I walked into my children's Aikido class yesterday. It is an obscure martial art that I selected after I observed the instructor teach at the same center my eldest practices judo. It is as graceful and choreographied as judo is aggressive and randomly spontaneous.
The children, all under the age of 10, were sitting, japanese style, on their folded legs. Their backs straighter than yogis. Listening to their Sansei give instructions to two classmates at a time. Complete silence. Utter discipline. I marveled.
Discipline is practicing your sports regularly. Attending the class. Going to the gym. Getting on the spinning bike. Lifting the weights. Running the miles. Two buckets of golf balls at a time. Sweating it out. Pushing yourself in the burn zone. Loving it. You need to love the adrenaline in order to be disciplined.
Discipline is studying frequently. Silently. Attentively. Shutting off. Concentrating. Inhaling the knowledge. Understanding. Sitting at the desk. Sharpening the pencils. Achieving.
Discipline is reading the book. Opening to the incipit, continuing. Discussing. Getting hooked. Loving the syntax. Trying a recommendation. Sharing with a friend. Reading a bedtime story to your child: the same one, the favorite one, the Arabic one, the French one.
Discipline is grabbing the problem by its horns and dealing with it immediately. Finding a solution. Talking about it. Facing the facts. Seeking the advise. Brain storming.
Discipline is finding the time. Waking up earlier, sleeping earlier. To maximize the energy, to fill your days with activities instead of poor excuses. To transition from one activity to another with finesse and rapidity. To switch into the next gear.
Discipline is saying no to negative thoughts. Saying no to the automatisms of life: the desire to sleep in longer, to grab the cookie, to cancel the bikram class, to hang out longer, to drink another coffee, to drift away in a daydream, to slack in the chair, to dismiss something because you don't like it, to fear a new activity, to skip an obligation.
Discipline can be contradiction: order and disorder, sleep and no sleep, "me time" and "give time". Indeed, what is a life of discipline if not boring routine, standard practice, intense workouts?
I also know I must discipline myself to enjoy, to slow down, to marvel, to laugh, to nap, to let go of some responsibilities, to read more and write less, to venture and try. To brake the mold. Have another cup of coffee....with a cookie!