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Ripples #951: Love & Light!

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Ripples #951: Love & Light!
Aug 14, 2017

PEBBLE
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.
-L.R. Knost, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA
[who has known me since we were in 5th grade and continues to be a fierce and fabulous friend. Happy Birthday, dear Pidge!]

BOULDER
Your light is seen, your heart is known, your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine. If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked. You are far more wonderful than you think you are. Rest with that. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine. More than fine. Better than fine. You’re doin’ great. So relax. And love yourself today.
-Neale Donald Walsch, shared by Regina in Glen Gardner, NJ

PONDER
Just when we think the world couldn’t get any messier or more troubling, news from North Korea, Venezuela, Charlottesville, and elsewhere proves us wrong. The challenges we’re facing are far more complex than many of us are willing to admit, and the potential solutions that will eventually help to improve things will require many people coming together with massive amounts of passion, patience, and persistence.

I don’t have the answers for how we’ll get through this, but I do have confidence that we will. The steps that we can all take right now to help us move forward involve recognizing and sharing our own reserves of love and light. First, look in the mirror and ponder the compliments that have been shared by people that have told you how important and precious you are to them. Marinate in that love and light. Then look around and identify the people you cross paths with on a regular basis that YOU respect, admire, and/or value. And tell them what they mean to you. Let them marinate in love and light.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, the next step could be to identify some people you *struggle* to respect, admire, and/or value to see if any of them deserve reconsideration. Maybe you haven’t sufficiently appreciated how or why their perspective is so different than your own, or you haven’t even gotten to know them well enough to understand what their perspective really is all about. At least think about it, and see if you can allow them to marinate in love and light, too.

These might seem like small steps, but small changes in how you think and feel can lead to small changes in your behavior. And it is all of our little actions that can ripple out to change the world.

Sending you Love & Light,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #949: Slight Adjustments!

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Ripples #949: Slight Adjustments!
July 31, 2017

PEBBLE
We take almost all of the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.
-W.G. Sebald, another great find by Leslie in Madison, WI (who has been scrounging up fabulous Pebbles & Boulders since our first year of Rippling…way back in 1999!)

BOULDER
Your life is like Tetris. Stop playing it like chess. It’s choosing, on a fundamental level. It’s taking these random experiences as they slowly fall down the screen of life and rotating them 360 degrees; moving them two rows left and three to the right; examining them from new vantage points so as to make them fit into the grander mosaic of our lives. Tetris, not chess. If you think you’re in checkmate, you can choose to flip the table and play something else.
-Jeremy Mathurin, 2016 Hamilton College student commencement speaker
shared by Dave, Silver Spring, MD

PONDER

It can be tempting to daydream about the BIG shifts that we think would improve our lives: if only we could snag that dream job/house/relationship or radically improve the country/world/universe. Whenever I find myself lost in those daydreams, I try to remind myself that while the big changes sound exciting and life-altering, it is the myriad small decisions we make each day that have a more significant impact on our lives.

Studying for the mid-terms and showing up for the final exam are essential, of course, but your daily decisions about whether to go to class and how many minutes you’ll study have a far bigger impact on your academic success. It’s important to go to the dentist a few times a year, but the bigger impact on your dental health are the daily decisions you make about whether to brush and floss. And while relationships can be deepened or destroyed by single events, most of our cherished connections are made by lots of small deposits: texts and chats and lunches and walks and such.

Let’s make this week about recognizing and seizing the small, everyday choices we have available to us, and explore how these SLIGHT ADJUSTMENTS might expand our options and improve our outlook.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #948: Common Enchantment.

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Ripples #948: Common Enchantment.
July 24, 2017

PEBBLE
We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist’s eyes to notice.
-Jacob Nordby, shared by Vanessa in Des Moines, IA

BOULDER
In the best of times our days are numbered anyway, and so it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world’s crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place. The opportunity to do good work, to fall in love, to enjoy friends, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.
-Alistair Cooke shared by Sharon in Madison, WI

PONDER

So I’m assembling this issue of Ripples at the airport a few weeks earlier than usual. I decided to double up during June and put together two issues of Ripples each week so you could continue receiving these weekly splashes even while I’m enjoying a summer break. The two quotes above matched themselves up nicely, and then it was time to decide what I wanted to saying about the idea of COMMON ENCHANTMENT. As I read over the quotes a few times and then stared off into space, I noticed a really colorful outfit someone walking through the airport was wearing.

“How enchanting,” I thought, and instantly realized that I needed to pause from pondering the IDEA of “common enchantment,” and simply let myself BE enchanted by the delicious commonness that was all around me. I began noticing people and sounds and decorations. I observed families getting excited about vacations, business colleagues huddling around laptops, and solo travelers immersed in books. I noticed sunbeams hitting a variety of surfaces, shadows creating patterns and depth, and so many more shades and hues than I usually notice. And not was I aware of the beauty around me, the airport *sounded* enchanting as well: a cacophony of voices and music amidst all sorts of hustle and bustle.

