Discipline is a concept that has been popping up for me over and over. And it is something I have been resisting over and over again. Yesterday during my book group someone mentioned discipline and for the first time I began to open up to the idea.
I’ve been viewing discipline as some sort of controlling force. I should be able to just follow my heart, go where the wind blows me right? I don’t need to be disciplined….do I?
What has occurred to me in the last couple of days is that maybe the wind is blowing me down the path of discipline and that perhaps it is the key to finding true peace and happiness. Over the past few years the times I have felt the most success is when I have maintained a regular practice in the areas of my life that are important. I feel a great level of connectedness and inner peace when I make time for daily meditation. For over two years, I did this every day, twice a day, no matter what. Over the past months I have let this practice slide and sometimes go days without meditating. Needless to say the peace and connectedness is not so consistent anymore. I used to wake every morning and write in my journal. I have a years worth of notebooks filled with my thoughts. When Bella started Kindergarten, I stopped making the time to journal. Now the thoughts fly through my head all day long and rarely end up on the page. In 2007, I wrote a 100,000 word novel in less than three months. I made a decision to write three pages a day and I stuck with it. I wrote no matter where I was, or what was going on. I had never felt such a sense of accomplishment as I did at the end of each writing session and especially when the book was complete.
I’ve let myself believe that discipline is a bad word. My ego has fooled me into thinking that I don’t need it, that I can continue to do nothing and yet still accomplish something. What? That doesn’t make any sense. Luckily, I am aware enough to read the signs. Yesterday I walked into my friend’s bathroom. I have been in this room many times, seeing as I always arrive at her house with a full bladder from too much coffee. For the first time, I noticed a sign hanging in that room that said “Determination.” Determination and discipline go hand in hand. Discipline is simply about making a choice that gets you where you are determined to go.
Life is filled with hills and valleys. What matters is the decisions we make from day to day and moment to moment. If we want to be healthy we can choose to eat right and exercise. If we want to be happy we can choose to look for the good all around us. If we want to be successful we can choose to take the baby steps that get us closer to our career goals. If we want to live a spiritual life we can choose to do those things that connect us to God or spirit. Discipline is about figuring out what choices help us to become who we want to be and then making those choices over and over again.