Ripples #1140: Within Our Reach


Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of others.
-Jennifer Williamson, shared by Mary in Columbia, SC


Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, shared by Tom in Kansas City, KS


One of the more intriguing aspects of being “The Ripples Guy” is hearing about the extraordinary undertakings of extraordinary spirits who reach out to ask for advice, help, support, etc. One of the more challenging aspects of my work is managing the finite amount of time and energy I have available.

My temptation is often to jump into helping mode, to find out how I can support their efforts. I’ve learned, however, that my desire to help and to please can override my self awareness. I can too easily forget that every YES I utter reduces my capacity to deliver excellence to the other commitments I’ve made. When I take on too much, the results can be troublesome: the quality of my effort diminishes, and my generous spirit can wade into a cesspool of regret and resentment.

After five decades of living and learning, I know in my bones that frequently saying NO preserves a decent amount of sparkle for the precious few opportunities when I’m able to deliver a heartfelt, mindfully considered and soulfully affirmed YES.

There are plenty of times I still struggle, and last week was one of them. I received multiple requests for my time and attention and while it was easy to imagine they were all good people with good intentions, the hard truth is that the YES I had to offer them wasn’t very YESSY.

And so today I say to them, and I say to you, and I say to myself: may we each do what we can to help the kind souls within our reach, while tending to our own soul as well.


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