Music Monday: The Space Between

I facilitate an exercise with groups where I ask everyone to write down a quote from a book, movie, play, or song that had a profound impact on them personally. We use the quotes throughout the day in a variety of ways. So far, I’ve not met anyone who didn’t have one.

Mine is easy to recall because when I read it for the first time, it stopped me in my tracks. I re-read it several times, and I’ve never forgotten it or been quite the same since. It’s a passage from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl that reads, “Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. And, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. He wrote those words after surviving one of the world’s most horrific events so in my mind… they are tested and true. He went on to say, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

This quote reminds us that we are the receiver of the information, actions, stimuli, and circumstances in our lives, but we are also the observer. As an observer, we can be self-aware, and we are strong enough and free enough to choose how we will interpret and react to everything that happens to us. He beckons us to step into the space between the event and our response and make a conscious choice that will be better for us and for the greater good.

Initially, it’s challenging to postpone, even for a millisecond, our normal, knee-jerk reaction which often ends in a low-level emotion or worse, a low-level action. The space between gives us perspective and re-centers us to our core values and is worth remembering and practicing in our everyday lives.

This week, for our Music Monday Stretch (always the first Monday of the month), I chose one of my all-time favorite songs, Life Uncommon, by Jewel. “Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom, no longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from, fill your life with love and bravery and you shall lead a life uncommon.” This central lyric fits perfectly with my hope that all of us this week will recognize and utilize the space between much more. As we read social media posts that enrage us, watch news reports that upset us, and overhear comments that frustrate us… I hope we’ll remember Viktor Frankl’s ability, in the face of much worse circumstances, to step into the space between stimulus and response and carefully, thoughtfully, and powerfully choose our own.

Jewel – Life Uncommon

“Don’t worry mother, it’ll be alright
And don’t worry sister, say your prayers and sleep tight
And it’ll be fine, lover of mine, it’ll be just fine
And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead, a life uncommon

I’ve heard your anguish, I’ve heard your hearts cry out
We are tired, we are weary, but we aren’t worn out
Set down your chains, until only faith remains
Set down your chains.
And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead, a life uncommon

There are plenty of people who pray for peace
But if praying were enough, it would’ve come to be
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves to hear
Our voices ring our clear with sounds of freedom, sounds of freedom

Come on you unbelievers, move out of the way
There is a new army coming and we are armed with faith
To live, we must give, to live
And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead, a life uncommon.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s