DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 1: “If we are to progress in the spiritual walk so that the Disciplines are a blessing and not a curse, we must come to the place in our lives where we can lay down the everlasting burden of always needing to manage others.” ― Richard J. Foster
Every year since I began these writings, I have cringed, on behalf of everyone, at the use of the word “discipline.”
Most of us who have been abused in our lives, cannot determine the lines between discipline and punishment. They are great big lines, but we do not know the difference. This quote is a great one for me, because it speaks of the Disciplines in such a way that I can easily exchange them for the Steps. See?
Really, discipline is something we can only give ourselves. It is the recurring practice of spiritual principles as WE apply them in our lives each day, one day at a time.
It is not the punitive method of pushing ourselves to do things that are onerous or difficult. I do not see any point in “disciplining” myself to eat or not eat certain foods, to go to a gym and beat myself into some kind of shape to impress others.
For me, my disciplines are that I care for myself in loving ways. I love how my diet makes my body feel and respond. I love the energy that I get when I eat healthy and nutritious foods. I love not feeling heavy and weighed down by crappy foods that are damaging to my mind and body.
I love the discipline of attending to my spiritual development by reading good books and doing daily meditation and the ensuing miracles of my life when I focus on the miracles and not my disappointments. The gifts are greater when they are the focus of my attention and I write a daily letter for thanksgiving for all I receive, which is more than I could have ever dreamed possible.
The discipline of working steps with others and walking this path have been amazing, because it is the right thing for me to do. I never doubt what is next, it is always shown to me just when I finish the thing that comes just before it. I do what is in front of me that is the next indicated thing and look! A miracle! And another one! Oh!
I cannot imagine living a life without this discipline, without this guidance from the Power that opens all the doors that I thought were nailed shut. I am led, again and again, to the next place for me to go. I love it all! It never stops amazing me.
My only role is to do what I sign up for, show up and be as open to the next thing as I can. Even when I am not completely open, the process usually prepares me to be so. I love it! Continuous grace, ongoing miracles! What a great life this is. Discipline is so much easier than chaos and random bouncing off the walls. I cannot remember all of those feelings, but I know it used to be miserable in that shit.