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Kindness

Ripples #1032: Making Someone’s Day!

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Ripples #1032: Making Someone’s Day!
Mar 4, 2019
Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples: 1999-2019!

PEBBLE
Be the best part of someone’s day.
-Amy Harless Tucker, shared by Jenny in Indianapolis, IN

BOULDER
Strong social support is one of the keys to happiness and good health. Making an effort to improve relationships with people already in your life is one way to increase your social support.
-Jeanne Graner Krochta, shared by Donna in Owings, MD

PONDER
When I first saw Jenny’s submission, I wondered if it might seem too simplistic or too obvious to be the Pebble in one of our weekly splashes of inspiration. Still, every time I glanced at I found myself curious about where she found it and why it was important to her. So guess what I did…I asked!

It turns out that “Be the best part of someone’s day,” was the motto her friend Amy adopted during a journey with cancer. It seems that because Amy was a really kind person, and perhaps as a strategy to distract her from the more unpleasant aspects of her illness, Amy remained committed to trying to make other people’s day even when she wasn’t feeling 100%. I learned from Jenny that even though Amy passed away last year, friends and family have kept her motto alive.

Jenny also shared with me that Amy’s motto inspired her to spread patience, compassion, and kindness even to people who she might initially be frustrated with. “I believe that most people don’t set out to try to ruin someone’s day,” Jenny wrote. “Maybe the person who took that parking spot I was waiting for recently got some bad news and isn’t thinking clearly. The person who seemed rude was possibly just harassed by someone or perhaps just lost a beloved friend or family member. While these scenarios aren’t fun to deal with, I get to choose how to react to them. And if we choose to react by showing compassion, then maybe we can end up being the best part of someone’s day.”

While I think striving to make another person’s day is a worthy goal with lots of benefits to everyone involved, I also would caution against reading the quote as an encouragement to ignore your own needs and focus exclusively on others. Instead, I embrace it as a fun challenge to look around and see whose day I could improve with even a small gesture of patience, kindness, or encouragement. It can temporarily distract us from our own challenges AND it actually feels pretty darn good, too!

The next time you find yourself having a tough day, I dare you to experiment with setting aside your frustrations and focusing on making someone else’s day better just to see if it might end up making your day better, too.

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 #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 #978: Being Tender!

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Ripples #978: Being Tender!
Feb 19, 2018
PEBBLE
Gentle. Kind. Friendly.
-Gramma Janice
Shared by Kylee in Racine, WI, who has long valued this simple-yet-sage advice that her mother-in-law shared with the students she taught as well as her own children and grandchildren whenever she witnessed them not getting along.
BOULDERS
Being tender and open is beautiful…. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a raindrop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.
―Zooey Deschanel
Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future. -Yehuda Berg
PONDER
There is quite a bit of meanness out there these days. I’ve noticed it in the news, on social media, on the road while traveling, and throughout the world. There’s niceness too, of course. But I’m convinced that over the last few years we have depleted our collective reserves of trust, respect, and positive regard toward our fellow humans; it’s left us with raw nerves and reduced compassion.

When we encounter a grumpity-grump or a meanie-beanie, our first instinct can be to jump into defensive mode–I’ve too often found myself barking right back at someone before I fully realize what is actually going on. This often happens when we’re “emotionally hijacked,” a term that describes what happens inside our bodies and minds when we activate our instinctual fight-or-flight reflex. This process has noble intentions to preserve and protect, but too often leads us to say and/or do things that we later end up regretting or rationalizing.

With all that is going on in our world, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to be frustrated. While it is important to our individual and collective well-being that we express our emotions, it is equally important that we make time to pause so we can avoid reacting rashly and instead respond mindfully. That pause is not always easy, but it’s almost always worth it since it helps to ensure we’re bringing our best self to the situation. You know, the self that knows the importance of being tender and also remembers the value of “Gentle. Kind. Friendly.”

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
Read More!

Ripples #918: Doing The Dance!

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Ripples #918: Doing The Dance!
Dec 26, 2016

PEBBLE
Life can not give me joy and peace,
it is up to me to will it.
Life just gives me time and space,
it is up to me to fill it.
-William James, shared by Ann (Gulf Shores, AL)

BOULDER
I serve. I do the dance I must. I plant trees, but I am not the doer of this work. I am the facilitator, the instrument—I am one part of the symphony. I know there is an overall scheme to this symphony that I cannot understand. In some way, we are each playing our own part. It is not for me to judge or criticize the life or work of another. All I know is that this is my dance. I would plant trees today even if I knew for certain that the world would end tomorrow. -Balbir Matbur Source: Heron Dance interview (Issue 11), shared by Mandy, Columbus, OH perry1833@yahoo.com

PONDER
It is natural to seek joy and peace and love during the holidays; I just happen to think that we too often and too easily forget they can be tricky to find while looking for them. Joy and peace are much easier to experience when we are busy cultivating them and giving them away.

