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Ripples #1117: Serendipities!

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Ripples #1117: Serendipities!
Oct 19, 2020

PEBBLE
The universe is always speaking to us. Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.
-Nancy Thayer, shared by Genna on Sanibel Island, FL

BOULDER
A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change. -Earl Nightingale, shared by Curt in Kansas

PONDER

TRUE STORY: Once upon a time (okay, last Wednesday morning) I had blocked off some time to work on Ripples. I was wading through previous quote submissions as part of my process for assembling these weekly splashes, and I was sidetracked by an email notification from a friend who was asking if I knew anyone who could help her with a specific aspect of her business. SHUT UP STOP THE PRESSES! Still awaiting a reply in my inbox was a message I had received a few hours earlier from someone I know and respect who has recently launched a consultancy to help small businesses…specializing in the specific area my friend needed help with. I quickly and excitedly exchanged email introductions so they could explore mutually beneficial possibilities and then paused to delight in the joy of serendipitous connection.

And then I giggled at myself for a completely different bit of synchronicity. Earlier that morning I had been reviewing notes I took on the nifty book Indistractible (https://www.amazon.com/dp/194883653) as I prepared for a mini-presentation I was giving that afternoon for my Patreon Peeps (https://www.patreon.com/RipplesGuy). In it, Nir Eyal shares two core strategies for gaining traction on your goals and priorities: blocking off time for focused work on specific projects, and hacking back against distractions like the notification dings that emit from our devices. Here I was playing with some new concepts I was about to teach to others and the universe concocted a lovely teachable moment, inviting me to put theory into practice (my grad school professors would be so proud!).

After spending a few minutes disabling notifications on both my phone and computer, the time I had purposely set aside to work on Ripples was rapidly dwindling without much progress. I decided to commit to a handful of really focused minutes with the ambitious goal of identifying the theme and quotes that would help guide the ponder. I reopened the Ripples folder on my computer and spotted a file dated May 6, 2019 has been patiently waiting for me to rediscover it: an abandoned early draft of an issue of Ripples that never quite found the right ponder. It had two quotes all paired up, and a few sentences of the ponder that just trailed off. The theme? Can you guess? Wait for it…Serendipity!

I’ve long experienced coincidences like these as delightful God-winks: merry moments of meaning-making that hint at our intertwined, interconnectedness which too easily falls from our consciousness. And I’ve loved … Read More!

Ripples #1110: The Race of Persistence

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Ripples #1110: The Race of Persistence
Aug 31, 2020

PEBBLE
If you only walk on sunny days you’ll never reach your destination.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Diane in Appleton, WI

BOULDER
May we all do a little bit better than the first time,
Learn a little something from the worst time,
Get a little stronger from the hurt times.
-Florida Georgia Line, shared by Darcy via her pal, the ever uplifting Kathy

PONDER

Sprints are very different than marathons. (Obvious, you have a call holding on line 1.)

Sprinting requires a focused energy burst for a short amount of time while a marathon calls for a steady energy release over a longer amount of time. Sprinters develop their capacity for speed; they need strong and powerful muscles. Marathon runners have different goals: they want to maximize their heart/lung capacity and their muscular endurance. Persistence is required for both, even though they each need a different kind of persistence: A short sprint needs an intense level of incredible focus, while a marathon requires considerable stamina.

I’m sharing this today because at the beginning of 2020 when it started looking like Covid was going to be a thing, most of us thought of it as a sprint….a relatively short, intense period of maybe a few weeks or few months. Time passed, the virus continued to spread, and we now recognize this is a big, hairy marathon, complete with a constantly changing race route and an uncertain finish line.

The good news is that we made it today: we’ve adapted and we’ve endured. The tough news is that we are going to need to continue adapting and enduring for longer than we originally imagined. And we’ll also need to keep moving. So take a moment to congratulate yourself on making it this far, and then take another moment to identify how you can keep on growing while you keep on going. #WeGotThis

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you soared early on in the year and feel like you’re really struggling right now…well, me too! I stumbled upon a helpful article about how our Surge Capacity may be depleted, and how some shifts in your mindset and behavior might help:… Read More!

Ripples #1103: Your New Life!

