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    Ripples and Stepping Stones

    No matter where you are now in your life, you will realize that you have gone through many realizations or "light bulb moments."

    You'll also realize that you have gone through so many changes and transitions, and that what you are now -- how you see yourself and others, what your beliefs are, how you perceive things -- is the result of many years of conscious and unconscious transformations and transitions.

    Throughout your life, there are certain events that have happened to you; they are the significant and memorable experiences that have molded you, shaped you, and caused you to think, feel, and be who and what you are now.

    Your life is made up of ripples. Imagine you are in a small circle, your first small ripple. As you grow older and experience more things, a bigger ripple encloses your small ripple. Each new thing you experience becomes your ripple and encircles all the other smaller ripples.

    Stepping stones are the details that connect your smaller ripples to your bigger ripples. They occupy the space between one ripple and another.

    Whereas ripples are the general and significant events in your life, your stepping stones are the ones that provide the details to your ripples. They're the ones you might keep to yourself and forget over time. Or they may be the ones you might pass off as insignificant but they unconsciously contribute to how you become later in life.

    If you look at your ripples and stepping stones, you'll see that they provide you with significant moments you can write about in your journal, add to your memoir, or use to create a page in your scrapbook.

    Ripples and Stepping Stones Activity

    1. Reflect on your life. Think as far back as you can remember. Then in your journal, write down significant events that happened while you were growing up. Write them down as if you're making a grocery list. Be general and specific at the same time. Do this for activitiy for 10-15 minutes.

    2. The next step is for you to identify the ripples and the stepping stones in your list. For my ripples and stepping stones, here is a partial list:

      • my dad and I driving around the lake on his motorcycle (stepping stone)
      • my high school graduation (ripple)
      • attended my first school dance at 13 (ripple)
      • younger sister eloped when she was only 17 (ripple)
      • months of arguing with my father over my sister's elopement (stepping stone)


      Ripple - a general event in your life; something that's not too personal if you were to share your list with another person

      Stepping stone - a specific, detailed or highly ersonal experience or part of your ripple

    3. After you have identified the ripples and the stepping stones in your life, see if you can arrange them in some way -- chronologically (by year) or by theme (childhood, teen years, adulthood).

    4. Pick a ripple from your list and write about it.

    5. Pick a stepping stone from your list and write about it.

    [The above article is an excerpt from the SNAPSHOTS: Writing from Memory, Writing Life Workshop. To receive your free copy of Module 1, send a blank email to]

    Copyright © 2001 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

    Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ is the creator of WriteSparks!™, the idea and story generator for writers. Download your free copy today by going to this link.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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