One Apple A Day #691 – homecoming

I was fully immersed in a conversation with Vanessa when this word hit me. I didn’t know why, but I felt I had to stop for a second and jot it down. I couldn’t let it go until I knew it was safe somewhere.

Homecoming.

I don’t know where you are right now.
Someone is home.
Someone is stuck somewhere dreaming about home.
Some are in a house they don’t feel home.

All of a sudden, my body has been confined in one place.
But what about my mind, heart and soul? Where are they?
Are they home too, or are they still trying to hold to somewhere else?

I had this image of a halo effect, like the tail of a comet. My body abruptly dragged home while the rest of me was still clinging to the many places and people of my life.
There are parts of me that are missing right now.
Dreams, ambitions, projects, connections.
They were all out there when my body was forced within here.
Yeah, this thing took something from me.
Though, the connection is still there.
Like an elastic band, pulling them back home.
And the more they come home, the more I feel whole and in peace.
It is a process.
A sort of homecoming.

One Apple A Day #696- my knowledge game

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” — Albert Einstein

Sometimes I find myself trapped in the “I don’t know enough” game. It’s a game I play when I have to decide something or when I’m going through an uncomfortable experience.

It is usually triggered by fear or insecurity and fed be the illusion that, by knowing and understanding more, I’ll be able to make the right choice or to find peace. Too often, unfortunately, this game paralyses me. While I’m lost in the game of knowing more, the rest of the world keeps moving forward. 

Knowledge is power. But it’s only when we act that that power manifests in the world. When we don’t act, we are just wasting that power. So, what’s the point in accumulating power, if I miss the opportunity to use it?

Plus, knowledge and experience can quickly become a cage. They set the boundaries of what we can and can not do. Of what is possible. Children are great teachers in this. Because they know very little, they use their imagination to go beyond, explore and grow.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” — Albert Einstein

One Apple A Day #682 – the wise cat

In the last few years, we moved many times. Different homes, cities and sometimes countries. Our beloved cat has always moved with us. Anytime we moved into a new place, he has to change all his habits and learn to move within a different environment. He had no choice. 

The other day I was observing him moving around while I was going through my morning routine. It’s impressive to watch how it looks like he has always been here, not just for a few months.

Looking back at the process he goes through any time we move into a new place, something that for him means disrupting his whole environment, I notice a few recurring phases.

  1. Accept. Felix has no words on the choice to move into a new place. He usually complains when we help him into the transporting bag, but once we are at the destination, that’s it. No more complaining, he just accepts his new reality.
  2. Assess. The first days he goes around assessing the new reality. He explores the room, discovers hiding places and advantage points of observation. He quickly becomes fully aware of where he is and how he can get the best out of the new environment.
  3. Adapt. Then he changes his habits to the new environment. He makes the new place his own place. He fully embraces his new reality so he can focus on the things that make him feel good.

He looks definitely happy, so I feel I can learn something from wise Felix.

One Apple A Day #676 – the wisdom of curiosity

“Words are the representations and symbols we use to view, think about, and process our perceptions of reality and they are the means of sharing these perceptions with others.” – Judith Glaser

Words are powerful; they shape the reality we experience. 

One word can trap you into a life you never wanted. One word can break the walls and liberate you. 

Just yesterday, I was reflecting, with one of my mentors, about my struggle in picking a label for what I do. But that’s for another day.

Last weekend I read an interesting article on how schools are killing curiosityMaybe this is why that word came back this morning in my meditation.

I did a quick check online, and learned that “curious” comes from Latin curiosus meaning “careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome”. The word is akin to cura, “care”. 

What really kindled my curiosity is that the word “care” comes from Latin “cura”. Modern linguists believe that “cura” derived from the root ku-/kav- meaning “observe”. From the same root comes the Sanskrit word “kavi”, meaning “sage”.

In my mind, all of this means that being curious is the way to and a trait of wisdom.

Being curious is better than being smart. It is desire, not intelligence, that prompts behaviour. – James Clear

One Apple A Day #674 – comfort, change and curiosity

It was a rainy and misty day. One of those days when the best thing to do is to stay home, before a fire.

Instead, we were out walking in the woods. Nobody around, just us and the silence of nature. The light rain was making everything so soft that we couldn’t hear our own steps.

