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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 #1107: Trust Your Light

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Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light!
Aug 10, 2020

PEBBLE
Your light will bring comfort and hope to those in need. Trust your light.
-Britta Buchstabler, shared by Gloria in Salem, OR

BOULDER
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

Inner Light.
In a world full of unrest, fear, and doubt, we need to reconnect with our inner light now more than ever. -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, shared by Kelsey, Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Lots of people are struggling right now, and you might be struggling, too.

One of the more useful things I’ve discovered about being The Ripples Guy is that I don’t always have to choose between serving others and taking care of myself.

There have been plenty of times when connecting with someone who is having a difficult time has lifted my spirits, too. Acts of service remind me that my contributions to the world are valued and important. My light is worth shining even when I don’t feel like I’m at 100%.

Other times, of course, I do have to withdraw a bit so I can focus inward. Here’s the cool thing about that: the process of taking care of myself can remind others that helpers need to sometimes help themselves. My light ends up shining brighter in the long run, which demonstrates to others that self-care is an essential component to shining brightly.

I think it is important not to completely ignore the darkness that exists in the world right now. I just happen to believe our best way forward is to focus more on the many bright lights that are beacons of hope (have you seen the dad who wholeheartedly embraced his daughter’s mermaid photo shoot? Talk about trusting your light: https://www.facebook.com/ripplesguy/posts/10164086482495010 )

This week I dare you to trust your light a little more than you have been: let it shine inwardly, outwardly, weirdly, magnificently!

Peace,
Paul
p.s. If you enjoyed the free digital download (https://app.box.com/s/s6rwgxtt9yq64mmb3tzaur7tmatr7r4z) of RIPPLES OF HOPE: Wisdom for Navigating Uncertainty (https://www.dropbox.com/s/nea9ckw66gp3tbi/Ripples_of_Hope.pdf?dl=0) we unleashed a few weeks ago, we now have some printed copies now available. We’re experimenting with letting you choose what price to pay! if you order 2 or more this week I’ll sign ’em (and maybe throw in a little extra ripply magic!): http://RippleHope.com… Read More!

Ripples #1100: Self Preservation June 22, 2020

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Ripples #1100: Self Preservation
June 22, 2020

PEBBLE
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.
-Audre Lorde, shared by Chris in Topeka, KS

BOULDER
Self-care is more than just going to the spa, getting your nails done or drinking a mimosa cuz it’s Sunday. It is so much deeper than what commercialization is going to try to turn it into. Self-care is really rooted in self-preservation, just like self-love is rooted in honesty. We have to start being more honest with what we need, and what we deserve, and start serving that to ourselves. It can be a spa day! But for a lot of people, it’s more like, I need a mentor. I need someone to talk to. I need to see someone who looks like me that’s successful, that’s doing the things that I want to do, to know that it’s possible.
-Lizzo, shared by Grant in Milwaukee, WI

PONDER
I adore Lizzo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzo), and I love her take on self-care. It reinforces my instinct that we need to keep reminding ourselves over and over (and over) that self-care is more important and more complex than simply pampering ourselves after making it through a rough patch. It is really about self-preservation.

Grant’s quote submission* led me to a longer piece by Lizzo (https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/self-care-has-be-rooted-self-preservation-not-just-mimosas-ncna993661) that helped me respect her revolutionary spirit even more. In it, she poses some important questions that Lizzo asks herself and invites us to ponder, too:

How do I love myself on the days when I hate myself?
How do I love myself in a world that doesn’t love me?
How do I love myself in the face of systemic racism and misogyny?
How do I love myself amid fat-phobia?
How do I love myself still?

There are unfortunately no easy, fixed answers to these questions. And there are likely other hard questions that you may need to consider depending upon your situation and external messages about your own worth that you’ve possibly internalized. Still, these questions are worth asking, and answers are worth seeking, because you are worth preserving.

So keep asking questions, keep seeking answers, and keep being you.

Peace,
Paul
*P.S. Thank you, Chris, Grant, and everyone who remembers the SUBMIT A QUOTE button below (https://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/), patiently resting at the bottom of each issue so you can help us keep the inspiration flowing!… 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 #1,011: Rhapsody on Persistence!

