Embrace Your Discipline

858. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It occurs to me that during this phase of my life I am learning discipline. Not that I’ve ever been undisciplined but a short gander at my current daily activity looks like a masters class in self-direction. I laughed out loud when a few minutes ago I looked up “discipline” in the thesaurus and the word “punishment” topped the list. The other choices are regulation, self-control, and subject (as in field or specialty). I generally resist rules, am not in to punishment, and am a generalist to such a degree that I have no field or specialty. So, discipline must be necessary to help me come to some semblance of balance before I’m too old to balance. All will be lost the day I wear pants with elastic waistbands and Velcro shoes but until then some balance may be possible.

Two years ago I decided to write posts every day. I decided to take on a daily writing commitment because the need for fodder opened my eyes. I had to pay attention to all the colors of life swirling around me if I was going to have something to write about. Little gestures of kindness became visible. The world is much more vibrant than I understood before I began paying attention. I’ve always been a painter so I’ve practiced “seeing” all of my life but a new kind of sight opened when I decided to write. Also, I’ve never considered myself a writer so my sub-intention for writing each day was to learn to write. Double discipline: open my eyes to see and become a better writer.

Two months ago I committed to publishing a daily cartoon strip for an audience entrepreneurs. Although the strip is crude (by design), each panel takes a few hours to complete and in just a few months I’ve drawn over 120 panels. Today, like most days, I spent the afternoon drawing and inking cartoons. I’m trying to get two months ahead because the strip publishes everyday, seven days a week. It is not lost on me that since beginning the cartoon I find that I am listening with a new set of ears. I’m becoming a world-class eavesdropper. Everything is fair game for cartoon material and everything – especially the most serious conversations – sound like a cartoon. People have no idea that they are riotously funny. In cartooning I’ve already learned that few things in this life warrant the weight that we give to it. Our addiction to drama and blaming is a comedy gold mine. I am my own best source for a good yuck. The discipline is to listen and laugh.

Walking home from tai chi this morning made me realize that I also have a daily tai chi practice. I began my study almost 2 years ago and I love it. I start each day with my practice and I am changing in some fundamental ways because of it. The discipline is to root over what Saul calls “the bubbling spring.” Connect to the chi and empty of all forms of pushing. The discipline is to empty and listen.

Listen. Empty. Laugh. See. Balance. Punishment is nowhere in sight. Alan says that the root word of discipline is disciple –and today I take great delight in my chosen path of discipleship.

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