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Ripples #1083: Time to Leap!

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Ripples #1083: Time to Leap!
Feb 24, 2020

PEBBLE
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. -Henry David Thoreau, shared by Nick in Indiana

BOULDER
The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be…
because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap!
-Mary Anne Radmacher, shared by Marie in Delray Beach, Fl
https://www.appliedinsight.net/product-p/rc12106.htm

PONDER
I’m excited that this week wraps up with a quadrennial quirk: Leap Day!

February 29 is that day we squeeze in every four years to help us keep the calendar year matched up with our planet’s year which clocks in at 365.242190 days. Some people like to celebrate by playing games that involve literal leaping (leapfrog, hopscotch, jumprope), or drawing/crafting animals that are known to leap (frogs, gazelles, rabbits).

It might also be a good opportunity for metaphorical leaps: leaps of faith, leaps of courage, leaps of joy, etc. Can you identify a significant action that would move you forward in some meaningful way?

It is helpful to make time for daydreaming, preparing, and talking about your plans. These are necessary, and yet not sufficient for success. Let’s make this week TIME TO LEAP!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1082: The Gifts of Adversity

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Ripples #1082: The Gifts of Adversity
Feb 17, 2020

PEBBLE
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver, shared by a friend in Montana

BOULDER
Cultivating an awareness of the gifts of adversity can help us to not only weather the difficult storms of our lives but also come out wiser and more compassionate than ever before.
-Carolyn Gregoire, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ via Tricycle.org

PONDER
I’ve recently connected with a few people who are going through some super duper tough stuff lately, and one of them shared the quote featured as today’s pebble. I marveled at this person’s ability to see glimmers of “something good will eventually grow out of this” while enduring waves (and waves and waves) of really unpleasant crappiness (massive understatement).

Seeing the potential upside of tough times does not require us to like them. And it is important to remember that we don’t have to be glad something happened in order to grow from it.*

I think it is important and healthy and useful to be able to say out loud, “I am greatly displeased by the unpleasant aspects of this current situation.” Or, you know, something more succinct, like “*#&@% this $#@+!”

Acknowledging the downsides of difficulty can make more room for seeing the upsides: “I didn’t choose this, nor did I want this…but since I’m stuck with it, I can choose to either simply go through it or find a way to grow through it.”

If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with either tiny or titanic adversity, I invite you spend whatever time you need grumbling about it and then see if there is room to identify potential gifts it has to offer.

May you keep going, keep growing, and keep glowing all the while.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
*P.S. I spoke these words out loud to my sweetie on Sunday morning while we were sitting at the bagel shop assembling this issue. And then I paused and said, “Wait a minute…that sounds really familiar…is that a meme?” We did a google search and the only place I could find the line being used was in a blog post from 2012…our very own Ripples #687. How the heck did I manage to quote myself verbatim from 8 years ago?… Read More!

Ripples #1081: The Ins & Outs of Love

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Ripples #1081: The Ins & Outs of Love
Feb 10, 2020

PEBBLE
The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.
-Morrie Schwartz, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Most of us haven’t been taught that to receive love deeply and transmit it wholeheartedly is a real human possibility, that it can be learned, and that to do so is the key to our deepest well-being, our spiritual life, and our capacity to bring more goodness into this world.
—Lama John Makransky, shared by Isaac in Sedona, AZ

PONDER
I know some folks roll their eyes at Valentine’s Day, experiencing it as overdone and/or contrived. I get that, I do! Ever since grade school, when the expectation was to give cards and/or treats to everyone in your class, it has always worked for me to welcome February 14th as a celebration of all kinds of love. And I like that both of this week’s quotes remind us that love ideally flows outwardly towards others while also flowing inward towards ourselves.

If you’ve been feeling less than fabulous lately, it might be time for a love-flow assessment. Ask yourself whether you’ve been stingy about expressing your love to other people in your life, or maybe resistant to accepting love from others. You have my permission to skip the hearts and candy stuff while still participating in this season of love: randomly communicate your appreciation to those who you enjoy having in your life, and make an extra effort to notice any gestures of kindness or goodwill that are extended in your direction. This includes love you share with yourself, which involves both giving and receiving!

I’ll wrap up by taking my own advice and sharing that I genuinely and wholeheartedly love assembling these splashes of inspiration each week, and I graciously receive the bounty of love you all ripple my way in the form of quote submissions, notes of acknowledgement, and occasional hugs and high fives when I’m lucky enough to cross paths with you in my travels.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. We whipped up a nifty Love Ripples sticker that we’re making available to people who order Ripples for Reflection this week.… Read More!

Ripples #1080: Magnificently Mundane

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Ripples #1080: Magnificently Mundane.
Feb 3, 2020

PEBBLE
Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe.
-St. Therese of Lisieux, shared by Cathy in Wisconsin
listeningtowhispers@yahoo.com

BOULDER
Life is mostly about mundane experiences. When you start thinking that only your most thrilling experiences are significant, you have already lost the most precious thing in life, the ability to fully immerse yourself in every experience.
—Brad Warner, shared by Thomas on Sanibel Island, FL

PONDER
So it’s been a kooky week. A really good week, just really busy. I started out up at Oakland University hanging out with some old friends from University Recreation and Well-Being and a bunch of new friends in Athletics. I zoomed back to Cincinnati to rest up and then hang out with my new pals at Chard Snyder (an Ascensus company!). I’ve spent the last couple days prepping and packing for another set of talks next week.

