The Art of Discipline
I was on my way home from practicing some music with a friend a few days ago and we got into the discussion of ‘discipline’ and it got me thinking…
We are faced with cultivating disciplines early in our lives, but until we ‘desire’ discipline it is a lesson that is rarely enjoyed, I can look back and see where my gains of discipline have been hindered because of the lack of ‘desire’ for discipline.
We learn early in childhood that discipline is a life rule to succeed, to be rewarded, to overcome challenges in our lives, whether emotionally, physically or spiritually. We moved to the west after living my 49 years in the east. With this move came a ‘desire’ to embark into my creative abilities as an artist full time, rather than the typical hobby lifestyle that I had previously lived out. Maybe turning 50 was the driving force, haha, whatever, the ‘desire’ was there, and I was hard after it. I believe that this desire is what cultivated for me the ‘art of discipline’.
Before making this life choice to be a full time artist, I painted on the whims of ‘feeling’ inspired. Nothing wrong with that, but…what happens when we aren’t ‘feeling’ inspired…well, for me, I simply didn’t create. So as I embarked on this new found desire, with it came the need for discipline, and therein was the beginning of cultivating the ‘art of discipline’.
Years ago I journeyed through the book ‘The Artists Way’…it’s a great ‘internal’ work that asks deep questions and if you are not afraid of looking inside and taking out your ‘trash’ that normally clutters and suffocates creativity and discipline, is a great tool for opening up the sleeping creative giant within each of us. After going through this book on my own, I began gathering groups of 12 women and walking alongside their journey to open up creative blockages, finding their creative self once again.
The book taught me many powerful lessons, but the biggest lesson outside of the internal ‘heart’ lessons was ‘discipline’… journaling and working through this book demanded it, whether you ‘felt’ like it or not. Out of the 12 women that would agree to make the commitment, we would end up with 6-7 who followed through to the end, it took hard work, honesty with self, courage to face fears, and discipline.
For 4 years now, I have been ‘cultivating’ the ‘art of discipline’ in my daily life. I still continually deal with ‘internal life issues’, those internal and external voices that would desire to drown out and bring death to the creative giant living inside. It has been a constant challenge but has become easier and I can say that I have become more gracious and successful to nurture and apply the daily disciplines to self to become closer to that creative being that I was designed to be.
The ‘art of discipline’ has many faucets to it, research, challenging ones abilities and skill levels, applying studio time even when I ‘ain’t’ feelin’ it, accepting critique, but not allowing the negative voices of defeat to have power over the creative child inside, and surrounding oneself with supportive and encouraging voices that empower that discipline.
If you find yourself at that ‘mundane’ place where you are on the wait for being inspired, for that ‘creative high’ to hit before you can make your way into the studio to sit before your creative project, I would encourage you … apply discipline, if its only for a small time, then add to that each time, set realistic goals, be flexible to change, don’t’ be afraid to look inside, and by all means… let ‘desire’ fuel your ‘art of discipline’.
'You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours' Anne-Wilson Schaef
'Desire, ask, believe, receive' Stella Terrill Mann