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Ripples #1132: Revealing The Human Spirit

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Ripples #1132: Revealing The Human Spirit
Feb 1, 2021

PEBBLE
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
-E.E. Cummings, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. THE WORLD WILL NOT HAVE IT! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
-Martha Graham, shared by Pat in Portland, OR via JamesClear.com: https://jamesclear.com/quality-comparison (emphasis added by The Ripples Guy)

PONDER
I’ve wanted to share these quotes with you for some time, and yet I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about them. As I sat down to assemble this week’s issue, I revisited these lovely words and it was questions that popped into my head instead of statements and sentences. So, here goes:

1. How much do you believe in your ability to pursue and achieve grand possibilities for yourself and others?

2. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) what number would you assign to your level of belief in yourself in this very moment of your life?

2. Can you identify any recent accomplishments you’re proud of, ones that you might not have pulled off if your score had been a few points lower (for example if your self belief score was a 5 instead of a 7)?

3. Is it possible to imagine any opportunities you could more confidently pursue if your self-belief score was even a little higher (so maybe an 8 instead of 7)?

My invitation for you is to spend time this week acknowledging and appreciating specific ways you’ve recently revealed your human spirit, and to be curious about how the future could unfold more expansively if you mentally rehearsed thoughts, feelings, and actions that would come along with a slightly elevated self-belief score.

Are you in?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1131: Making Masterpieces (minus perfection)

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Ripples #1131: Making Masterpieces (minus perfection)
Jan 25, 2021

PEBBLE
You are made for perfection, but you are not yet perfect. You are a masterpiece in the making.
-The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama
shared by Allexendra in San Diego, CA

BOULDER
Perfection comes out of molds or off assembly lines. It is not the natural state of things. And the great irony is that we value things made by hand more than we do things that come from machines, despite the fact that things from machines are more…perfect.
-Simon Sinek
shared by Sue in Plymouth, MI

PONDER
OH PHOOEY! This was the sentiment I expressed aloud when the first person reached out last week, catching a likely misattribution of last week’s Pebble in our annual tribute to Dr. King (I may have used a different word than PHOOEY.) A few others expressed similar concern, and our collective research revealed no evidence that he ever wrote or spoke the lines.

I strive to accurately and fairly credit the inspiration we share here, and I’ve been willing to put in a reasonable (though certainly not exhaustive) effort to verify quote sources. I’m generally satisfied with a “less than perfect” record of accuracy, but missing this one was disappointing, especially since I spent SO much time last week pouring over Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail to find a longer quote that wasn’t often used.

One of many important lessons I value in Layla Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy” and Ibram Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist“: erring and failing are essential components of learning and growing. Besides the fact that actual, literal perfection is unattainable, Striving for perfection requires concentrating on a far off (and possibly unattainable) endpoint. Focusing instead on daily progress is achievable today because it involves what is happening right here, right now.

So today I apologize to Dr. King, to all of you, and also to myself, grateful for an opportunity to grow. Not only did an error reveal a useful theme for this week’s Ripples, it led me to find a slightly more complete and more useful version of the quote submitted as today’s Boulder.

Whatever you’re working on today, may it become a masterpiece.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. After 20+ viewings in the last week, I’m *still* not done experiencing Amanda Gorman’s radiant performance of “The Hill We Climb.” Talk about a masterpiece!… Read More!

Ripples #1121: Making Sense of Change

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Ripples #1121: Making Sense of Change
Nov 16, 2020

PEBBLE
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. -Alan Watts, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.
—BKS Iyengar, shared by David in Springfield, MO

PONDER
There are plenty of people out there who struggle mightily with change, and just about ALL of us have trouble with at least certain changes that happen in our lives. For some of us it might be about accepting the end of something we aren’t quite ready to be finished with. Others might be uncomfortable with changes that happen a result of aging. And the constant change we’ve been dealing with throughout 2020? One word: ugh.

It is okay to be frustrated with someone else who isn’t managing change the way you’d like them to. I get that. 100%.

Just for today, however, it might be useful to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What change(s) am I resisting?” And maybe see if doing your own work might release more change energy into the world that might inspire others who are struggling with change.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you’d enjoy a monthly infusion of insight and inspiration in the form of an online presentation with The Ripples Guy, consider joining Paul’s Patreon Peeps. Each month I share some of the professional and personal development content I’ve developed over the last 20 years, and then spend time chatting and checking in with a few dozen awesome Ripplers who are helping me unleash ripples of compassion and kindness. We’d love to have a few more join us: https://www.patreon.com/RipplesGuyRead More!

