Spiritual Discipline“How has the last two weeks been for you?” My coach Alfred asked.
“It has been busy with having my dad in town.” I said feeling a bit guilty about having done a half-ass job (yes, that is a technical term) on my so-called homework.
“So what do you want to work on today?” Alfred asked.
“Discipline.” I said.
“I see,” Alfred paused for a moment, “What does discipline mean to you?” 
“It means doing something I said I would do.  I had committed to writing a little kids story for our session this week and I waited until 1 am last night to do it.  This means I lacked discipline.” I said somberly.

“Let’s do something for a moment here,” Alfred said as he clipped on his funky reading glasses, “What went well for you? What were some of the wins you had in the last two weeks?”
“I confronted my father and my husband.  By confronting, I meant, I told them how I really felt about things, no hiding or sugar coating.” I said.
“So you were being emotionally honest with them.” He said.
“Yes.” I could feel warm tears filling up in my eyes. Gosh, do I have to cry all the time?
“Do you realize that being emotionally honest requires discipline?” Alfred asked.
“I…never thought of it that way.” I felt a little surprised by what Alfred was saying. I realized that emotional honest required courage but I did not think of it as a kind of discipline.

“What other wins did you have in the last two weeks?” Alfred asked.
“I have become aware of my breathing.” I said as I prepared to venture outside of the box, “I realized that I can do a slow breath in, but I sometimes rush the exhalation.”
“Why do you think that is?” Alfred asked.
“The insight I got from observing my breath is that I am rushing to the destination by exhaling too quickly.  I am too focused on reaching the end goal instead of living in the process.  My breath was plagued by impatience. This can be translated to the macrocosm whereby we are culturally conditioned to reach some kind of success quickly and thereby forgetting to experience the process.” I explained.
“Do you see that self awareness is a form of discipline?” Alfred asked.

Honestly, I never thought I had that much discipline. Alfred made it sound so good. Later on, I had my friend Victoria on the phone and she asked how much coaching session went and I said, “Very encouraging.”
“Why?” Victoria asked.
“Well, because I had spent the last year of my life examining how screwed up I am with the courses and I had forgotten about the things that are good…and…” tears were filling up in my eyes again, “it was so nice to be reminded that there are good things in my life and there are things I am good at.”

Our Ego likes to beat us up.  Sometimes, other people may even want to tell us how we are trapped by our own limitations to prevent us from feeling complacent, to help us move forward in life.  But I was totally unaware of how I could get stuck in feeling not good enough after taking all these personal development courses.  It was nice to have reassurance from someone, anyone, that I am making progress, and that I am not broken.  Being gentle to myself is an art and and a discipline. It is as subtle and as important as breathing for the sustenance of life itself.

Thank you Alfred, for your encouragement and kind words.