I was so enchanted that I hadn’t noticed boarding was nearly complete, and some fella named, “Wesselmann” was being paged to get on the plane. Whoops! I scooted my way over to the gate, down the jetway, and into my seat. The enchantment continued on board: the passengers seemed more interesting, the flight crew seemed friendlier, and the plane itself more intricate and wondrous than any of the hundreds of planes I’ve boarded over the years. An experience I’ve had so many times was transformed into an exquisite adventure with just the slightest of adjustments (more on slight adjustments next week!).

Now it is YOUR turn: close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and when you open your eyes again, observe the COMMON ENCHANTMENTS around you.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #947: Confidence!

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Ripples #947: Confidence!
July 17, 2017

PEBBLE
If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life….with confidence, you have won even before you have started.
-Marcus Garvey, shared by Michael in Rochester, MI

BOULDER
Feeling confident is important for success. One way to boost your confidence is to allow mistakes. Don’t expect perfection. Instead, learn from your mistakes and forge ahead.
-Kristin S. Vickers Douglas, Ph.D., shared by Donna in Owings, MD
dvmillar@verizon.net

PONDER
On your best days, are you pretty darn good? Are you able to get stuff done that needs to get done and deal with the people you encounter in ways that are both useful and enjoyable? When I ask these questions in presentations, I find that most people feel pretty good about their BEST SELVES, the version of themselves that shows up when everything is going well.

I think one of the tricks to improving your confidence is getting curious about how you can more frequently and more consistently bring your BEST SELF to work, school, and life. If you can identify things that knock you off your game, the specific situations or people or developments that trigger fear or frustration, perhaps you can experiment to see if you can identify strategies to either PREVENT or MINIMIZE their impact on your performance.

Remember that we don’t need the PERFECT you, nor do you need to pretend to be like someone else. The world just longs for you to show up with the best available version of yourself as often as you possibly can.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #946: Springs of Solitude.

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Ripples #946: Springs of Solitude.
July 10, 2017

PEBBLE
Certain springs are tapped only when you’re alone.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh, shared by Pete in Ouray, CO

BOULDER
Usually, when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we need the most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that we can make changes for the better.
-Sarah Ban Breathnach, shared by Robin in Madison, WI

PONDER
I love the fullness of my life. When I’m on the road, I love all the travel and the opportunities to spend time with an interesting mix of people at various stages of life. When I’m home, I love being surrounded by a rich circle of friends and a sweet fella who helps me savor my down time.

Still, I’ve learned that part of being really effective in my roles as a speaker, friend, neighbor, and boyfriend is building in time for solitude. I make an effort to carve out a few minutes each day and a few hours each week for quiet time, and a few times of year I build in a longer stretch of solitude.

I’m about to head offline and out of sight for a period of solitude; I’m looking forward to relaxing and reflexing, just like I’ll look forward to returning in a few weeks, ready to embrace the people and the adventures that I know will be waiting for me.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Don’t fret–you’ll still get your weekly splashes of inspiration! I worked extra hard over the past few weeks to pull together a few extra issues of Ripples. They are all queued up and ready to zoom out each Monday until I’m back in action!… Read More!

Ripples #945: Ultimate Freedom!

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Ripples #945: Ultimate Freedom!
July 3, 2017

PEBBLE
Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us. -Stephen Covey, shared by Brittany in Florida

BOULDER
The freedom we are looking for is the freedom to be ourselves, to express ourselves. But if we look at our lives we will see that most of the time we do things just to please others … The worst part is that most of us are not even aware that we are not free.
-Don Miguel Ruiz, shared by George in Queens, NY

PONDER
I often play around with the theme of FREEDOM around this time of year since we celebrate USA’s Independence Day on July 4. One of the key components of freedom is about having choices, and I invite you to find a few moments between sparklers and fireworks to think about all the choices you have in a typical day.

Even though there are many things we DON’T get to choose, and even though our lives are far from perfect, you might be surprised just how many times in a day you have multiple options that you’re choosing from: options about which foods you’ll eat at a given meal, what clothes to wear today, what leisure activities you can choose from during your down time. It is also true that many of our “need to get done” tasks have options about HOW or WHEN we accomplish them. Even when something unpleasant happens that is completely beyond our control, there are usually still options about how we are going to respond.

It’s worth keeping in mind that lots of people don’t have access to the same sets of choices and options that we tend to take for granted. So make an extra effort this week to celebrate the ULTIMATE FREEDOMS that you have in your life, and maybe see if there is something you can do to enlarge the freedom of others who don’t have similar access.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #944: Knowing Yourself!

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Ripples #944: Knowing Yourself!
June 26, 2017

PEBBLE
Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.
-Osho, shared by Pete in Ouray, CO

BOULDER
You’ve got to know yourself. You’ve got to know what ignites your magic, what fires your soul into performing majestic acts of love. You’ve got to know yourself so much that not even a hundred voices will drown yours. You’ve got to own yourself: this journey is all yours. All yours. No one can do it and you decide whenever you are ready to embark on it. Unlearn, learn, master yourself and love yourself or else they will define you and that’s a poisonous kind of life. That’s death.
—Ijeoma Umebinyuo, shared by Simone in Reno, NV

PONDER

I talk. A lot.

