“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, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor
We often associate fall with comfort, coziness, and warmth, but I’d also like to consider the renewal that fall provides for us. Let’s consider new ways to look at old habits, past celebrations with family and friends, and the kind of gifts you give and receive. In doing so, we may find that there are some things we can do without, and others we simply must have to find our lives meaningful.
Viktor Frankl and the Meaning of Life
I specifically chose the quote for this week’s post, by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, because it describes the power of the season we’re currently in, both literally and metaphorically…things slow down, leaves fall, and there is space between us and what we usually think is important. If spring is for getting outside, and summer is for getting away, fall is for staying in, cuddling up, and finding time to reflect, replenish, and refresh. Fall is, after all, the one time of year that we dedicate an entire day being grateful (or we at least hope that happens at some point on Thanksgiving day!) here in the United States.
Finding meaning and reasons to be grateful during these wild times we’re living in can be a challenge, but as Viktor Frankl reminds us, it is possible.
According to his short biography on Goodreads (a great source for inspirational quotes) Frankl understood better than most that it is possible to find meaning in life, no matter how challenging or difficult the circumstances. In Man’s Search for Meaning, he writes about his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even in the worst ones, and a reason for living.
Pretty inspiring, right?
Gathering and Giving Will Be Different This Year
Even though many of our usual gatherings will be different this year, we can still find plenty of ways to be inspired and find meaning in each day. I am reconsidering what this time of year really means for me and my family. Who can I see in person? Who can’t I see? What should I do when I can’t physically be with them for these special times of the year?
We’re all rethinking how important it is to celebrate, and it’s making for some inspiringly creative ideas. Maybe you’re doing an at-home Halloween celebration, or a drive-thru trick or treat experience. Maybe your family is using technology like Zoom or FaceTime to gather virtually for Thanksgiving this year as you watch each other eat turkey and sweet potatoes.
Personally, I am also looking for inspiration to stay positive during a somewhat tumultuous time in our lives. I have been working to find that “space” between “stimulus and response” that Frankl describes. To give myself a moment here and there for reflection and inspiration to move forward with the renewal that comes with fall and the upcoming holiday season.
Ways to Find Inspiration this Fall
With a little magic, we can find some time to be inspired right now, as we cuddle up on the sofa. Instead of watching TV, maybe you could try reading that book you bought last year and promptly put on the shelf. Or try a new kind of tea (or maybe try hot tea for the first time!). Of course, I also made a list of things to try:
- Reading magazines, books – maybe your favorites of all time, maybe new ones
- Writing/Journaling – getting those feelings out on the page can really help manage them
- Watching inspirational tv/movies – set aside the intense thrillers and watch a sweet love story unfold
- yoga/meaningful movement – stretch achy muscles that are sore from all that time spent leaning into a computer or phone screen
- Coloring – I think we can all agree that it’s really no longer just for kids…there are like a million coloring books for adults out there, which means someone’s buying them (and that someone is ME!)
- Rearranging your house – I don’t mean organizing (unless you enjoy that), I mean literally moving things around to new places in your space (that pretty bowl that ALWAYS sits by the back door? Maybe it would be more useful and/or attractive by your bed to hold all your trinkets)
- Sit outside on a cool evening with someone you love – this one doesn’t really need an explanation, but thank goodness that here in Greenville it’s not a million degrees and like 100% humidity anymore and we can sit outside again!
Another aspect of this coming season of gathering and giving is that our gifts will, I hope, be different. I, for one, feel moved to give gifts that represent more than just something for my family to unwrap at our holiday gatherings. I want my gifts to say something, and that is how much I care about the recipient.
Fall Gift Inspiration
- A journal – this one from Wilde House Paper in California is especially helpful – it comes with prompts for gratitude, self-care, and other important rituals to start the day right.
- A luxurious throw paired with a cider scented candle – this throw from The Loomia is made in Turkey from locally sourced cotton.
- A soft cotton robe and sweetly scented soap – another favorite from The Loomia and a small batch bar of soap made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients from Benjamin Soap Co. would go great together!
- A playful coloring book to keep you inspired – this coloring book from Free Period Press is full of fun pages for those days when you just feel like the struggle is real.
Still seeking some inspiration? Need gift ideas for fall gatherings, near or far?
Reach out and let me know! I’ll be happy to create a custom gift for you, as well as deliver it directly to the recipient, gift wrapped (local deliveries).
Introducing…the Simple Gift!
And finally, I would like to announce a new feature of my blog posts – the Simple Gift of the week! There are so many wonderful things I encounter each day, from products to people to ideas, and I wanted to find a way to share them with everyone! Some are free, some cost money, but they are all useful, inspiring, or just fascinating (in my opinion!).
This week’s Simple Gift is a book. I have already written a little about this book, Simple Abundance, in another blog post that I will link to here. It is written by a wonderfully talented woman named Sarah Ban Breathnach, and I find it to be one of my favorite books of all time.
Each day, there is a short meditation on life, the season, and how we can live a balanced and joyful life in general. Her writing has brought me calm in many storms, and I read this book every morning. If I don’t, I get a little off-kilter and then later I realize that I forgot to read my Simple Abundance!
Recently, I found out that she had revised and updated it, and when I went to pick up my new copy at the store, the woman at the counter told me it was one of her favorite books as well! So, if everyone else is doing it, why not you? 🙂
Well, that’s my first Simple Gift! I hope that it inspires you to check out Simple Abundance, and that maybe you can think of something that is a “Simple Gift” in your life. When you start to really think about it, there are often many little gifts we experience each day and take them for granted.
May you feel inspired to find meaning each day, no matter what happens!