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Responsibility

Ripples #1113: Making Noise

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Ripples #1113: Making Noise
Sep 21, 2020

PEBBLE
Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

BOULDER
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
-U.S. Representative John Lewis (1940-2020)

PONDER
I don’t think it is an overstatement to suggest that 2020 may end up being one of the hardest, strangest, and most pivotal years most of us have lived in. Depending upon where things go from here, 2020 has the potential to reset our society’s course on health care, race, politics, climate change, and likely education, too.

And while both of our quotes today were around long before the dawn of this year, I’m sharing them here today in part because I believe they are so timely, and of course also because we are mourning the two remarkable people whose wisdom they reflect.

The pebble was Justice Ginsburg’s response to a question about advice she would give young women today, while the boulder was one of Representative Lewis’ legendary tweets.

We are living through a particularly polarizing time, one which informs which media channels we turn into, who we feel comfortable connecting with, and even what facts we believe to be true.

After Justice Scalia’s 2016 passing I learned that he and Justice Ginsburg had been good friends. Over the weekend, Scalia’s son wrote a moving piece about the friendship, and about the upside of debating fiercely while maintaining close ties.

I’m pleased and proud that over the last two decades we’ve forged a community of hopeful, helpful souls who sometimes disagree passionately about policies and ideas, and yet can still come together every week to unleash ripples of compassion and kindness.

Is it possible for us to make noise about issues we care about without ignoring or denying the humanity of those on the other side? And could we end up having more influence on others if we took a few steps back from the “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric which is often neither helpful nor accurate? My answer for today is, “I dunno, but I want to try harder to find out.”

Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg & Representative Lewis.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities

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Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities
June 29, 2020

PEBBLE
May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.
-Peter Marshall, shared by Laura in Charleston, IL

BOULDER
When my grandfather talked about freedom, his attitude was really interesting. His view was that you had obligations or you had responsibilities, and when you fulfilled those obligations or responsibilities, that then gave you the liberty to do other things.
-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, shared by Paul in Orville, OH

PONDER
As those of us here in the U.S. prepare to celebrate Independence Day just a few days after this year’s Juneteenth celebrations received renewed attention and interest, I thought this week might be a good time to ponder freedom and its relationship to responsibility.

I can recall so many times when I felt weighed down by the “restrictions of childhood”–being stuck with school and homework and chores and vegetables and bedtimes. I imagined adulthood as this massive experience of freedom since I would be the one making all these decisions about eating and playing and sleeping and such. I suspect I’m not the only grown up who now looks back on childhood with a different perspective, recognizing that adulthood comes with quite a few responsibilities that frequently get in the way of the freedoms we were so excited about as kids.

At some point, I realized it can be helpful to reframe some of our responsibilities as freedoms in disguise. For example, in our household we have a “Filter Check Day” at the end of each quarter, where we check all the filters in our home (air conditioner, vacuum cleaner, shopvac, dishwasher, dehumidifier, refrigerator, stove vent, clothes dryer…did I get them all, sweetie?). It is a chore, for sure. But with a bit of reframing, I can see that making sure all these filters are clean helps ensure I get to enjoy lots of free time in a comfortable home. And it also frees up time/money that won’t need to be spent on repairs required by clogged filters. Oh, and Filter Check Day here at Marklemann Manor also happens to be “Jam out to 1980s Dance Music” Day, so that is pretty freeing as well.

Can you think of a chore or other requirement that currently seems like the opposite of freedom to you? Perhaps you can dig a little deeper, look behind the mask of obligation and recognize an opportunity to help you celebrate freedom. It will likely take a little practice and a little reframing, but it may just help you enjoy Freedom’s Opportunities more than you ever have before. Try it and see!

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1024: Transforming Our Battles!

