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Embrace Possibility

Ripples #1112: Leveling Up

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Ripples #1112: Leveling Up
Sep 14, 2020

PEBBLE
There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, shared by Gina in Tucson, AZ

BOULDER
One reason I could never be a true pessimist about humans is the humans themselves. I think people, especially when pushed to extreme situations on the brink, have ways of surprising us and doing things that that do seem impossible and figuring out ways to go up against powers and trends that have until certain points in history been unshakable.
-Vann R. Newkirk II, shared by Emily in Carlow, Ireland

PONDER
Our number one job, especially in challenging times, is to survive: to stay alive so we can make it to another day. When we are feeling safe, and have a little extra time, energy, bandwidth, and gumption…that is when we look for opportunities to grow: gaining new skills, insights, and new ways of looking at the world.

If you’re struggling mightily today, it’s okay to take a hard pass on the concept leveling up right now. Still, I’m wondering if you could pause long enough to take a deep breath, look upward and day dream about what the next level might look like.

If you’re doing okay right now, it might be fun to do more than just dream about the next level. Could you jot down a few ideas about what personal or professional growth might look like for you in the next few months or years? While you’re writing, identify some specific steps you could take to start the ball rolling. And then…TAKE ACTION, even if it is a baby step. Each small step up is an ascension.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. Thank you for forwarding Ripples to your friends and colleagues who might enjoy a weekly splash of inspiration. We’ve had a steady stream of new subscribers lately that are learning about Ripples from YOU and not from ME! 🙂… Read More!

Ripples #1083: Time to Leap!

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Ripples #1083: Time to Leap!
Feb 24, 2020

PEBBLE
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. -Henry David Thoreau, shared by Nick in Indiana

BOULDER
The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be…
because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap!
-Mary Anne Radmacher, shared by Marie in Delray Beach, Fl
https://www.appliedinsight.net/product-p/rc12106.htm

PONDER
I’m excited that this week wraps up with a quadrennial quirk: Leap Day!

February 29 is that day we squeeze in every four years to help us keep the calendar year matched up with our planet’s year which clocks in at 365.242190 days. Some people like to celebrate by playing games that involve literal leaping (leapfrog, hopscotch, jumprope), or drawing/crafting animals that are known to leap (frogs, gazelles, rabbits).

It might also be a good opportunity for metaphorical leaps: leaps of faith, leaps of courage, leaps of joy, etc. Can you identify a significant action that would move you forward in some meaningful way?

It is helpful to make time for daydreaming, preparing, and talking about your plans. These are necessary, and yet not sufficient for success. Let’s make this week TIME TO LEAP!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1023: Radical Amazement!

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Ripples #1023: Radical Amazement!
Dec 31, 2018

PEBBLE
Focus on the powerful, euphoric, magical, synchronistic beautiful parts of life, and the universe will keep giving them to you.
-original source unknown, shared by Tammy in Dallas, TX

BOULDER
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, shared by Paul in Parkville, MD

PONDER

Radical Amazement?!
What a phrase…so delicious, so daring, so delightful!

It reminds me of a YouTube video that I sometimes show in presentation about the Power of Awe. In just under three minutes, Jason Silva delivers a passionate mini-sermon, extolling the virtues of “radiant ecstasy” and the dangers of hedonic adaptation, a pesky habit we humans have of growing bored with things that initially amaze us.

The message of the video and today’s quotes is to encourage our conscious cultivation of radical amazement. Not just to see and feel the WOW that is all around us, but to BE THE WOW for ourselves and those we encounter.

As we wrap up the last few hours of 2018 and dive into the new year, I’m curious if you can unleash some radical amazement while savoring memories of the last 12 months and daydreaming about what you want 2019 to look like and feel like and be like.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I hope the year that is ending has provided plenty of laughter and also some learning. And I hope the year that is about to arrive will delight you and dare you. As long as you’re still in, I’ll continue to meet up with you every Monday morning with a couple of quotes and something to ponder for the week. You can help by keeping an eye out for exceptional quotes to share, and submit a quote here when you find one!… Read More!

Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.

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Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.
Dec 24, 2018

PEBBLE
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
-Giovanni Giocondo
shared by Jeane in Taos, NM
excerpt from “Letter to the Most Illustrious the Contessina Allagia degli Aldobrandeschi, Written Christmas Eve Anno Domini 1513”, which may or may not have been written by the Italian Friar Giovanni Giocondo

BOULDER
moment (a poem)
moment
as we take in a breath
we inhale peace,
exhale peace, love, kindness and joy
in every moment
-ted balser
written and shared by Ted in Lady Lake, FL

PONDER
You may be busy on this Christmas Eve, and if that is the case let me just quickly tell you that I hope this holiday week provides many opportunities to inhale peace.

If you happen to have a few spare moments, consider finding time to read and ponder the full letter that is excerpted in today’s Pebble. While some historians question its source, many people know it as a Christmas Letter attached to a basket of fruit given by a priest to a friend. I can’t say with certainty WHEN it was written or WHO wrote it, but I know for sure that pausing to mindfully read it over a few times brought me both enthusiastic joy and also a sense of calm peace.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those who celebrate Christmas: I hope it is a magical and quite merry holiday for you. For everyone who has spent time reading these weekly splashes, sharing them with friends, and submitting quotes: thank you for helping extend their reach!… Read More!

Ripples #1,011: Rhapsody on Persistence!

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Ripples #1,011: Rhapsody on Persistence!
Oct 8, 2018

PEBBLE
We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.
—Tobias Wolff
shared by Mary in Montana via Values.com
https://www.values.com/inspirational-quotes/7656-we-are-made-to-persist-thats-how-we-find-out?

BOULDER
I feel it too – the urge to give in to gravity’s call. I feel the stress and fatigue which accompanies endless tests, homework assignments, and the consideration that my future is ahead of me and may be crushed by my mistakes. But my backpack holds my wings, not my woes. -Ayda Ozdoganlar, shared by Nick in Pittsburgh, PA

PONDER
I gotta tell you: the “wings not woes” quote instantly captivated me. I asked Nick for more information on where he found it and why it stood out for him. It turns out that he spotted it in his advisor’s email signature block; the quote helped him manage the feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty unleashed by his decision to pursue a graduate degree.

At my request, Nick reached out to his advisor for more information about the source of the quote and why she had it in her email signature. Nesli shared that it was an excerpt from her daughter Ayda’s college application essay; for Nesli it seemed equally relevant to the graduate students she advises. “We all know it is a tough place,” Nesli wrote to me about graduate school. “I thought of how happy my students are once they graduate and secure the job they have been dreaming about. That is the moment I think they are spreading their wings.”

I was also lucky enough to hear directly from Ayda about how this passage had been a burst of inspiration during a late night push to finish the application essay (while listening to Rhapsody in Blue–how jazzy cool is that?). She admitted she hadn’t originally thought her perspective on education would be read by so many others. She shared these additional thoughts with me: “I don’t believe education is a storm to be weathered, but a storm to embrace. Getting through high school was a wild, gut-wrenching whirlwind of a challenge, and I’m sure [college] will be too. But I feel so blessed to be able to say that I’m a student. Even if the path to knowledge is fraught with challenge, Learning something new is incredibly special. It gives me joy—enough joy that I was able to write a 2 a.m. rhapsody on the subject. I want others to feel that joy and appreciation too.”

Well, Ayda, I *am* feeling joy and appreciation. I’m overjoyed to live in a world where students like you and Nick are willing to embrace both the challenges and the opportunities of continuous learning, and I deeply appreciate that there are people like your mom who are committed to supporting the kids she’s raising AND the kids she’s advising.

