Wasn't going to post on this forum again until after our trip. I was going on about my day happily distracted (and a bit disjointed in comical ways at moments), feeling a lot of laughter in my day. But I heard from a friend later experiencing the kinds of heart-wrenching difficulties we can all relate to in this forum. I've known this friend forever and she's really a wonderful, wonderful person. And then she launched into such hard comments about herself......and it made me sad. Doesn't she see herself as wonderfully as I see her? No, she does not (at least not today.....perhaps on other days she does). I wondered how to drop her inside my head and heart (softly, of course!) and let her see the same vision I see of her. Tried, but not sure it worked. And then I saw the Ripple Effect in my friend, just as I've seen it in my own life (in general, yes, but often brought on by interactions with our son's difficulties over the years)..... -- I fear someone has judged me harshly (may be reality or not) -- I judge that someone else harshly as defensive mechanism (may be reality or not) -- I judge myself harshly (because, well, you know....it's a Me-Centric Universe) And I see this vicious cycle of harshly judging and how it bites EVERYONE in the arse (often me, most of all). YES, harsh events are a reality. But.... does beating them or us with a stick make the reality any better? Any clearer? Any healthier? Any more helpful or more peaceful? NO.......it does not. For me, at least, if the rowboat/lifeboat is already sinking, the last thing that helps is shooting more holes in it. A patch kit keeps the boat afloat, not a machine gun or sledgehammer. The Ripple Effect hits ALL of us on planet Earth at one time or another. I wonder how we all might really feel if we walked in another's shoes through their life trials? Each person has their private pain. I am so very tender about my own private pains and I suspect most of us are (including our very, very troubled sons and daughters). But I also wondered how we all might really feel if we had the opportunity to be dropped gently into a trusted friend's heart and heart and see how they value us, embrace us, respect us. Think about your most trusted friends. Really..........take a minute and list a name or two in your life whom you trust deeply. If we trust our most trusted friends so much, why do we ever question our own great value, strengths and competence? Believe me, I've done plenty of questioning of myself over the years! We are stronger than we know and I think it's not only wise to remind ourselves of this, but it's critical to grow our patch kit, rather than our arsenal. This is not arrogance. This is merely nourishing our souls for life! I suspect, at the very least, we can grow the kindness within ourselves -- toward others and toward ourselves. Kindness has its own Ripple Effect. And I'm pretty sure The Kindness Ripple Effect is much better patch kit for a sinking rowboat/lifeboat than The Harshness Ripple Effect of ammo. This feels profound and powerful to me, so I wanted to post it before I leave. This forum is also a wonderful place sift through ideas and plant positive seeds of strength. "We don't have to agree on anything to be kind to one another." True, true. But I wonder just how immensely powerful it would be if it also read like this... "We don't have to be perfect in anything to be kind to ourselves." Imagine the power in that? Imagine how much energy it would free up in us all? Thanks for listening! Very grateful for this nifty forum to bounce ideas off the virtual walls!