the power to choose

Ya know when you hear or learn something for the first time, then all of a sudden you start hearing about it or seeing it more and more?  I wish there was a word for this, because it happens to me a lot!  I guess it could be called awareness, but it feels like the concept is more particular than just that.

The first time I heard something Viktor Frankl said, years ago, I was intrigued because I had never heard his name before and the quote really resonated with me.  From that point on, I kept noticing books by him, or quotes in various places that were his.  For a long time I had stopped hearing about him…until yesterday he popped back up on my radar.  My yoga teacher shared this quote (which happen to be the first one I heard)…

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

When I hear this I feel empowered, I also feel like ‘oh sh%@’.  Because a lot of times, it can be very challenging, and difficult to choose the response that I have paused and realized is the most true, timely appropriate, and necessary in that moment.  Or on the other hand, I have allowed for space and know which response would be more beneficial, allow for growth in that moment, but instead I go with the response that does not allow room for growth.  I can also be so stuck in a pattern of behavior that I don’t see the space, I don’t allow for the space between the stimulus and response.  It’s a knee jerk reaction to the stimulus, which most often even though it feels like YES YOU HAVE TO SAY/DO THIS in the moment, after it comes out or is done,  I realize that it was not the most true, at the most appropriate timing, and was not necessary in that moment.  OR after the pause I realize oh no I don’t think I can say that, I can’t say no, or I can’t say yes to that, I have to do this….

After situations occur like these, (and I’m sure you have your own scenario playing in your mind right now of what this means to you) I look back and realize what a better response/action would have been.  There lies the growth for me, to help me realize the next time that I do have the power to say or do what felt like the better response/action. This quote helps me to realize that I can take the time (and have the power) to choose a response that I would not have to ‘re do’ ….rather I would grow in that moment and have the freedom to adjust my pattern of behavior by choosing a response that would really work in that moment, that would create a more peaceful experience for myself and others around me.

So next time you find yourself in a situation where you hear that voice screaming at you to say or do something that feels it HAS to be said or has to be done, take a moment, see the space where you have the power to choose a response/action that would allow for your growth and freedom, one that would not have to be ‘re done’.

shine on


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