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Ripples #1103: Your New Life!
July 13, 2020

PEBBLE
I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.
-Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
shared by Savannah in Plymouth, NH

BOULDER
Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you relationships and friends. It’s going to cost you being liked, and understood. But it doesn’t matter. Because the people who aren’t meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. And you’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. And instead of liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are. Let it go.
-Brianna Wiest, shared by Alison in Pittsburgh, PA

PONDER
In case you were wondering: nope, you’re not dreaming. 2020 is half over, and the unfortunate reality is that this Terrible Time of Covidia is most likely *not* half over.

I’ve lately returned to the four strategies we developed in the early days and weeks… Can you remember all the way back to March when we explored the “Covid Coping” hypothesis that WE GOT THIS if we can pull together with Curious Minds, Open Hearts, and Calm Spirits while Nurturing Health?

I’ve also been relying on the “unfortunate and also fortunate” truth about my own life: the hardest chapters have invariably been the periods when I’ve grown the most. So even though part of me just wants to fast-forward through the rest of 2020 and then erase the entire year, I can already identify several ways that I’ve become stronger and more skilled both professionally and personally.

There are three components of coping with challenge and change: surviving, reviving, and thriving. This pandemic is not impacting everyone the same; plenty of people are struggling to just survive. Still, it is important to remember that many of us have at least a little extra bandwidth to occasionally invest in reviving (picking up the broken pieces) and thriving (building of the new). As the quotes above remind us, growth requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and moving toward the next destination on our life’s journey requires walking away from where we’ve been.

What are you willing to walk away from so that you move closer to your new life? If it feels even a little scary, remind yourself that growth requires discomfort. You cannot remain comfortable and grow into the best possible version of yourself.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. We still have a batch WE GOT THIS Stickers; visit our Google Doc for how to snag a free and/or buy a few to unleash hopeful ripples to friends, family and colleagues: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc. Oh, and if your group/team needs a lift, let me know and perhaps we can create a package of ripply … Read More!

Ripples #1102: Words: Windows or Walls?

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Ripples #1102: Words: Windows or Walls?
July 6, 2020

PEBBLE
Words are windows, or they’re walls: they sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear, let the love light shine through me.
-Ruth Bebermeyer, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Words saturated with sincerity, conviction, faith, and intuition are like highly explosive vibration bombs, which, when set off, shatter the rocks of difficulties and create the change desired.
-Paramahansa Yogananda, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Over the last several days, I’ve written and re-written a rather long and winding “Ponder” that explores some difficult conversations I’ve recently had. Some of it was about online exchanges I’ve had around the challenges and opportunities that exist right now, and other parts involved personal exchanges I had with friends and colleagues. There was some really good stuff in those drafts, and I may end up sharing some of it another time.

Here’s what feels right to say today: we all know that words can be powerful and potent. When chosen mindfully they help us express our ideas and influence those around us. Words can also betray us when they are uttered in the heat of the moment, when they are venting mis-directed frustration and hurt, and when we haven’t finished sorting through what we want to say, how we want to say it, and who best to say it to.

I’m writing this today to remind us all that we have opportunities and responsibilities when it comes to detonating our verbal “vibration bombs.” And we need to keep in mind that explosions can have both constructive and destructive outcomes depending on when and how we use them. Choose mindfully, consider the consequences, and commit to using your “love light” to improve the world. And please: find the strength and courage to repair any unintended damage your words may cause.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. A brief-yet-hearty shout out to the few dozen long time Ripplers who are pitching in to help cover the cost of sending out Ripples while my speaking income has been virtually eliminated. If you’re so inclined, you can visit Patreon to can learn more about how you can chip in to become a Ripply Patron: https://www.patreon.com/RipplesGuy… Read More!

Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities

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Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities
June 29, 2020

PEBBLE
May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.
-Peter Marshall, shared by Laura in Charleston, IL

BOULDER
When my grandfather talked about freedom, his attitude was really interesting. His view was that you had obligations or you had responsibilities, and when you fulfilled those obligations or responsibilities, that then gave you the liberty to do other things.
-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, shared by Paul in Orville, OH

PONDER
As those of us here in the U.S. prepare to celebrate Independence Day just a few days after this year’s Juneteenth celebrations received renewed attention and interest, I thought this week might be a good time to ponder freedom and its relationship to responsibility.

