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Happiness

Ripples #1018: Finding & Unfurling Joy!

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Ripples #1018: Finding & Unfurling Joy!
Nov 26, 2018

PEBBLE
Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.
-Brené Brown, shared by Rachel in Rochester, MI

BOULDER
Happiness is a form of power–it’s carbonated consciousness that wants to spill out and be articulated. So if we downplay our joy we confuse our nervous system. Our brain is trying to fire happy neurons but our cool or too quiet behavior is short dousing the positive chemicals. Repeated happiness-muffling numbs our senses. And if you keep your joy under the surface too long, it might stay there. If you’re happy and you know it…show it.
-Danielle LaPorte, via her website
http://www.daniellelaporte.com/truthbomb/truthbomb-1248
shared by one of our original Ripplers!

PONDER
There are two aspects of joy I’ve been pondering lately: its availability, and its source.

I love the big delightful versions of joy that show up around the holidays and other special occasions: monumental moments of spectacular awe that can light up a room and light up our lives. Since those big joys can be relatively few and far between, it’s good to keep in mind that joy can also be found in the ordinary days that make up most of our existence. Small delights like a string of traffic lights turning green, an unexpected discount on one of our favorite grocery items, or finding a crumpled up $5 bill while doing laundry (ok, so that just happened to me a few days ago and it was joyous, indeed!).

The other thing I like about joy is that I don’t have to wait for it to show up in order for me to experience it. I’ve come to rely on the premise that there are tiny pockets of joy stored in my consciousness waiting to be noticed and unleashed. At times they get activated by an external trigger: a friend will call or a song will pop up on Pandora and Joy starts dancing. But it’s also been my experience that I can consciously elicit joy when the need arises. Maybe that means picking up the phone instead of waiting for it to ring, pressing play on some of the playlists I’ve purposely curated as joyful, or playing a game of “set the timer for 20 minutes to earn 20 minutes of game time.”

Assembling this issue of Ripples has me eager to experiment with finding and unfurling joy…perhaps you’ll join me in this experiment?

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 #967: The Evolution of Happiness!

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Ripples #967: The Evolution of Happiness!
Dec 4, 2017

PEBBLE
You’re not happier because you turn your brain off. You’re happier because you encourage yourself to think more deeply about what actually matters.
-Charles Duhigg, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
The art of living does not consist of preserving and clinging to a particular mode of happiness, but allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.
-Charles Morgan, shared by John in Denver, CO

PONDER
Of course we want to be happy. Of course we do! The pursuit of happiness is such a compelling quest that Thomas Jefferson even wrote it into the Declaration of Independence!

While I agree that being happy is a worthy outcome of a satisfying life, it’s also true that pursuing happiness tends to make a better by-product than a goal in and of itself. This is because the highest level of happiness you’ll find by just trying to be happy is a more hedonistic, or pleasure-based type of happiness that tends to be very fleeting: “I’m happy because I have this object or that amount of money or I just ate my favorite food.” Deeper, more sustainable, more meaningful states of happiness are more attainable when we pursue deeper, more sustainable, more meaningful goals.

The puzzles and games that keep us entertained and engaged when we are younger no longer hold our attention and eventually lose their magic. As we grow up, we need to find more complicated puzzles and more challenging games to enjoy. Similarly, as we go through (and hopefully grow through) life, the pursuits that have the potential to cultivate and sustain happiness will need to evolve as well.

Give some thought this week to your current and desired levels of happiness. Ask yourself what new actions and thoughts might help you grow into a deeper level of happiness, and what actions and thoughts you might need to graduate from in order to more easily make some changes.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I received an ENORMOUS outpouring of support in response to last week’s Ripples where I disclosed that I’ve been dealing with some significant health issues. The replies definitely gave me a boost, and I’m already feeling so much better. I have every reason to expect that I’ll be close to 100% by the time I hit the road for the start of my 2018 presentations! THANKS TEAM RIPPLES!… Read More!

Ripples #815: Seized By Happiness!

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[01/05/2015] Ripples #815: Seized By Happiness!

PEBBLE
The moments of happiness we enjoy
take us by surprise.
It is not that we seize them,
but that they seize us.
-Ashley Montagu

BOULDER
Happiness cannot be traveled to,
owned, earned or worn.
It is a spiritual experience
of living every minute
with love, grace and gratitude.
-Denis Waitley,
shared by Chris Barker via PostBark
http://postbark.tumblr.com

PONDER
Welcome to 2015, my friends!

