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 #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 #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 #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

One Apple A Day #652 – the universe is my teacher

There is something to learn in everything.

In pain and joy.
In failure and success.
In fear and love.
In friends and foes.
In peace and conflicts.
In the present and in the past.
In my stories and in the stories of others.

Because for the soul, heart, mind and body of a student, everything and everyone is a teacher.

It doesn’t mean that we have to reflect on everything we go through in life to extract a lesson. That would be exhausting.

But we must nurture the learner’s attitude in our mind, heart, body and soul.

Sometimes the learning is manifest, sometimes is subtle, and other times it is apparently invisible.
However, if we keep the learner’s attitude, the learning will manifest itself at some point, in its own way.

One Apple A Day #651 – merging flows

“Energy flows where attention goes.”

These few words are a powerful reminder of the power of attention.

But what happens to our energy when our attention is spread in many directions?

In my mind, I used to picture this situation as a lake feeding too many rivers. Because the water in the lake is limited, only a small amount of water flows into each river.

A logical solution would be to close some rivers, so the remaining ones will receive more water and flow with more strength. 

However, being an explorer I love to try to new things and open up new streams. So, I struggle at the idea of closing some streams of water to favour others.

But yesterday I have a small aha moment. The kind that arrives unexpectedly while you’re doing something else.

In the material world, a river can’t be moved. Not easily at least. But in my imaginary lake, I can merge more streams into one to create a bigger and more powerful river.

So, it’s no more about giving up on something but being creating in joining smaller streams into a bigger one.

One Apple A Day #650 – The Two Me

There are two me.
One is the present “me”, the person I am, today. The second one is the future me, the person I want to be tomorrow.

My future self is a dreamy guy. He is resourceful, creative and abundant, with plenty of audacious goals and ambition. He relentlessly makes plans and design actions to fully realise his potential. He is the man of intentions.

My present self is a matter-of-fact person. The one who has to realise the plans made by the other me. But he has to deal with the limitations and boundaries of reality, and that often trigger a scarcity mindset. He is the man of actions.

When they are out of synch, things can become complicated.
The future me feels hampered by the present one, and that creates frustration in him. The present me feels pressured and misunderstood. When this happens, intentions and actions seem to follow different paths.

Sometimes, they act as a perfect team. Each one selflessly serving the other. Intentions flow into actions, and magic happens.

One Apple A Day #642 – The Power of Belief

Your beliefs drive your behaviours. And your behaviours determine the outcome you achieve.

Stronger beliefs make you act smarter, better, and with greater resilience and determination. 

Beliefs are so powerful that they shape your identity and life.

When you believe in something, you just filter reality accordingly. I would say that you model your reality around your beliefs. That’s how powerful beliefs are.

When you truly believe in something or someone you overcome fear, doubts and anything that stands in the way of your action. 

Yet, you should never forget that your beliefs are not the truth.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius

You create your beliefs over the years, mostly unconsciously. They can make you incredibly powerful and effective, they can help you focus. But they can also limit you, making you blind to the infinite possibilities of the world.

I’m not sure about what I wanted to share this morning. Beliefs are a vast topic.

My reflections have been kindled by some conversations but mostly by witnessing the power of believing in something greater. And I’m wondering. Does that power come from the object of that belief or from the act of believing itself, from within?

One Apple A Day #641 – an infinite story

“Can we ever know who we really are?”

Lately, I’ve been pondering and writing a lot about identity. About the importance of knowing who I am and defining my actions from my identity to make them more powerful.

Then this morning, I opened the laptop for this little writing exercise of mine. As usual, I started by clearing the space closing the programs and documents I left open yesterday evening. And in one of them, a page with all text that I highlighted on the books I read recently, this question stood out.

“Can we ever know who we really are?”

Can I? 

I mean, I know my name, story, facts, skills and so on. For sure, I have knowledge about myself, but that’s just the surface. Maps, as I wrote a few days ago.

I’m also aware that there are also parts of me that I can’t see. My blind spots. Thanks to my relationships and conversations, I keep shading more light on them, but I don’t know how many are still there.

But even if I could cast away every shadow and illuminate every dark corner, I feel that it won’t be enough. There is more to me, and to everyone that our limited minds can grasp.

That’s what makes this journey of life so fascinating to me; it is infinite.