Viktor & I

Filmmaker Alexander Vesely (grandson of Viktor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”), traveled around the world to interview former friends and colleagues of his world renowned grandfather. His aim was to get a personal view on Frankl, and discover how Frankl’s theories are connected to him as a person. The result of his efforts is a one hour documentary film that for the first time gives a unique and personal look at Viktor Frankl. Read more


 

#valuable-insights

"The task varies not only from person to person – in accord with the uniqueness of each person, but also from hour to hour, in accord with the singularity of every situation."
(Viktor E. Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul, page 67)

In our new series #valuable-insights logotherapeutic consultants and logotherapists offer valuable, spiritual thoughts to hold on to while dealing with the challenging situation that life has fatefully placed us in. We will accompany you in the coming weeks with encouraging and uplifting insights based on Viktor E. Frankl’s thoughts on meaning. #valuable-insights offers a space for different thoughts that will help us to focus on what’s still intact during these difficult days.
Your VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN Team

#valuable insights (No. 86): Fate & Freedom

Two gates:
Through one we are pushed;
Through the other we may pass.
Are these gates in contradiction?
Perhaps.
But they are connected

Through our steps.

One is called Fate,

the other, Freedom.

One shows us the direction
we must go; the other allows us to choose the path we take.

While walking, we may choose,
but while we choose we must keep on walking.

Two gates,
two worlds,

and people on their thresholds-wavering between fate and freedom?
Not quite.

Because being pushed
Through the gate of fate,
leaves fate behind us,
but being allowed to enter
through the gate of decision,
we face our freedom.

Thus, we walk upright,
fate in back,
toward freedom.

(Elisabeth Lukas, „Understanding Man`s Search for Meaning“)

(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 85): The Answer
What may we expect of life? The answer is silence

What does life expect of us? The answer lies on our tongue and in our hand. (Elisabeth Lukas, „Understanding mans search for meaning“)

According to Viktor Frankls Logotherapy it does not matter, what we expect from life. We are not the ones to ask for something. Instead we have to ask, what life expects from us. 

We are not only responbsible for ourselves but, as a part of the world, we bear global responsibility. We have to shoulder our global responsibility and it is our personal contribution, that counts. (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 84): Finding Meaning
"Finding meaning simply means: Knowing, what needs to be done right now. And those, who know this, can count themselves lucky!“
(Elisabeth Lukas, from "Sources of Meaningful Life")

Finding meaning in the sense of logotherapy means to be aware of the meaning of the moment – to perceive "what needs to be done right now" and to realize this possibility of meaning, to act meaningfully.

The sun is shining and I'm mentally on vacation – but there are still a lot of reports waiting to be written.

What is my meaning of the moment? Probably unfortunately not to jump into a swimmingpool, but rather to do the work. But the meaning of the moment changes – from hour to hour, from minute to minute – maybe there is still time for a swimming session, when my work is done? With this motivation suddenly it is much easier to write ...


#valuable insights (No. 83): The inner voice
„The message that resonates with us from the beginning of our existence and quietly remembers us in every crisis: "Be reasonable! Stay in love! Live meaningfully" (Elisabeth Lukas, "Lifestyle and Well-being")

In the course of our lives, we acquire one or the other habit and develop certain patterns of behavior. Intuitively, every person suspects, what life demands of him, but if he acts against this intuition sometimes psychosomatic disorders can be the result. We are not doing well. Therefore we need to turn our gaze inwards now and then, to hear the words of our voice of conscience, to check our habits and perhaps to change them.


#valuable insights (No. 82): Role Model
"Man must learn that the meaning of life is to be an example. A person should always see himself, as if the world is half guilty and half meritorious. A single act can tilt the scales of the whole world to the side of merit or to the side of guilt. Every human being is a part of the destruction or redemption of the world at all times." (Elisabeth Lukas quotes A. J. Heschel in "Lifestyle and Well-being")

Climate change, forest fires, war, famine, discrimination – the world's complaints are many and do not know a summer break. The questions, that life addresses to us, await our most personal answer – which we have to give in responsibility before our own conscience.

The quote by A. J. Heschel shows how important it is to be a role model and to act meaningfully, because every personal contribution leaves traces in the world.

The world is not whole, but it is curable. It's in our hands.


#valuable insights (No. 81): To have and to be
"You can only spend money as much as you have. You can spend love as much as you want."
(Elisabeth Lukas quotes Alexander Batthyany in "Pandemic and Psyche")

Material values are limited – you can acquire them, but you can also lose them. They are to be assigned to "having", which is transient.

The being of a person – his existence and his being exactly the way he is, which makes man unique and irreplaceable – is imperishable. Even if the person no longer walks on this earth, "the spiritual" remains beyond death.

Love belongs to the spiritual dimension of man – it can be given as much as one wants – even if you receive nothing in return. We can confidently give love to our partner, our children, our parents, our friends, our fellow human beings and our environment. (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 80): Laughter and Humor
"Laughter and humor are the greatest enemies of fear
 (from "From fear to peace of mind", Elisabeth Lukas and Reinhardt Wurzel)

According to Viktor Frankl, taking what is feared with humor and laughing at oneself takes the terror out of fear, because "there is hardly anything in human existence that enables man to gain distance as much and to such an extent as humor.“ (Viktor Frankl)
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 79): Gratitude  
"There is no human life, in which there is no occasion for joy. The art lies in perceiving these occasions with an alert sense, everyday life is full of them" (Elisabeth Lukas)

Elisabeth Lukas states in "Lifestyle and Well-Being" that many people on the sunny side of life no longer even know that their conditions are "sunny."
This is because they have become self-evident and are therefore not noticed.
Gratitude sometimes opens up a different perspective on one's own life.
What can we be grateful for?
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 78): Joy  
"Joy is always preceded by renunciation". (according to Elisabeth Lukas)

Summer awakens joy of life - a force that can cause wonders. Joy unites people like hardly anything else.
If joy is lost, how can it be learned again? Frankl's recipe for relearning joy was simple and effective: talk.
Experiencing life in fullness in the human encounter.


#valuable insights (No. 77): Being for it   
"Who decides, values, chooses
And that also means: renunciation
For every door, through which he passes, closes many others for him.

(Paul Roth, Textbook of Logotherapy)

In every life crisis there are decisions to be made. To be able to decide well, a person needs a holistic "being for it" - in the head and in the heart.

According to Elisabeth Lukas, there is a real "stability trilogy" - when a person decides for one thing/task/person
- Decides
- Acts accordingly and
- Stands by it
this saves him from inner turmoil and the resulting psychological and physical consequences.
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 76): Human Potential   
"If we take man, as he is, we make him worse. If we take him, as he should be, then we make him capable of becoming what he can be." (Viktor E. Frankl quoting J. W.Goethe, "Coping with Crises")

Isn't it wonderful to have this view of your fellow human beings? To see them in the best light, to assume they have positve motives - to sense not the caterpillar, but already the butterfly?

Let's encourage each other to grow, to become and to mature, so all our lives will not only be brighter, but also more confident! (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 75): Other Point of View    
The essence of human existence lies in its self-transcendence." (Viktor E. Frankl, "To be human is to find meaning")

Who permanently watches himself in the mirror, only sees himself. He circulates around himself and his sensitivities - his inner states and his circumstances.