People often try to measure my work in the number of minutes that I am standing in front of an audience. I get that, because those are the only minutes I’m actually paid for my work. But to figure out how much time I spend working, you gotta add up the number of minutes I spend engaging with potential clients, preparing for upcoming presentations, traveling to and from events, connecting with past attendees, and a few minutes here and there recovering from these adventures, too. (Oh and tending to these weekly Ripples splashes, of course!).

I thoroughly enjoy every minute I get to be in front of a group. For. Sure. Still, the magnificence of those moments depends almost entirely on the more mundane moments of my work, and there is quite a bit of joy and satisfaction to be found in scribbling ideas on my white board, practicing chunks of speeches on my morning walk, even going through my packing checklist to make sure I’ve got everything I need.

If you’ve been feeling bored with some of the more mundane aspects of your work or life, I invite you to join me in taking a few mindful breaths and a scoop or two of curiosity; together we can let the mundane lead us to magnificence.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1079: Enlightened Demons

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Ripples #1079: Enlightened Demons
Jan 26, 2020

PEBBLE
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
-August Wilson, shared by Sam in Lubbock, TX via Values.com

BOULDER
The ghosts we all live with as we age, I used to be scared of them. But now they’re old friends. They reveal to us how in the value of life, the preciousness of time, and the necessity of love: all is forgiven.
-Bruce Springsteen, shared by Molly in Philadelphia, PA (who scribbled these words down when The Boss spoke them in between sets at a concert)

PONDER
My year started off with a triumphant return to Rowan University, where I’ve enjoyed firing up students and staff many times over the last two decades. This trip included a pep talk to the student affairs staff as well as a longer training for the residence life team. In both presentations we touched on the importance of self care for people who work in the helping professions, particularly the often neglected (and yet sooooo important) component of mental health / emotional well-being.

For many of us, that includes working with a therapist to courageously examine some of the unpleasant “stuff” that lurks in the darker corners of our minds. I’m always quick to share that there have been several times in my life that seeing a counselor has helped me feel better and think better and do better. As a huge bonus, I’ve gained practical tools that have proved useful in many aspects of my work and life.

While I like the August Wilson quote above enough to include it as today’s pebble, I’ve lately shifted away from trying to “banish” my shadows, and instead worked to befriend them. It’s just easier, and more worthwhile. Among the greatest lessons I’ve learned from both Star Wars and Hogwarts is that there is light and darkness is all of us.

If you’ve grown tired of wrestling with demons, you might consider getting help so you can listen to them without conceding, respect them without letting them run wild, and tame them without trying to control them. You may even discover that some of your demons are more accurately seen as misunderstood angels, hoping to be healed and eager to be part of your wholeness.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1077: Embrace The Oops!

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Ripples #1077: Embrace The Oops!
Jan 13, 2020

PEBBLE
Embrace the oops and carry on.
-Barbara Naberhaus
shared by Barbara in Cincinnati, OH

BOULDER
However disorienting, difficult, or humbling our mistakes might be, it is ultimately wrongness, not rightness, that can teach us who we are.
-Kathryn Schulz, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ (via the Calm app: http://Calm.com)

PONDER
Most of you know that last week, while attempting to test a new template for Ripples 2020, I inadvertently sent out a mostly-empty email to our entire list. OOPS! I’m sure most people didn’t mind, and I did receive a few lovely messages, including Barbara’s excellent advice that is featured as today’s Pebble. (A few other responses made me smile…Sarah wrote, “Ah simplicity. My favorite Ripples so far!” while Joe responded to the mostly empty email with, “I agree! Sometimes it’s just best to clear your mind of everything.”

I’ve taken dear Barbara’s advice to embrace this OOPS and just keep moving, grooving, and growing…I invite you to do the same by embracing an OOPS or two of your own.

If you want to make this week extra awesome, I dare you to think of someone else who made a mistake that impacted you in some way…and then embrace their oops as an unintended, inconvenient-yet-forgivable error. I’m sure it will help them out, and I’m guessing it will end up serving you well, too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. The BIG irony of my OOPS is that it happened while I was trying to find an artful way to share the big news about our new book, Ripples for Reflection, without transforming our ripply newsletter into a sales catalog. If you want to learn more, I made a cheesy video that offers a couple of treats for those who want a copy:… Read More!

Ripples #1076: What’s Your Why?

