One Apple A Day #680 – about wisdom

My grandfather knew when it was the right day to prune the vines. He always knew when it was the right night to go out fishing for eels. He couldn’t really explain how he knew it, but he did.

My grandmother knew how to make a perfect traditional cake. Many people from the village used to bring her the ingredients and she never disappointed, no matter how different the flour or the eggs were. Though, she didn’t know the recipe. When we manage to elicit a structured formula from her, the results weren’t as good.

Yesterday evening a dear friend told me about his great grandfather.
He was the man everyone called to get fruitful grafts on the vineyards. Throughout his career, he kept a daily log with all his weather observations. But what made him successful was his ability to retrieve the right information from his yearslong almanack and know the most propitious moment to make a successful graft. He couldn’t explain how he knew, but he did.

They all knew without knowing. Each one of them knew, deep in their own essence, how to read the invisible signs of the universe.

That is wisdom to me.
The subjective knowing beyond the objective knowledge.

Unfortunately, the subjective knowing can’t be modelled or structured, and so it cannot be taught.
You can only acquire it through observation and experience.
It takes time, discipline and awareness.
And the willingness to detach from the outcome.

One Apple A Day #679 – practice detachment

“The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them.” – Adriana Doyle

Yesterday I had an enlighting conversation with my dear friend Umberto. We were talking about how tough times can be unique sources of learning and growth, or heavy stones dragging us down.

It is up to us to decide what to do with our pitfalls.

I was also sharing how things that I experienced as massive failures when they happened years ago are now events that I cherish as part of my growth.

Yet, to put failures and tough times in the right perspective when you’re living them, it’s definitely hard.

As usual, Umberto shared a fascinating metaphor to explain this.

“It’s a matter of volume occupied. The more space something takes within your life, the heavier you perceive it. When you widen your space, that same thing becomes smaller and smaller, until it’s almost irrelevant.”

Quite obvious, no? If you put any object right in front of your face, it looks huge, but as soon as you put some space between you and the object, it becomes smaller until it almost disappears.

But how do you do that? It looks like time would be the only thing needed to gain a wider perspective on things. However, it’s not. How many people do you know who are still chained to their past failures and can’t see beyond them?

I believe the key is to practice the art of detachment. Your not your failures, and you’re not your successes. Only when you learn to detach from the outcome of what you do, you can walk away from it. And gain the perspective needed to transform failures in learning.

One Apple A Day #678 – let it run

Some times my mind reminds me of a chihuahua.
A friend has one of those tiny cute dogs, and I’ve done the dog-sitter a few times. It’s incredible how much energy it’s squeeze in such a small being.
There were moments in which there was no way to keep him still. He was running all around full speed, jumping from the char to the sofa, on the table. No matter how much I tried to calm him down, to pet him or to offer him some rewards. He just kept spinning around like crazy until he was exhausted. Over the months, I’ve learned to let go. There was no point in trying to control him. So, I gave him the space for his crazy running until he was ready to interact with me.

Some times my mind does the same, and it goes all over the place. It spins around, bouncing from memories to ideas, going from one place to another, from one thought to something else completely unrelated — all of this without any apparent logic or purpose.

In the beginning, it was upsetting. In particular, when it happens when I’d like to focus on something, or I am meditating. Like before writing my morning post. I was disappointed by my inability to keep my mind where I wanted. But then I realised that trying to control my thoughts is pointless. I had to let them run wild and free until peace comes. The beautiful thing is that very often with peace also come the answers. And a previously invisible pattern emerged from what were unrelated thoughts a moment before.

One Apple A Day #677 – on maps and darkness

I love frameworks and schemas. I love finding them and, some times, creating them. And the simpler they are, the better.
I get the chills anytime I find a frame that helps me read the reality at a glance. A useful framework is like a treasure map. It provides me with guidance to move through reality and find what I’m looking for.
Frameworks and structures create also order. They draw lines dividing and connecting things, so I can make sense of what I experience.

At the same time, I cherish chaos and the shapeless space outside and between frames and structures.

Lately, I’ve realised how much energy I spent trying to fit into some frames or boxes while at the same time, I was evading or escaping them. It is as if a side of me wants to belong to something while the other side craves the freedom of nothing.

Not sure what this post is about. There are morning when I wake up with such clarity that my fingers write on their own. Other mornings are foggier. I have glimpses of something, an image, a word or a feeling. Those days, writing is like walking in the dark. My steps are hesitant, not knowing where I will end up. If I ever get somewhere.

This morning is one of them. And weird enough, when it’s too dark to see, maps become useless. So, maybe this what this post is all about. Reminding me that maps are useful, but when it’s dark, my only guidance is my senses and my inner compass.

One Apple A Day #676 – don’t let anger poison your soul

I read somewhere that being angry with someone is like drinking poison, hoping to hurt them. It won’t affect the people you hate, but it will surely and slowly kill you.

It happens many times in my life. I allowed negative emotions and thoughts to grow within me until they became toxic and poisoned my soul.
The irony is that while I was getting sick from my own doing, nothing was changing with the situations or the people that sparked my anger.

A few weeks ago, it happened again.
On a Saturday, someone did something that really hurt me. Knowing that there wasn’t much I could do to change the situation, I tried to convince myself that I could let go and enjoy my weekend as planned.
On Sunday morning, my partner and I went visiting some friends. We went exploring a lovely Christmas market to find some inspiration for gifts.