But who looks at the world through the window of possibilities can perceive the meaning at this instant. That, which now asked of us in this special moment, that which is waiting to be realized and lived.

Let us remain active creators of our lives and give our personal answer!


#valuable insights (No. 74): What are you waiting for?                     

"Life questions can only be answered truly through acting - our answer are given considering our responsibility of each of our existence." (Viktor E. Frankl, "To be human is to find meaning")

You are
unique in your existence and unique in your being.

You are
exactly as you are - originally wanted, loved and needed by the world.

You are 
asked to make your valuable and meaningful contribution to the world. To strive for and realize the best possible your environment and yourself.

What are you waiting for?
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 73): Fighting fear with defiance
"Tell me something, do you really have to put up with everything from yourself? Can't one be stronger than fear?" (Viktor E. Frankl, DVD 1987)

The pandemic makes many people fearful. Why are we afraid? What is the function of fear? Fear per se is there to protect us, but when it becomes disproportionate, "excessive", it loses its protective function and paralyzes.

According to logotherapy, in every human being there is a so-called "defiant power of the spirit" - we can face life in spite of and with fear.

There is not only fear in us, but also the possibility to deal with it. Also to get active support - we decide about this ourselves as active creators of our life. (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


 

#valuable insights (No. 72): Anthropology
"If we take man, as he is, we make him worse. If we take him, as he should be, then wie make him capable of becoming what he can be"
(Viktor E. Frankl quoting J. W. Goethe: "Coybing with Crises")


In a time in which fear is stirred up and enemy images are formed, it is more necessary than ever to remember: What is the human being?

Viktor Frankl answers: "Every single person is an absolute novelty" - an original. Unique and one of a kind, just as he is. Every person is precious and valuable - with his strengths and weaknesses, with his „corners and edges“.

Nevertheless, we sometimes compare, evaluate and value instead of seeing the colorfulness and diversity that enriches us all.

Every human being is unique, free AND responsible!(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 71): Search for Meaning
„Now, what man is deeply and ultimately imbued with is neither the will to power nor a will to pleasure, but a will to meaning." (Viktor E. Frankl, "The Suffering Man")

Meaning can only be found, but not invented. Meaning is everywhere present in the world, we do not need to construct it artificially. Sometimes we have to go on a voyage of discovery in order to find again old - perhaps long forgotten - traces of meaning in our lives or to discover new ones.
There is a threefold way of making life meaningful - by realizing values through active doing, conscious experiencing or chosing an attitude - depending on the commandment of the hour - and always considering the best possible for our environment and ourselves.
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)
 

#valuable insights (No. 70): Until the last breathe

"Behind every fear of death is the worry of not having realized meaningful things, for everything that is realized perpetuates itself." (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

According to Viktor Frankl, death is actually the motor of life – because it is only through the finiteness of life that we do not postpone  possibilities that are waiting to be realized and actions that need to be taken until eternity.

Let us look closely at our lives with a value perspective - is there anything, which still needs to be done? A task to be accomplished, a gratitude to be expressed, or even a reparation to be made? (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 69): Bridges
"If we want to build a bridge from person to person - and this  also means  a bridge of cognition and understanding - the bridgeheads must not be the heads, but the hearts." (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

Everybody unasked puts forward his opinion and demands the freedom to announce this unfiltered and uninterruptedly to the world. Listening in order to understand the other person falls by the wayside. It is about the form of the statements, about transparency, openness, clarity, calmness in the communication - not about polarization, division and power.

At the bridge arch, encounter could take place and possibly something completely different, NEW, beyond right and wrong could arise! (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 68): Suffering
Two quotes to which nothing can be added:
Rudolf Allers (freely translated):
"Conflicts and difficulties of all kinds, which people used to put up with and accepted as unavoidable, are now - seen to be undue disturbances of peoples comfort. They are convinced that they are entitled to an easy life...Moreover, they shy away from the responsibility that comes along with every decsion, that has even the slightest consequence. Therefore, they are only too willing to impose the decision on others..."

Alexander Batthyány comments (freely translated):
"As a result of the attitude of entitlement just described, there is a lack, first, of gratitude, second, of the ability to suffer in the face of unalterable fate, third, of compassion, and fourth, of a willingness to take responsibility..."

What a devastating diagnosis of society!
And now off into the quiet chamber to hear what one's own conscience has to say about it... (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 67): The Feeling
"The feeling can be much more sensitive than the mind can be perceptive." (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

On the way to the weekly Corona test. There, where usually children and numerous sports enthusiasts cavort, in the outdoor pool and in the adjacent climbing hall, I am standing and waiting, like many others. "How world has changed. When will it end?"

I decide to broaden my perspective and pay very conscious attention to what I notice all around me. People engaging in conversation, talking on the phone or enjoying the first rays of sunshine. The motivation is manifold: the hairdresser, the grandparents, professional reasons, obligation, voluntariness. And while I consciously turn outwards, I feel confidence and hope at the same time growing inside me. (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 66): Big thoughts

"You have to keep finding your way through the little thoughts, that annoy you to the big thoughts, that strengthen you." (freely translated Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

First and foremost, we focus on the annoyances, obstacles and problems in our lives. But what if we were able to focus on the absence of any evil?

It makes us grateful to see what we have been spared. When we expand our visual field when we see more than ourselves in an act of self-transcendence, then we find the vision that strengthens us, the meaning that fulfils us. (published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 65): Aligning with meaning
"Whoever feels his own life to be meaningless is not only unhappy, but also hardly capable of living."
(freely translated Albert Einstein)

Viktor Frankl elaborated on this quote by Albert Einstein, saying that human beings can only survive, if they live towards something. "Mere survival cannot be the highest value. To be human is to be oriented and ordered towards something that is not itself again." (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl) And he also concluded that this applies not only to the survival of an individual human being, but to the survival of humanity as such.

The human being, who lives towards a goal in the future or a meaning to be fulfilled in the future, is following the meaning, that is waiting for him.

He is devoted to the world and open to the call of meaning of the moment - without demanding happiness, success, power, money or love from life. He stands autonomously and sovereignly, and whatever else may come to him from life - as a side effect - is a gift.
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 64): The present as a space for disposal and creation
"After death the human being no longer has an I, he has become his self" (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

We live our lives more or less in the awareness that they are finite. Everything that has been lived so far is already captive in our barn of life. The only space left for us to dispose of and create is the present. Until the moment of our death, we can still bring the finest grain into our barn.

