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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!

Ripples #1089: Open Hearts

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Ripples #1089: Open Hearts
April 6, 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, WI

BOULDER
Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to the other, should the need arise.
-Rabbi Yosef Kamefsky, shared by Laurie in Milwaukee, WI

PONDER
This is the second of our four-part “Covid Coping” series covering the four strategies I believe we can focus on to get through this together: curious minds (https://mailchi.mp/unleashripples/rr1087), open hearts, calm spirits, and nurturing our health.

It is more important than ever that we cultivate a sense of our shared humanity; it was already in short supply and the past few weeks have made coming together even more complicated. It is tricky to mentally and spiritually come together while we are physical distancing! It has always been true that our own behavior impacts those around us; our current situation requires us to confront just how significantly we are interconnected and interdependent upon each other.

Add in our frayed nerves and the frequent exposure to significantly disconcerting news updates, it is essential that we cut ourselves and each other some extra slack whenever possible. We need to extend patience, generosity, and kindness towards ourselves and others. Last week my pal Toby and I crafted a lovingkindness meditation to help us open our hearts and extend generosity to ourselves and others. Because it takes about 20 seconds to recite, we’ve been calling it our handwashing meditation:

Right now, I am doing the best I can.
Right now, my best may not seem good enough.
Right now, my best is the best I have.

Right now, everyone else is doing the best they can.
Right now, their best may not seem good enough.
Right now, their best is the best they have.

Right now, we are all doing the best we can
Right now, our best may not seem good enough.
Right now, our best is the best we have.
-Toby Causby (https://www.tobycausby.com) & Paul Wesselmann (https://theripplesguy.com)
(downloadable PDF available here: bit.ly/RightNow-DoingOurBest)

There is still room for disappointment, disagreement, and even disgust. There is still room for speaking up on behalf of yourself and others. When possible, see if you can also make room for a little extra patience, a dab of extra generosity, and maybe a sprinkling of extra kindness? It will help others feel a little better, and I think you’ll find it helps you feel a little better, too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Thanks to many of you, we’ve now distributed almost two thousand WE GOT THIS stickers that … Read More!

Ripples #1056: The Freedom of Forgiveness

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1056: The Freedom of Forgiveness.
Aug 19, 2019

PEBBLE
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
―Lewis B. Smedes, shared by Julie in Missoula, MT

BOULDER
If I may I leave you with this, forgiveness is not about saying what the other person did was okay. It simply means that you choose to no longer suffer when you think about the memory of it. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness is freedom.
-Leigh Morgan Koechner, shared by D in San Diego, CA

PONDER
A few months back, I had a meaningful exchange with a fellow rippler (and fellow Cincinnatian!), Ron Meyer, who shared with me his definition of forgiveness as a quote submission: “The act of freeing yourself of the pain, hurt, isolation, hatred, anger or resentment caused by the words or actions of yourself or another person so that you can increase your capacity to love.”

I learned that he had developed this definition of forgiveness while designing a spiritual growth retreat. Using a great analogy, Ron explained that just as sink drains can build up gunk and reduce the flow of water, there are times when pain, anger and resentment can build up in our relationships, which in turn reduces the flow of communication and love. Forgiveness, then, can be a form of “spiritual Drano,” unclogging our lines of communication, and reducing the barriers to a freer flow of love.

Importantly, Ron also stressed that forgiveness can be a powerful tool for our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. He wrote, “People tend to miss the point that forgiveness is mostly for us and our own freedom. Forgiveness is not saying that what was done or said was OK. Instead, it is about acknowledging it for what it was and having the courage to let it go so that it does not impact us in a negative way anymore. And forgiveness is not about being weak and giving in, it’s about taking back our power and owning our joy.”

If you’d like to take more ownership of the joy in your life, it could be useful to spend some time considering past hurts to see if you’re ready to experience the freedom of forgiveness.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Remember that an invitation isn’t a command…if this topic doesn’t feel ripe for exploration right now, just set it aside or hit delete! … Read More!

Ripples #1032: Making Someone’s Day!

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Ripples #1032: Making Someone’s Day!
Mar 4, 2019
Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples: 1999-2019!

