One Apple A Day #692 – I want to go home

Do you remember when you were a kid, and your parents decided to go somewhere you didn’t want to?

I do. Very well.

I was an introvert child. I could spend hours on my own reading or watching cartoons on the TV. 

When my parents decided to take the whole family somewhere, usually on Sundays, let’s say I wasn’t really cheerful. 

In particular when the plan was to visit relatives or to go to some party with many people.

Anyway, I was a kid, so I didn’t have much choice but to follow.

I remember those long journey in the car where my only thought was “I want to go home!”

Sometimes I voiced it, but most of the time, I just sat there, in the back of the car in silence with the most resentful face I could make.

My mood didn’t change when we got to our destination. If possible, I was even more uptight. Full of my fierce refusal of the whole situation.

“I want to go home.”

That was everything I could think about. 

Everything was annoying and boring. And that was proof that I was right in my desire to go home.

Then, almost every time something happened. 

I don’t know if it was me getting tired of holding the forth. Or if it was something external cracking my walls, like a joke from my father, something sweet to eat softening my resistance, or the sight of some other kids doing something funny.

Whatever the reason, that voice in my head repeating “I want to go home”, became more and more feeble.

Until that thought was gone and I began having fun where I was.

These days feel a bit like that.

One Apple A Day #690 – my personal revolution

Synchronicity. 

“A concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.” — Wikipedia

I didn’t know I have to thank Jung for this word. My day hasn’t really started yet, and I already learned something new. 

What a way to begin this Friday.

Anyway, last few days, I experienced synchronicity. 

Or maybe I created it.

I had four conversations, and in all of them, we talked about the importance of being true to our very own nature, to ourselves. Only when we are in tune with our truth, life flows naturally. 

And be aware, natural does not mean easy, comfortable or painless. 

It is just the feeling that you are living the life you’re meant to live. You are being the person you’re meant to be.

And that, being true to your own nature, looks like a small personal act of rebellion to me. 

We convinced ourselves that only an intervention from outside or from above can change the system in which we live. Like a pandemic.

While there is so much that we can do, just by being true to ourselves.

And in my head came up this image of billions of personal revolutions.

One Apple A Day #687 – do you still have to?

I realised that the quality of my conversations improved lately.

All conversations, from the random ones at the grocery store to the daily exchanges having a meal.

Like yesterday at lunch, when I realised how many things we thought we had to do and all of a sudden, we can’t. And because we can’t do them, they don’t look as necessary and inevitable as we thought they were.

Yes, some are big things like going into the school or to the office to study and work. But mostly, this moment is an eye-opener on the many small things that make up our daily life.

I have to help that person. I know, I’m tired, but I have to.” or “I have to do that thing; otherwise nobody will do it and who knows what would happen.” 

How often I’ve heard people around me complaining like these. 

Now that person we thought we have to help is taking care of her or himself. That thing we had to do? Nobody doing it and nothing happened.

This is a unique opportunity to assess our routines, habits, and the list of things we thought we have to do and check what we can let go and what we want to keep. 

One Apple A Day #686 – my sanctuary

Sanctuary.

This word keeps coming back in my thoughts.

According to the dictionary, it is a “protection or a safe place, especially for someone or something being chased or hunted.”

This word also brings back memories of holy buildings, monasteries or churches where we used to go in symbolic pilgrimage when I was a kid.

My sanctuary is the place where I can detach from the mundane life and connect with my higher self. When I can listen to the universe – god, the field, the soul or however you call it – whispering. When I can ask the questions that have no answers.

In many fables, the sages live on top of a mountain. The medicine men use to go to the sacred mountain seeking answers. And religious people go to their temples.

What about now? Now that we are all locked within the wall of our houses. We can’t climb any mountains, we can’t sit in our temples. We can’t even walk out in nature. 

Yet, to me, having a sanctuary is vital. 

The environment is undoubtedly essential. Nothing opens up my mind as being in nature, being it the shore with the waves before me or the top of a mountain closer to the sky. But my sanctuary is most of all an inner state. So, I try to create my personal sanctuary every day.

I do it early in the morning, where everything is silent. I have a ritual, a sequence of steps I do every morning to get me to that place of full presence. 

My sanctuary.

Going there every morning, even if only for a few minutes, keeps me grounded.

One Apple A Day #679 – what windows are you keeping open?

For my research, I’ve been reading about neuroplasticity in the last days. Things like a study did a few years ago showing that interacting with our smartphones, it actually changes the way our thumbs and brain work together. Dr Ghosh, the author of the study, suggests that “that cortical sensory processing in the contemporary brain is continuously shaped by personal digital technology.

More and more, we have proofs that the choice of where we put our attention, shapes who we are.

Two days ago I went to the supermarket. There was a heaviness in the air, affecting everybody. A few people moving quickly around the shelves, avoiding each other and not only physically. No eye contact, no smiles.

I talked to the lady at the till and she told me that nobody says hello or goodbye anymore. We are letting fear expand in our minds, hearts and souls. As a result, the space left for other feelings and emotions is shrinking. 

Then a dear friend sent me this powerful poem yesterday. 

The wine of divine Grace is limitless.

All limits come only

from the limitation of the cup.

Moonlight floods the whole sky

from horizon to horizon,

How much it can fill your room

depends on its windows.