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 #1110: The Race of Persistence

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Ripples #1110: The Race of Persistence
Aug 31, 2020

PEBBLE
If you only walk on sunny days you’ll never reach your destination.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Diane in Appleton, WI

BOULDER
May we all do a little bit better than the first time,
Learn a little something from the worst time,
Get a little stronger from the hurt times.
-Florida Georgia Line, shared by Darcy via her pal, the ever uplifting Kathy

PONDER

Sprints are very different than marathons. (Obvious, you have a call holding on line 1.)

Sprinting requires a focused energy burst for a short amount of time while a marathon calls for a steady energy release over a longer amount of time. Sprinters develop their capacity for speed; they need strong and powerful muscles. Marathon runners have different goals: they want to maximize their heart/lung capacity and their muscular endurance. Persistence is required for both, even though they each need a different kind of persistence: A short sprint needs an intense level of incredible focus, while a marathon requires considerable stamina.

I’m sharing this today because at the beginning of 2020 when it started looking like Covid was going to be a thing, most of us thought of it as a sprint….a relatively short, intense period of maybe a few weeks or few months. Time passed, the virus continued to spread, and we now recognize this is a big, hairy marathon, complete with a constantly changing race route and an uncertain finish line.

The good news is that we made it today: we’ve adapted and we’ve endured. The tough news is that we are going to need to continue adapting and enduring for longer than we originally imagined. And we’ll also need to keep moving. So take a moment to congratulate yourself on making it this far, and then take another moment to identify how you can keep on growing while you keep on going. #WeGotThis

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you soared early on in the year and feel like you’re really struggling right now…well, me too! I stumbled upon a helpful article about how our Surge Capacity may be depleted, and how some shifts in your mindset and behavior might help:… 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 #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 #1034: Spring Blossoms!

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1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Year of Ripples
Ripples #1034: Spring Blossoms!
Mar 18, 2019

PEBBLE
Spring can blossom in my heart even before it blossoms in the soil.
-Julie Ingram, written and shared by Julie in Christiansburg, VA

BOULDER
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
-Anne Bradstreet, shared by Thomas in Ft. Myers, FL via Values.com

PONDER
While we are just a few days away from the official start of spring, there may be things keeping you from anticipating a sense of renewal that we tend to associate with its arrival. The weather, a hectic schedule, or just some big “stuff” on your plate right now could dampen your mood and prevent you from embracing a “it’s time to sprout” mindset.

Even if the temperature or your to-do list isn’t cooperating, perhaps you could consider experimenting with some internal spring cleaning:

Declutter thoughts and feelings.
Jot down a list of things that have been festering lately and decide which can be easily tossed out and which ones need tending to.

Plant some new habits.
Identify a couple of activities that would increase effectiveness and/or enjoyment in work or life and experiment with cultivating routines that allow them to happen.

Clean up past hurts.
If there are psychic wounds that need tending to, it may be time to extend an olive branch and ask for forgiveness or make time to connect with a counselor (or trusted friend) to process unfinished work.

Stretch.
Just as it’s important to warm up muscles before we start exercising, we can also prepare for an upcoming growth spurt by stretching beyond our comfort zone.  Tackling a challenging project, taking up a new hobby, or even watching a movie from a “not your usual genre” can help as grow into the next version of ourselves.

Keep in mind that each day only has a minute or two of added daylight this time of year, and yet those small shifts will soon add up to a few extra hours of daylight each and every day. Small, daily efforts now can lead to sunnier, more enjoyable days quite soon!   

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1021: What If?

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Ripples #1021: What If?
Dec 17, 2018

PEBBLE
Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking.
-Brother David Steindl-Rast, shared by Paul in Parkville, MD

BOULDER

What If (A Rainforest Poem)

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?

What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?

What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?

-Ganga White
(c) 1998 Ganga White, whitelotus.org, All Rights Reserved
Reprinted from Yoga Beyond Belief, by Ganga White
Used with permission

PONDER
For those of us who identify as Christian, next week marks one of the holiest of days: the birth of Jesus. While honored differently, most religions and cultures have similar marker events they embrace as opportunities to rejoice, to reflect, to remember. Ultimately, I think the primary purpose of most of them is to help us live the highest, holiest versions of ourselves.

The conflicts that continue to rage around the world involve political, religious, and ideological divisions often seem like barriers to peaceful coexistence. Instead of being viewed as problematic, what if we chose to view these divisions as divine opportunities for us to grow stronger and more compassionate as individuals and groups?

What if we recognized them as life lessons that could help us grow? What if these difficulties could help us learn about each other, strengthen our ability to explain our perspective, and cultivate the capacity to listen patiently as our opponents explain how and why they look at the world and certain issues the way they do?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S.… 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!

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