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Optimism

Ripples #1,004: Rekindling Hope!

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Ripples #1,004: Rekindling Hope!
Aug 20, 2018

PEBBLE
Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons do not last. The spring rains will come.
—Sarah Ban Breathnach
shared by Pete in Colorado via Values.com
https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-quotes/7015-expect-to-have-hope-rekindled-expect-your?

BOULDER
It’s better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re hopeful, you have more fun.
-Barbara Kingsolver, shared by Deb in Madison, WI

PONDER
I agree with the above quote that says it is generally better to be hopeful than cynical. At the same time, I also know that hope can be harder to maintain. Even us optimistic folks can find ourselves in a pessimistic downward spiral because the more you look for reasons to roll your eyes and sigh, the more reasons you’ll find to do just that.

With a little bit of practice, though, hope is equally addictive. Once we decide to look for signs that things are going to get better, they start popping up all around. These little hopesparks make it easier to spot the more sustainable reasons for steady optimism. Even when my way forward is still steep, I notice that the more I climb, the better the view, and once you get above the fog and clouds, it is so much easier to find the sunshine.

If you’re struggling right now, I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open for tiny hopeful signs. If you’re doing okay, keep your eyes open for a fellow traveler who is struggling and go a little out of your way to BE the hopespark for someone else. A smile, a nod, a generous gesture…any of these could make all the difference to someone who is at the end of their rope.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #942: Purifying Light!

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Ripples #942: Purifying Light!
June 12, 2017

PEBBLE
The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn and shine with increasing clearness on your path.
-Jean le Rond D’Alembert, shared by an anonymous rippler

BOULDER
A true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost, a pure heart can touch the poison of hatred and never be harmed; since beginningless time darkness has thrived in the void, but always yields to purifying light.
-Lion turtle (from Avatar: The Last Airbender, episode 59, by Aaron Ehasz)
shared by Cody in San Francisco, CA

PONDER

We all experience darkness in our lives; times when we feel lost, scared…unable to see what is going on or where we’re headed. Darkness then allows fear and frustration to fester, causing our outlook and our emotions to spiral downward even further.

The useful thing about light is that even a tiny bit of it immediately cuts through darkness, paving the way for more light. Dim rays of hopeful feelings and optimistic thoughts peer through, generating more light which in turn allows us to grow even more confident and more determined to move forward toward other sources of light.

If you’ve been struggling lately, keep your eyes peeled for sources of light, remembering that small flickers of hope come in all shapes and sizes: something as small as spotting your favorite color, encountering a fragrant whiff of fresh baked goods, or hearing one of your favorite songs pop up on the radio can lift your spirits and help more than you realize.

If things are going pretty well right now, spend some extra time and energy keeping your eyes peeled for someone else who is struggling. You can be the PURIFYING LIGHT for someone else by extending your patience, your compassion, and maybe even a warm smile to let someone know that you recognize their humanity. It will light up your day as well.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #909: Storm Dancing!

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Ripples #909: Storm Dancing.
Oct 24, 2016

PEBBLE
Joy is a decision, a really brave one,
about how you are going to respond to life.
-Wess Stafford, shared via Values.com

BOULDER
You can dance in the storm.
Don’t wait for the rain to be over because it might take too long. You can do it now. Wherever you are, you can start, right now; this very moment.
-Israelmore Ayivor, shared by Jeff at UC-Davis

PONDER

The external climate isn’t up to me, but my internal climate is.

We’re all seduced at times by the myth that happiness comes from having things go our way. Especially on the tough days, it can be tempting to believe that good moods shine along with the sunshine, and bad moods are caused by bad weather. On our best days we know that it’s probably more accurate to say that storm fronts make it easier for sadness and frustration to rain down while our sunshiny emotions retreat behind the clouds.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from having a dog in my life for a decade was that *every* day can be a good day for a walk. While some days were more pleasant than others of course, there were plenty of rainy and snowy days that still provided fresh air and a chance to stretch my legs.

Choosing the weather isn’t up to me, but how to dress for it *is* up to me; and we can always stash a flashy, funky umbrella in the glove compartment to help keep us a little bit drier and a little bit happier on an otherwise gloomy day.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #873: Reducing Worry.

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Ripples #873: Reducing Worry.
Feb 15, 2016

PEBBLE
It is the trouble that never comes
that causes the loss of sleep.
-Chas. Austin Bates, shared by Matt in Appleton, WI

BOULDER
Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
-Arthur Somers Roche, shared by Donna in Naperville, IL

PONDER
Worrying is one of those things we all do a bit of, and its origins are quite noble: worry allows us to anticipate potential problems and to identify feasible solutions. If left unchecked, however, it can gradually and inadvertently shift from being a useful planning strategy and head towards becoming a significant drain on energy and creativity.

