Praise, given or received, opens us up to the reality of unspeakable grace that exists within us.

Receiving praise honors God’s gifts.

If you receive a compliment, and say “thank you,” know that this translates as, “Yes, the infinite, presence of God expresses through me in what you admire.  I celebrate the glory of God operating in my life as my talent, creativity, virtues, attributes and goodness.  And because life is a mirror, and you saw an admirable quality in me, this means you also contain this quality.   I celebrate you as I celebrate me.”

This is the proper translation of “Thank you.”

A word of caution about praise:  praise is lovely and often under-utilized.  At the same time, we should avoid addiction to praise as our source of validation.  We also must recognize that while there are many praiseworthy things about us, there are also things that we might call flaws (another kind of gift).   We need to acknowledge the whole picture – our darkness and our light

Yet much of the time, in the name of self-improvement, we dwell on our flaws at the expense of our exquisite beauty.  For today, see if you can receive praise without squirming.  Welcome praise from others.  Try praising yourself without exploding into excuses.  Praise others freely.  And remember, no matter who you are and what you’ve done, there is always something praiseworthy about you.

Can you make a list of 100 praiseworthy things about yourself?  Can you do so without “exploding into excuses?” 

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Teach Them Who You Are

My husband and I visited Sedona Arizona to attend a seminar on the Sedona MethodOn day three, we spent much of the day in meditation.  Afterwards, I was blissed-out.

We returned to our hotel.  Then, I decided to cross a four-lane highway to visit a metaphysical bookshop. In my meditative haze, I walked a little close to a car zipping down the street.  The driver blared her horn and sped by… or so I thought.

I arrived in the parking lot of the bookshop and the driver met me there.  She had pulled a U-turn on the highway to come back and yell at me. 

“Are you inebriated?” she shouted.

“Um, no, I’ve been meditating.”

She launched into a tirade about my shortcomings.  I felt like I had put her in an awkward position, so I apologized three times.  When the tirade continued, I said Namaste, bowed, and walked into the bookstore.

She followed me and continued to yell, surrounded by crystals, tarot cards, and books on conscious living.  Finally, I politely told her I was done and we went our separate ways.

When I got back to the hotel, I asked my husband, “What do you think she wanted?”

“She wanted you to feel as badly as she does,” he said.

I didn’t comply with her wishes, because I didn’t feel badly – just puzzled and compassionate.

I’m not always as poised as I was with the woman who kicked my butt in a metaphysical bookstore.  But I think of this incident when someone is upset with me.  If I’ve done something wrong, I apologize.  And if they want to continue the fight, I respectfully acknowledge that I don’t have to participate once I’ve apologized and made amends.

I call this teaching people how to treat me; or teaching them who I am – a flawed, wonderful, compassionate person who is willing to apologize but not willing to be kicked repeatedly for wrongdoing.  Our willingness to hold this integrity affirms our worth and blesses everyone. 

Is there someone in your life who needs a calm, kind lesson on who you are?  Where do you find the poise to face difficult people with grace? 

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Respect – a Worthy Practice

Richard Rohr teaches that the Franciscan principle of respect is important to worthiness.  Through respect, we witness the worth of creation.   As we see the value in everything, we cultivate an appreciation of our own value.   Respect leads us to a reality where grace reigns.

Respect is from the word re-speculate, which means to look a second time.  Often when confronted with life, we succumb to “first gaze.”  First gaze asks, “How is this about me?”  Or “How do I make it about me?”

Through respect, we recognize “the emptiness of this perspective.”  (Richard Rohr).

How do we learn to give respect – that is to give that important second look that releases us from ego tyranny and gives us an experience of worthiness in everything?   Fr. Richard suggests that we go outdoors in nature, find one object and grant it respect.  It can be a flower, a leaf, a lizard, a pebble, a bug.    We respect it by seeing it and loving it for its own sake.  We see its beauty apart from how it may serve us.

It’s easy to respect nature and appreciate its beauty.  The practice gets really exciting when we extend respect to the entire world.   We start with something easy – that is nature.  We find when we grant respect to one thing, the practice grows.  We can love everything like we love anything.

Our worthy practice is to give respect to whatever we encounter throughout our day.  See life and love it for its own sake.  Include everyone and anything.  Do your best to move from respecting a bug – to finding a way to respect someone who bugs you…

How will I offer respect today?

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