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Perspective

Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!

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Ripples #986: Falling Into Place!
April 16, 2018

PEBBLE
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
-Eckhart Tolle
shared by Toby in Chicago, IL

BOULDER
Life is like a giant puzzle. Each of us has a picture in our mind of how our life will turn out. We keep adding pieces, one at a time, attempting to create that beautiful picture… We never get all the pieces in the right place on the first try. It’s about experimenting until each piece fits together with the next. Each of us has the strength to put the puzzle together. We just have to look for the right pieces. It may seem impossible, but keep striving. Life’s pieces have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
-Renee M. Brtalik, shared by Adam Z

PONDER

So…what are the puzzle pieces you’re dealing with right now? Hopefully, there are enough fun pieces to boost your happiness and enough challenging pieces to keep you growing. If your life is anything like mine, it includes some lovely pieces of good stuff; a handful of difficult pieces that are troublesome-yet-manageable; and a few that at times seem too frustrating to be worth including in your life’s puzzle.

The thing is, some of the more difficult pieces turn out to be the most precious. I’ve learned from assembling jigsaw puzzles as a hobby over the last few decades that I’m far more pleased and proud when I finally finish the really difficult ones than I am when I zip through one of the easier ones. I appreciate them more, and I value them more. (That doesn’t mean I never do the easy ones, by the way. We all need a guaranteed win sometimes!)

If you are handling some particularly difficult pieces in a really complicated life-puzzle right now,I encourage you to pause long enough to catch your breath and hopefully regain a sense of perspective. (Ask. For. Help.)

If, on the other hand, things are going fairly smoothly at this time in your life, perhaps you can make an extra effort to help someone nearby who is struggling with their puzzle. It may make all the difference in the world to them, and it just might add a few cool pieces to your own puzzle.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #912: Seeing The Best?

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Ripples #931: Seeing The Best!
Mar 27, 2017

PEBBLE
When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
-William Arthur Ward, shared by Chris, Green Bay, WI

BOULDER
We’ve become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
—Jimmy Carter, shared by Glen in Memphis, TN

PONDER

Sometimes when I know my schedule is going to be hectic I try and assemble a few issues of Ripples in advance to make sure I have good ones to consistently unleash each Monday morning. Late last October during a long layover, I matched the two quotes above and imagined they would make an excellent “coming together” theme just in time for the first Monday after the November election. I even had drafted the first part of the ponder, assuming that a week after the election most of us to be ready for a pep talk about coming together. This is what I had written:

“Whew–We made it to the end of the election cycle! Many people will need a little more time to celebrate their victory, recover from their defeat, or decompress after an especially rancorous campaign. Eventually, we are all going to need to rise up and figure out how to come together; we also need figure out how to improve our ability to get along with each other, respect our differences, and forge ahead to create a future that will improve things for all of us. That is a tall order, and some people think it has become impossible given that we increasingly choose to live in politically homogenous areas and prefer media sources that reinforce our world view rather than help us examine multiple perspectives.”

News flash: thanks to an election result that most of us didn’t expect and more than a few of us didn’t want, I couldn’t find ANYONE who was ready to “come together,” just six days after the election. Even today, many of us are still are perplexed how we could even begin to rebuild our long depleted reserves of trust and respect with those who are “on the other side.”

I’m as weary (and wary!) as the next person, but at the same time curious whether last week’s somewhat unexpected turn of events with health care reform could signal a new opportunity for us to test the waters and attempt some bridge building. Could this victory allow progressives to pause and catch their breath a bit? Might it allow conservatives to be reminded that many of these incredibly complex issues have a better chance of being addressed if we came together not to *eliminate* our differences but instead to *leverage* our differences in ways that would allow us to listen, learn, consider, collaborate, compromise, and move things forward in some meaningful way?

I know it’s a bit of a long shot, but I also know that we tend to reward our friends (and ourselves) for their … Read More!

Ripples #923: Winter’s Sacred Quality!

