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Ripples #959: Giving of Ourselves.

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Ripples #959: Giving of Ourselves.
Oct 9, 2017

PEBBLE
The best thing about giving of ourselves is that what we get is always better than what we give…The reaction is greater than the action.
-Orison Swett Marden, shared by Heather in Onalaska, WI (who posted this in her work space as a daily reminder to be mindful of giving to others)

BOULDER
How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of others, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving….
-Albert Einstein, shared by Janice in South Lyon, MI

PONDER
Many moons ago when I lived in Madison and was just embarking on my adventures as a leadership trainer and keynote speaker, I did some work for a couple of organizations that serve credit unions (CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group). Two decades later, I still get to spend quite a bit of time with credit unions on certain holidays (MLK Days, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, etc.). Today (Columbus Day for some, Indiginous Day for others) is another of those, and as you read this I’ll be making some new friends at Class Act Federal Credit Union in Kentucky.

I decided to pair these quotes and unleash them today as a tribute to credit union teams and others whose work is about GIVING OF OURSELVES. as a really cool bonus, both of these quotes were submitted by credit union employees: yay for synchronicity!

So, to all who spend their days giving to others: thank you. I hope you recognize the significant difference your contributions make in the lives of others, and I hope that at least occasionally you get a peek at how your gifts are valued by the people you serve.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #951: Love & Light!

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Ripples #951: Love & Light!
Aug 14, 2017

PEBBLE
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.
-L.R. Knost, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA
[who has known me since we were in 5th grade and continues to be a fierce and fabulous friend. Happy Birthday, dear Pidge!]

BOULDER
Your light is seen, your heart is known, your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine. If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked. You are far more wonderful than you think you are. Rest with that. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine. More than fine. Better than fine. You’re doin’ great. So relax. And love yourself today.
-Neale Donald Walsch, shared by Regina in Glen Gardner, NJ

PONDER
Just when we think the world couldn’t get any messier or more troubling, news from North Korea, Venezuela, Charlottesville, and elsewhere proves us wrong. The challenges we’re facing are far more complex than many of us are willing to admit, and the potential solutions that will eventually help to improve things will require many people coming together with massive amounts of passion, patience, and persistence.

I don’t have the answers for how we’ll get through this, but I do have confidence that we will. The steps that we can all take right now to help us move forward involve recognizing and sharing our own reserves of love and light. First, look in the mirror and ponder the compliments that have been shared by people that have told you how important and precious you are to them. Marinate in that love and light. Then look around and identify the people you cross paths with on a regular basis that YOU respect, admire, and/or value. And tell them what they mean to you. Let them marinate in love and light.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, the next step could be to identify some people you *struggle* to respect, admire, and/or value to see if any of them deserve reconsideration. Maybe you haven’t sufficiently appreciated how or why their perspective is so different than your own, or you haven’t even gotten to know them well enough to understand what their perspective really is all about. At least think about it, and see if you can allow them to marinate in love and light, too.

These might seem like small steps, but small changes in how you think and feel can lead to small changes in your behavior. And it is all of our little actions that can ripple out to change the world.

Sending you Love & Light,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #940: Sweetness of Friendship!

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Ripples #940: Sweetness of Friendship!
May 29, 2017

PEBBLE
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
-Khalil Gibran, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
I have come to the realization that friends are the only true staple in life. More than food, they sustain us as we hike that trail of life, taking the road less traveled, and more than water they quench our thirst, our thirst for living, our thirst for life.
-written and shared by Amy in Waukesha, WI

PONDERMany of us here in the U.S. recognize Memorial Day Weekend* as our kick off to summer, a time when many of us get to spend more time with our friends (and family, colleagues, neighbors, classmates, etc). I thought this might be a good time to consider just how much these friendships add to our lives.

Whether it’s people that you’ve relied on consistently over many years, or newer connections that you’re still developing, spend some time this week savoring their presence in your life. If you’re feeling adventurous, choose a few people to reach out to and extend the ripples by letting them know just how sweet their friendship is for you.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. *I invite you to keep in mind that Memorial Day evolved as a way to remember people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Consider carving out a small chunk of your weekend to attend an official event, or perhaps even take a few moments at a party you’re attending to raise a glass to those who sacrificed.… Read More!

Ripples #925: Love’s Shine!

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Ripples #925: Love’s Shine!
Feb 13, 2017

PEBBLE
Love’s shine is strongest against a backdrop of hate. What we care about, and how we express our care, is most deeply felt when all is not “as it should be”. That’s when love matters most and moves most.
-Melanie Goble, written and shared by Melanie from Cal Poly SLO

BOULDER
To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses – that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being and unites all living things.
-Pablo Neruda, shared by Brett in Madison, WI
PONDER
Unleashing a LOVE-themed Ripples around Valentine’s Day is one of our longest traditions, and it has always been important to me that we focus on the broadest concept of love that allows us to move beyond romance and celebrate the love that exists among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors…and even beyond humans to include pets, nature, etc. We’ve also made an extra effort to encourage self-love as a powerful healing force directed within and toward your own precious spirit.

