The Freedom of Discipline


This may sound surprising, but as a little girl I was really into karate. I mean really really into it. Not only did I (of course) want to be Hillary Swank in Karate Kid 2, but I practiced this art with a deep dedication from age 7-13 and even competed in the Junior Olympics in Atlanta taking home a bronze medal. 

In our karate studio there was a collection of words on the wall to inspire and motivate students. I can still see them clearly now, bold statements like: "Commitment," "Perseverance," "Excellence," and... "Discipline." I can remember as a kid pondering the concept of discipline. What did it mean? How could I utilize it in relationship to my practice?

Then one day, I grasped it. To push us during a particular exercise Master Roberts said, "Someone, somewhere is practicing more than you and harder than you." Wow. Heavy stuff for an 11 year old, right? Yet I still can feel the weight of the words. Something clicked and an early idea of discipline was formed.

Today, however, I'm beginning to see things differently. I'm beginning to release the notion of discipline as something driven via external shortcomings and the idea that someone else may beat you because of their focus and intensity - and instead celebrate discipline as something I'm building for me and me alone. Or perhaps, for me and my connection to the Divine.

Discipline has become something freeing and even advantageous to my life more recently through the practice of daily meditation - often in the wee hours of the early morning. To some, it sounds crazy. Why would anyone get up that early? Why would you commit so much time/effort/energy to something like this when you could be sleeping?  But the fascinating thing is, I find the more disciplined I am in prioritizing this work; which is pretty much synonymous with getting my own inner sh*t together, the more free I am in the way I move through the remainder of the day.

When we create a structure and an architecture of self-care that is consistent and nourishing, even if it takes time, we allow spaciousness for our inner wisdom or intuition to flow through. I believe it is that opening we get from a daily discipline that makes life inherently more enjoyable and even more fun. 

And I don't think the content of the discipline matters all that much. Some love to pray first thing, others chant, others meditate, maybe your thing is to journal or write a gratitude list, or dance to your 3 favorite songs in your underwear when you get out of the shower. Truly, I think the importance is the consistent self-discipline of the thing, the showing up again and again for yourself, for your best start, and for your destiny that opens the doorway to freedom. And freedom is a beautiful thing indeed. 

Should you wish to develop your own practice of soul-work and self-work I look forward to connecting over a session. 

Joanna Andreae