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Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light

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Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light!
Aug 10, 2020

PEBBLE
Your light will bring comfort and hope to those in need. Trust your light.
-Britta Buchstabler, shared by Gloria in Salem, OR

BOULDER
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

Inner Light.
In a world full of unrest, fear, and doubt, we need to reconnect with our inner light now more than ever. -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, shared by Kelsey, Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Lots of people are struggling right now, and you might be struggling, too.

One of the more useful things I’ve discovered about being The Ripples Guy is that I don’t always have to choose between serving others and taking care of myself.

There have been plenty of times when connecting with someone who is having a difficult time has lifted my spirits, too. Acts of service remind me that my contributions to the world are valued and important. My light is worth shining even when I don’t feel like I’m at 100%.

Other times, of course, I do have to withdraw a bit so I can focus inward. Here’s the cool thing about that: the process of taking care of myself can remind others that helpers need to sometimes help themselves. My light ends up shining brighter in the long run, which demonstrates to others that self-care is an essential component to shining brightly.

I think it is important not to completely ignore the darkness that exists in the world right now. I just happen to believe our best way forward is to focus more on the many bright lights that are beacons of hope (have you seen the dad who wholeheartedly embraced his daughter’s mermaid photo shoot? Talk about trusting your light: https://www.facebook.com/ripplesguy/posts/10164086482495010 )

This week I dare you to trust your light a little more than you have been: let it shine inwardly, outwardly, weirdly, magnificently!

Peace,
Paul
p.s. If you enjoyed the free digital download (https://app.box.com/s/s6rwgxtt9yq64mmb3tzaur7tmatr7r4z) of RIPPLES OF HOPE: Wisdom for Navigating Uncertainty (https://www.dropbox.com/s/nea9ckw66gp3tbi/Ripples_of_Hope.pdf?dl=0) we unleashed a few weeks ago, we now have some printed copies now available. We’re experimenting with letting you choose what price to pay! if you order 2 or more this week I’ll sign ’em (and maybe throw in a little extra ripply magic!): http://RippleHope.com… Read More!

Ripples #1093: Grief (Love’s Receipt)

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Ripples #1093: Grief
May 4, 2020

PEBBLE
Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.
-Glennon Doyle Melton, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
It’s just fine to feel a little heavy, and it’s just fine to sit here and catch my breath, and it’s just fine to be a mess at times, and it’s just fine to be relatively normal sometimes. It’s just fine to miss them. It’s just fine to let it all hit me, surrendering and succumbing. And it’s just fine to remember that grief has no rules, and that really, it will in many ways last as long as love does. Forever. -Lexi Behrndt, shared by Eric in Los Angeles, CA

PONDER
Over the years, many people have reached out to me in search of support to help themselves or someone they care about who is grieving. Last fall I shared some thoughts on Unimaginable (but not unbearable) Grief (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/permalink/10156607585716662/), and I’ve been gradually assembling a compendium of advice, articles, and quotes for you to use and share as needed: When Grief Happens. (https://www.facebook.com/notes/2691270684531155).

Way back in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic (you know, a couple months ago), I stumbled upon an article that resonated with me and many others: “The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief It is a conversation with grief expert David Kessler who worked with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and who recently identified a sixth stage of grief: Meaning. https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Meaning-Sixth-Stage-Grief/dp/1501192736. The article helped me better understand, anticipate, and manage some of the swirl of emotions that many of us have been experiencing in the last few weeks.

It turns out there are all kinds of losses that are being experienced right now: jobs that have been eliminated, routines and options that are now restricted, and the myriad ways we’ve had to give up our well-established ways of working, studying and living. And then there is the literal loss of life: family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others who have died.

All of these losses, the small ones and the big ones, the temporary and the permanent need to be recognized, acknowledged, and grieved. And extra care must be extended since these losses have come in an already stressful time when we are unable to gather together and support each other. That means feeling all the feels, thinking all the thoughts, and giving space and grace for sadness, frustration, confusion, and hurt. Oh, and celebration to acknowledge the memories and the gifts that are luckily left behind in the face of loss.

