Monday, February 10, 2014


Last week I attended a valuable workshop presented by a local Marriageand Family Therapist, Stacy Guisse.  Although her title:  “Exploration Before Explanation”:  The Imaginal Approach & Intermodal Therapy Techniques forEngaging with Youth & Families, was intended for other therapists, the experience was personal and transformative.   

One of the gems I heard from Stacy was “the beauty of discipline.”  It was a perspective that released knots of tightness in my body.  As a society we tend to identify discipline with punishment—what do you feel when you remember seeing students (or yourself) sent to the school administrator in charge of discipline?  Dictionary definitions include “a systematic method to obtain obedience” and “a state of order based on submission to rules and authority”—my inner teen/rebel really loves that!  (Not!!)  No wonder we procrastinate about getting organized and “disciplined”.  Yet we know we need order in our lives to fully express ourselves in the world and to meet our daily needs.  Another definition to be found is “training that produces moral or mental improvement.”  Even that suggests that we are somehow lacking and must be improved, but it is getting closer to the view I want to adopt.
It is known that adults establish their ability to manage themselves from the modeling and actions of their parents in setting boundaries and responding to the need for re-direction of behavior.  Children who have the benefit of conscious parenting are way ahead in self-discipline as
adults, but that is another discussion.

If we look at self-discipline as coming from the word “disciple” we can understand that self-discipline is following, honoring, trusting, believing in and learning from oneself.  So to formulate a consistent intention and follow the form it creates is not only a way to nurture oneself, but the path to transformation.  It is an axiom in the healing arts that in order to bring about change and expansion for a person, the one assisting must first meet the person where they are—to honor them as they are, to trust that a part of them knows what they need, to believe in their capacity to transform, and to engage in a mutual journey of observing and learning together.  As individuals and as humanity we are in a time of unprecedented transformation.  We are often aware that even when it seems we have an instant, significant change in our way of being, we have been preparing and prepared for a long time—even lifetimes.

A favorite teacher of mine, Aleya Dao, in an interview shared a practice that she credits as the beginning of her success in serving more and more people.  She scheduled an appointment every week with herself to nurture herself using all the skills she shared with others.  This to me is a prime example of self-discipline.  What if you began to savor the opportunity to see what consistent practices would create health, peace, understanding, abundance (including money), joy and love?  What if you followed your chosen schedule or practice or attitude with relish?  What if you saw the beauty in your self-discipline?  I, for one, am going to try that on for size.

I would love to see your thoughts about this.  Go to my Facebook page, Kathryn Brewer, MFT, LEP to leave comments