Sixty, forty, twenty. Sixty minutes of exercise. Forty minutes of reading. Twenty minutes of reflective writing. 6 days a week. This is going to be my new discipline. I’ve never been very disciplined, well with university I had to be or I’d have epically failed, but generally speaking I don’t have a history of being disciplined. One thing I’d like to take away from this experience, this fellowship, is to be more disciplined-in all areas of my life. Mind, body, spirit. My entire family just rolled their eyes in unison. My old story has been very last minute, a lot of putting things off. My new story, my new direction, my new discipline-has to be more active. Are you the main character in your story, well of course you are, but are you really? My Dad said to me once, a long time ago, “Sometimes you have to act like you’re the only person in the world”. He was, at that point in time, talking about keeping the house tidy, but I’ve never forgotten it, and it’s proved quite the useful mantra. Over the years my Dad has dropped a lot of knowledge on me – a lot has stuck, some hasn’t, but I digress.
Back to discipline. Do you know what the etymology of the English word discipline is? Discipline derives from the Latin word discipulus, which means student, pupil or trainee. Do you know what other word has the same derivative? Disciple. I’ll let you excogitate that for a minute. It isn’t much of a stretch to see that discipline and disciple come from the same root meaning, but it is interesting to mull over. If you Google a little deeper, you will find that the word discipulus derives from another Latin word, discere, which means to learn and hear. Take it all together: discipline and discipleship go hand in hand, they both have the connotative meaning of being a student or a pupil, part of being a student is being on a journey-being incomplete, and beyond that, a layer deeper, discipline and discipleship mean to both “learn” and “hear”. For me, those words together, learn and hear equate to “do”, enacting what you learn, by truly hearing it, acting it out in the grand performance that is life. If discipleship and discipline both have to do with being a student who is still learning and actively listening – then what is missing? Who are you listening to? From whom are you learning? If you are a pupil on a journey, then who is your Rabbi, your teacher? This doesn’t have to be God – but I guess the whole point is that it has to be someone or thing – that’s sort of implied, and it most certainly shouldn’t be yourself, or TV. I think we all need a little discipline and discipleship in our lives. Those of us who come from a faith background are comfortable talking about discipleship, however that doesn’t mean we are good at doing discipleship – we learn the word but we don’t often hear it.
Augusto Boal, the Argentinean theatre director and writer, took a revolutionary step in theatre and activism by joining the two together. Boal envisioned spectators to become spect-actors, to engage the audience with both villain and hero, both justice and injustice. Think about this in your life, as I have been doing in mine, are you a spectator or spec-actor? Do you learn and hear? Do you learn at all, do listen at all? It is kind of comforting to think that part of living a disciplined life, or of being a disciple, is to be imperfect, incomplete – learn as you go. It leaves room for error and success, for growth and stumbles, forward steps, backward steps. I don’t want to be a spectator in my own life and I most certainly don’t want to be a spectator to the millions of oppressed in the world. Sixty, forty, twenty. Sixty minutes of exercise. Forty minutes of reading. Twenty minutes of reflective writing. 6 days a week. I think I’ll start tomorrow.