I can recall so many times when I felt weighed down by the “restrictions of childhood”–being stuck with school and homework and chores and vegetables and bedtimes. I imagined adulthood as this massive experience of freedom since I would be the one making all these decisions about eating and playing and sleeping and such. I suspect I’m not the only grown up who now looks back on childhood with a different perspective, recognizing that adulthood comes with quite a few responsibilities that frequently get in the way of the freedoms we were so excited about as kids.

At some point, I realized it can be helpful to reframe some of our responsibilities as freedoms in disguise. For example, in our household we have a “Filter Check Day” at the end of each quarter, where we check all the filters in our home (air conditioner, vacuum cleaner, shopvac, dishwasher, dehumidifier, refrigerator, stove vent, clothes dryer…did I get them all, sweetie?). It is a chore, for sure. But with a bit of reframing, I can see that making sure all these filters are clean helps ensure I get to enjoy lots of free time in a comfortable home. And it also frees up time/money that won’t need to be spent on repairs required by clogged filters. Oh, and Filter Check Day here at Marklemann Manor also happens to be “Jam out to 1980s Dance Music” Day, so that is pretty freeing as well.

Can you think of a chore or other requirement that currently seems like the opposite of freedom to you? Perhaps you can dig a little deeper, look behind the mask of obligation and recognize an opportunity to help you celebrate freedom. It will likely take a little practice and a little reframing, but it may just help you enjoy Freedom’s Opportunities more than you ever have before. Try it and see!

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1098: Doorways to Courage

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Ripples #1098: Doorways to Courage
June 8, 2020

PEBBLE
It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you are about to do something really, really brave.
-Mandy Hale, shared by Rachel in Milwaukee, WI

BOULDER
I’ve found that the changes I feared would ruin me have always become doorways, and on the other side I have found a more courageous and graceful self.
-Elizabeth Lesser, shared by Pat in Omaha, NE

PONDER
It seems clear to me that the times we currently live in call for tremendous courage. More human beings have been pulled farther out of their comfort zones for a longer period of time than any time in recent history. It is hard, and it is scary.

Several thousand Ripplers have already downloaded the (free!) digital book on hope we released last week (Ripples of Hope: Wisdom for Navigating Uncertainty is still available here and here, waiting for you whenever you’re in need of a sustainable boost). In Chapter 9, courage is included as one of the “6 Cs of Cultivating Hope:”

“Fear may be what we feel, but courage is what we can do. We can cultivate our capacity to move forward despite being afraid. When we’re knee-deep in fear is when we need skills to be able to push forward. Being brave, being courageous, is seeing, smelling and tasting the fear, and still standing firm in our resolve to keep moving forward.”
-Ripples of Hope, p. 181

I’m increasingly optimistic that we’ve (finally) arrived at a precipice of profound cultural transformation, one that is long overdue and yet wasn’t possible until enough of us were prepared to do our own work while inspiring others to do theirs. Walking through this doorway of change does not require us to abandon or completely eliminate fear. Instead, we need to acknowledge, respect, befriend, and learn from fear. Consciously choosing our relationship to fear ultimately determines whether it fuels or flattens our courage. Choose wisely.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1080: Magnificently Mundane

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Ripples #1080: Magnificently Mundane.
Feb 3, 2020

PEBBLE
Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe.
-St. Therese of Lisieux, shared by Cathy in Wisconsin
listeningtowhispers@yahoo.com

BOULDER
Life is mostly about mundane experiences. When you start thinking that only your most thrilling experiences are significant, you have already lost the most precious thing in life, the ability to fully immerse yourself in every experience.
—Brad Warner, shared by Thomas on Sanibel Island, FL

PONDER
So it’s been a kooky week. A really good week, just really busy. I started out up at Oakland University hanging out with some old friends from University Recreation and Well-Being and a bunch of new friends in Athletics. I zoomed back to Cincinnati to rest up and then hang out with my new pals at Chard Snyder (an Ascensus company!). I’ve spent the last couple days prepping and packing for another set of talks next week.

