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Ripples #1133: Giving & Getting Love

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Ripples #1133: Giving & Getting Love
Feb 8, 2021

PEBBLE
It’s in our nature to give and to get love.
Do some of both this week.
Do some of both always.
-Patti Dobrowolski, shared by Angela in Madison, WI

BOULDER
We’ve been infected with this idea that love is an emotion only felt between two people. But love is universal. An energy. A Contagious force. A gift. To offer support to someone in need is to love. To save a worm from the sun is to love. To smile at a stranger is love. To be grateful, to be hopeful, to be brave, to be forgiving, to be proud, is to love.
-A.R. Lucas (adapted slightly), shared by Diane in Appleton, WI

PONDER
We’ve arrived at the second week of February, which means it is time for our annual love-themed Ripples. We choose this spot in the calendar because of its proximity to Valentine’s Day AND we make a conscious effort to consider an expansive perspective on the idea of love. We can always choose to recognize love as relevant and worthwhile and sacred, even if we’re not into candy hearts and flowers (although I confess I’ve been craving Sweet Tart hearts for the past few weeks!)

Today’s pebble reminds us that love is at its most precious when it is moving frequently in both directions. The boulder reminds us that love can be expressed and lived in many different thoughts and deeds.

We’ve known that for a long time that physical exercise builds our heart health. Mindfulness activities like meditation and prayer have a soothing impact which helps our heart by providing tranquility. It turns out that Love invigorates our heart, too: strengthening our sense of self and deepening our capacity for connection.

It does our heart good when we find new ways to extend love.
It does our heart good when we find new ways to receive love.

I dare you to experiment this week with fresh ways to share your love, and see if you can recognize less obvious demonstrations of love that are being extended to you.

Peace,
Paul

P.S. Have I told you lately that I love you? These weekly splashes are my way of saying, “I love that you join me for a minute each week; I love that you compound the love through quote submissions; I love that you extend the love by sharing Ripples with your colleagues and friends.” (((❤️)))… Read More!

Ripples #1130: Scintillating Beauty

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Ripples #1130: Scintillating Beauty
Jan 18, 2021

PEBBLE
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared by Diana in Illinois

BOULDER
Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

PONDER
For over 30 years here in the U.S., the third Monday in January has been acknowledged as Martin Luther King Day. For over 20 years here in Ripples, we’ve celebrated Dr. King’s legacy by featuring his words and/or words inspired by him.

As we prepare for what I pray will be a peaceful transfer of power in this country, I’m hopeful that we can cultivate a fresh batch of collective courage and optimism. There is much work to do to replenish the reserves of mutual trust, respect and positive regard that have been depleted over the last few years; I think we have ample motivation and determination for such shenanigans. We just have to bring fresh amounts of persistence and patience and compassion and creativity.

For example: reasonable people can disagree on why it is taking longer than we hoped it would to disseminate the Covid vaccine, and yet most people and agree that this is an incredibly large, complex and in many ways unprecedented process that requires more resources and collaboration and persistence than we’ve (yet) been able to extend. I think the same is true about many other issues we’ve been grappling with: systemic inequalities in class, race, and gender; fundamental reforms to our immigration and criminal justice systems; education and policy around climate change; and of course the list could go on and on.

These are not simple issues, and there are unfortunately no simple solutions. Still, there are measurable, manageable, useful steps we can take, both individually and collectively: repairing relationships, seeking common ground, and searching together for new paths forward. We can do better than we have been doing, we need to do better than we’ve been doing, and I think enough of us are ready to do better than we’ve been doing.

Both conservatives and progressives reached out last week with feedback about last week’s Ripples about Rising Above (https://mailchi.mp/unleashripples/r1129). My responses shared a common theme: “We need your help in making things better,” I wrote to them, “and it involves all of us venturing further out of our comfort zone than we’ve previously traveled.” (https://www.facebook.com/ripplesguy/posts/10164735389625010)… Read More!

Ripples #1129: Rising Above, Choosing Love

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Ripples #1129: Rising Above, Choosing Love
Jan 11, 2021

PEBBLE
See the world as it is. Know you have the Grit and Grace to choose a path of Love.
-Fia Skye, written and shared by Fia of Flying Edna

BOULDER
Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice. It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and oppressors free.
-Shane Claiborne, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA

PONDER
So I didn’t think things could get any weirder and harder. And then, uhm….they did.

