COVID-19 + self-discipline

Hi y’all,

I’m writing to you from my parent’s home in Franklin, TN because I decided to self-isolate with family. I’m incredibly thankful to have family that I feel comfortable running home to, and who welcome me excitedly.

This unprecedented situation has opened up time and space that would otherwise be swallowed up by a birthday trip, commuting to work, social engagements, and other “non-essential” work commitments. As I told my friend a few hours ago, this is my worst nightmare. Having “free-time” with no outside structure or accountability is difficult for me. According to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz, I’m a Obliger, meaning I need accountability to achieve goals, even those I’m highly motivated to achieve.

Two weekends ago when it became clear that I would be working from home for a long time, I sat down (virtually) with friends to create a To-Do List for the extended break from school. (We have Spring Break right now, which just adds to the amount of unaccounted for hours! Ah!) Between creating that To-Do List 1.5 weeks ago and today, I did not look at it. Only today, after a coaching conversation with Pleasance (check her out, y’all!), I pulled my to-do list back out and created a tentative schedule for my days.

Interestingly, despite being an obliger/appreciating outside accountability, the recovering evangelical in me screams “NO!” at any semblance of self-imposed discipline or routine. (See for proof: the last 10 days I spent without much of a routine.) However, during my conversation with Pleasance, I began to see her invitation to incorporate routine in order to make space for my own goals as just that- an invitation. Not a judgement of any lack of routine up until this point or a mandate to change my whole life. But simply an invitation centered on aligning my actions with my stated desires.

During our conversation, my mind also reminded me that I had already begun this journey. Over the past six-eight weeks, I’ve been exploring self-discipline as a means to freedom. COVID-19 threw a wrench in this (and every other) plan, but I did keep some practices going. For example, I have been setting an alarm for 8:30 and doing my Yoga with Adriene practice, journaling, and spending time with my Divine Feminine Oracle Deck. And yesterday I “forced” myself to sit at the dining table for two hours with my mom while she worked, and do.. something. This something included ordering from Old Navy (my cart had been full for days), checking my email inboxes, reading Chanel Miller and sketchnoting a few more chapters from the book (a goal on my original To-Do list). Nothing earth-shattering, but simply things I wanted to accomplish.

So with Pleasance’s guidance, I processed two things:

  1. My knee-jerk reaction is rooted in old messaging. Messaging that says any discipline = inflexible, over-the-top attempts to control each moment and every desire.
  2. I am already implementing discipline in my life, and I am in control. Routine and self-discipline can be freeing because they allow us to really “check-out” when it’s time to do so (because we aren’t shaming ourselves for what didn’t get accomplished earlier on.)

Well, Lauren… I thought this was a SketchNoting blog. Where’s the visualization? This is a lot of text… Yes, here we go! Below you’ll find the journey I described above in SketchNote / doodle / journal / brain-dump form. At the bottom are two blank templates for you to utilize if you find them helpful!

Thanks for sticking with me! Wishing you all health, peace, comfort and laughter during this crazy difficult time.

Love and light,

LK

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