Between the moment something triggers us and our reaction, there is a space. Within that space, we have a choice. And with the choice we make, our reality emerges. Even if that space is a split second, there is time between the stimulus and reaction to check in with our values. We can ask where does love, patience, responsibility and understanding fit in? Or we can react without thought from our ancient reptilian instincts around fear, safety and ego protection. Our minds work at lightning speed, so it is not a matter of enough time. Infinity can be found in a second. It is a matter of practice.
The exciting thing is that reality can be shifted every time we make the next choice in that space for there are infinite spaces in our days. This is how consciousness can shift and how muscle memory can go from reactionary to expansive.
Here’s the catch though. In that split second of space, we need to take responsibility for our words and actions. Instead of staying in wounded, victim consciousness or ego greatness, we need to open up to our deeper power and let the light in, so to speak.
I have two recent examples. One was when some friends went shopping for a dinner party. They bought some expensive wine. Upon opening the door to get the groceries, the wine fell out, breaking on the driveway. Stimulus, space, response. In that split second, the energy of the evening could have gone several different ways that could impact relationships and the future. Instead of anger, my friends reacted with an amused laugh. One got a broom. The other went back to the store and carefully held the wine as it came out of the car. The evening was full of joy and laughter. Good learning. No blame. No guilt. Awareness and ease.
In another example, a family was getting ready for school and work one morning, when the mom went to grab the keys from their usual hook and they weren’t there. Immediately she said to her husband, “what did you do with the keys?” He quickly responded, “I didn’t take your F*cking keys.” And a significant blow up ensued. There was no space used between stimulus and response on anyone’s part. The entire household’s relationships (children were waiting to go to school, friends were visiting) and their stress levels were impacted.
It is easy to blame, often much harder to take responsibility for our own actions. But we do have the ability to change the course of our reality and future. Step by step.
So today will you join me in practicing our choice in the space? Just notice it. See what happens if you check in with your deeper values. See if you can find some grace within the space.