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Ripples #1024: Transforming Our Battles!
Jan 7, 2019

PEBBLE
We each walk our paths so we can learn and share those lessons with others.
-Cynthia Mazzaferro, shared by Sam in Des Moines, IA via Values.com

BOULDER
Your battles shouldn’t make other people’s battles less significant. They should make you more considerate.
-Tye Tribbett, shared by Norma in Orlando, FL normajaltidor@gmail.com

PONDER
Since our very first issue back in 1999, we’ve benefited greatly from the steady stream of quotes that people share with us. Recently, I’ve enjoyed asking follow up questions about some of the submissions to learn more about where they were found what stood out about them.

Norma (who submitted today’s Boulder) shared with me how earlier this fall she had moved to Orlando to start a doctoral program and was initially overwhelmed. Attending church that Sunday, she was significantly moved when the pastor opened his sermon with the words she shared above. “The message resonated strongly,” she shared when I contacted her for more information. “I had moved here without a job or a place to live and was worried about everything – food, paying my bills, finding a job – while trying not to let the solitude of living out of hotel rooms consume me.”

Norma went on to to say that Tribbett’s sermon caused an instant shift in her attitude and perspective: “It was a gentle reminder that we are not all called to be the same, do the same, or experience the same things in life. We’re called to live in community with others. What I’m going through is necessary for the person I’m becoming, and it isn’t fair of me to measure up and/or minimize other people’s battles. Since that day, I have been more positive and the pieces have been gradually falling into place: I now have both a job and an apartment. More important for me, though, is the fact that I’ve become more conscious of how I’m checking in, supporting, and loving on the people around me. Even if I don’t know what all they are juggling, I can still be there for them.”

I’m embracing Pastor Tribbett’s wisdom and Norma’s story as invitations to transform the battles I’m dealing with (the large ones AND the teensy ones) into opportunities to extend my compassion and my humility. It will help me, and it will help others, too. How cool is that?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1016: Whole Heart Service!

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Ripples #1016: Whole Heart Service!
Nov 12, 2018

PEBBLE
To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind. -Pearl Buck, shared by Danny in Brookings, SD

BOULDER
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.
-Gordon B. Hinckley, shared by Joan in South Bend, IN via values.com

PONDER

Today is a holiday for many of us since yesterday was the 100th anniversary of what was originally known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. Now referred to as Remembrance Day in Canada and many other countries, and Veteran’s Day in the U.S., it remains an important day to recognize the sacrifices involved by those who have served their country.

One way of honoring the service of our veterans is to renew our own commitment to service. Let’s make this an opportunity to think about the individuals and groups we give our time, attention, and/or money to; noticing if there is anyone who has inadvertently fallen off our radar, and also identifying people/groups we haven’t previously served that could use our help. And it doesn’t work to just think about it: once you find a whole heart yes to service, follow through with concrete action!

I dedicate this issue of Ripples to veterans for their whole heart service, and to others who are inspired to give back as a way of paying it forward.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S.… Read More!

Ripples #1,014: Interrupting Injustice!

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Ripples #1014: Interrupting Injustice!
Oct 29, 2018

PEBBLE
Few things are as encouraging as the realization that things can be different and that we have a role in making them so.
-Daniel Taylor, shared by Maggie in Eau Claire, WI

BOULDER
Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice. It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and oppressors free.
-Shane Claiborne, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA

PONDER
We live in complicated times. On the one hand, humans have progressed in truly remarkable ways: our advances in science, technology, and education have allowed us to see and appreciate and understand things that at one time seemed beyond comprehension. On the other hand, we continue to grapple with significant challenges and there are ways things seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Election day is just around the corner here in the U.S. I don’t have any interest in using this platform to try and tell you who to vote for, or what issues you should care about. I do, however, want to use this issue of Ripples to remind you that voting itself can be viewed as a sacred, heroic act of citizenship that less than half of eligible voters in our country follow through on.

If “Interrupting Injustice” is important to you, I invite you to step up your participation in the voting process. If you haven’t been a reliable voter in the past, perhaps you need help figuring out WHO and WHAT to vote for, or even WHETHER you are registered and WHERE to vote. Sites like Vote411.org and VoteSmart.org strive to provide non-partisan, balanced information…and can even confirm your voter registration and polling location. If you need help actually casting your vote, reach out to the campaigns you intend to vote for; they are eager to help make your vote count. If you are ready for the next level of involvement, there is still time to get involved with voter turnout efforts, again by contacting local candidates and groups that support issues that are important to you. If you’re already an actively engaged, the challenge might be to directly engage the people you are most closely connected to and encourage them to vote.

