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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!

Ripples #1067: Reasons For Hope

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1067: Reasons For Hope
Nov 4, 2019

PEBBLE
The future belongs to those who give the next generations reason for hope.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, shared by Thomas on Sanibel Island, FL

BOULDER
Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
-Louisa May Alcott, shared by Karen in Wentzville, MO

PONDER
Another election day is arriving here in the U.S., and many of my fellow citizens are pondering who and what to vote for. Some of them might be wondering whether or not it is worth taking the time and effort to make their way to the polls. Please consider this as you make your decisions:

Many people believe we are living in strange and complicated times that aren’t quite like other chapters in our history. I happen to agree, and I also think it is accurate to say that human history is filled with other “strange and complicated times” that seemed confusing and overwhelming and frustrating as events were unfolding. We got through it, and I’m sure we’ll get through this as well..and maybe come out of it a little wiser, a little stronger, and hopefully a little more connected to each other.

I don’t have all the answers, and I have no interest in telling you who to vote for. I do believe (quite passionately), that our best path forward is to get as many people as possible to seek the right combination of passion and persistence and patience to read up, look up, and speak up. And by speak up, I mean: vote!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1066: Integrity

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1066: Integrity
Oct 28, 2019

PEBBLE
Deep inside, our integrity sings to us whether we are listening or not. It is a note that only we can hear.
-Rachel Naomi Remen, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
-Brené Brown, shared by Shelley in Des Moines, IA

PONDER
These quotes have been patiently hanging out on the list of “Ooh yes let’s unleash these soon” for some time, and they’ve been also been simmering in my mind as well. I was initially thinking that I needed to wait a while longer to share them since just a few issues ago we talked about Cultivating Character.

But upon further reflection (and googling), I determined that while some people might use these terms interchangeably, others make distinctions between the two. I’m finding it useful to think about character as holding certain morals and values, and integrity as more about consistently taking action that is congruent with those values.

This week I’ll be on the look out for ways my character (values) may not be in full alignment with my behavior, making adjustments to my attitude and my actions as needed. I suspect I suspect I’ll get more out of this experiment if I bring as much curiosity and mindfulness as possible, while leaving judgment behind.

Wanna join me?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1065: Redirection

By Ripples No Comments

1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1065: Redirection
Oct 21, 2019

PEBBLE
Sometimes rejection in life is really redirection.
-Tavis Smiley, shared by Jessica in Orlando, FL

BOULDER
When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.
—Zig Ziglar, shared by Tom in Boise, ID

PONDER
Sometimes I really like it when my social media feeds include a glance back at some post from several years ago, reminding me of a glorious event, a cherished friendship or even just a funny meme that brings another chuckle. Other times I quickly keep scrolling and mentally scold Facebook for not realizing that some things can just stay in the past.

That happened recently when a photo popped up of a relationship that I spent a lot of time, energy, and vulnerability nurturing. Seeing the photo of my happy, younger and more naive self initially stung a bit more than I would have guessed. I spent a few moments thinking about how long it took me to conclude the relationship wasn’t going to work out, and about how long it took me to recover.

It didn’t take too long for a grin to come across my face as I realized just how much I had grown since that photo was snapped, and how some of the wisdom I have since acquired came from that turbulent chapter of my life.

Even if I could hop in a DeLorean with a flux capacitor and zoom back in time to the moment that photo was snapped, I doubt I could convince my younger self that the rejection I was about to experience would end up being a crucial plot twist that would eventually lead to a much more satisfying relationship. But that’s okay! He eventually figures it out just fine, and the time and energy and vulnerability he spent on that relationship helped him deepen his understanding of himself and the world.

It was a lesson that I couldn’t have learned as well from watching a movie or taking a class. I needed to live it. It needed to take as long as it took. And I needed to go where it took me so that I could arrive at this place in my life, which is pretty darn groovy.

If something that looks like rejection has recently appeared in the movie of your life, consider that it might just be a plot twist, redirecting you toward a happier, more satisfying resolution than you can currently imagine.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

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Ripples #1064: Learning While Leading

By Ripples No Comments

1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1064: Learning While Leading
Oct 14, 2019

PEBBLE
You’ve got to be a servant before you can be a supervisor.
-Cathy Kyle (Marcus’ mom), shared by Marcus in Atlanta, GA

BOULDER
Leadership is insight and inspiration, service and humility, courage, conviction and compassion. It challenges the sleepwalkers and the status quo, perceives problems, unleashes laughter, raises children and searches for solutions. Leadership is endless striving.
-Dacia Toll, shared by Tonya in Deerbrook, WI

PONDER
I immediately connected with the simple yet powerful wisdom in today’s pebble, so I followed up with Marcus to see if I could learn more about his mom’s sage advice. It turns out he had reached out to her for help with a difficulty he was grappling with and their conversation stayed with him for a long time afterword. Here is how Marcus described what he eventually concluded from their conversation:

“If you want help solving your problems, start by helping other people solve their problems,” he wrote in an email to me. “You learn more about life and about yourself when you’re helping others.” The cool bonus, according to Marcus, is that you can “learn ways to solve other problems in your life you haven’t had a chance to get to yet.”