I’m bummed that we haven’t (yet) figured out how to mediate the polarization that is making it harder to grapple with the other significant challenges we’re facing (you know, little stuff like pandemics, racial reconciliation, poverty, climate change, etc.). Emotions have been running extremely high at the very same time that our collective reserves of patience and compassion are running extremely low. That’s a recipe for Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Poopiness (apologies to The Music Man).

I’ve been struggling to figure out what I wanted to say about the latest messiness. It’s hard because our community of 30,000 Ripplers includes people who hang out at just about every spot on political spectrum. I love that, and I love you! I’m honored and humbled that this incredibly diverse group comes together briefly every week to help lift each other up. I think Ripples works because you all chip in to help me find great content, and also because we primarily focus on the stuff we agree on (you know, little stuff like compassion, kindness, joy, wellbeing, etc.).

On the other hand, I’ve worked hard for 20 years to make sure Ripples isn’t an overly fluffy “let’s just all be happy” kind of thing. I’m fairly sure the reason I’m on this planet right now is to help us all seek the right balance between comfort and challenge, and this includes accepting (embracing?) the discomfort that is required for growth.

I’m determined to rise above the distractions and the defensiveness and seek the elusive field beyond right and wrong that Sufi poet Rumi describes. I want to find it and I want you there with me, too. That’s where we can listen, talk, affirm, challenge, learn…GROW. And I believe this is all possible each time we choose a path of love instead of another path (you know, little stuff like hate, fear, despair, indifference, etc.)

My goal for today is to rise above, and choose love. Who’s with me?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1124: Bringing Out the Best

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Ripples #1124: Bringing Out the Best
Dec 7, 2020

PEBBLE
You can work miracles by having faith in others.
By choosing to think and believe the best about people,
you are able to bring out the best in them.
-Bob Moawad, shared by Tim in St. Louis, MO

BOULDER
If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.
-Margaret Mead, shared by Debbie in Knoxville, TN

PONDER
Way back at the beginning of the Incredible and Awful Pandemic of 2020, my friend Toby and I brainstormed a Handwashing Meditation (http://2Rpl.me/HandwashingMeditation.jpeg)
that allows us to spend twenty seconds scrubbing our hands while remembering that most of us, most of the time, are doing the very best we can…even when it seems like our best isn’t good enough.

Eight months later, I still recite it several times a day, and it continues to help me access reserves of compassion and generosity toward myself and others. It hasn’t kept me from growing exasperated at times, but it has allowed me to put my frustration in context.

I’m sure I’ve said this before in these weekly splashes, and I think it is worth repeating: there are plenty of times we declare a person or group to be stupid, crazy, and/or evil when it is probably more useful and more accurate to describe their words/behavior as uninformed, irrational, and/or lacking compassion. Those are less caustic and more generous terms, and they help us remember that there are times when WE are the ones guilty of speaking/acting from a place that is less informed, less rational, and less compassionate than we realize.

We have a long road ahead of us, and the polarization we’re currently experiencing is indeed daunting. I believe that 2021 holds some opportunities for us to step back, pause, pivot, and hopefully find some new ways to step forward. Easy? Nope. Possible? Yup.

Peace,

Paul
P.S. Thanks to everyone who is sharing Hope for the Holidays with our Ripply books and goodies. I’ll soon be taking some down time over the holidays, but will mail out Bundles of Hope, books and other orders that come in by the end of this week.… Read More!

Ripples #1118: Interconnection & Interdependence

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Ripples #1118: Interconnection & Interdependence
Oct 26, 2020

PEBBLE
When conditions are harsh and life is tenuous, it takes a team of sworn reciprocity to keep life going forward…interconnection and mutual aid become critical for survival.
-Robin Wall Kimmerer, shared by Allison in Cincinnati, OH

BOULDER
Sometimes LONELINESS comes as a reminder that we have to reach out.
Sometimes our SADNESS comes as a way to poke us, to tell us to look up.
Sometimes the thing that FRUSTRATES us is the thing that’s calling us forth to be connected.
-Dr. Bertice Berry, shared by Julie in West Chester, OH via Team Ripples

PONDER
At the beginning of our lives, we are highly dependent upon others for our survival. We count on parents and/or other caregivers to feed/clothe/house us and also to guide us as we grow. As we get a little older, we start to explore our independence. Most of us go through a phase of, “I can do it myself and I don’t need help from anyone!” As we mature into adulthood, we ideally seek close relationships that are interdependent: where we are in some ways dependent on and yet totally independent from the other person.