At the moment of death, the human being is his lived life, he is his own history, which is written down for all eternity. According to Viktor Frankl, lived life is the most secure form of being.
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 63): Grief is more than a feeling
"Grief is more than a feeling - grief is the mirror of richness" (freely translated Elisabeth Lukas)

Nothing shakes as much as the death of a loved one. Regardless of the hours, months, years lived together, grief is immeasurable.
Every tear of sorrow is a tear of love, writes
E. Lukas. When the outlines of the world outside are barely perceptible because of the tears... how comforting to know that it is an expression of immeasurable love.
Proof of the uniqueness and singularity of the human being, who is no longer earthly tangible. Love remains.
(published by meaning-centred coachs according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 62): vulnerable risk group

You are old and belong to the "vulnerable risk group" - like me?
Yes, it's true:
The body grows old, becomes tedious and no longer does what I want it to do.
The psyche becomes more unstable, sometimes it gets better, then it gets worse again - often the way the physical condition dictates - but not the way I want it.
The two, the body and the psyche, seem to agree with each other, are allies!
But there is something within me that is young at heart, dynamic, free, wants to express itself, say something, tell something - I can be the way I want to be!
Every person has his or her own very special experiences, adventures, experiences that are exciting for future generations, children, grandchildren, ... that make them marvel, that can encourage them to shape their own lives, to cope with life and to enjoy life.

Write them down, dictate them into your mobile phone, tell them - whenever your psycho-physical condition allows it: just as you want it.

Even if it is just a thought or becomes a whole book - it doesn't matter, it is completely yours - an absolute novelty, something completely new, great, special.

Carpe diem - pick the day! I want it and do it! For myself? For yourself? - I'll leave that open ... (Heidemarie, board of the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 61): Meaningful under all circumstances
"... life proves to be unconditionally meaningful, it remains meaningful - it has meaning and retains it - under all conditions and circumstances."
(freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

Man is a human being filled with a deep longing for meaning. He is able to decide for or against a meaning in life.
If he decides for it, he trusts that he will be held and carried by life. Even if he often cannot see or grasp the comprehensive meaning in the life situation in question. If I decide that my life has a meaning, it has this meaning under all circumstances and all conditions. So also in illness, in unchangeable suffering and strokes of fate. And, comfortingly, it retains this meaning - it cannot be lost. This attitude helps to overcome crises more easily. (Kathrin, meaning-centred coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 60): The time after

The world is not sane, but curable.“ freely translated (Viktor E. Frankl)

I was talking to a friend about the pandemic. She said an important key phrase to me that I would like to share here: There comes a time after. What sounds so obvious and simple had a sudden relieving effect on me. If one wants to see the pandemic as a cloud that is currently pushing massively in front of our life sun - then we should not forget that on the one hand the sun continues to shine permanently behind the cloud and that this cloud is also passing - very slowly, but nevertheless! (Kathrin, meaning-centred coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 59): Life asks the questions

“It is life itself that asks questions of man. It is not up to man to question; rather, he should recognize that he is questioned, questioned by life; he has to respond by being responsible.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

A conscious attitude is needed in this pandemic situation. And who says that I can't find a good way to get through this challenge 'in spite of' it. Just think of how Viktor Frankl, in an incomparable situation, was able to adjust his attitude so that he could say 'yes to life anyway'. (Jutta, meaning-centred coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 58): Light of Life

"What is to give light, must endure burning" (Viktor E. Frankl)

In the end - when the candle has burnt down and its light goes out - what remains? The matter is burned. The bright light fades. The cold smoke may fill the room for a moment, but then?

Silence, where once there was a crackling, lively flickering. Cold, instead of warming flames. Darkness, where once a bright ray of light broke through.

Was the burning and glowing of the candle in vain? Was it non-existent, just because it is no longer?
The candle was there. It burned, gave comforting warmth, delighted with its bright light and gave comfort. She danced in the breeze until it was time for her to go out. Everyone will remember her glow. (Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 57):

The knowledge of a life task
"The knowledge of a life task has an eminent psychotherapeutic and psychohygienic value."
(Viktor E. Frankl)

According to Viktor E. Frankl, each of us not only has a special place in life, which we can only occupy ourselves with our "being there", but also a special task, which we can only fulfill with our "way of being".

Be it a great life task or just a special meaning of the moment that life is addressing us at the moment. If we recognize this as a special call to meaning addressed to us, where we - due to our abilities and experiences - are in demand here and now, this recognition can give us strength to accomplish the life tasks intended for us. As a side effect, the human being is strengthened in his resilience and stress resistance. (Klara, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and economist)


#valuable insights (No. 56): Meaningful questions
"The fragmentary character of life does not detract from meaning." (Viktor E. Frankl)

Let us look into our past: What can we look back on with gratitude?
Let us perceive our present: What is our turn now? What do we want to live?
Let's focus on our future: How would I like to look back on this time in 5 years? Do I want to have felt like a victim, at odds with myself and the world? Or did I face the challenges of the time responsibly? (Kathrin, meaning-centred coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA)
 

#valuable insights (No. 55): Pro-action instead of resignation

"If we were immortal, we could postpone every action indefinitely (...) Only in the face of death are we compelled to make use of our lifetime.“ (Viktor E. Frankl)

Suddenly a pandemic makes us aware of our own finiteness. We are inevitably confronted with the fact that our life does not last forever. Our own death is actually the "motor of life" - because as long as we live, we can fulfill meaning and realize values. We can reap a rich harvest in our life barn.

According to Viktor Frankl, despair exists only against the background of a non-lived realization of meaning. Instead of sitting on one's hands and sinking into despair - roll up one's sleeves and, full of zest for action, do what man can do - act pro-life instead of resigning! The meaning draws - over all inner and outer obstacles - and lets us grow beyond ourselves. (Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)



#valuable insights (No. 54): Overcoming the difficulties
"If you know about the meaning of your life, this consciousness helps you more than anything else to overcome external difficulties and internal disorders“
(Viktor E. Frankl)

According to my opinion this insight is one of Viktor Frankl's most important messages, in which his logotherapy is brought to the point and which explains the effectiveness of his motivational approach - with "meaning in mind".

If we continue to concentrate on fulfilling our own life tasks even in these particularly challenging COVID-19 times, this meaning-oriented attitude can ignite undreamt of powers in us and we will continue to be able to successfully master these tasks despite the ongoing "external difficulties" and "internal disorders". (Klara, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and economist)


#valuable insights (No. 53): Orientation
"Unlike the animal, no instinct tells man what he must do. And in contrast to humans in former times no tradition tells him what he should do, and now he seems to know no longer quite what he actually wants ..."
(Viktor E. Frankl)

So are we disoriented victims of the zeitgeist? Helplessly at the mercy of the secular and spiritual movements of society? Do we voluntarily renounce having our own opinion, making individual decisions and taking responsibility for them?
According to the logotherapeutic view, every human being has a will to meaning it is filled with a deep longing for meaning. Life's calls for meaning are there, it is up to us to perceive them and to realize the values, which can be found everywhere.
The meaning pulls - across all inner and outer obstacles - and lets us grow beyond ourselves. (Kathrin, meaning-centeres coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 52): Growing beyond us

"Even a life that we seem to have squandered can still be filled with meaning retrospectively by growing beyond ourselves precisely through self-knowledge" (Viktor E. Frankl)

He lies in bed - desperately, looking out of the window. He feels his life coming to an end. He sees his life passing by like a movie - every education broken off, nothing finished, his relationship failed, no "what for" found in life - and now it is too late.
What would you tell the poor man? Would you agree with him? It may be that he let chances go by unused, that he has loaded guilt upon himself - but is therefore his entire existence, everything he has lived up to now in this life and what he has forever produced in vain and worthless?

