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Ripples #832: Allowing Others In.

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Ripples #832: Allowing Others In.
May 4, 2015

PEBBLE
Spiritual growth is characterized by
the capacity to allow others into your heart.
-Tijn Touber, shared by Terry in Oak Creek, WI

BOULDER
A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend,
one human soul whom we can trust utterly,
who knows the best and worst of us,
and who loves us in spite of all our faults.
-Charles Kingsley, shared by Nick in Indiana

PONDER
It isn’t always easy to let someone into your heart to develop an authentic connection with them. Sometimes it is our personality that prefers to keep emotions at bay and connections at arms length; other times it is the norms we picked up from our families, communities, and/or cultures that dictates how close we get to those around us.

It is also true that past hurts sometimes create protective coatings to safeguard us; and while they have incredibly noble aspirations of preventing us from being hurt, they also unfortunately keep out empathy and compassion that is being extended by those with noble intentions and worthy goals: they want to love us, but we are sometimes too afraid to let them in.

The first step to allowing others into the sacred and softer places in our heart is to notice both the benefits and costs of keeping people at a distance, and seeing if there aren’t some small risks we could take to let someone in just a bit. Might you be willing to experiment this week: sharing a bit of personal information with a colleague you’ve spoken with several times, or opening up to a neighbor or acquaintance that you’ve known superficially for years? I’m in if you are!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I was inspired to assemble this week’s Ripples by a recent encounters with a few remarkable people who are taking courageous steps to emerge from their protective casings and seek the healing embrace of vulnerability and connectedness. I extend my kudos to them, and an invitation to the rest of us to allow others in this week.… Read More!

Ripples #830: Unleashing Kindness!

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Ripples #830: Unleashing Kindness!
Apr 20, 2015

PEBBLE
We won’t always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What’s important is that you do care and you act.
-Charlotte Lunsford, shared by Justin in Beaumont, TX

BOULDER
Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.
-Robert J. Furey, shared by Danielle in Jackson, MS

PONDERIt has been a privilege to send out these weekly splashes of inspiration for the past eight hundred and thirty Mondays, and it is both a significant honor and an absolute hoot to have you along for the ride.

Later this week I will celebrate 18 years of full-time self employment as “The Ripples Guy,” (well, some of you will remember I started out as Mr. Stone Soup Seminars and it wasn’t until a few years later that this weekly email became my identity!).  I’m wondering if you could do me a favor and help me celebrate by doing something incredibly simple:  unleash ripples of compassion and kindness.  Some of you recognize that phrase as “uRock!” which we coined a few years ago during the financial downturn when I drove around in my smile-covered Prius to encourage people to hang on through the tough times.

I’d be so grateful if this Friday, April 24 and/or Saturday, April 25, you found the time to unleash one or more simple acts of kindness.  It could be just a text or phone call of gratitude to someone who’s been there for you, or keeping your eye open for a passerby who needs help.  If you want to make it interesting, you could bring some treats to colleagues, neighbors, a business you appreciate, or a charity you value.

Another angle might be to catch someone doing something nice and make it a point to say, “I saw what you did there, and I wanted to thank you for reminding me there is lots of good in this world!”  I’ve created a Facebook Event so that people could share ideas and report their kindnesses.  You might also choose to mention it in your FaceTweet InstaTumblr pages using the hashtag #uRock.

I’m not expecting this to go viral or anything, nor am I wanting you to promote the Ripples emails.  I’d love it if you just told your kindness recipient, “I’m part of a group of people who unleash ripples of compassion and kindness,” or just used the #urock hashtag and let it be a bit mysterious.

Thanks in advance for any spare kindness you can unleash this Friday & Saturday!
Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. If … Read More!

Ripples #829: Gifts to Share.

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Ripples #829:
Gifts to Share.
Apr 13, 2015

PEBBLE
Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
-Tony Robbins, shared by Dylan in Chicago, IL

BOULDER
The purpose in life is not to win. The purpose in life is to grow and share. When you come back to look on all you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.
-Rabbi Harold Kushner, shared by Carolyn in Lincoln, NE

PONDER
This week I zoomed north and east to hang out with student leaders at the University of Maine. We explored the opportunities and challenges of serving others and discussed how to improve our leadership effectiveness by seeking the right combination of self-care and sharing gifts with others.

We watched a great SoulPancake video about the benefits of sharing gratitude; (https://youtu.be/oHv6vTKD6lg) it expanded on some research that suggests telling someone who has been influential in your life exactly what impact they had on your life will significantly increase your level of happiness even if (and more precisely ESPECIALLY if) you are not particularly happy right now. I really liked the idea that sharing gratitude is a wonderful gift to give others AND it simultaneously helps you feel better as well.

What would happen if we each identified someone who has been generous with their gifts of time, wisdom, and/or support and share the gift of gratitude by reaching out to them with a conversation or note to explain exactly how they’ve impacted you? It quite possibly improve their week, and I’m guessing it will make ours a little brighter, too. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’m grateful how many subscribers find the time to regularly READ and PONDER our little splashes of inspiration; I *especially* appreciate when you occasionally SHARE the gifts by following through on the suggestions we mention. Those actions often create concrete, ever-widening ripples by inspiring others to continue spreading the inspiration.… Read More!

