February 15, 2018
Finding Freedom in Discipline
Each Wednesday morning, I get into my car. I turn on some sort of uplifting Spotify playlist and I drive 25 minutes to Alameda to my writing class. I sit at a table with a small group of extraordinary women. For two hours, I write, read out loud, and listen to what others have written.
The goal, to hear my teacher explain it, is to write as badly as possible. When the two hours is up, I drive home.
I’ve been doing this since my son was 4.5 months old. Drive. Listen to a poem. Write badly. Read my work. Listen to what others have written. That’s it. It’s the whole thing.
And very little has been as healing and revealing to me in this new phase of life as this writing class.
In its simplicity, it is incredibly challenging.
Each week, I hear my mind start to throw up roadblocks about whether or not I’ll go to my beloved writing class.
It spouts stories about how I could be using the time to be “productive” or how nothing I write is ever any good, so why bother?. I mean, it’s not like I’m made of free time.
But since my stories about how “busy” I am feel both boring and untrue, each Wednesday I get into my car. I drive, I write, and I drive home. This takes discipline.
Each and every week I renew my commitment to showing up. Not just because I already paid for the class, but because there is magic that happens at the table. Because it is a place where I own all of myself.
Within that discipline of showing up at the table to write even (or especially) when it seems frivolous or pointless, there is freedom.
There, I can say whatever I like. I can share the ugly, shameful parts. There is the freedom to suck at something and to be devoted to it nonetheless. It is vulnerable to commit to something and not give up when it feels hard.
But this discipline beckons us back to our humanity, to be in that vulnerability no matter what. It reminds us that we can do hard things and we can survive.
Within that discipline, there is the freedom to sit with the truth. Not to fix it or change it, but to simply sit with it and not look away.
Discipline is often uncomfortable. There is almost always a moment where we want to throw up our hands and walk away. It is also the case that on the other side of that moment, when we realize that we’ve made it past all of that resistance, that we find freedom.
That freedom may not look or feel or sound like what we expect. But there it is.
In that new landscape, we are not prisoners of those narratives that keep us small, but devotees on a pilgrimage to what is possible.
Sending you deep care,