Ripples #1094: Congruence & Authenticity

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Ripples #1094: Congruence & Authenticity
May 11, 2020

The authentic self is soul made visible.
-Sarah San Breathnach, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

We’re at our strongest – emotionally, spiritually, and quite often, physically – when we keep our beliefs and our outward behavior neatly in a row. When they drift one side or the other of ‘center,’ that instability will weaken us, whether or not anyone else notices.
-Tom Lally, written and shared by Tom in Cincinnati, OH


Most of us hold idealized versions of ourselves in our minds; we imagine being someone who consistently acts on our highest intentions while successfully managing our least helpful impulses.

While we all admit to certain moments of incongruity when our actions don’t live up to our proclaimed values, I think it is mighty tempting to confuse the idealized “this is how I wish I showed up in world every day” version of self with the more realistic, more accurate “this is how I actually show up in the world on most days.”

Being aware of the temptations and the tendencies of self-delusion is useful, and learning to respect and genuinely like your “real, actual me” is an important step to more consistently living your professed values.

When I first paired these quotes together, I couldn’t decide whether to identify the theme of this issue as “Congruence” or “Authenticity,” terms I’ve sometimes used interchangeably to talk about practicing what you preach. My pal Pidge made a useful distinction when she texted me in a recent exchange, “I think of authenticity as how others experience us and congruence in how we experience ourselves, if that makes sense.”

It DID made sense to me, and her distinction invited me to get curious about how congruence (how well my actions line up with my intentions) influences authenticity (how others perceive the overlap between my behavior and my values).

Since we’re human, with all our contradictions and our flaws, it is not possible to remain impeccable in maintaining perfect congruence of our actions and our proclaimed values. Still, the more often we can mindfully minimize incongruence, the more respect we will gain from ourselves and those around us.

The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #938: Authentic Choices!

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Ripples #938: Authentic Choices!
May 15, 2017

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins that may buy you just a moment of pleasure, but then drag you for days like a broken man behind a farting camel.
-Hafiz, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice–a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.
-Brené Brown, shared by Loreal in Corpus Christi, TX


Yeah, I know. You’re still thinking about farting camels. Me too.

If we can momentarily move beyond the stench of smelly dromedaries, I think it’s worth being curious about “counterfeit coins;” the things we focus on and the choices we’re making that don’t reflect our highest intentions or the versions of our best selves that we want to bring to our daily lives. Sometimes it’s because we’re following someone else’s lead and they are going in a direction that doesn’t suit us well; other times its that we’ve shifted into automatic pilot and failed to notice the negative consequences.

As we recognize these choices aren’t useful, or have more costs than benefits, we can more consciously choose options that are better suited, and ultimately more authentic to our values and our lives. Happy choosing!

The Ripples Guy
p.s. I’ll be on retreat in July, so I’m working on several upcoming issues of Ripples to make sure I have a full month’s worth of inspiration to Ripple out while I’m offline. You can help by submitting a really good quote you’ve come across recently: http://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/… Read More!

Ripples v8.11: Ripples of SPEAKING LOUDLY!

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Ripples v8.11: Ripples of SPEAKING LOUDLY!
3/13/06: your FREE weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLE =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Who you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you’re saying.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, submitted by Terry H., Franklin WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing,
we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger,
but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
-Robert Cushing, submitted by Linn W., Milwaukee WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Next week I will be heading to Moscow, Idaho, home of the University of Idaho. The city and the university are hosting a special event along with their neighbors across the border, Pullman, Washington and Washington State University. “Finding the Center: An Action Oriented Human Rights Conference” is sure to be a full weekend of speaking loudly and listening clearly. I have been charged with kicking off the event and I hope to remind them that the most effective way to “speak loudly” is through their actions that encourage an appreciation of diversity. This is where I need some help from YOU!

The Ripples Project is about the gigantic power of tiny acts, so in addition to giving each attendee a Ripple card with an inspirational quote, I wanted to inspire them with YOUR stories of “speaking loudly.” Can you take just 2 minutes to ponder and respond to just one set of these questions:

A. Can you think of a time when you said or did something to speak up for another person or group?
What did you do? Why did you do it? How did it turn out?


B. Can you think of a time when someone said or did something to speak up for YOU?
What happened? Why was that important to you?


C. Can you think of a time when you WISH someone had spoken up for you or another person/group?
What happened? What could the person have said or done?

You can post your response on our community discussion board:
OR just hit reply and send us an email.

Thanks in advance for sharing your voice, and as always I’m sending you a bounty of….


Paul… Read More!

Ripples v7.33: SACRED RIPPLES!

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Ripples v7.33: SACRED RIPPLES!
Monday, September 5, 2005
a FREE weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project
spread a smile today: http://www.TheRipplesProject.org/Rippler01.html

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLE =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

A [person] is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him,
that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and
when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.
-Albert Schweitzer, submitted by From Terry H., Franklin, WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

We do not come to believe in ourselves
until someone reveals that deep inside us
something is valuable,
worth listening to,
worthy of our trust,
sacred to our touch.
-source unknown, submitted by Terry H., Franklin WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

I am guessing that many of us have been overwhelmed by the events of last week in southeastern U.S.

