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Paul Wesselmann

Ripples #1030: Thriving in the Mess!

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Ripples #1030: Thriving in the Mess!
Feb 18, 2019

PEBBLE
I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.
-Joanna Gaines, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life. It’s a trip more wonderful than I could have imagined.
-Kerry Washington
shared by Brenda in Dallas, TX, via Oprah

PONDER
Today’s pebble and boulder are attributed to strong women who have faced adversity and figured out how to embrace life’s inevitable difficulties as opportunities for growth (I also happen to know that the women who submitted these quotes have endured their share of difficulty–and are still alive and kicking, too!

It is fairly common to believe that our Best Life begins only when we get a grip on all the big stuff we’re currently struggling with AND solve all the tiny and titanic problems that have bubbled up in our lives. It’s a mythical yet tempting concoction of “grass is always greener” and “the future will be better,” and “Tomorrow Me will have everything together way more than Today Me does.”

Here’s the thing: while they might be nice to have, it turns out we don’t absolutely NEED greener grass or a brighter future or a Better Me in order to thrive. We just need to embrace today’s grass and today’s opportunities and Today Me. Even the toughest days usually have some nuggets of goodness and joy to be savored, and it is more than possible to get stuff done even when our Best Me isn’t available for appearances on a particular day. The bonus treat is that any time Today Me is able to eek out even a teensy bit of progress, it makes things easier and better for Tomorrow Me. (I know for certain that Today Me is deeply appreciative of so many things that several versions of Yesterday Me accomplished.)

So join us (me and Joanna and Leslie and Kerry and Brenda) in thriving amidst whatever messiness exists in life right now. Invite Today You to cut Yesterday You some slack while tackling a few things to help Tomorrow You thrive even more. Work some, play some, and grow some. And go to bed early enough to rest up so we can do it all again with Tomorrow You. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1029: The Formidable Force of Love!

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Ripples #1029: The Formidable Force of Love!
Feb 11, 2019
Celebrating 20 Year of Ripples 1999-2019!

PEBBLE
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.
-eden ahbez*, shared by Ben in Columbia, SC
*we originally attributed this lyric to Nat King Cole who SANG it, but didn’t write it. Whoops! Thanks to a reader who caught the error

BOULDER
Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible—it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.
—Barbara De Angelis, shared by Angie in Michigan via Values.com

PONDER

I love that you spend some of your precious time and energy reading and savoring these weekly splashes.

I love that you occasionally let me know when a particular issue resonates or troubles you.

I love that you forgive the typos and the quotes that don’t connect with your heart the way others do.

I love that you submit quotes to consider for future rippling.

I love that you forward Ripples on to family and friends and colleagues.

I love that you strive to put Ripples into action in ways that elevate yourself and those around you.

I love that we don’t have to agree on every single thing in order to come together for a minute every Monday morning.

I love that you open up your heart as you read them, and that you encourage me to open mine when I’m assembling them.

I love you, and I love us.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You can head over to Team Ripples, our official Facebook group if you’d like to peek at our treasure trove of Love Quotes.
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Ripples #1028: Ripples of Curiosity!

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Ripples #1028: Ripples of Curiosity!
Feb 4, 2019

PEBBLE
Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times. But curiosity is available to everyone.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, shared by Brett in Madison, WI

BOULDER
Lean into your curiosity about any issue, and there will likely be people to share a little bit more of their knowledge and insight and give you ideas on how to make change.
-Opal Tometi, shared by Dale in Riverton, WY

PONDER
Curiosity is a pretty nifty quality to cultivate. Here are three reasons why:

Curiosity delays judgment.
Whether we’re having a disagreement with a colleague or deciding whether to continue watching a documentary that popped up on Netflix, curiosity allows us to move past initial snap judgments and dig deeper. It helps us gather more information so that we can take a more informed position.

Curiosity invites growth.
The more open we remain, the more information we are allowed to acquire. This expands our understanding, widens our perspective, and allows us to grapple with the complexities of life. It also allows us to identify holes in our thinking,

Curiosity unleashes creativity.
When you’re feeling stuck and you need some fresh ideas, one of the fastest ways to get unstuck is get curious. Imagine someone you think of as creative magically appearing at your door to assist you, then let yourself wonder, “What might she ask me that could unstick things?” Or maybe you could even get curious about your stuckness, inviting yourself to tweak your thoughts or behavior to see if that might open up some new possibilities.