All the time, my mind and my heart were somewhere else.
Pain became a disappointment.
Disappointment became anger.
I was poisoning my own soul.

On the way back home in the afternoon, I realised that I was wasting my energy and my time. For nothing.

When I got home, I immediately went talking with the people who hurt me. From a practical point of view, that conversation was pointless, and it didn’t solve anything. The wound and the pain are still there.
But it helped me pushing the toxic thoughts out of my system, replacing anger with compassion.

One Apple A Day #675 – before we know

Can you remember when you were a child, and everything was a discovery? You knew nothing, so you had to be creative and figure out everything on your own.

Before we know.

I woke up with these three words in my mind.

Sometimes I have the feeling that knowledge is narrowing my possibilities. Because I know how to do something, I’m not challenged to search for other ways. Maybe there are no different ways, but I’ll never know because I’ll automatically go with what I know.

“Reality is out there.”

I remember reading this quote in an article about native americans. Still, I may be wrong, and it’s just a false memory.

Anyway, to me, this simple sentence always spoke about wonder and innocence. I am aware that we see the world not as it is, but as we are. We always filter reality through the lens of our beliefs, so the reality as we experience it is, at least in part, an internal construction based on our knowledge.

When we don’t know, we can’t make assumptions, and we experience reality for what it is. Like when we travel to new places, or we meet new people.

One Apple A Day #674 – hey look, this is who I am

What should I do? Should I write my daily apple this morning or not?

It’s almost 11 in the morning, and my morning routine has been completely disrupted. For good reasons. I’m on a short vacation in a city I love, visiting people who are really dear to me and we arrived very late yesterday night.

It’s always about getting your priorities right. A night of good sleep is vital for my health. And my health is a top priority. Friends are also over there among the essential elements of my life.

Though, this short daily moment is part of who I am. Every time I write and publish a post, I’m saying to the universe “Hey look, this is who I am. I am an author.” 

Even when it’s not perfect. Even when my routine is gone or my inspiration is low. It’s not the outcome that matters the most. It’s the consistency through which I shape and reinforce my identity. 

I don’t write for the outcome, I write because this is who I am. 

And you know, I’ve surprised myself. I’m a lazy and undisciplined person, yet I’ve been consistently writing almost every morning for years now. I firmly believe that the reason I’ve been able to achieve this is that I’m not writing for the outcome, I’m doing it because it’s who I am. 

So yes. I’m writing this morning to remind myself that I’m an author.

One Apple A Day #673 – Do the work

You have to do the work.

I don’t know where these words came from, but they appeared in my meditation, shining in my mind like a glistening Christmas sign.

I’m an introspective and curious person. I triggered by anything that engages my imagination. I hear or see something, and my mind immediately begins making connections and creating stories.

Most of these stories never leave that space. They begin and end within my mind.

Though, I’m well aware that it is only when I transform my thoughts into actions that things really happen.

As Stephen Covey said, “to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.

To do the work means to manifest my potential. 

Maybe, those blinking words emerged to remind me to be more intentional in transforming my thoughts in actions.

As Steven Pressfield wrote in his book “Do the Work”, “We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.” 

One Apple A Day #672 – I need to love more

Power + love.

Again.

Since I wrote about it last week, this Be The Change card has been coming back almost every morning. This morning again, I shuffled the cards, closed my eyes and picked one. 

Power + love.

The card comes with this inspiring quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

For a while now, there have been tensions in my neighbourhood. Someone has stepped over the collective interests to pursue their own benefit. As with many things, they used a legal loophole to achieve their desired outcome. But with that, also came more conflict and tensions.

Looking at the whole situation with the lens that this card, “Power + Love” gives me, I can see that in this situation, the balance is fully tilted towards power.

I have the power to do it, then I do it. If you have the power to stop me, then do it. And so on.

And power, without love, is reckless and abusive.

Love is the missing factor in this equation. But how do I bring love back into the picture?

What does it mean to love more in these circumstances?

These are the questions I’m going to carry with me today.

Power + Love.

One Apple A Day #671 – practice wisely

My morning writing ritual is made of different elements. 

Almost every day, I write in the same place, at the same time and following the same process. This routine helps me get in the inner space I need to write.

This morning, however, my routine got wholly disrupted. I’m away from my writing place, and so far, I did many things but the ones I used to do to start my day.

I was even wondering if I wanted to write or not until I found myself sitting and ready to start. As if my body knew what I really wanted before my mind.

It is the power of practice. 

Practice is what transform something you do in who you are. It’s the way through which your behaviours shape your identity.

I witnessed the power of practice yesterday evening. I attended a workshop of Taiko, it’s the Japanese art of drumming and percussions. But it is a lot more than drumming. It’s a practice of the mind and the soul as much as of the body. 

Observing the teacher playing the Taiko was a unique experience. He was not doing the movements, he was the movements. Even the smallest gesture infused with all of who he is. 

It was as if every muscle of his body knew exactly what to do and how to do it.

Years of deliberate and intentional practice has transformed his doing into his being.

The power of practice.

This is why it’s essential to be present and aware in everything we say and do. 

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.” — Jim Rohn