“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl,
The above quotation by Viktor Frankl has bounced around inside my head since I first read Man’s Search for Meaning 20 years ago and has greater import with each passing year.
How are we questioned by life? So many times, we are in situations that we wish were different, or we dwell on pasts that we cannot change. Whenever I can stop myself to ask, “What am I being asked?” or, to ask of life, “What can I see differently here?” or “What can I learn?” things go better. The circumstances don’t change, but I do. I get a better perspective. I can turn my attention to my own choices and growth and space rather than trying to control everything else.
“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.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl,
A meaningful life is different today at age 52 from when I was younger. Not necessarily better or deeper because of age—I know people far younger than I am who have this figured out far better than I do—but different. Maybe it’s because I am getting to know myself better, becoming more comfortable with all of my flaws and quirks and regrets, stripping away what no longer works and attending (as in given attention) to what remains.
Between a provocation and our response to it, in that space, we are queried. The more we can stay in the space and listen for the questions, the freer we become.
This post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!