Grant a great dignity, my friend,

to the cup of your life;

Love has designed it

to hold His eternal wine.

~ Rumi

The amount of love that can fill my room depends on its windows. 

I must remind myself to check every day what windows I’m keeping open. 

I must keep shut the one of fear, we all the negative news trying to flood in. And hold wide open the ones of love and connection.

One Apple A Day #674 – it’s all perfect

“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”

This is what Katsumoto says to Nathan Algren in a scene of “The Last Samurai”. 

The quest for perfection.

This scene came up for me yesterday in a conversation with my friend and mentor, Sujith. We were reflecting on how many things that happened in our lives in the last weeks were perfectly timed. As if they were part of an invisible but perfectly crafted plan.

That image came to my mind when I realise that the quest for perfection is not an outward hunt. It is, instead, a practice through which we learn to see the perfection in everything.

When we become aware that everything is perfect, then everything becomes an opportunity. We unleash infinite creativity and abundance.

Perfection then, it’s not a characteristic of something but rather an inner state. An elusive and fleeting one, indeed. 

That’s why the quest for perfection is a lifelong practice. But, as Katsumoto says, a worthy one.

At the end of the movie, when Katsumoto is dying, he looks a the cherry blossom floating around him, finally able to find that perfection.

“Perfect. They… are all… perfect…”

One Apple A Day #673 – conversations

These last days, I’ve been struggling with my rhythm, my practices and rituals. Been disciplined is way harder than it used to be only a few days ago.

I feel like a sailor, wandering in the middle of the ocean under a night sky without stars. All the cues I learned to read to understand where I am and where I am going, are not there anymore.

Even time has changed.

It flows differently.

As I wrote yesterday, it is what it is, and I can’t change this situation.

But I can change myself.

It is time to find new cues, to learn new ways to navigate through life.

One idea, in this period, when we are forced to keep distance between each other, is to nurture the connection with others.

I will fill up my sky with a new constellation made of conversations.

One Apple A Day #671 – Run Baby Run

My life is blessed by the presence of fantastic people with I can engage in inspiring conversations.
The other day I was telling my dear friend Luca, that sometimes I feel like a child lost in a crowded place.
I don’t know if it ever happened to you as a kid. Or maybe you’ve witnessed it. A child going around with her parents in a crowded place, like a square or mall, side by side. Then, maybe because she sees something fascinating or her parents got distracted for a second, the child loses the grip on her parent’s hand. All of a sudden, the parents are nowhere to be seen. Everything becomes big, dark and scary. The child, frightened and desperate, begins running around frantically to find her parents.
Sometimes, I feel like a lost child. And I find my inner child running around looking for the adult version of myself.
Though, we all know that the best solution is to stand still and wait to be found, fear pushes me to run around. Wasting energy and time.

Luca helped me see that, in my running, there may also be the desire to get out of a painful situation as soon as possible. The faster I run, the sooner I’m out.
How often does it happen in life? Because we are in pain, we accelerate thinking that this way, the pain will go away sooner. Instead, too often, we are just wasting energy, and a pause would help us see things more clearly.

Then the day after Giulia reminded me that, in our continually accelerating and changing society, we teach people that they must go faster if they want to keep the pace.
Run baby run.
But is true? What if we challenge the idea that faster is better?
Maybe, if we try to stand still, breath and wait for a moment, the way forward will find us.

One Apple A Day #698 – a recipe for transformation

“First is an intention. 

Then a behaviour. 

Then a habit. 

Then a practice. 

Then second nature. 

Then it is simply who you are.” – Brendon Burchard

I love this recipe for transformation. It is not even a recipe, to be honest. In my experience, this is how life works. How we grow, and we become who we are. The things we love and the one we don’t. 

They all started with an intention. One that too often, we are not fully aware. And that intention triggers a behaviour that, through habit and repetition, becomes who we are. It’s a long and slow process, like a drop on a rock. When an apparently harmless and insignificant behaviour, becomes a habit, its power multiply and its effects compound.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is self-awareness. Having clarity of your intentions, observing your behaviours and deliberately choose the habits you want to cultivate. Creating the discipline to transform those habits into practices. The rest will be a natural outcome. And this is the beauty of this recipe for transformation. It’s not about making big things or incredibly disruptive actions. It’s about paying attention and being aware of the tiny things that count, and then let time do its magic.

One Apple A Day #692 – the “who” questions

Where do your stakeholders need you and your team to be in 3-5 years?

This question was asked yesterday by David Clutterbuck during a webinar on team coaching. Indeed, a powerful question. One that shifts the focus on the team’s growth and evolution.

So, this morning I woke up with my own version of that question.

Who do I need to be in 3-5 years, to better serve my vision?

I love all questions starting with “who”. We live in a challenging, changing and uncertain world. What used to work only a few months ago is not working anymore. What it’s true today, may not be tomorrow.

In this context, goals, plans or strategies may sound hollow.

That’s why I believe that it’s vital to shift our attention to our growth as human beings. As individuals, teams, organizations and communities. Then, whatever happens in the future, whatever comes in our way, we will be able to adapt and respond.

“For all our discussion of the abstract power of societies, they are still made up of individual people. When two people connect, they form a relationship. A group of relationships forms a community, and the place where communities intersect is what we come to know as society. Each of us is responsible for forming the social codes of our communities.” – Source