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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!

Ripples #1,014: Interrupting Injustice!

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Ripples #1014: Interrupting Injustice!
Oct 29, 2018

PEBBLE
Few things are as encouraging as the realization that things can be different and that we have a role in making them so.
-Daniel Taylor, shared by Maggie in Eau Claire, WI

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
We live in complicated times. On the one hand, humans have progressed in truly remarkable ways: our advances in science, technology, and education have allowed us to see and appreciate and understand things that at one time seemed beyond comprehension. On the other hand, we continue to grapple with significant challenges and there are ways things seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Election day is just around the corner here in the U.S. I don’t have any interest in using this platform to try and tell you who to vote for, or what issues you should care about. I do, however, want to use this issue of Ripples to remind you that voting itself can be viewed as a sacred, heroic act of citizenship that less than half of eligible voters in our country follow through on.

If “Interrupting Injustice” is important to you, I invite you to step up your participation in the voting process. If you haven’t been a reliable voter in the past, perhaps you need help figuring out WHO and WHAT to vote for, or even WHETHER you are registered and WHERE to vote. Sites like Vote411.org and VoteSmart.org strive to provide non-partisan, balanced information…and can even confirm your voter registration and polling location. If you need help actually casting your vote, reach out to the campaigns you intend to vote for; they are eager to help make your vote count. If you are ready for the next level of involvement, there is still time to get involved with voter turnout efforts, again by contacting local candidates and groups that support issues that are important to you. If you’re already an actively engaged, the challenge might be to directly engage the people you are most closely connected to and encourage them to vote.

Your actions may seem insignificant; but remember that decisions get made by those that show up. Your voice and your vote matter; both make a difference!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. A sincere thank you for anything you can say or do to help extend the positive ripples we unleash each week.… Read More!

Ripples #1013: The Treasure of Connection!

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Ripples #1013: The Treasure of Connection!
Oct 22, 2018

PEBBLE
Assume the person you’re talking to knows something you don’t, and be eager to learn it.
-Nick Offerman at University of Illinois Commencement
shared by Ricky from Fort Smith, AR

BOULDER
I am not old, she said. I am rare. I am the standing ovation at the end of the play. I am the retrospective of my life as Art. I am the hours, connected like dots, into good sense. I am the fullness of existing. You think I am waiting to die, but I am waiting to be found. I am a treasure. I am a map. And these wrinkles are imprints of my journey: ask me anything.
-Samantha Reynolds (adapted slightly), shared by D, who heard it from her friend Gloria during a very important walk

PONDER
Last Friday I had a rare and wondrous opportunity to fire up two different groups that were gathering here in Cincinnati on the very same day. In the morning I spent some time with EOPO (Education Office Professionals of Ohio) and then zipped home for a nap and a wardrobe change before helping Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society, kick off their annual conference.

While the presentations were slightly different, a primary objective of both speeches was encouraging them to find the right balance between hanging out with the people they already knew well, and making new connections. I’m at these sorts of events all the time, and I notice that attendees often succumb to the inevitable temptation of hanging out primarily with the classmates and coworkers they traveled with, as well as people they’ve met at previous events. That is understandable, especially since conferences can be great ways to maintain and deepen mutually beneficial relationships.

It is equally important to branch out and forge new connections with people you have NOT yet met, particularly those who have different backgrounds and perspectives and experiences. That can be more difficult since you might seem to have less in common with them, and meeting new people is usually a little less comfortable and a little more awkward than hanging out with your trusted friends. Still: IT IS SO WORTH IT! These new contacts are valuable because they can provide fresh perspectives and ideas which can ignite curiosity and creativity. And you just never know when a brief chat with new connection can lead to valuable opportunities.

If you’re headed to a professional development event or really any gathering of like-minded souls, consider it a quest for the treasure of connection!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re enjoying Ripples, remember that the best way to show it is to SHARE Ripples with your peeps and encourage them to join us, and also click the SUBMIT A QUOTE button below whenever you encounter a groovy quote that we should consider for an upcoming issue. Thanks for both!… 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 #996: Sharing Smiles!

