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Compassion

Ripples #1020: Stretching Toward Bigness!

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Ripples #1020: Stretching Toward Bigness!
Dec 10, 2018

PEBBLE
You need your enemy. They hold the keys, or at least half of them, to peace.
-Matt Whitman, shared by Jacob at Cal Poly SLO

BOULDER
You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
-Cheryl Strayed, shared by Petra in Ft. Meyers, FL

PONDER
I’ll admit that one of the most challenging aspects of the otherwise joyous process of coordinating these weekly splashes of inspiration is addressing current issues in a way that our incredibly diverse readership can hear. I’m proud of the fact that our ripplers include people from a wide spectrum of political, religious, and ideological viewpoints; I want Ripples to be a place where we can all meet up for 60 seconds every Monday and ponder something positive that we can agree on. I’ve learned the hard way that it sometimes gets a bit tricky to talk about certain issues.

When I first read the “You need your enemy” quote that Jacob sent in, it immediately resonated with me personally and yet I was nervous it might make some readers bristle. I was curious enough to reach out to Jacob and ask him why he liked it. His response was powerful for me, and I’m glad he agreed to let me share his additional thoughts here:

Jacob wrote, “I heard the quote while listening to a podcast and it struck me for two reasons. The first relates to the current political turmoil in the US: we tend to portray political ideologies that differ from ours as the enemy, the cause of evil, and we often seek to defeat them and/or suppress them. Matt’s wisdom offers an alternative approach: if the people we view as enemies are part of the problem, then they also need to be a part of the solution. There is no hope of achieving any sort of peace unless both sides are willing to work towards compromise, peaceful resolution, and in this case political stability.”

Jacob went on to share another, more personal reason for sharing the quote: “I have been struggling with stress and time commitments in my life recently. In the past, I have attributed this stress to factors beyond my control, putting myself at its mercy, making it my enemy. This quote helped me to realize that part of the way to address these stresses in my life is to embrace them; owning them puts me in the driver’s seat. This approach allows me to more clearly see the best way to productively deal with the cause of the stress and its negative effects in my life. When I experience stress, I am fighting an internal struggle, and to make things better (as I am sure we all want to do), I need to realize that the way to do that is to address stress head-on.”

I’m eagerly accepting Jacob’s invitation … Read More!

Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!

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Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!
July 16, 2018

PEBBLE
We are placed where we are so we can love and lift others.
-Carol McConkie,
shared by Sara in Portsmouth, NH, via Project Happiness:

BOULDER
Being Human is the hardest thing we do AS humans. Our knowledge and the awareness of the universe limited as it is by our senses, we struggle from the moment of our first breath to make connections with others to add depth, context, meaning, and passion to our mortality. Our most sacred obligation is to daily touch the lives of others in ways that give them hope and purpose for living.
Robert Ruder, shared by em on Whidbey Island, WA

PONDER

I’ve had a busy few weeks, firing up incoming students at the University of New England as well as spending time with several pools of my Procter & Gamble peeps in Boston, Dayton, and right here in Cincinnati. At each event I marveled at the vast diversity gathered in the room: who was present, the paths they took to arrive at that particular point in time, and the myriad future directions they aspired to travel next.

During these talks we explored strategies for deepening our capacity to connect with others, something that is essential to personal and professional success. And while it is true that developing exceptional communication and relationship management skills requires considerable effort, it is also true that every single encounter we have with another human being is a chance to further refine these skills.

This week, choose to view every encounter as an opportunity to reveal your humanity and to honor theirs. Friend, foe, or stranger, make an extra effort to extend patience, compassion, and/or assistance as often as possible. You’ll likely make someone’s day, and you’ll definitely improve yours.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #978: Being Tender!

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Ripples #978: Being Tender!
Feb 19, 2018
PEBBLE
Gentle. Kind. Friendly.
-Gramma Janice
Shared by Kylee in Racine, WI, who has long valued this simple-yet-sage advice that her mother-in-law shared with the students she taught as well as her own children and grandchildren whenever she witnessed them not getting along.
BOULDERS
Being tender and open is beautiful…. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a raindrop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.
―Zooey Deschanel
Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future. -Yehuda Berg
PONDER
There is quite a bit of meanness out there these days. I’ve noticed it in the news, on social media, on the road while traveling, and throughout the world. There’s niceness too, of course. But I’m convinced that over the last few years we have depleted our collective reserves of trust, respect, and positive regard toward our fellow humans; it’s left us with raw nerves and reduced compassion.