What could you do this week to facilitate joy, peace, and love this week? The gifts you’re able to give freely will come back as among the most precious and satisfying gifts you’ll ever receive: a bounty of joy, peace, and love that will replenish even the most weary and broken of hearts.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Can you believe this is the last Monday of 2016? I’ll be back next year with 52 more splashes of inspiration and I’d be most honored if you renewed your commitment to share a few issues with your friends AND to keep your eye out for powerful quotes to submit for future rippling. Thanks, team!… Read More!

Ripples #883: Little Choices!

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Ripples #883: Little Choices!
Apr 25, 2016

PEBBLE
The little choices of daily life determine our destiny.
-Mary Dixon Thayer, shared by Al in Marinette, WI

BOULDER
Some people say, “What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.
-Dorothy Day, shared by by Lora in Kennebunk, ME

PONDER
It is tempting to revel in the grand gestures and big moments in our work and in our lives. I admit that sometimes standing on a huge stage in front of a massive audience can cause a surge of energy, and I’ve been known to feel extra proud of those social media posts that received outsized responses.

On my best days, however, I measure the success of my efforts in the smaller, quieter moments: providing encouraging words to someone who is facing big changes in their life, or learning that an unexpected tangent during a talk generated ongoing and useful insights. And while I’m genuinely excited that this message you’re reading right now zooms out to lots and lots of people every Monday, there is a calm and humble joy that settles over me when I hear about a specific issue that helped a single person refresh their outlook or persist through difficulty.

It makes sense to me that we celebrate the marquee events like graduations and retirements and promotions that signal an increase in responsibility and/or opportunity. If you’re getting ready to celebrate one of them: CONGRATS! Just remember to keep in mind that in between the massive milestones and big parties, there are countless ordinary opportunities for gradual progress that will help you and those around maximize the potential of your day and your life. Enjoy the big moments, enjoy the little choices, and enjoy today!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Oh the irony: as I assemble this issue of Ripples about focusing on small moments over big events, I realize this will zoom in your direction on April 25th, the 19th anniversary of my first day of full-time self employment as a leadership trainer and keynote speaker. Way back in 1997, I had no idea of the possibilities that existed for me…and these weekly splashes of inspiration hadn’t even been conceived. I didn’t know I was going to have this much fun in my work, and I never conceived of having this many people along for the ride. I’ll stick to this week’s theme by thanking you for each Monday that you choose to open your heart and mind to Ripples, and each time you choose to extend the Ripples by passing them along to others. Namaste.… Read More!

Ripples #830: Unleashing Kindness!

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Ripples #830: Unleashing Kindness!
Apr 20, 2015

PEBBLE
We won’t always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What’s important is that you do care and you act.
-Charlotte Lunsford, shared by Justin in Beaumont, TX

BOULDER
Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.
-Robert J. Furey, shared by Danielle in Jackson, MS

PONDERIt has been a privilege to send out these weekly splashes of inspiration for the past eight hundred and thirty Mondays, and it is both a significant honor and an absolute hoot to have you along for the ride.

Later this week I will celebrate 18 years of full-time self employment as “The Ripples Guy,” (well, some of you will remember I started out as Mr. Stone Soup Seminars and it wasn’t until a few years later that this weekly email became my identity!).  I’m wondering if you could do me a favor and help me celebrate by doing something incredibly simple:  unleash ripples of compassion and kindness.  Some of you recognize that phrase as “uRock!” which we coined a few years ago during the financial downturn when I drove around in my smile-covered Prius to encourage people to hang on through the tough times.

I’d be so grateful if this Friday, April 24 and/or Saturday, April 25, you found the time to unleash one or more simple acts of kindness.  It could be just a text or phone call of gratitude to someone who’s been there for you, or keeping your eye open for a passerby who needs help.  If you want to make it interesting, you could bring some treats to colleagues, neighbors, a business you appreciate, or a charity you value.

Another angle might be to catch someone doing something nice and make it a point to say, “I saw what you did there, and I wanted to thank you for reminding me there is lots of good in this world!”  I’ve created a Facebook Event so that people could share ideas and report their kindnesses.  You might also choose to mention it in your FaceTweet InstaTumblr pages using the hashtag #uRock.

