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The Gentle Discipline Journey to Spirituality

As part of my big-picture writing and life purpose reflections (my very favourite kind!) I’ve been thinking about how I started out primarily concerned about Attachment Parenting in the baby stage, then drifted towards Gentle Discipline in the toddler years. Playful Self-Discipline followed naturally after that.

In these early days of autumn, I am discovering that the step that follows self-discipline (which I am still working on, of course, just as I am still working to maintain attachment and provide loving boundaries for my children) is nurturing my spirit.

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Why is spirituality the next step? I don’t know exactly.

Maybe it’s because sometimes the best way to be strong is by letting go. Letting go of my need to be right, my need to be in control, my expectations that other people be a certain way. And in order to let go, you need to trust.

Maybe it’s because sometimes you need to dive in and take hold. Even when the storm is lashing all around you.

Maybe it’s because I find peace in rituals. Or because I crave the feeling of synchronicity, of awareness, the deja-vu “I’ve dreamed this before” feeling, the mind quieting as the body flows from one posture to the next.

Maybe it’s because we’re flying through space on a tiny blue speck, hopelessly small and insignificant, while at the center of our galaxy all light and matter are being sucked inexorably into the singularity at the center of a black hole.

Maybe it’s because the times I need self-discipline the most are the times when I am being carried away by the tide of my thoughts and feelings, and spiritual practices like meditation and mindfulness help me remember that I am not my thoughts and feelings. They flow through me, but I am not defined by them. This separation gives me the ability to let them pass.

Maybe it’s because I have a certain fascination with the human brain and its inner workings. Claire woke up this morning and started describing her night. She said, “I was having a scary dream, and I thought, ‘ggr, why can’t I control my brain?'” Indeed, why can’t we control our brains?! Maybe we can, with practice. Meditation and yoga help me surf the wave of my brain’s activity.

And so, I wake up in the morning and do yoga. I meditate for five minutes. I feed the chickens, make breakfast and practice the violin with Claire for four minutes. I wash the dishes and sweep the floor. I do what I can to introduce my children to the vast banquet of learning that is available to us, and at the end of the day I read Anna Karenina and floss my teeth and go to bed. This is my spiritual practice.

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