I’ll close by dedicating this issue to my mom, the fascinating and remarkable Tootie Wesselmann (1930-2020), who last week went off to play cards in the Great Beyond. I’d prefer not to hear or receive condolences; maybe instead you could extend a little extra compassion and kindness … Read More!

Ripples #1092: To Listen

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Ripples #1092: To Listen
April 27, 2020

PEBBLE
To listen is to lean in softly with the willingness to be changed by what you hear.
-Mark Nepo, shared by Sandra in Kent, WA

BOULDER
One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.
-Elton Mayo, shared by Holly, Phoenix, AZ

PONDER
To listen is to care: deep listening is a powerful way to demonstrate our willingness to support someone who is lonely, hurting, sad, and/or angry.

To listen is to grow: curious listening enlarges our knowledge base, giving us a wider view of specific topics and inching us toward a wiser, more informed maturity.

To listen is to learn: critical listening helps us understand why others might hold a different opinion than our own. It also provides clues about how to speak in a way that improves the odds they can hear, consider, and possibly even be influenced by our perspective.

To listen is to lead: comprehensive listening models the communication and connection skills we hope to transmit to those we lead whether we’re a supervisor, manager, parent, mentor, etc.

To listen is to love: empathetic listening affirms those who long to be heard, to be seen, to be validated.

Let’s up our listening game this week when we connect with those we lead, those we love and those we can learn from. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1013: The Treasure of Connection!

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Ripples #1013: The Treasure of Connection!
Oct 22, 2018

PEBBLE
Assume the person you’re talking to knows something you don’t, and be eager to learn it.
-Nick Offerman at University of Illinois Commencement
shared by Ricky from Fort Smith, AR

BOULDER
I am not old, she said. I am rare. I am the standing ovation at the end of the play. I am the retrospective of my life as Art. I am the hours, connected like dots, into good sense. I am the fullness of existing. You think I am waiting to die, but I am waiting to be found. I am a treasure. I am a map. And these wrinkles are imprints of my journey: ask me anything.
-Samantha Reynolds (adapted slightly), shared by D, who heard it from her friend Gloria during a very important walk

PONDER
Last Friday I had a rare and wondrous opportunity to fire up two different groups that were gathering here in Cincinnati on the very same day. In the morning I spent some time with EOPO (Education Office Professionals of Ohio) and then zipped home for a nap and a wardrobe change before helping Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society, kick off their annual conference.

While the presentations were slightly different, a primary objective of both speeches was encouraging them to find the right balance between hanging out with the people they already knew well, and making new connections. I’m at these sorts of events all the time, and I notice that attendees often succumb to the inevitable temptation of hanging out primarily with the classmates and coworkers they traveled with, as well as people they’ve met at previous events. That is understandable, especially since conferences can be great ways to maintain and deepen mutually beneficial relationships.

It is equally important to branch out and forge new connections with people you have NOT yet met, particularly those who have different backgrounds and perspectives and experiences. That can be more difficult since you might seem to have less in common with them, and meeting new people is usually a little less comfortable and a little more awkward than hanging out with your trusted friends. Still: IT IS SO WORTH IT! These new contacts are valuable because they can provide fresh perspectives and ideas which can ignite curiosity and creativity. And you just never know when a brief chat with new connection can lead to valuable opportunities.

If you’re headed to a professional development event or really any gathering of like-minded souls, consider it a quest for the treasure of connection!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re enjoying Ripples, remember that the best way to show it is to SHARE Ripples with your peeps and encourage them to join us, and also click the SUBMIT A QUOTE button below whenever you encounter a groovy quote that we should consider for an upcoming issue. Thanks for both!… Read More!

Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!

