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Ripples #1137: Presence

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Ripples #1137: Presence
March 8, 2021

PEBBLE
Stress x Resistance = Suffering
Stress x Presence = Growth, Evolution
-Tara Brach, shared by Cindy in California

BOULDER
By becoming settled and comfortable in the seat of the observer through the day, you establish Presence in your life.
Molly Triplett, shared by Isaac in Sedona, AZ, via Everyday Mindfulness

PONDER
It is okay to be dissatisfied with stuff that is going on in your life, and it is natural to wish things could be different than they are right now. If we’re not careful, however, we can get tripped up by the double dangers of dissatisfaction:

DANGER OF DENIAL: we can’t really begin to change our current circumstances until we recognize and accept the reality of the current situation. Lingering too long in the “wishing things were different” space can keep us trapped in a state of denial and/or delusion.

DANGER OF DELAY: the longer we are stuck in wishing mode, the longer it will take for us to beginning planning and executing a transition to something better.

Each time we pivot from being an unhappy wisher of what could be to a curious witness of what is, we gain clarity and creativity that helps us identifying problems and seeking potential solutions.

Of course there’s more to improving our lives and the world than simply being present, but it is an important first step. So let’s keep our eyes, our ears, and our hearts open and alert this week, and may our presence be a present to ourselves and every soul we encounter.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1123: Free Your Focus

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Ripples #1123: Free Your Focus
Nov 30, 2020

PEBBLE
Don’t water your weeds.
-Harvey Mackay, shared by Carol in Bloomington, IN

BOULDER
What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.
-Robin Sharma, shared by Ted in Lancaster, PA

PONDER
As we get closer to wrapping up the year, my partner Jamie and I recently sat down to write our holiday letter. Our first thought was, “What are we gonna write about? We’ve basically been stuck at home for most of 2020!” It didn’t take long, however, until we were thinking about some fun adventures we had before Covid inserted itself into our lives. And then we remembered quite a few good times we had despite all the limitations and restrictions.

We also realized that even though the year is almost over, there is still time to focus our time and energy so that the year can include a few more bright spots. My pal Toby reminded me in his weekly tobynotes email that there is still 8% of the year left, and there are plenty of possibilities to be explored!

If we focus primarily on our weeds, we might inadvertently set ourselves up for more weeds in 2021. So this week, I’m asking myself:
What thoughts and actions are keeping me in the weeds?
How can I pivot away from them and move towards more productive thoughts and actions?
To end the year strong, are there areas that need my attention more than others? Rest? Reflection? Chores? Planning?

I invite you to join me in pondering, planning, and pivoting.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. We’ve already sent out all the Bundles of Hope we assembled last week. I’m open to creating a few more if you or someone in your life needs Hope for the Holidays: https://bit.ly/HopeBundle-Doc… Read More!

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 #1104: Letting Nature Speak

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Ripples #1104: Letting Nature Speak
July 20, 2020

PEBBLE
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
-Linda Hogan, shared by Terry in Oak Creek, WI

BOULDER
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
-William Henry Davies, shared by Terri in Canton, GA

PONDER
Thanks to a childhood filled with year round scouting and summers at Camp Ondessonk, I’ve long known just how restorative it can be to spend time in nature, letting her speak and remembering how to listen to what she has to say. Sometimes, however, I forget.

Here’s my truth right now: burnout is a thing that is real and is happening to me (and others too, I feel quite certain!). And one of the quirky things that I’ve learned about myself over the years is that two of burnout’s most powerful antidotes, change of pace and change of scenery, often elude me when I begin to tire. One of the sneakier aspects of burnout is that when it begins creeping toward me, I often find myself running in the opposite direction…I throw myself into projects and mind swirls that only bring me closer to the brink of a full on freak out.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been following some of the advice I share with others when it comes to certain aspects of self care. On the one hand, I have been doing a pretty good job at the daily tasks: eating, nutrition, exercise, meditation, but it has became increasingly clear that I’ve been neglecting the need for a deeper reset. My soul has been whispering, and I’ve been ignoring.

I’m addressing that with a brief respite. And I’ve decided that for me and for now, traveling isn’t the wisest option for our individual and collective health. So I’m going to hunker down here, and make daily appointments with books, with music, and with nearby Nature. I’ll be back with soon with refreshed spirit and a renewed determination to help us all keep going, keep growing, & keep glowing. In the meantime, I’ve set up the next few issues of Ripples so you can hopefully be inspired while I’m resting.

See. You. Soon.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1099: Connecting With Heart

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Ripples #1099: Connecting With Heart
June 15, 2020

PEBBLE
We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
-Wayne Shorter, shared by Leslie in Madison

BOULDER
Your heart is connected to the entire picture. Your mind cares about temporary circumstances. The more you connect to the bigger picture, the faster that the temporary will take care of itself.
-Kyle Cease
shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA via Fb https://www.facebook.com/KyleCeasePage/posts/10154865625313062?