When we encounter a grumpity-grump or a meanie-beanie, our first instinct can be to jump into defensive mode–I’ve too often found myself barking right back at someone before I fully realize what is actually going on. This often happens when we’re “emotionally hijacked,” a term that describes what happens inside our bodies and minds when we activate our instinctual fight-or-flight reflex. This process has noble intentions to preserve and protect, but too often leads us to say and/or do things that we later end up regretting or rationalizing.

With all that is going on in our world, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to be frustrated. While it is important to our individual and collective well-being that we express our emotions, it is equally important that we make time to pause so we can avoid reacting rashly and instead respond mindfully. That pause is not always easy, but it’s almost always worth it since it helps to ensure we’re bringing our best self to the situation. You know, the self that knows the importance of being tender and also remembers the value of “Gentle. Kind. Friendly.”

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
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Ripples #961: Find The Bridge!

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Ripples #961: Find The Bridge!
Oct 23, 2017

PEBBLE
It’s when you try to find the bridge where two people can meet that I learn the most about the people around me.
-James Altucher
shared by Donna in Owings, MD

BOULDER
To me the really defining question of our humanity and of our civil society right now is not can we agree. That’s kind of idealistic, and it’s not helping us. It’s more about how can we live together while we disagree about these things that are so personal. This requires much more of us spiritually and practically than the illusion that we’ll force agreement.
—Krista Tippett, “Talking with the Other Side”
shared by Maureen in Winona, MN

PONDER
This week I presented at the 2017 GABLE Conference, an annual event coordinated by Procter & Gamble that gathers LGBT+ employees along with allies and external partners for a day of support and growth. We spent some time reviewing the Riddle Scale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddle_scale) that identifies eight ascending levels of support: repulsion, pity, tolerance, acceptance, support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance. While Dr. Dorothy Riddle created this scale based on research of attitudes towards gays and lesbians, I find it useful to consider its broader implications for assessing levels of support for other marginalized groups.

I’m both proud and humbled by the fact that readers of these weekly splashes represent a diverse array of political, religious, and philosophical perspectives. And I am immensely grateful that most of you are well beyond merely ACCEPTING or begrudgingly TOLERATING these differences, and instead see them as something valuable to APPRECIATE and perhaps even NURTURE. It has been my fervent hope for the last 18 years that these emails could serve as not only a consistent source of inspiration, but also strengthen our bonds of commonality while they build bridges between our differences.

Many of you have let me know that you value the resource links I sometimes share, so here is a YouTube Playlist I created for GABLE to explore: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLecRxAeiYrM6kxPIl4H2bmk_UG3U7_rpc In particular, I think Heineken’s “World’s Apart” https://youtu.be/8wYXw4K0A3g and TV2 Denmark’s “All That We Share” https://youtu.be/jD8tjhVO1Tc might help you extend your curiosity to Find The Bridge between you and those who experience the world differently than you do.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #935: When Pain Visits.

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Ripples #935: When Pain Visits.
Apr 24, 2017

PEBBLE
1. You must let the pain visit.
2. You must allow it teach you.
3. You must not allow it [to] overstay.
—Ijeoma Umebinyuo, shared by Lili, Glendale, CA
Email liligevorkian@gmail.com

BOULDER
Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
-L.R. Knost, shared by Laura, Milwaukee WI
Email lsmilleronline@gmail.com

PONDER
I’ve recently been in close contact with a few folks I care about who are in difficult situations that include significant pain. It isn’t always easy to provide support to someone close to us who is suffering–it sometimes reminds us of our own pain, and other times our clumsy attempts to offer advice or treatment solutions complicate things rather than help out. Well-intentioned though we might be, our hurting friend may prefer a steadfast, reliable witness who can listen, soothe, and validate rather than hearing an endless of stream of, “What you need to do is…;” or “I’m sure the reason this is happening is because…;” or the dreaded, “Oh, this reminds of the time that something awful happened to me….”