So lean in to curiosity today, and see if helps.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1027: Pain vs. Suffering!

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Ripples #1027: Pain vs. Suffering!
Jan 28, 2019

PEBBLE
Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering.
-Dan Millman, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
Life provides pain. We provide the suffering. We don’t have control over eliminating pain altogether because pain is part of life. There is no pain-free living. We do, however, have at least some control over how we suffer pain. To suffer means to carry, and we are in charge of our way of carrying pain. We learn ways of carrying pain, just like we learn so much else. Some ways we learn are efficient and some are inefficient and even make the pain worse. No, we can’t eliminate pain from our lives, but we can suffer or carry pain in a way that doesn’t create additional or unnecessary pain. Our challenge is to learn and develop efficient ways to suffer pain.
-David Doane
written and shared by David in Perrysburg, OH

PONDER

There have been a few periods in my life where I didn’t realize how attached I had become to physical and psychological pain, unintentionally creating a downward spiral of suffering that made things much worse. It isn’t that the pain wasn’t legitimate; it’s just that the pain triggered a large amount of suffering which then led to more pain. Without realizing it, I was lengthening these difficult chapters in my life and often keeping myself from joyful moments that are possible even when pain is present.

A few months ago, I was struggling with chronic pain that was really bothersome until I happened upon two activities that shifted my perspective and short circuited the pain-suffering loop. One activity I happened upon while googling, “pain management techniques;” it involved mentally scanning my body to notice all the places that I was not experiencing pain. It wasn’t about ignoring the pain, but instead putting it into context. Pain has an upside-it serves as a useful warning alarm for our bodies and your brains. The problem with pain is that it can overwhelm the system and make it seem like pain is the only thing going on at a given moment. Noticing all the places we are NOT in pain creates a more helpful perspective by reminding the system that pain is just one part of what is happening.

The other activity I stumbled upon quite by accident: I was stuck dealing with a string of nightly headaches and had been temporarily prohibited from taking the usual medication that reliably resolved the pain. I needed a distraction, so I took myself out to a nice dinner and on the way home remembered that the zoo near my house was hosting their holiday light show. I wasn’t sure whether the crowds and the cold and the blinking lights would make things better or worse, but I decided to experiment. It turned out to … Read More!

Ripples #1026: Fierce Urgency of Now!

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Ripples #1026: Fierce Urgency of Now!
Jan 21, 2019

PEBBLE
We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared by Donna in Owings, MD

BOULDER
Life for none of us has been a crystal stair,
but we must keep moving, we must keep going.
If you can’t fly, run.
If you can’t run, walk.
If you can’t walk, crawl,
but by all means, keep moving!
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared by Simone in New York, NY (I also found a video of Dr. King delivering these words at the end of a speech to college students.

PONDER
2019 marks 90 years since the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and over 50 years have passed since his untimely death. There are significant ways that our society has shifted and grown around the issues of race and class that Dr. King and others worked passionately to advance. At the same time, there is so much still to be done. So much!

If it feels like we are stuck or even losing ground on some of these important issues, take heart: growth is not always linear. Progress usually includes some forward momentum, occasional big leaps, and inevitable periods of dormancy and/or contraction.

Even the existence of MLK Day was a process: U.S. Congress first proposed the idea in 1979; it wasn’t signed into law by President Reagan until 1983, and another 17 years passed before it was officially observed in all 50 states.

I’m not suggesting we are supposed to sit back and be patient–the time is ripe for us to recommit ourselves to being part of the solution and inviting others to do the same. While many people celebrate MLK Day with some form of community service, there are many other ways to honor his legacy: listening, learning, empathizing, contributing, speaking up.

Thanks in advance for doing your part!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you head over to our official Facebook group, Team Ripples, we keep an updated list of Dr. King’s wisdom that we’ve shared over the last two decades of MLK Days.
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Ripples #1025: The Greatness of Your Smallness!