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Ripples #1,011: Rhapsody on Persistence!
Oct 8, 2018

PEBBLE
We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.
—Tobias Wolff
shared by Mary in Montana via Values.com
https://www.values.com/inspirational-quotes/7656-we-are-made-to-persist-thats-how-we-find-out?

BOULDER
I feel it too – the urge to give in to gravity’s call. I feel the stress and fatigue which accompanies endless tests, homework assignments, and the consideration that my future is ahead of me and may be crushed by my mistakes. But my backpack holds my wings, not my woes. -Ayda Ozdoganlar, shared by Nick in Pittsburgh, PA

PONDER
I gotta tell you: the “wings not woes” quote instantly captivated me. I asked Nick for more information on where he found it and why it stood out for him. It turns out that he spotted it in his advisor’s email signature block; the quote helped him manage the feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty unleashed by his decision to pursue a graduate degree.

At my request, Nick reached out to his advisor for more information about the source of the quote and why she had it in her email signature. Nesli shared that it was an excerpt from her daughter Ayda’s college application essay; for Nesli it seemed equally relevant to the graduate students she advises. “We all know it is a tough place,” Nesli wrote to me about graduate school. “I thought of how happy my students are once they graduate and secure the job they have been dreaming about. That is the moment I think they are spreading their wings.”

I was also lucky enough to hear directly from Ayda about how this passage had been a burst of inspiration during a late night push to finish the application essay (while listening to Rhapsody in Blue–how jazzy cool is that?). She admitted she hadn’t originally thought her perspective on education would be read by so many others. She shared these additional thoughts with me: “I don’t believe education is a storm to be weathered, but a storm to embrace. Getting through high school was a wild, gut-wrenching whirlwind of a challenge, and I’m sure [college] will be too. But I feel so blessed to be able to say that I’m a student. Even if the path to knowledge is fraught with challenge, Learning something new is incredibly special. It gives me joy—enough joy that I was able to write a 2 a.m. rhapsody on the subject. I want others to feel that joy and appreciation too.”

Well, Ayda, I *am* feeling joy and appreciation. I’m overjoyed to live in a world where students like you and Nick are willing to embrace both the challenges and the opportunities of continuous learning, and I deeply appreciate that there are people like your mom who are committed to supporting the kids she’s raising AND the kids she’s advising.

Ripples #1,011 is dedicated to this trio of remarkable, ripply individuals and everyone else who summons the courage to soar with wings provided by their challenges.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. I … Read More!

Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!

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Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!
Aug 13, 2018

PEBBLE
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in proportion.
-Sir Francis Bacon,
shared by Natalie in Clear Lake, WI

BOULDER
Don’t let what is crazy to them, stop you from creating what is powerful to you.
-Akeem Lloyd
written and shared by Akeem in Providence, RI

PONDER

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook my reaction to a heartbreaking poem that popped up in my newsfeed from someone who was struggling mightily. I’d like to share a condensed version of my post for you to ponder:

A long time ago I encountered a boy whose sensitive, not-quite-like-anyone-else spirit was nearly crushed in a world that doesn’t value difference. He struggled mightily, but luckily for him (and luckily for the world), he managed to stay alive long enough for his brain and his body to grow into an adulthood that allowed him to heal from some hurts, to make friends with his shadows, and to recognize the differences which made him weird evolved into the distinctions that make him special.

He still remembers what it is like to feel impossibly broken, and he remains grateful that he held on long enough to discover just how incredible it feels to find out that you can make a LIVING and make a LIFE while being weird. Because what makes him weird is precisely what makes him special.

He still encounters hard times, of course. But he also experiences blissful transcendence, like the times he scrolls his social media feed looking for weary travelers who need to be reminded: everything that helped you make it to today can help you make it a brighter tomorrow. Hang in there. Rest when necessary, and know that the world needs your kind of crazy. I know this for certain, because you’re still here.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #948: Common Enchantment.

