Let’s abandon arrogance and stand in awe

“We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.” – Wendell Berry
A note from Erin, May 31 2023:
What is praise practice? Why do it? Does it matter? Why do I keep talking about it?
Praise is a way to give back to the life which gives us life. Praise is a celebration of beauty and thriving wherever we notice it – the infinite daily gifts that are invitations to reverence and marveling.
Praise is a conscious cessation of the infinite modern refrain of “More. I need more.” It’s a step out of the mind of scarcity into a celebration of what is. It’s a chance to climb out of the contagious mind of “never enough” and into delighted celebration of what is right here in our unique life.
Praise gives us a chance to offer applause for earth’s artistry, and then again an encore. Praise is an embodiment of generous love. It’s a way to be the wind under the wings of that which we wish to honor and uplift. It’s a training to use our attention in beautiful and life-giving ways.
Praise practice asks us to take the lid off the simmering pot of “WOW!” that lives deep inside our chests. It asks us to crank the heat under that pot and let it spill over with awe and appreciation in an overflow of abundant admiration. Praise is a full bodied reminder of what a blessing it is just to be alive. Praise is said to be the only prayer we need. Thank you. Praise is right relationship with life.
Praise is a delicious cocktail made of humility, awe, and celebration, flavored with a dash of the bitters of impermanence.
Praise is a good posture for humans to take: Arms raised, eyes shining, and mouth open, spilling reverent thanks; or head bowed in reverence and grateful humility at the generosity bestowed on us every day of our lives, whether we deserve it or not. Praise practice is a soul medicine that invites us to be more permeable to beauty and more resilient to despair.
Praise is a whirling dance around the giant bonfire of gratitude for life. A way to let it be known that you’re paying attention, rightfully astonished, and ready to tell about it. Praise is an invitation to practice turning your attention to the beauty around you – and this usefully undermines the soul-deadening strictures of industrial culture. It’s a delightful practice to share in community.
Mary Oliver writes:
I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

So why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about. 

Truly, there is so much to admire, to weep over. And sadly we’re often too busy or distracted to notice. Praise practice is an invitation to pause, to admire, to express our deep care. It’s a move toward belonging.
And even if you’re flat broke or exhausted, you’ll find you can still make beauty and be outrageously generous with your words, your attention, your big ol’ heart.
Noticing beauty, celebrating it, admiring it, weeping over it, telling about it; each of these offers a doorway not only to momentary joy, but a deep and abiding sense of belonging: in your body, in your place, on this earth. It weaves us back into life. Praise is a chance to rub a healing salve into the cracks of self.
In an increasingly digitally connected but sensorially disconnected modern age, opening our many senses to be on the lookout for something to praise is a deeply important practice. It invites us to turn an affectionate eye toward the world, rather than just a critical one. It invites us to slip out of the too-tight-clothing of self-preoccupation, and to slip instead into a larger world, full of surprises and sensory delights that are all too easy to ignore.
A basic understanding that lives across many sane cultures is that we’re asked to offer rituals of gratitude. May this necessity for our reciprocity be felt not as a burden, but a joyful gateway that braids us into beauty and belonging. With praise practice, our living becomes a love letter to life.  We use our attention to compose an ongoing praise song, and we discover an unlocked door that opens to possibility.
Our refusal to be satisfied and to say thank you might have life responding to us much the way we’d feel if we gave a friend a hundred gifts and they never expressed thanks, just distracted exasperation and wanting more. Would we want to then give them more gifts? No. We’d want to turn away with a frown. Praise practice is not only good manners, it actually attracts more things to praise.
Radical gratitude and the practice of praise are deeply rooted, take nothing for granted, and stubbornly insist on seeing the miracles we live among. Choosing to see and participate with life in this way changes everything. As Rumi says, “Awe is the salve that will heal our eyes.
I’d be delighted if you’d  join me and a lovely group of folks in exploring this life-giving, heart-healing practice. We start on Sunday, June 4th. At this link, you can read more about specific class details and sign up. Whether you join this class or not, I hope you’ll take some time to offer lavish thanks and praise. Dearly is it needed.
As wise elder Joanna Macy said, “Perhaps the truest form of touching the reality of this moment is this: to experience our capacity to praise and love our world, as it is. Even when it’s on fire.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote toward the end of Braiding Sweetgrass, “More than anything I want to hear a great song of thanks rise on the wind. I think that song might save us…” 
I think so too. I want to hear that song too. Let’s sing it, together. 
Cheers to the vast capacity of the human heart.
May we use it in beautiful and life-giving ways.
As Mary asks, Why not get started immediately? 
With love (and a fierce determination to keep loving,)
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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.