Rebecca R. from Baton Rouge and a long time member of The Ripples Project requested we all send a big heap of encouragement/hope/love/prayers in their direction. Another great friend of ours, Marge A. from Madison, Wisconsin (where The Ripples Project is headquartered) informed us of a remarkable local effort: 48 hours after a social worker conceived an idea to provide housing for 20 families displaced by the hurricane, dozens of volunteers converged to begin preparing the twenty apartments that will hopefully be stocked with furniture, food, and a few months worth of supplies in the next few days. Physicians, dentists, and others have agreed to make their services available either free or at cost. Area churches quickly raised $10,000 on Sunday and of course much more will be needed. The displaced families are scheduled to arrive by the end of the week, and I am hoping we may be able to pitch in to help!

If you would be interested in helping Dane County, Wisconsin prepare for our small role in this massive relief effort, click here for more information: http://www.TheRipplesProject.org/20Families.html .

Many other organizations are attempting to raise funds also, and I would like your help in creating a massive sacred ripple (of hope, not water–they do not need any more water!!) to a few of them. The Ripples Project will match (up to $1,000) the total amount donated by Ripples members to the Red Cross and Second Harvest and DOUBLE match (up to $2,000) the total amount donated to the Katrina Disaster Fund which will be collected by the Dane County Credit Union for use in our local efforts to provide for the 20 families.

Please consider making a check to one of these organizations:
1) Katrina Disaster Fund,
2) American Red Cross, or
3) America’s Second Harvest

Mail your check TODAY to The Ripples Project, 1360 Regent St #342, Madison WI 53715
Checks must be received by September 16 so we can send them and the matching donation out to the respective organizations.
If you would rather donate directly, of course feel free to do that even though we won’t be matching those donations:
http://www.RedCross.org , http://www.SecondHarvest.org .

Of course, we … Read More!

Ripples v7.32: Ripples of WHAT MATTERS MOST!

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Ripples v7.32: Ripples of WHAT MATTERS MOST!
Monday, August 29, 2005
a FREE weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project
spread a smile today: http://www.TheRipplesProject.org/Rippler01.html

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLE =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Things which matter most
must never be at the mercy of
things which matter least.
-Goethe, submitted by Yani D., Salem OR

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

How different our lives are
when we really know what is important to us,
and keeping that picture in mind,
we manage ourselves each day
to be and to do
what really matters most.
-Stephen R. Covey, submitted by Yani D., Salem OR

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

This week I returned home to hang out with the RAs at University of Wisconsin – Madison’s private residence halls and then drove down to fire up some new students at University of Illinois – Chicago. I spent Friday afternoon with student affairs staff and DePauw University and then helped their first year students celebrate their first week at college with a few laughs and a few things to ponder. After spending time with these groups, it is obvious that new students, those who work with students, and probably most of the rest of us face in our work and lives many more options and choices than we have ever had before. Success and happiness depends upon our ability to wade through those myriad options and decide which path to choose, which options are best for us.

It is my firm belief that much of our stress evolves from the incongruence between values and schedule. Your values are what is important to you, and your schedule is a list of how you spend your time. If you believe that family is important to you but a glance at your calendar doesn’t indicate some family time, your schedule is incongruent with your values. If you say “man, I need to study more” but you do not block off study time in your schedule, more incongruence and therefore more stress. The same is true for down time, fun time, solo time, social time, reflection/prayer time. I dare you to make sure you are marking some time on this week’s schedule to attend to WHAT MATTERS MOST. And then of course, you gotta DO IT!!

Paul… Read More!

eRipples v2.48: Ripples of AUTHENTICITY

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eRipples: a weekly splash of inspiration
version 2.48 [Monday, November 27, 2000]

PEBBLE ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
-J.K. Rowling, submitted by Gina Matkin

BOULDER ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Your actions
so loudly
that I
cannot hear
your words.
-Hindu Proverb, submitted by Jeff Sinna

PONDER ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I believe that one of the greatest sources of stress in our lives
erupts from the shadows between who we WANT to be (who we SAY we are)
and who we REALLY are. Our insecurity that we are not quite what
people want/need us to be sometimes lead us to create “characters” to
meet the expectations of our colleagues, friends, family and

If those characters do not feel REAL to us, though, we start to
suspect we are fraudulent which then deepens our insecurity and leads
us to hide even more of our true selves! The cycle continues and
creates disharmony and stress in our souls and in our everyday lives.

Your challenge this week is to BREAK THE CYCLE in one of two ways:

1. If there is a behavior, attitude, or skill that you WANT to have
that you do NOT have, do something concrete this week to add it to
your tools for living.

2. If you (or others in your life) have created an unrealistic ideal
for your behavior, attitude or skillset, spend a few moments this
week adjusting those expectations and accepting for now that where
you are at is 100% okay!

Ultimately, it is the combination of these two actions that will
allow you to accomplish amazing feats while enjoying your present.

Paul… Read More!