Ripples #828: Just listen.

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Ripples #828: Just listen.
Apr 6, 2015

PEBBLE
Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you.
Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.
-unknown

BOULDER
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
-Rachel Naomi Remen, shared by Mary in Peoria, AZ

PONDER
Listening is one of those precious skills that can help you out in just about every interpersonal interaction you ever have, and yet a skill we don’t usually get formal training in. Virtually every person you ever encounter EVER at least occasionally feels unheard or unnoticed; one of the very best gifts you can give them is to listen attentively to what they have to say.

It is useful when talking to a hurting friend, a frustrated colleague or even an annoying customer. Investing the first part of a conversation simply obsessed with listening to the other person often makes it easier to frame a response that is appropriate to the situation and that the person can hear. It helps in part to let your conversation partner vent out some of their stronger emotions AND it also helps to gather information to better understand the person and situation.

Even someone whose work is about talking and telling stories and helping people laugh and learn knows that his *first* job is listening carefully to what his clients are hoping people get out of the presentation, and ideally listening to the first few participants in the room describe how things are going for them and what they hope to gain from attending. Once I’ve done lots of LISTENING, it maximizes both the effectiveness and enjoyment of my speaking.

I hope you can spend a little extra energy on listening this week, and I hope it helps you increase both your effectiveness and your enjoyment on the job and/or in life.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #825: Openness.

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Ripples #825: Openness.
Mar 16, 2015

PEBBLE
Openness may not completely disarm prejudice,
but it’s a good place to start.
-Jason Collins, shared by Danielle in Jacksonville, FL

BOULDER
Embrace the faith that every challenge surmounted by your energy; every problem solved by your wisdom; every soul stirred by your passion; and every barrier to justice brought down by your determination will ennoble your own life, inspire others, serve your country, and explode outward the boundaries of what is achievable on this earth. -Madeleine Albright

PONDER
You may have heard in the news this week about several examples of extreme unkindness: hurtful chants from a busload of college students, acts of extreme violence against individuals and groups both here and abroad, and the ongoing and fiercely stubborn resistance against our society’s ever-evolving attempts to include those who have historically been excluded. It is tempting, and understandable, to become disheartened and discouraged when it seems like things are getting worse instead of better.

It is important to remember that while we have a long way to go in completely eliminating oppression and inequality, there is lots of evidence that we’ve come a long way and that we continue to take important steps in making the world safer and more inviting for people to bring their best selves to work, school, and life.

I believe a really useful next step would be for each us to be more open in identifying our own limitations, concerns, and fears; and also creating safe spaces for others to do the same. This would allow us to improve our individual efforts at reducing oppression and expanding inclusiveness, and will pave the way for sustained improvements in how our organizations and communities value difference.

I hope you can spend some time talking about this with people around you this week; classrooms, staff meetings, and/or family discussions. Talking isn’t sufficient, but being open with ourselves and those around us is a necessary first step to making the world better for us all.

Namasté,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #820: Loveworthy!

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Ripples #820: Loveworthy!
Feb 9, 2015

PEBBLE
The one thing we can never get enough of is love.
And the one thing we never give enough is love.
-Henry Miller, shared by Tracy in Pasadena, CA

BOULDER
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
-Thomas Merton, shared by Philip in Wichita, KS

PONDER
I know that Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and of course you have options you can celebrate it, ignore it, or curse it as you see fit.

I tend to welcome it as an opportunity to consider love in all its variations, choosing from among several targets of love: romance, friends, family, pets, self, nature, etc. I think both of our quotes this week invite us to expand our capacity to both give and receive love. I hope you accept this invitation, and I hope it helps you grow.

ALSO: If you’d like an extra dose of love, I’ve gathered a list of our previous love-themed Ripples quotes. Send a blank email to Love@UnleashRipples.com OR visit my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/paul-wesselmann-the-ripples-guy/ripples-of-love/10152689050286662

Peace & Love,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. My sincere apologies to Ray Bradbury fans AND to my buddy Abby. Due to an editing error last week, I posted the incorrect SOURCE of the Boulder in Ripples #819. It should have been: “We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. -Ray Bradbury, shared by Abby in Cincinnati, OH”… Read More!

Ripples #817: Network of Mutuality.

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Ripples #817: Network of Mutuality.
Jan 19, 2015

PEBBLE
We must come to see that the end we seek is
a society at peace with itself,
a society that can live with its conscience.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared by Isaac in Sedona, AZ

BOULDER
It really boils down to this:
that all life is interrelated.
We are all caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality,
tied into a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly,
affects all indirectly.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared by Mary in Birmingham, AL

PONDER
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day which is the 3rd Monday each January: right around Dr. King’s birthday AND the anniversary of Ripples (16 years with a total of 817 Ripples— WOOHOO!). I’ve recently read several articles speculating how Dr. King might assess the state of our world if he were alive today. I find this to be a difficult hypothesis to explore, because it frequently causes me to wonder how things might be different if his life hadn’t been cut short.

