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Ripples #1120: Still Here

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Ripples #1120: Still Here.
Nov 9, 2020

PEBBLE
As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you, no matter how ill or how despairing you may be feeling in a given moment.
-Jon Kabat-Zinn, shared by Mary in Denver, CO

BOULDER
Remember, you are still here. The human heart beats approximately 4,000 times per hour and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation is a trophy, engraved with the words, “You are still alive.” You are still alive. Act like it.
-Rudy Francisco, shared by Theresa in Macon, GA

PONDER
You are still here.
Despite the myriad difficulties going on right now…
You are still here.
Regardless of the traumas you’ve endured, the setbacks you’ve encountered, and the disappointments you’ve had to face…
You are still here.
Even if you’re tired, sad, frustrated, bewildered, or some combination of all of these…
You are still here.

Your presence hints at your purpose, even if you’re not always 100% sure what you’re supposed to be doing. You are still here, and that matters. To me and I’m guessing to many others in your life as well. I hope it matters to you, too.

Thank you for everything that you’ve done to make it to today, and thank you for anything you can do today to make the most of your here-ness. Depending upon your needs and wants, invite yourself to work some, play some, rest some, eat some, giggle some, cry some, rage some, ponder some, and maybe go back and repeat the ones that you need some more of.

If you have a spare moment to congratulate someone else on their here-ness, it will likely improve their day and yours, too.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you’re wondering whether you made a difference today, I am 100% sure that you absolutely did: just peeking at this email helps me fulfill my mission of unleashing ripples of compassion and kindness. #urock… Read More!

Ripples #1116: Water Your Wild

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Ripples #1116: Water Your Wild.
Oct 12, 2020

PEBBLE
Don’t water down your wild.
-Heidi Osborn, written and shared by Heidi in West Virginia

BOULDER
More often than not, by doing your thing – as opposed to what you think you ought to be doing – you kindle a fire that helps keep the rest of us warm. -Oliver Burkeman
shared by Pete in Colorado via Oliver Burkeman’s final Guardian column

PONDER
Today’s pebble showed up randomly in my Facebook newsfeed, so I curiously reached out to the person who posted it. I soon learned that “Don’t water down your wild” had become Heidi’s personal motto, one she uses to motivate herself and others.

“I spent many years in self-doubt and holding myself back,” Heidi shared in a message exchange. “I did A LOT of healing and growing to finally allow myself to be the person I wanted to be and was meant to be.” She went on to describe several key crossroads in her considerably challenging life when she heard what she calls “Wild Whispers,” opportunities she experienced as invitations to release her authentic, powerful potential that hadn’t been tamped down or tamed by the expectations and limitations others had placed on her. Some of these wild whispers seemed risky and/or difficult, and yet she looks back on them as key opportunities for growth that she’s glad she embraced.

This line was especially cool to read, “Once I found my wild, I promised myself that I would use that knowledge and wisdom to spark the wild in others. I want people to remember that greatness already lies within…and not to stifle it.”

Here’s my take on Heidi’s awesome motto: maximizing your potential requires harnessing your power without diminishing it. It means not just healing from your many hurts, but also extracting the lessons and wisdom they offer. It means not just overcoming obstacles, but also recognizing the strength you couldn’t have gained without facing those obstacles.

Your wild needs to be encouraged and not extinguished, so keep in mind:
When you WATER your wild, you nourish your power and give life to your potential.
When you WATER DOWN your wild, you dilute your power and weaken your potential.

Be careful and be curious about the choices you make for yourself this week. Do what you can to encourage your authentic voice and instincts while resisting any temptation or habit to diminish what you know to be your real self.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1111: Doing the Work!

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Ripples #1111: Doing the Work!
Sep 7, 2020

PEBBLE
It isn’t about the breakthrough. It’s about doing the work that allows you to break through.
-Shaun Blokker (aka Shaun T), shared by Mary in Fitchburg, WI

BOULDER
If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.
-Dale Carnegie, shared by Kaitlin in Littleton, CO

PONDER
If today is a holiday for you, Happy Labour Day!

Especially in a weird, hard, strange year like this one, I hope this holiday provides us all a little bit of a break before we dive into the fall. This holiday serves to recognize the important contributions of the American labor movement (who fought for five-day work weeks which allowed for the break we now know as weekends), and in normal years provides many of us a transition from “summer fun mode” to fall work/school mode.

I know this has been far from a normal year, and I know many of us weren’t able to extract as much FUN from our summer as we wanted. We still have many struggles to face, and we aren’t as rested as we usually are.

Still, fall is approaching and I believe that some possibilities exist for doing good work. We may need to adjust our expectations and cut ourselves and others a little slack. AND, we can choose to remember that even in tough times there are things to learn, skills to refine, projects to tackle, and growth possibilities that yearn to be embraced.

