“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.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
This is one of my favorite and most quoted quotes. It reminds me of something deeply human, and of one of the things I hope to help people tap into in our work: No matter what our circumstances, there is room for choice. The ways we respond to life's circumstances will make a profound difference in the way we live our lives, in our experience of suffering, and in our discovery of peace and joy.
So in the face of pain, loss, or injustice, where might that room for choice lie?
Therapeutic conversation invites us to dive deeply into this question, in order to find our own answers, informed by our own unique histories and inner wisdom. My job as a therapist is to help guide that conversation.
One of many ways to nourish this kind of investigation is by practicing skills of mindfulness -- or "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment."* Mindfulness skills and practices are designed to help people reconnect with themselves (and others!) by cultivating awareness of their own moment-to-moment, physical and mental experience.
For some, recognizing choice and "freedom" may arise through engaging with nature, creative work, exercise, spiritual practice, dance, music -- it really doesn't matter which one (or more) it turns out to be. Sometimes, experimenting with a new kind of "response" may be the first important choice you make in blazing your own path toward greater growth and freedom.
* Quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.