My own assessment: we have accomplishments to be proud of, setbacks to be concerned about, and plenty of progress to continue making. I’m grateful that we have a national holiday for Dr. King that has evolved into a Day of Service, and I’m grateful for the ways in which we continue to educate ourselves about the vital contributions of Dr. King and many other African Americans that have helped shape the world in which we live. I think it is vital that we continue to educate ourselves about where we’ve been, the current state of things, and where we are headed.

Join me in honoring Dr. King’s legacy with some reflection, and perhaps a humble act of service.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You’re welcome to review and share our compilation of Dr. King’s wisdom that we’ve rippled over the past 16 years:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/paul-wesselmann-the-ripples-guy/infinite-hope-selected-wisdom-from-dr-king/10150488952761662… Read More!

Ripples #807: Validation.

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[11/10/2014] Ripples #807: Validation.

PEBBLE
Be somebody
who makes everybody
feel like a somebody.
-Kid President, shared by Kimmi in Oxford, MS

BOULDER
Every single person
you will ever meet
shares a common desire.
They want to know:
“Do you see me?
Do you hear me?
Does what I say
mean anything to you?”
-Oprah Winfrey

PONDER
This week’s Boulder is from the finale of “The Oprah Winfrey Show;” I know some people aren’t big fans of hers, but overall I think she has helped many people (including me) discover and share their best selves. In this particular segment, Oprah explained that she thought most of the work she did on her daily show was about validating her guests: creating a space where they felt seen and heard. She went on to suggest that we didn’t need to have a stage in order to validate someone, just a sincere intention to communicate, “I see you. I hear you. What you say matters to me.” I think that it is worth noting that you don’t have to AGREE with someone in order to validate them—just let them speak their truth and recognize it as true for them.

Can you think of coworker, classmate, or neighbor who might not feel seen or heard? What could happen if you temporarily suspended your usual pattern of ignoring, avoiding, or fighting them and instead make an effort to see, hear, and acknowledge their perspective and their humanity? It might not be easy, but it might just be worth it. For them AND for you. Try it, and lemme know how is goes, mkay?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Thanks for a great dose of quote submissions over the past few weeks; please continue to keep your eye out for unique, brief and powerful quotes and submit them either through the link below OR by just replying to Ripples and including the source and your name/location.… Read More!

Ripples #804: Your Story!

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[10/20/2014] Ripples #804: Your Story!

PEBBLE
The world is not made up of atoms;
it’s made up of stories.
-Muriel Rukeyser, shared by Jen in Madison, WI

BOULDER
The story–from Rumplestiltskin
to War and Peace–
is one of the basic tools
invented by the human mind
for the purpose of understanding.

There have been great societies
that did not use the wheel,
but there have been no societies
that did not tell stories.
-Ursula K. Le Guin, shared by Tom in Denver, CO

PONDER
Stories have endured throughout civilization as a critical component of human communication because of their ability to instruct, to entertain, and to help us understand each other better. One of our Ripplers, Paul Smith, has even written books about using stories in leadership and parenting. This week I joined my buddies from Recovery International to explore how stories can help empower individual participants and at the same time allow the organization expand their reach.

My challenge for you this week is to tell a story. You could choose to tell a longtime buddy about a chapter of your life they don’t yet know about; another option would be to share a tale of one of your epic adventures with a new friend; finally, you could tell a classmate or colleague about a time you learned something new. See if it can help deepen a connection you have with another person while at the same time sharing information. Let me know how it goes, ok?

Peace,
Paul
(((The Ripples Guy)))
p.s. Here is one of my favorite stories from Paul’s new book:
http://cool-dads.com/2014/06/curiosity-story/… Read More!

Ripples #802: Moving Forward!

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[10/05/2014] Ripples #802: Moving Forward!

PEBBLE
Don’t hold a grudge.
It’s hot,
it’s heavy,
and it doesn’t have a handle.
-adapted from unknown source (possibly 1980’s SNL skit), shared by Susie J-F

BOULDER
The first to apologize is the bravest.
The first to forgive is the strongest.
The first to move forward is the happiest.
-source unknown, shared by Laurie in Oshkosh, WI

PONDER
First, I want to welcome back the 20,000 or so people that we finally were able to import to our new system for sending out Ripples. At first we had some technological issues, and then I was just nervous about importing such a massive list. The remarkable folks at MailChimp have been fantastic and I think you’re going to like our new home!

Second, I want to let ALL of you know that in a few weeks we’ll be asking for feedback about the new layout and features. Some of you have already shared concern and praises, and before we do any significant edits I’d like to hear the masses. Once I catch my breath from my fall travels I’m going to unleash a survey and I hope you’ll take a moment to chime in.

Finally, I’ll briefly say something about this week’s theme of MOVING FORWARD: sometimes we need to release a past wrong not because it was a little thing and not because another person deserves forgiveness. Sometimes we need to release a past wrong to make room for something new that can help us enjoy the next chapter of our adventures. Perhaps this week you can practice MOVING FORWARD from something small or medium-sized just to see how it feels. I will if you will.

Peace,
Paul
(((The Ripples Guy)))… Read More!

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