Saturday, September 10, 2011

A New Discipline

A few weeks before my father died, I was blessed with one last good phone conversation on his birthday.  I remember his voice saying "discipline is a routine that comes to feel natural."   I was struck by it then because I had never thought of the word discipline in that way before.  Until that time I associated discipline with authoritarian, corporal punishment which usually came with a heap of shame.  This conversation with my father was a gift in many ways, but especially because I now have a new way of developing my potential. Through practicing challenging tasks until they come to feel like an ability I've always had, my life is taking on new shapes and internal comforts.  Developing new disciplines also helps me to set and keep a routine, which I find helpful as I'm independently employed.  The artist side of me usually resists routine, because it wants fresh images and experiences.  Yet since keeping a new routine of writing three long hand pages per day of a "morning pages" journal, I'm creating more.

This week, we started a new routine of going back to school, while also signing Elliot up for Tae Kwon Do.  For those of you who remember that I'm a peace loving Quaker, I've decided to let my personal philosophy be something that I arrived at...while allowing Elliot to enjoy the discovery of his own beliefs.  The new discipline of his class has been a great blessing for us.  Two days ago, his master gave him a bright and shiny new uniform with his first white belt.  Elliot is thrilled with it, and has already made a new friend who instantly engaged me after class with a request for a play date. 

Elliot acts taller in his new uniform and walks with a big-kid brand of confidence.

And while he's in class learning his first basic forms, I've gone back to running on the treadmill.  Writing and teaching, not to mention blogging and sewing....sometimes comes with an ever expanding stomach!  So it's a great feeling to run again.  When I first started running over ten years ago, I was only able to run for five minutes.  Since then I've been strong enough to keep going for over an hour and I know that if I really want to, there will be even longer runs in my future.

So if you have something that you've always wanted to do, think of developing that new discipline no matter that the first steps are wobbly and awkward.  Soon you will fly!

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