Whether last year was delightful, devastating, something in between, or all of the above, I think this new year arrives just in time to provide a fresh opportunity for a fresh start. I invite you to spend time this week deciding what memories and lessons from the last year you’d like to hold on to, and what you need to release so there is room for new adventures and new learnings in the new year.

I’ve set one primary goal for the year: to enhance my effectiveness at helping you enhance your effectiveness. I’m going to start with some minor tweaks to this weekly splash. While many of you have enjoyed the new colors and responsive design, there was some consistent feedback about readability that was worth addressing. Look for these changes in the next few weeks, and I’ll reveal a few more in the coming months.

And whether you’ve been receiving Ripples for just a few weeks or for many years, I consider it both a unique privilege and a great honor that you invited Ripples into your inbox and into your heart as we embark on what is certain to be a spectacular year. Let’s make 2015 count, shall we?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #785: The Happy Within.

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Ripples #785: The Happy Within.
A splash of inspiration
from The Ripples Guy
9 June 2014

PEBBLE:
Be happy, and a reason will come along.
-Robert Brault, shared by Cynthia in Palos Heights, IL

BOULDER:
Happiness is not in
our circumstances,
but in ourselves.
It is not something we see,
like a rainbow,
or feel,
like the heat of the fire.
Happiness is something we are.
-John B. Sheerin, shared by Pete in San Luis Obispo, CA

PONDER:
It can be useful to think of happiness not as something to be found be searching around in the world, but instead something to be excavated from within.  Of course this doesn’t mean we aren’t impacted by WHAT happens around us or WHO we encounter.  It just means that regardless of what is going on, WE need to stay in charge of our happiness.  And speaking of happiness, there is a bounty of it waiting to be experienced just by taking a few deep breaths and allowing it to surface.  Can you feel it?

If you CAN feel it:  GO! Go spread it around with smiles, kind words, and small favors.

Still not feeling it?  Well, perhaps you could go spread some smiles and kind words and small favors anyway; it could be that happiness needs you to prime the pump a bit in order for it to seep into your soul.

Peace,
Paul
p.s.  I’ll add briefly that I don’t think happiness CAN or SHOULD be the sole focus in our quest for a fulfilling life, nor should other feelings like sadness and frustration be avoided or demonized.  I just believe that a steady source of internalized happiness can potentially increase our effectiveness and enjoyment of work, school, and life.  Get it? Got it?  Good!… Read More!

Ripples #774: Smiling!

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Ripples #774:  Smiling!
For our tribe of busy people who believe in
unleashing Ripples of compassion & kindness: uRock!
24 Mar 2014

PEBBLE:
Guess why I smile a lot?
Cuz it’s worth it.
-Marcel The Shell, shared by Simon in Port Charlotte, FL

BOULDER:
Two of the best things you can pack
each day as you build relationships
is a smile and your manners.
‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way.
-Mitchell Sadowsky, shared by his sister Marla in Vernon County, WI

PONDER:

It probably isn’t surprising to you that happier people smile more than unhappy people. But did you know that there is lots of evidence that in addition to reflecting happiness, smiles can literally CREATE happiness?  Shut up, it’s true.  You can peek at articles from Scientific American, the Wall Street Journal, and Smithsonian about about the growing evidence that smiles actually improve the mood of the smiler and those around them.

If you happen to be in a good mood right now, be sure to communicate it to yourself and those you encounter with a warm, broad smile.  If you aren’t in a particularly happy mood and you would like to be, dare yourself to try “fake smiling” for a few minutes and see if that can’t improve your mood.  It is important to remember that happiness isn’t a requirement of every moment of every day; indeed, it is perfectly normal and quite healthy for bouts of frustration and sadness to visit you.  The trick is to remember that when you’re finished feeling blechy, something as simple as a smile can help you elevate your spirit.

If you need a help finding your smile, try watching Marcel the Shell, or the sequel which actually ends with the quote we featured in this week’s Pebble.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #735: Happiness Revealed.

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Ripples #735: Happiness Revealed.
For our tribe of 30,208 busy people who share encouragement and gratitude.
24 June 2013

PEBBLE:
There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.
-Thich Nhat Hanh, shared by Heather in Anchorage, AK

BOULDER:
The more clarity we have about what
will reveal happiness in our lives,
the less time we spend
waiting for it to find us.
-Hal Tipper, via his Facebook Page:
http://theripplesproject.org/12all/lt.php?c=532&m=903&nl=13&s=dfb706258cf0416bd4d6592ffb5ddd13&lid=2890&l=-http–www.facebook.com/PositivePeople1

PONDER:
Are you happy? Right now, in this very moment, can you tell whether happiness is within or around you? Your response to this question is likely influenced by the latest happenings in your life and the people you have most recently spent time with. Happiness just seems more bountiful when things are going your way in work/school/life and when you get to spend time with your favorite people.