If you or someone you care about is currently dealing with pain, whether it is physical, emotional, or both; I offer three humble gifts:
1. Support: I am truly sorry that pain has visited; I pledge to continue unleashing these ripples of compassion and kindness with the determination to help you relieve the pain you’re feeling, and to remind you that you are *not* alone.
2. Curiosity: I’m wondering if there is any way you can leverage pain’s unfortunate presence in your life as an opportunity to grow? Can you use it to learn some things about yourself, others, and/or the universe? Try it and see!
3. Encouragement: Remember that you are tougher than you are capable of recognizing right now, and you have the capacity to summon a fierce combination of persistence and patience to face it. I know that because look at you–you made it to today! And the tougher things have been, the more impressive that feat really is.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #887: The Challenge of Compassion.

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Ripples #887: The Challenge of Compassion.
May 23, 2016

PEBBLE
There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.
―James Baldwin, shared by David in Cincinnati, OH

BOULDER
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
—Henri Nouwen, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

PONDER
Compassion is *not* for beginners since it moves beyond mere passion (feeling strongly), polite sympathy (feeling sorry), or even deep empathy (attempting to understand the feelings of another). We need those as a human relations starter kit of course, but in order to fully move into the realm of compassion, we need to advance towards actually *feeling* what another soul is feeling. Fully actualized compassion also includes cultivating a desire to help someone, and daring to act on that desire. Compassion requires a deeper sense of personal, spiritual, and/or metaphysical connection to another being.

As we advance further into yet another presidential election cycle, my sense is that there are more and more people who hold less and less regard for the “other side.” I’m concerned that we have nearly depleted any remaining reserves of trust and respect for people who hold opposing opinions on important issues, as well as those who care significantly MORE or LESS than we do about a particular topic.

While many of us claim to value compassion as a virtue, we also tend to be much more generous in sharing compassion among our friends and family than we are towards strangers and those we perceive as foes. On one level, it seems logical to prioritize those we already know and care about. On a deeper level, I’m concerned we are reducing the overall amount of safety and comfort available in the world; it seems we may have inadvertently slipped into the habit of reserving compassion for those within our closer circles and offering only contempt and maybe a dollop of pity to others.

This week, let’s keep our eyes open for signs of authentic humanity that surely exists within those we are in conflict with. See if you can recognize and acknowledge any goodness you identify. It might not feel right for every situation, and you can always resume a more protective or aggressive mode if that feels necessary. I’m only hoping we will generate a small, measurable increase in the amount of compassion we collectively unleash–then we can observe what ripply magic expands outward from there.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Thanks for reading Ripples today. It matters to me that this … Read More!

Ripples #869: Network of Mutuality.

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Ripples #869: Network of Mutuality.
Jan 18, 2016

PEBBLE
We may have all come on different ships,
but we’re in the same boat now.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

BOULDER
All of us are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

PONDER

Today we recognize and celebrate Dr. King as one of our culture’s great heroes; a courageous soul who consistently sought peaceful resolutions to conflict while steadfastly refusing to surrender the rights and dignity of those who still didn’t have access to all that it means to be an American. He remains one of my personal heroes as someone who believed you could cultivate passion for your cause without sacrificing compassion for your foes.

Conflict is an inevitable part of our shared humanity: within the workplace and within your friendship circles; around the neighborhood and around the house; on Facebook and on TV. There always has been and there always will be a certain degree of discord among human beings. Some folks try their best to just avoid conflict, others view it as an invitation to a fight-to-the-finish battle with only two possible outcomes: claiming absolute victory or submitting to utter defeat. When handled effectively, conflict can be a divine opportunity to deepen our connectedness, advance our understanding of the world, and appreciate perspectives other than our own.

As the 2016 campaign shifts into high gear, those of us here in the USA will soon begin using our voices and our votes to determine who will be the next president. And just like every other election year, there is already plenty of conflict. I’m hoping we can all passionately share our views in a way allows us to listen, learn, and speak our truth. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it because we really are all in the same boat, and we’ve got some choppy waters ahead.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Thanks for the outpouring of warmth last week. I wasn’t able to personally respond to so many messages, but I read each one and stored them in my heart AND in a special folder to re-visit when the time is right.… Read More!