When I’m on the road, I talk to audiences; when I’m home I talk to my friends and neighbors; if you’ve ever spotted me on my morning walks or as I scoot through the airport on my travels, you know that I even talk to myself. Talking, along with listening, are two important ways that I connect with the world. It allows me to build and deepen connections with others; it also allow me to deepen the connection I have with my inner self.

I think I’ve been talking to myself since forever, but it took an interesting turn while in counseling and I’d say something to my therapist like, “I don’t know why I sometimes do that.” And she’d say, “Why don’t you ask yourself?” I was surprised at how often I could pose a question internally then wait just a moment before a response surfaced. I was also surprised at how often the answer surprised me–I’d be reminded of something I hadn’t thought about in ages, or an entirely new thought would emerge. (I actually dropped a hint about this in last week’s Ripples about problems when I asked you to imagine having a conversation with a problem you’re currently facing–I heard from several people who said that it was a helpful technique for them.)

I’d like to invite you to have some inner conversations this week; spend some time posing questions that you might ask a friend or even someone you’re just getting to know: “How are you? What’s working in your life right now? What isn’t? What can I do to help you grow?” It may feel a little awkward at first, and you might not receive (or recognize) a response right away. With a little practice, though, it might help you get to know yourself a little better. I believe it’s worth a try, because I believe you’re worth a try.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #943: Entertaining Problems!

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Ripples #943: Entertaining Problems!
June 19, 2017

PEBBLE
The task ahead of you is never greater than the STRENGTH within you.
-source unknown
shared by Kelly in Newport, NH (who noticed this on the back of a college athlete’s shirt, and learned that *all* the runners in a particular race were given the shirt to support another team’s member who was running again after a 2 year recovery from an injury)

BOULDER
Revel in your imperfections. Be entertained by your problems and know that once you looked ahead and wished you were where you are now. And once again you will look back and smile.
-source unknown
shared by Regina in San Luis Obispo, CA

PONDER
I have a challenge for you to tackle this week, if you choose to accept it. First, pick a problem that you’re dealing with right now: it could be something smaller, like a construction zone in your commute; or choose a larger problem like an interpersonal conflict that is getting in the way at work or home. Once you’ve identified a specific problem, I want you to have a talk with this problem where you say something like this:

“Well hello there, problem! I am choosing to embrace your presence, because it turns out that I need you in order to grow, and you need me in order to get resolved. Let’s work together, and maybe we can even have some fun along the way?”

See if you and your problem can work together and help each other out. Are you in? Please, be in. Your problem is depending on you, and so am I!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #942: Purifying Light!

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Ripples #942: Purifying Light!
June 12, 2017

PEBBLE
The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn and shine with increasing clearness on your path.
-Jean le Rond D’Alembert, shared by an anonymous rippler

BOULDER
A true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost, a pure heart can touch the poison of hatred and never be harmed; since beginningless time darkness has thrived in the void, but always yields to purifying light.
-Lion turtle (from Avatar: The Last Airbender, episode 59, by Aaron Ehasz)
shared by Cody in San Francisco, CA

PONDER

We all experience darkness in our lives; times when we feel lost, scared…unable to see what is going on or where we’re headed. Darkness then allows fear and frustration to fester, causing our outlook and our emotions to spiral downward even further.

The useful thing about light is that even a tiny bit of it immediately cuts through darkness, paving the way for more light. Dim rays of hopeful feelings and optimistic thoughts peer through, generating more light which in turn allows us to grow even more confident and more determined to move forward toward other sources of light.

If you’ve been struggling lately, keep your eyes peeled for sources of light, remembering that small flickers of hope come in all shapes and sizes: something as small as spotting your favorite color, encountering a fragrant whiff of fresh baked goods, or hearing one of your favorite songs pop up on the radio can lift your spirits and help more than you realize.

If things are going pretty well right now, spend some extra time and energy keeping your eyes peeled for someone else who is struggling. You can be the PURIFYING LIGHT for someone else by extending your patience, your compassion, and maybe even a warm smile to let someone know that you recognize their humanity. It will light up your day as well.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #941: Aliveness of Life!

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Ripples #941: Aliveness of Life!
June 5, 2017

PEBBLE
Life is immediate and alive.
-Zuiko Redding, shared by Ryan in Cedar Rapids, IA

BOULDER
You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved Ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude. Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.
-Jeff Foster, shared by Lorene in North Royalton, OH

PONDER
I like to keep each issue of Ripples compact enough that it takes less than a minute to read. The awesome boulder Lorene found for us is meaty enough (and sacred enough) that I have just a few moments to make this request: do what you can this week to recognize and celebrate the aliveness of your life. Even if things are super duper tough, and even if you’re feeling more grumpy than grateful, hopefully you can notice at least a few thin slices of goodness worth savoring.

Do it for me, and do it for you too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!