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Debra Lynn Dadd

A Life Lesson:
The Power of Admiration
by Debra Lynn Dadd

I have learned many lessons by observing life. 

Yes, I learn from my own personal life experiences, but beyond that I also look to life itself for lessons on how to be fully alive. In nature I can see harmony, beauty, abundance, continuity... Since these qualities, and others, exist inherently in life, then as a living being, they should exist in me, too--and in all human society. For, after all, we are beings born of nature as well.

Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd

From the world of living nature, I have learned the greatest lessons of my life. One of the most magnificent has been becoming aware of the power of admiration.


One of the most powerful tools for good I have found to exist throughout life is admiration. To admire something is to hold it in high regard and to appreciate it. I've found that when living beings are acknowledged with admiration and appreciation, all sorts of good things come forth.

An example of this phenomenon occurred with me, as a result of admiration I received for writing a previous article for Soulful Living.

For most of my life I have wanted to communicate about spirit. I first learned that I am a spirit--not a body or a mind--when I was six years old. Yet, living in a world where the common agreement is to pretend we are bodies, I learned very quickly not to talk about being a spirit, even though I knew it was true. When I became I writer, I longed to write on spiritual subjects, but didn't have the courage.

Then one day Valerie contacted me and asked me to write an article for Soulful Living about natural products, as I am the author of a book on this subject. I gave it a bit of a soulful slant, and then she asked me to write What Soulful Living is to Me. When I sent in this article, her response was "You should be a spiritual writer!"

That one small comment of admiration gave me confidence to continue to pursue writing on the subject of spirit, which eventually led to publishing my Signs of Spirit newsletter, working on several books on spirit, and speaking openly about being a spirit. In turn, my acknowledgement and admiration of my readers as beings of spirit is opening their spiritual awareness and abilities as well.

We never know what door we will unlock in someone when we use the key of admiration, but it is sure to be something good.


If you want to get something to improve, admiration is a good tool to use. Praise is the word we use for the expression of admiration.

I first learned the magic of admiration by using it with my husband, Larry, when we were first married almost twenty years ago. As much as I loved him, he did have some annoying faults. Of course, nagging him about these faults did nothing to improve them. Finally, I stopped the nagging and just started admiring his good qualities. I would say, "You are such a good husband," and "You are just the right husband for me," and "I really like the way you..." and very soon, all the good qualities I admired increased and the faults just, well, disappeared.

Recently, I have been experiencing an even more dramatic demonstration of the power of admiration.

When Larry and I moved to Florida in 2002, I joined a local writer's group as a means of making new friends and getting to know other writers. It was very different from other groups. There was no criticism--only admiration. We first read inspirational quotations about being an artist and the importance of artists to society, which serve to give us admiration just for being writers. Then we do a five-minute writing exercise. A topic is given and we all write on that topic for five minutes, then read what we wrote and everyone's writing is admired. Then we each read something we've written at home and all that writing gets admired too. That's all we do. We should call it the Writers' Admiration Society.

The result of all of this admiration is that our writing improves! And we feel good about ourselves as artists. And, over time, in different ways, we have all expanded our abilities as artists as well as making our works more known in new ways. Since I joined the group, I've gone from being a writer with one out-of-date book on a single subject to a writer with a new book recently published by a major New York publisher and a publisher of seven websites and five email newsletters. In the works I have more books on more subjects, CDs, and DVDs, and I'm looking at starting my own publishing company to publish both my own works and the works of others. Big change. All from admiration.

About a year ago, the leader of the writer's group started a monthly "open mike" event. Again, the rule is admiration only. People get up and perform and we all applaud and cheer. No criticism is allowed from the audience and no self-criticism is allowed from the performers.

At first, the only performers were members of the writer's group. We each got up and read something. But then, an amazing thing happened. Each of us began to remember that we had other artistic talents and we got all excited about expressing them! Cathy began to sing again, Elyse started to play her cello again. I began to play the piano again to accompany them. Just having a safe place where we could perform and be acknowledged and admired called our other artistic talents out of hiding. Soon others came and began to perform too.

Now, I have to tell you what happened with my husband, Larry. He is an artist, but hasn't much expressed his art throughout his life. It wasn't much encouraged.