If you’re reading this on Monday morning and you have the day off…let these quotes and ideas remain in your inbox as you enjoy the holiday. Perhaps on Tuesday or Wednesday you can revisit this and embrace an opportunity for DOING THE WORK!

Peace,
Paul… 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 #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!

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Ripples #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!
Aug 17, 2020

PEBBLE
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
-James Stephens, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

BOULDER
Remember…things that are new only seem scary because they aren’t old yet. After you finally do the new thing, then the fear it held over you will fade away like the morning mist, because the new will have become the old. Focus on what it will be like after you do this thing and the new will become the old in the blink of an eye.
-Mark Cheverton
shared by Troy in Minnesota (who embraced this proclamation by Crafter’s Great-Aunt Milky in Book 2 of the GameKnight999 YA book series)

PONDER
While assembling this week’s issue, I poked through our archives just to make sure the quotes and theme we’re exploring are fresh. I was initially surprised that FEAR pops up as a theme in our weekly splashes every few years. Upon reflection, it makes sense that we repeatedly need to address fear, because fear continues to pop up in our thoughts and feelings.

I recently enjoyed a compelling video snippet of Stella Grizont unpacking how our brains are wired for fear. She explains that our more fearful ancestors survived over their peers who hadn’t developed a capacity to remain vigilant to potential threats.

Fear, it turns out, is essential for survival, and survival is essential for living. Most of us, though, are going for more than just surviving: we want to fully embrace life…we want to THRIVE!

In order to prosper and flourish, we need to cultivate curiosity about when and how fear shows up in our thoughts and feelings. And we need to consciously, mindfully choose how we relate and respond to the natural, inevitable, useful thoughts and feelings that fuel fear.

Our relationship to fear ultimately determines whether it fuels or flattens our courage, because being brave isn’t about eliminating or avoiding fear. Courage is about seeing, smelling and tasting the fear, and moving forward anyway.

Maybe this week we can consciously choose to be less afraid of fear. Instead, let’s honor it, respect it, and work to rise above it. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1103: Your New Life!

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Ripples #1103: Your New Life!
July 13, 2020

PEBBLE
I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.
-Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
shared by Savannah in Plymouth, NH

BOULDER
Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you relationships and friends. It’s going to cost you being liked, and understood. But it doesn’t matter. Because the people who aren’t meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. And you’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. And instead of liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are. Let it go.
-Brianna Wiest, shared by Alison in Pittsburgh, PA

PONDER
In case you were wondering: nope, you’re not dreaming. 2020 is half over, and the unfortunate reality is that this Terrible Time of Covidia is most likely *not* half over.

I’ve lately returned to the four strategies we developed in the early days and weeks… Can you remember all the way back to March when we explored the “Covid Coping” hypothesis that WE GOT THIS if we can pull together with Curious Minds, Open Hearts, and Calm Spirits while Nurturing Health?

I’ve also been relying on the “unfortunate and also fortunate” truth about my own life: the hardest chapters have invariably been the periods when I’ve grown the most. So even though part of me just wants to fast-forward through the rest of 2020 and then erase the entire year, I can already identify several ways that I’ve become stronger and more skilled both professionally and personally.

There are three components of coping with challenge and change: surviving, reviving, and thriving. This pandemic is not impacting everyone the same; plenty of people are struggling to just survive. Still, it is important to remember that many of us have at least a little extra bandwidth to occasionally invest in reviving (picking up the broken pieces) and thriving (building of the new). As the quotes above remind us, growth requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and moving toward the next destination on our life’s journey requires walking away from where we’ve been.

What are you willing to walk away from so that you move closer to your new life? If it feels even a little scary, remind yourself that growth requires discomfort. You cannot remain comfortable and grow into the best possible version of yourself.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. We still have a batch WE GOT THIS Stickers; visit our Google Doc for how to snag a free and/or buy a few to unleash hopeful ripples to friends, family and colleagues: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc. Oh, and if your group/team needs a lift, let me know and perhaps we can create a package of ripply … 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 #1088: Curious Minds

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Ripples #1088: Curious Minds
March 30, 2020

PEBBLE
Wisdom isn’t about accumulating more facts, it’s about understanding big truths in a deeper way. -Melinda Gates, shared by Sr. Miriam in St. Louis, MO

BOULDER
Of course, life does not unfold according to our desires or even according to our beliefs. We are part of life unfolding and teaching us all the time.
-Michael Ketterhagen, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
We revealed last week the idea of our WE GOT THIS stickers to cultivate curious minds, open hearts, and calm spirits while we nurture our health. (Cool news: we’ve since distributed over 1,000 stickers and just ordered another batch! If you’d like a free sticker for yourself OR perhaps order some colleagues and loved ones, please visit this Google Doc for details: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc)

I thought we’d spend the next few weeks unpacking these four Covid Coping strategies, and it makes sense to start with the first one: Curious Minds. My intention in leading with this one is to remind us that there are choices about how to respond to things even when we don’t have a choice about the thing happening. Leaning into these questions can help: How can I learn from this? Who do I want to be on the other side of this? Is it possible to grow through this even if I’m not pleased that I have to go through this?

