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Patience

Ripples #1119: Calm Within Chaos

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Ripples #1119: Calm Within Chaos
Nov 2, 2020

PEBBLE
Tomorrow can still be glorious even in the midst of uncertainty.
-Stephanie Chinnart, shared by Heather in Fort Atkinson, WI

BOULDER
Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path.
-Pema Chödrön, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

PONDER
Most of us did not need a year as unsettling and unpredictable as 2020 to understand just how uncomfortable we are with uncertainty. The many unanticipated twists and turns have reinforced that we feel safer within our comfort zone. And it is true that we generally *are* safer in our comfort zone even though we tend to do our best learning and growing when we are move beyond our comfort zone.

Our minds are so uncomfortable with uncertainty that in many situations where we aren’t sure what is going to happen, we default to expecting (and dreading) the worst possible outcomes rather than just resting in the place of “Hmmm…I’m not sure how this is going to turn out.” Really sit with *this* for a moment: our mind can trick us into believing we’d rather just have the bad thing happen rather than remain in the uncertainty of not knowing the outcome.

Given the high stakes of the 2020 U.S. election, and given the high likelihood that we won’t immediately know the results, this week is likely to contain more than its share of uncertainty. We can’t control this uncertainty, and yet we can manage how we respond to it. I’m trepidatiously accepting this opportunity to wade into this liminal pond of unknowing. These waters are going to be uncomfortable, especially at first. If you’d like to join me, I’m guessing we’ll learn a thing or two, and maybe even find a way to have some fun. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you’re seeking a distraction on Tuesday night, I’m tentatively planning to unleash some “Election Night Non-Electiony Shenanigans” by sharing hopeful, helpful content in a series of brief Facebook Live webcasts. Just head over to Team Ripples and look for me there.… Read More!

Ripples #1095: Coming Undone

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Ripples #1095: Coming Undone
May 18, 2020

PEBBLE
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.
-English Proverb, shared by Denise in California

BOULDER
For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.
-Cynthia Occelli, shared by Jean in Ellwood City, PA

PONDER
The experience of facing really big challenges that are unlike anything we’ve previously experienced can be quite disorienting to say the least (global pandemic much?). Unplanned shifts like this tend to knock us off our center and force us far (far!) out of our comfort zones, sometimes at dizzying speeds.

Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of something new and hard and yucky, it is normal and it is natural to experience lots of fear and uncertainty. We might be asking ourselves (or screaming at anyone who will listen): What is going on? What is going to happen next? How am I going to get through this?

Keep in mind that not knowing how (or even if) we are going to make it through something isn’t necessarily a sign that we are not going to make it. It is merely a signal that things are too unfamiliar and perhaps too troublesome for us to have complete confidence that everything works out fine.

But you know what? I’m guessing you can scan your memory for other times you felt a lot of fear and uncertainty and you DID make it through. And regardless of how many challenges you’ve faced, and regardless of how many times you may have almost NOT made it through something difficult…if you’re reading this today (and I’m pretty sure you are), you somehow made it to today.

If you are struggling today, I hope you can access a combination of internal strength and external resources to help you persist through the hard times and prepare the transformation that awaits. It’s possible this is both a dark ending of things that are winding down AND a bright beginning for that which is gearing up. If things aren’t too bad for you personally, make an extra effort to look around and identify those around you who are coming undone, and ask them how you can help.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1092: To Listen

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Ripples #1092: To Listen
April 27, 2020

PEBBLE
To listen is to lean in softly with the willingness to be changed by what you hear.
-Mark Nepo, shared by Sandra in Kent, WA

BOULDER
One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.
-Elton Mayo, shared by Holly, Phoenix, AZ

PONDER
To listen is to care: deep listening is a powerful way to demonstrate our willingness to support someone who is lonely, hurting, sad, and/or angry.

To listen is to grow: curious listening enlarges our knowledge base, giving us a wider view of specific topics and inching us toward a wiser, more informed maturity.

To listen is to learn: critical listening helps us understand why others might hold a different opinion than our own. It also provides clues about how to speak in a way that improves the odds they can hear, consider, and possibly even be influenced by our perspective.

To listen is to lead: comprehensive listening models the communication and connection skills we hope to transmit to those we lead whether we’re a supervisor, manager, parent, mentor, etc.

To listen is to love: empathetic listening affirms those who long to be heard, to be seen, to be validated.

Let’s up our listening game this week when we connect with those we lead, those we love and those we can learn from. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.

