Disciple and discipline obviously have the same roots. One who is a disciple follows the discipline of a teacher or other leader.
I feel terribly undisciplined. I was telling this to an artist friend a few months ago and she said, "but you're always producing something, you must be disciplined enough to do that work."
True enough, I suppose. I publish some writing regularly (my novella Cary and John published this past summer, a short story in a new anthology, a dance preview this week, and a few pieces out to journals here and there). I've done a lot less performance this year (took a break, haven't quite broken the fast), and yet I'm directing a very short play to go up with some one-acts at the university where I work and plotting other things for next year. These things don't just happen without actually exercising some sort of regular practice. I suppose that much is true.
But it feels haphazard. The writing is often in short snippets (on the bus, primarily) and the performance-making is often interrupted by more than my own taking a break.
But of course, what's on my mind is more than my creative endeavors.
Prayer. Charity. Sleep and other rest. (I'm writing this even as I should be in bed.) Reading, even study. Heck, laundry and dishes.
But mostly prayer.
I like to think I'm a disciple of Jesus, a follower of this master teacher. And Jesus spent some time in prayer. It's how he discerned his Father's leading. Or so it seems at least some of the time.
And, you know, Jesus ended up pissing off powerful people and getting killed.
Recently, as I'm making feeble and failing efforts for a more disciplined prayer life, I find the most honest prayer I have is, "I'm a little afraid of you and what you might lead me into" and "I kind of don't trust you."
It's a prayer form that I know I can't stay in for very long. I know this will get me no where. And, in fact, I find myself already shifting it to "show me what you want" and "help me trust you.:"
But it's a start, yes? It's a place to re-enter a discipline that once, honestly, gave me life and hope and freedom. I'm hoping that re-entering this discipline (however feebly and failingly) restores some of that life, hope, and freedom.
All of which to say, I think we enter where we can, where our honesty and integrity require us to enter. There may be better or worse ways to do this, but we do it as we're able and maybe that's not a wrong way.