If you find yourself worrying more than a useful amount, try pausing for a moment to THANK yourself for having both a *concern* about an obstacle and also the *desire* to succeed. Quickly review the situation and see if there are reasonable actions you could take to prevent or resolve issues and make a plan to implement them. If you find yourself in an incessant loop of fear and caution, make it an opportunity to create a new habit of interrupting downward spirals with complementary thoughts: shift “Oh what if this awful thing happens,” into something like “Ooh, what if things turn out just fine….or even better than fine?”

Remember, it isn’t about eliminating worry completely. It’s about adjusting the volume and frequency so you can enjoy the benefits while minimizing your discomfort.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #871: Wholehearted Presence!

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Ripples #871: Wholehearted Presence!
Feb 1, 2016

PEBBLE
The best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.
-Mark Nepo, shared by Pat in Cincinnati, OH

BOULDER
This is the true meaning of embodiment: To show up with wholehearted presence for this moving encounter with life. Instead of clambering towards ever-furthering horizons or withdrawing into distractions and addictions, showing up for those absences in our lives. Welcoming our fears and discomforts as necessary conditions to creativity. Loving the gestation as much as the harvest, even while remembering the barren season that must follow. Aspiring, in all things, to be human.
-Toko-Pa Turner, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER

Life is easier when life is good. It is easy to show up for the good days, to love all the great things about our life. It’s a bit tougher to show up for the blechy days and to love all the challenging things about our life as much as we love the delightful things. It’s tougher, but it’s important to do for several reasons:

1. Avoiding problems or resisting challenges often extends their lifespan, and can even allow a smaller concern to fester and eventually require even more resources to address. A little time and energy and love early on will allow you to spend more minutes on the good stuff.

2. Reserving joy for just the good times reduces the amount of joy you get to experience. If you view your life as five work days of GRRRRR and two weekend days of AHHHHHH, well that just seems like a quarter life and not a full life <pauses to punch 2/7 into calculator… 28.5714%> I know life is better without a headache, but it is possible to experience joy even when you have a migraine.

3. We happen to learn lots more from failure than success, and we can improve so much more efficiently if we recognize the potential for growth spurts during and immediately after difficulty. The fitness folks always remind me that while the weights shouldn’t be too heavy or you risk injury, it’s essential that they not be too light or you won’t strengthen your muscles at all.

If you’ve got some tough stuff that seems to be getting in the way of your otherwise joyful journey, I invite you to take a break from trying to ignore it, move it or defeat it and see if, just for a little bit, you can try to see it, receive it, and love it.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For the record, it is possible to love something without liking it. For reals.… Read More!

Ripples #868: Imperfectionism.

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Ripples #868: Imperfectionism.
Jan 11, 2016

PEBBLE
Imperfections are not inadequacies;
they are reminders that we’re all in this together.
-Brené Brown, shared by Steve in Waco, TX

BOULDER
At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything else. -George Leonard, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
This week was adventure-filled: I fired up some residence life folks just down the street from me at Xavier University and then zoomed out west to spend an evening with the CSU San Bernardino Recreation and Wellness Center Staff. The topics were slightly different, but as usual I included some stories and activities around how to more consistently unleash their best efforts in work, school, and life.

Today’s Ripples quotes remind us that there is a difference between trying to bring your best and attempting to be perfect. One requires embracing your strengths and limitations while making a conscious commitment to improvement; the other is an exercise in futility since it demands both hyper-vigilance and an obsessive fear of inevitable errors and omissions. Striving to be your BEST allows you to keep getting better, while grasping for PERFECTION will always end in defeat. Always. No matter how good you get, now matter how hard you practice: Mistakes. Are. Inevitable.

The trick is to embrace your errors as divine gifts: they give you feedback, they help you measure improvement, and they encourage you to cultivate compassion for the imperfect people around you whose mistakes sometimes inconvenience and/or challenge you.
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Some of you know that a few weeks ago my trusty sidekick, Grendel, wrapped up his adventures here on Earth and headed up to scamper about in the Great Beyond. For the past decade, he was either backstage in his crate during my presentations, out and about helping me enjoy the great outdoors, or sleeping lazily at my feet on Sunday afternoons while I assembled Ripples for unleashing on Monday morning. Peek here for a set of images chronicling our journey: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156453586735010.1073741848.698990009&type=1&l=a618608723 I miss my buddy fiercely of course; but I’m happy for a decade of magic and grateful that our last years together were as fun and adventure-filled as our early ones. Thanks for letting me share my grief.… Read More!

Ripples #862: One Cloud.