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Twenty Years of Ripples 1999-2019
Ripples #1025: The Greatness of Your Smallness!
Jan 14, 2019

PEBBLE
The true heroes are more concerned with helping than with advertising their own acts. Become one of them, in the silence of your achievements and the greatness of your smallness.
-Joanna de Ângelis, shared by Murillo in Champaign, IL

BOULDER
A true hero gets out of bed every morning and goes about life’s daily tasks, unnoticed, unassuming and unsung. A true hero takes on responsibility, gives out credit, and always looks for ways to solve a problem. A true hero speaks kindly, acts fairly, endures patiently, enjoys easily. And, facing every day with a simple strength, a true hero persists in the things that matter.
-source unknown, shared by dear D (who fervently lives this quote)

PONDER
Fictional super heroes tend to be larger than life and do a magnificent job of inspiring hope and excitement while saving the world over and over again. They help us remember that good can indeed conquer evil, and I value their expansive personas.

In the real world, I believe most of the goodness gets unleashed by everyday heroes who quietly go about their day, making a difference at their jobs and around their community and even in their back yard. These fine human beings make ethical decisions even when they assume no one is watching; they go out of their way to provide assistance when they spot someone in need; and importantly, they are able to extend patience and compassion even when others seem to be running low on reserves of kindness.

While most of them don’t need the ego gratification of being in the spotlight, I suspect they do appreciate knowing that their efforts are making a difference and that what they are doing matters. You can tend to the care and feeding of these heroes by keeping your eyes open for great small things and taking the time to deliver subtle, sincere thank yous in the form of head nods, high fives, or perhaps handwritten notes of gratitude.

These small gestures confirm the “greatness of their smallness,” and allow these unsung heroes to “persist in the things that matter.” Quietly acknowledging their heroism not only will allow you to witness first hand how good it feels to be validated by others, you’ll get a glimpse of how good it feels to deliver that validation. It may seem rather small, but it is indeed pretty great, too!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. It’s hard to believe that it has now been 20 years since we began sending out these weekly splashes of inspiration. Shortly after we sent out the first issue on January 12, 1999 to 75 people, we began receiving a steady stream of positive feedback, requests to join the list, and submissions of inspirational content to be considered for a future issue. Thank you for the support and encouragement, and thanks for reading! … Read More!

Ripples #1024: Transforming Our Battles!

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Ripples #1024: Transforming Our Battles!
Jan 7, 2019

PEBBLE
We each walk our paths so we can learn and share those lessons with others.
-Cynthia Mazzaferro, shared by Sam in Des Moines, IA via Values.com

BOULDER
Your battles shouldn’t make other people’s battles less significant. They should make you more considerate.
-Tye Tribbett, shared by Norma in Orlando, FL normajaltidor@gmail.com

PONDER
Since our very first issue back in 1999, we’ve benefited greatly from the steady stream of quotes that people share with us. Recently, I’ve enjoyed asking follow up questions about some of the submissions to learn more about where they were found what stood out about them.

Norma (who submitted today’s Boulder) shared with me how earlier this fall she had moved to Orlando to start a doctoral program and was initially overwhelmed. Attending church that Sunday, she was significantly moved when the pastor opened his sermon with the words she shared above. “The message resonated strongly,” she shared when I contacted her for more information. “I had moved here without a job or a place to live and was worried about everything – food, paying my bills, finding a job – while trying not to let the solitude of living out of hotel rooms consume me.”

Norma went on to to say that Tribbett’s sermon caused an instant shift in her attitude and perspective: “It was a gentle reminder that we are not all called to be the same, do the same, or experience the same things in life. We’re called to live in community with others. What I’m going through is necessary for the person I’m becoming, and it isn’t fair of me to measure up and/or minimize other people’s battles. Since that day, I have been more positive and the pieces have been gradually falling into place: I now have both a job and an apartment. More important for me, though, is the fact that I’ve become more conscious of how I’m checking in, supporting, and loving on the people around me. Even if I don’t know what all they are juggling, I can still be there for them.”