Ripples #1,011 is dedicated to this trio of remarkable, ripply individuals and everyone else who summons the courage to soar with wings provided by their challenges.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. I … Read More!

Ripples #998: Becoming You!

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Ripples #998: Becoming You!
July 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
-Steven Pressfield, shared by Josh Spector in his newsletter, For The Interested

BOULDER
There is no such thing as a perfect version of you. Every day you’ll make choices that change who you’re going to be. Who you’re becoming is not finished. Which means you can be different, no matter who you’ve been up till now.
-Brian Andreas
shared by our friend D, who savors the slopes and the sea

PONDER

So, how are you?
And while I’m at it: Who are you?

We often answer the first question with, “fine” even when we aren’t, and usually respond to the second with our name and maybe our occupation.

I’ve been lately pondering the longer, deeper answers to both of these questions, and encouraging workshop participants and keynote audiences to do the same. In many presentations, I invite people to form small groups and introduce themselves to each other in ways other than describing their work/education background. As I walk around the room, I hear some people talking about their families (the ones they were born into or the ones they’ve grown into), while others disclose places they’ve lived or visited. Other possible topics include hobbies, community engagement, or even favorite movies, books or songs.

I also provide questions that make it easier to move beyond simple, trite answers about how work/life is going. Even posing this simple pair of questions can evoke (or elicit) longer, more meaningful conversations: What’s working for you right now? What isn’t?

Pondering, sharing, and discussing these questions can help us better understand who we are and who we are becoming. Of course our answers will continue to evolve–one of the exciting aspects of personal and professional growth is that today’s answers have the power to reshape the responses you’ll have tomorrow.

Join us in the pondering, sharing, discussing and becoming!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You have just a few more days to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000 by snapping a selfie of your smiling self holding a sign of encouragement and emailing it to Smiles@2rpl.me. Early submitters can get a set of goodies to help them unleash ripples of kindness during the week of July 23rd. Peek at other submissions if you need inspiration.  Are you in? Please, PLEASE be in! We have about 100 right now, and I’m really hoping for 1,000!… Read More!

Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!

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Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!
May 14, 2018

PEBBLE
“Where do you want to go?” I asked the child.
“Anywhere!” said the child.
“That is the best place to want to go,” I replied,
“because then you can never get lost.”
-Craig
shared by Craig in Cincinnati, OH (who experienced this conversation in a dream!)

BOULDER
Our journey as human beings is not about following a pre-ordained path, but about creating that path. Life rarely makes any more sense when things are done “in order.” Life makes sense when we are centered in our hearts and we let go of resisting how our unique journey needs to unfold in its own beautifully unruly way.
-Christine Mason Miller
shared by a Rippler in Idaho; a ripply high five to Christine for permission to unleash this wisdom here, and to Mary Anne Em Radmacher for bringing us together. So much ripply synergy!

PONDER
So last week’s issue of Ripples was themed Nowhere is Somewhere as we pondered what it’s like when we feel stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was excited to follow up with this week’s quotes about ANYWHERE, since anywhere we go today moves us away from the nowhere that we found ourselves in yesterday.

If you’re dissatisfied with where you are in some aspect of your work or life, the best thing you can do is identify a specific new destination and focus your energies on moving in that direction.

If it is too soon to know exactly where you want to go next, it can still be helpful to choose an interim placeholder goal to work on for now. Giving yourself a temporary direction may help you clarify your eventual destination and it will FOR sure move you away from your current, unappealing situation. Anywhere you go will be a different location than where you are now.

Are you in? Let’s pack our bags and prepare for a Ripply adventure!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Did you see that this is Ripples #990? That means we have just 10 more issues until we send out our 1,000th issue of Ripples? How cool is that?! We’re going to be unleashing some ripply magic via our Facebook group, so be sure to join us in Team Ripples for details!… Read More!

Ripples #979: Rotating Through Life!

