There’s a controversy around the origin of words often attributed to Viktor Frankl and certainly the message is his, but the language may have been modified over time. The words are attributed to his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, though they aren’t found there.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our happiness.
Through the work of Alexander Technique, I’m learning to “inhibit” the habit or first response, giving myself space and time to adjust and choose. There is ease as environment and I know and honor our relationship as one.
Yesterday, in my seventh Alexander session, I was disappointed to feel fear in my jaw, knees, and hips, all three of which were more tightly gripped than I prefer. Today I consider what was different in my day.
I’d been reading Obi Kaufman’s book on Water, and though he says he doesn’t want to lead us down a downward spiral when he discusses “climate breakdown”, I felt myself caught in a drain of fear and panic, even though in this moment, all is calm. Water flows in and out of my home. I have power and plants, electrical power and plant power.
This brings me to a fascinating study on flowers and bees that shows that when flowers hear buzzing bees, they make their nectar sweeter. Stimulus and response.
This allows me to feel how I need to monitor my intake of the “news” of the day. I need to notice what’s happening with my breathing, and the space and spaces in torso, head, and legs.
I notice, give space.
Am I contracting even when there is no need to protect? Is there sourness, bitterness, anger, and/or fear? Can I give space to response, without judgment of right or wrong?
When I do, I intake what brings and produces joy, ripples ensue; my jaw is relaxed; my saliva is sweet.
My knees turn out with a curtsied bend that hurrahs, “Ta Da!”
“Ta Da, I’m here, gloriously here, delightfully alive in joy-filled response.”
So, rather than the force being with you, which might lead to a battle within, and another without, may your saliva be sweet, and your knees soft streams fulfilling sweet dreams.