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Ripples #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!

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Ripples #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!
Aug 17, 2020

PEBBLE
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
-James Stephens, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

BOULDER
Remember…things that are new only seem scary because they aren’t old yet. After you finally do the new thing, then the fear it held over you will fade away like the morning mist, because the new will have become the old. Focus on what it will be like after you do this thing and the new will become the old in the blink of an eye.
-Mark Cheverton
shared by Troy in Minnesota (who embraced this proclamation by Crafter’s Great-Aunt Milky in Book 2 of the GameKnight999 YA book series)

PONDER
While assembling this week’s issue, I poked through our archives just to make sure the quotes and theme we’re exploring are fresh. I was initially surprised that FEAR pops up as a theme in our weekly splashes every few years. Upon reflection, it makes sense that we repeatedly need to address fear, because fear continues to pop up in our thoughts and feelings.

I recently enjoyed a compelling video snippet of Stella Grizont unpacking how our brains are wired for fear. She explains that our more fearful ancestors survived over their peers who hadn’t developed a capacity to remain vigilant to potential threats.

Fear, it turns out, is essential for survival, and survival is essential for living. Most of us, though, are going for more than just surviving: we want to fully embrace life…we want to THRIVE!

In order to prosper and flourish, we need to cultivate curiosity about when and how fear shows up in our thoughts and feelings. And we need to consciously, mindfully choose how we relate and respond to the natural, inevitable, useful thoughts and feelings that fuel fear.

Our relationship to fear ultimately determines whether it fuels or flattens our courage, because being brave isn’t about eliminating or avoiding fear. Courage is about seeing, smelling and tasting the fear, and moving forward anyway.

Maybe this week we can consciously choose to be less afraid of fear. Instead, let’s honor it, respect it, and work to rise above it. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1106: Higher Rung

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Ripples #1106: Higher Rung
Aug 3, 2020

PEBBLE
To ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.
-Dan Millman, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Challenges sometimes confront us when we least want them, and yet it is often in dark times when the most positive inner changes can occur. Life’s occasional disasters can even lead us back to something we have lost along the way, a path with purpose and fulfillment.
-Bill Lucas, written and shared by Bill in Chicago, IL [who transformed a most unwelcome basement flooding into an invitation to spruce up his home, his mind, and his spirits]

PONDER
If your struggles are too mighty to think about THRIVING right now, it is okay to just focus on SURVIVING. If, however, there happen to be some areas of your life where you feel ready to accept the challenge of improving, growing, becoming…well then, welcome to the climb!

I suspect you’ll climb faster and higher if you lower your defenses, set aside your preference for comfort, and move past mere tolerance for discomfort. Can you find a way to embrace discomfort as though it was a long lost friend that you’re really excited to see?

There is a powerful scene in Forrest Gump when he and Lieutenant Dan are about to face a hurricane in their tiny shrimp boat. Having lost both legs in Vietnam, Lt. Dan spent years feeling defeated and despondent. The approaching storm seems to awaken his fighting spirit, and he screams up to God/Mother Nature: “Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a ****! Blow! It’s time for a showdown! You and me! I’m right here! Come and get me!” He ends up conquering the storm, and the resulting sense of satisfaction and peace is evident in several following scenes. Of course the way it is portrayed in the movie is over the top and unrealistic, and yet every single time I re-watch the movie a strong sense of fierce resilience rises up within me. It renews my fighting spirit and strengthens my resolve to tackle whatever life has recently handled me.

Is there a way you could choose to transform a specific difficulty you’re facing right now into an invitation to climb your way to a higher rung?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1105: Interrupting Patterns

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Ripples #1105: Interrupting Patterns
July 27, 2020

PEBBLE
Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.
-Pema Chödrön, shared by Dana in Long Beach, CA

BOULDER
Pay attention to your patterns. The ways you learned to survive may not be the ways you want to continue to live. Heal and shift.
-Dr. Thelma Bryant-Davis, shared by Doug in Mobile, AL

PONDER
Habits are an important topic in the time management sessions I often present as conference breakout sessions (remember conferences? I remember conferences….and I miss them so!). Managing our habits is an extremely effective strategy for enhancing productivity and reducing procrastination.

