There was a time when the word "discipline" felt imposing and restrictive - like a shadow over me, pointing a stern, disappointed finger in my face saying "don't be yourself, don't be free," "do what you're told" and "tow the line".
This week the word came to me as I meditated but this time it offered comfort. A calm clarity descended and in that moment I saw discipline instead as a substitute for self-care.
I chose not to fight the thoughts as I sometimes do when I'm trying to "meditate right" (yes, I get the irony). Instead, I let the thoughts come and what crystalized was this: discipline is actually the supportive foundation upon which one's ambitious, go-getter, driven nature can create peace and sustainability - consistently.
Because is it truly "responsible" to give from an empty cup? Or, is it responsible to nourish yourself in healthy ways in order to have more to give? To give willingly, without resentment and without consequence.
A consistent practice of self-care actually requires discipline because it's so easy to avoid. It's much easier to work through lunch, to skip the appointment, to skimp on sleep, to pick up the phone on the nightstand first thing in the morning rather than take a few minutes to meditate, pray, or journal.
It takes a commitment to have a consistent practice of filling one's cup so that we may give to our children, our partners, our loved ones, and the world.
For many of us, it's a level of responsibility that takes significant discipline. For all of us, it's a level of love that's absolutely necessary.