Did you know that the word discipline and the word disciple derive from the same Latin roots?  Discipulus = pupil and discere = to learn.  Whereas we associate the word discipline with structure, order, and control, we think of discipleship as being a student or follower of a certain faith or doctrine.  And while some level of discipline (physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual) is often inherent in being a disciple, the desire and passion to learn and master a new skill or level of understanding often override any discomfort or inconvenience that the requisite “discipline” imposes on our lives.

When we’re trying to make changes, we often start with some vision, inspiration, a resolution and promise to ourselves.  And while we are operating on the high of this new version of us, the associated alterations in our lifestyles don’t seem so hard.   But over time, frequently our excitement fades and commitment wanes.  We find ourselves “cheating,” making excuses, or altogether giving up on our hoped-for transformation.  This is when discipline becomes tough as we force ourselves through the motions, preferring comfort and our old habits instead.

In these moments, what might happen if we were to recall the true meaning of discipline and become the students rather than the jailers of our lives?  What if we stopped to inquire, to discover what unfolds naturally from within, to remember and realign with our reasons for change and our passions for living?  What if we approached evolution with curiosity and wonder versus demands and expectations?

Perhaps the most important discipline is to remember to be kind and generous, with ourselves and with each other.  To hold space with an open heart and witness the continuous mystery of the miracle of life unfolding, as with a child or a flower.

Perhaps in this way, we become students–or disciples–of our own sacred calling.