So I decided to put myself on a regimented schedule. It’s very unlike me, but I realized that I think having some sort of discipline helps me to convert my creativity into something tangible. Perhaps, a life even. It helps to turn the fire inside me into something I can gradually cook.
There’s a part of me that thinks we are all animals and we work by instinct and I should have the proper intuition to know what to do at any given hour. However, there is another part of me that thinks we are machines, like robots with a personality, and we need to be told what to do at any given hour. Even if I am the one telling myself what to do.
There is something decent about discipline; it seems to make an otherwise chaotic and unpredictable universe, livable. I can’t make the weather become what I want it to be on any given day, but I can decide to go to the gym at nine-a.m. every morning.
I can’t predict whether Obama will be able to pass his health plan, but I know I will be able to pass mine. I know I can be healthy if I make a decision to do the right thing every day. No, don’t get me wrong. Rules are made to be broken. I ate a sugar free-health-nut breakfast and then came to this coffee shop and had biscotti, which is a European version of a chocolate thingy you dip in coffee.
Even though I told myself I would not have sugar or coffee this morning, I did it anyways I broke my discipline even as I am starting it. But that’s the kind of person that I am, I believe there is a human being behind all of my actions and I often let that human being have its cravings and idiosyncrasies.
So what I’m trying to say is, discipline is a good thing, but it can be kind of like religion. There is a saying in Buddhism that goes something like this: Religion is like a boat, it ferries you across life. However once you get to your destination, there is no need to carry the boat on your head.
I think discipline is like that, it is supposed to carry you to some destination, some goal, but the discipline itself is not the destination and once you have achieved your goal, you need not burden yourself with the excessive rules of discipline. For example, I like to write in the mornings, that’s when my creative energy seems to be flowing lately. Now, if I can get myself to a great writing job and selling my book, then I may decide later that the morning writing ritual is better done at night or smack in the middle of the day.
If I do ever become a successful writer, I will realize it wasn’t the morning that saved me, but the creativity that I tapped into during the time of the day that I chose, or the universe chose, to give me a creative time and space.
It is strange though, the idea that we need to do the same thing over and over every day in order to feel alive. Like every morning and night, I brush my teeth and I don’t know where I would be without this ritual. I mean besides having disgusting yellow teeth, I NEED to feel that brush against my mouth every morning and night. I found myself without a brush the other day when I spent the night at my sister’s and I found that the rest of the day didn’t taste right even though I brushed with my finger and toothpaste. I felt incomplete, I felt partially naked, and a little gross.
If I didn’t make myself write and read every day, or almost every day, could I even call myself a writer? It’s the discipline of writing that makes me a writer, not my love of words or my miniscule talent, but the act of writing itself, and doing it on a regular basis, that makes me who I am.
So as much as I’d like to think I’m not a creature of habit, I am. They say it is our actions that make us who we are, not the words we use to describe ourselves. So I’ve decided to act on who I think I am.