Whether you’re the CEO of a huge company or the chair of your homeowner’s association, the effectiveness of your leadership depends in part on your capacity to keep learning and keep growing. And most successful leaders attribute at least some of their success to humbly respecting the talent and effort of those they are leading. Being able to learn from them not only increases their respect and trust in your leadership, it also adds to your knowledge and skill base.

Ask yourself what you’ve recently learned while leading, and maybe take a moment this week to acknowledge someone you’ve learned something from.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Reading this over the last few days has allowed me to reflect on just how much I’ve learned while leading this merry troupe of Ripplers for the past 1,064 weeks. Your affirmations and feedback have been crucial to the evolution of Ripples, and there have been countless times when hearing from you has lifted me up and allowed me to continue extending these out in a way that lifts others up. Ripples make waves, and so do you. 🙂  … Read More!

Ripples #1063: The Flow of Attention

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1063: The Flow of Attention
Oct 7, 2019

PEBBLE
The older I get, the more I realize that some situations do not require my reaction. I can decide where my attention and energy flow.
-source unknown, shared by Molly in Fort Thomas, KY

BOULDER
Energy follows attention. When we hold an intention and give it attention (whether consciously or unconsciously), our energy and the energy of the universe respond.
-Personal Transformation and Courage Institute
shared by Patricia in Springfield, VA

PONDER
There is a lot going on these days, and there are a lot of channels of information that we have access to. I don’t necessarily mean channels on television, although there are certainly still plenty of those. I’m thinking in terms of channels of communication: phone calls, texts, emails, written notes, and even the lovely face to face conversations that still happen every once in a while. And that’s before we even get to all the channels of social media with the TikTumbleReddits and the InstaNextDoorLinkedIns and of course the FaceTweetSnaps.

There are so many things are vying for our attention that we are becoming simultaneously overwhelmed and numbed out by all the possibilities. I’m certain I am not the only one grappling with the twin afflictions common in our always connected society: an addiction to the constant stream of news/updates/distractions available to us, and at the same time a desensitization that serves to protect us from the overwhelm. I know that I often feel deprived when I distance myself even temporarily from the constant stream of What’s Happening, and at the same time I sense I am less impacted by any of the specific stories that are contained within these streams.

There is an antidote available to us when we are sufficiently motivated to take back control of our attention: choice. We can decide to be more conscious and more proactive in our decisions about what we attend to. We can also purposely limit access to devices and other distractions either by temporarily shutting them down or placing them in another room (I’ve been using the “Screen Time” setting on my iPhone to more consciously monitor my screen time and it has made a big difference). These choices can be challenging at first since maladaptive habits can be stubborn and addictions get embedded in our psyche as well as our biochemistry.

Still, with patience and persistence, we can reap the rewards of directing our attention to that which we view as more useful and more enjoyable ways of spending our time and energy.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Speaking of attention, thank you for focusing some of your attention on these weekly splashes of inspiration. They wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying to assemble if they weren’t being read and spread. #uRock… Read More!

Ripples #1062: The Phantom of Perfection

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1062: The Phantom of Perfection
Sep 30, 2019

PEBBLE
Perfection is nothing more than a phantom shadow we’re all chasing.
-Dumplin’ (by Julie Murphy), shared by Mary in Tigerton, OR

BOULDER
You don’t end up with stress because you are not perfect, you end up with stress because you want to be perfect.
-Ekhart Yoga, shared by Amy in Carlsbad, CA

PONDER
It typically takes an hour or two to assemble these Ripples email each week, and it is often a highlight of my week. Except when it isn’t because I’ve been busy or I’m tired or just not feeling inspired. Those are the tough weeks, when quotes don’t seem to match up smoothly and even when they do I struggle mightily to find the right way to tie them together. Sometimes it gets all the way to Sunday evening and Ripples still isn’t ready. A panicky feeling can start to bubble up because I know I’m fading quickly (I’ve long ago learned that my creativity and patience are at their strongest in the early part of the day.)

At some point, though, I take a few deep breaths with my favorite mantra (Here now, here now, here now) and realize what is going on: I’ve accidentally stopped trying to stitch together something lovely and sweet and fun; instead, I’ve inadvertently become obsessed with trying to create a PERFECT issue. As soon as that realization happens, I’m able to see it and name it and release its grip on me. I can smile as I say, “Thank you for showing up, perfectionism. I realize you’re trying to help me shine–it’s just that I’ll probably shine brighter if I shoot for excellence and not perfection.”