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Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.
June 18, 2018

PEBBLE
Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
R. I. Fitzhenry, shared by Troy in St. Paul, MN

BOULDER
Leave everything undefined, including yourself. Befriend uncertainty. Fall in love with mystery. Kneel at the altar of Not Knowing. Give your questions time to breathe. And the answers will find you.
-Jeff Foster, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
There is something so comforting about certainty: knowing all the things we need to know, feeling confident that our opinions are the right ones, and consistently taking clear, decisive action with calm assurance that we chose the Right Way.

The problem, of course, is that there are plenty of situations where you don’t have access to *all* of the information. And there are plenty times when reasonable people have different opinions based on different perspectives. And all too often we aren’t 100% sure which path is the Right Way to go.

If you can muster a bit of faith and perhaps a dollop of openness, it is possible to accept uncertainty, and even embrace it as a sacred opportunity to cultivate the gifts of patience and flexibility.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. TRUE STORY… Because I wasn’t satisfied it was making a ripple-worthy point in a clear and concise way, I shared this draft of Ripples with my boyfriend who has done more than his share of editing of other people’s writing over the past two decades. Jamie thought it was easy to understand and made a useful point. “Are you sure?” I asked, because I just wasn’t. He looked at me and smiled: “Maybe you need to befriend your uncertainty?” Boom. No more edits, other than adding this postscript.… Read More!

Ripples #989: Nowhere is Somewhere!

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Ripples #989: Nowhere is Somewhere!
May 7, 2018

PEBBLE
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere.
And sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
-unknown, shared by Sammie in Memphis, TN

BOULDER
Life is a series of mind moments, each one a new creation. Every moment we inherit something from our past, transform it in our present experience, and thereby seed the consequences of our future.
—Andrew Olendzki, shared by Joe in Kansas City, MO

PONDER
Whenever it feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere, fear and confusion can swirl about. It’s easy to forget that everywhere is somewhere even when we’re not exactly sure where the somewhere is. With a little patience and a little time, the surroundings usually become more recognizable and a path forward will gradually emerge.

If you or someone you know is feeling stuck in work or life, this might be a good time to remember that the stuck place is usually a temporary rest stop on life’s journey and not a final end point that signals the end of the road or the end of growth. Instead, we can choose to experience it as an invitation to pause and reflect inward, assessing the past and contemplating what’s next.

It will be gone soon enough, so embrace the nowhere when it is now here. 🙂

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re a little farther along in your journey and perplexed about which direction to head next, hang on until next week because I found a pair of great quotes that will help us pivot from NOWHERE to ANYWHERE! Stay tuned!… Read More!

Ripples #972: The Nth Time!

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Ripples #972: The Nth Time!
Jan 8, 2018
PEBBLE
The Nth time’s the charm!
-David Keith
written and shared by David in Carlsbad, CA
BOULDER
The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I will persist until I succeed.
-Og Mandino
shared by Toby in Chicago, IL
link to Toby’s post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10214496984075007
PONDER
During leadership and personal development presentations, I often speak about the importance of patience and persistence when trying to learn a new skill or develop a new habit. Since each of us learns and grows at our own pace, we never know exactly how long it is going to take or how many times we’ll need to practice something before we get it just right. Even though we don’t know the exact amount in advance, there is usually a finite number of attempts required. Since the exact number it will actually take is unknown, we could think of it as the variable N. We can’t really know the precise value of N until we finally achieve the success we’re seeking. Still, each attempt brings us one step closer to the Nth time when we cross the finish line.
I eventually started to apply the same concept in communication and team building sessions.  When we are trying to influence others, we might be tempted to measure our success by counting only the times when someone immediately changes their thinking or behavior after a single conversation. The problem is that it usually takes a number of exposures to a new idea before someone is ready to seriously consider perspectives that are different than their own.  If, however, we consider the possibility that a particular insight we share today could eventually help someone revise their perspective or habits down the road, then every single conversation has the capacity to inch someone closer to an Nth time that provides a real breakthrough.
If you’re attempting to make some kind of change change, whether it is learning a new skill, adopting a habit, or influencing others around you, remember that growth is almost always incremental and each baby step is important even if it isn’t sufficient to observe measurable improvement. Each failure helps us learn a little more, and each small success moves us closer to the larger goal. Patience and persistence can often help you more than think you initially realize. Hang in there, and keep at it!
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. This concept also inspires me to continue assembling
Read More!

Ripples #966: The Tensions and The Doldrums.

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Ripples #966: The Tensions and The Doldrums.
Nov 27, 2017

PEBBLE

We grow and learn the most during the tension we experience in life.
-Ashley Lorah
written and shared by Ashley in Columbus, OH (who has been facing recent challenges by looking ahead to get excited about the growth that will come from them rather than dwelling on the difficulties themselves)

BOULDER
It has been liberating to allow myself to feel and experience life so intensely, to go through the doldrums, and then to come out of them having learned something about myself.
-J. Hardin (adapted; original quote here)
shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
I’m not gonna lie: I’ve been dealing with some rather unpleasant STUFF lately, including challenges related to my physical health and a few wrinkles with my mental health. Add in the steady stream of really heavy news stories over the past several months….well, it is a recipe for feeling less than my best self (understatement, you have a call on line 1).

