I’ve never been a lover of formalities and dress codes.
I remember that, as a kid, I couldn’t understand why I had to use Sunday’s clothes to go to the mass. Clothes with which we could not play because they were only meant for special events.
Anyway, a few months ago, I’ve been asked to suit up for a working situation. As you can imagine, I wasn’t pleased, but the request came with sound motivations that made me reflect.
So, I asked myself a few compelling questions.
What am I worried about? What is about form that I find uncomfortable?
Is my essence so fragile that I am going to change just because I change how I appear?
It was one of those a-ha moments.
I realised that I am who I am, no matter what I wear.
Sometimes, we are so focused on the form that we overlooked our essence. And in doing so, we weaken it.
If we nurture our essence, then we will be able to infuse all of who we are in every form. Being it the way we dress or the work we do.
Did you have a good weekend?
It is probably the main question asked on Monday morning when we go back to work.
Everyone has a different idea of a good weekend. For someone is about spending time with the loved ones. For others is about doing nothing or maybe doing all the things that can’t be done during the working days. Some engage with people while others seek only silence.
This morning I woke up thinking about the importance of rest and recovery. We often overlook how vital it is to take the time to rest our body, our mind and our soul.
A friend once told me that even the stronger bow would snap if you never release its tension.
Pushed by the desire to achieve our goals and improve our performances, we focus only on the things we have to do, and we overlook resting.
Everyone whose performance depends on their physical condition, like athletes but also people with physically demanding jobs, are well aware of the importance of rest and recovery.
But what about our mind? How much time do we give to our mind to rest and recovery? How much space do we invest to refill our creative reserve?
Personally, not as much as I should. And having a smart device with me all the time is not helping.
This is why I decided to carve out more disconnected time in my week to replenish my creative tank.
And what about you?
Do you give some time off to your mind?
Self-doubts are thieves.
They sneak into your mind, and they steal your self-confidence and your creativity.
It’s an awful feeling to stare at a blank page realising that you’re as empty at that page.
Sometimes life tests us.
Things don’t go exactly as planned.
The expected results are not coming.
The self-doubts lurk in.
And before we realise it, we are questioning everything.
I know the feeling.
I’ve been there often.
It still happens.
We all have moments of doubts and fear when we question what we do and who we are. I used to rely on self-reflection to find my way out of those moments. But in doing so, I was adding even more questions and making the hole bigger.
I was feeding my fear.
Now, when it happens, when the self-doubts arrive I ground myself in my rituals. I stop the thinking that is just feeding my self-doubts and rely on the habits and structures that I created when my self-confidence and my creativity were full and energised.
“Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralysing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.” – Vincent van Gogh
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.” — C.G. Jung
We all want to be loved, liked and appreciated.
The desire to belong is one of the basic human needs.
Sometimes thou, this can get in the way of our ability to live fully.
Particularly at this moment in history, when we are all overexposed.
We begin to focus more on being, or I should better say appearing, good than on being real.
At least, this is what happened to me.
Growing up I’ve always been a good guy.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing.
But at some point, I got stuck in that role.
I believed that being “the good guy” was the reason why people loved me.
So, I did that.
For the first thirty years of my life, I sealed any potential shadows away.
I wanted everyone to see only the lights.
Including me, and that’s the worse part.
I was deliberately ignoring my shadows.
But they didn’t go away just because I ignored them.
And in doing so, I was neglecting my wholeness.
It didn’t last.
You can’t sustain an entire life without substance, without being whole.
I had the opportunity to restart, and I started by acknowledging and taking care of my shadows.
It was nice to be good.
But it’s even better to be real.
I don’t know.
It’s a reminder to myself.
This morning I woke up with the awareness that I don’t know.
It was a bit scary at the beginning.
Then I took a deep breath, and I decided to acknowledge my not knowing.
I don’t have all the answers, and I will never have all the answers.
Not knowing makes me feel free.
I don’t know.
It is also an invitation to myself.
An invitation to embrace not knowing and be curious.
To open up to the wisdom of the world and the beauty of humanity.
So, I won’t get trap in the urge of knowing what is coming, but I will allow for the answers to unfold while I move forward.
