IS “SELF-DISCIPLINE” A DIRTY WORD?
According to Michael Bernard Beckwith – absolutely not. We are reading his latest book “Spiritual Liberation” in one of my weekly study groups and when he introduced his concept of self-discipline in Chapter 4 – well – it was a real eye opener for me.
I was raised in a pretty rigid household with quite an authoritarian/dictator/ lawyer-to-the-max father. That never really suited my personality apparently from the git-go because my earliest memories are of being told “NO” and “Go to your room!” I was more free-spirited and strong-willed than I believe either of my parents would have preferred and so I was constantly being told to be more disciplined (read that – “do what I was told”).
There was another aspect of my 17 years living under my parents’ roof that was even more tyrannical. I was overweight apparently from birth so the story goes. I won’t go into the gory details but let’s just say it was common place in our house for refrigerators and cupboards to be locked, for things that had been promised to me, to be taken away or not given as punishment, and in my teens, to be grounded if I hadn’t lost the requisite 2 lbs per week my father had instigated as a weekly rule. In fact, I didn’t learn how to drive until I was married and in my early 20s because that was another “consequence” of my not losing weight my father wanted me to lose.
All that is to say that discipline, in ANY form, much less of self, was THE FURTHEST thing from my mind! I was (and still am truth be known) quite the rebel and somewhat understandably so and it’s been a very interesting ride untangling the web of convoluted beliefs, decisions and actions of those early years. Self-discipline to me was a rather dirty word indeed. It meant I “had to” do something and even if that something was/is for my own good AND of my own choosing – well – I admit that rebellious kid and teenager still have a pretty strong footing upstairs in my brain!
But Rev. Michael’s words really stuck with me this time for some reason. He wrote:
“The gift of self-discpline is that it has the power to take you beyond the reasoning of temporary emotion to freedom” . . . The combination of the love for something with the willingness to do what it takes to practice it – discipline – results in freedom.”
Well FREEDOM is something I’ve always craved and not just in this lifetime I think!
I left my parents’ home at 17 and actually got married in order to be “free” of my parents’ restrictions. It didn’t take long though before I realized that “restrictions” are just apart of life. They are the boundaries that maintain some semblance of order in our society, as well as within our own psyches. Without some sort of borders and guidelines and rules we would all be running amuck which would make for a VERY interesting physical existence!
So, back to today. Here I am – exercising self-discipline – writing this blog post at the end of a longer-than-usual-for-me day. It is an exercise in self-discipline for me – an act towards freedom for me – because I made a commitment to myself to 21 days of specific, outlined, physical actions in my business. I wanted to develop some new habits and I set my intention not only to develop the new habits but also to receive clarity and inspiration regarding my business. And today is Day 14 of my 21 Day Plan.
It’s after 5pm as I write this. Five in the afternoon has NEVER been a good time of day for me to be productive. I’m a morning girl. At 5 AM I could write my little heart out, but by 5PM, my body, mind and spirit are ready to turn-off and cozy up to my Tivo! And I didn’t procrastinate about writing today either. I was out of the house at 6am, went to the gym for my workout- swim, went to the grocery store and put gas in the car all before 8am. Then put away the groceries, etc., then the phone rang and it was urgent, then my daughter rang and it too was urgent and next thing I know it’s time to leave for my Monday Study Group. Then it was off to the vet for the Lovely Lola’s annual check up, home and another urgent discussion with my daughter. Oh – and I hadn’t even eaten all day!!! So then I ate! And next thing I know it’s 4:45pm !!!
Was I tempted to say “F _ _ _ It! I’m just not writing today?
HELL YES!!!! “Temporary emotion” as Rev. Michael says, would make it VERY EASY for me to pass on Day 14 of my 21 Day Plan and make excuses to myself for failing to keep my commitment to myself.
And you know what?
A couple of weeks ago I would have done just that.
But Rev. Michael’s words just kept ringing in my ears: “The gift of self-discipline is that it has the power to take you beyond the reasoning of temporary emotion to freedom.”
And I chose freedom today. Yes I DID!
“The combination of the love for something with the willingness to do what it takes to practice it – discipline – results in freedom.” I have a love for myself to show myself that I am WILLING to do what it takes to keep my 21 day commitment to myself. And by practicing self-discipline, this time, in this way . . . I get to be FREE.
I chose FREEDOM!
Happy Dance Time!
Now where’s my Tivo remote? : )