The good news is that all of this STUFF didn’t prevent me from having some truly lovely moments over the holidays, and I continue to have a really strong support base that I’ve been able to consistently depend on over the last several weeks. The bad news is that it is gonna take some time and effort to get myself back to my usual self and my usual life, and the progress is gonna be more gradual than I would prefer (control issues, you have a call on line 2).

As I sat down to pull together this issue of Ripples, I confessed to my boyfriend that I wasn’t feeling very Ripply and for the first time in a really long time I didn’t quite know how to summon the right energy and mindset to pull together something uplifting to zoom out on Monday morning. His response was significant and powerful: “Paul, what if you just shared exactly what you are thinking? Lots of other people might be feeling less than stellar either because of all the carbs they ate, or coming down from the high of being around loved ones, or just the letdown of the holiday being over.”

I immediately recalled the “doldrums” quote Leslie had shared with me a while back and knew it would make a good base on which to build this issue. It took only another moment to match it with the simple yet powerful words that Ashley shared quite recently, which reminded me of a consistent truth in my life: I’ve always learned more during the tough chapters of my life than the easy-breezy ones.

Now I’m feeling better about not feeling better than I do, so I can exhale and get back to letting myself feel exactly the way I do. And the irony is that I can already sense the tensions lifting and the doldrums dissipating….

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #961: Find The Bridge!

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Ripples #961: Find The Bridge!
Oct 23, 2017

PEBBLE
It’s when you try to find the bridge where two people can meet that I learn the most about the people around me.
-James Altucher
shared by Donna in Owings, MD

BOULDER
To me the really defining question of our humanity and of our civil society right now is not can we agree. That’s kind of idealistic, and it’s not helping us. It’s more about how can we live together while we disagree about these things that are so personal. This requires much more of us spiritually and practically than the illusion that we’ll force agreement.
—Krista Tippett, “Talking with the Other Side”
shared by Maureen in Winona, MN

PONDER
This week I presented at the 2017 GABLE Conference, an annual event coordinated by Procter & Gamble that gathers LGBT+ employees along with allies and external partners for a day of support and growth. We spent some time reviewing the Riddle Scale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddle_scale) that identifies eight ascending levels of support: repulsion, pity, tolerance, acceptance, support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance. While Dr. Dorothy Riddle created this scale based on research of attitudes towards gays and lesbians, I find it useful to consider its broader implications for assessing levels of support for other marginalized groups.

I’m both proud and humbled by the fact that readers of these weekly splashes represent a diverse array of political, religious, and philosophical perspectives. And I am immensely grateful that most of you are well beyond merely ACCEPTING or begrudgingly TOLERATING these differences, and instead see them as something valuable to APPRECIATE and perhaps even NURTURE. It has been my fervent hope for the last 18 years that these emails could serve as not only a consistent source of inspiration, but also strengthen our bonds of commonality while they build bridges between our differences.

Many of you have let me know that you value the resource links I sometimes share, so here is a YouTube Playlist I created for GABLE to explore: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLecRxAeiYrM6kxPIl4H2bmk_UG3U7_rpc In particular, I think Heineken’s “World’s Apart” https://youtu.be/8wYXw4K0A3g and TV2 Denmark’s “All That We Share” https://youtu.be/jD8tjhVO1Tc might help you extend your curiosity to Find The Bridge between you and those who experience the world differently than you do.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #917: Travel Light!

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Ripples #917: Travel Light!
Dec 19, 2016

PEBBLE
One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.
-Henry Miller, shared by Chris in St. Paul, MN

BOULDER
Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
-Miriam Beard, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
For many of us, this time of year includes travel. Whether for holidaying, working, vacationing, or whatever-ing, the next time you hit the road, keep in mind there are a few other things to consider bringing along besides the usual stuff:

While Deodorant and mouthwash will help keep you smelling fresh, an open mind and open heart can help keep a fresh perspective ESPECIALLY when encountering people who experience the world differently than you do.

Aspirin can be helpful with unexpected headaches and hangovers; an extra dose of patience can be helpful with unexpected delays and detours.

Luggage with the right compartments will help you get the most out of limited packing space, a sense of adventure will help you get the most out of the limited time you’ll be away from home.

And remember that whenever possible you should strive to travel light, both literally and figuratively. Fewer suitcases can save time and hassle; less mental baggage can make it so much easier to enjoy the ride!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… 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!

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