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Ripples #948: Common Enchantment.
July 24, 2017

PEBBLE
We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist’s eyes to notice.
-Jacob Nordby, shared by Vanessa in Des Moines, IA

BOULDER
In the best of times our days are numbered anyway, and so it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world’s crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place. The opportunity to do good work, to fall in love, to enjoy friends, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.
-Alistair Cooke shared by Sharon in Madison, WI

PONDER

So I’m assembling this issue of Ripples at the airport a few weeks earlier than usual. I decided to double up during June and put together two issues of Ripples each week so you could continue receiving these weekly splashes even while I’m enjoying a summer break. The two quotes above matched themselves up nicely, and then it was time to decide what I wanted to saying about the idea of COMMON ENCHANTMENT. As I read over the quotes a few times and then stared off into space, I noticed a really colorful outfit someone walking through the airport was wearing.

“How enchanting,” I thought, and instantly realized that I needed to pause from pondering the IDEA of “common enchantment,” and simply let myself BE enchanted by the delicious commonness that was all around me. I began noticing people and sounds and decorations. I observed families getting excited about vacations, business colleagues huddling around laptops, and solo travelers immersed in books. I noticed sunbeams hitting a variety of surfaces, shadows creating patterns and depth, and so many more shades and hues than I usually notice. And not was I aware of the beauty around me, the airport *sounded* enchanting as well: a cacophony of voices and music amidst all sorts of hustle and bustle.

I was so enchanted that I hadn’t noticed boarding was nearly complete, and some fella named, “Wesselmann” was being paged to get on the plane. Whoops! I scooted my way over to the gate, down the jetway, and into my seat. The enchantment continued on board: the passengers seemed more interesting, the flight crew seemed friendlier, and the plane itself more intricate and wondrous than any of the hundreds of planes I’ve boarded over the years. An experience I’ve had so many times was transformed into an exquisite adventure with just the slightest of adjustments (more on slight adjustments next week!).

Now it is YOUR turn: close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and when you open your eyes again, observe the COMMON ENCHANTMENTS around you.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #947: Confidence!

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Ripples #947: Confidence!
July 17, 2017

PEBBLE
If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life….with confidence, you have won even before you have started.
-Marcus Garvey, shared by Michael in Rochester, MI

BOULDER
Feeling confident is important for success. One way to boost your confidence is to allow mistakes. Don’t expect perfection. Instead, learn from your mistakes and forge ahead.
-Kristin S. Vickers Douglas, Ph.D., shared by Donna in Owings, MD
dvmillar@verizon.net

PONDER
On your best days, are you pretty darn good? Are you able to get stuff done that needs to get done and deal with the people you encounter in ways that are both useful and enjoyable? When I ask these questions in presentations, I find that most people feel pretty good about their BEST SELVES, the version of themselves that shows up when everything is going well.

I think one of the tricks to improving your confidence is getting curious about how you can more frequently and more consistently bring your BEST SELF to work, school, and life. If you can identify things that knock you off your game, the specific situations or people or developments that trigger fear or frustration, perhaps you can experiment to see if you can identify strategies to either PREVENT or MINIMIZE their impact on your performance.

Remember that we don’t need the PERFECT you, nor do you need to pretend to be like someone else. The world just longs for you to show up with the best available version of yourself as often as you possibly can.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #936: Fueled From Within!

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Ripples #936: Fueled From Within!
May 1, 2017

PEBBLE
Your heart is a sail, your gut a helm, & your mind an anchor.
-Ryan Kacvinsky, shared and written by Ryan in Arlington, TX

BOULDER
I am self-propelled; fueled from within. I appreciate people’s opinions, but I’m not attached to them. I learned a long time ago that if I give them the power to feed me, I also give them the power to starve me. -Steve Maraboli, shared by Catey in South Bend, IN

PONDER
Of course we are influenced by the people and events that we encounter in life; OF COURSE WE ARE! As social creatures, we are independent from, and yet to some degree dependent upon, everything that is going on around us–this is a normal and natural part of being human. HOWEVER: It is essential to keep in mind that we can get so caught up in dealing with external turbulence that we forget the considerable internal resources we have gained over a lifetime of learning how to deal with challenges and changes.

If you’ve been navigating rough seas lately, it may be useful to catch your breath and quickly remind yourself that your previous difficulties provided useful training and experience that you can rely on today and in the future. It’s okay to ask for help from others, and sometimes it is required. Still, don’t overlook all the good stuff you’ve built up inside, and give yourself permission to unleash all that inner fuel when it is needed.

You’ve got this!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

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