And with the insight-light switched on, the phantom shadow evaporates and I can much more easily find something to share with you. Some weeks are better than others of course, and that is perfectly fine with me. Or imperfectly fine I suppose. 🙂

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. The pebble is a quote from the book/movie Dumplin’–a sweet story with a little touch of Dolly Parton sparkle…add it to your Netflix queue for the next time you need a lift: https://www.netflix.com/title/80201490… Read More!

Ripples #1061: Creating Today!

By Ripples No Comments

1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1061: Creating Today!
Sep 23, 2019

PEBBLE
There will be something, anguish or elation that is peculiar to this day alone. I rise from sleep and say: Hail to the morning! Come down to me, my beautiful unknown.
-Jessica Powers, shared by Bonnie in Tulsa, OK

BOULDER
Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose.
-Steve Maraboli, shared by Sam in Fort Worth, TX

PONDER

I’ve reached the end of this season’s visits to college campuses where I get to fire up new students. That first day on campus is crazy-busy and also nerve-wracking for everyone involved. New students, their parents, and really everyone on campus experiences an overwhelming combination of excitement (about all the fresh possibilities) and also extreme nervousness (about all the unknowns).

During the last few stops on this year’s tour, I slipped in a message that evolved a few years ago when I was preparing a mini-pep talk to a group of orientation leaders. They were just a few hours from greeting a fresh batch of new students, and my hope for them was “to be EXCITED enough to really enjoy the day, NERVOUS enough to value it, and also CENTERED enough to savor it.”

I usually don’t have to convince them that their excitement is a good thing, but I do see an opportunity for them to view their nervousness a good thing as well. It is our system’s way of communicating “this thing we’re going through is a big deal and we need to be aware of all the dangers and opportunities.” Too much nervousness isn’t helpful, and neither is being not nervous enough. So I encourage them to take some deep breaths (here now, here now, here now!) and seek a balance of being excited, nervous, and centered.

Now that I am home with a few days to catch my breath, I’m curious to bring this balance of excitement, nervousness and centeredness to my daily life. Creating the right combination of the three could help me anticipate the fun stuff so I can enjoy each day, and also prepare for inevitable hard stuff which will allow me to grow each day.

Wanna join me?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

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Ripples #1060: Inward Gentleness!

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1060: Inward Gentleness!
Sep 16, 2019

PEBBLE
Embrace your vulnerability, and accept your imperfections, knowing they represent a small part of your past, but not who you are in the present or who you can be in the future.
-Amit Sood, shared by Donna in Owings, MD

BOULDER
While browsing a museum gift shop, I noticed some small plants on a shelf—miniature plants, about half the size of my palm. A small sign was perched in front of them:

“We’re alive, please be gentle.”

To apply this sign to people might seem like a pretty simple concept, but I wish I could somehow remind people all across the world:
“We’re alive, please be gentle.”

Be gentle with yourself…be patient with yourself as you live and learn and grow. Try not to get frustrated with the pace of whatever journey you’re on…meet yourself where you are. Love yourself, because you are important and worthy of love. And on the days when it feels just a little too dark, remember:
“We’re alive, please be gentle.”
-Brit Barkholtz, shared by Mari at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA
(this is a condensed excerpt from a long and lovely TWLOHA post.)

PONDER
I generally like to keep Ripples under a minute long for you to read, and since today’s boulder is a little longer than usual I’ll keep the pondering brief:

Growing into the best possible version of ourselves requires a balance of pushing ourselves a bit and also knowing when it is time to back off a bit. Make sure you’re occasionally looking inward so you’ll know when it’s time for gentleness.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1059: Look Forward!

By Ripples No Comments

1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1059: Look Forward!
Sep 9, 2019

PEBBLE
No matter how dark things seem to be, or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities – always see them, for they are always there.
-Nelson Jimenez, Milford, CT, shared by Al in Marinette, WI

BOULDER
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
—Barack Obama, shared by Ellisa in Shepherdstown, WV

For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth. -n.t. (via Tumblr)

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.
—Laini Taylor, shared by Ellisa in Shepherdstown, WV

There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow. -E Gilbert

PONDER
During the last few weeks, we’ve explored the triad of letting go, holding on, and looking forward that I’ve found helpful in times of challenge and change. We wrap up this trilogy with a solid dose of hope.

Looking forward is about cultivating our capacity for optimism: visualizing the sunshine while the rain is pouring; recognizing the progress made during even the tiniest of baby steps; and finding the reasons to stay hopeful even when things appear bleak.

Our ability to build up reserves of hope helps determine how resilient we are when inevitable hardships arise, and also how persistent we can be in pursuit of long term success despite setbacks and detours.

It is important to note that looking forward with a hopeful resolve isn’t about pretending things are all peachy keen when we know that isn’t true, and it isn’t about ignoring the unpleasantness that might lie ahead. Instead, it is tapping into the self-fulfilling prophesy that hopeful attitudes help deliver positive outcomes.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

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