Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Let's start with something substantial

It is always important to record those fresh impressions following a period of inspiration. There perhaps could be no more fitting way to start this blog than with a response to the book I have just finished reading... Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning".

What an honour it is to share a common humanity with this champion of optimism and positive attitude. Tested in the the most severe conditions of the Nazi Death Camps, Frankl developed a life's philosophy that he had already begun to build prior to being arrested in Vienna and deported in September 1942.

What is my 'take away' from this classic true story? We all have the freedom to choose our next response to the next challenge that we face. Frankl considered that that next choice enabled every person, no matter what their past deeds, to be capable of making the next choice the right one.

Victor Frankl contended that everyone's search for meaning is different but that the journey to discovering that meaning can be found on three different paths: 'by creating a work or doing a deed; by experiencing something or encountering someone; and, by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Having just finished reading Dr Frankl's great work... I offer a resonating personally on all three fronts.

On the first pathway... you are reading this blog because I have made a vocational choice in the last few years that leads me to this moment. Time & Space ( ) has been created for young people and their parents (and mentors) to take an opportunity to experience and create a life memory that no-one can take away from them. This leads to the second pathway that can, in this extremely fast world, become invisible to us (and that includes this writer)... that the people from our tribe, our kids, our partners, our parents and siblings present a lifetime of meaning making opportunities in the way we choose to show them love and kindness. And, in those encounters, especially when we share with each other those instructive moments when we have risen above suffering or welcomed it as a challenge to be a better person... we see that the third pathway holds stories of each individual's personal challenges and learnings in life. Victor Frankl survived the unimaginable intensity of four concentration camps and emerged with purified life intent. We shouldn't cower comparatively to such an infamous suffering experienced by millions of Jews in the Second World War. Victor generously offers that each person's experience of unavoidable suffering presents their unique quest for the ultimate meaning of their life. Whilst it, on the surface, can't hold up to the excruciating barbarity of the death camp reality... there are many of our fellow humans who live lives of quiet desparation day to day, struggling to hope... struggling to find meaning, struggling to connect with their own people and family. I am convinvced that the existential angst that many feel can be alleviated by taking the Time & Space to hear the thoughts and feelings of those closest to us... and in turn having the chance to share your own.

So - if you haven't done so thusfar, may I commend to you Victor E. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning". It may just change your life!

I look forward to reading your responses. Welcome to this blog.

Bill Jennings from 'Time & Space'.