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Ripples #994: Sharing Pain

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Ripples #994: Sharing Pain.
June 11, 2018

PEBBLE
When you are in the midst of a fog and can’t see the shoreline, you need a compass because we are not hard-wired to go it alone. We need others to survive and thrive.
-Edward T. Creagan (adapted), shared by Donna, in Owings, MD

BOULDER
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
-Henri Nouwen, via Values.com

PONDER
This week I enjoyed a quick trip to Wisconsin to fire up a group of nonprofit leaders at a remarkable event called Enterprising Nonprofits that was sponsored and coordinated by my pals at First Business Bank. The timing of their event created an opportunity to zip over and say a quick hello to my pals at Wisconsin Leadership Seminars before rushing back to the airport for the trip home.

In the midst of my travels, I learned on the news about two celebrities who died by suicide. I’ve learned from several knowledgeable sources that it is wiser to avoid glamorizing suicide by focusing on details. Still, I wanted to recognize the pain people I care about might be experiencing and also acknowledge the darkness that has occasionally been a part of my life.

I wrote a longer Facebook post that you are welcome to read even if you’re not active on social media. Besides that note, I’ll share here that when I was younger and my own strength and courage was not sufficient, the support of trained professionals and a few key family members and friends helped me make it to today. And make no mistake: it was SHOWING UP that mattered far more than what they SAID. Showing up, staying present, and listening to my story. They held me, they heard me, and they believed me. The hardy members of Team Paulie demonstrated that hope exists and is worth clinging to even (especially) in the darkest of times.

Over the weekend I came across a collection of “16 Tweets to Read if you’re Struggling”:

16 Tweets You Might Need to See If You’re Struggling With Suicidal Thoughts Today

This one stood out: “Once in the midst of a major depression, I was crying (I thought softly) to myself on the F train; it was crowded. Someone, as they got off, stuck a pack of tissues under my nose. That person kept me going another day.”

It reminded me that sharing pain does not extend it; instead, it helps to define and diminish the hurt. Sharing pain promotes healing, and reminds us of our common humanity. If you’re in pain right now, I hope you can summon just enough courage to tell someone about it (you can even reply to this email and tell me). If you’re not in pain, we’re counting on you to … Read More!

Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!

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Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!
June 4, 2018

PEBBLE
Stress is one of the greatest gifts we have. It’s a motivator, a source of strength and a survival instinct that pushes us beyond what we often perceive as the limit of our capabilities.
-Jared Lindzon, shared by Missy Goodell, Olympia WA

BOULDER
Making plans for your life doesn’t get you out of the stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it. (The stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it may actually be what gets you to your life faster.)
-Brian Andreas, Bring Your Life Back to Life: A Guide to Effortless Joy
shared by DCB, living between Eden & Paradise

PONDER

There is no doubt that life can be more challenging and less predictable than we wish it was. And sometimes just when we think things cannot get any worse, Life steps up and says, “Wanna bet?”

If Life has recently poured it on a little too thick and a little too much, gently remind yourself that your track record of getting through difficulty is actually quite high. Always remember and never forget: if you’re breathing, you’re still alive…you made it to today!

Mini-breaks are necessary so often as possible pause to take a few deep breaths (try one right now). Build in brief pit stops as necessary, and then hop up so you can keep trudging onward. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’re much farther along than you thought you were. Remember that even when you don’t have a choice about when and how and whether the blechy stuff shows up, you almost always have options about how to respond: to GO through it, or to GROW through it.

It’s okay to sometimes settle for just getting to the other side. Other times, I hope you’ll choose to grow. #GrowForIt

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!

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Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!
May 28, 2018

PEBBLE
If you’re going to be in the gym: BE IN THE GYM!
-RAS
shared by Belinda in Berkeley, CA, who saw this at the US Olympic Training Center

ANOTHER PEBBLE
Can we get to the place where there is no place to get to?
-Michael Stone
shared by PT in Miami Beach, FL

PONDER
I’m on holiday, and would like to keep this brief. If it’s okay with you, I’ll be where I am, and you be where you are. Let’s be okay with that for today. Tomorrow we can wake up and get back to the task of moving and going and growing.

Can you get there?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those of us here in the U.S., our Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer. It’s grounded in an observance of those who died in service to their country; please consider taking some time to acknowledge their sacrifice.… Read More!

Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!

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Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!
May 21, 2018

PEBBLE
You are worthwhile and capable even though you make mistakes.
-original source unknown,
shared by Hannah in Asheville, NC, who received this message from her 8th grade science teacher, who may in turn have stumbled upon this mantra when it was shared by Joan Redeen in response to a 2010 blog post about advice you wish your 13-year-old self could hear
http://kellehampton.com/2010/10/to-thine-own-self-be-true.html#comment-226761 (yup, I poked around the interwebs, determined to find the original source!)

BOULDER
The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble, and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence. We were born to live, my dear, not merely to exist.
-Becca Lee, shared by Lee in Wichita, KS

PONDER

Last week in my excitement to commence our countdown towards Ripples #1,000, I encouraged people to join our official Facebook group, Team Ripples so they would be in on the scoop about how they could participate in unleashing some ripply goodness this summer.

On Monday morning after Ripples #990 zoomed out, I eagerly anticipated dozens or maybe even hundreds of you joining us there. I waited, and waited, and nothing really happened. I was starting to wonder if ya’ll had stopped reading these little splashes…and then someone messaged me, “Hey, Ripples Guy–the links don’t seem to work!”

