Discipline.

“If we do not discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.” – William Feather

I came across this quote recently in my daily reading travels on the interwebz. Of course, it was fortuitous timing because I have been lacking inspiration (though not lacking in aspirations), and if you continue to look, you’ll find what you’ve been searching for—good, bad, and in between.

I’ve been thinking about where I’ve been and how I came to this place, meditating on these past ten years, as they’ve been the most painful, tumultuous, progressive, positive years of my life thus far. Part of that has to do with the age range (16-26). That’s self-explanatory. But part of that has to do with things that have been both out of my control and in my control and how I chose to deal with various events or realizations.

I often say to friends, perhaps ad nauseam (actually, I’m sure of it), that yoga is something that I believe helped keep me in the game and realign my life (and my spine). Somebody asked me some months ago, “Why do you do yoga? In what ways do you find it helps you?,” to which I replied, “It keeps me from killing people.”

I don’t have the most verbal finesse at times.

What I meant to say was that it allowed for me to discipline and heal my body at the same time—like a perfect balance between work and play, pushing forward and relaxing. That said, nowadays, I don’t believe that yoga is the only way to achieve this simultaneous stimulus and release. I myself have fallen in and out of the practice due to several issues including proximity to a yoga studio (I prefer practicing with others despite my aversion to humans), money, focus (ha!), boredom, etc. This bites me in the ass when I don’t fill that time with another discipline. Now, I allow myself to teeter back and forth between several different disciplines as I like. I used to be very totalitarian toward whatever activity I was engaging in, leaving no time or thought for anything else, but I’ve found that that destroys me and negates the goodness of any activity, particularly physical activity.

The other important factor is that physical activity allows us to explore discomfort in a controlled way, so that we can then learn to feel comfortable within our discomfort. The fact of the matter is, life on the macro-level is not easily controllable but your interactions and reactions are (not easily, but yes, they are controllable). So, in any sort of physical discipline, you are training your body to take on various stimuli being hurled at you—physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it—and find a solution or positive reaction or interaction with it.

And sometimes, that means looking at a particular set of circumstances and accepting that they are what they are. Nothing more, nothing less.

Back to Mr. Feather’s words, life will fuck you up if you keep sailing along waiting for something to point the way for you.

Going into this next semester, it occurs to me more than ever that we need complimentary (read: not equal) parts physical and mental activity. I personally refuse to stay sitting for too long or stay in my office for other or a practice room. I’m still finding the perfect mixture that works the best for me at this point in time (change is imminent, after all).

And now for some photos ranging from early December to just a few days ago. Beware: they’re all Android photos and while it’s got a pretty good camera on it, I know full-well that my photos should be banished from the blogging world. But it’s what I’ve got for you at the moment.

Vegan Coat. Serious Face. Not big into taking pictures of myself.

Vegan Coat. Serious Face. Not big into taking pictures of myself.

St. Louis! Central West End! Biggest Chess Piece, ever (no really, technically it is). Wearing a scarf and top hat, no less!

St. Louis! Central West End! Biggest Chess Piece, ever (no really, technically it is). Wearing a scarf and top hat, no less!

Beautiful lunch that got me through multiple performances of "The Nutcracker."

Beautiful lunch that got me through multiple performances of “The Nutcracker.”

Yep.

Yep.

Roo. Ready to go!

Roo. Ready to go!

Raw. Wundebar.

Raw. Wundebar.

Also raw. Also wundebar.

Also raw. Also wundebar.

Noonan.

Noonan. Also a bit Blair Witch Project-y.

Also: This lady is EVERYTHING.

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