When I first met Larry, he was a tree man. The first time I saw a tree he had trimmed, I said to myself, "This man is an artist, and trees are his medium." Whenever he would trim a tree, it would look more beautiful, more alive. I asked him to teach me how he did that. Certainly there was a technique of where to prune the branch, but he also had an awareness of observing the tree to see its beauty, and trimming it to reveal it's form and shape--much like Michealangelo finding the sculpture in the stone. But I also noticed that he hummed little tunes all the time that he was just making up and loved to tell outrageous stories, though he wouldn't write them down. Once, just out of the blue, he wrote a poem for me.

So I started dragging him to the writer's group meetings. And slowly, slowly, he began to think of himself as a writer. I got him a little job writing when I needed extra writers on a project I was working on. But he wouldn't come to the open mike.

One day I said, "The open mike is next Saturday and I want you to come with me. And I want you to write something and read it." He said he would come, but he wouldn't read. Then all of a sudden, on Saturday morning, the day of the event, he woke up and started scribbling the words to a song down on a piece of paper. Then he sang it to me! It was such a funny song! I worked out the chords, lined up a guitar player to accompany him, and that very night he sang the song he had just written that morning! It was the very first time he had ever in his life sang in public and he just stood up and sang right out like he had been singing all his life.

After the performance, he decided he wanted us to have a guitar. We agreed to go shopping for one the following Saturday. Tuesday he came home and said he had found a guitar and asked me to go look at it with him. By Tuesday evening we had a guitar and was begging me to teach him how to play it. This is amazing to me, because for years I thought he had no interest in music at all!

As we all have continued to read our works and explore our other artistic talents, our abilities just continue to expand and improve. This is so incredible to me, having been raised in a classic educational environment of rigorous correction and discipline.

After months of playing the piano for Cathy while she sang, I realized that I really wanted to sing too. And so we began to sing together, sometimes in unison, sometimes in harmony. We now perform together more and more around our community and as I write this we are planning to make a CD. When we sing together, we are told we sound "beautiful." Our voices blend magically and we are in complete harmony together as we bring forth the music.

And Larry, well, Larry continues to surprise and delight me with his talents. Writing humorous poetry just comes naturally to him and now he's writing children's books in rhyme with nature themes!


Admiration is something that happens spirit-to-spirit. It's not something generated by a mind or a body. When we admire someone or another life form, it is an expression of our own spirit and it touches the spirit of the other. When someone else admires us, we feel it as a spirit.

It is clear to me that any and every aspect of spirit increases as a direct result of the amount of acknowledgement, admiration, and appreciation it gets. I've learned that if I want more of any good thing, all I need to do is admire it!


The power of admiration is not limited to people. I am always moved when I read this passage from Alice Walker:

"What I have noticed in my small world is that if I praise the wild flowers growing on the hill in front of my house, the following year they double in profusion and brilliance. If I admire the squirrel that swings from branch to branch outside my window, pretty soon I have three or four squirrels to admire...The Universe responds. What you ask of it, it gives...Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited. Love will overflow every sanctuary given it."

© Copyright 2006 Debra Lynn Dadd. All Rights Reserved. 

Debra Lynn Dadd
Debra Lynn Dadd has been a leading consumer advocate in the field of health and the environment since the early 1980s. She was the first to comprehensively write about toxic chemicals in common household products in language meant for consumers, which created a demand for the many nontoxic products we find on the market today.

Beginning with her first self-published book in 1980, Debra's various books have been continuously in print for twenty-five years. Her book Home Safe Home is the definitive guide to toxic exposures in the home and safe solutions. She also publishes Debra's List--a free online directory of 100s of links to 1000s of products with health and environmental benefits--and three free online newsletters: Health, Home, and Habitat, a weekly recipe using natural sweeteners, and Words of Wisdom--a daily quotation on nature or spirit. She has been a regular contributor to Natural Home & Garden magazine since it's first issue.

Hailed "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra has appeared on many radio and television shows including Geraldo and the Today show. She was featured on the cover of East West Journal (now Natural Health magazine) and Yoga Journal.




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