No! Only through the recognition of his failures, his unnoticed requests for meaning and sincere repentance he becomes another person. In the moment of recognition he grows beyond himself and can let go peacefully. (Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 51): Jobseekers
Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.
(Aristotle)

Suddenly looking for work. But am I really reduced to that phrase, am I not more than that? I may not have a job at the moment, but I am and remain valuable to my fellow human beings in my role as a mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, neighbor, grandfather, grandmother, friend, - I am a human – with strength and weaknesses, with creative potential, blessed with humor and love in my heart. Unique in my being and unique in my suchness. Every person is an original – indispensable, unexchangeable and therefore has an undetachable dignity.

We are needed by the world, there is always a task or a person waiting for us - so let us not lose courage and faith in ourselves! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 50): More than ever
"If we want to build a bridge from person to person - and this also applies to a bridge of recognition and understanding - the bridgeheads must not be the heads, but the hearts.
(Viktor E. Frankl)

Today, more than ever, opinions diverge, existential needs collide, and there is not even agreement on facts and figures. It has become more difficult to approach each other - and very easy to judge each other.

All the more it is now necessary to strive for understanding, for acceptance: in the end, each person tries to orientate himself in the world and to master his life in his own way. So let us listen, let us look and let us endure - different views, dissonances, ambiguities, uncertainties...

Let us try to recognize the person, the human being "behind the opinion". Let's talk to each other - less with the desire to be understood, but to understand. (Petra, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 49): Gifts
"Giving builds a bridge over the abyss of loneliness"
(Antoine de Saint Exupery)

According to Viktor E. Frankl, we are shaped by the stance we take up on something and the actions we take. We constantly shape ourselves and mature into a personality.
When was the last time you presented somebody with something? With an encouraging smile, a kind word, a helping hand or a patient ear?
In the act of selflessly giving to a "you", to another person, you are given a gift yourself along the way. (Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 48): Courage is to dance with fear
"Tell me, do you really have to put up with everything? Can one not be stronger than the fear? There is what I once called the defiant power of the spirit, namely, in the face of the weaknesses and fears of the soul. And this must and can be mobilized" (Viktor E. Frankl, DVD, 1987)

The Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge. It is one of many questions life asks us. We always have the possibility of a personal statement. Our attitude and our stance on things we choose freely. What answer does each and every one of us want to give? For which response do we want to take on responsibility? Many people are afraid, feel insecure because of the ongoing challenging situation - at work and in private life. The lyrics of a song read - "Courage is when you dance with fear" – let us draw our attention to the remaining whole, to "what is also true" and to the given satisfactions in life. (Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable insights (No. 47): Be prompted

The 1st basic thesis of Viktor E. Frankl says "That we should actually not ask about the meaning of life, because we are the ones who are being questioned: We are the ones who have to answer the questions that life asks us. And we can only answer these questions of life by taking on responsibility for our own existence".

As a mother of two elementary school children I realize again and again: every day is different, every day brings new challenges and every day needs my decisions. I am asked by life to give my personal and best possible answer. It is therefore reassuring to know that it is in MY hands, how I evaluate current life issues, take a stand on them and make decisions.

The current world situation is characterized by many uncertainties and our responsibility is greater than ever - every person is called upon to participate in shaping it, because it is our answer that  makes the difference oder that is important. (Marlies, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valubale-insights (No. 46): Path of Life
"I was once told that a vault that has become dilapidated can be supported and strengthened - paradoxically - by loading it. It is not unlike the human being: with the external difficulties apparently his inner resistance grows"
(Viktor E. Frankl)

The long awaited promotion is of course given to the colleague, the tallest person in the theater always sits in front of me, only my children simply do not listen when I talk - this is the sound of a lament, when life does not meet our expectations. Sometimes the path of life is rocky. With every step small stones drill themselves sharply into the soles of my feet. Do we therefore stop?
It is not up to us, to put our feet on the path with care? To pay attention to the right burden,
to choose the right movement to keep our balance and move on?
to jump over the branches that are on the way?
(Kathrin, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valubale-insights (No. 45): Tolerance and human dignity
„Love is somehow the last and the highest to which human being can rise.“
(after Viktor E. Frankl)

These are turbulent times. The focus is on people - regardless of nationality, origin or religion. It is about human dignity and tolerance.
Every human being has an inviolable human dignity, which nothing and nobody can take away from him – may take away from him!
According to Viktor Frankl, tolerance does not consist in sharing another view, but only, in conceding the other person the right to hold another view at all.Translated freely (Viktor E. Frankl)
We are one humanity that Viktor Frankl calls monanthropism. Each and every one of us is unique in his or her being and unique in his or being suchness. Each of us is part of the big picture – a valuable piece of a puzzle that exists only once. Only this one life is given to us and in this consciousness we should prove ourselves worthy of this gift. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valubale-insights (No. 44): One humanity
"The salvation of men lies in love and comes through love"
(Viktor E. Frankl)

In recent days we have often read that the goal of an act of terror is to divide society, to stir up fear and hatred - and some may have personally experienced how strong these feelings can become out of concern for a loved one, who was in the middle of the city that very night.

At the same time we feel a great wave of solidarity, carried by love for our capital city, the love of life, the love of freedom, the love of diversity, the love of one humanity.

Both are true and yet it is our very personal decision in which sense we respond to this hateful act - a response out of fear BEFORE or out of love TO. (Roswitha, meaning-centered coach according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 43): Courage "Only the courage to face yourself will make man overcome his fear" freely translated (Viktor E. Frankl)

Do you know those days? One asks oneself despondently, one wonders how to do all of this again. Every day the marmot greets. The treadmill of everyday life has us fully under control. We are standing frightened at the highest diving tower in the swimming pool, our knees are trembling, and we are unable to dare the jump into the depth. Who knows what dangers lurk there?

Courage would be useful right now. But where to get it from? According to Viktor Frankl, there is a defiant  power  of the human spirit in every person. We don't have to put up with everything from ourselves.  Let's laugh in the face of fear and take a run-up. Let's jump in spite and with fear.

Let us trust that we will be held and supported by life as we jump! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 42): Curable  
The world is not sane, but curable.“ freely translated (Viktor E. Frankl)

 Climate change, destruction of rainforests, famine, war, violence, pandemics, racism, unemployment – the world knows many problems. People love to complain about them. But, “There is a value in every lament”. (Elisabeth Lukas)

As unique human beings with our personal potential we can find solutions to these life questions. We are a part of the big picture and each of us is called to do his individual bit. Sometimes we ignore this call to our conscience out of comfort and ignorance, but it is there. Let’s stop lamenting and finally get into pro-activity! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 41): The voice of conscience
“Feeling can be much more sensitive than reason can ever be sensible” (Viktor E. Frankl)

Scientific facts speak for a clear co-responsibility of humans in climate change and global warming. Our minds know what to do. But we are sluggish and indifferent. We say, “Yeah, eh”. Images of withered fields and flooded landscapes in the media don’t touch us. We have become untouchable, moving on with our daily agendas.

