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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 #949: Slight Adjustments!

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Ripples #949: Slight Adjustments!
July 31, 2017

PEBBLE
We take almost all of the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.
-W.G. Sebald, another great find by Leslie in Madison, WI (who has been scrounging up fabulous Pebbles & Boulders since our first year of Rippling…way back in 1999!)

BOULDER
Your life is like Tetris. Stop playing it like chess. It’s choosing, on a fundamental level. It’s taking these random experiences as they slowly fall down the screen of life and rotating them 360 degrees; moving them two rows left and three to the right; examining them from new vantage points so as to make them fit into the grander mosaic of our lives. Tetris, not chess. If you think you’re in checkmate, you can choose to flip the table and play something else.
-Jeremy Mathurin, 2016 Hamilton College student commencement speaker
shared by Dave, Silver Spring, MD

PONDER

It can be tempting to daydream about the BIG shifts that we think would improve our lives: if only we could snag that dream job/house/relationship or radically improve the country/world/universe. Whenever I find myself lost in those daydreams, I try to remind myself that while the big changes sound exciting and life-altering, it is the myriad small decisions we make each day that have a more significant impact on our lives.

Studying for the mid-terms and showing up for the final exam are essential, of course, but your daily decisions about whether to go to class and how many minutes you’ll study have a far bigger impact on your academic success. It’s important to go to the dentist a few times a year, but the bigger impact on your dental health are the daily decisions you make about whether to brush and floss. And while relationships can be deepened or destroyed by single events, most of our cherished connections are made by lots of small deposits: texts and chats and lunches and walks and such.

Let’s make this week about recognizing and seizing the small, everyday choices we have available to us, and explore how these SLIGHT ADJUSTMENTS might expand our options and improve our outlook.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #879: Day Dreams.

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Ripples #879: Day Dreams.
Mar 28, 2016

PEBBLE
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. -Edgar Allan Poe, shared by Janice in South Lyon, MI

BOULDER
Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. -Gloria Steinem, shared by Anne in Cincinnati, OH & Deborah in Tampa, FL

PONDER
Simply reading the above pebble and boulder may have knocked loose a thought, feeling, idea, or hunch that has been lying dormant in your mind waiting to be noticed. Invite your curious self to open a stream of wishful thinking; allow your head and your heart to wander in wonder.

Somewhere along the line, you may have concluded that day dreams are not useful because they aren’t practical. While it is true that dreams aren’t *sufficient* to produce significant changes, they are almost always a *necessary* early step in developing ideas. Day dreams rev up creativity, optimism and our desire; these in turn fuel motivation, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. These help us take action that can create meaningful and substantial life improvements.

Consider this an invitation to dream a little more and a little deeper this week. You may want to jot down any recurring ideas or wishes, and eventually you will need to take action if you want them to really count. But for right now: dream!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #870: Meaning!

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Ripples #870: Meaning!
Jan 25, 2016

PEBBLE
Most humans feel the transcendent temptation, the emotional drive to festoon the universe with large-scale meaning.
-Paul Kurtz, shared by Ryan in Arlington, TX

BOULDER
Every experience that we have
contains purpose and meaning.
Each event, each person in our lives
embodies an energetic fragment
of our own psyche and soul.
-Caroline Myss, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

PONDER
Each week as I sit down to prepare the next issue of Ripples, my intention is to assemble a sixty second splash of inspiration that elevates the spirit and provides something meaningful to contemplate as the week begins. I often hear from readers who let me know that a particular issue seems to have been assembled just for them. My best guess as to why they and many of you enjoy reading these quick splashes is that Ripples invites you to deepen your understanding of yourself, the people and events you encounter, and the world in general.

We humans are eager to make sense of things. We long for meaning. One of the best current guesses as to why we dream at night is that it is our mind’s attempt to create meaning out of the random bits of information and emotions that are zooming around in our psyche as we slumber. We take all these facts and thoughts and feelings and ideas and memories and weave together a story. (It’s one of the reasons that we can sometimes incorporate into our dream a noise or disturbance that doesn’t completely wake us–we’re so eager to create meaning that will just add that into the story line we’re dreaming about!) This doesn’t just happen when we sleep, of course, because we are *always* trying to deepen our understanding of things.

