One Apple A Day #663 – systems, drawings and bows

Sometimes I dig too much.

I think in part it’s because I’m naturally a reflective person, and in part for the work I do. I study ways to help people remove their limiting beliefs and unearth their true selves. So, I think it’s natural to do the same thing on myself. To ask me the challenging questions.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so well. 

Sometimes I just get trap into an inquiry spiral that leads to more confusion and can be exhausting.

I was sitting there meditating on this, and a few thoughts came to my mind.

The first one was a quote from Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray, a book that I love. 

“If you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.”

I believe it also works if you replace the verb “change” with “understand”. It’s hard to understand something from the inside. 

The second thought is a trick that art teachers use to train the observation capabilities of new artists. They ask the students to focus on the negative spaces around the object they are required to draw and not on the object itself. This is because in drawing an object, the artist knows what that object is supposed to look like. She has a mental model in her head that keeps her from drawing precisely what her eyes see. Hence, when asked to paint everything but the object itself, the proportions are easier to get right. The observation is not conditioned by the mental models.

The last one was the voice of my friend Stefano telling me that “I need to unload the bow every now and then otherwise, the tension will break it.

Not sure how these three thoughts are connected, but my time for this writing practice is gone, and I definitely need breakfast.

One Apple A Day #662 – love and protection

To protect something or someone we love is noble.
However, when this word came out in a recent conversation, the first emotion that I felt was fear, not love.
To protect means to keep safe from harm, something or someone.

So, it is an act motivated by fear. But fear is the opposite of love.

So now I’m torn.

Can we love and protect at the same time?

If we spend our energy to protect something, we won’t have much left to infuse into that same thing and make it grow and thrive.

If we go all in, infusing all the love we can to make it grow and thrive, we may become blind to the risks around us.

I know, probably I’m just overthinking as I often do. But these thoughts have been spinning in my head since yesterday, and I need to let them out, so I can clear up my mind and move ahead with my day.
That’s one of the purposes of this writing practice.

Plus, I pick my Be The Change card, and it says “Standing in the intersection, leading from the space in-between“.

So, I’ll stay in the intersection between love and protection, and lead my day from there.

One Apple A Day #661 – trust the now

To be fully present in the moment it’s one of the purest and highest manifestations of trust.

Being able to predict the future is a fundamental survival skill. Human beings have been refining this ability since their appearance on Earth. It is in our DNA. We are endlessly analyzing our surroundings and predicting, or least trying to predict, what will happen next. We want to be sure to avoid anything that can bring us harm and, on the other side, repeat what gives us pleasure.

Yet, somehow predicting is like walking forward while looking back. We compare the situation with our memories to guess what may happen next, what will or will not work. Prediction is driven by our need for safety. It is, in the end, a reflection of fear.

To be present in the moment, without knowing what will happen and without trying to predict what’s next, requires trust.
Trust in it’s purest form. Trust in ourselves and in our infinite potential. Trust that whatever the future holds, we will thrive in it.

One Apple A Day #659 – a long trail

Yesterday, I did some trekking with a friend. We walked for a few hours on an unexpectedly steep trail.
As always, I’m amazed by the amount of learning and discovery that a walk in nature can unlock.
Anyway, we left early in the morning with plenty of enthusiasm. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while.
The first meters has been effortless. My legs were fine, my heart beating normal, and my breathing relaxed.
One kilometre, two kilometres. All good, we were walking in a beautiful autumn scenario within the woods, the mountains immersed in the November mist.
2,999 meters and I feel good.
Un meter later, fatigue arrived. Like a little shock running through the thigh, a bump in my heartbeat, the breath a little louder.
From that moment, the walk shifted and became tougher and tougher until we finished our excursion and came back to the car.

Would you say that the reason for the fatigue was the meter 3,000? That if would skip that meter, I would have any problem and maybe walk easily for hours?
I’m sure you won’t say that. Obviously, fatigue was just manifesting at that point but has been building up in all the meters before.

Yet, how many time in life, we focus on one event and forget the journey that led to that moment?
We think some people become successful overnight ignoring the years of hard work they put in to get there.
Something or something falls apart for what looks like a small push, and we overlook the long trail of small cracks that have been manifesting for a long time.

“Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.” – James Clear

That’s why it’s essential to take care of your habits. Being aware that the journey to the top is a long one and every single step matters.

One Apple A Day #658 – a drop

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” ― Rumi

Maybe it’s because it has been raining for days. 

Or maybe because I’ve been thinking and talking about belonging and identity.

Anyway, these beautiful words from Rumi appeared in my awareness. And when I read them, I think that it’s not one or the other for me. 

I am both.

I am the entire ocean in a drop.

I’m aware that there is so much more in me, and in everyone, that I can’t even imagine. It goes beyond my ability to understand. And that’s perfect because not knowing is what allow me to take the risk and allow this bigger who to emerge.

But I am also a drop in the ocean. 

I am part of the whole and the whole at the same time.

Even more, I am a drop in many oceans at the same time.

And again, there is much more in the ocean that goes beyond my imagination. And not knowing is what allow me to take the risk to plunge into the water with all the other drops and see where we can go together.

“Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,

and in exchange gain the Ocean.

Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,

and in the arms of the Sea be secure.

Who indeed should be so fortunate?

An Ocean wooing a drop!

In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!

Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.” ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi