Lately I’ve been considering discipline in my work. I am a pretty disciplined person. Being self-employed for many years very simply requires this. But just how disciplined am I really. I’ve told myself that I work really, really hard, but what exactly does that mean and am I trying to get something from that?? Lots of people work really hard, so do I deserve something extra, some reward or consolation for this?
I don’t think so. I think being disciplined means being devoted and doing the work that is required without thought to the reward. Just working through the tasks, not necessarily to get to an end point or reward, but because of the love of it. Love is the reward.
Mastering the disinclination to work, whatever form that work happens to take on a given day; maybe it’s frustrating computer work, maybe it’s exacting framing, maybe it’s sublimely creative painting. Moving through all of it, because that’s the deal. No thinking, pondering, procrastinating, perfecting required. No complaining, judging, whining either. Just moving from one thing on the list to the next. No resistance. Totally relinquishment to the work. You know those times when you are in between tasks and you sit and think and kind of put up a little tantrum about how you REALLY don’t want to to the next thing at hand? Well, discipline is about shutting that down. Devotion is about shutting that down.
Devotion and discipline go hand in hand. They need one another. Then everything you do can become a kind of art. Even the call to the insurance company.
From a practical standpoint this means that I make a list each night and intend to work through this list each day. It means that once that list is made, there is no bargaining about it and it is completed as thoroughly as possible each day without complaint and with love. The love part is important, ’cause some days it’s hard to love making that call to the insurance company, honestly. But you never know, so I stay open to all possibilities!
Enough pontificating. Ok, so what’s next up for me?
I’m doing a 3-day plein air workshop here in Portland, August 15-17. Come and join us!
I’ll be at Art in the High Desert in Bend, OR, August 22-24. Showing my new animals!
Also, check out my new work at Art in the Pearl, Labor Day weekend, in the North Park Blocks.