The voice of conscience feeds on sharpness AND sensitivity. The latter is the result of a well-developed experience-capability. We are called to train them in order to become existentially touchable again. Silence is the best place for it. Awake experience instead of dull events. THE task of our time! We are conscious AND responsible. (Edgar Falkner-Groier, meaning-oriented life- and social counsellor, supervisor and coach)


#valuable insights (No. 40): Change of Perspective
„A human being is a deciding being. And what does he decide? What he will become the next moment.” (freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

The children waking up healthy, breakfast is served, the car starts, my colleagues are present, friends are asking about me, my partner is worried about me, I visit a sick friend, I mediate an argument, I  answering my students' questions despite being tired ... When I am aware that everything is a gift and nothing is taken for granted, I dismiss my demanding attitude and am simply grateful for what is there ... Grateful people encourage, give joy of life and are satisfied - just try it, you will be surprised how much praise, even self-praise, comes from you! (VIKTOR FRANKL CENTER VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 39): Fate belongs to man 

"Fate belongs to man in much the same way as the ground, which fetters him by its gravity, but without which walking would be impossible. We must accept our destiny as we accept the ground on which we stand – a ground which is the springboard for our freedom." (Viktor E. Frankl: Doctor and the Soul)

Fateful events occur unasked and undeserved in our lives. They can existentially shake us to the core. Often we struggle with our fate, that catches us freezing cold. The carefully planned path is suddenly blocked, perspectives are destroyed, we lose ground below our feet.

The demand of the hour may be to actively create one’s own fate or – if fate causes an unavoidable suffering in the form of e.g. serious illness or death of a loved one – to try to bravely accept the unavoidable. Day by day. Hour by hour. Out of love for my environment and to enable the deceased a “loving afterglow”. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable insights (No. 38): Self image – conception of man – world view
"Being human is to be aware and responsible."
(freely translated Viktor E. Frankl)

Self-image, conception of man and world view. These three belong closely together. Why? Do I have a negative self-image, such as: "I can`t do anything, I don`t know anything, I am nothing.... so I don`t confidence in my fellow beings and my hope for the future of the world is just darkly colored … do I, on the other hand , have a positive self image, such as “How good, that I exist, I trust myself, who – if not me – should stand up for it? I know my limits… so I also trust my nearest and dearest fellow human beings to do good and I represent the hope that many people will actively and constructively co-create the world. It can be so simple and to a large extent it is up to me and my opinion about me! (VIKTOR FRANKL CENTER VIENNA)


#valuable insights (No. 37): Giving hope

“Hope is the rainbow over the cascading creek of Life ….  jump over it with tender beautiful audacity at the place where it howls wildest and most dangerous.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

In times of crisis, how does man remain mentally healthy? How can we escape the sword of Damocles of the pandemic? By acting courageously and meaningfully. By committing ourselves so that life with one another succeeds and the world becomes curable. Each of us can act in his or her own environment per life.

We are one humanity. Freedom without responsibility does not exist. Each individual is asked to do his or her own thing. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable insights (No. 36): answering life
"He who has a why to live can endure almost any how."
(Viktor E. Frankl quotes Friedrich Nietzsche)

Life asks the questions - we are the ones questioned by life, the ones to respond by being responsible. Sometimes we don’t perceive the appeal character of life. Nevertheless the meaning calls to each and every one of us are there – every minute, every second.

I met a former colleague again after a long time. She had given up her job in order to reorient herself. During this time her previously healthy mother suddenly fell seriously ill. The meaning of the moment had changed. She accompanied her mother lovingly in her difficult hours and stood by her when it was time to “pass through other rooms”. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 35): Family orchestra

"Family is the knowledge of having an irrevocable place in this world where you are always welcome, whether you are a beggar or a millionaire" freely translated (Elisabeth Lukas)

It is a time when we have to become very quiet – to gently perceive the soft nuances that affect /move our fellow human beings. To find the right beat, like an orchestra. To be sensitive not to miss our cue or to fall silent at the right moment.
Everyone in the Family orchestra makes his valuable contribution – for the success or failure of the total artwork. Let`s continue to make music together! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 34): With the best of intensions
"Intent is ours, the effect is Gods."  (Viktor E. Frankl, free translation)

To the best of our knowledge and conscience, we make decisions for ourselves and our environment in a meaningful way, act with the best intentions and yet it can be misunderstood.
We can only ever act in our own freedom - but how the other person feels about it is not up to us.
How a lovingly chosen gift is accepted, how an encouraging word is understood or a well-intentioned help is perceived - all this is not up to us.
So when we free ourselves from our expectations, we remain autonomous and aligned with the meaning. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)
 

#valuable-insights (No. 33): Love
„But the ego can become an ego only through a Thou“ (Viktor E. Frankl quotes Martin Buber in „Will to Meaning“)

Every human being has the opportunity to show his love in his own unique way. One sings love songs to the sound of a guitar, another one cooks a lovingly prepared meal every day. One writes poems, another one repairs everything in the house or hugs the loved ones in silence. Maybe you clean up your room or help around the house without being asked. Some try to brighten others up with jokes and gently dry tears.
Through mindfulness towards our fellow human beings we can perceive what is undeservedly given to us. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 32): Suffering
"The meaning of suffering lies not in that, but in how it is suffered. 
What matters is the right attitude - what matters is the bearing..." (freely translated, Viktor E. Frankl) 

Suffering comes undeservedly and fatefully into our lives. We didn't invite it or let it in. Now it's here and starts to spread. Why? This question leads nowhere and usually increases suffering. Man is capable of accepting suffering, bearing his burden patiently and transforming suffering into an achievement with his attitude, if he decides to take this way.
It’s an achievement and a personal decision to bear the unchangeable in a brave manner. The power for this takes man from the inner conviction, that life is meaningful and retains its meaning under all circumstances. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after Viktor Frankl Zentrum Vienna and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 31): Being Human
“It is life itself that asks questions of man. It is not up to man to question; rather, he should recognize that he is questioned, questioned by life; he has to respond by being responsible.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

Faster and faster, further and further, higher and higher, more and more, there seems to be no  upper limit – we have been living above the limit, above our stress levels for a long time. Now a tiny invisible virus forced us to pause. Let us take this break as a gift! Let’s go outside into the nature and reflect on the strength within ourselves and our connection with the “big picture” by “feeling to the inside”. Exhale and weigh what really counts and bears in life: solidarity, cohesion, neighborhood help, empathy: aren't these the values that make up our BEING human or do we want to keep running  after HAVING as a supposedly fundamental value? (Angelika, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and coach)


#valuable-insights (No. 30): Transforming suffering into achievement
Life has and retains its meaning under all circumstances, even in suffering.” (after Viktor E. Frankl)

People with pre-existing conditions are particularly at risk – and want to live despite everything. They master their already existing disease in an admirable way. Especially in these times they need our solidarity and prudence.
The capable man in the shop in the same alley where you are living is seriously ill.

Nevertheless, he is - whenever his health allows – in business and there for his customers. He seems happy doing it. Your girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter has serious lung problems and is still not going to school because it is too risky for her. Yet she overcomes it bravely and smiles. Her parents are lovingly there for her, trying to find a meaningful solution.