Adulting has always been hard. I think it is fair to say that Adulting in 2020 has tested most of us in ways that we didn’t want to be tested. If you’re like me, there are some days when you just want to move to an island far away from everyone else and other days when you wish a grown up would come along and make you grilled cheese and maybe some Rice Krispie treats before gently rocking you to sleep.

Our best chance of getting through this year with at least a shred of sanity and a dollop of dignity is to remember that leaning on other people doesn’t mean we’re not grown up enough to handle stuff on our own. And at some point, we’re gonna have to explore better ways to connect and engage with those who look at things differently than us. The future of our society depends on it, and the future of our planet depends on it, too.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. So much gratitude for the recent support. We added a few new Patreon Peeps, sent out a few more books and stickers, and received a steady stream of lovely kindness. Thanks, y’all.… Read More!

Ripples #1113: Making Noise

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Ripples #1113: Making Noise
Sep 21, 2020

PEBBLE
Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

BOULDER
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
-U.S. Representative John Lewis (1940-2020)

PONDER
I don’t think it is an overstatement to suggest that 2020 may end up being one of the hardest, strangest, and most pivotal years most of us have lived in. Depending upon where things go from here, 2020 has the potential to reset our society’s course on health care, race, politics, climate change, and likely education, too.

And while both of our quotes today were around long before the dawn of this year, I’m sharing them here today in part because I believe they are so timely, and of course also because we are mourning the two remarkable people whose wisdom they reflect.

The pebble was Justice Ginsburg’s response to a question about advice she would give young women today, while the boulder was one of Representative Lewis’ legendary tweets.

We are living through a particularly polarizing time, one which informs which media channels we turn into, who we feel comfortable connecting with, and even what facts we believe to be true.

After Justice Scalia’s 2016 passing I learned that he and Justice Ginsburg had been good friends. Over the weekend, Scalia’s son wrote a moving piece about the friendship, and about the upside of debating fiercely while maintaining close ties.

I’m pleased and proud that over the last two decades we’ve forged a community of hopeful, helpful souls who sometimes disagree passionately about policies and ideas, and yet can still come together every week to unleash ripples of compassion and kindness.

Is it possible for us to make noise about issues we care about without ignoring or denying the humanity of those on the other side? And could we end up having more influence on others if we took a few steps back from the “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric which is often neither helpful nor accurate? My answer for today is, “I dunno, but I want to try harder to find out.”

Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg & Representative Lewis.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light

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Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light!
Aug 10, 2020

PEBBLE
Your light will bring comfort and hope to those in need. Trust your light.
-Britta Buchstabler, shared by Gloria in Salem, OR

BOULDER
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

Inner Light.
In a world full of unrest, fear, and doubt, we need to reconnect with our inner light now more than ever. -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, shared by Kelsey, Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Lots of people are struggling right now, and you might be struggling, too.

One of the more useful things I’ve discovered about being The Ripples Guy is that I don’t always have to choose between serving others and taking care of myself.

There have been plenty of times when connecting with someone who is having a difficult time has lifted my spirits, too. Acts of service remind me that my contributions to the world are valued and important. My light is worth shining even when I don’t feel like I’m at 100%.

Other times, of course, I do have to withdraw a bit so I can focus inward. Here’s the cool thing about that: the process of taking care of myself can remind others that helpers need to sometimes help themselves. My light ends up shining brighter in the long run, which demonstrates to others that self-care is an essential component to shining brightly.

I think it is important not to completely ignore the darkness that exists in the world right now. I just happen to believe our best way forward is to focus more on the many bright lights that are beacons of hope (have you seen the dad who wholeheartedly embraced his daughter’s mermaid photo shoot? Talk about trusting your light: https://www.facebook.com/ripplesguy/posts/10164086482495010 )

This week I dare you to trust your light a little more than you have been: let it shine inwardly, outwardly, weirdly, magnificently!

Peace,
Paul
p.s. If you enjoyed the free digital download (https://app.box.com/s/s6rwgxtt9yq64mmb3tzaur7tmatr7r4z) of RIPPLES OF HOPE: Wisdom for Navigating Uncertainty (https://www.dropbox.com/s/nea9ckw66gp3tbi/Ripples_of_Hope.pdf?dl=0) we unleashed a few weeks ago, we now have some printed copies now available. We’re experimenting with letting you choose what price to pay! if you order 2 or more this week I’ll sign ’em (and maybe throw in a little extra ripply magic!): http://RippleHope.com… 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 #1099: Connecting With Heart

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Ripples #1099: Connecting With Heart
June 15, 2020

PEBBLE
We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
-Wayne Shorter, shared by Leslie in Madison

BOULDER
Your heart is connected to the entire picture. Your mind cares about temporary circumstances. The more you connect to the bigger picture, the faster that the temporary will take care of itself.
-Kyle Cease
shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA via Fb https://www.facebook.com/KyleCeasePage/posts/10154865625313062?