In these tumultuous times, I think it is crucial that we extend our idea of love even further. I’m ready to embrace a love so expansive that it encapsulates humanity and reminds us that we really are all connected to each other, and I hope you’re ready for that as well. I truly believe that at least part of the solution for our current difficulties is to cultivate and strengthen the love we feel for each other, particularly towards those with whom we struggle to understand and agree.

I’m not necessarily talking about liking or understanding or accepting or agreeing or forgiving (although I do happen to think our society improves whenever we experiment a bit with these as well); instead, I’m curious whether small doses of compassion, empathy and patience, shared mindfully in the right direction at the right time, might help us all feel better, think more clearly, and identify opportunities for constructive conversations and connections. While it cannot and should not eliminate the important and necessary conflict we’re experiencing in our world right now, I believe LOVE’S SHINE could help us illuminate a path forward, and might just end up saving us all.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Do you know about TEAM RIPPLES, our official Facebook Group? We keep a special archive there containing 18 years worth of LOVE-themed quotes. You may also enjoy something we posted there a few weeks ago called “The Egg,” a short story by Andy Weir (who wrote The Martian). It is a powerful story that has helped me extend my sense of connectedness, and I recommend it highly, even as I add the caveat that it needs to be read with an … Read More!

Ripples #921: Dr. King.

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Ripples #921: Dr. King.
Jan 16, 2017

PEBBLE
There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

BOULDER
People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

PONDER
Our country honors Dr. King’s every third Monday in January, and we’ve developed a tradition of embracing this opportunity to highlight the wisdom of Dr. King.

I’m not certain what Dr. King would have to say about recent events, but I feel certain he’d want us to be strong and be persistent and be civil.

If possible, find a way to be of service to others today. It is a great way to honor the contributions of a great man.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
We keep a copy of all the wisdom of Dr. King that we’ve unleashed in Ripples over the last 18 years in Team Ripples, our official Facebook Group. Please join us there if you’d like!… Read More!

Ripples #918: Doing The Dance!

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Ripples #918: Doing The Dance!
Dec 26, 2016

PEBBLE
Life can not give me joy and peace,
it is up to me to will it.
Life just gives me time and space,
it is up to me to fill it.
-William James, shared by Ann (Gulf Shores, AL)

BOULDER
I serve. I do the dance I must. I plant trees, but I am not the doer of this work. I am the facilitator, the instrument—I am one part of the symphony. I know there is an overall scheme to this symphony that I cannot understand. In some way, we are each playing our own part. It is not for me to judge or criticize the life or work of another. All I know is that this is my dance. I would plant trees today even if I knew for certain that the world would end tomorrow. -Balbir Matbur Source: Heron Dance interview (Issue 11), shared by Mandy, Columbus, OH perry1833@yahoo.com

PONDER
It is natural to seek joy and peace and love during the holidays; I just happen to think that we too often and too easily forget they can be tricky to find while looking for them. Joy and peace are much easier to experience when we are busy cultivating them and giving them away.

What could you do this week to facilitate joy, peace, and love this week? The gifts you’re able to give freely will come back as among the most precious and satisfying gifts you’ll ever receive: a bounty of joy, peace, and love that will replenish even the most weary and broken of hearts.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Can you believe this is the last Monday of 2016? I’ll be back next year with 52 more splashes of inspiration and I’d be most honored if you renewed your commitment to share a few issues with your friends AND to keep your eye out for powerful quotes to submit for future rippling. Thanks, team!… Read More!

Ripples #915: The Living Invitation!

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Ripples #915: The Living Invitation!
Dec 5, 2016

PEBBLE
Be with those who help your being.
-Rumi

BOULDER
You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else: you will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.
-Jamie Tworkowski, shared by Rachel in Jackson, MO (email her if you use this!)

PONDER
I wrapped up my fall adventures by spending some time in Florida with my longtime friends at Athletic Business Conference and a quick trip to Wisconsin to make some new friends at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. I encouraged both groups to think about the people they spend time with at work and in life, and pay special attention to notice who consistently lifts them UP and identify those who, intentionally or not, leaves them feeling drained.

It has been my experience that life gets better as we spend more time enjoying and acknowledging the lifter uppers and graciously limiting time around the drainers. Make that your homework this week, and see if it makes a difference.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #905: Pieces of Truth.

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Ripples #905: Pieces of Truth.
Sept 26, 2016

PEBBLE
People generally assume that differences between two parties create the problem. Yet differences can also lead to a solution.
-Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon, shared by Kelsey in Fond du lac, WI

BOULDER
Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.
-Ken Wilber, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
I’m pretty sure that folks here in the U.S. have noticed that we are inching closer to Election Day. I know I am not the only one who wonders if the “us versus them” dynamic has reached unprecedented and possibly unsafe new heights this time around. I don’t think it actually has, but it sure does seem like it lately.

