today.

My wise friend Karen once told me “If you don’t know what to do, do something“.

The first step is the most important of them all. It’s the one stating to yourself and the universe that you are 200% committed to this journey.

So, doing something and start is more important than what you actually do.

But you need to start Today. You need to set things in motion.

Here’s a simple trick that my mentor Rossella taught me in one of our conversations.

Start with an easy win. Something so small and so easy you can not succeed.

Think about your goal and ask yourself: What is the tiniest and easiest thing that I am sure I can do Today and can take me an iota closer to my goal? 


This post was inspired by the Be The Change card I picked this morning. It says “Step forward, make yourself available. Commit.

One Apple A Day #433 – The last page

Here you are, at the beginning of the last day of 2018.
There won’t be any other day so this is a goodbye for good.

I don’t know you, but I’ve always been better at starting things.
I love the excitement of a new beginning so, I was quick to jump on new things to avoid the experience of closing the old ones.
It wasn’t important if the old things were a success or a failure. I didn’t want to leave behind the pleasure of the firsts, and I was eager to run away from the laters.

And over time, all those unclosed things started weighing on my shoulders. Like chains, they were dragging me back making my steps heavier and slower. Until I couldn’t move forward anymore.

So I had to pause and take the time to say goodbye, keep the lessons learned and then let them go for good.

When you get to the last page of the book, you need to close it to leave space for a new story. No matter how good or how bad the book was. If you don’t close it and put it away, after a while, it will clutter your desk, and you won’t be able to read anything new.

I don’t know how your 2018 has been. Maybe it was the best year of your life so far. Or perhaps it was of those shitty years you want to forget as soon as possible. However it was, you are on the last page.

Take some time to take your learnings and close the book.  So, tomorrow you will be able to start a new story without any chain holding you back.

One Apple A Day #432 – With a little help from the universe

In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield says that “The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile.” He called this hostility Resistance but he also explains that we can transform this Resistance into Assistance if we act.

My experience is that the universe is not a positive or negative force in itself. The real resistance is within us.
The universe just follows our action. It doesn’t drive them.

If you sit waiting for things to happen, the universe will sit over you.
It will squash you down with its infinite weight. Like the force of gravity, it creates a resistance making hard for you to stand up and move.
After a while, your muscles will shrink, your energy will fade and you will crumble.

But when you take action and you move, then the universe becomes an amplifier. Like a wind blowing on your tail. Step by step the force of the universe compounds and grows until you get momentum and you become unstoppable.

If you want abundance in your life, don’t sit waiting for the universe to serve it to you. Stand up and begin something. Act toward your dreams and draw the force of the universe on your side.

“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage and then the mind grows heated;
Begin and then the work will be completed.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One Apple A Day #431 – Being present amidst change

Have you already wrote your new year resolutions?

What do you want to achieve next year?  Do you have goals or aspirations? Are there new things you want to get or old ones to leave behind?

When I reviewed my last twelve months, I realised that most of the things that happened were unexpected. They weren’t in my plan for the year.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t even be able to think about some of them one year ago. They were entirely outside of my awareness.

This realisation left me with a big question; if everything changes in life, is it worth it to plan my next months?

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable“.

You should look at planning not as a way to draw a clear and detailed path forward but as a way to gain awareness about where you are, where you want to go, and why you want to go there.

About who you are and who you want to grow into.

Everything will change, you can be sure about that.  So, don’t be attached to your plan but anchor yourself to who you are and your values. This way you’ll be able to present and thrive amidst change.