The Ripples Project

Paul Wesselmann sends out an email every week to over 20,000 subscribers. He has been doing this this 1999. He refers to it as the Ripples Project, and thinks of this subscribers as 'participants' in the project. He's approaching issue #1000.

You can read archives (past pebbles) here.

It's a simple concept, but one that has been executed well. I first heard about him from my yoga teacher, Jennifer. He builds his list by going around and speaking, but also by word of mouth (as I did).

Here's an example of one:


We take almost all of the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious. ~ W.G. SEBALD


Your life is like Tetris. Stop playing it like chess. It’s choosing, on a fundamental level. It’s taking these random experiences as they slowly fall down the screen of life and rotating them 360 degrees; moving them two rows left and three to the right; examining them from new vantage points so as to make them fit into the grander mosaic of our lives. Tetris, not chess. If you think you're in checkmate, you can choose to flip the table and play something else. ~ JEREMY MATHURIN, 2016 HAMILTON COLLEGE STUDENT COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER


It can be tempting to daydream about the BIG shifts that we think would improve our lives: if only we could snag that dream job/house/relationship or radically improve the country/world/universe. Whenever I find myself lost in those daydreams, I try to remind myself that while the big changes sound exciting and life-altering, it is the myriad small decisions we make each day that have a more significant impact on our lives.

Studying for the mid-terms and showing up for the final exam are essential, of course, but your daily decisions about whether to go to class and how many minutes you'll study have a far bigger impact on your academic success. It's important to go to the dentist a few times a year, but the bigger impact on your dental health are the daily decisions you make about whether to brush and floss. And while relationships can be deepened or destroyed by single events, most of our cherished connections are made by lots of small deposits: texts and chats and lunches and walks and such.

Let's make this week about recognizing and seizing the small, everyday choices we have available to us, and explore how these SLIGHT ADJUSTMENTS might expand our options and improve our outlook.

~Paul Wesselmann, The Ripples Guy

One of my favorites:

Common Enchantment

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.

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.

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