Your actions may seem insignificant; but remember that decisions get made by those that show up. Your voice and your vote matter; both make a difference!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. A sincere thank you for anything you can say or do to help extend the positive ripples we unleash each week.… Read More!

Ripples #1,005: Relentless Pursuits.

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Ripples #1,005: Relentless Pursuits.
Aug 27, 2018

PEBBLE
Gradual pressure, relentlessly applied.
-Dick Mantis
shared by David in Lexington, KY

BOULDER
I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great. Do what’s uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run. Let yourself fail. Fail and pick yourself up and fail again. Without that struggle, what is your success anyway?
-Charlie Day​
shared by Lorene in North Royalton, OH

PONDER
I’ve spent the last few weeks on several college campuses firing up anxious-yet-excited new students as well as some remarkable student leaders (welcome to over 1,000 new ripplers from Findlay, Tiffin, Heidelberg, Central Michigan, and Plymouth State!).

Over and over again, one of the central components of each of these pep talks was encouraging people to experience life’s inevitable challenges as opportunities for growth and mastery. It frustratingly true that while the easy days are often more enjoyable, they just don’t help us grow as much as the tough days. If your workout weights aren’t heavy enough, they will do nothing to strengthen your muscles.

In four simple words, today’s pebble reminds us to keep our efforts manageable AND to keep them coming. Our fishy pal Dory says the same thing in only three words, “Just Keep Swimming!” The boulder wants us to to remember that it is our struggles more than our successes that strengthen us.

I don’t wish any particular difficulties for you, but since they will eventually show up on their own, I do hope you’ll consider greeting them as friends, or at least as respectable adversaries who will help you train for even tougher battles that may lie ahead.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!

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Ripples #990: Anywhere is Somewhere, too!
May 14, 2018

PEBBLE
“Where do you want to go?” I asked the child.
“Anywhere!” said the child.
“That is the best place to want to go,” I replied,
“because then you can never get lost.”
-Craig
shared by Craig in Cincinnati, OH (who experienced this conversation in a dream!)

BOULDER
Our journey as human beings is not about following a pre-ordained path, but about creating that path. Life rarely makes any more sense when things are done “in order.” Life makes sense when we are centered in our hearts and we let go of resisting how our unique journey needs to unfold in its own beautifully unruly way.
-Christine Mason Miller
shared by a Rippler in Idaho; a ripply high five to Christine for permission to unleash this wisdom here, and to Mary Anne Em Radmacher for bringing us together. So much ripply synergy!

PONDER
So last week’s issue of Ripples was themed Nowhere is Somewhere as we pondered what it’s like when we feel stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was excited to follow up with this week’s quotes about ANYWHERE, since anywhere we go today moves us away from the nowhere that we found ourselves in yesterday.

If you’re dissatisfied with where you are in some aspect of your work or life, the best thing you can do is identify a specific new destination and focus your energies on moving in that direction.

If it is too soon to know exactly where you want to go next, it can still be helpful to choose an interim placeholder goal to work on for now. Giving yourself a temporary direction may help you clarify your eventual destination and it will FOR sure move you away from your current, unappealing situation. Anywhere you go will be a different location than where you are now.

Are you in? Let’s pack our bags and prepare for a Ripply adventure!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Did you see that this is Ripples #990? That means we have just 10 more issues until we send out our 1,000th issue of Ripples? How cool is that?! We’re going to be unleashing some ripply magic via our Facebook group, so be sure to join us in Team Ripples for details!… Read More!

Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.

