Amanda Salisbury

Fiction, Life, Opinion, Art, Non-fiction

Discipline: A Theme

As we head into the last lingering days of February, I remember the shiny plans I had for this new year. That clean slate moment feels far away now.

Usually, whenever I procrastinate it’s due to anxiety or depression. But I put off writing this post because I’ve wrestled mightily with my 2017 theme. It’s slippery and not at all well-behaved.

My chosen theme is discipline, and I will post to this site some of my successes and failures in that department. The thing is, it’s wicked hard to track. Nebulous. Possibly because I’m making it up as I go.

Each year, my theme covers these life areas: spirituality, marriage, parenting, body/mind health, craft, resources, and social life. Entire forests have been milled over spiritual disciplines, so that segment is a bit firmer. As for marriage, the internet left me utterly bereft. [Note: Never search ‘marriage’ and ‘discipline’ together unless you’re into that sort of thing, either religiously or sexually.] ‘Parenting’ and ‘discipline’ were a completely terrible search because all the words of wisdom focused on disciplining children. There are lots of 1s and 0s spilled over disciplined writing, and nearly as much on resources. Social, well, that’s on the list because if it’s not I might never leave my house.

The first discipline I’ve used with some success is Quieting the Noise. We live in a cacophony. Sometimes that racket is lovely. Other times, it is a symphony of hate and pain and bleakness and sorrow. Since November, the noise has been constant, like the ringing in my ear. And for good reason. Lots of voices are rising together and they should be. Against tyranny. Against hate. Against the reinstitutionalization thereof.

Those aren’t the only voices. Between LIES and FAKE NEWS and ALT EVERYTHING, I’ve had difficulty honing in on high quality voices and noises. The strain and refrain can shift wildly in the course of a single day. So. Much. Noise.

So Much Noise
It feels callous, and like the privilege it is, to press mute. To check out for a while every day. To rest my ears and my mind and my soul from the boot-sucking clay of it all. Discipline helps take a pause without checking out entirely. It says both ‘know what’s happening in the world’ and ‘retreat periodically from what’s happening in the world’.

I have been practicing quieting the noise. This discipline alone improves my productivity, reduces my anxiety, and keeps me connected. Connected? Yeah, actually. When I quiet the noise, I have the opportunity to make a plan. I have the opportunity to triage some of the problems to the extent I can impact them. And I return to the noise ready to pick out some beauty, find something to work on, and find partners in that work.

Discipline. Not rocket science. Also not rainbows and cotton candy. That’s what I’ve chosen to drill into this year. Please share your best disciplines, too.

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2 responses to “Discipline: A Theme”

  1. […] This whole thing started more than a year ago, though it took me months to find my footing. I knew I wanted to practice discipline in 2017, but I thought it meant a lot of counting all the things I would accomplish and tracking my progress. A preacher happened to give a well-timed message in which he said that discipline is creating space in which God can work in your life. That changed the course of my year. And my perspective. […]

  2. […] it had not yet gestated into anything I could write about last November. Or December. Or January. It was late in February before I introduced a theme I’d been thinking about, dreaming about, and working towards for […]

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