Some days I am fueled by sheer passion, and scrape enough energy off the soles of my shoes to bounce past life. Some days it is hard only to exist, nevertheless enjoy my existence. I've written every day now for a little while, and some things end up on the blog, some things end up in the trash... victims of my low-energy reality of late. Compelling myself to write and do yoga each day for a prescribed period has reminded me of some important life lessons that laziness allows me to forget. True discipline is the best teacher. I learn slowly, obey utterly and depend entirely on it for certain revelations. Stillness, patience, endurance, tolerance, grace, and wisdom are a few that if I possess any characteristic similar, it's because of discipline.
Ask yourself what you've done for 'you' lately. You might answer that you've painted your toenails, or bought yourself a gift, or even allowed yourself some downtime. I am the kind of person who must punish themselves to feel worthy of enjoying life. If I can feel that I've survived something, it's the most satisfying feeling. I wanted to become a vegetarian, and instead of phasing the meat out slowly, I went cold turkey to attach a little suffering to my choice. I learn better and BELIEVE more if I suffer.
How is it, then, that I enjoy suffering so much when it is so unpleasant? I like to conquer. I want to feel like my task was a feat and that I survived some kind of adversity to get to the finish line. I like to beat 'me'. I'm ultra-competitive with only myself, no one else.
Self-flagellation isn't for everyone. Victims upset me. When you battle an adversary as evil as yourself, you must have a certain character to fight honorably. Constant level-setting and admittance of weakness is a must. Humility is more valuable than winning... so I admire people who can irreverently admit self-defeat. I got too drunk last night and that's why I was late. I forgot to do something, and it's terrible, and I'm really sorry... but I'm not going to overpunish myself. I fell short. I didn't. I can't. and all of those things are just fine, given the appropriate situation. If you endeavor to regulate your own pain, you must be a keen divinator of appropriate punishment. I think this is the pearl you glean from suffering, actually, how to appropriate the suffering of life.
The older I get, the quicker and more accurately I judge right and wrong. It's a thankful consequence of living through plenty of decisions, making some bad ones, punishing myself more than anyone else, and eventually learning how to aim from the hip.
I made a personal commitment to make at least 1 hour a day for myself. It's such a staggering amount of time, I haven't mentioned it here because I don't want to disappoint you when I ultimately fail to have the self-respect and self-discipline that it takes. But the fact of the matter is I hold myself accountable, you don't get to decide what's appropriate punishment for me. I've done well thus far, 6 days in and I've given myself at least 40 minutes of yoga or meditation and at least 20 minutes writing - FOR ME, each day. It may not be productive in terms of blog posts or catching up on sleep, but I'm growing a little discipline out of it... I'm enjoying the suffering.
It would be unthinkable if I got 'sunk' now and became a victim myself, no matter how bad my day can be, being a victim of it is worse. Thanks for enduring the homily.