An Ode to Discipline
During the intensive period of the quarantine, somewhere in mid-April, I realized that my general state of happiness and feeling of peace-in-mind, and overall sense of hope, was grounded in my ability to remain disciplined to everyday activities. I acknowledged and observed that the simple daily habits that have been integrated into my life as rhythms and rituals brought great joy, purpose and structure to my days.
Discipline often conjures thoughts of restriction or control or regulation and all of these definitions for discipline can lead us to feel that discipline can be stifling, limiting or punishing, but I have found that discipline has played an instrumental role in my creativity and success in the simplest of ways.
Discipline offers a kind of comfort. Personally, I create best when I have a structure and timeline. I show up with clarity when I feel organized and prepared. And when I don't know where to go or how to do or what is happening, I rest in those places of uncertainty and wait. I practice patience. I wait for the message or the meaning or the purpose that will propel me to the next step. In the meantime, I keep the simple tasks and habits of structure with a discipline of consistency to continue moving forward and not get stuck along the journey. Within this idea of discipline and structure is another interpretation of the "joy being in the journey" and "trusting the process" that is unfolding. I remain present and do what is necessary in the moment and take care of what I can with the utmost attention and intention.
Long ago, I recreated my daily chores into games and shifted my childhood perspective of what I was required to do to get something else towards the mindset of creating an environment or experience to greet the friend or visitor that would come see me that day. I always imagined that someone was going to come play with me on that day and I wanted to be ready for them when they arrived. That paradigm shift from my childhood ingrained a habit in my mind and developed the idea to be ready and available for whatever the day will bring. This worldview has remained a key component to my capacity to be available for almost any opportunity that presents itself in any moment. Success is where opportunity meets preparedness. And so it goes.
For example, as long as I can remember, shortly after waking up I make my bed. Every day. I make my bed. It's one of the first things I do to create order and ease in my day. From there, all things in the first quarter of my day (which is marked approximately from 6a until 12pm) unfold in a series of events that I consciously attend to with slight randomness to keep my habits mindful. That too, is a practice of awareness.
In other words, my mornings are not a mindless series of events. Things take place with a more ritualized intention and the organized structure then marks "starting the day": there is water to boil, candles to light, offerings to make, incense to burn, Japa meditation and yoga practice to roll through, breakfast to eat, Bianca to walk, shower to cleanse, journal to reflect and whatever else arises in the moment that fills the space with mindfulness. I greet the day with respect and renewal, as well as curiosity. I feel ready and connected.
During quarantine, I also created new habits and made new commitments to myself to keep myself on a schedule that would allow for rest, play, work and plenty of downtime that is essential for the creative mind and soul to flourish. Sleep is important and routinized sleep is very good for the body and mind. Timers on my lights that clicked off by 10pm created the reminder to "go to bed" instead of binge watch Netflix series until midnight or keep going on the puzzle that could wait another day. I moved my phone charging to another room so that I could properly prepare for dreamtime and not surf the news or zone out on scrolling through Instagram believing that I was researching that one new idea or catching up on the day. These small changes created huge shifts for my well-being. It takes discipline to make movements in a new direction and stick to it for a period of time to see if it is helpful.
I have come to accept that my successes in my life have been greatly contributed to the capacity for me to remain disciplined, commit to consistency and allow for the magic and flow to happen within all the space that it is created within that kind of structure. Identifying these elements of design have been incredibly liberating and empowering and helpful to understand how I create extraordinary moments in an ordinary day.
And so, this is an ode to you, dear Discipline:
Thank you for serving so well.
The grounding that is provided through support, correction and protection
allows for the flight and flow of creativity and possibility to soar.
I am incredibly grateful for the education and direction.
And I am more resilient and accepting of all that can be.
May it be so.
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