Positive habits are useful for several reasons: they don’t require as much motivation to get started, we tend to get them done without having to rely as heavily on our memory or reminders, and they provide their own rewards since we tend to feel better when we make progress.

Unhelpful habits are problematic for similar reasons: they are easily reinforced (which make them difficult to extinguish), and we are often tempted by their short term rewards even though they tend to delay longer term, bigger goals that are ultimately more important to us.

It is also true we sometimes maintain or reinforce habits that have outlived their utility. We keep doing them because we’ve done them for a really long time, failing to notice that what was a boost to our effectiveness and/or enjoyment is now more of a drag.

Identifying unhelpful patterns and replacing them with more useful habits can move us closer to the life we want to lead. I’m still enjoying some down time, but I’ve already blocked off some time over the coming weeks to examine my routines and habits in the hopes I can make some tweaks to boost my productivity and also my joy.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1099: Connecting With Heart

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Ripples #1099: Connecting With Heart
June 15, 2020

PEBBLE
We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
-Wayne Shorter, shared by Leslie in Madison

BOULDER
Your heart is connected to the entire picture. Your mind cares about temporary circumstances. The more you connect to the bigger picture, the faster that the temporary will take care of itself.
-Kyle Cease
shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA via Fb https://www.facebook.com/KyleCeasePage/posts/10154865625313062?

PONDER
Another week of struggles and strains from Covid-19, and another week of tumult and tragedy around systemic racism that still plagues our society. As tensions continue to rise and patience continues to diminish, there is an urgent need for all of us to bring our heads AND our hearts to the tasks of listening, learning and leading.

Connecting with Heart reminds us that our our perceptions inform our perspectives, and our perceptions are often shaped without our full, conscious awareness. For example, it’s tempting to focus on the most egregious faults of our foes as evidence of their inhumanity, while excusing the inevitable missteps of our allies as “well-intentioned errors.” Over time, these patterns make it so easy to view people on our team as flawed-yet-fabulously GOOD and the people on their team as dangerous-and-damaging BAD.

It is true that there have been fault lines around politics for centuries, and they won’t be going away any time soon. Still, I believe that our current challenges are complicated by how easily it has become to gather information primarily from sources that reinforce our views and opinions, and not just distinguishing but also demonizing theirs. Furthermore, our patterns around social media and communication tools encourage impulsive reactions that include “you’re either with us or against us” messages and mindsets that at their best are oversimplified shortcuts to rally our troops, and at their worst can be misleading, divisive and dangerous.

Connecting with Heart requires gobs of patience, persistence, creativity, curiosity and commitment in order to increase your understanding of how “they” are looking at this differently than you. And we don’t have to AGREE with them or even LIKE them in order to hear them. It does require acknowledging and respecting their humanity. It ain’t easy, but I believe it is our best move forward.

I’m proud that our diverse readership comes together every Monday morning for 60 seconds of inspiration, opening our minds and our hearts to connect and grow. We’ve had a few bumps in the road here and there, and we’ve lost a few friends along the way. Overall, though, I’m glad we’ve found a way to Connect with Heart.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. A heart-filled thank you to all who pitched in for a Hope Share to help get Ripples of Hope into print. We are quite close to a big announcement. More soon.… Read More!

Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!

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Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!
Aug 13, 2018

PEBBLE
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in proportion.
-Sir Francis Bacon,
shared by Natalie in Clear Lake, WI

BOULDER
Don’t let what is crazy to them, stop you from creating what is powerful to you.
-Akeem Lloyd
written and shared by Akeem in Providence, RI

PONDER

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook my reaction to a heartbreaking poem that popped up in my newsfeed from someone who was struggling mightily. I’d like to share a condensed version of my post for you to ponder:

A long time ago I encountered a boy whose sensitive, not-quite-like-anyone-else spirit was nearly crushed in a world that doesn’t value difference. He struggled mightily, but luckily for him (and luckily for the world), he managed to stay alive long enough for his brain and his body to grow into an adulthood that allowed him to heal from some hurts, to make friends with his shadows, and to recognize the differences which made him weird evolved into the distinctions that make him special.

