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All Posts By

Paul Wesselmann

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!

Ripples #1072: Inward Journey

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1072: Inward Journey
Dec 9, 2019

PEBBLE
Use your inner resources to remain empowered when fears from the past rush up behind you. Trust your own path. Allow others to follow theirs.
-The Dreaming Realm via Kiva Lodge, shared by Lauranne in Madison, WI

BOULDER
Seekers of love and truth have only one journey to travel. When we embark on that journey, the outside world benefits greatly. We begin to make decisions that are not only good for ourselves, but also good for everyone and everything else in the universe. In fact, the inward journey is the journey of the inner and outer world at the same time.
-Michael Ketterhagen, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
This is a time of year when many of us are in travel mode, getting ready to visit family and friends or taking the last few work trips of the year. To make the most of them, these journeys require the right combination of planning, patience and persistence.

These are also useful tools to have for the inward journeys we occasionally need to take. You know, those introspective trips we take to understand our past, contemplate our present circumstances, and prepare for what’s ahead in our lives.

I find it useful to create some time and space at the end of the year for an inward journey of ponderance. If life feels too busy and hectic for such shenanigans, perhaps you can look at your January calendar and actually block off an appointment (or two? or three?) for such an internal trek. With a little planning, a dollop of patience, and a bit of persistence, it is a worthwhile and wonderful journey.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1071: Unbusying

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1071: Unbusying
Dec 2, 2019

PEBBLE
There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.
-liryae, shared by Molly in Pueblo, CO

BOULDER
Stop the glorification of busy.
Busy, in and of itself, is not a badge of honor.
It is okay to not be busy.
Repeat this with me:
It is okay to not be busy.
-Joshua Becker, shared by Diane in Appleton, WI

PONDER
There are so many things that need to get accomplished in December as we wrap up the year. Many of us have shopping lists and travel plans on top of all the wrap-up-another-year STUFF that makes up our crazy-full, wonderful lives.

Feeling pressure to add some acts of self-care to an already over-burdened schedule may seem to radiate stress instead of relieving it, so perhaps a wiser invitation is to ask ourselves, “How can I unbusy myself?”

Are there some chores that can be delayed (or done with a nod to mediocrity instead of a tribute to perfection)? Can some invitations be politely declined? Is there a way to make a distinction between projects that you’d enjoy undertaking if you had more time, and things that you absolutely want to make time for…and then removing (for now) any of the former so you can absolutely make time for the latter?

Asking yourself these questions may help you create the time and space in your schedule for the essentials you need to focus on to get through this time of year.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1070: The Joy of Gratitude

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1070: The Joy of Gratitude
Nov 25, 2019

PEBBLE
Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.
-Amy Collette, shared by a friend in Arizona

BOULDER
Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.
-Amy Weatherly, shared by Julie in Wolfeboro, NH

PONDER
A few weeks after we began sending out these Ripples emails back in 1999, we asked for feedback from the 75 people on the list. My friend Mike suggested that he’d enjoy them more if there was a theme rather than just a couple of random quotes. I resisted at first since I suspected it would involve a little more effort, but I soon embraced the challenge.

Ever since then, each Ripples focuses on a specific theme. While I’ve made an extra effort to keep the topics we explore varied and fresh, we also have a few traditions that I savor. This issue marks the 20th year that we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with a fresh serving of gratitude.

One of the main reasons Ripples still zooms out every Monday morning is that every week I receive a sprinkling of gratitude from readers. Some folks want to share how a specific issue helped navigate a difficulty; others are appreciating the consistency of having something to ponder each Monday.

There have been a few times when I’ve wondered if it was time to retire the concept or take an extended break just to avoid burning out. Your thankfulness has inspired me to continue the tradition while developing self-care strategies (I’ve already pre-assembled a few December issues so I can enjoy some down time over the holidays and you can still enjoy some ripply goodness!).

So as we take a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m feeling gratitude for those who help us find good quotes to share, for those who share Ripples with others, and for all who join us each Monday with an open mind and an open heart. #urock

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You’re welcome to peek at our Gratitude Quote Archive (https://www.facebook.com/notes/10150380209601662/) stored at our Team Ripples (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/) Facebook group.… Read More!

Ripples #1069: Risks of Growth

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1069: Risks of Growth
Nov 18, 2019

PEBBLE
You cannot succeed without the risk of failure,
you cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism, and
you cannot love without the risk of loss.
-Charlie Day, shared by Amanda in Stillwater, OK

BOULDER
Life happens with or without our participation, it just does…we stumble, we fall, we fail; we balance, we rise, we succeed. The greatest thing we can take away from our errors is: next time, we can consciously make the choice to be better, bigger and wiser. We are visions, creations, and manifestations of every single dream, thought and mistake we ever made. Embrace this and thank it all; it is so very powerful.
-Debbie Lynn, shared by Lorene in North Royalton, OH

PONDER
Something happens whenever we step out into the unknown. Our first reaction is often:
“I’ve never done this,” or
“I’m not used to this,” or possibly even
“I’m not sure what to do next!”

Depending upon our personality and the situation and what all is going on in our lives, we usually experience a blend of fear, uncertainty, frustration, and hopefully at least a twinge of excitement, too. Most growth takes place outside our comfort zone, and most growth requires a combination of trial and error, missteps and right steps, poor performance followed by improved performance.

We don’t have to enjoy every step in the process, but we do have to endure them if we want to grow into the best possible versions of ourselves. So…what might you do this week to embrace (or at least tolerate) the risks of growth?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1068: The Wisdom Within

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1068: The Wisdom Within
Nov 11, 2019

PEBBLE
Inside you is a book of wisdom written by our elders. Brush away what obscures this to appreciate with clarity what is written on these pages. It will ground you.
-The Dreaming Realm via Kiva Lodge, shared by Lauranne in Madison, WI

BOULDER
Amid all of the noise and confusion in the world, there is a place you can always go to find genuine support, encouragement, peace, and solace. This place is within you, where the voice of wisdom speaks. This voice will offer you positive alternatives and real guidance to help you discover a different and richer way of life. If it has been a little while since you last listened closely to it, it may be a little hard to hear. But if you give it a chance, it will reward you with all of the wisdom, guidance, and inspiration you require.
-G&S Cappannelli, shared by Vicki in Lincoln, NE

PONDER
This week I thought we’d explore how important it is to extract and retain the wisdom we’ve acquired while struggling with life’s inevitable bumps and detours. There’s no doubt that a full life includes all kinds of twists and turns and setbacks. It’s also true that some of us deal with bigger and uglier challenges than others…and yet we all have STUFF to grapple with.

This week I thought we’d explore how important it is to extract and retain the wisdom we’ve acquired while struggling with life’s inevitable bumps and detours. There’s no doubt that a full life includes all kinds of twists and turns and setbacks. It’s also true that some of us deal with bigger and uglier challenges than others…and yet we all have STUFF to grapple with.

If you’ve made it to the other side of a difficulty (or even if you’re still struggling right now) it’s important to note that if you’re breathing, you have a 100% survival rate when it comes to conquering challenges and changes. And since you made it this far, I’m guessing you’ve learned things about yourself and life that are worth holding on to. The trick is to embrace the wisdom and release the yucky parts.

Easy? Nope. Worth it? Almost certainly.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. To all who have served, and to all who support them: Happy Veteran’s Day.… Read More!

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