People often try to measure my work in the number of minutes that I am standing in front of an audience. I get that, because those are the only minutes I’m actually paid for my work. But to figure out how much time I spend working, you gotta add up the number of minutes I spend engaging with potential clients, preparing for upcoming presentations, traveling to and from events, connecting with past attendees, and a few minutes here and there recovering from these adventures, too. (Oh and tending to these weekly Ripples splashes, of course!).

I thoroughly enjoy every minute I get to be in front of a group. For. Sure. Still, the magnificence of those moments depends almost entirely on the more mundane moments of my work, and there is quite a bit of joy and satisfaction to be found in scribbling ideas on my white board, practicing chunks of speeches on my morning walk, even going through my packing checklist to make sure I’ve got everything I need.

If you’ve been feeling bored with some of the more mundane aspects of your work or life, I invite you to join me in taking a few mindful breaths and a scoop or two of curiosity; together we can let the mundane lead us to magnificence.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… 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 #1018: Finding & Unfurling Joy!

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Ripples #1018: Finding & Unfurling Joy!
Nov 26, 2018

PEBBLE
Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.
-Brené Brown, shared by Rachel in Rochester, MI

BOULDER
Happiness is a form of power–it’s carbonated consciousness that wants to spill out and be articulated. So if we downplay our joy we confuse our nervous system. Our brain is trying to fire happy neurons but our cool or too quiet behavior is short dousing the positive chemicals. Repeated happiness-muffling numbs our senses. And if you keep your joy under the surface too long, it might stay there. If you’re happy and you know it…show it.
-Danielle LaPorte, via her website
http://www.daniellelaporte.com/truthbomb/truthbomb-1248
shared by one of our original Ripplers!

PONDER
There are two aspects of joy I’ve been pondering lately: its availability, and its source.

I love the big delightful versions of joy that show up around the holidays and other special occasions: monumental moments of spectacular awe that can light up a room and light up our lives. Since those big joys can be relatively few and far between, it’s good to keep in mind that joy can also be found in the ordinary days that make up most of our existence. Small delights like a string of traffic lights turning green, an unexpected discount on one of our favorite grocery items, or finding a crumpled up $5 bill while doing laundry (ok, so that just happened to me a few days ago and it was joyous, indeed!).

The other thing I like about joy is that I don’t have to wait for it to show up in order for me to experience it. I’ve come to rely on the premise that there are tiny pockets of joy stored in my consciousness waiting to be noticed and unleashed. At times they get activated by an external trigger: a friend will call or a song will pop up on Pandora and Joy starts dancing. But it’s also been my experience that I can consciously elicit joy when the need arises. Maybe that means picking up the phone instead of waiting for it to ring, pressing play on some of the playlists I’ve purposely curated as joyful, or playing a game of “set the timer for 20 minutes to earn 20 minutes of game time.”

Assembling this issue of Ripples has me eager to experiment with finding and unfurling joy…perhaps you’ll join me in this experiment?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1015: Seizing Control of Life!

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Ripples #1015: Seizing Control of Life!
Nov 5, 2018

PEBBLE
You may not control life’s circumstances, but getting to be the author of your life means getting to control what you do with them.
-Atul Gawande, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
-Stephen Chbosky, shared by Sarah in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Let’s start with an understatement: there is a lot going on in the world right now. There might also be a lot going on for you personally with school, work, or just life in general. Sometimes in the swirl of all the things happening around us and to us, we forget that we do have choices about how to respond even when it seems like we don’t.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, stand up and say (out loud if possible): “I want to feel better than I do right now!” See if you can identify some action that often helps you feel better. If nothing comes to mind, you could try one from my list: brush your teeth; walk briskly around the block; or drink a glass of water.

Next, choose a relatively small action to make progress on something that you need to attend to: a household chore, a school/work project, or a small kindness that will be appreciated by someone else in your life. Hopefully it will give you a lift, or at the very least you’ll be able to cross off at item from your to do list. Small wins provide a feeling of progress that serve as motivation to keep on moving forward. And that momentum will help you seize control of life.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Vote. Please. It matters. So much.… Read More!

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