He still remembers what it is like to feel impossibly broken, and he remains grateful that he held on long enough to discover just how incredible it feels to find out that you can make a LIVING and make a LIFE while being weird. Because what makes him weird is precisely what makes him special.

He still encounters hard times, of course. But he also experiences blissful transcendence, like the times he scrolls his social media feed looking for weary travelers who need to be reminded: everything that helped you make it to today can help you make it a brighter tomorrow. Hang in there. Rest when necessary, and know that the world needs your kind of crazy. I know this for certain, because you’re still here.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.

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Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.
June 18, 2018

PEBBLE
Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
R. I. Fitzhenry, shared by Troy in St. Paul, MN

BOULDER
Leave everything undefined, including yourself. Befriend uncertainty. Fall in love with mystery. Kneel at the altar of Not Knowing. Give your questions time to breathe. And the answers will find you.
-Jeff Foster, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
There is something so comforting about certainty: knowing all the things we need to know, feeling confident that our opinions are the right ones, and consistently taking clear, decisive action with calm assurance that we chose the Right Way.

The problem, of course, is that there are plenty of situations where you don’t have access to *all* of the information. And there are plenty times when reasonable people have different opinions based on different perspectives. And all too often we aren’t 100% sure which path is the Right Way to go.

If you can muster a bit of faith and perhaps a dollop of openness, it is possible to accept uncertainty, and even embrace it as a sacred opportunity to cultivate the gifts of patience and flexibility.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. TRUE STORY… Because I wasn’t satisfied it was making a ripple-worthy point in a clear and concise way, I shared this draft of Ripples with my boyfriend who has done more than his share of editing of other people’s writing over the past two decades. Jamie thought it was easy to understand and made a useful point. “Are you sure?” I asked, because I just wasn’t. He looked at me and smiled: “Maybe you need to befriend your uncertainty?” Boom. No more edits, other than adding this postscript.… Read More!

Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!

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Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!
June 4, 2018

PEBBLE
Stress is one of the greatest gifts we have. It’s a motivator, a source of strength and a survival instinct that pushes us beyond what we often perceive as the limit of our capabilities.
-Jared Lindzon, shared by Missy Goodell, Olympia WA

BOULDER
Making plans for your life doesn’t get you out of the stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it. (The stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it may actually be what gets you to your life faster.)
-Brian Andreas, Bring Your Life Back to Life: A Guide to Effortless Joy
shared by DCB, living between Eden & Paradise

PONDER

There is no doubt that life can be more challenging and less predictable than we wish it was. And sometimes just when we think things cannot get any worse, Life steps up and says, “Wanna bet?”

If Life has recently poured it on a little too thick and a little too much, gently remind yourself that your track record of getting through difficulty is actually quite high. Always remember and never forget: if you’re breathing, you’re still alive…you made it to today!

Mini-breaks are necessary so often as possible pause to take a few deep breaths (try one right now). Build in brief pit stops as necessary, and then hop up so you can keep trudging onward. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’re much farther along than you thought you were. Remember that even when you don’t have a choice about when and how and whether the blechy stuff shows up, you almost always have options about how to respond: to GO through it, or to GROW through it.

It’s okay to sometimes settle for just getting to the other side. Other times, I hope you’ll choose to grow. #GrowForIt

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!

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Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!
May 21, 2018

PEBBLE
You are worthwhile and capable even though you make mistakes.
-original source unknown,
shared by Hannah in Asheville, NC, who received this message from her 8th grade science teacher, who may in turn have stumbled upon this mantra when it was shared by Joan Redeen in response to a 2010 blog post about advice you wish your 13-year-old self could hear
http://kellehampton.com/2010/10/to-thine-own-self-be-true.html#comment-226761 (yup, I poked around the interwebs, determined to find the original source!)

BOULDER
The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble, and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence. We were born to live, my dear, not merely to exist.
-Becca Lee, shared by Lee in Wichita, KS

PONDER

Last week in my excitement to commence our countdown towards Ripples #1,000, I encouraged people to join our official Facebook group, Team Ripples so they would be in on the scoop about how they could participate in unleashing some ripply goodness this summer.

On Monday morning after Ripples #990 zoomed out, I eagerly anticipated dozens or maybe even hundreds of you joining us there. I waited, and waited, and nothing really happened. I was starting to wonder if ya’ll had stopped reading these little splashes…and then someone messaged me, “Hey, Ripples Guy–the links don’t seem to work!”