I’m not expecting this to go viral or anything, nor am I wanting you to promote the Ripples emails.  I’d love it if you just told your kindness recipient, “I’m part of a group of people who unleash ripples of compassion and kindness,” or just used the #urock hashtag and let it be a bit mysterious.

Thanks in advance for any spare kindness you can unleash this Friday & Saturday!
Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. If … Read More!

Ripples #805: The Warmth of Kindness!

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[10/27/2014]
Ripples #805: The Warmth of Kindness!

PEBBLE
Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver.
-Barbara De Angelis, shared by Jane in Minneapolis, MN

BOULDER
Kindness, not unlike a flamethrower applied to an igloo, can melt the walls we’ve built around our hearts; and often just as dramatically. Being kind feeds the souls of all involved.
-written and shared by Bonnie Jean Starr in Richmond, VA

PONDER
I feel confident that the idea of spreading kindness is already baked into the souls of all of our Ripples readers; for me these quotes provide a useful reminder that kindness not only benefits the person you’re extending it to. IT IMPACTS YOU, TOO!

As the days are increasingly crispy and as the nights get down right chilly, we can keep ourselves and those around us warm with smiles and waves and small favors. Keep your eye out this week for an extra opportunity to warm someone’s soul with an unexpected kindness. Pretty please?

Peace,
Paul
(((The Ripples Guy)))
p.s. One really useful way you can unleash kindness is by submitting fresh quotes for potential use in our Ripples newsletter. It takes dozens of submissions to find two really good quotes that match each other. We rely on the kindness of Ripplers to keep our pond stocked with fresh inspiration! You can either click the SUBMIT QUOTES button at the bottom of this email OR simply reply to this email and be sure to include your name & location!
http://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/… Read More!

Ripples #800: The Gift!

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[09/22/2014]
Ripples #800: The Gift!

PEBBLE
Life is a gift,
and it offers us the privilege,
opportunity, and responsibility
to give something back
by becoming more.
-Anthony Robbins, shared by Amy in Brookfield, WI

BOULDER
We cannot live for ourselves alone.
Our lives are connected
by a thousand invisible threads,
and along these sympathetic fibers,
our actions run as causes
and return to us as results.
-Herman Melville, shared by David in Los Alamos, CA

PONDER
800 Mondays ago, back in January of 1999, we made a teeny splash by sending out our very first issue of Ripples. Some of the 75 people who agreed to help me pilot this experiment in nurturing kindness are still on the list, and thousands more have joined us along the way.

From the beginning, we hoped to create a continuous stream of joyful and useful reminders that our smallest actions create ongoing and often significant ripples of influence. It has been a great honor to coordinate and facilitate these Ripples, and we would never have made it this far without the countless quote submissions and notes of encouragements you have offered. Each of them has been a gift that has allowed us to keep on giving.

Join me in celebrating our 800th Ripple with a simple gift of unexpected kindness to a friend or stranger today. It will improve their day, and yours, and mine too!

Peace,

Paul
(((The Ripples Guy)))

P.S. You may peek at our archive of 800 Ripples http://theripplesguy.com/archives/, but I ask your patience if it loads slowly as our website is not designed for heavy simultaneous traffic. It might be better to come back on Monday afternoon or later in the week!… Read More!

Ripples #761: Gifts from Within!

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Ripples #761:  Gifts from Within!
For our tribe of busy people who believe in
unleashing Ripples of compassion & kindness: uRock!
23 Dec 2013

PEBBLE:
Anything that has real and lasting value
is always a gift from within.
-Franz Kafka, shared by Josh in Sheboygan, WI

BOULDER:
A thousand candles
can be lit from a single candle
and the life of the candle
will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases
by being shared.
-Buddha, shared by Angela in Madison, WI

PONDER:
As many of our Ripplers gather with family and friends to exchange gifts and enjoy each other’s company, I want to gently remind us all that in addition to joy and merriment, for some this can be a time of sadness or frustration.

If you or those around you sometimes create unrealistically high expectations, taking a few deep breaths and going with whatever is happening might be a wonderful gift to yourself and those you spend time with this week.

If you don’t particularly enjoy this time of year for whatever reason, perhaps you can acknowledge that for other people it IS an important time of year but not one that needs to be a big deal for you.  Treat yourself to some quiet time, diving into a book or a movie or a bath or whatever.  Gifts to yourself can help you bring your best self to others, and giving to others can infuse a feeling of generosity within that feels as warm as a toasty fire on a cold winter’s day.

Happy Christmas and/or
Seasons Greetings and/or
Merry End of 2013!

Peace,
Paul
P.S.  Here is my Holiday Greeting to you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL7WFrKrs4Q… Read More!

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