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Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!
July 16, 2018

PEBBLE
We are placed where we are so we can love and lift others.
-Carol McConkie,
shared by Sara in Portsmouth, NH, via Project Happiness:

BOULDER
Being Human is the hardest thing we do AS humans. Our knowledge and the awareness of the universe limited as it is by our senses, we struggle from the moment of our first breath to make connections with others to add depth, context, meaning, and passion to our mortality. Our most sacred obligation is to daily touch the lives of others in ways that give them hope and purpose for living.
Robert Ruder, shared by em on Whidbey Island, WA

PONDER

I’ve had a busy few weeks, firing up incoming students at the University of New England as well as spending time with several pools of my Procter & Gamble peeps in Boston, Dayton, and right here in Cincinnati. At each event I marveled at the vast diversity gathered in the room: who was present, the paths they took to arrive at that particular point in time, and the myriad future directions they aspired to travel next.

During these talks we explored strategies for deepening our capacity to connect with others, something that is essential to personal and professional success. And while it is true that developing exceptional communication and relationship management skills requires considerable effort, it is also true that every single encounter we have with another human being is a chance to further refine these skills.

This week, choose to view every encounter as an opportunity to reveal your humanity and to honor theirs. Friend, foe, or stranger, make an extra effort to extend patience, compassion, and/or assistance as often as possible. You’ll likely make someone’s day, and you’ll definitely improve yours.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #996: Sharing Smiles!

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Ripples #996: Sharing Smiles!
June 25, 2018

PEBBLE
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
-Mother Theresa,
shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald,
shared by Pete in the mountains of Colorado

PONDER

Would you share a smile, pretty please?

Some of you may remember that back during the 2008-2009 economic downturn, we collected and shared smiles….images of smiling people holding up signs of encouragement to help us all endure the challenges we were facing (you can see some of the images below).

Posted by Paul Wesselmann on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In four weeks, we will unleash the 1,000th issue of Ripples, and to celebrate this milestone we’ve set an ambitious goal of sharing 1,000 smiles and unleashing 1,000 ripples of compassion + kindness (more on the second part next week).

So, dear Rippler, could you make time this week to whip up a message of encouragement or gratitude and snap a selfie of your smiling facing along with the sign? This could be intended for a specific person or group, but it could also be a general message for anyone. It could even be as simple as our #urock hashtag which stands for “unleash ripples of compassion + kindness.” If you’re feeling really ambitious, maybe recruit some of your friends or coworkers to participate….it might make a fun team development or group bonding activity.

For those who email their photo to me at Smiles@2Rpl.me in the next week or so, I can send you some inspirational postcards we made up to help unleash kindness the week of July 23rd. Are you in? I’ve got a smile on my face as I wait with eager anticipation to see if you are.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. I’m still in a bit of shock that it has been almost 1,000 weeks since we sent our first issue of Ripples. I guess time flies when you’re smiling and rippling!… Read More!

Ripples #985: Helper’s High!

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Ripples #985: Helper’s High!
April 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Shine your light so life is brighter;
get a helper’s high…you’ll feel lighter.
-Marie Toole, written and shared by Marie in Delray Beach, FL

BOULDER
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
-Jane Goodall, shared by Scott in Madison, WI

PONDER

I’m quite confident that most of our regular Ripplers are already well aware of the benefits of unleashing ripples of compassion and kindness. We are the type of folks who figured out a long time ago that doing good for others not only makes karmic sense, it feels good!

Still, it is inevitable that life sometimes gets so full and so stressful that we occasionally drift away from our good intentions of helping others and we forget about the hidden treasures to be found while serving: the perspective shift that comes from seeing the challenges that others are facing; gratitude for the many good things in our own lives that we sometimes take for granted; the renewed sense of community that grows when we recognize that we’re all in this together and we all sometimes need a helping hand.

