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Ripples #987: Loving All The Parts!

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Ripples #987: Loving All The Parts!
April 23, 2018

PEBBLE
Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.
-Lisa M. Hayes, shared by Diane in Tuscaloosa, AL

BOULDER
Can you love your crazy?
Can you love your sane?
Can you trust your foolish heart?
Embrace your scattered brain?

Can you love your tears?
Can you love your worry?
Can you hear your darkest fears?
And listen to your fury?

Can you love your inner child?
Your body as you age?
Can you love your wild side
Release it from its cage?

If you’re thinking “NO!”
To some of the above,
Then can you love the part of you
That’s learning how to love?
-Leah Pearlman, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA

PONDER

My dear pal Pidge recently sent me a lovely book by Leah Pearlman: Drawn Together: Uplifting Comics on the Curious Journey Through Life and Love.

The book begins with the poem above and then lightly winds its way through a series of simple-yet-whimsical drawings to illustrate the power of loving yourself, loving the people around you and loving everything about your crazy, tumultuous life.

The whole book is a delightful read, but this particular poem really struck me at potent, and I’ve been coming back to it repeatedly over the past few weeks. The last stanza grabs me every time, gently reminding me how important it is to love even the less polished parts of who I am.

I’m grateful to Pidge for gifting me with the book, to Leah Pearlman for quickly and eagerly granting permission to include the poem here, and to YOU as you hopefully continue pondering the idea of learning how to love all the parts of you.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You can see more of Leah’s work at DharmaComics.com or by ordering her book.Read More!

Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!

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Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!
April 16, 2018

PEBBLE
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
-Eckhart Tolle
shared by Toby in Chicago, IL

BOULDER
Life is like a giant puzzle. Each of us has a picture in our mind of how our life will turn out. We keep adding pieces, one at a time, attempting to create that beautiful picture… We never get all the pieces in the right place on the first try. It’s about experimenting until each piece fits together with the next. Each of us has the strength to put the puzzle together. We just have to look for the right pieces. It may seem impossible, but keep striving. Life’s pieces have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
-Renee M. Brtalik, shared by Adam Z

PONDER

So…what are the puzzle pieces you’re dealing with right now? Hopefully, there are enough fun pieces to boost your happiness and enough challenging pieces to keep you growing. If your life is anything like mine, it includes some lovely pieces of good stuff; a handful of difficult pieces that are troublesome-yet-manageable; and a few that at times seem too frustrating to be worth including in your life’s puzzle.

The thing is, some of the more difficult pieces turn out to be the most precious. I’ve learned from assembling jigsaw puzzles as a hobby over the last few decades that I’m far more pleased and proud when I finally finish the really difficult ones than I am when I zip through one of the easier ones. I appreciate them more, and I value them more. (That doesn’t mean I never do the easy ones, by the way. We all need a guaranteed win sometimes!)

If you are handling some particularly difficult pieces in a really complicated life-puzzle right now,I encourage you to pause long enough to catch your breath and hopefully regain a sense of perspective. (Ask. For. Help.)

If, on the other hand, things are going fairly smoothly at this time in your life, perhaps you can make an extra effort to help someone nearby who is struggling with their puzzle. It may make all the difference in the world to them, and it just might add a few cool pieces to your own puzzle.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #985: Helper’s High!

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Ripples #985: Helper’s High!
April 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Shine your light so life is brighter;
get a helper’s high…you’ll feel lighter.
-Marie Toole, written and shared by Marie in Delray Beach, FL

BOULDER
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
-Jane Goodall, shared by Scott in Madison, WI

PONDER

I’m quite confident that most of our regular Ripplers are already well aware of the benefits of unleashing ripples of compassion and kindness. We are the type of folks who figured out a long time ago that doing good for others not only makes karmic sense, it feels good!

Still, it is inevitable that life sometimes gets so full and so stressful that we occasionally drift away from our good intentions of helping others and we forget about the hidden treasures to be found while serving: the perspective shift that comes from seeing the challenges that others are facing; gratitude for the many good things in our own lives that we sometimes take for granted; the renewed sense of community that grows when we recognize that we’re all in this together and we all sometimes need a helping hand.

If it has been a while, keep your eyes open for someone who needs a little extra help. If you’ve been doing a good job of helping others lately, perhaps you can keep your eyes open for someone doing a kind deed and taking a moment to thank them for their efforts. It will compound the helper’s high!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Of course, it is important to remember that there is such a thing as TOO MUCH when it comes to helping others, and we have to keep in mind that without building boundaries and recognizing limits, we put ourselves at risk of compassion fatigue and/or caregiver burnout. Help others in the right amount so your Helper’s High doesn’t cause a crash and burn!… Read More!

Ripples #984: To Dare!