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Ripples #923: Winter’s Sacred Quality.
Jan 30, 2017

PEBBLE
If you touch the sacred quality of winter inside yourself—that quality of everything returning to its most essential form—you find yourself falling off the end of the mind and into openness.
-Adyashanti, shared by Pamela, in Hawi, HI

BOULDER
Now I realize that the trees blossom in spring and bear fruit in summer without seeking praise, and they drop their leaves in autumn and become naked in winter without fearing blame.
-Kahlil Gibran, shared by Carol in Tennessee

PONDER
We recognize spring and summer as seasons of emerging and developing, yet we tend to forget that autumn’s decomposition and winter’s dormancy are also vital components of the growth cycle. Winter is the time when many organisms are resting and recovering as they prepare for another growth spurt that will inevitably arrive when spring showers and summer sunshine returns. And while it’s perfectly natural (and perfectly acceptable) to long for those warmer, brighter days, it might be useful to cultivate an appreciation for the regenerative, restorative nature of winter.

If too many bleak and blustery days in a row have you feeling down, I invite you to reframe the need to bundle up as an opportunity to practice insulating yourself from unwelcome bitterness of the elements. And instead of feeling “stuck inside,” you might choose to leverage your inside time with an inward focus: a chance to rest, nest, and digest…which will return you to your best.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. It is completely acceptable if you just groaned at the last line. Completely. Acceptable.… 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 #905: Pieces of Truth.

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Ripples #905: Pieces of Truth.
Sept 26, 2016

PEBBLE
People generally assume that differences between two parties create the problem. Yet differences can also lead to a solution.
-Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon, shared by Kelsey in Fond du lac, WI

BOULDER
Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.
-Ken Wilber, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
I’m pretty sure that folks here in the U.S. have noticed that we are inching closer to Election Day. I know I am not the only one who wonders if the “us versus them” dynamic has reached unprecedented and possibly unsafe new heights this time around. I don’t think it actually has, but it sure does seem like it lately.

Many of my connections tend to hang out on the more liberal/progressive end of the political spectrum (like I do), while others are either on the more conservative end or hover more in the middle (sometimes because they aren’t always sure what to think, or because different issues find them leaning in different directions). Thanks to this incredibly diverse set of voices in my social media newsfeed, I have a somewhat unique vantage point in observing, listening, and engaging in politics, social issues, etc. And I’ve concluded that we have a greater-than-we-realize tendency to label those who look at the world differently than us as either Dummies (who aren’t informed), Meanies (who don’t care) or Crazies (who aren’t rational).

From whichever vantage point you’re sitting, it is true that people on the “other side” sometimes don’t seem informed about some issues, as compassionate towards some people, nor as rational about some topics. To be fair, I think it is crucial to keep in mind that the folks on “our side” are not always as informed, compassionate, and rational as they could be, either. We can all be a little dumb (uninformed), mean (uncaring) and crazy (irrational) at times–it’s just that we tend to cut ourselves and our friends a bit more slack so it doesn’t SEEM quite as bad when OUR side says something unreasonable.

Over the past few months I’ve been talking about the “conjugation of compassion” and how we often extend caring and empathy more generously towards people we know and have a basic amount of trust and respect while we are sometimes considerably stingy with our compassion when it comes to people we don’t have much trust and/or respect for.

In some ways it makes sense–there are times when “those people” have earned the low levels of positive regard we hold towards them. At the same time, I’m concerned that the rancor and incivility has reached such a deafening level so that there is almost no chance for us to influence each other any more. We’ve all covered our ears and are just shouting our own truth without even listening to what … Read More!

Ripples #901: Embracing Wholeness.