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Ripples #979: Rotating Through Life!
Feb 26, 2018
PEBBLE
The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past.
-Simon Sinek
Shared by Grant at Cal Poly SLO, who found this quote helpful in his transition to college because it encouraged him to transform his uncertainty and anxiety into an exciting challenge.
BOULDER
Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.
-Ruta Sepetys, Out of the Easy
Shared by Heather in Russellville, AR
PONDER
Last week I was in Wisconsin to hang out with my buddies at Dane County Credit Union for a Presidents Day training. I also zoomed up north to help Marathon County Special Education share some energy and ideas with educators from several school districts who had gathered for a joint inservice.
In both presentations we talked about the unpredictability of work and life, and how we are sometimes hesitant to seek out new challenges especially when so many difficulties are already keeping us busy and stressed out. I know life can be hard and crazy and unpredictable…BELIEVE ME I KNOW! Still, the best shot we have at enjoying our lives is to shift away from viewing unexpected challenges as obstacles that are keeping us from arriving at “the good life.” Instead, we can experience them as useful training tools that are helping us create a good life.
Whatever unexpected potholes and bumps and detours you’re encountering in life right now, I hope you’re anticipating the fresh opportunities that are likely waiting for you around the next corner.
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’m so glad and I’m so honored that Ripples is a part of your journey.
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Ripples #971: Ready to Climb!

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Ripples #971: Ready to Climb!
Jan 1, 2018
PEBBLE
Step out of the history that is holding you back.
Step into the new story you are willing to create.
-Oprah Winfrey, shared by Angela in Madison, WI
BOULDER
Success, happiness and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In the real world there are no escalators; just stairs. So get ready to climb.
-Lilly Singh, shared by: Heather in Edmonton, AB Canada
PONDER
Happy New Year to you!
Here we are in the first hours of 2018…positively bursting with potential. It is time not only to decide what we want this year to look like, but also to decide what we’re willing to do in order to make it a really extraordinary chapter in our lives.
Some people like the idea of setting resolutions, and others….well, not so much. While I do not usually set traditional resolutions, I do like to set aside some time at the beginning of the year to ponder possibilities and then mindfully set intentions, priorities, and direction for the year. That usually involves identifying some specific, concrete actions I’m ready to commit to as well as a couple of achievements I’m ready to work towards.
What might help you infuse the new year with a little more hope, a little more courage, and a little more purpose? Think about this a bit, and figure out some way to act on your intentions. Are you in? Please, be in!
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. This year is going to extra special for Ripples, as we are just a few months away from a really special milestone: Ripples #1,000! We are planning to unleash a few special treats, and we will also be seeking your input on how we can celebrate and make this both meaningful and fun.
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Ripples #964: Start From There!

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Ripples #964: Start From There!
Nov 13, 2017

PEBBLE
Go out as far as you can and start from there.
-Albert Einstein, shared by Sue in Colorado Springs, CO

BOULDER
In human life, if you feel that you have made a mistake, you don’t try to undo the past or the present, but you just accept where you are and work from there. Tremendous openness as to where you are is necessary.
—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, shared by Pete in Ouray, CO

PONDER
In the experience of being human, it is natural (and healthy!) to occasionally become dissatisfied with the current state of things and to decide it is time to make some changes. It makes sense that we’d want to spend a bit of time reflecting on how we got here and where we want to go next. The trick is to avoid getting so distracted by the disappointment of our previous choices that we get stuck in the muck of the past.

The quickest way forward is to recognize that we cannot do much about the path we’ve already traveled. Whatever has happened before today, it happened! It led us to this particular moment in time and space, which happens to be the right place to start moving forward. It is the RIGHT place, the BEST place, the ONLY place to start, because THAT IS WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW! (Sorry for yelling…I sometimes get worked up about this stuff…can you tell?)

So wherever you happen to find yourself right now, and whatever is going on in your life, if you decide you’d like to make some changes: START FROM THERE, and be on your way!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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