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Growth

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!

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 #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 #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.
Read More!
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