of praise and other good things

genkaku talks about praise:

I like to praise things. It feels delightful. It feels good. It feels right. And I imagine other people have similar feelings. Of course, sometimes they can be pretty obnoxious about it — praising one god or another and insisting you do the same — but in general I like to praise things. Withholding praise is a souring business … It feels good to praise … you name it: Buddhist teachers, beautiful sunsets, a piece of music, someone who has done something truly thoughtful for someone else, the flowers in the field, fireworks … yes, yes, yes! Applause, applause, applause! … What, exactly, am I praising? Isn’t there a feeling of linking up with whatever is praised? Of being a part of it? Of … dare I say it? … being what is praised?

this reminds me of the “yes but” game i facilitated at S.E.A.R.C.H. today (taken from the big book of humourous training games): you pair up with a partner, then for a minute each, one person says something they want to do (“let’s go to new york for a weekend!”) and the other says something that starts with “yes but …” (“yes but that’s really expensive”). after both partners had their turn, we switch to “yes and …”.

“let’s go play bingo!”
“yes, and we might even win some money!”
“then we can go and buy that big teddy bear for rosie!”
“yes, and she’ll be so thrilled!”
“it would be a great addition to her collection.”
“yes, and she could post a picture of all her stuffies on flickr
“everybody will love it!”
“yes, and everybody will talk about it and there’ll be thousands of people looking at it!”
“she’ll become known as ‘teddy bear rosie’ all over the net!”
“yes, and she can start a whole web site about it!”

the difference between “yes but” and “yes and” is amazing. in “yes but“, people’s plans and ideas tend to get hopelessly stuck. “yes and” is a form of communal dreaming, a great mutual support game that generates tons of energy. in one “yes and” game i participated in, my partner went from looking for a gallery in which to exhibit to becoming prime minister within less than two minutes.

i guess it’s really similar to what genkaku says about praise. saying “yes and” feels good, delightful, right. it links us together and it links good ideas and exciting dreams together.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

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