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Ripples #901: Embracing Wholeness.
Aug 29, 2016

PEBBLE
We are not meant to be perfect,
we are meant to be whole.
-Jane Fonda, shared by Barbara in Rochester, MI

BOULDERS
Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness-mine, yours, ours-need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life. -Parker Palmer

You are whole and also part of larger and larger circles of wholeness you many not even know about. You are never alone. And you already belong. You belong to humanity. You belong to life. You belong to this moment, this breath. -Jon Kabat-Zinn

PONDER
I’ve been repeatedly encountered this magical word WHOLENESS lately, and it has caused me to ponder what it means to recognize and embrace our wholeness. The process of becoming whole seems to be about recognizing that we already are whole. Each of us is a unique collection of strengths and quirks and talents and opportunities for growth. We all contain in our souls both incredible light and considerable darkness; to deny the existence of either is to extend an illusion that shields us from our wholeness. We can fulfill our grandest potential only when we are able to humbly and cheerfully acknowledge both our gifts and our shortcomings.

Wholeness is also accepting the paradox that we are both completely independent from and yet inevitably dependent upon the people around us. We are at our best when we can stand on our own while relying on a tribe of friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to lean on.

Our wholeness is even evident in our brokenness: those inevitable chapters in our life when we feel helpless, hopeless, and/or completely lost. Even then, there exists within us the capacity to take a deep breath (or three) and remember that that harder that life has been lately….the more impressive it is that we’ve made it to today.

Embrace your whole, fabulous self this week. I feel certain it will improve your life, and it will probably impact the lives of those around you as well.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. My apologies for not being able to select just one quote for the Boulder–I thought we needed multiple perspectives to really capture the whole concept. Truth be told there was even a a third one I considered as well, this Carl Rogers quote that Holly in New Jersey shared: “I am most impressed with the fact that each human being has a directional tendency toward wholeness, toward actualization of his potentialities.”… Read More!

Ripples #870: Meaning!

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Ripples #870: Meaning!
Jan 25, 2016

PEBBLE
Most humans feel the transcendent temptation, the emotional drive to festoon the universe with large-scale meaning.
-Paul Kurtz, shared by Ryan in Arlington, TX

BOULDER
Every experience that we have
contains purpose and meaning.
Each event, each person in our lives
embodies an energetic fragment
of our own psyche and soul.
-Caroline Myss, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

PONDER
Each week as I sit down to prepare the next issue of Ripples, my intention is to assemble a sixty second splash of inspiration that elevates the spirit and provides something meaningful to contemplate as the week begins. I often hear from readers who let me know that a particular issue seems to have been assembled just for them. My best guess as to why they and many of you enjoy reading these quick splashes is that Ripples invites you to deepen your understanding of yourself, the people and events you encounter, and the world in general.

We humans are eager to make sense of things. We long for meaning. One of the best current guesses as to why we dream at night is that it is our mind’s attempt to create meaning out of the random bits of information and emotions that are zooming around in our psyche as we slumber. We take all these facts and thoughts and feelings and ideas and memories and weave together a story. (It’s one of the reasons that we can sometimes incorporate into our dream a noise or disturbance that doesn’t completely wake us–we’re so eager to create meaning that will just add that into the story line we’re dreaming about!) This doesn’t just happen when we sleep, of course, because we are *always* trying to deepen our understanding of things.

Because people tend to seek and/or create meaning from a variety of sources (religion, philsophy, science, literature, etc.), I’ll admit that at times I find it tricky to share a few ideas in a way that can be received by folks with a wide array of perspectives. Sometimes when I’m feeling feisty I’ll admit to pushing the envelope; for the most part, however, I’m trying to gently nudge us all to be curious, thoughtful, mindful meaning-makers.

Let’s try to be a little more conscious this week of when and how we draw conclusions and make decisions about the people, events, and circumstances that cross our paths. Perhaps a bit more mindfulness will lead to a bit more useful meaning? Let’s find out!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. We are always seeking fresh and fabulous quotes to unleash each week. It helps if you submit quotes one at a time via our Quote Submission page: http://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/ but you can also simply reply to this email as well. Thanks!… Read More!

Ripples #851: Connecting The Dots.