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Ripples #1076: What’s Your Why?
Jan 6, 2020

PEBBLE
Being purposeful allows you to skip the trivial stuff and stay focused.
-Joe Fullington,
written and shared by Joe in Kenosha, WI

BOULDER
There’s way more security in purpose than there is in a job.
If you’re not finding both joy and meaning in your current work, ask yourself:
Am I purposed to do this job, or am I just good at it?
-Alea Cross,
written and shared by Alea in Milwaukee, WI

PONDER
I’m determined to make the most of this new year, and I’ve learned from experience that we can get a lot farther along the process of deciding WHAT we want to accomplish, once we determine and declare our WHY.

Author Simon Sinek (Start with Why, Find Your Why) inspired many of us with his 2009 TED talk about why individuals and organizations are more effective once they know and communicate their purpose. He asks, “Why do you get out of bed every morning?” and then pauses before adding, “And why should anyone care?”

A longtime Ripples reader reached out to me to ask for help in finalizing a word to focus on for the year, which caused me to ask my social media peeps, “What’s Your Word?” I was astonished and delighted that dozens of people quickly shared a word, and many sharing more about how helpful the process has been for them.

Whether it is a word, a phrase, a sentence or maybe even an image, I believe it is worth pondering and determining a purpose to help guide you in work and life. It doesn’t have to be a grand, lifelong Purpose with a capital P. Finding something to focus on just for now can make a difference.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1075: Being Big!

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1075: Being Big!
Dec 30, 2019

PEBBLE
My goal isn’t to play small with my life….My goal is to be as big as I possibly can and attract those who want the same.
-Blake Hickey, shared by Christine in Binghamton, NY

BOULDER
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
-Neil Gaiman, shared by Andrea in Champaign, IL

PONDER
As we wrap up 2019 and get ready for a new year (and a new decade!), I’m carving out some time for reflection, for planning, and for anticipation of what lies ahead. I haven’t (yet) made a list of specific things that I hope to accomplish in 2020, but I know that I want to learn, I want to grow, and I want to expand possibilities for myself and those I cross paths with. That means I need to think big, plan big, and commit to some big actions. It also means that I need to prepare for some big mistakes, too!

Mistakes tend to make me feel small, like I’m not smart enough or organized enough or successful enough to have my act together in the way I should. I usually feel embarrassed, and sometimes also ashamed especially if others are impacted by my error. My mental chatter can get pretty mean, berating me for getting it wrong and warning me of the consequences of any more mistakes.

The quotes above give me an opportunity to replace harsh thoughts and feelings with more useful, and more accurate ones. Mistakes then transform into friendly reminders of my humanity, invitations to proceed more mindfully. They guide me to my bigness by helping me stretch beyond my comfort zone.

Whether you are a resolution setter or not, I invite you to join me in pondering how you want 2020 to be our biggest and bestest yet, and making peace with just how many mistakes we’ll need to make in order to make the most of it.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Some people may be tempted to point out that 2020 is technically the final year of the previous decade and not the start of a new decade. Here’s my take: I think most of us conceptualize a decade as consisting of the year that it is described as: the ’80s began in 1980, … Read More!

Ripples #1074: Peace and Joy!

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1074: Peace and Joy!
Dec 23, 2019

PEBBLE
There can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
—Frederick Buechner, shared by Emma in Missoula, MT via Values.com https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-quotes/7416

BOULDER
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on.
-John F. Kennedy, shared by Kami in Wisconsin Rapids, WI
kharper@becu.net

PONDER
As we slide into Christmas, I thought this would be a good time to think about the pursuit of peace inside ourselves, within our communities, and throughout the world. These are all ambitious goals, made more elusive because we’ve forgotten how intertwined they are. Inner turmoil prevents us from enjoying peaceful surroundings, and living among discord makes it really difficult to find stillness within. The upside is that since they are so interconnected, working on one moves us closer to the others.

Cultivating inner peace develops courage, persistence, and patience which can help us nurture peace among friends, family, and colleagues. This in turn improves our mindset and skillset, allowing us to tackle more complex issues that are not easily resolved and yet still need our attention.

The longer and more arduous the journey, the more important it is to start early and keep moving. Our world gets better each time we stop waiting for others to take action and recognize that our own pursuits of peace can inspire others.

So, fellow Ripplers, what actions can you take this week to expand your peaceful pursuits?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

Read More!

Ripples #1073: Angels In Disguise

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1073: Angels In Disguise
Dec 16, 2019

PEBBLE
I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.
-Tracy Chapman, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: they hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.
-Beth Clark, shared by Tracy in St. Paul, MN

PONDER
Angels appear when help is needed. Sometimes they show up when a crisis is unfolding, offering their expertise or just trusting their instincts. Other times it can be as simple as an “Ooh let me help you carry that,” or “You seem lost, can I help you find where you’re going?”

I’ve bet you’ve seen an angel in disguise, and I bet you’ve been one, too.

While angels rarely seek acknowledgement or recognition for their good deeds, it can help refuel their soul to know how much their effort mattered. If you can think of an angel who has recently had your back, take a moment to let them know how their kindness impacted you.

And whether it is a loved one or a stranger, a friend or maybe even a foe…keep your eye out for someone who needs an angel this week. Your effort could make their day, and it will probably make yours, too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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