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Ripples #984: To Dare!
April 2, 2018

PEBBLE
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
-Søren Kierkegaard
shared by Gina in St. Louis, MO

BOULDER
Gardening, like life, requires courage. We must be brave enough to cut back the old and sit with bare branches, awaiting new growth. And we must trust that it will come.
-Cheryl Richardson, Waking Up in Winter
shared by Sue in Plymouth, MI

PONDER
Have you been hibernating or feeling stagnate lately? As spring bursts forth and nature prepares for growth, this is a good time of year to prepare ourselves for our own burst of growth.

Can you think of any actions or goals that you’ve been meaning to work on? Personal or professional, modest or massive, sensible or silly: I dare you to identify some specific steps that might help you grow, and then incorporate them into your plans for the spring.

In fact, I don’t just dare you, I triple dog dare you!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Speaking of growth…. As we inch toward our 1,000th week of sending out these weekly splashes, we’d be so honored if you took some time to forward an issue on to your family, friends, and colleagues, sharing with them why you enjoy Ripples and inviting them to join us. Thanks! -pw… Read More!

Ripples #983: Tailors & Tribes.

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Ripples #983: Tailors & Tribes.
March 26, 2018
PEBBLE
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
-George Shaw
shared by Luke in Bloomfield Hills, MI
BOULDER
Surround yourself with people who add value to your life, who challenge you to be greater than you were yesterday, who sprinkle magic into your existence, just like you to theirs. Life isn’t to be done alone. Find your tribe–and journey freely and loyally together.
-Alex Elle
shared by Anna in Providence, RI
PONDER
When life is going well, it is good to be around happy humans who will help you celebrate. When life is hard, it is good to be around hardy humans who will help you persist. In general, it’s good to be around humans: those who see you, hear you, know you, get you, nurture you, admire you, challenge you, and love you.
If you’re already surrounded by folks like this: do me a favor and thank them for showing up for you. If you need help finding more tailors and/or tribes to have in your life, start by opening your heart to the possibility that there are people out there who not only WANT you in their lives…they NEED you in their lives.
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #981: Preaching From Scars!

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Ripples #981: Preaching From Scars!
March 12, 2018
PEBBLE
I only preach from my scars, not my wounds.
-Nadia Bolz-Weber, shared by Kelly in Evanston, IL
BOULDER
We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds–the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them…to teach us to become compassionate and wise. -Caroline Myss, shared by Annie in Los Angeles, CA
PONDER
A few years ago, I heard a panelist at a higher education conference reference the “scars and wounds” quote in today’s pebble. In a lovely splash of synchronicity, I learned afterwards that it was my dear friend and colleague Toby Causby who had shared the quote with her.
I knew I’d eventually want to use the quote in Ripples, but wasn’t sure how. The answer came just recently when I happened upon the above passage from Caroline Myss and I knew it was the right time to swing back around and share an update on my health with everyone on Team Ripples.
You may recall a few months ago I made passing reference to some unexpected health challenges I was facing. I didn’t share much–not even with family and friends. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but as I began to feel better I realized I was waiting until I could get a better handle on what was happening and what was coming next before I started talking about it. The short version is that after a particularly busy and stressful period of travels last fall, I ended up in the ICU with internal bleeding. We still aren’t sure exactly what happened or where a few pints of my blood managed to disappear to, but I’ve been steadily improving over the past few months and glad to report that I’m gradually starting to feel like my regular self. I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m getting there!
While I don’t recommend misplacing a quarter of your blood supply, I will tell you it was a profoundly useful opportunity to revisit my self-care strategies. Over the last few months I’ve strengthened my meditation and tai chi practices and removed several things from my schedule and to-do lists that weren’t contributing to my effectiveness and/or enjoyment.
Now that my wounds have mostly healed, I’m eager to preach the good news: the challenges we face might scar us, but they don’t have to break us if we lean into the opportunities for learning and growth. In other words: WE’VE GOT THIS!
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re enjoying Ripples, remember that the best way to show it is to SHARE Ripples with your peeps and encourage them to join us, and also click the SUBMIT A … Read More!

Ripples #980: Action!

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Ripples #980: Action!
March 5, 2018

PEBBLE
Too much rest is rust.
-Sir Walter Scott, shared by Doreen in Minnesota

BOULDER
Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.
-Bradley Whitford
shared by Pete in Ouray, CO via Values.com

PONDER

One of our longtime readers reached out to me recently with this message:

“Paul, I’m a big fan and a longtime subscriber. I’ve seen you speak a few times and I look forward to each Monday’s edition of Ripples because it often offers good advice, whether it is challenging us to step away from the madness, or hit the time-out button to just breathe and have some ‘me time.’ I fear, however, that many of us are quick to step away but sometimes need encouragement to do the opposite: to engage and actively pursue a solution to the task at hand…. Sometimes I would like to open up Ripples and find a message that tells me to get myself in gear and start kicking butt!”

Ok, Lee! This issue of Ripples goes out to you and all the other Ripplers who are pretty darn good at STEPPING BACK when they need, but may need an occasional boost for STEPPING FORWARD and STEPPING UP to tackle the important tasks of improving themselves and the world around them. Taking action isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always move you in a direct line toward success. Still, summoning the courage and strength to take action usually allows us to grow, and it often helps us gain wisdom as well.

