Monday, December 1, 2008

Process Discipline

So, today I realized what my life has been missing. I think that this has come to me because I have started getting a taste of it and have begun to realize how important it is to me. Discipline. When I think back, the times when I have been healthiest, happiest, most productive; I have been the most disciplined. Disciplined with what I put in my body, what I do with my body, just how I live my life. At work we might call this process discipline. It's interesting when I think about how easy it is (relatively speaking) to take in foster kids and turn their lives around with just a little bit of discipline. I'm not even talking about discipline in terms of punishment or whatever, though it is amazing how a little dose of the time-out chair will turn children around. What I am talking about is the regular discipline of bathing, eating, brushing teeth, hugging, speaking, all of the hundreds of little things that we take for granted in life. Going to bed at the same time, having a set amount of time to eat dinner, feeding the dogs every day, these seem like such small little things but when are disciplined about doing them every day they can have a transformative effect on your life, or the life of your children. I hate to make this comparison, but I think children aren't that much different from dogs in that they crave structure and discipline. Having to feed the dogs every morning seems like a chore that you would regret but for children that have never been responsible for anything or had something they can count on every single day it can literally turn their whole life around. Children obviously learn so much faster than dogs and they pass through the phase and move onto greater challenges but I think that the comparison is valid for a certain stage of life.

At any rate, this is something that I am missing in my life.  Maybe instead of referring to it as discipline, I will refer to it as living an intentional life.  It's interesting to me that this is the terminology that we use in seminary and also the same that we used in Aikido.  Aikido is really what got me thinking about it.  I was the healthiest I have ever been when I was practicing and I have been missing it lately.  I don't think it was solely the physical activity, I believe that a big part of it was the intentional manner in which I went through my daily life when I was heavy into practice.  Taking off my shoes when I enter a house and placing them neatly against the wall instead of just lumping them into a basket.  Having a regiment of movements and exercises that I did at different times during the day.  I had a class in seminary that required a certain amount of this effort as well, and it produced similar results which leads me to believe that it is not solely physical in nature.  Waking up every morning and spending a short period of time in reflection.  Having a meditation that I performed every night before bed.  I have started modifying my life to be more intentional over the past month or so and I believe it has already caused things to turn around.  Simple things like the pill box I put together has gotten me on track with my medicine and vitamins, a simple evaluation of my spending every night has resulted in us having more money, with no noticeable change in lifestyle.  Riding the bus has introduced a regularity of schedule that has caused me to be more productive at work, I think.  All in all, I am going to be looking for more discipline (intention) in my life.  I hope that I will be able to share some of the benefits with family and friends...I am notoriously lazy so I hope I can maintain.  Hopefully writing here will only help things.  

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