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Renewal

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 #1090: Calm Spirits

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Ripples #1090: Calm Spirits
April 20, 2020

PEBBLE
Don’t worry about calming the storm.
Calm yourself; the storm will pass.
-source unknown, shared by David in Northridge, CA

BOULDER
When your life seems messed up, it’s incredibly depressing to start thinking about the next year or the next month or, sometimes, even the next day. Take the next hour or even the next five minutes and find a way to be happy and positive in those moments. Maybe it’s watching a funny video or calling a friend or eating your favorite food, just find a way to not be miserable in the short term. If you string enough moments of ok-ness together, you’ll find your way back to the light.
-Brady Krien, written and shared by Brady in Iowa City, IA [who offered this advice a few years ago to a struggling college student]

PONDER
Welcome to the third in our four-part “Covid Coping” series, exploring four strategies we can focus on to get through this: curious minds (https://mailchi.mp/unleashripples/rr1088), open hearts (https://mailchi.mp/unleashripples/r1089), calm spirits, and nurturing our health.

Many people have shared with me just how exhausting and exasperating the last few weeks have been, and I’ll tell you: I’m feeling it, too. I think I handled the first few weeks of all this weirdness with an infusion of adrenaline, my innate optimism, and a solid sense that our best way through this turbulence and uncertainty was by pulling together and staying together.

I’m aware that my instinct to jump into helping mode has impacted my ability to step back and regain my center.

Instead of spending more time crafting a ponder about the importance of cultivating calm through meditation, prayer, relaxation exercises, walks in nature, or some other mindful practice….I need to pause, take a few deep breaths (here now), and expend fewer minutes explaining it so I can spend more minutes doing it.

Some additional deep breaths, an extra meditation session, and a few hours of laying the couch will likely invoke a lovely evening of ok-ness; I’m guessing tomorrow will find me a little closer in my journey back to the light.

May you make your way toward a calmer spirit, too.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1019: Loving Stillness.

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Ripples #1019: Loving Stillness.
Dec 3, 2018

PEBBLE
Being still does not mean don’t move. It means move in peace.
-E’yen A. Gardner, shared by Petra in Ft. Myers, FL

BOULDER
I am finding the antidote to overwhelm not by completing more or by doing less but by falling in love with stillness.
-Leah Pearlman, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA

PONDER
I’ve reached the end of a long and in certain ways difficult and in other ways delightful year: I’ve mostly recovered from a couple of health challenges; managed the process of selling my condo and transitioned to living with Jamie in our new house; I’ve wrapped up the last of my speaking engagements; and I’ve been touching base with the groups I’ll fire up early in 2019 so see if they need anything before the holidays.

And now: it is time for me to rest.

I’ve cleared my schedule, set up my vacation messages for email and voicemail, and picked out some books and puzzles and other activities to help me wind down. Most importantly, I’m going to make time for stillness. I’ve learned before that carving out this time at the end of the year allows me to reset my mind, body, and spirit.

Fear not, hardy ripplers: I have been working double time the last few weeks so I could queue an ample supply of weekly Ripples emails as well as the daily splashes that I post on social media (if you’re not familiar, you can enjoy these by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn).

I know this is a hectic time of year for various reasons. Still, I hope you can find at least a few moments stillness in the coming weeks!

Oh, and Happy Hanukkah!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1,008: Surrounded By Safety!

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Ripples #1,008: Surrounded By Safety!
Sep 17, 2018

PEBBLE
Create safe spaces for yourself. Wrap yourself in goodness and warmth and love. Stay surrounded by people who are genuine-think twice if you can’t trust them with your heart. You are allowed to protect your peace. Be mindful and aware of all energy that you allow into your life.
-Alex Elle, shared by Jennifer in Sacramento, CA

BOULDER
There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not…. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.
-José N. Harris (adapted), shared by Chyral in Menomonee Falls, WI

PONDER
With the recent chaos in my life that I mentioned last week, it was so lovely to receive an outpouring of kind messages from many of you. I’ve also been depending on a deep bench of reliably supportive people in my life and they have been enormously helpful.

There’s no doubt about it: life is sometimes hard. As I read and reread Alex Elle’s encouragement to “wrap yourself in goodness and warmth and love”–I keep seeing in my mind an image of a giant sheet of bubblewrap–not a barrier that could magically prevent life’s inevitable falls, but a spiritual and emotional coating that could break the fall and cushion the landing.

If you read this and can immediately identify a few people in your life that provide goodness and warmth and love, make an extra effort to express your gratitude this week. If you’d like to surround yourself with more of the right kind of people, wander into new spaces and meet some new people this week. Ask the universe to help guide you to fresh sources of support, and be mindful of opportunities to extend support to those you encounter.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… 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 #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 #981: Preaching From Scars!

