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Freedom to choose

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space there is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. ~Viktor Frankl Sometimes we make decisions in t…

Source: Freedom to choose

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and neurologist who developed a school of psychiatry called logotherapy which is the search for meaning in life. He used his experiences as a Holocaust survivor to help inform his findings.

Humans choose their responses and seek life’s meaning. When we lose our meaning in life, we drift, feeling rudderless and without mooring. What keeps us grounded is the choices we make in life and the meaning we find in life. For example, becoming a teacher, a farmer, a parent, etc. gives life purpose and calls us to take action.

We express who we are through responding to the continuous calling, the vocation, that we find through various meaningful roles. When and if we find our life’s meaning, it allows us to make a difference in the world, for other sentient beings, and for the non-sentient elements of the world. We care for all aspects of the world and feel connected to it

Thomas Merton suggested some humans find there calling and others search throughout life, unable to find it. Perhaps, it is they do not hear what calls them and are unable to respond. Mindfulness and silence open spaces to hear the calls that give our lives meaning and make living meaningful.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

25 responses »

  1. A very powerful, meaningful, thought-provoking and inspiring message. Thank you for posting this. Have an amazing day.

  2. Teachers are the artists, inspiring good works.

  3. Thanks for the link and your lovely post. Have a blessed weekend.

  4. This is a truly sefl-reflective blog article Ivon; I love it! Being conscious of mindfulness and taking time to appreciate and learn from the stillness and “silence” in life is a surefire way to not only appreciate the present moments of life, but to really tune inward to who we are, and the answers and energies that life is constantly sending our way.

    In our constantly evolving, ever changing and relentless pace of life, it makes sense to carve out that much needed “time out” session to recharge, find solace and solutions to everyday living.

    Taking heed to that still, small voice within will lead to clarity of purpose and sense of direction.

    Thanks for the lovely insights. Wishing you a great Easter weekend! 🙂

    • Thank you Brendaline. As I have matured (I think I have), the writings of Thomas Merton, Parker Palmer, Mary Oliver, and many others helped me turn inwards and find the quiet we cannot find in the outer world. It also takes us to those spaces i.e. Waterton and Glacier National Parks where silence is the norm.

      • Yep, those are great minds indeed; glad you were influenced by them. I echo your thoughts on retreating to those quiet places for reflection and calmness of mind/spirit — especially in our hustle, bustle world. Glacier National Parks sounds like the perfect ‘sweet escape’ spot. Have you been there recently?

      • We were there two summers ago. We spent more time in Waterton National Park which borders on Glacier on the Canadian side. They are spectacular. When I drive down there, they just rise out of the Southern Alberta flatlands.

  5. I was always captured by Donald Winnicott’s formulation of the ‘transitional object’ – the idea of a way in which an object can inhabit a space mediating between inner reflection and actions of engagement with the external world – the place where imagination lives. It also helped me to think about the unconscious in our choices and how we might take responsibility for our own unconscious. I’ve had a couple of goes at exploring this in poems. There’s one on my blog called ‘the Transitional ‘ – I’ll repost it shortly.
    Happy Easter!

  6. Finding purpose is much easier when we leave our heads and enter our hearts.

    Clear direction seems to follow.

  7. Love both Frankl and Merton’s works – and so, for now, till I learn better – have taken my ‘lifes work’ on as rabble rouser – until I learn better how to share their messages in less harsh/blunt way – – work in progress – – LOL

    • I think of Thomas Merton as a rabble rouser. His writing and thinking is deeply transformative in the 21st Century and he wrote in the mid-20th. I love his use of Nietzsche, Marx, Heidegger, and others in his writing. Also, he had a quirky sense of humour.

  8. Wow, I’m just honored to have come across this post! It is very good writen! It made me think deeper and it taught me something new! I’ve never heard of Viktor Frankl before, thank you for introducing me to his work! 🙂


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