Are you in? Well, okay then…. stop reading this AND GO DO SOMETHING ALREADY!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I deeply appreciate that a handful of folks respond to Ripples each week: I read every single message! I strive to respond individually when I have time, particularly to readers who haven’t reached out previously. Sometimes my kooky schedule requires me to skim and store rather than reflect and respond. Still: I’m grateful!… Read More!

Ripples #979: Rotating Through Life!

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Ripples #979: Rotating Through Life!
Feb 26, 2018
PEBBLE
The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past.
-Simon Sinek
Shared by Grant at Cal Poly SLO, who found this quote helpful in his transition to college because it encouraged him to transform his uncertainty and anxiety into an exciting challenge.
BOULDER
Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.
-Ruta Sepetys, Out of the Easy
Shared by Heather in Russellville, AR
PONDER
Last week I was in Wisconsin to hang out with my buddies at Dane County Credit Union for a Presidents Day training. I also zoomed up north to help Marathon County Special Education share some energy and ideas with educators from several school districts who had gathered for a joint inservice.
In both presentations we talked about the unpredictability of work and life, and how we are sometimes hesitant to seek out new challenges especially when so many difficulties are already keeping us busy and stressed out. I know life can be hard and crazy and unpredictable…BELIEVE ME I KNOW! Still, the best shot we have at enjoying our lives is to shift away from viewing unexpected challenges as obstacles that are keeping us from arriving at “the good life.” Instead, we can experience them as useful training tools that are helping us create a good life.
Whatever unexpected potholes and bumps and detours you’re encountering in life right now, I hope you’re anticipating the fresh opportunities that are likely waiting for you around the next corner.
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’m so glad and I’m so honored that Ripples is a part of your journey.

Ripples #978: Being Tender!

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Ripples #978: Being Tender!
Feb 19, 2018
PEBBLE
Gentle. Kind. Friendly.
-Gramma Janice
Shared by Kylee in Racine, WI, who has long valued this simple-yet-sage advice that her mother-in-law shared with the students she taught as well as her own children and grandchildren whenever she witnessed them not getting along.
BOULDERS
Being tender and open is beautiful…. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a raindrop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.
―Zooey Deschanel
Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future. -Yehuda Berg
PONDER
There is quite a bit of meanness out there these days. I’ve noticed it in the news, on social media, on the road while traveling, and throughout the world. There’s niceness too, of course. But I’m convinced that over the last few years we have depleted our collective reserves of trust, respect, and positive regard toward our fellow humans; it’s left us with raw nerves and reduced compassion.

When we encounter a grumpity-grump or a meanie-beanie, our first instinct can be to jump into defensive mode–I’ve too often found myself barking right back at someone before I fully realize what is actually going on. This often happens when we’re “emotionally hijacked,” a term that describes what happens inside our bodies and minds when we activate our instinctual fight-or-flight reflex. This process has noble intentions to preserve and protect, but too often leads us to say and/or do things that we later end up regretting or rationalizing.

With all that is going on in our world, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to be frustrated. While it is important to our individual and collective well-being that we express our emotions, it is equally important that we make time to pause so we can avoid reacting rashly and instead respond mindfully. That pause is not always easy, but it’s almost always worth it since it helps to ensure we’re bringing our best self to the situation. You know, the self that knows the importance of being tender and also remembers the value of “Gentle. Kind. Friendly.”

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

Ripples #977: Practice Love!

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Ripples #977: Practice Love!
Feb 12, 2018

PEBBLE
Practice love until you remember that you are love.
-Swami Sai Premananda
shared by Pete in Ouray, CO

BOULDER
most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
means nothing
this page
where you’re sitting
your degree
your job
the money
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them
-Rupi Kaur
shared by Diane in Blacksburg, VA

PONDER
Our longtime readers may remember that one of our annual traditions is to focus on the theme of Love around Valentine’s Day. I appreciate that some folks aren’t big fans of this holiday, either because they perceive it at overly commercial or that it seems to leave out those who aren’t currently in a romantic relationship.

I prefer to mark the occasion by celebrating love in its broadest definition and to encourage us all to recognize the relationships that bring love into our lives: family, friends, colleagues, classmates, colleagues, pets, and even (especially?) ourselves.

Love can be arduous, complicated, elusive, scary. I can also be potent, invigorating, healing, transformative. Fully experiencing and expressing love is the most difficult and most important task we are called to do. It’s tough, and it’s worth it.

Whether or not you’re sharing love with cards or chocolates or flowers this week…please, please, please: practice love. Whenever you can, however you can, and with whomever you can!

With peace (and love!),
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Members of our Team Ripples Facebook Group can access a special archive that contains all the LOVE quotes we’ve used in these Ripples emails over the past 19 years. If you’re not already in the group, visit this page and request to join. Once you’ve been approved, you can view the Love Quotes.
Team Ripples: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/
Love Quotes Archive: https://www.facebook.com/10150551063301662/… Read More!