I read this quote a number of years ago and it opened my eyes to see that there is a space between stimulus and response. I first became aware of that space on my yoga mat. When holding a pose, or trying a difficult pose, I began to recognize that when I hit my edge (the stimulus) I often reacted. Reacting to me is instantaneous reply without any thought put into it. As I continued my practice I was able to recognize that when I met my edge, I could pause and create space. Then I would deepen my breathe to help keep me calm. In the space I created by pausing and breathing, just as Frankl says above, I could choose my response. I could stay in the pose and breathe through the intensity or I could choose to come out of the pose.
I wondered what this looked like when practiced off the mat.
I started practicing pausing and breathing to create space and become calm off the mat when there was a stimulus. For example, a child screaming, getting cut off in traffic, a person being rude, things not going the way I planned, etc. For me, I noticed that creating space and breathing were only part of the equation for me to create a fruitful response.
When I came back to my faith, I realized that the space between stimulus and response is our opportuntity to pray; to align with the person we were created to be. We can react from the ugliness of our discontent or we can choose to align with God, and live out love as our response.
I encourage you today when there is a stimulus to...
Pause. (Create space)
Breathe. (This oxygenates the cells which helps brain function)
Pray. (Align with God and who you were made to be)
Then choose to respond from a heart full of love; growing deeper into the person God created you to be - a vessel for love to live through.
Reacting creates tension in our own hearts and in the hearts of others. There also is a lot of clean up to do afterwards. Responding with love is freeing and bridges hearts. It also takes us another step closer to living authentically - with a lot less clean up, if any;-)
Putting this into practice has been transformational in my life and I have no doubt it would be transformational in your life as well. Let me know how it goes:-)