The Power 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 & our freedom." - Viktor Frankl

This idea has been one of the most prevalent themes in my life since the day yoga came knocking on my door. I had never understood the power I held within myself until my mat revealed it to me. In a world where we allow ourselves to be victims, where we let ourselves believe that we are powerless, that we do not have control over our reactions, this realization was a big wake up call for me. I no longer was able to blame my knee-jerk reactions or quick-temperedness on anything or anyone around me. It was me. I reacted. I chose my words, my feelings and my thoughts. However, it takes a lot of continued practice to stay aware of the space where the choice lies. A daily commitment to my yoga practice is the key to showing me the key to this space: breath. Without the concentration on my inhales and exhales I notice a serious decrease in my mindfulness - it is the tool that keeps me connected to the now. Just as many of the practices yoga has taught me, I find this one to be especially difficult when I am hurt. I find an urge to fight back to lash out when someone has hurt me deeply, but these are the times when awareness, control are most important. I often tell my students, it is easy to practice yoga (on and off the mat) when everything is happy, easy and smooth. The work happens when we feel things are crashing down around us, when that sense of control doesn't seem as easy to grasp. Continued practice allows for these ideas, or more specifically, the idea of creating enough space to find that power to choose, a little more accessible.

Today it is my intention to stay connected with this awareness as much as possible. It is my wish, my intent to observe myself in the space after a stimulus occurs, find my breath, then react with mindfulness and kindness in my heart.