Many of my connections tend to hang out on the more liberal/progressive end of the political spectrum (like I do), while others are either on the more conservative end or hover more in the middle (sometimes because they aren’t always sure what to think, or because different issues find them leaning in different directions). Thanks to this incredibly diverse set of voices in my social media newsfeed, I have a somewhat unique vantage point in observing, listening, and engaging in politics, social issues, etc. And I’ve concluded that we have a greater-than-we-realize tendency to label those who look at the world differently than us as either Dummies (who aren’t informed), Meanies (who don’t care) or Crazies (who aren’t rational).

From whichever vantage point you’re sitting, it is true that people on the “other side” sometimes don’t seem informed about some issues, as compassionate towards some people, nor as rational about some topics. To be fair, I think it is crucial to keep in mind that the folks on “our side” are not always as informed, compassionate, and rational as they could be, either. We can all be a little dumb (uninformed), mean (uncaring) and crazy (irrational) at times–it’s just that we tend to cut ourselves and our friends a bit more slack so it doesn’t SEEM quite as bad when OUR side says something unreasonable.

Over the past few months I’ve been talking about the “conjugation of compassion” and how we often extend caring and empathy more generously towards people we know and have a basic amount of trust and respect while we are sometimes considerably stingy with our compassion when it comes to people we don’t have much trust and/or respect for.

In some ways it makes sense–there are times when “those people” have earned the low levels of positive regard we hold towards them. At the same time, I’m concerned that the rancor and incivility has reached such a deafening level so that there is almost no chance for us to influence each other any more. We’ve all covered our ears and are just shouting our own truth without even listening to what … Read More!

Ripples #904: Refracting Peace.

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Ripples #904: Refracting Peace.
Sept 19, 2016

PEBBLE
It isn’t enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it.
One must work at it.
―Eleanor Roosevelt, shared by Julie in Missoula, MT

BOULDER
Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
—Etty Hillesum (via Values.com 12/4/15)

PONDER
Peace can be such an abstract concept; it can mean so many things to different people and can shift meaning as contexts change. I’ve been lately conceptualizing peace as having an internal aspect (serenity within oneself) and an external aspect (harmony between and among beings). I’m increasingly convinced that an important early step in reducing the amount of conflict in the world is to enlarge the quality and quantity of inner peace that is available to us individually. Finding time for reflection, relaxation, meditation, and/or prayer can strengthen our efforts to cultivate peace in our communities and in our world.

As we refine our own ability to calm anxieties, focus attention, and generally center ourselves, we naturally become both more inspired and more effective in addressing interpersonal conflicts. As we are more patient and compassionate with ourselves, we effortlessly extend patience and compassion to others, which expands our ability listen, to empathize, and to seek mutually beneficial resolutions to the inevitable conflicts that arise in life.

I invite you to join me in refracting peace this week, first by deepening the well of serenity within your own spirit and then making a conscious effort to bring more harmony to those around you.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I initially described this week’s theme as “Reflecting Peace,” but that ultimately seemed too passive, like we were suppose to just mirror the peace we encounter. I was eventually energized by the idea of refraction; I imagined lightwaves of peace transforming as they passed through me and then continuing to spread out and enlighten others. Reflect on it, and if it makes sense to you, refract it as well!… Read More!

Ripples #900: Connection.

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Ripples #900: Connection.
Aug 22, 2016

PEBBLE
All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection to the world; I am always weaving it because it was once broken.
-Anaïs Nin

BOULDER
If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story it would be, still more than its own, the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed.
-Lucy Larcom, shared by Jessie in Oxford, OH

PONDER
900 Mondays ago, way back in the first few days of 1999, a few people agreed to help me experiment with a brief splash of inspiration: a Monday morning email with a couple of uplifting quotes and something to think about for the week. I pledged to keep sending them out without charging and without marketing as long as people helped me find good quotes to share.  900 Mondays later, many of the original 75 folks who helped me pilot these little Ripples emails are still on board. A few more have joined us along the way, and every week a few of you submit quotes which helps me assemble a fresh batch of inspiration to unleash each week.

We’ve grown steadily over 900 weeks and we decided to celebrate our 900th issue with a minor tweak to the newsletter layout: you’ll notice in the footer below a “submit quote” button. If you come across a really good quote we would be thrilled if you took the time to share it with us.

Each time I hunker down to assemble another issue I am gently reminded that Ripples isn’t *from* me, nor is it *about* me. Instead, this has always been a team effort channeled *through* me: dozens of folks who have contributed inspirational quotes, hundreds of eager Ripplers who share them widely, and the thousands of you who take the time to read sixty seconds of inspiration that we unleash for your ponderment.  Thanks for 900 weeks of meaningful connection!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you can hang in for 100 more issues, we’ve already started planning something really special for our Thousandth Issue of Ripples. Stay tuned!… Read More!

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