PONDER
Another week of struggles and strains from Covid-19, and another week of tumult and tragedy around systemic racism that still plagues our society. As tensions continue to rise and patience continues to diminish, there is an urgent need for all of us to bring our heads AND our hearts to the tasks of listening, learning and leading.

Connecting with Heart reminds us that our our perceptions inform our perspectives, and our perceptions are often shaped without our full, conscious awareness. For example, it’s tempting to focus on the most egregious faults of our foes as evidence of their inhumanity, while excusing the inevitable missteps of our allies as “well-intentioned errors.” Over time, these patterns make it so easy to view people on our team as flawed-yet-fabulously GOOD and the people on their team as dangerous-and-damaging BAD.

It is true that there have been fault lines around politics for centuries, and they won’t be going away any time soon. Still, I believe that our current challenges are complicated by how easily it has become to gather information primarily from sources that reinforce our views and opinions, and not just distinguishing but also demonizing theirs. Furthermore, our patterns around social media and communication tools encourage impulsive reactions that include “you’re either with us or against us” messages and mindsets that at their best are oversimplified shortcuts to rally our troops, and at their worst can be misleading, divisive and dangerous.

Connecting with Heart requires gobs of patience, persistence, creativity, curiosity and commitment in order to increase your understanding of how “they” are looking at this differently than you. And we don’t have to AGREE with them or even LIKE them in order to hear them. It does require acknowledging and respecting their humanity. It ain’t easy, but I believe it is our best move forward.

I’m proud that our diverse readership comes together every Monday morning for 60 seconds of inspiration, opening our minds and our hearts to connect and grow. We’ve had a few bumps in the road here and there, and we’ve lost a few friends along the way. Overall, though, I’m glad we’ve found a way to Connect with Heart.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. A heart-filled thank you to all who pitched in for a Hope Share to help get Ripples of Hope into print. We are quite close to a big announcement. More soon.… Read More!

Ripples #1093: Grief (Love’s Receipt)

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Ripples #1093: Grief
May 4, 2020

PEBBLE
Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.
-Glennon Doyle Melton, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
It’s just fine to feel a little heavy, and it’s just fine to sit here and catch my breath, and it’s just fine to be a mess at times, and it’s just fine to be relatively normal sometimes. It’s just fine to miss them. It’s just fine to let it all hit me, surrendering and succumbing. And it’s just fine to remember that grief has no rules, and that really, it will in many ways last as long as love does. Forever. -Lexi Behrndt, shared by Eric in Los Angeles, CA

PONDER
Over the years, many people have reached out to me in search of support to help themselves or someone they care about who is grieving. Last fall I shared some thoughts on Unimaginable (but not unbearable) Grief (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/permalink/10156607585716662/), and I’ve been gradually assembling a compendium of advice, articles, and quotes for you to use and share as needed: When Grief Happens. (https://www.facebook.com/notes/2691270684531155).

Way back in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic (you know, a couple months ago), I stumbled upon an article that resonated with me and many others: “The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief It is a conversation with grief expert David Kessler who worked with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and who recently identified a sixth stage of grief: Meaning. https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Meaning-Sixth-Stage-Grief/dp/1501192736. The article helped me better understand, anticipate, and manage some of the swirl of emotions that many of us have been experiencing in the last few weeks.

It turns out there are all kinds of losses that are being experienced right now: jobs that have been eliminated, routines and options that are now restricted, and the myriad ways we’ve had to give up our well-established ways of working, studying and living. And then there is the literal loss of life: family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others who have died.

All of these losses, the small ones and the big ones, the temporary and the permanent need to be recognized, acknowledged, and grieved. And extra care must be extended since these losses have come in an already stressful time when we are unable to gather together and support each other. That means feeling all the feels, thinking all the thoughts, and giving space and grace for sadness, frustration, confusion, and hurt. Oh, and celebration to acknowledge the memories and the gifts that are luckily left behind in the face of loss.

I’ll close by dedicating this issue to my mom, the fascinating and remarkable Tootie Wesselmann (1930-2020), who last week went off to play cards in the Great Beyond. I’d prefer not to hear or receive condolences; maybe instead you could extend a little extra compassion and kindness … Read More!

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