When I look at these fates, I personally become humble and respectful of the way these people transform their suffering into highest achievement every day! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 29): Hope and Confidence
"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." (Vaclav Havel)
"The world is not sane, but curable." (freely translated, Viktor E. Frankl)

Today, some time after the first COVID-19-limitations, I would like to give hope and confidence, the two most important terms. Not everyone of us has an impressive vita like Viktor E. Frankl or is a charismatic personality like Vàclav Havel. But each of us can model oneself on these personalities and thus become a role model oneself. Radiate hope and confidence from the inner conviction that it makes sense. It´s not only healing and pleasantly for oneself but also for the people around oneself. Even the economy registers the moods of the population like a seismograph. The orientation towards powerful and authentic role models turns each and every one of us into a butterfly whose flap can initiate unimagined positive forces in the world. (Klára, economist and meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 28): Life Barn
„…man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness and overlooks the full granaries  of the past. In the past, nothing is irretrievably lost, but rather, on the contrary, everything is irrevocably stored and treasured.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

Life is finite. What's left when we leave? Everything that we have lived up to now is irrevocably stored in our barn:

The  things we have created.
The acts we have taken or refrained from.
The precious moments we were allowed to experience.
The relationships we have lived.
The encounter with people who have accompanied us.
The suffering we have borne.
Everything we have realized so far.

As long as we live, we have the opportunity to fill our life barn. Whether and what we fill it with - whether with the finest grain or black stones - is entirely in ourhands. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 27): Conscience
"Within you is a sense organ called conscience! Clear it from the undergrowth of all foreign influences and indoctrinations and listen to it in peace, solitude and absolute honesty! It will always point you in the right direction, like an inner navigation device. The one that is right now and exactly right for you. It will not let you down. Follow your conscience and look courageously into the future! The world is not sane, but curable. She needs you, she is waiting for you and your commitment. She is the playground and at the same time the measure of the human spirit" free translation (Elisabeth Lukas on the 115th birthday of Viktor Frankl on 26 March 2020)

Conscience is our most faithful companion through life, our guide in these uncertain times, our support when seemingly secure and stable things break away. This inner voice, our heart's wisdom, is always well-meaning, pro life, gives orientation and shows us the most meaningful way. If we follow this voice, inner strengths will flow to us and we can act sovereign and autonomous and thus be co-creators. The world needs us! (Bärbel, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and teacher)


#valuable-insights (No. 26): Opportunities
"How often are the ruins the only view of the sky" (Viktor E. Frankl)

Such kind of breakdown can be a great opportunity for us! It takes us out of our comfort zone, wakes us up from our inertia and activates our creativity! Change can arise from an emergency situation because man is oriented towards development. Let us make use of this standstill!  Let us ask ourselves how we want to shape our lives from now on? What can we learn from this situation?

Everything has a second side! Isn’t it time to put the human being in the center of attention? Have the courage to burst the bubble of ruthless greed for profit, to dare a breakdown, to admit a failure that opens a big door to a new world of humaneness and to all-embracing love. Each of us can ask himself the question: Do I want to go on living the way I do? The virus gives us the opportunity to discover our uniqueness within ourselves. Let us take this opportunity! (Angelika, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN, consultant and trainer)


#valuable-insights (No. 25): Moment
"The size of a life can be measured from the size of a moment." (Free translation after Viktor E. Frankl) 

Recently I was able to visit my parents again. They are at an age where a Covid-disease is life-threatening. Usually we press each other close to our hearts and hold each other in our arms for a long time. But this encounter required physical distance. Lo and behold, it succeeded nevertheless full of warmth and closeness. Maybe we even got a little closer. In this new gift of love in this own way a certain dimension was very palpable.

Viktor E. Frankl speaks of the noetic dimension, that makes up our humanity in the first place. In this dimension we can encounter from heart to heart, from spirit to spirit.
That was very touching and it is still today, hundreds of miles away from my parents again. It’s good to know that we are able to live our relationship so tenderly in the awareness of this “distance”. (Johanna, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL CENTRE VIENNA and Assistant) 


#valuable-insights (No. 24): Salvation
Where there is danger, there is also the one who saves.(Friedrich Hölderlin)

Sigrid ObermairThe image of a coastal landscape on the Italian Riviera, on the horizon the ridges of three islands, which (can be only seen) only show themselves in the clarity on the morning after stormy days, reminds me of a realization by Viktor E. Frankl: "Suffering makes people clairvoyant and the world transparent" wrote Frankl.
Sometimes we are also in the need of stormy days, times of crisis, what enables us to clarify something with ourselves and let ourselves realize to see what the most important is for us.
This knowledge helps me not to distract myself, but - despite the strength of the storm - to withstand them. The gift will be the clear view to my "islands" and to what carries and holds me.  (Sigrid, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN, coach, trainer, art and culture manager)


#valuable-insights (No. 23): Mindfulness
Life has and retains ist meaning under all circumstances.(after Viktor E. Frankl)

COVID-19 has led many people into temporary social isolation and loneliness. Many people have been in this situation in the time before already. Many of them are still there despite the reductions of measures and budding attitude to life.
What can we do as a society against it? Or in other words – How can each individual counteract the loneliness of our fellow human beings?
Perhaps surprisingly bringing a flower greeting to the elderly lady next door and asking her how she is feeling? Say a few words of encouragement to the gentleman who bravely tortures himself with his walker over the edge of the pavement every day? Give a spontaneous smile to a person with a concerned expression on the street or offer help?
More than ever we are called upon to be mindful and to give hope and confidence to those around us. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 22): Fate
"The man who believes his fate is sealed is incapable of repealing it."
(Viktor E. Frankl)

These days I find myself again and again in deep mental valleys. Where in the psyche narrowness, heaviness and grief want to become widespread and the body reacts with tensions, sweating and states of fear. I like the line about the "courage to be happy" in a Viennese song sung by the ‑Strottern. It tells about the ‑ Yes to Life - in Spite of Everything. Courage as a decision, courage as an attitude, because the perspective on a thing can be turned and rotated. In spite of everything stay upright and do your own thing. Distance yourself with humor, when things get too much. Always look for this IN SPITE OF THIS. It works! It´s daily practice to get into this attitude. It remains a struggle. We are in demand. These days in particular. (Johanna, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and assistant)


#valuable-insights (No. 21): Being Human
“It is life itself that asks questions of man. It is not up to man to question; rather, he should recognize that he is questioned, questioned by life; he has to respond by being responsible.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

Faster and faster, further and further, higher and higher, more and more, there seems to be no upper limit – we have been living above the limit, above our stress levels for a long time. Now a tiny invisible virus forced us to pause. Let us take this break as a gift! Let’s go outside into the nature and reflect on the strength within ourselves and our connection with the “big picture” by “feeling to the inside”. Exhale and weigh what really counts and bears in life: solidarity, cohesion, neighborhood help, empathy: aren't these the values that make up our BEING human or do we want to keep running  after HAVING as a supposedly fundamental value? (Angelika, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and coach)


