Dearest Readers,

Last night I attended a Jennifer Berezan concert at the Yukon Arts Centre. I’ve been hearing about Berezan for a while now. People in this community mention her with great fondness and respect. Always the conversation would be peppered with the spiritual aspect of Berezan’s music and the impact it had on the person’s life.

The concert was divided into two parts. In the first half, Berezan sang folk songs with her band and in the second she performed Praises for the World, an “ecstatic and heart opening event” during which the audience joins Jennifer and her band singing the refrain “Praises for the World” over and over while individual performers speak or sing over top of the chorus.

Before she began, Berezan told us that the experience had once gone on for two hours. We would be given the “Reader’s Digest” version at 45 minutes. The word “ecstatic” is used to describe the state created by the repetition of this powerful mantra and I could definitely see how two hours could take you there. At 45-minutes, however, it felt like we were just getting started.

Behind the band, on a large screen, multi-media artist Marten Berkman projected images of our natural resources, our skies, our galaxy and finally our world. What a thing it is to see our little marble of a planet in one single photograph. It is so huge. And so tiny. We are so far apart and so close together. We are spinning in space. We are rooted to the earth.

Don’t you just love all of these contradictions? Contained within the essence of our existence is the paradox. We are all alone yet we are inextricably linked together.

At the end of the concert some of us stood up to sing and clap “Praises for the World” with Berezan and the band. Many people were sitting down. Too afraid to stand up? Perhaps. Unmoved by the the message? It’s possible. Uncomfortable in their bodies? Maybe so.

I understand the reluctance in such situations to join the crowd. It can feel really yucky. But I got up to Praise the World and I clapped and I shook my tail feather because it’s not about me. It goes beyond my fear, beyond my discomfort, beyond my judgmental thinking. It goes beyond all of these things.

It goes so far beyond that it actually goes up, up, up into the sky, into the galaxy, into space where the World looks so small that we can see ourselves as we really are: one single organism.

And from this place of Oneness we can be assured, once again, that we are all in this together, bound by Existence, bound by a Force we cannot explain and yet see nonetheless, all around us, every day, manifest in every Living Thing.

Praises for the World indeed.

Inspiring Message of the Day: This world is worth standing up for. I will get up out of my seat and stand up for the gift I’ve been given. The Great and Miraculous Gift of Life.