One Apple A Day #892 – being whole and healthy

I love words. 

Behind the words that we use every day, there are stories and journeys reflecting and defining our culture and how we see the world.

“All language proceeds as a system of navigation. Named things are fixed points aligned or compared, which allow the speaker to plot the next move”

Bruce Chatwin

Last Friday, I was exploring the word holistic for something I was writing. 

The first surprise for me was to discover that it is a recent entry in the dictionary. It was coined in 1926 by Jan Christian Smuts, a South African soldier and statesman with a passion for natural science. He defined holism as the “tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution.”

From there, the words holism and holistic took over, and are now commonly used.

Smuts derived holism from the Greek word holos, meaning “whole”, probably attracted by the similar sound. Yet, apparently, the two words have no etymological connection.

In fact, the word “whole” originated from the Middle English hool. 

So what?

The Greek word holos derives from the Proto-Indo-European root sol-, meaning “whole, well-kept.” From the same root, derive the Latin salvus, “uninjured, in good health, safe” and salus meaning “good health”.

Following this path, it is clear that for our ancestors being healthy meant to be whole. 

What I find fascinating is that the word “whole” shares the same root, the Proto-Indo-European¬†*kailo-, with the word “health”. Again, the same connection transpires.

In all languages, there is a strong connection between being whole and being healthy. Something we should remind ourselves more often.

One Apple A Day #891 – who’s first?

Anytime I hear someone saying that we must put “us first”, whoever that “us” include, I can’t help but feel pain.
As if, in the long game, there can ever be a winner.
We are all interconnected.
Winning over someone or everyone else is just a momentary achievement.
The idea that life is a competition is shortsighted and is the real cause of many world-scale issues like climate change or global pollution.
We value momentary local victories, without considering that at some point we will pay the price as a whole.
I hear many saying that this is the rule of the jungle.
But that’s because we observe nature from an ego-centric perspective. So, it may look like animals are competing for the same resources, or we may believe that predators and prey are on different sides of the game.
Instead, they are all dancers in the same ballet.
All animals and plants are part of nature’s flow. A lion has nothing against a gazelle, but they are both parts of the same flow.
From the perspective of nature, they are collaborating.
Us human, with our free will, we read that as competition without realizing that in doing that we are damaging ourselves too.
Am I oversimplifying?
Maybe.
But I had this thought spinning in my head for the last few days, after reading yet another politician say “my region first”. And I needed to let it go.

One Apple A Day #890 – Essence

If you take an object of any shape and cover it with a blanket, you can still recognize its features. The colour and the pattern on its surface aren’t visible, but anyone should spot what it is.

If you add another blanket on top, some of the smaller features become invisible. Sure, someone familiar with the object may still recognize it, but it’s no so easy.

The more blankets you add, the less the object is recognizable. Until the surface will be completely flat and it won’t be even possible to spot the object at all.

This is what we often do with our essence.

We keep adding layers and layers over it until we can’t distinguish it from others’ essence. Or, in the worst cases, until we can’t even see if the essence is still there.

Layers can take any form; beliefs, habits built over time, social conditionings, failures, and successes.

If you struggle to recognize who you are, maybe it’s time to remove some of those layers and allow your essence to shine again.

One Apple A Day #889 – Inspire

You inspire others.

We all inspire others.

The verb “to inspire”, comes from Latin inspirare meaning “blow into, breathe upon.

Our words, choices and actions are observed and register by the people around us. Through everything we say and do, we release energy that travels and reaches others.

This energy usually takes the form of emotions.

Many studies have shown that we continuously spread our emotions to others via a phenomenon called emotional contagion.

More often than not, we do it unconsciously.

So, you have the extraordinary power to inspire others.

But as they say, with it comes great responsibilities.

How are you using this superpower?

What vibes are you sending out?

What energy are you breathing upon others?

Imagine what we could create just by paying attention to how we inspire others.

One Apple A Day #888 – intentions and behaviour

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”

Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything.

My dear friend Luca reminded me of this statement by Covey. We were talking about a few situations in which other people’s actions triggered me. 

You know, one of those situations in which you feel you’re doing your best for the collective interest while others seem to focus only on themselves?

I’ve been there a few times. And I always played the victim’s part, walking away with resentment.

Only this time was different. 

Or maybe I am different.

But those words from Covey stung me to the core.

What do I really know about others’ intentions? 

And what about my actions? 

What do my behaviours say about my intentions?

It was one of those moments of truth.

We communicate through our behaviours. 

I can’t control what others read in my actions, but I must always check if my behaviours align with my intentions.