Amongst his wisdom, I find myself sharing this most with the leaders I work with. Paraphrased as:
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is a choice.
In that choice is our freedom.
He starkly and powerfully reminds us that there are always choices available to us. Even when we think there are none.
Between there and here, between the past and now, there is THAT space. The gateway to a field of endless possibilities.
The more aware of that space, the potential that exists in it, the expansiveness that it offers, the more we can lean in to it and sit with the unknown. And the more we can respond mindfully instead of with our habitual automatic ways.
This, of course, is the exact opposite of what happened in a conversation with a colleague.
Unconsciously swirling around with fixed beliefs, past hurts, defensive strategies, defined expectations and strong emotions, I was so cloudy I didn't see any space.
So I reacted from that little girl with those raw feelings as opposed to the woman who may still have those feelings but has a few more perspectives on what they mean and how to handle them.
That space. It may be a split second, it may be longer.
That space usually comes when we literally take a breather...
And come to the present...
And we follow that feeling...
Back to its source...
Seeing it for what it is …
Enabling us to respond with awareness.
And the encouraging thing is that we will get numerous opportunities to practice! If we pay attention to what provokes us, we will soon notice our patterns – those situations and events, and often projections or transferences cleverly disguised as certain people and their actions. With every one of these strong emotional hooks, we look to befriend that space.
In doing so, we reset and resource.
Viktor E. Frankl (2004) Man’s Search For Meaning: the classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust, Ebury Publishing