I don’t know.
This morning I decided to surrender to the Be The Change cards fully.
Usually, when I sit down to write the apple of day, I already have some running in my head. I still pick a card most of the time. It helps me spark my writing in the direction of what I want to share.
But this morning I woke up only with some vague thoughts.
So, when I set up for the writing practice, I decided to let the cards determine the topic. And they did. A card dropped out of the deck when I started shuffling.
I had to sit in silence for a good minute to let this invitation to sink in.
“Step aside & make space for others.”
What does it mean for me to step aside? Is it about work? Or my relationships? Who are the others I can make space for?
One of my guiding principles is “kindness”. I firmly believe in the power of being kind.
Today, this card made me realise a sort of a paradox.
My way of being kind has always been to help and support others. I am kind to others, and they are the objects of my kindness.
But that put me right in the middle of the stage.
What if being kind is not about me giving help or support, but it’s about me stepping aside and making space for them?
So they can help themselves.
So they are the protagonists of their stories.
Like this card today.
According to the dictionary, something authentic is “something of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.”
I feel authentic anytime my words, and my actions originate from who I am.
Even when I make mistakes.
Even when words don’t come out easily.
Because being authentic means being human.
And accept that I am perfect in my imperfection.
The other morning I was waiting at the traffic light for my turn to cross the road. Before me a couple with two dogs, a big one and a small one. Both beautiful and sociable. The smaller one, in particular, was cute and playful. When the light went green, and we all cross the road, I noticed that it cannot move one of its legs, but it was walking and jumping around as if everything was normal.
It made me think about our ability to adapt to our own limitations.
At the end of 2015, I realised that something had to change in my life.
I began my self-awareness journey reading, studying and doing self-development programs. I quickly realised that I was the one that had to change. I needed to transform myself so I double-in my commitment to self-development. I read and studied more, completed better programs, talked with many people to seek advice.
With every insight I was discovering about myself, new opportunities to grow and change were emerging.
It was an exciting journey.
The feeling of transformation was addictive, and I wanted to change everything. To become better and better.
Until I got stuck.
A few things were not changing despite all my efforts.
And I felt like I wasn’t making any real progress.
That was the moment when I learned that there are parts of me I can not change. No matter how hard I try, I won’t change them.
We don’t have to fix everything. Sometimes we have to accept that there are things we cannot change and with this valuable insight move on and live our life.
“When we let go of the things we cannot change, it frees up the energy to focus on changing the things we can.” — Tasha Eurich
In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield says that “The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile.” He called this hostility Resistance but he also explains that we can transform this Resistance into Assistance if we act.
My experience is that the universe is not a positive or negative force in itself. The real resistance is within us.
The universe just follows our action. It doesn’t drive them.
If you sit waiting for things to happen, the universe will sit over you.
It will squash you down with its infinite weight. Like the force of gravity, it creates a resistance making hard for you to stand up and move.
After a while, your muscles will shrink, your energy will fade and you will crumble.
But when you take action and you move, then the universe becomes an amplifier. Like a wind blowing on your tail. Step by step the force of the universe compounds and grows until you get momentum and you become unstoppable.
If you want abundance in your life, don’t sit waiting for the universe to serve it to you. Stand up and begin something. Act toward your dreams and draw the force of the universe on your side.
“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage and then the mind grows heated;
Begin and then the work will be completed.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Have you already wrote your new year resolutions?
What do you want to achieve next year? Do you have goals or aspirations? Are there new things you want to get or old ones to leave behind?
When I reviewed my last twelve months, I realised that most of the things that happened were unexpected. They weren’t in my plan for the year.
In hindsight, I wouldn’t even be able to think about some of them one year ago. They were entirely outside of my awareness.
This realisation left me with a big question; if everything changes in life, is it worth it to plan my next months?
General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable“.
You should look at planning not as a way to draw a clear and detailed path forward but as a way to gain awareness about where you are, where you want to go, and why you want to go there.
About who you are and who you want to grow into.
Everything will change, you can be sure about that. So, don’t be attached to your plan but anchor yourself to who you are and your values. This way you’ll be able to present and thrive amidst change.