If it has been a while, keep your eyes open for someone who needs a little extra help. If you’ve been doing a good job of helping others lately, perhaps you can keep your eyes open for someone doing a kind deed and taking a moment to thank them for their efforts. It will compound the helper’s high!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Of course, it is important to remember that there is such a thing as TOO MUCH when it comes to helping others, and we have to keep in mind that without building boundaries and recognizing limits, we put ourselves at risk of compassion fatigue and/or caregiver burnout. Help others in the right amount so your Helper’s High doesn’t cause a crash and burn!… Read More!

Ripples #970: Wonderful Gifts!

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Ripples #970: Wonderful Gifts!
Dec 25, 2017

PEBBLE
A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.
-Jonathan Lockwood Huie, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
A great gift has been made to each and every one of us—the privilege of living in the world for a short span of years and the opportunity of doing our part to help the less fortunate; to improve civilization; to advance knowledge, both the scientific knowledge of men and the wisdom which is from above. The gift of human life and the opportunity which is ours to serve others…should be regarded as a sacred trust.
-George Pepperdine
shared by a Secret Friend of Ripples via Values.com
http://www.values.com/inspirational-quotes/6579–a-Great-Gift-Has-Been-Made

PONDER
Many of us are celebrating Christmas today, and I hope that we can all appreciate the gifts we’ve received this year whether they are objects under the tree, relationships that have deepened, or good stuff that has unfolded in various areas of life (work, school, health, money, etc.).

If your life is anything like my life, you’ve also had some tough stuff to tackle as well. Keep in mind that there are a few ways to unwrap the presents that can be hidden in unpleasant/unwelcome happenings: perhaps the difficulty is far enough behind you that you can say, “WHEW I’m glad that is over!” or maybe you could reframe it as, “I suppose this could have been worse;” finally, there may be ways it helped you grow so at least you’re a little stronger and wiser because it was in your life. (There are also some “gifts” that are so unwelcome and so unpleasant that you’re allowed to scream into the void, “I didn’t like this present one bit!”)

Regardless of what beliefs you hold and traditions you participate in, I’m wishing you happy holidays and hoping that you’re able to wrap up the year by reminiscing on many wonderful gifts you’ve received and given. I look forward to connecting with you next week to help kick off the next year!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #965: The Grateful Heart!

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Ripples #965: The Grateful Heart!
Nov 20, 2017

PEBBLE
Even in the most peaceful surroundings, the angry heart finds quarrel. Even in the most quarrelsome surroundings, the grateful heart finds peace.
-Zoe Zantamata, shared by Gretchen in Florida

BOULDER
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
-John Milton, shared by Ria in Fox Crossing, WI

PONDER
It’s Thanksgiving week here in our little corner of the world, a time when many of us will gather with loved ones for feasts and festivities. We here at Ripples HQ have developed a tradition over the last 19 years of using this particular issue to reflect on the value of gratitude.

It won’t come as a surprise to readers of these weekly splashes that gratitude has long been known to be a powerful natural tonic that helps us savor the GOOD STUFF in our lives. It is also true that cultivating gratitude for the HARD STUFF can help us appreciate the opportunities for learning and growing that are inherent in life’s inevitable challenges.

I’ve recently been exploring how gratitude can help us even when life is really, really, REALLY tough. The practice of identifying people, circumstances, events, and things that we’re glad to have in our lives does more than just distract us from challenges; it can serve to help us regain a larger perspective of the overall context in which a particular difficulty is happening. If we only spend time focusing on the difficulty, we might conclude that life is 100% yucky. If we take just a bit of time and energy to recall specific good things in our lives, the hard stuff can seem less overwhelming, less all-consuming. It is still there and it is still really hard, and yet it can be experienced as just one slice of a larger life instead of the whole pie.

If things are super tough right now, I invite you to experiment by jotting down even a few things that you’re grateful to have in your life and see if that helps at all. If life is already pretty swell, perhaps the activity might infuse an extra sense of joy into your holiday. Try it and see!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you want some extra splashes of gratitude, I’m especially proud of last year’s Ripples #913, and 2015’s Ripples #861. We also keep a Gratitude Archive with all 19 years worth of Gratitude Quotes.

 … 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!

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