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

One Apple A Day #670 – Mors tua vita mea

Mors tua vita mea” is an idiomatic expression in Latin, born in the Middle Ages.

The literal meaning is rather dramatic, “Your death is my life” and it refers to the fight for survival, like in a war or battle, where your defeat is necessary for my victory.

In a more broader sense, this phrase embodies the idea that one derives an advantage for someone else failure

Your loss is my gain.

It is an expression that distils competition, individualism and opportunism. It is often used to describe the harshness of life by those who feel life as a continuous struggle for survival.

A few events lately made me realize how many people are still trapped in the mindset of self-preservation. In a paradigm of scarcity, so we have to fight for the same resources. And the winners take it all.

I’m referring to good honest people, who have no desire to harm anyone. But when you’re trap in that mindset, you become blind to the consequences of your actions. Caught in the idea that everyone is willing to do everything to get what they want and protect who they love, you just do the same. 

It’s the law of the jungle baby.

But we are not in the Middle Ages anymore. And the only outcome of approaching life with this mindset is that, in the end, everyone loses. 

And I don’t believe having better rules, laws or structures will change anything. If we create new structures from an old mindset, we will just sustain that mindset.

What is needed is a shift in consciousness. 

One that moves us from self-preservation to self-realization.

“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving, we do.” — Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (a 19 years old activist)

One Apple A Day #669 – intention and higher purpose

A few days ago, a dear friend shared with me this compelling article. It’s an interview with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. Yep, that famous Sully who’s story became a movie with Tom Hanks a few years ago.

At the beginning of 2009, he saved the lives of the over 100 passengers of the US Airways Flight 1549 when with his crew he managed to safely land his disabled plane in the Hudson River.

The interview is about his mental discipline and how he learned to handle the immense pressure of being a pilot. But what most struck me about this interview is his perspective on leadership. There are many nuggets that you will find in the article, but his answer to the last question – How can you prepare yourself to lead? – has been in mind since I read it.

There are a lot of opportunities to make a difference in smaller or less obvious ways. There are ways to lead even driving in traffic: by choosing to let someone in front of you rather than cutting them off. Sometimes a small group will experience some social awkwardness, and then one person will take the initiative to say a word or do something. And people will follow them. That’s all it takes. Being the one to say, “This is where we start.”

This morning I was sitting in my morning reflections. Beside me a card that says “everyone has the power to affect the direction of an organisation” and in my head those words. 

That’s all it takes. Being the one to say, “This is where we start.”

I emerged from my meditation with two insights about my journey to nurture my inner leadership.

Being intentional in every word, choice, action. 

As Viktor Frankl wrote “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” When I choose how to respond to circumstances, and I act with intention, I practice leadership. 

Act with a higher purpose.

Anytime my intention goes beyond myself and my personal achievement, I practice leadership.

One Apple A Day #668 – love, power, change, time

I woke up with the words from an article I read yesterday still whispering in my mind. I thought those would be a perfect input for my daily apple. I was already savouring the idea of pondering on and playing around those words.

Before beginning my writing practice, I did some stretching, I drank some water, and I sat to meditate. Following my morning ritual, I picked a BeTheChange card to ease my way into a deeper level of reflection.

It was the card saying “Power + Love”. 

Again.

For the third morning in a row, the same card came up.

What does this card keep telling me that I am not seeing?

So, I was there, still on the outside but with quite a chaos on the inside. 

I tried to focus on what I wanted to write about but those two words, power and love, kept coming back.

Then I had a flash. A memory from my school years. Power is also a word used in physics. It has something to do with change and time. Immediately after, other words from a book I read last summer surfaced in my mind.

I didn’t know what to do with those flashes when I opened my eyes. So, I rushed to my laptop and did a quick search.

“In physics, power is the rate of doing work or of transferring heat, i.e. the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. As a physical concept, power requires both a change in the physical system and a specified time in which the change occurs.” – from Wikipedia

So, the way I’ve decided to read it, my power is my ability to infuse energy into a system to change it within a specified time. 

What about love? Using Rupert Spira words, “Love is the experience of that oneness of being.

So, if we are one, to change someone or something, it means to change me.

The words I wanted to write about at the beginning were about leadership. The words in the card I picked reminded me that leadership begins with my ability to love and infuse energy in my own change.

One Apple A Day #666 – self-leadership

This morning I was reflecting on Self-leadership. Lately, this word has been the topic of a few conversations, in particular within the context of organizations. It looks like there is a demand for more self-leadership, but what that does really mean? How do people with a high level of self-leadership show up in their private and professional lives? Am I expressing my self-leadership?

Bryant and Kazan, in their book titled “Self-Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out” provides the following definition.

Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there.

To me, self-leadership is about alignment. I feel I am a leader of myself when I am fully in tune with my essence. When my actions, my words, my thoughts are coherent with who I am. And while I’m writing this, I realize that this alignment is also what I recognize in the great leaders that I admire. 

So know, Lao-Tsu words sound more potent than ever.

“Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”


P.S. Quite a fascinating number for today’s post. The (in)famous Number of the Beast, also known as The devil’s number. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search and discover that there are people who are so fearful of this number that they created a word for this phobia; hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. If you read up to here, I guess you don’t have that!

One Apple A Day #665 – gratitude and care

“Gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without and beside us.”

Since last week, when I read these words from the poem ‘GRATITUDE‘ by David Whyte, I knew that I wanted to write something. When I woke up with these words in mind, I thought that today was the day even I didn’t have a clear idea of what wanted to emerge. 

Then this morning I picked a BeTheChange card for my meditation, and it says “Dare to let of control“.

Gratitude and letting go of control. 

Is there a connection? 

While I was sitting in silence with this question, a memory came back. A late-summer conversation on the seashore. In that conversation, I realise that if I can replace control with care, I can make my actions exponentially more powerful.

“Care” is the word I was looking for. Because paying attention, being present to everything is a form of caring.

Gratitude is the attitude I need to nurture to shift from control to care.


P.S. for some reasons, I wrote this post yesterday as I do every morning but I forgot to publish it! So, here it is.

One Apple A Day #664 — stillness

“Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfilment.

Not seeking, not expecting,

she is present, and can welcome all things.” — Lao-Tzu

A friend sent me this a few days ago, and these words have been working within me since then. 

There are moments in life where we feel as if we are swimming in muddy water. We can’t see clearly, and the more we move, the more the water becomes murky. It looks like everything we do, everything we say makes things worst. At the point that we begin wondering if there is a way out at all.

“Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?”

To stop and wait seems counterintuitive. Yet, it’s only when you stop moving and agitating the water, that the mud starts to settle. 

What does it mean to stay still in your situation? What would happen if you do nothing and say nothing for a while?

Can you remain unmoving

till the right action arises by itself?”

This is the tricky part for me. Because when you stop moving and the mud starts to settle, impatience grows. The more the water becomes clear, the more the desire to see through, to get the answer raises. 

It is then that your inner strength is tested.

Can you resist the desire to act and wait for the right action to emerge?

How will you recognize it?

A good sign is the feeling of detachment from the outcome. When you’re not focused on anything but the present moment, that’s when the eyes of intuition will show you the way.