#valuable-insights (No. 20): Opportunities
"How often are the ruins the only view of the sky" (Viktor E. Frankl)


Such kind of breakdown can be a great opportunity for us! It takes us out of our comfort zone, wakes us up from our inertia and activates our creativity! Change can arise from an emergency situation because man is oriented towards development. Let us make use of this standstill!  Let us ask ourselves how we want to shape our lives from now on? What can we learn from this situation? Everything has a second side! Isn’t it time to put the human being in the center of attention? Have the courage to burst the bubble of ruthless greed for profit, to dare a breakdown, to admit a failure that opens a big door to a new world of humaneness and to all-embracing love. Each of us can ask himself the question: Do I want to go on living the way I do? The virus gives us the opportunity to discover our uniqueness within ourselves. Let us take this opportunity! (Angelika, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN, consultant and trainer)


#valuable-insights (No. 19): Tragic Optimism
“The last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning)

Especially during those weird days Viktor E. Frankl opens his treasure chest of the human wisdom for us. His concept of “tragic optimism”, that even in painful situations of our lives there is a deeper, higher meaning hidden (even if the limited capacity of human understanding cannot recognize its meaning)  and that man has always the possibility, the mission, to wrestle the hidden optimum out of these situations, offers us a wonderful guidance to pass through difficult times well.
To face the reality, to accept suffering and loss, to bow (and to appreciate it as a personal achievement!), to make use of your freedom, to turn the attention to what remained “heal” and to the gifts of life, gratitude – and to keep up belief in a deeper, hidden meaning…
(Petra K., meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 18): Every Life Counts
„From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two - the "race" of the decent man and the "race" of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of "pure race" (Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning)

The recent news from the USA has touched us deeply in the last few days. Pictures of excessive violence and brutality shock us. We are quickly tempted to blame whole groups of people. But this does not do justice to man, because each person always has the possibility to decide in freedom WHO he wants to be. The little stories are the once that give hope and show us what man is capable of.

A Police officer, who joins a march in solidarity. A 16-year old boy who helps peacefully end protests. People who have decided to act in a peace-fostering manner regardless of whether they are seen or not. The own attitude counts. #EveryLifeCounts (Elisabeth, logotherapist in training)


#valuable-insights (No. 17): Hope
„But the ego can become an ego only through a Thou“ (Viktor E. Frankl, Will to Meaning)

Today I`ve called a distant aunt after 20 years of "silence" - AND IT WAS GOOD. The initial distance (in space and time) was of course noticeable and there was also a certain skepticism in her voice – until she anxiously asked if something had happened ...
The consequence was a short pause on my part – what had really happened? Nothing! I just did it – I looked up her number and called her immediately. It was a very nice conversation, not very long, but very pleasant. What has kept me from taking this small step for so many years – and made it possible right now? And: Couldn't much more of what has not been possible for years become true? I am filled with hope. (Jutta, meaning-oriented consultant of VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and office worker)


#valuable-insights (No. 16): What does this situation ask me to do?
„There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

With this quote from Nietzsche I began my closing speech at the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM in January 2020.
Especially in these days it reminds me that everyone has to go his or her unique way, even if life puts obstacles in the way that are sometimes incomprehensible. It’s now more and more important to BOW ONESELF TO THE MYSTERY. Remain in faith in a higher, often intangible meaning and ask yourself the question: What does this situation ask me to do? (Melanie, meaning-oriented consultant of VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN & holistic health consultant)


#valuable-insights (No. 15): Monument
"Each deed is its own monument"
(Viktor E. Frankl)

Days of humanity are required. A togetherness instead of going it alone, a for each other instead of against each other. Cohesion for a common goal. On the paths of life each of us is not a uniform cobblestone, but rather a piece of a puzzle – unique and irreplaceable in a big picture. Each of us makes his contribution – is now setting his monument  – it should shine, shouldn’t it? (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 14): Joy
Joy is always preceded by renunciation. (after Elizabeth Lukas)

This quote accompanies me in this special time and allows me to experience various things in an especially joyful way. Things that I probably took for granted too much in the time before: I don't have to live in a war zone,  I have a roof over my head, I don't have to starve, I can bear the current financial losses well because of my savings - and there is much more. I am especially grateful for the emergency stop that has come into my life. It shows me, how much of what I would have thought is completely impossible just a short time ago, is possible – how much despite of everything I could be the creator of my life - AND I CAN!
(Imma, doctor and meaning-oriented consultant according to VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)

 


#valuable-insights (No. 13): About patience

Slowly we are getting impatient. Various questions are permanently dominating the media: How long will this virus stay in our mind? What are the longer-term consequences?What will our summer look like? Will we be allowed to go on holiday? Will we be able to  celebrate planned parties of any kind? Worldwide we miss concrete answers and that makes us feel insecure.
Let us use this uncertainty as an opportunity. Let us free ourselves inwardly from these questions and dependencies. Let‘s practice patience in order to remain open and wide for life as it comes. (Petra, meaning-oriented consultant of VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and quality manager in the health care system)

Just like Rainer Maria Rilke says: "I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." by Rainer Maria Rilke, Viareggio near Pisa (Italy), on 23 April 1903; Letters to a young Poet


#valuable-insights (No. 12): Set sail
"The ship sails the way you set the sails and not the way the wind blows" (Logo-Education in the crisis prevention, module 2, p.46)

Not always blows a gentle breeze, swings the ship evenly on the waves and the sun does not always glitter on the surface of the water. From time to time a strong headwind blows, the ship sometimes gets into a tilt and the water whips you unkindly in the face.
Whether your life is like one scenario or the other at the moment, stay alert on board, hold the wheel firmly in your hand and set your own course steadfastly. Because at some point there is always land in sight. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant of VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 11): Feedom
Freedom is not something we `have´ and therefore can lose; freedom is what we `are´."
(Viktor E. Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy)

Are we currently trapped and locked up or are we still free? Our spiritual freedom is and remains untouched. Our loving and strengthening thoughts are free, they change from person-to-person. Through our spiritual presence we always have the ability to give each other strength and to be a saving anchor. Through our spiritual presence, we always have the ability to give each other strength and to be a saving anchor. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 10): To have and to be
All having is losable, all being is captive. (after Elisabeth Lukas)

Challenges of life can be perceived as a threat to our existence. The question arises whether in case of the loss of all belongings, existence as such is actually threatened. Isn’t there nothing more than our possessions? Isn’t there nothing more than what we own? Do we really define our existence only through our acquired goods? Each of us is unique, matchless and irreplaceable. We will remain so for all time. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 9): Abundance of values
“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” (Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha)

When fateful events occur, one cannot really prepare for them. Suddenly we are confronted with facts that strongly influence our everyday life, our habits and our relationships. I miss the tender contact with my three grandchildren. Celebrating easter without family would have been unimaginable a few weeks ago. Nevertheless I become aware of the valuable things in my life:

  • the hope that sustains me...
  • Love, which now takes on so many different forms of expression
  • Joy about the helpfulness, about moving together, about kind words, about experiencing authentic community
  • Gratitude, because nothing can be taken for granted, especially not that so many people risk their health to be there for us
  • Time for what really matters: pause, mindfulness and even more turning to „YOU”.

