One Apple A Day #834 – Responsibility

What a beautiful and powerful word. I already wrote about the difference between blame and responsibility and how the later is a crucial ingredient of freedom.
For many years I perceived responsibility as something heavy; a weight placed on my shoulders by others or myself. Then I’ve learned that it is an expression of love. When I love something or someone, I make myself available to help.
In this morning meditation, however, I realised that for me, it is a lot easier to feel responsible for others or for the external world than for my inner one.
It may well be an ego thing; a way to show the world that I am a responsible guy.
But what about my own feelings, needs, dreams and ideas?
Who, if not me, should be responsible for them?
Too often, I shy away from my responsibilities towards myself.
It is time to look inward and take full responsibility for what’s going in there.

One Apple A Day #832 – Spirituality

Day two of this journey into these strengths cards, and it’s already a tough one. At least it is for me.

I had a very religious upbringing that played a big part in making me who I am today. Until my late twenties, I’ve been very active in my parish. I lovely memories of those years; a lot of fun and a great sense of belonging. 

Then something broke within me. I began to perceive the forms of which I was part, as empty shells. That sense of emptiness became so strong that I had to walk away.

For many years, I did my best to stay away from the word “spirituality”. As if it was tainted somehow. It took me a decade to release the beliefs and conditionings that come with that word. Only then, I was able to begin a new journey of rediscovery to bring back that part of me in my life. And almost another decade to become comfortable in using this word again.

Now I see spirituality as the ability to perceive the essence beyond the form. And it’s an ability that I practice every day.

I haven’t written much, but as I said, this is not an easy word to write about. So, I’d like to share two writings that I love on the subject.

The Mystical Core of Organized Religion” by Br. David Steindl-Rast is an excellent article about the relationship between organised religions and mysticism. The image of the volcano is so powerful, and it perfectly describes how I felt when I stepped away from religion.

The Egg” by Andy Weir is a magical story that resonates with me on so many levels and can give you an idea of where I am today.

One Apple A Day #822 – honest conversations

Can a conversation with myself be really candid and honest?
This question came up for me this morning, while I was trying to see a clear path amidst the chaos of thoughts in my head.
I think I am good at introspection.
I love to dive into my own feelings and thoughts and dig out some truth.
I cherish the long conversations with myself, in which I’m the one asking tough questions and the one struggling to answer at the same time.
But are these inner conversations disruptive enough?
Unfortunately, no.
As much as I think I’m honest with myself – nobody is eavesdropping the conversations in my head – I still run in circles within the box that I built over the years.
So yes, I’m having honest conversations, but only reaffirming what I already know.
That’s why I need to surround myself with people who can ask me the healthy questions, the ones that help me see the box in which I am so I can break through it and grow.
We can’t go past our own web of beliefs and stories until someone, or something from the outside make that same web visible to us.

One Apple A Day #821 – seeker

This morning, my BetheChange card reminds me that “being creative is nothing more than being intensely who you are“, and it brings me back to the fundamentals “who” questions I wrote about in my last apple: “who am I?” and “who do I want to be?

In my experience, to find the answer to those questions through sheer logic is an impossible task. Combining introspection, we can get further in this quest, but the risk is to get lost in rumination or to tell ourselves lies only to feel good. 

This card reminds me that a huge help in my quest to answer the “who” questions is to add “empirical observation”. 

When and where do I feel more creative and passionate?

Simon Sinek says that “passion is an output, not an input“. Passion is something we experience when we do something meaningful.

So, that’s it. I just have to pay attention and recognise when I am more creative and passionate. That means I am on the line that goes from who I am to who I want to be, and I should be able to see the answers I seek.

While I’m writing this, a small voice inside my head is asking “if it’s so simple, how comes you are still struggling with both questions?” 

Maybe because it is not so simple.

There is no definitive answer. And to make things even more complicated, the quest itself changes us and so it changes the answers.

As usual, it’s messy.

But I love it.

So, who knows, maybe the quest itself is the answer to who I am and who I want to be.

One Apple A Day #820 – the who question

“Who am I?” is a powerful question.

One that I’ve been carrying with me since I can remember.

It’s a question that works on its own, even when I’m not deliberately trying to answer. 

It is a tricky question, however.

In a way, the answer is easy. I am the living, talking and walking answer.

It is when I want to find an answer in words that things become more complicated. When that desire is triggered, the result is long moments of introspection.

The fact is, that when it comes to the “who am I” question, there is no single answer or absolute truth. 

No unambiguous certainty.

The risk then is to get stuck digging in the messiness I hold inside for something that doesn’t exist. Not in the form I’d like at least.

So, maybe “who am I?”, albeit powerful, is not always the best question to ask if my aim is to grow and move forward.

Perhaps, a better question would be “Who do I want to be?”

It’s still a tough question for which I doubt I will ever find a definitive answer. But at least it’s future-oriented. Plus, it’s a question that invites me to use my imagination instead of my logic. So the journey goes from one of understanding what is to one of creating what will be.