Because people tend to seek and/or create meaning from a variety of sources (religion, philsophy, science, literature, etc.), I’ll admit that at times I find it tricky to share a few ideas in a way that can be received by folks with a wide array of perspectives. Sometimes when I’m feeling feisty I’ll admit to pushing the envelope; for the most part, however, I’m trying to gently nudge us all to be curious, thoughtful, mindful meaning-makers.

Let’s try to be a little more conscious this week of when and how we draw conclusions and make decisions about the people, events, and circumstances that cross our paths. Perhaps a bit more mindfulness will lead to a bit more useful meaning? Let’s find out!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. We are always seeking fresh and fabulous quotes to unleash each week. It helps if you submit quotes one at a time via our Quote Submission page: http://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/ but you can also simply reply to this email as well. Thanks!… Read More!

Ripples #845: Amazing Views!

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Ripples #845: Amazing Views!
Aug 3, 2015

PEBBLE
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
-Edward Abbey, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
-Kurt Vonnegut, shared by Megan in San Diego

PONDER
Over and over and OVER we are reminded that success involves taking risks, and that the most satisfying experiences we have in work and life involve stretching ourselves beyond our current limits.

And while fear can be a useful warning system, it can also prevent us from embracing possibilities that are waiting for us on the other side. Let this week be about remembering times when we’ve moved forward and been rewarded with an amazing view of success. If you’ve done it before, you can do it some more!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #831: Our Real Journey.

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Ripples #831: Our Real Journey.
Apr 27, 2015

PEBBLE
It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
-Wendell Berry

BOULDER
For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
-Eric Roth (screenwriter, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

PONDER

On any given day, there are plenty of people who find themselves questioning their path. They have either lost passion for something that used to be fulfilling OR they haven’t yet found something that seems like a worthy quest for their work and/or life. And even those who do feel like they’re on the right track experience off days or experience challenges that make things tougher than usual.

If you’ve seen a presentation of mine, you’ve likely heard me talk about seeking the right combination of comfort and challenge in order to more consistently bring your best self to work, school, and life. If you’re not adequately comfortable you can too easily be overwhelmed, and if you’re not sufficiently challenged you’ll get bored and goof off.

If you are feeling either STUCK or LOST and aren’t sure whether you’re in the right place on the best path, it might useful to assess which could help more: a little more COMFORT in the form of self-care OR whether a kick in the pants might help CHALLENGE you to hop up and take some overdue action. If you’re not sure, try a little of each and see if one creates some sparks of possibility!

And remember that sometimes it is our expectations of what things are supposed to be like that get in the way of embracing the actual journey we’re on right now. It is quite possible that things are unfolding in a way that will ultimately lead to a fabulous combination of comfort and challenge.

And as always, I hope our splashes of inspiration are able to help you find more enjoyment and more effectiveness on your journey.

Safe travels!

Paul

The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #823: Building Runways!

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Ripples #823: Building Runways!
Mar 2, 2015

PEBBLE
Fill your life with experiences, not excuses!
-a 51 year old man quoted in Jackson Brown’s “Life’s Little Instruction Book,”
shared by Judy G Berkeley, CA

BOULDER
Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off!
But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.
―Amelia Earhart,
shared by Theresa in Wisconsin

PONDER

If you’re feeling stuck lately, and unable to lift off toward your dreams and aspirations, perhaps the best gift you can give yourself and those around you is to take some specific “pre-flight” action that will help prepare you for take off.

If you don’t currently have a vision of your future, maybe you could scribble down some specifics you can identify that would be part of your ideal future or even things that would improve upon your current life.

Once you know at least something about the direction you might head in, keep your eye open for books to read, people to connect with, or plans to make that might serve as a concrete base from which you can take off when the time is right.

Remember that eventually you’ll have to take action. Of course you might not make it to your final destination on your first flight attempt, but hopefully you’ll at least move yourself forward. I’m happy to be your co-pilot, but you’re in charge!

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #810: The Find!

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[11/24/2014] Ripples #810: The Find!