PONDER
Another week of struggles and strains from Covid-19, and another week of tumult and tragedy around systemic racism that still plagues our society. As tensions continue to rise and patience continues to diminish, there is an urgent need for all of us to bring our heads AND our hearts to the tasks of listening, learning and leading.

Connecting with Heart reminds us that our our perceptions inform our perspectives, and our perceptions are often shaped without our full, conscious awareness. For example, it’s tempting to focus on the most egregious faults of our foes as evidence of their inhumanity, while excusing the inevitable missteps of our allies as “well-intentioned errors.” Over time, these patterns make it so easy to view people on our team as flawed-yet-fabulously GOOD and the people on their team as dangerous-and-damaging BAD.

It is true that there have been fault lines around politics for centuries, and they won’t be going away any time soon. Still, I believe that our current challenges are complicated by how easily it has become to gather information primarily from sources that reinforce our views and opinions, and not just distinguishing but also demonizing theirs. Furthermore, our patterns around social media and communication tools encourage impulsive reactions that include “you’re either with us or against us” messages and mindsets that at their best are oversimplified shortcuts to rally our troops, and at their worst can be misleading, divisive and dangerous.

Connecting with Heart requires gobs of patience, persistence, creativity, curiosity and commitment in order to increase your understanding of how “they” are looking at this differently than you. And we don’t have to AGREE with them or even LIKE them in order to hear them. It does require acknowledging and respecting their humanity. It ain’t easy, but I believe it is our best move forward.

I’m proud that our diverse readership comes together every Monday morning for 60 seconds of inspiration, opening our minds and our hearts to connect and grow. We’ve had a few bumps in the road here and there, and we’ve lost a few friends along the way. Overall, though, I’m glad we’ve found a way to Connect with Heart.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. A heart-filled thank you to all who pitched in for a Hope Share to help get Ripples of Hope into print. We are quite close to a big announcement. More soon.… Read More!

Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.

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Ripples #1022: Inhaling Peace.
Dec 24, 2018

PEBBLE
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
-Giovanni Giocondo
shared by Jeane in Taos, NM
excerpt from “Letter to the Most Illustrious the Contessina Allagia degli Aldobrandeschi, Written Christmas Eve Anno Domini 1513”, which may or may not have been written by the Italian Friar Giovanni Giocondo

BOULDER
moment (a poem)
moment
as we take in a breath
we inhale peace,
exhale peace, love, kindness and joy
in every moment
-ted balser
written and shared by Ted in Lady Lake, FL

PONDER
You may be busy on this Christmas Eve, and if that is the case let me just quickly tell you that I hope this holiday week provides many opportunities to inhale peace.

If you happen to have a few spare moments, consider finding time to read and ponder the full letter that is excerpted in today’s Pebble. While some historians question its source, many people know it as a Christmas Letter attached to a basket of fruit given by a priest to a friend. I can’t say with certainty WHEN it was written or WHO wrote it, but I know for sure that pausing to mindfully read it over a few times brought me both enthusiastic joy and also a sense of calm peace.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those who celebrate Christmas: I hope it is a magical and quite merry holiday for you. For everyone who has spent time reading these weekly splashes, sharing them with friends, and submitting quotes: thank you for helping extend their reach!… Read More!

Ripples #1,010: Swimming in Silence!

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Ripples #1,010: Swimming in Silence!
Oct 1, 2018

PEBBLE
Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.
-Francis Bacon, shared by Kelly in Philadelphia, PA

BOULDER
I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.
-Albert Einstein, shared by Katherine in Milwaukee, WI

PONDER
I make my living as a leadership trainer and keynote speaker, designing and delivering presentations that encourage individuals and teams to cultivate their potential. In short: I get paid to talk.

While I’m proud of the talent I’ve developed as an orator, I credit much of my success as a speaker to silence. In early conversations I ask event planners what they hope attendees will be thinking, feeling, and doing after my time with them, and then I get quiet so I can listen to the responses. During the preparation phase I spend quite a bit of time talking through all the things I might want to say about the topic we’ll be exploring, but then I need a good length of silent time (days, weeks, even months) to let things simmer in my soul. Even as I’m giving the actual talk, silences are powerful pauses that provide some space for the audience to receive the ideas I’m sharing.

Silence is also a sacred part of my process for assembling these weekly splashes. I often sit in silence before and after I’ve selected the quotes–at the very least to give myself time to think about what I want to communicate. When things are really flowing, the silence becomes a transcendent portal which connects me to wisdom from a higher source.

I’ll confess to you that events of this past week (the personal and the political) depleted me mightily and I wasn’t sure how to rally the creativity I like to bring to Ripples. One moment of silence helped me find my center, and another allowed the juices to begin flowing. If you’re enjoying this so far, that means silence helped us both.

Perhaps you can extend the ripples and invite silence to work some additional magic in your work and life this week? I hope so.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I apologize for any extra spaces may be creeping into my typing…the spacebar on my laptop is doing something quirky of late. Maybe interpret them as opportunities for silence? 🙂… Read More!

Ripples #998: Becoming You!