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Ripples #862: One Cloud.
Nov 30, 2015

PEBBLE
Don’t let one cloud
obliterate the whole sky.
–Anais Nin, shared by Diane in Lewiston, ME

BOULDER
Disappointment is a friend to transformation, a call to both accuracy and generosity in the assessment of our self and others, a test of sincerity and a catalyst of resilience. Disappointment is just the initial meeting with the frontier of an evolving life, an invitation to reality, which we expected to be one particular way and turns out to be another, often something more difficult, more overwhelming and strangely, in the end, more rewarding.
-David Whyte, shared by Sister Miriam in St. Louis, MO

PONDER

As we get ready to dive into December, many of us find ourselves assessing the highs and lows of the past year and pondering changes we’d like to initiate as yet another new year rolls toward us.

I usually like to start by reviewing the fun stuff: achievements, strokes of luck and genius, all the things and people who made the year sparkle. The next step is to assess the year’s disappointments: things that didn’t work out like we thought they would, unexpected detours/dead ends, and anything or anyone who let us down. The quotes above encourage us to rethink how we view these “clouds” with the hope that we can grow stronger and wiser as a result.

I invite you to ponder the learnings that grew out of this year’s disappointments, extract any useful nuggets and be curious about how you could transform any cloudy stuff from 2015 into moisture for a verdant 2016. Are you in?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #859: Ripples of Your Potential!

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Ripples #859: Ripples of Your Potential!
Nov 9, 2015

PEBBLE
Everyone has potential… It is an infinite resource that cannot be exhausted, but can be lost in the clouds of fear and complacency. It may take courage to embrace the possibilities of your own potential, but once you’ve flown past the summit of your fears, nothing will seem impossible.
-Michael McKee, shared by Gloria in Boston, MA

BOULDER
You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling,
so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.
-Rumi, shared by Amy in Charlotte, NC

PONDER
I enjoyed a brief visit with my longtime buddies from the USTA at their annual Tennis Development Workshop this past weekend. During the opening session I proposed that we could more effectively fulfill the potential of our work by releasing what holds us back (including *fear* and *complacency* mentioned in today’s Pebble) while embracing the possibilities that will help us achieve our highest potential (our *ideals* and *dreams* Rumi describes in our Boulder).

I would just love it if you spent a few minutes this week considering what potential energy you have built up in your soul. Be curious about how you could identify and remove any barriers that prevent you from turning that potential into action for growth.

While my USTA peeps and their partners jump back into their work of developing and promoting the growth of tennis, I want you to be developing and promoting the growth of YOU and YOUR POTENTIAL!

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #856: Living As You!

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Ripples #856: Living As You!
Oct 19, 2015

PEBBLE
Wanting to be someone else
is a waste of the person you are.
-Kurt Cobain, shared by Jason in San Luis Obispo, CA

BOULDER
The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.
-Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art, shared by Johnathan in Indianapolis, IN

PONDER
Most of us spend at least a chunk of each day feeling less than fabulous about who are are. Messages we’ve picked up along the way from people or situations that, intentionally or not, leave us with the impression that the current version of ourselves is just not good enough.

For example, we are exposed to countless marketing messages each day that suggest we aren’t quite complete without using a particular product or service. And while marketing isn’t necessarily bad, of course, it is important to be fully conscious of how a constant stream of “Ooh, look…things would be better if you bought our product/service” can leave us in a constant state of inadequacy and longing for things we don’t have. One way to counteract this longing is to cultivate appreciation for that which you already have, and enjoying the life you are living right now. Time spent thinking about things that you appreciate (and by “thing” I mean material possessions and also relationships and experiences and situations and random moments of joy) is time that you aren’t longing and striving. As a bonus these feelings of contentment and satisfaction serve as a counterbalance for the moments of longing that inevitably sneak into each day.

This week, let’s practice loving life just as it is, and living just as we are right now. It rocks, if we let it!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #855: Seeking Softness.

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Ripples #855: Seeking Softness.
Oct 12, 2015

PEBBLE
Some days, we’re just looking for a soft place to land.
-Dr. SunWolf, shared by Ryan in La Crosse, WI

BOULDER
Be soft.
Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let the pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
-Iain Thomas, i wrote this for you

PONDER
There is no doubt that the world can be a hard, cold place. And if we’ve fallen too many times or encountered too many hardened people, we can ourselves gradually become harder and crustier without even noticing.

This week’s pebble is about seeking softness within our world while the boulder is about retaining softness within ourselves. I don’t believe we can accomplish these worthy pursuits by ignoring the pain we encounter within ourselves or those around us; instead, I think it is about harnessing our considerable reserves of strength (remember, we made it to today) as well as our innate capacity to heal (we often grow stronger and wiser while recovering from hardship).

If we’re not careful and conscious, the hardness will transform our hearts and souls to stone. Please consider taking some action today to seek the softness that will cushion your heart and soothe your soul:  a walk in nature, play time with a child, or simply trading smiles with the strangers you encounter.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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