YIKES!

Rather than being relieved that our fabulous team of happy Ripplers hadn’t abandoned me after all, I instead started to kick myself for not checking the links before sending it out. Maybe *I* am the one who had abandoned Ripples…since I apparently hadn’t bothered to throughly proofread the draft before zooming it out to our 30,0000 readers.

And then I took a breath. And another.

I realized that waiting another week to share corrected links wouldn’t significantly delay our plans. And several ripplers demonstrated their passion by finding their way to the group on their own. I began to realize that maybe the mistake wasn’t so bad after all.

When it was time to prepare this week’s edition, I began my weekly ritual of reviewing quote submissions to identify which pebbles and boulders were ready to be shared. Joy and gratitude washed over me as I realized just how vast this massive ocean of inspired wisdom has become thanks to the steady stream of submissions over the last 20 years…another sign of how much ripply love is simmering in our collective conscious. And ever so gently, the two quotes above emerged from the collection as if to say, “Sweet friend, stumbles aren’t obstacles. Stumbles help you soar! Mistakes are simply tiny treasures that reveal your humanity and pave the way for growth.”

May your journey this week include plenty of opportunities to soar, stumble, and flourish.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’ll try again: please join Team Ripples, our official Facebook Group, if you’d like to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/?

ALSO: If you’d like to participate … Read More!

Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.

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Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.
April 30, 2018

PEBBLE
Avoiding problems you need to face is avoiding the life you need to live.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Angela in Naples, FL

BOULDER
The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that we humans share, no matter what our situations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with (some of) the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.
-Goldie Hawn, shared by an anonymous Rippler who found it via Values.com:
https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-quotes/7411-the-lotus-is-the-most-beautiful-flower-whose

PONDER
What if every single problem you have in your life, the teensy tiny ones and the great big giant ones, were actually part of a grand curriculum of living? And what if this problems developed as opportunities for growth and transformation that could help you grow into the very best possible version of yourself? What if escaping these problems meant permanently limiting your potential for success?

And what if resolving them or making peace with them or at the very least recognizing their capacity to instruct, these problems became your friends and allies and teachers? And what if each of those problems helped you open one more of your petals to help you blossom with beauty, effectiveness, and pure joy?

What if?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Speaking of “What if”…. What if you shared this with someone in your life who might need to hear this, too?… Read More!

Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!

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Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!
April 16, 2018

PEBBLE
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
-Eckhart Tolle
shared by Toby in Chicago, IL

BOULDER
Life is like a giant puzzle. Each of us has a picture in our mind of how our life will turn out. We keep adding pieces, one at a time, attempting to create that beautiful picture… We never get all the pieces in the right place on the first try. It’s about experimenting until each piece fits together with the next. Each of us has the strength to put the puzzle together. We just have to look for the right pieces. It may seem impossible, but keep striving. Life’s pieces have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
-Renee M. Brtalik, shared by Adam Z

PONDER

So…what are the puzzle pieces you’re dealing with right now? Hopefully, there are enough fun pieces to boost your happiness and enough challenging pieces to keep you growing. If your life is anything like mine, it includes some lovely pieces of good stuff; a handful of difficult pieces that are troublesome-yet-manageable; and a few that at times seem too frustrating to be worth including in your life’s puzzle.

The thing is, some of the more difficult pieces turn out to be the most precious. I’ve learned from assembling jigsaw puzzles as a hobby over the last few decades that I’m far more pleased and proud when I finally finish the really difficult ones than I am when I zip through one of the easier ones. I appreciate them more, and I value them more. (That doesn’t mean I never do the easy ones, by the way. We all need a guaranteed win sometimes!)

If you are handling some particularly difficult pieces in a really complicated life-puzzle right now,I encourage you to pause long enough to catch your breath and hopefully regain a sense of perspective. (Ask. For. Help.)

If, on the other hand, things are going fairly smoothly at this time in your life, perhaps you can make an extra effort to help someone nearby who is struggling with their puzzle. It may make all the difference in the world to them, and it just might add a few cool pieces to your own puzzle.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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