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Ripples #998: Becoming You!
July 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
-Steven Pressfield, shared by Josh Spector in his newsletter, For The Interested

BOULDER
There is no such thing as a perfect version of you. Every day you’ll make choices that change who you’re going to be. Who you’re becoming is not finished. Which means you can be different, no matter who you’ve been up till now.
-Brian Andreas
shared by our friend D, who savors the slopes and the sea

PONDER

So, how are you?
And while I’m at it: Who are you?

We often answer the first question with, “fine” even when we aren’t, and usually respond to the second with our name and maybe our occupation.

I’ve been lately pondering the longer, deeper answers to both of these questions, and encouraging workshop participants and keynote audiences to do the same. In many presentations, I invite people to form small groups and introduce themselves to each other in ways other than describing their work/education background. As I walk around the room, I hear some people talking about their families (the ones they were born into or the ones they’ve grown into), while others disclose places they’ve lived or visited. Other possible topics include hobbies, community engagement, or even favorite movies, books or songs.

I also provide questions that make it easier to move beyond simple, trite answers about how work/life is going. Even posing this simple pair of questions can evoke (or elicit) longer, more meaningful conversations: What’s working for you right now? What isn’t?

Pondering, sharing, and discussing these questions can help us better understand who we are and who we are becoming. Of course our answers will continue to evolve–one of the exciting aspects of personal and professional growth is that today’s answers have the power to reshape the responses you’ll have tomorrow.

Join us in the pondering, sharing, discussing and becoming!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You have just a few more days to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000 by snapping a selfie of your smiling self holding a sign of encouragement and emailing it to Smiles@2rpl.me. Early submitters can get a set of goodies to help them unleash ripples of kindness during the week of July 23rd. Peek at other submissions if you need inspiration.  Are you in? Please, PLEASE be in! We have about 100 right now, and I’m really hoping for 1,000!… Read More!

Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!

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Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!
May 28, 2018

PEBBLE
If you’re going to be in the gym: BE IN THE GYM!
-RAS
shared by Belinda in Berkeley, CA, who saw this at the US Olympic Training Center

ANOTHER PEBBLE
Can we get to the place where there is no place to get to?
-Michael Stone
shared by PT in Miami Beach, FL

PONDER
I’m on holiday, and would like to keep this brief. If it’s okay with you, I’ll be where I am, and you be where you are. Let’s be okay with that for today. Tomorrow we can wake up and get back to the task of moving and going and growing.

Can you get there?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those of us here in the U.S., our Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer. It’s grounded in an observance of those who died in service to their country; please consider taking some time to acknowledge their sacrifice.… Read More!

Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!

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Ripples #991: Soar, Stumble, & Flourish!
May 21, 2018

PEBBLE
You are worthwhile and capable even though you make mistakes.
-original source unknown,
shared by Hannah in Asheville, NC, who received this message from her 8th grade science teacher, who may in turn have stumbled upon this mantra when it was shared by Joan Redeen in response to a 2010 blog post about advice you wish your 13-year-old self could hear
http://kellehampton.com/2010/10/to-thine-own-self-be-true.html#comment-226761 (yup, I poked around the interwebs, determined to find the original source!)

BOULDER
The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble, and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence. We were born to live, my dear, not merely to exist.
-Becca Lee, shared by Lee in Wichita, KS

PONDER

Last week in my excitement to commence our countdown towards Ripples #1,000, I encouraged people to join our official Facebook group, Team Ripples so they would be in on the scoop about how they could participate in unleashing some ripply goodness this summer.

On Monday morning after Ripples #990 zoomed out, I eagerly anticipated dozens or maybe even hundreds of you joining us there. I waited, and waited, and nothing really happened. I was starting to wonder if ya’ll had stopped reading these little splashes…and then someone messaged me, “Hey, Ripples Guy–the links don’t seem to work!”

YIKES!

Rather than being relieved that our fabulous team of happy Ripplers hadn’t abandoned me after all, I instead started to kick myself for not checking the links before sending it out. Maybe *I* am the one who had abandoned Ripples…since I apparently hadn’t bothered to throughly proofread the draft before zooming it out to our 30,0000 readers.

And then I took a breath. And another.

I realized that waiting another week to share corrected links wouldn’t significantly delay our plans. And several ripplers demonstrated their passion by finding their way to the group on their own. I began to realize that maybe the mistake wasn’t so bad after all.

When it was time to prepare this week’s edition, I began my weekly ritual of reviewing quote submissions to identify which pebbles and boulders were ready to be shared. Joy and gratitude washed over me as I realized just how vast this massive ocean of inspired wisdom has become thanks to the steady stream of submissions over the last 20 years…another sign of how much ripply love is simmering in our collective conscious. And ever so gently, the two quotes above emerged from the collection as if to say, “Sweet friend, stumbles aren’t obstacles. Stumbles help you soar! Mistakes are simply tiny treasures that reveal your humanity and pave the way for growth.”

May your journey this week include plenty of opportunities to soar, stumble, and flourish.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I’ll try again: please join Team Ripples, our official Facebook Group, if you’d like to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRipples/?

ALSO: If you’d like to participate … Read More!

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