Freedom To Choose

 

“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.”   – Victor Frankl

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South Rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ

This has always been my favorite mindfulness quote.  We all need to look for the spaces between the stimulus and the response. That awareness begins with a pause. That self reflecting ability – in the moment noticing. In that pause we begin to notice what’s really happening (worrying about the future… a flash of irritation – a craving for food). With that realization, we allow what’s there – to be there – without reacting. In these moments, we enter a space of freedom – the freedom to choose.

After your meditation – or at a time where you feel relaxed – identify several situations during the day where you become or slip into a moderately reactive mode. Look for signs of anxiety or irritation. For example, for me it’s getting my son up for school. I can catch myself “mindful yelling”.  For you it may be, getting caught in traffic, a deadline for a project, feeling tired, overwhelmed at work, or being criticized by a loved one.

Select ONE area and for the next week have the intention to pause for a few breaths and become aware inwardly when you’re in those situations.

In that moment of pausing – that awareness – take real interest in what’s happening inside you… An uneasy feeling? Tension? Numbness? Pressure? Are you aware of anger, anxiety, or cravings? What are you feeling? Be with whatever sensation or emotion is present.

Then, take a few full breaths relaxing with each of breath and then resume your daily activity.

Notice the difference between being caught reacting all the time and being aware and awake. Honor these moments because it’s a deep awakening inside you.

Let me know how it goes.

-Andy

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