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Ripples #851: Connecting The Dots.
Sep 14, 2015

PEBBLE
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.
Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt, shared by Gary in Glassboro, NJ

Life must be lived forward but understood backward.
-Soren Kierkegaard, shared by Kalea in Bend, OR.

BOULDER
You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.
-Steve Jobs, shared by Allie in Bowling Green, KY

PONDER
Making (or finding) meaning is not always easy in this kooky, mixed up, challenging and at times heartbreaking world we live in. Acquiring and maintaining a reliable sense of how things work and why things happen and what life is all about isn’t easy. At all. Some of us seek answers in religious faith while others develop their understanding of life by spending time in nature or at a library or just by hanging around people they consider to be wise.

On a good day we usually have a general sense of how and why things are the way they are; on the tough days we feel bewildered and lost. The other days are about trudging through and trusting that a bit of light will peek through the clouds.

Most of us have had moments of awe where we just get it: everything makes sense and even the toughest questions have answers. These moments are fleeting, and I think the most realistic expectation of the human experience is one with lots of questions and confusion and wonderings and hopefully a few opportunities to connect the dots.

I hope you can rest near the pond of patient optimism this week while maintaining a realistic expectation that some “Answers & Understandings” are on their way and will arrive when the time is right. Other things will remain mysterious, bewildering and/or frustrating and won’t be resolved until The Sequel. Until your dots are connected in a way that works for you, let them be confetti swirling about a surprise party to Celebrate Today.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Ryan, a good buddy and longtime Ripples contributor, stumbled across a video this week that has me pondering quite a bit. Take a minute to take it in: https://www.facebook.com/KyleCeasePage/videos/vb.8116888061/10153055923883062/?
“You are what you love, not what loves you.” -Charlie Kaufman, Adaptation… Read More!

Ripples #847: Transforming Troubles!

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Ripples #847: Transforming Troubles!
Aug 17, 2015

PEBBLE
We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles but the grace to transform them.
-Simone Weil, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
It is up to us to find the joy that dissolves the desperate moment, that changes the burden of life to the passion. Find the gift that brings that joy in your life and nurture it and guard it and grow it. And when you can, find the gift in others and urge them toward it. -David Smith, shared by Debbie in Vista, CA

PONDER
We sometimes fantasize about a life without difficulties in a world without any problems at all. And while I think it can be fun to daydream about such a life, it’s useful to keep in mind that challenges are less problematic when we view them not as obstacles to make life harder, but instead as opportunities to help us grow stronger.

So often when tragedies strike, survivors comment on the unexpected and generous support that pours in. And it isn’t uncommon for an unwelcome personal setback to eventually look like a growth-inducing opportunity once we get through it and beyond it. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t ever lament our woes or ask for help, because sometimes it feels good to vent our exasperation, and part of courageous living includes asking for assistance when needed.

If you have some troubles you’re struggling with this week, see if you can transform how you look at them. Changing your perspective won’t evaporate every challenge, but hopefully will make them easier to embrace, or tackle, or vanquish, or whatever needs to be done!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #846: Glorious Mistakes!

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Ripples #846: Glorious Mistakes!
Aug 10, 2015

PEBBLE
One mistake is an accident;
Two mistakes are your fault;
Three mistakes become jazz.
-written and shared by Kailyn Bennett in Boulder, CO

BOULDER
Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
-Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art, shared by Johnathan in Indianapolis, IN

PONDER
Since everyone makes mistakes, and since mistakes develop persistence while increasing the satisfaction of eventually getting it right, it seems like a reasonably good idea to be as patient as possible when you or someone around you makes them.

Of course there are certain times when mistakes should be avoided because of their potential cost (heart surgeons, I’m talking to YOU!). But I’ve often found that the amount of time we spend worrying about and preventing mistakes takes up more time and energy than fixing minor errors that aren’t “end of the world” or “how are we going to recover from this?”

I invite you to take a few extra breaths this week and prepare to be less worried about making mistakes. Instead, let your excitement build as you consider how interesting your contributions could make the world when you build on your successes and improve after your mistakes. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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