It can be tempting to conclude that certain events and/or people are the *cause* of happiness, and without which joy remains elusive. I suspect that waiting for happiness to arrive is mostly futile, especially since she is often sitting patiently nearby just waiting to be noticed, embraced, and shared.

Regardless of how happy you feel right now, I invite you to take a few deep breaths so you can savor the GOOD STUFF in your life as evidence of joy, and embrace the HARD STUFF as opportunities to grow.

Peace 2u!
Paul,
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #705: Accepting Happiness.

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Ripples #705: Accepting Happiness.
For our tribe of 31,836 busy people who share encouragement and gratitude.
11/27/2012

PEBBLE:
Happiness does not have to be deserved,
earned, worked for or paid for;
it simply has to be accepted.
-Robert Holden, submitted by Jen at Marian University, WI

BOULDER:
Happiness cannot be
traveled to, owned,
earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the
spiritual experience
of living every minute
with love, grace and gratitude.
-Denis Waitley, submitted by Janeth in Glendale, AZ

PONDER:
Here we are, diving into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season which, for many of us, includes the stress of end-of-semester studying and/or end-of-year reports. Amidst all the cramming and stressing and wrapping up, remember that there is joy to be received right here, right now. This is true even if life isn’t perfect, and even if life is down right poopy! I hope you can find a quiet moment to take a few deep breaths and experience a happy moment or two. Accepting the gift of happiness will make the next few weeks bearable, and perhaps even enjoyable.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #670: The Happiness Mindset.

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Ripples #670: The Happiness Mindset.
For our tribe of 30,375 busy people who share encouragement and gratitude.
03/26/2012

PEBBLE:
Happiness is a mindset for your journey,
not the result of your destination.
-submitted by Swati from CA, inspired by Shawn Achor’s TED talk
http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

BOULDER:
We tend to forget that happiness
doesn’t come as a result of getting
something we don’t have,
but rather of recognizing
and appreciating
what we do have.
-Frederick Keonig, submitted by Nick in New Jersey & Mary in Arizona

PONDER:
Despite what you might think, happiness is not simply a personality trait that you’re either born with or “oh well.” Nor is it an elusive goal only achieved if you unlock a secret door or discover the hidden treasure. Research over the past 40 years suggests that while some people seem to have a higher “happiness set point,” the concept of happiness is more accurately viewed as a SKILL that we can improve with training. We can “practice” happy by helping others, expressing gratitude, finding fresh ways to exercise, etc. I picked up these tidbits from a fantastic documentary called, simply enough, “Happy.” http://www.thehappymovie.com/ It is a fast-paced 75-minute film that is definitely worth a peek.

Happiness isn’t about painting a smile on your face and gritting your teeth through the inevitable difficulties that life hands us. Instead, it is about getting to know ourselves better and finding the courage to see if changing how we look at the world might actually change the world.

If you can easily identify a few people or activities in your life that consistently make you happy, be sure to enjoy them this week. If you’d like to be happier next week than you are today, I dare you to experiment: try a new food, strike up a conversation with a potential new friend, or find a new route to arrive at your usual destination.

It also helps to follow the advice that Bobby McFerrin planted in some of our heads a few decades ago: Don’t worry, be happy!

Peace,
Paul … Read More!

Ripples #644: Happy Heart!

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Ripples #644: Happy Heart!
For our tribe of 28,895 busy people who share encouragement and gratitude.
Sep 26, 2011

PEBBLE:
It’s hard living with a hard heart!
-Eli Stende, 6 years old, submitted by Troy (proud papa!)

BOULDER:
No matter what you are doing,
keep the undercurrent of happiness.
Learn to be secretly
happy within your heart
in spite of all circumstances.
-Paramahansa Yogananda, submitted by Rebecca in Chicago, IL

PONDER:
Young Eli is on to something for sure. Living with a “hard heart” makes it
difficult to notice the good stuff that is likely happening all around us.
Oh, there is poopy stuff happening around us too, and focusing on that is
what can harden our heart (Literally, according to recent research about
about stress and heart health!). So take some advice from a wise 6-year-old
and seek activities that add a bit of “happy” to your heart: look around
you and identify a few things that are going right in your life, or spend a
few extra minutes with your kindest and happiest colleagues, classmates, and
friends.

Peace,
Paul
p.s. Having you in my life gives me a happy heart. For reals.

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