Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Making Minutes

on March 8, 2015

Making Minutes

One step on my journey to become a better version of myself (daily!) is to practice thinking before speaking. This is important when you come from a no filter / fixer family like I do. This freedom of speak is a great power; but, as we all know from Spiderman’s Uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility”… and sometimes a great big stinky foot in your mouth 🙂

It has taken 40 plus years, but one of the big influences in my life (check her out at finally got me to be SMART when goal setting (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Thinking before speaking is a good intention, but insofar as a goal it is way too general and grand.

Inspired by a quote from Viktor E. Frankl (shared on Facebook by one of my other positive influences, my brother in spirit / cousin in law in life, Jeff), I was able to narrow this down to a respond instead of react goal:

“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.”

Respond versus react was a concept I first heard in a yoga class around the winter holidays. Reflecting on this spun my brain back to another yoga class (I told you I LOVE yoga) where Angie, my very first yogi (!), had us pause for a few seconds between inhaling and exhaling at the “top and the bottom” of each breath- literally discovering and integrating more space into our practice while on the mat and something I am working to transfer into my life of the mat. It is this same concept of newfound space that takes me back to Frankl’s quote – finding the space “to choose our response” – and to tie it back in a bow to my goal, it is in this same space where I must work to choose to (mostly) respond instead of react.

So why is this important? I can only answer that question for me (and hope that anyone reading this decides to answer it for themselves and share :-)). Responding over reacting to me means I have really taken the time to consider what is being said. I am a good listener, but I am also a “fixer” – this duality is a positive thing, and true to my Gemini nature. But it has its downside too (back to the great power / responsibility thing); I can be quick to jump in and fix things (in my head or out loud) which is great, but sometimes, many times, people just want to be heard (versus “fixed”). Listening and being quick to act are two good qualities on their own, but together sometimes those two things suffocate each other; taking time to pause will allow oxygen to fire up the right response, or if truly needed, a reaction to what is happening.

Responding instead of reacting is usually the higher road – in most cases. I will put forth that it isn’t failsafe. Sometimes a response isn’t strong enough to the situation and a reaction is needed. That said, I need to practice creating and inviting space in my life to allow me to decide which has the best purpose and place, introducing a Spidey-sense to partner with my “power of speak”, allowing me to make wiser and more responsible choices.

  • Specific – use breathing (a live pause) to create space in which to decide whether and how to respond or react to deliver the best purpose
  • Measurable – there won’t be tally marks, but there will be less apologies (aka stinky foot in mouth).
  • Achievable – on a scale of 1-10, I would give my chances of success over time to be 90% (never aim for perfect).
  • Realistic – yes, provided I stay committed to practicing until good habits are formed; given my aim of 90% and the positive support I surround myself with to really adopt this into my life I do believe my goal is reasonable and realistic
  • Timely – not really applicable here, now is a better time than any. Doing this once a day more than I am today is a good thing and is measurable progress.

8 responses to “Making Minutes

  1. mtlewellen1 says:

    I am so proud of you for putting this blog together, and can’t wait to read every post! Thank you for the reminder to take a breath before responding, and to try to make progress from one day to the next in whatever our goals may be. I am so happy to be on this journey of life with you!


  2. Shannon Matin Lazar says:

    YAY! I am so excited you started this. I love your writing and I am excited to continue learning with you beyond class. Beautiful post!


  3. Hi Jen! Congrats on your first post! I always love your inspirational and fun writing. I learn so much from you. I know you did this for yourself but it is nice for the rest of us to benefit. 🙂
    I loved your SMART goal setting. I am looking forward to your next post.


    • jpearl19 says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback and kind words. I am glad you are able to get something out of it, but the truth is everyone interact with really help me put all this stuff in (for myself and others). Thakns for being a part of my life and contributing to my posts 🙂


  4. travelocity says:

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    • jpearl19 says:

      Hi Noreen,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your encouragement. I like your advice to “handle it up” (which I think means to have faith, let go = let God.. my interpretation, am curious if I am right or not)? I like your energy, thanks for the good vibes!


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