Ripples #841: Living In Community!

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Ripples #841: Living In Community!
July 6, 2015

PEBBLE
Community is not just where you live,
it’s how you live with other people.
-Tommy Rueff, Happen INC.
seen on a 4th of July Parade Float in Northside community, Cincinnati, OH

BOULDER
Don’t overlook the significance of your smallest opportunities for civilized behavior throughout each day. The future has no bigger moments than we experience right now. The world changes for the better with every act of kindness, and for the worse with every act of cruelty. The future is nothing grander than the very next moment, and it arrives solely from the present.
-Bo Lozoff, shared by Brett in Madison, WI

PONDER
There are some really BIG challenges facing us in this world: climate change, global economics, religious and political conflicts, poverty, etc. These can tempt us to throw our hands in the air and give up because, well, “What can I do?”

A lot, it turns out. Our most significant challenges are borne out of countless smaller actions that combine into bigger consequences. And every single time you’re able to extend compassion, kindness, patience, and/or support to those around you in need, you create tiny solutions that can merge into solid reasons for hope.

This week as you move through the communities in which you work, live, and play, keep an eye out for examples of individuals and groups who are making things better. Perhaps you can take a moment to thank them, or maybe even let their example inspire you to take some specific actions to be part of things getting better.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I received significantly more feedback last week than usual; most people enjoyed the issue and some folks had concerns. I’ll continue to ask patience from all parties as our society continues a relatively rapid culture shift, and gently remind us all that change is a process that includes stages similar to grief. Some of the indignation, frustration, and devastation you’re observing may be expressions of denial, anger, and sadness that, once acknowledged, might help individuals and organizations move towards acceptance if not approval. Namaste… Read More!

Ripples #723: Whoops!

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Ripples #723: Whoops!
For our tribe of 31,240 busy people who share encouragement and gratitude.
April 1, 2013

PEBBLE:
Flops are a part of life’s menu
and I’ve never been a girl
to miss out on any of the courses.
-Rosalind Russell, shared by Josh in Fremont, NH

BOULDER:
After all these years,
I am still involved
in the process of self-discovery.
It’s better to explore life
and make mistakes
than to play it safe.
Mistakes are part of the dues
one pays for a full life.
-Sophia Loren

PONDER:
What could happen this week for you and those around you if you made a conscious choice to either to FORGIVE yourself for a recent mistake or PREPARE yourself for an upcoming mistake that will inevitably present itself? What if you did BOTH?

Mistakes are inevitable, the are helpful, and they are rarely as disastrous as we fear they’ll be.

Do yourself and your team a favor and practice one of my favorite mantras: L.I.G. (Let. It. Go.).

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #563: Hand in Hand!

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Ripples #563: Hand in Hand!
Monday, Mar 8, 2010
The Ripples Project is a tribe of 24,636
who believe tiny actions create big possibilities

_______
PEBBLE
Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.
That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.
-Emily Kimbrough, submitted by Lin H., Bloomington IL
________
BOULDER
Many people believe that support is something that you give to someone you
feel sorry for or that it means propping up someone who would fail unless
you were there to give him a boost. But that’s not the way I see it. Support
is the boost you can give someone who can help himself but who needs a
partner to open a window or push aside a roadblock.
-Dave Thomas, submitted by Ann P., Mason OH
_______
PONDER
I was lucky enough to spend Friday with 300 remarkable people at the Lt.
Governor’s Conference on LGBT Youth. Educators, administrators, and
community leaders of all ages from all over the state converged on Oshkosh,
Wisconsin to become “Engaged & Empowered.” It is rare to witness such a
large, diverse group of people quickly create a powerful feeling of “we are
in this together so let’s make magic!” I initially assumed my purpose as
keynote speaker & workshop facilitator was to offer support to those
attempting to create safe environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered youth. As I drove home Friday evening, exhausted and
exhilarated, I realized that I had received as much (or more?) support as I
attempted to generate.

Some days we need support, some days we have support to offer. Our growing
tribe of ripplers believe in the power of generating AND receiving small
acts of kindness; I hope you can enjoy a little of each this week.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

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