This abundance of values protects me. "A human who feels secure has no need for a lot of things." (Elisabeth Lukas) (Michaela, meaning-oriented consultant, teaching in adult education, pedagogue)


#valuable-insights (No. 8): One humanity

... two humanities, three humanities, four... STOP! No, there is only one humanity - and this word only exists in singular: Frankl calls this phenomenon monanthropism. The coronavirus made us aware of it: One humanity - one world- one danger- one solution! Every human being is a part of this humanity, equal in dignity by his unique becoming, by his unique existence, by his personal decisions and attitudes. In this way, every human being works in the world and thus bears responsibility for himself and for humanity. You are an essential part of the whole – take responsibility in your area for the benefit of mankind! (Heidemarie, Educator and Director of the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 7): be proactive
"It is not enough for our ears to be satisfiedfor our eyes to be satisfied; our hearts must be touched and our hands and feet must move." (Mahatma. Ghandi)

Life challenges us to become active - not merely re-acting, but rather be pro-active. We are thrown back by the current situation to the essential, to what really counts in life and a precious gift is to us. By the current situation we are thrown back to the essential, to what really counts in life and a precious gift is to us. Every personal commitment is worthwhile. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 6): Change
“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become  the next moment.”  (Viktor Emil Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning)
Life is constantly changing. At this moment, however, for many of us on an unfamiliar scale. This can trigger feelings that “no stone is left unturned.” Change challenges us to leave our familiar paths and to strike out on new ones. But this also means a chance that must be seized. We have the opportunity to grasp the meaning of the moment and to realize the most meaningful for us and our environment. (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 5): Gratitude
"There is no human life where you cannot find a reason for joy .The art lies in perceiving these occasions with an alert mind consciously, our daily life is full of it."
(Elisabeth Lukas, translated freely)
I lean back and close my eyes.  Pictures arise in my head : roaring surf. Melody in my ears: the sound of the sea. Feelings on my skin: the salty seawater. Just now I am mentally bringing these pictures into my mind and feel gratitude for experienced moments of joy and happiness. Deep satisfaction fills me. Everything in life is a gift. Every one of us has special places that we can visit with our thoughts. Let's keep these sources of power present and draw a life energy from them just now! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant after VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 4): Value

“There is a value in every lament” - this thought from Elisabeth Lukas has accompanied me since the Corona crisis started. The laments vary from too little work to too much, from too little silence to too much. It takes me some time before I realize the common value that unites these laments: It’s the FREEDOM! Yet noetic freedom is deeply rooted in our human existence. So I decide of my own free will to focus on the fullness of values: Instead of the loss of diverse possibilities I choose the gain of the unique situation. To be free means to take responsibility for the meaning of the moment. (Daniela, meaning-oriented consultant from the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)


#valuable-insights (No. 3): What affords you a break in order to keep your composure?
"Freedom is not something we `have´ and therefore can lose; freedom is what we `are´."
(Viktor E. Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy)

The significance of any given moment is always unique, the source of power is also always unique. When being together with others gets too much, I like to listen to music. It varies from soft reggae to wild rock songs, from groovy jazz to Beethoven. I choose consciously and listen more carefully than before to the words text and nuances. Music provides me with an incredible sense of comfort, because it is able to unite mankind. At the moment the world stands culturally "open" to us through? the web.
From the bottom of my heart I hope you are able to take a few minutes each day to fill yourself up in order to meet the demands of this trying time with calm and composure. (Roswitha, logotherapist in training under supervisionand certified midwife)


#valuable-insights (No. 2): Be yourself…
"Be yourself the change you wish for this world." (Mahatma Gandhi)

Your blood pressure rises, your nerves are on edge and you are on the verge of an emotional meltdown. In recent days our ability to suffer and bring about peace have been sorely taxed. That is a very human response/ We are only human. But are we entirely at the mercy of these emotions? Must we give free rein to aggression and thus set chains of suffering in motion? Is it really an "I can't help it" situation? That doesn’t reflect the human spirit. We're not some kind of black box which everything passes unfiltered. Let's find ways to bring peace to the people around us. Right now. Start today - give someone a smile! (Kathrin, meaning-oriented consultant from the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN and lawyer)


#valuable-insights (No. 1): "To be loved is a gift, loving is a task" (Heidemarie Zürner)

Grandparents are in demand today as never before - not with their physical presence, but with their voluntary renunciation of it! Namely the renunciation of contact with their grandchildren out of love and a sense of responsibility towards them and their parents! Our grandchildren are dear to our hearts and we want to accompany, protect and care for them in the best way possible. A wonderful task, which sometimes asks us to do precisely what hurts us the most! But renouncement out of love is our strongest motivation, that's why we manage to do it and live through it! This year there might be letters, Skype-meetings and hand-made things from Grandma and Grandpa, with the encouraging feeling that the family ties are strengthened by the virus! And our grandchildren will be able to view such cool grandparents as artists of life – and can hold on to them as role models perhaps when they themselves are challenged one day. (Johanna, DGKS & Logotherapist)

 

Recommended reading:

The Corona Crisis affects every one of us. Nearly everyone is touched by a loss.  Everyone is faced with different challenges. Feelings like anxiety, helplessness and grief are increasing. Can we find meaning despite this crisis?  “How, to pose the question differently, can life retain its potential meaning in spite of its tragic aspects?” (Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, p.137) Yes, it can. Viktor Frankl “presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive.” (Viktor E. Frankl, p.137)
We cannot stop or change the crisis, but we can turn our suffering into a human accomplishment. In Logotherapy we call it the “tragic optimism”. In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation – an optimism in the face of tragedy. Yet what does doing one's best look like? Giving my best possible response for me and my personal environment given the current situation.Asking: Which personal skills do I have? What are my personal strengths? Which possibilities do I have? How can I bring "rays of hope" into our lives? What do I want to realize? What kind of action? What would I be sorry about not having lived, loved, decided, or formed now?
Creative ideas that are already inspiring us daily: People clapping to thank the medical staff, humorous videos on the web, handmade protective masks with a personal touch, providing help for elderly neighbours, singing artists.... This list could go on endlessly. The direct aim of all these actions is not happiness. "Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to be happy.” (Viktor E. Frankl, p138)
Let's find a reason to become happy and not stop giving our best responses. The following article by Emily Esfahani Smith describes that believing in a meaning of life under any circumstances  and giving positive, life-affirming answers even in difficult times can protect people from psychological crisis. (By Elisabeth, Landi-Koptik, meaning-oriented consultant from the VIKTOR FRANKL ZENTRUM WIEN)

On Coronavirus Lockdown? Look for Meaning, Not Happiness
Why cultivating “tragic optimism” will help us weather this crisis — and even grow from it.

By Emily Esfahani Smith, The New York Times, 7. April 2020

The Moral Meaning of the Plague
By David Brooks, Opinion Columnist, The New York Times, 26. March 2020

CNN Health - Part 6: Entire CNN Cornonavirus Town Hall
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta discuss the psychological impact a global pandemic has on both individuals and communities. 2. April 2020

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