by Erin Weist
I attended a series of workshops this weekend designed for the women in my area. We learned about the power of good music in our homes. We learned about the power of serving other people. We learned about the power of an educated mind. But mostly I learned about the power of myself: particularly, the power to choose who I will be.
This workshop talked about the power to be in charge of our emotions, to not give way to anger, to CHOOSE what our response would be to any given stimuli. But the parallels are inevitable on a political, social and global scale.
In his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl declares:
“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.” He was writing about enduring the horrors of a concentration camp and trying to teach others that his power to choose how he would respond could never be taken from him.
Whatever news you choose to follow, the world seems to whirl around us at an increasingly dangerous pace. Economies are precarious, family values are precarious, personal liberty is precarious (if not totally decimated in some areas) and more than once I have heard a woman declare, “I am terrified to have my children grow up in this world.”
But we can choose. We can choose to be afraid and hide in the shadows. We can choose to be angry and unrelenting. Or, we can gain true power by choosing to be courageous and faithful. We can choose to be full of love and compassion. THAT is true empowerment– choosing who & what I will be regardless of the circumstances. Victor Frankl endured a concentration camp and still understood that his power to choose his response was his alone and could never be taken. What will your response be?
We can choose. The negative actions and choices of others around us are unrelenting. They will always be there and we all must learn to live with them. But how will we react? With calm assurance, hope and love for all people? Or with fear and retaliation? You have the means to change the world, sometimes not by your actions but by your response to actions. And therein lies true power and freedom. What will you choose today?