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Ripples #988: Opening Each Petal.
April 30, 2018

PEBBLE
Avoiding problems you need to face is avoiding the life you need to live.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Angela in Naples, FL

BOULDER
The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that we humans share, no matter what our situations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with (some of) the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.
-Goldie Hawn, shared by an anonymous Rippler who found it via Values.com:
https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-quotes/7411-the-lotus-is-the-most-beautiful-flower-whose

PONDER
What if every single problem you have in your life, the teensy tiny ones and the great big giant ones, were actually part of a grand curriculum of living? And what if this problems developed as opportunities for growth and transformation that could help you grow into the very best possible version of yourself? What if escaping these problems meant permanently limiting your potential for success?

And what if resolving them or making peace with them or at the very least recognizing their capacity to instruct, these problems became your friends and allies and teachers? And what if each of those problems helped you open one more of your petals to help you blossom with beauty, effectiveness, and pure joy?

What if?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Speaking of “What if”…. What if you shared this with someone in your life who might need to hear this, too?… Read More!

Ripples #980: Action!

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Ripples #980: Action!
March 5, 2018

PEBBLE
Too much rest is rust.
-Sir Walter Scott, shared by Doreen in Minnesota

BOULDER
Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.
-Bradley Whitford
shared by Pete in Ouray, CO via Values.com

PONDER

One of our longtime readers reached out to me recently with this message:

“Paul, I’m a big fan and a longtime subscriber. I’ve seen you speak a few times and I look forward to each Monday’s edition of Ripples because it often offers good advice, whether it is challenging us to step away from the madness, or hit the time-out button to just breathe and have some ‘me time.’ I fear, however, that many of us are quick to step away but sometimes need encouragement to do the opposite: to engage and actively pursue a solution to the task at hand…. Sometimes I would like to open up Ripples and find a message that tells me to get myself in gear and start kicking butt!”

Ok, Lee! This issue of Ripples goes out to you and all the other Ripplers who are pretty darn good at STEPPING BACK when they need, but may need an occasional boost for STEPPING FORWARD and STEPPING UP to tackle the important tasks of improving themselves and the world around them. Taking action isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always move you in a direct line toward success. Still, summoning the courage and strength to take action usually allows us to grow, and it often helps us gain wisdom as well.

Are you in? Well, okay then…. stop reading this AND GO DO SOMETHING ALREADY!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. I deeply appreciate that a handful of folks respond to Ripples each week: I read every single message! I strive to respond individually when I have time, particularly to readers who haven’t reached out previously. Sometimes my kooky schedule requires me to skim and store rather than reflect and respond. Still: I’m grateful!… Read More!

Ripples #954: Doing Your Work!

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Ripples #954: Doing Your Work!
Sep 4, 2017

PEBBLE
There is not a man or woman, no matter how fit he or she may be, who is capable of carrying the entire world on their shoulders.
-Edwin Jarvis (Agent Carter TV show),
shared by Melissa in Westfield, IN

BOULDER
Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work sacredly, secretly, silently which will emanate Light wherever you are, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will respond.
-The Arcturians,
shared by Pete in Ouray, CO

PONDER
There is so much work that needs to be done, so many problems to solve, and so many people that need our help. Even attempts to simply increase *awareness* of all the challenges that exist in our world (or just in one little corner of it) can be overwhelming enough for temptation to curl up into a ball and tune out.

In between doing absolutely NOTHING and feeling obligated to do EVERYTHING, there are a whole big bunch of SOMETHINGS that can generate substantial, meaningful contributions to people and situations that need help. And serving others not only *feels* good internally, all the good things we do end up getting added to the big pile of good things that are being unleashed by others. And all of this combined goodness adds up to measurable progress.

Finally, I have BAD news and GOOD news: The bad news is that when we eventually solve the problems we’re currently addressing, there will be new problems waiting to reveal themselves. The good news is that we just need to focus on doing the stuff we feel called to do, building in breaks as necessary to enjoy all the goodness that really does exist.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Speaking of WORK and BREAKS: Happy Labor Day Weekend to all of my fellow USians & Canadians who are celebrating this holiday that recognizes the many important contributions of the labor movement (which actually includes weekends off of work!).… Read More!

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