Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Instead of Discipline

So, I've been thinking about discipline- you know, the thing we think we need to find if we are going to do the things we know are good for us (like eating well, exercise, daily meditation etc.) I can clamp down with my will and pick up those aspirations daily- but at times it just feels like endless work, and sooner or later I run out of steam.

So lately, I've been trying something different. Instead of berating myself and insisting that today (or tomorrow) I will dig deep and find the necessary discipline, I've been thinking about giving myself gifts.

As in- today, I'm giving myself the gift of taking a walk in the autumn leaves, of taking my time in prayer and meditation, of making a wonderful stew for dinner. If I can keep my attitude in the range of doing something kind for myself (as opposed to doing something I think I "should" do) not only is it easier to create good self-care, it becomes about receiving that care with gratitude.

And that's just a more enjoyable way to receive the gift of this day. ~Oriah

(Photo of spectacular fall colours from Paul Bardis.)



9 comments:

  1. Ooohh love that Oriah. Such a simple but profound change in perspective and shift in thinking about discipline. I, too, struggle with that word and with applying it in my daily life. Lately I've been reframing it into joy - doing what I enjoy doing, finding the joy in the disciplined work. Like the way I feel after I've sat my butt down and actually written for the day. I focus on the rewards of discipline. Thanks for this perspective.

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    1. Ann, in many ways telling myself I am giving this gift to myself is (for some things where the inherent joy is a little skimpy- for instance in some exercise) is similarly giving myself the gift of the reward that choice brings. :-)

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  2. I like this very much, Oriah. Discipline definitely could do with some reframing! Timely too, as a few days ago I was brought up short by this comment by sculptor David Nash: "Freedom requires discipline, self-reliance and planning. It needs a set of basic principles", which I understand in rather more feminine terms as saying that freedom to be and do who and what we are and are called to needs to be underpinned by an orderly rhythm to life, so that we don't become overwhelmed by chaos, outer or inner. I struggle with balance in this - not to limit myself with rigid routine, but making sure the essentials get done. Seeing the "underpinnings" as a gift to myself is very helpful. Thankyou.m

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  3. Thanks, Oriah! Thinking about this made it more pleasurable to hop on the treadmill this week!

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  4. Anne, I love that Nash quote.

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    1. lol-good grief- I have the attention span of a gnat these days. Thanks :-)

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