I always catch myself in the excuse, “I don’t have enough time.” Frankly, to a degree it is true – I pack my life to the brim and expect nothing less than to be busy and to live my life to the fullest.
And yet, what does it mean to be full? What is the use of consuming everything if we don’t take time to digest what we are going through? What is the point of another experience if we cannot recall it or harness it for a purpose – big or small?
As I get older, these are some of the questions I sit with when I have time to think. So what am I going to do about it? Of course…I’m going to add one more thing to do on my to-do list: I’m going to stop do-ing for the sake of being full and start be-ing…more disciplined with my actions.
There is a difference between “getting things done” and being disciplined. We often confuse accomplishment and task-oriented lifestyles with success, when in reality, when we are not present in what we are doing, we are simply performing a series of acts without awareness to ourselves or to others.
Discipline is something that has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting results is insanity, right? And it’s boring, too. Well, not totally true. We need discipline in order to build character and in order to build anything, really. Even Pablo Picasso had a systematic routine behind his creative process. Discipline seemed to take him to some interesting heights.
So I ask myself and other wanderers and dabblers out there, what prevents us from acting with discipline in our lives? Why do we fill our days with experiences and things without putting much thought into what we are doing?
I have my theories, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about my declared commitment to getting back into a routine. My first step began a month ago when I finally took the leap of faith and signed up for a 9-month yoga teacher training. For those that know me, you may wonder what makes this training any different from all the other programs I have done. I asked myself the same question. With this sign on, it’s different because I am not just moving literally and figuratively through the motions, I am being present, and I am finding yoga is a great conduit for creating the discipline I need in my life.
For those interested, feel free to join me: I’m starting with 5 minutes of yoga a day for one month (3- A Sun Salutations: see photo below). Seems like an unfortunate dedication for a yoga teacher-in-training, but the point is not the quantity of the exercise, but it is the commitment that I am after. Don’t get me wrong, nice abs would be a bonus, but it’s the character and stable foundation that I want to build. As a result of this practice I am finding two things already: I do have enough time to do what I want to do; I just need to be more aware of the way I spend my time. When I am present, I can make sure that what I “do” aligns with who I want to be.
Practice: Where do you lack discipline in your life? Where do you have discipline in your life? When can discipline be harmful and when can it be helpful as it relates to your health and well-being? …To your relationships? … To your career/personal development? What is one thing you’ve wanted to commit to but haven’t had the discipline to do? Can you find the time to carve out 5 minutes a day to do something you care about 5 days a week? Try it out for a month. Journal about your experience. If it brings you joy and the results you need, consider continuing with it. If it doesn’t then try something else. Remember the point is to practice discipline, the outcome is less important.
My practice if you want to join: Sun Salutation A
1) Inhale 2) Exhale 3) Inhale 4) Exhale 5) Inhale 6) Exhale – then stay for 5 inhales/exhales 7) Inhale 8) Exhale 9) Inhale 10) Repeat.