PEBBLE
Be the best part of someone’s day.
-Amy Harless Tucker, shared by Jenny in Indianapolis, IN

BOULDER
Strong social support is one of the keys to happiness and good health. Making an effort to improve relationships with people already in your life is one way to increase your social support.
-Jeanne Graner Krochta, shared by Donna in Owings, MD

PONDER
When I first saw Jenny’s submission, I wondered if it might seem too simplistic or too obvious to be the Pebble in one of our weekly splashes of inspiration. Still, every time I glanced at I found myself curious about where she found it and why it was important to her. So guess what I did…I asked!

It turns out that “Be the best part of someone’s day,” was the motto her friend Amy adopted during a journey with cancer. It seems that because Amy was a really kind person, and perhaps as a strategy to distract her from the more unpleasant aspects of her illness, Amy remained committed to trying to make other people’s day even when she wasn’t feeling 100%. I learned from Jenny that even though Amy passed away last year, friends and family have kept her motto alive.

Jenny also shared with me that Amy’s motto inspired her to spread patience, compassion, and kindness even to people who she might initially be frustrated with. “I believe that most people don’t set out to try to ruin someone’s day,” Jenny wrote. “Maybe the person who took that parking spot I was waiting for recently got some bad news and isn’t thinking clearly. The person who seemed rude was possibly just harassed by someone or perhaps just lost a beloved friend or family member. While these scenarios aren’t fun to deal with, I get to choose how to react to them. And if we choose to react by showing compassion, then maybe we can end up being the best part of someone’s day.”

While I think striving to make another person’s day is a worthy goal with lots of benefits to everyone involved, I also would caution against reading the quote as an encouragement to ignore your own needs and focus exclusively on others. Instead, I embrace it as a fun challenge to look around and see whose day I could improve with even a small gesture of patience, kindness, or encouragement. It can temporarily distract us from our own challenges AND it actually feels pretty darn good, too!

The next time you find yourself having a tough day, I dare you to experiment with setting aside your frustrations and focusing on making someone else’s day better just to see if it might end up making your day better, too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1021: What If?

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Ripples #1021: What If?
Dec 17, 2018

PEBBLE
Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking.
-Brother David Steindl-Rast, shared by Paul in Parkville, MD

BOULDER

What If (A Rainforest Poem)

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?

What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?

What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?

-Ganga White
(c) 1998 Ganga White, whitelotus.org, All Rights Reserved
Reprinted from Yoga Beyond Belief, by Ganga White
Used with permission

PONDER
For those of us who identify as Christian, next week marks one of the holiest of days: the birth of Jesus. While honored differently, most religions and cultures have similar marker events they embrace as opportunities to rejoice, to reflect, to remember. Ultimately, I think the primary purpose of most of them is to help us live the highest, holiest versions of ourselves.

The conflicts that continue to rage around the world involve political, religious, and ideological divisions often seem like barriers to peaceful coexistence. Instead of being viewed as problematic, what if we chose to view these divisions as divine opportunities for us to grow stronger and more compassionate as individuals and groups?

What if we recognized them as life lessons that could help us grow? What if these difficulties could help us learn about each other, strengthen our ability to explain our perspective, and cultivate the capacity to listen patiently as our opponents explain how and why they look at the world and certain issues the way they do?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S.… Read More!

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 #1016: Whole Heart Service!

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Ripples #1016: Whole Heart Service!
Nov 12, 2018

PEBBLE
To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind. -Pearl Buck, shared by Danny in Brookings, SD

BOULDER
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.
-Gordon B. Hinckley, shared by Joan in South Bend, IN via values.com

PONDER

Today is a holiday for many of us since yesterday was the 100th anniversary of what was originally known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. Now referred to as Remembrance Day in Canada and many other countries, and Veteran’s Day in the U.S., it remains an important day to recognize the sacrifices involved by those who have served their country.

One way of honoring the service of our veterans is to renew our own commitment to service. Let’s make this an opportunity to think about the individuals and groups we give our time, attention, and/or money to; noticing if there is anyone who has inadvertently fallen off our radar, and also identifying people/groups we haven’t previously served that could use our help. And it doesn’t work to just think about it: once you find a whole heart yes to service, follow through with concrete action!

I dedicate this issue of Ripples to veterans for their whole heart service, and to others who are inspired to give back as a way of paying it forward.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S.… Read More!

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