Ripples v1.41: Ripples of CHARACTER

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Ripples: a free weekly dose of inspiration
version 1.41 [Monday, October 25, 1999] ©1999 Stone Soup Seminars

PEBBLE ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Character is much easier kept than recovered.
original source: Thomas Paine
submitted by Cathie Marty

BOULDER ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Others determine your reputation.
YOU determine your character.
Character is made by what you stand for,
Reputation by what you fall for.
Character is one of those qualities that takes time to develop.
It is easier to change your behavior in advance
than to change your reputation afterward.”
original source unknown
submitted by: Manny LapMan Woo

PONDER ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Stone Soup kept me busy this week with some leadership training in Green
Bay, Wisconsin (where EVERYTHING is Packer Green!) and Cincinnati, Ohio.
During both trips, I enjoyed meaty conversations with workshop participants
about the importance of strong character in leadership.

It is fairly easy (and common) for a leader to make decisions based on
“majority rule.” While democracies often use this decision making tool, we
often forget that while the majority may RULE, the majority is not always
RIGHT. It takes a combination of guts and confidence to hold firm to your
beliefs when they are not popular.

If you have checked the facts, checked your conscience, and checked your
values, then you have an obligation to yourself and the world to stand
strong until we see it YOUR way!

Stay strong! -ptw… Read More!

Ripples v1.07

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Ripples, version 1.07 [3/1/99]: An electronic postcard from Stone Soup

A PEBBLE ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Friends are angels who lift our feet
when our wings are having trouble
remembering how to fly.
Original Source: unknown, Submitted by: Andrea Baird

REFLECTION ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Life is like a 30,000 piece puzzle – one for each day. If you try to judge the puzzle by each individual piece you will never figure it out. That’s why we need to picture the complete puzzle in our minds and just add each piece as it fits. The special thing about this puzzle, is it can be any picture we want, but the sooner we decide what that picture is going to be, the easier it will be to put it together. There is no picture on the box cover to guide us.  At this time in our lives, all the edge pieces have been put together… now comes the hard part…
Original Source: [removed by request of source], Submitted by: Chris Ahlers

PONDERING ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ARE YOU CONGRUENT? I spent some time this week with a group of Public
Safety Telecommunicators….the amazing professionals who are on the other
end when you dial 911. The workshop was on preventing burnout and I spent
countless hours preparing for the presentation by reading books and
articles; I developed top notch activities and materials. It occurred to
me, though, that the most effective way to teach self care skills is to
make sure I am PRACTICING self care skills. No one is interested in
untested advice, and we can all smell FAKES a million miles away. So, my
question for you this week: what advice have YOU given recently that you
should be following?

Copyright 1999 Stone Soup Seminars
========================================… Read More!

Ripples v1.04

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Ripples, version 1.04 [February 8, 1999]An electronic postcard from Stone Soup Seminars
Current Number of Subscribers: 220

A PEBBLE ###########################

Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit.
Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.
Original Source: Norman Vincent Peale
Submitted by Cindy Bartz, Oil Equipment Company

REFLECTIONS ##########################
[shared from subscribers]

When you catch the little things
But overlook the big mistakes,
When everything takes longer
Than what it usually takes,
When nothing goes according to
The best-laid plans you make,
Just remember no one’s perfect-
So give yourself a break.

When the stress of your success
Makes your head and stomach ache,
When everything you touch falls though,
Fouls up, goes bad, or breaks,
Please remember that you’re human
For your sanity’s sake,
And relax—nobody’s perfect,
So give yourself a break.
Submitted by Louis Maccarone II, University of Rhode Island,
Original Source: Jill Wolf

[note from Louis: Paul, my mother gave me this little poem on a bookmark
when I was very young after my father passed away. I was an over achieving
little boy; when I did not perform well on whatever task I was given I
would become vary angry with myself to the point of temper tantrums. This
poem has been a calming influence in my life for over half of my life, and
I hope that you share it with all of the Ripples subscribers. Thank you]

RECOMMENDATION #########################
[explore these resources]

Jason Punzel, who works at Action Mortgage in Lake Mills, Wisconsin treated
me to a fabulous lunch in Cambridge last week. He also treated me to a
great book suggestion: “Your Sacred Self: Making the Decision to be Free”
by Wayne Dyer. I am just getting into the meat of the book and already it
is simultaneously stirring up my mind and calming my soul.

SNIPPET ##################################
[from a recent Stone Soup Seminar]

YOU DECIDE. On Saturday, I presented two similar workshops: one to a
group of Girl Scout volunteers and another at a leadership conference for
Pharmacy students. I was reminded that no matter how different our lives
may be, we often face the same challenges. The perspectives and life
experiences of the two groups were divergent, but their reaction to the
concept of TAKING CARE OF YOU was identical: “I KNOW it, I just don’t DO
it!” It is easy to slip into the mode of giving to others and putting
ourselves last. When you take care of YOU first, you prevent BURNOUT
which translates into no help for anyone!

ACTION: Stop right now, and do something nice for you. Massage your face,
buy a pop, call a friend, or just think about some happy memory for 60
seconds………….Okay, back to life!

Copyright 1999 Stone Soup Seminars… Read More!

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