Declaration of peace between free will and discipline
This morning I realized I've been lying to myself for years. I've been perpetuating a war between discipline and free will.
When I was young I tried to train myself to have what I thought to be discipline. But I did not know what that meant. So I created a system where my present self would make agreements for my future-self to do certain things at certain times, in certain ways, or at a certain frequency. I unknowingly lied to myself and called this discipline.
I gave away my free will by choosing to live without free will! My false discipline became an idol to polish. My own ongoing ability to presently chose a future of autopilot. A story that such sacrifice of my own free will would generate the life I was meant for. A way of living that kept me from being present and authentic in the moment.
True discipline is the act of choosing what I want when it is not easy. When I am tempted or distracted. When I don't have a clear plan. When I actually have to choose.
True discipline isn't living by my own strict rules. It's living by my own abundant values.
True discipline is choosing to wake up and exercise and meditate today as I live in the moment. Not forcing myself to work out and sit in stillness every morning for a month through fear and consequence.
Turns out discipline can unlock free will instead of sacrificing it.
Where is your discipline false? Where is it most true?
More Peace = More Pain
Could it be possible that we've had it backward all along?
That hiding does not keep us safe. It keeps us at risk.
That stillness does not bring us escape. It brings us truth.
That truth may set us free, but only through excruciating transformation.
Could it be that by finding our inner peace, we also find our inner pain?
Must we wrestle match toward truth in most profound faith?
In this wrestling, must we must gnash each of our teeth, and down to the bone of our jaw, as we chew threw the shackles of ignorance?
Could the most peaceful among us be the one who feels the most pain?
Could the space created by peace and stillness be the very capacity of each of us to feel both pain and pleasure?
Perhaps abundance is both gold and shadow.
Perhaps more peace means more pain.
I have a certain energy inside me, and sometimes I describe it as a fire. Often I have contained and focused this fire into work, projects around the home, exercise, dieting, etc. At the present I am exploring how to cultivate such fire energy to grow instead of containing and focus it.
How can you expand the reach of your fire, passion, and energy in your life?
It hides in my sadness, my anger, my guilt and my shame.
But most of all it hides in my diligence, my overly focused spotlight, my desire to get it right.
Where can you let go of fear?
I used to believe I was looking for just a couple abstract attributes like intelligence, passion, and abundance in relationships. Looking back, I believe these were often patterns of seeking in another that which I was struggling to cultivate in myself.
Today the following attributes feel important to me for anyone, romantic or otherwise, that I invite into my life through relationship.
Faith (in some form) that looks like beliefs, humility, confidence, self worth, and joy.
Curiosity that looks like learning, growing, openness, analysis, deep listening and communication.
Love that looks like generosity, compassion, caring, kindness, and laughter toward oneself, others, and the world.
Courage that looks like non attachment, adventure, and motive power.
Overall it feels like a revelation to be aware that relationships should be a source, not a drain, of energy in my life.
Where could you create more space for relationships that enrich your life?
Taming the Wild Horse
I have recently been reading a Western academic interpretation of an ancient Daoist text titled, “Taming the Wild Horse.”
Among many fascinating insights and contemplation, today I encountered a discussion on the difference between naturally wild and wild in response to domestication.
It makes me wonder when in my life I am truly natural, intrinsic, and when I am in a certain form of rebellion. I believe the intrinsic wildness is more authentic than the responsive wildness.
Where are you rebeling when you could be engaging more deeply and freely with your intrinsic self?
It is critical to understand the abstract specificity of any situation.
I might believe it takes hard work to graduate from high school... but it actually takes 120 credit hours.
I might wonder how many miles I can wait before changing my oil... but 3,000 miles or 3 months is a precaution not a rule.
I often get too abstract or too specific. Sometimes I even bounce back and forth. The equilibrium between is not perfect, but it's an exceptional guide.
Where could you benefit from finding abstract specificity?
Reluctance to forgive
There have been times over the past few years when I have screamed “Why!?” to the heavens, as a woman I once loved attempted to isolate my daughter from her Dad. It has been unfair, brutal, and transformative.
For many months I have been practicing forgiveness toward my daughter's mom, while still carrying resentment and pain. I kept trying to forgive her for all the little things (refusing to tell me where my daughter lives, ignoring my parenting time, accusing me falsely of myriad wrongdoings, etc.) without forgiving her for the big things.
Truth is she acts against my daughter's interests, broke my heart, and is changing all our lives. Truth is she is not malicious or evil – she is struggling and suffering (just like me).
But the hardest truth to accept is that she set me free.
In order to forgive her for the big things I have to let go of getting it right, making things fair, and understanding what is going on. I have to fall forward into faith.
I resist furiously at times because it means eventually I will be thanking her.
Where are you resisting forgiveness?
Tragic Hero re-purposed
This morning I did a series of meditations, which helped me to explore a part of myself that some call the “tragic hero”. This is my pattern of behavior where I work hard but never quite make it, take on more than I can handle, avoid success in favor of gritty hard work, etc.
In one of my meditations today, it became clear that the Tragic Hero is trying to help by ensuring I remain humble while still getting validated and seen as successful. Thus the interplay between hard work and head down.
What if I knighted the Tragic Hero? What if it were to instead become a Noble Knight? I'm going to try and see what happens.
What parts of yourself or patterns in your life could you elevate somehow into a new purpose?
Abundance and myself
I have long had a practice of observing abundance. In nature. In human love. Even in my own health.
This morning I realized that I am more than a witness to this abundance. I am part of it! The abundance that surrounds me is also within me as I am within it.
What might be possible for you if you not only have abundance, but you realize you are abundance?