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Ripples #996: Sharing Smiles!
June 25, 2018

PEBBLE
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
-Mother Theresa,
shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald,
shared by Pete in the mountains of Colorado

PONDER

Would you share a smile, pretty please?

Some of you may remember that back during the 2008-2009 economic downturn, we collected and shared smiles….images of smiling people holding up signs of encouragement to help us all endure the challenges we were facing (you can see some of the images below).

Posted by Paul Wesselmann on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In four weeks, we will unleash the 1,000th issue of Ripples, and to celebrate this milestone we’ve set an ambitious goal of sharing 1,000 smiles and unleashing 1,000 ripples of compassion + kindness (more on the second part next week).

So, dear Rippler, could you make time this week to whip up a message of encouragement or gratitude and snap a selfie of your smiling facing along with the sign? This could be intended for a specific person or group, but it could also be a general message for anyone. It could even be as simple as our #urock hashtag which stands for “unleash ripples of compassion + kindness.” If you’re feeling really ambitious, maybe recruit some of your friends or coworkers to participate….it might make a fun team development or group bonding activity.

For those who email their photo to me at Smiles@2Rpl.me in the next week or so, I can send you some inspirational postcards we made up to help unleash kindness the week of July 23rd. Are you in? I’ve got a smile on my face as I wait with eager anticipation to see if you are.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. I’m still in a bit of shock that it has been almost 1,000 weeks since we sent our first issue of Ripples. I guess time flies when you’re smiling and rippling!… Read More!

Ripples #985: Helper’s High!

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Ripples #985: Helper’s High!
April 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Shine your light so life is brighter;
get a helper’s high…you’ll feel lighter.
-Marie Toole, written and shared by Marie in Delray Beach, FL

BOULDER
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
-Jane Goodall, shared by Scott in Madison, WI

PONDER

I’m quite confident that most of our regular Ripplers are already well aware of the benefits of unleashing ripples of compassion and kindness. We are the type of folks who figured out a long time ago that doing good for others not only makes karmic sense, it feels good!

Still, it is inevitable that life sometimes gets so full and so stressful that we occasionally drift away from our good intentions of helping others and we forget about the hidden treasures to be found while serving: the perspective shift that comes from seeing the challenges that others are facing; gratitude for the many good things in our own lives that we sometimes take for granted; the renewed sense of community that grows when we recognize that we’re all in this together and we all sometimes need a helping hand.

If it has been a while, keep your eyes open for someone who needs a little extra help. If you’ve been doing a good job of helping others lately, perhaps you can keep your eyes open for someone doing a kind deed and taking a moment to thank them for their efforts. It will compound the helper’s high!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Of course, it is important to remember that there is such a thing as TOO MUCH when it comes to helping others, and we have to keep in mind that without building boundaries and recognizing limits, we put ourselves at risk of compassion fatigue and/or caregiver burnout. Help others in the right amount so your Helper’s High doesn’t cause a crash and burn!… Read More!

Ripples #983: Tailors & Tribes.

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Ripples #983: Tailors & Tribes.
March 26, 2018
PEBBLE
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
-George Shaw
shared by Luke in Bloomfield Hills, MI
BOULDER
Surround yourself with people who add value to your life, who challenge you to be greater than you were yesterday, who sprinkle magic into your existence, just like you to theirs. Life isn’t to be done alone. Find your tribe–and journey freely and loyally together.
-Alex Elle
shared by Anna in Providence, RI
PONDER
When life is going well, it is good to be around happy humans who will help you celebrate. When life is hard, it is good to be around hardy humans who will help you persist. In general, it’s good to be around humans: those who see you, hear you, know you, get you, nurture you, admire you, challenge you, and love you.
If you’re already surrounded by folks like this: do me a favor and thank them for showing up for you. If you need help finding more tailors and/or tribes to have in your life, start by opening your heart to the possibility that there are people out there who not only WANT you in their lives…they NEED you in their lives.
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
Read More!

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!

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