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Ripples #981: Preaching From Scars!
March 12, 2018
PEBBLE
I only preach from my scars, not my wounds.
-Nadia Bolz-Weber, shared by Kelly in Evanston, IL
BOULDER
We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds–the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them…to teach us to become compassionate and wise. -Caroline Myss, shared by Annie in Los Angeles, CA
PONDER
A few years ago, I heard a panelist at a higher education conference reference the “scars and wounds” quote in today’s pebble. In a lovely splash of synchronicity, I learned afterwards that it was my dear friend and colleague Toby Causby who had shared the quote with her.
I knew I’d eventually want to use the quote in Ripples, but wasn’t sure how. The answer came just recently when I happened upon the above passage from Caroline Myss and I knew it was the right time to swing back around and share an update on my health with everyone on Team Ripples.
You may recall a few months ago I made passing reference to some unexpected health challenges I was facing. I didn’t share much–not even with family and friends. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but as I began to feel better I realized I was waiting until I could get a better handle on what was happening and what was coming next before I started talking about it. The short version is that after a particularly busy and stressful period of travels last fall, I ended up in the ICU with internal bleeding. We still aren’t sure exactly what happened or where a few pints of my blood managed to disappear to, but I’ve been steadily improving over the past few months and glad to report that I’m gradually starting to feel like my regular self. I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m getting there!
While I don’t recommend misplacing a quarter of your blood supply, I will tell you it was a profoundly useful opportunity to revisit my self-care strategies. Over the last few months I’ve strengthened my meditation and tai chi practices and removed several things from my schedule and to-do lists that weren’t contributing to my effectiveness and/or enjoyment.
Now that my wounds have mostly healed, I’m eager to preach the good news: the challenges we face might scar us, but they don’t have to break us if we lean into the opportunities for learning and growth. In other words: WE’VE GOT THIS!
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. If you’re enjoying Ripples, remember that the best way to show it is to SHARE Ripples with your peeps and encourage them to join us, and also click the SUBMIT A
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Ripples #971: Ready to Climb!

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Ripples #971: Ready to Climb!
Jan 1, 2018
PEBBLE
Step out of the history that is holding you back.
Step into the new story you are willing to create.
-Oprah Winfrey, shared by Angela in Madison, WI
BOULDER
Success, happiness and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In the real world there are no escalators; just stairs. So get ready to climb.
-Lilly Singh, shared by: Heather in Edmonton, AB Canada
PONDER
Happy New Year to you!
Here we are in the first hours of 2018…positively bursting with potential. It is time not only to decide what we want this year to look like, but also to decide what we’re willing to do in order to make it a really extraordinary chapter in our lives.
Some people like the idea of setting resolutions, and others….well, not so much. While I do not usually set traditional resolutions, I do like to set aside some time at the beginning of the year to ponder possibilities and then mindfully set intentions, priorities, and direction for the year. That usually involves identifying some specific, concrete actions I’m ready to commit to as well as a couple of achievements I’m ready to work towards.
What might help you infuse the new year with a little more hope, a little more courage, and a little more purpose? Think about this a bit, and figure out some way to act on your intentions. Are you in? Please, be in!
Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
p.s. This year is going to extra special for Ripples, as we are just a few months away from a really special milestone: Ripples #1,000! We are planning to unleash a few special treats, and we will also be seeking your input on how we can celebrate and make this both meaningful and fun.
Read More!

Ripples #916: Self Friendship!

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Ripples #916: Self Friendship!
Dec 12, 2016

PEBBLE
Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
-Eleanor Roosevelt, shared by Hollie in Stoughton, WI

BOULDER
I think the beating in our hearts was put there to remind us that even when we feel alone in the world, a part of us marches on. That even at our lowest there is something inside us that we can lean on and turn to. That even when we have no one else, we always have ourselves.
-Beau Taplin, shared by Jessie in California

PONDER
I’ve met many people who are rock stars when it comes to extending the gifts of friendship: respect, trust, compassion and an occasional willingness to put the other person’s needs above everything else. In the long run, though, maintaining healthy connections with others also requires a commitment to extending these gifts to yourself, too.

This can be *especially* challenging for those of us who identify as leaders and helpers. We tend to deny ourselves the gifts of self-respect, self-trust, and self-compassion in the name of serving others. While that might seem gracious, what we are REALLY doing is inviting people to disregard our needs AND modeling the assumption that good people are required to ignore their own needs. I happen to believe these are neither accurate nor healthy.

People who are unable to at least occasionally put their own needs at the top of their priority list will eventually let others down as they grow to resent the burden of always putting other people’s needs ahead of their own. This can lead to complete burn out as well-intentioned people eventually become unable to show up at all.

So how good of a self-friend are you? Are there ways you could ultimately be a better friend to others by first improving your self care skills? This can sometimes feel indulgent, especially to the generous helper/leader types. Reflect on these notions, and perhaps discuss them with trusted friends who can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. And who knows, those conversations might pave the way for ripples of self-friendship to extend through your network.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Yes, there is such a thing as taking this concept too far. And yes, you can probably think of some self-centered people in your life and wonder if I am suggesting you become more like them. No, I am not. 🙂… Read More!

Ripples #908: Let Yourself In!

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Ripples #908: Let Yourself In!
Oct 17, 2016

PEBBLE
The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
The core of yourself is never lost. Let go of all the pretending and becoming you’ve done just to belong. Curl up with your rawness and come home. You don’t have to find yourself; you just have to let yourself in.
-d. antoinette foy, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
The process of identifying quote pairs to make a good Pebble/Boulder combo is a little like playing a game of Concentration/Memory where you spread out a deck of cards face down and turn over two cards at a time with the goal of finding matches.

I think these are both aces, although I confess I’ve been worrying they might not work well together since one of them implies an inner search while the other suggests we need to stop searching.

After placing them side by side for a few weeks, I gradually came to experience them as complementary clues for the Inner Exploration so many of us seem to be on lately. The pebble suggests we have gifts buried within; the boulder gently reminds us that we are not only the seekers of treasure, we are the gatekeepers as well.

If your search for self has been spinning its wheels lately, what if you set aside the treasure map and acknowledge what you already know about yourself? Consider the gifts you’ve acquired, the talents you’ve cultivated, the achievements you’ve gained, and even the difficulties you’ve conquered that created opportunities to grow stronger and wiser. Let yourself know all of this; let yourself delight in it; let yourself in!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Thanks to all of you who remain on the lookout for fresh inspiration that might work as future Pebbles and Boulders in these weekly splashes of inspiration! You can share them with us either by replying to this email or using the SUBMIT button below.… Read More!

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