PEBBLE
Never be so focused
on what you’re looking for
that you overlook the thing
you actually find.
―Ann Patchett

BOULDER
The cream of enjoyment
in this life
is always impromptu.
The chance walk;
the unexpected visit;
the unpremeditated journey;
the unsought conversation or acquaintance.
-Fanny Fern, shared by Linda in Punta Gorda, FL

PONDER
As we dive into the last month of the year, avoid getting so focused on what needs to get done that you miss an opportunity for unplanned opportunities to connect with an old or new friend, to savor a view, or perhaps learn something new. The universe is happy to offer up delightful surprises to those who keep their eyes, ears, and heart open.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. Now that we’ve sent out a dozen or so of the new Ripples, I’ll soon be seeking your feedback so keep your eye out for a survey in your inbox.… Read More!

Ripples v7.28: Ripples of EXPLORING!

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Ripples v7.28: Ripples of EXPLORING!
Monday, August 1, 2005
a FREE weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLES =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Everyone is an explorer.
How could you possibly live your life looking at a door
and not opening it?
-Robert D. Ballard, submitted by Jill B., Fennimore WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Change has the power to uplift,
to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors,
bring fresh experiences and create excitement in life.
It elevates us from mediocrity and saves us from false security.
Change is our greatest source of happiness,
stimulation and continued growth.
Certainly it is worth the risk!
– Leo Buscaglia, submitted by Melissa C., Columbus, WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Ooh…..I’ve missed you so much!! After I sent out the last issue a few weeks ago, I drove 1,000 miles to visit my old friends called the Colorado Rockies. After a week of hiking and back country roads, I began thinking it was not really necessary to take such a long break from emails and cell phones and friends and work. After another week of even more remote adventures (Ouray, Colorado is one of the most remarkable places I have visited–but don’t go–I want to keep it all to myself!!), it seemed silly that I walked away from all my buddies here on Ripples. And, as often happens to me, the last few days found me anxious to return to my home, my friends, and Ripples!

Of course, I do remember that burnout was coloring my outlook and my retreat was much needed. And after days of mountain wildflowers, nights of a billion stars, and a long weekend of the new Harry Potter book (go read it right NOW–it was the best one so far!), my mind slowed down, my body let go of the tension, and my soul was freed of toxic stress and returned to its natural state of sublime peace.

I struck out on this adventure to get away from it all, and the best sign that it worked is that I am so ready to get back to it all! If you emailed or called while I was gone, I will be digging out from the big pile this week and of course feel free to call or email again if there was something urgent!

Ooh, and speaking of exploring, I have a link for you to explore!
I am excited to share a little experiment we’ve cooked up. It falls in the corny but cute category:
http://www.TheRipplesProject.org/Rippler01.html

Peace,
Paul

TO SUBMIT A QUOTE
send quote with the source (if known) and
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with SUBMISSION in the subject line

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just send us an email from your address
with SUBSCRIBE ME FREE! in the subject line

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Click the link below to unsubscribe your old address,
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Ripples v7.04: Ripples of NEW ADVENTURES!

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Ripples v7.04: Ripples of NEW ADVENTURES!
Monday, January 24, 2005
Your FREE Weekly Splash of Inspiration from Paul & The Ripples Project

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLE =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Security is an illusion. Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.
-Helen Keller, submitted by Michele C.

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

An adventure is only
an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is only
an adventure wrongly considered.
– G. K. Chesterton, submitted by Lin H., Normal, IL

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

When we announced the closing of our online store a few weeks ago, I alluded to a new adventure and now I want to tell you more:

I have dived into an adventurous research project to explore this question:
Is kindness contagious?

I intend to seek real world examples of “viral kindness,” a term I use to describe intentional and accidental chains of compassion. You have probably heard of “Random Acts of Kindness,” and perhaps seen the movie “Pay It Forward.” I imagine that you or someone you know is wearing a yellow “Livestrong” band around your wrist that Lance Armstrong and Nike dreamed up to raise money for cancer research. Even the outpouring of support for the Tsunami victims may be evidence that when we hear about or are the recipients of kindness, we are more likely to commit a kind act.

In addition to learning about many kindness movements, I hope to talk with participants of these and other kindviruses to understand how they began and what keeps them going. My goal is to identify common characteristics of the most successful kindviruses and design some “kindness labs” to purposefully unleash kindness within specific groups (e.g. a community, organization, campus, etc.) and observe the reactions.

I need help with this, and if you’re interested please visit a special new spot of our community section to learn more:
http://theripplesproject.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=548#548

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

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