Not the most comfortable way of spending a morning, maybe. But undoubtedly, very inspiring. It was, then. When we were walking down a slight and slippery slope, that Andy asked one of his powerful questions.

How come that we call it comfort zone, yet so many people seem unhappy when they are there? If it’s a place of comfort, you should be happy. Or not?

By the way, I did a quick check online this morning. These are a few definitions I found. 

“The comfort zone is a safe place where you feel the most comfortable.”

“A psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”

“A behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.”

“Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”

Indeed, your comfort zone should be a happy and peaceful place to be.

While we were out there, our boots deep in the mud, we came to the conclusion that the reason for that unhappiness is probably due to the assumption that the comfort zone is a fixed thing. 

Change, another word starting with C, is natural. Everything is constantly changing, moving and transforming. When you got trapped in the idea that the comfort zone is a static thing, you cling to what you have and consume all your energy resisting change. Stay in your comfort zone becomes an exhausting effort. One that drains your happiness until you feel miserable in that same space you use to feel at ease.

This morning, while I was thinking about this conversation and about the boot that I still have to clean after that walk, a third word starting with C popped up. Curiosity. Curiosity is what inspires us to make questions and to embrace challenges. It is what allows us to push, shift and reshape the boundaries of our comfort zone, so it can grow with us.

One Apple A Day #688 – a thin line

For months I’ve been seeking the answer to an important personal question. But the answer eludes me. Even worst, the harder I try, the farther I feel from any clarity.

Being entirely honest, it’s not the first time. Many times in the past, I found myself lost in a quest for an answer or a solution. And too often, I got so entrenched in the problem that I couldn’t see any way out.

Ironically, most the time it is when I give up trying that the answer emerges.

With this awareness, at the turn of year, a voice in my head began saying “then why are still looking? Just stop trying and wait for the answer.

But, I’ve been there before, and there’s a caveat. 

A thin line that we must pay attention to.

The thin line separating the passive waiting for something from the active creation of space for something to emerge.

The universe is actively invested in our journey, so it tries to help, giving us signs and hints. But it does so using its own language.

So we must engage in learning the language of the universe. We must open up, expand our senses, actively listen and observe. And then act on the signs we read.

If we cross that thin line and we passively wait for the universe to speak our language, we may dry out in the wait.

One Apple A Day #680 – about wisdom

My grandfather knew when it was the right day to prune the vines. He always knew when it was the right night to go out fishing for eels. He couldn’t really explain how he knew it, but he did.

My grandmother knew how to make a perfect traditional cake. Many people from the village used to bring her the ingredients and she never disappointed, no matter how different the flour or the eggs were. Though, she didn’t know the recipe. When we manage to elicit a structured formula from her, the results weren’t as good.

Yesterday evening a dear friend told me about his great grandfather.
He was the man everyone called to get fruitful grafts on the vineyards. Throughout his career, he kept a daily log with all his weather observations. But what made him successful was his ability to retrieve the right information from his yearslong almanack and know the most propitious moment to make a successful graft. He couldn’t explain how he knew, but he did.

They all knew without knowing. Each one of them knew, deep in their own essence, how to read the invisible signs of the universe.

That is wisdom to me.
The subjective knowing beyond the objective knowledge.

Unfortunately, the subjective knowing can’t be modelled or structured, and so it cannot be taught.
You can only acquire it through observation and experience.
It takes time, discipline and awareness.
And the willingness to detach from the outcome.

One Apple A Day #628 – being wise

Every day I learn new things. Information that I acquire, process, evaluate, connect to previous ones and store in my mind. Some of them stick over time, and some got lost or forgotten. 

If and when I need the ones I retain, I dig them out from my memory.

I have the feeling that my memory is not infinite, so over the years, many things got lost, and I can’t retrieve them anymore. Anyway, this is another story.

Have you ever the feeling that you know something even if you can’t find that thing among the things you know?

It is a powerful feeling when you realise that you know something in your bones, not in your mind. As if the knowledge has slowly become part of who you are. 

From something you know to something you are.

From knowing to being.

That is my idea of wisdom. 

When something you know becomes part of who you are.

The tricky thing, in my experience, is that sometimes what you know in your mind can get in the way of what you know in your cells. Your knowledge creates resistance to your wisdom.

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” ― Lao Tzu

P.S. I just realised that yesterday post was titled “Being Silly”. In my knowledge, they seem so different, yet in my body, they are fully interwoven.