I had a great exchange with someone last week who messaged me after watching one of the videos I whipped up to help talk us all through this weirdness. She wrote, “Thanks Paul! I hear and appreciate everything you’re saying – but I am struggling with the curious minds part. I don’t want to do this! It’s too big and too overwhelming. I am hanging in there but not liking it one bit.”

I fully agreed that this is indeed really big, and many of us are experiencing daily doses of overwhelm. I asked her to imagine a teacher on the first day of school thinking it would be a good idea to give the class an overview of everything they’d learn for the entire year. My thought is that would probably make you think or even scream something very similar to: “It’s too big and too overwhelming!” Instead of grappling with the whole big mess and how we’re going to get through this, an alternative might be to notice one thing you’ve done in the past couple of weeks that has helped you grow personally or professionally.

Another small way to help activate your curious mind is to pivot from judging people who are handling this differently than you are and instead get curious about what might cause someone to think, say, and do the things that seem at first glance to be irrational or unhelpful in some way.

As for the part about not liking this one bit, I shared that it sounded to me like a part of her is … Read More!

Ripples #1087: We Got This!

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Ripples #1087: We Got This!
March 23, 2020

PEBBLE
Heads Up, Hearts Up, Hopes Up.
-Jonathan Kwiatkowski, shared by Christine in Racine, WI

BOULDER
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge–even wisdom.
-Toni Morrison, shared by Wendy in Oconto, WI

PONDER
I ended last week’s Ripples by confessing that I wasn’t sure how weird and how bad things might get in the coming days. Well, here were are a week later and I am feeling even less sure about the weirdness and the badness we’ll soon be experiencing. Can you relate?

While I believe it is vital that we courageously face the gravity of the situation, I am equally passionate that we do so calmly, and together. I’ve been posting a steady stream of upbeat content on social media and with some other folks created WE GOT THIS stickers that share four helpful skills I’ll unpack here in the coming weeks (see the postscript below if you’d like me to mail you a sticker!)

In the meantime, the quotes above are helping me remain positive and focused even though I’m not turning away from the bad news. Even though some people aren’t taking this as seriously as we wish they would, there is ample evidence that many people ARE taking this seriously and some of them are doing so with style, flair and grace. There is art, wisdom, kindness, and even humor being unleashed by celebreties and everyday folks. They are my heroes, and are making it easier for us to keep our heads, our hearts, and our hopes up.

I’m telling you…We got this!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. We’d be thrilled to zoom you a WE GOT THIS Sticker, for free if you’d like. Visit this Google Doc for the details: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc… Read More!

Ripples #1082: The Gifts of Adversity

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Ripples #1082: The Gifts of Adversity
Feb 17, 2020

PEBBLE
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver, shared by a friend in Montana

BOULDER
Cultivating an awareness of the gifts of adversity can help us to not only weather the difficult storms of our lives but also come out wiser and more compassionate than ever before.
-Carolyn Gregoire, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ via Tricycle.org

PONDER
I’ve recently connected with a few people who are going through some super duper tough stuff lately, and one of them shared the quote featured as today’s pebble. I marveled at this person’s ability to see glimmers of “something good will eventually grow out of this” while enduring waves (and waves and waves) of really unpleasant crappiness (massive understatement).

Seeing the potential upside of tough times does not require us to like them. And it is important to remember that we don’t have to be glad something happened in order to grow from it.*

I think it is important and healthy and useful to be able to say out loud, “I am greatly displeased by the unpleasant aspects of this current situation.” Or, you know, something more succinct, like “*#&@% this $#@+!”

Acknowledging the downsides of difficulty can make more room for seeing the upsides: “I didn’t choose this, nor did I want this…but since I’m stuck with it, I can choose to either simply go through it or find a way to grow through it.”

If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with either tiny or titanic adversity, I invite you spend whatever time you need grumbling about it and then see if there is room to identify potential gifts it has to offer.

May you keep going, keep growing, and keep glowing all the while.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
*P.S. I spoke these words out loud to my sweetie on Sunday morning while we were sitting at the bagel shop assembling this issue. And then I paused and said, “Wait a minute…that sounds really familiar…is that a meme?” We did a google search and the only place I could find the line being used was in a blog post from 2012…our very own Ripples #687. How the heck did I manage to quote myself verbatim from 8 years ago?… Read More!

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