I’m embracing Pastor Tribbett’s wisdom and Norma’s story as invitations to transform the battles I’m dealing with (the large ones AND the teensy ones) into opportunities to extend my compassion and my humility. It will help me, and it will help others, too. How cool is that?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1023: Radical Amazement!

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Ripples #1023: Radical Amazement!
Dec 31, 2018

PEBBLE
Focus on the powerful, euphoric, magical, synchronistic beautiful parts of life, and the universe will keep giving them to you.
-original source unknown, shared by Tammy in Dallas, TX

BOULDER
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, shared by Paul in Parkville, MD

PONDER

Radical Amazement?!
What a phrase…so delicious, so daring, so delightful!

It reminds me of a YouTube video that I sometimes show in presentation about the Power of Awe. In just under three minutes, Jason Silva delivers a passionate mini-sermon, extolling the virtues of “radiant ecstasy” and the dangers of hedonic adaptation, a pesky habit we humans have of growing bored with things that initially amaze us.

The message of the video and today’s quotes is to encourage our conscious cultivation of radical amazement. Not just to see and feel the WOW that is all around us, but to BE THE WOW for ourselves and those we encounter.

As we wrap up the last few hours of 2018 and dive into the new year, I’m curious if you can unleash some radical amazement while savoring memories of the last 12 months and daydreaming about what you want 2019 to look like and feel like and be like.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I hope the year that is ending has provided plenty of laughter and also some learning. And I hope the year that is about to arrive will delight you and dare you. As long as you’re still in, I’ll continue to meet up with you every Monday morning with a couple of quotes and something to ponder for the week. You can help by keeping an eye out for exceptional quotes to share, and submit a quote here when you find one!… Read More!

Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.

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Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.
Dec 24, 2018

PEBBLE
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
-Giovanni Giocondo
shared by Jeane in Taos, NM
excerpt from “Letter to the Most Illustrious the Contessina Allagia degli Aldobrandeschi, Written Christmas Eve Anno Domini 1513”, which may or may not have been written by the Italian Friar Giovanni Giocondo

BOULDER
moment (a poem)
moment
as we take in a breath
we inhale peace,
exhale peace, love, kindness and joy
in every moment
-ted balser
written and shared by Ted in Lady Lake, FL

PONDER
You may be busy on this Christmas Eve, and if that is the case let me just quickly tell you that I hope this holiday week provides many opportunities to inhale peace.

If you happen to have a few spare moments, consider finding time to read and ponder the full letter that is excerpted in today’s Pebble. While some historians question its source, many people know it as a Christmas Letter attached to a basket of fruit given by a priest to a friend. I can’t say with certainty WHEN it was written or WHO wrote it, but I know for sure that pausing to mindfully read it over a few times brought me both enthusiastic joy and also a sense of calm peace.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those who celebrate Christmas: I hope it is a magical and quite merry holiday for you. For everyone who has spent time reading these weekly splashes, sharing them with friends, and submitting quotes: thank you for helping extend their reach!… Read More!

Ripples #1021: What If?

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Ripples #1021: What If?
Dec 17, 2018

PEBBLE
Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking.
-Brother David Steindl-Rast, shared by Paul in Parkville, MD

BOULDER

What If (A Rainforest Poem)

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?

What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?

What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?

-Ganga White
(c) 1998 Ganga White, whitelotus.org, All Rights Reserved
Reprinted from Yoga Beyond Belief, by Ganga White
Used with permission

PONDER
For those of us who identify as Christian, next week marks one of the holiest of days: the birth of Jesus. While honored differently, most religions and cultures have similar marker events they embrace as opportunities to rejoice, to reflect, to remember. Ultimately, I think the primary purpose of most of them is to help us live the highest, holiest versions of ourselves.

The conflicts that continue to rage around the world involve political, religious, and ideological divisions often seem like barriers to peaceful coexistence. Instead of being viewed as problematic, what if we chose to view these divisions as divine opportunities for us to grow stronger and more compassionate as individuals and groups?

What if we recognized them as life lessons that could help us grow? What if these difficulties could help us learn about each other, strengthen our ability to explain our perspective, and cultivate the capacity to listen patiently as our opponents explain how and why they look at the world and certain issues the way they do?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S.… Read More!