YIKES!

Rather than being relieved that our fabulous team of happy Ripplers hadn’t abandoned me after all, I instead started to kick myself for not checking the links before sending it out. Maybe *I* am the one who had abandoned Ripples…since I apparently hadn’t bothered to throughly proofread the draft before zooming it out to our 30,0000 readers.

And then I took a breath. And another.

I realized that waiting another week to share corrected links wouldn’t significantly delay our plans. And several ripplers demonstrated their passion by finding their way to the group on their own. I began to realize that maybe the mistake wasn’t so bad after all.

When it was time to prepare this week’s edition, I began my weekly ritual of reviewing quote submissions to identify which pebbles and boulders were ready to be shared. Joy and gratitude washed over me as I realized just how vast this massive ocean of inspired wisdom has become thanks to the steady stream of submissions over the last 20 years…another sign of how much ripply love is simmering in our collective conscious. And ever so gently, the two quotes above emerged from the collection as if to say, “Sweet friend, stumbles aren’t obstacles. Stumbles help you soar! Mistakes are simply tiny treasures that reveal your humanity and pave the way for growth.”

May your journey this week include plenty of opportunities to soar, stumble, and flourish.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’ll try again: please join Team Ripples, our official Facebook Group, if you’d like to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/?

ALSO: If you’d like to participate … Read More!

Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!

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Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!
May 14, 2018

PEBBLE
“Where do you want to go?” I asked the child.
“Anywhere!” said the child.
“That is the best place to want to go,” I replied,
“because then you can never get lost.”
-Craig
shared by Craig in Cincinnati, OH (who experienced this conversation in a dream!)

BOULDER
Our journey as human beings is not about following a pre-ordained path, but about creating that path. Life rarely makes any more sense when things are done “in order.” Life makes sense when we are centered in our hearts and we let go of resisting how our unique journey needs to unfold in its own beautifully unruly way.
-Christine Mason Miller
shared by a Rippler in Idaho; a ripply high five to Christine for permission to unleash this wisdom here, and to Mary Anne Em Radmacher for bringing us together. So much ripply synergy!

PONDER
So last week’s issue of Ripples was themed Nowhere is Somewhere as we pondered what it’s like when we feel stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was excited to follow up with this week’s quotes about ANYWHERE, since anywhere we go today moves us away from the nowhere that we found ourselves in yesterday.

If you’re dissatisfied with where you are in some aspect of your work or life, the best thing you can do is identify a specific new destination and focus your energies on moving in that direction.

If it is too soon to know exactly where you want to go next, it can still be helpful to choose an interim placeholder goal to work on for now. Giving yourself a temporary direction may help you clarify your eventual destination and it will FOR sure move you away from your current, unappealing situation. Anywhere you go will be a different location than where you are now.

Are you in? Let’s pack our bags and prepare for a Ripply adventure!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Did you see that this is Ripples #990? That means we have just 10 more issues until we send out our 1,000th issue of Ripples? How cool is that?! We’re going to be unleashing some ripply magic via our Facebook group, so be sure to join us in Team Ripples for details!… Read More!

Ripples #989: Nowhere is Somewhere!

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Ripples #989: Nowhere is Somewhere!
May 7, 2018

PEBBLE
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere.
And sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
-unknown, shared by Sammie in Memphis, TN

BOULDER
Life is a series of mind moments, each one a new creation. Every moment we inherit something from our past, transform it in our present experience, and thereby seed the consequences of our future.
—Andrew Olendzki, shared by Joe in Kansas City, MO

PONDER
Whenever it feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere, fear and confusion can swirl about. It’s easy to forget that everywhere is somewhere even when we’re not exactly sure where the somewhere is. With a little patience and a little time, the surroundings usually become more recognizable and a path forward will gradually emerge.

If you or someone you know is feeling stuck in work or life, this might be a good time to remember that the stuck place is usually a temporary rest stop on life’s journey and not a final end point that signals the end of the road or the end of growth. Instead, we can choose to experience it as an invitation to pause and reflect inward, assessing the past and contemplating what’s next.

It will be gone soon enough, so embrace the nowhere when it is now here. 🙂

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re a little farther along in your journey and perplexed about which direction to head next, hang on until next week because I found a pair of great quotes that will help us pivot from NOWHERE to ANYWHERE! Stay tuned!… Read More!

Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.

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Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.
April 30, 2018

PEBBLE
Avoiding problems you need to face is avoiding the life you need to live.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Angela in Naples, FL

BOULDER
The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that we humans share, no matter what our situations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with (some of) the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.
-Goldie Hawn, shared by an anonymous Rippler who found it via Values.com:
https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-quotes/7411-the-lotus-is-the-most-beautiful-flower-whose

PONDER
What if every single problem you have in your life, the teensy tiny ones and the great big giant ones, were actually part of a grand curriculum of living? And what if this problems developed as opportunities for growth and transformation that could help you grow into the very best possible version of yourself? What if escaping these problems meant permanently limiting your potential for success?

And what if resolving them or making peace with them or at the very least recognizing their capacity to instruct, these problems became your friends and allies and teachers? And what if each of those problems helped you open one more of your petals to help you blossom with beauty, effectiveness, and pure joy?

What if?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Speaking of “What if”…. What if you shared this with someone in your life who might need to hear this, too?… Read More!

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!