settling into habit

Gunt and I have begun our morning yoga practice once again. 
Oh yes, hear a long sigh of having arrived. There has been a distinct ebb and flow to our practice over the last eight years. Mostly ebbing (and yes you would be right to calculate Ruby as being 8).

We both know that for us yoga practice is the key to feeling more alive in mind and body and we think it's a fairly necessary maintenance program now that we are comfortably in our forties.
I'm loving the very early morning starts - time to light the fire, take a peak at the stars, wash my face. Setting aside a generous amount of time has moved it from something I squeeze in between other morning tasks to being a valuable and rewarding part of my day deserving of a chunk of time all of it's own.

When I set aside a generous amount of time, I really begin to make progress on where I'm wanting to go.
I know, not rocket science.
So this has all got me thinking about the relationship between freedom and discipline. You could also try out the words freedom and structure or freedom and habit.
Often these ideas seem to be thrown into opposition. In some circles structure and habit may be perceived as suffocating to the creative spirit. Not here.

These qualities give form to the day and supports us to show up to work we want to be doing.
For me that may be getting to the yoga mat or writing a blog post, wrestling with finishing a sewing project (yes, wrestling is the perfect word) or planting seeds for the garden.
I see it the same way with the girls - the time that we gather together in the day means that we have dedicated this time to get to work on things they really want to get their teeth into.

At first we needed to persevere with committing to this time together, but now as we sink into this habit we reap the rewards of simply putting aside the time.
Lori from  Project-Based Homeschooling recently posted a quote about "protected time"(always check her comments for more conversation on the topic).
I really like this concept of protecting time.

Patricia from  Wonderfarm also wrote about "habit" a while back in her post "How we homeschool - good food for thought.

And Miranda from nurturedbylove wrote about unschooling and music practice a few years back which covers similar themes.

Well, yes, that little list is like a inventory of favourites. I acknowledge those writers who have gone before me and who have influenced my own thinking - how I appreciate my on-line community of thinkers.

So, what makes all the difference for us? I mean what makes this any different from the traditional ideas around structure and discipline and children.

The difference is this structure and discipline is not imposed from the outside, rather it is self designed. 

We co-create the structure, we negotiate if it needs changing and the self-discipline grows from reaping the rewards.
None of it is compulsory.
There are no extrinsic rewards or punishments.
There is quite simply learning about self-management and doing the work we love.

Indeed, we are all on this continuum. 
Here it is given time to grow, organically and with subtlety; patience grows with us and experience beds in the habit.

Importantly, alongside this "protected time" are great expanses of free time (a "protected time" also). Time for integrating, dreaming, synthesizing, rehearsing ideas or perhaps to be bored.
Flowing with whatever your heart desires.
Sometimes,  this might just be silence.


  1. "The difference is this structure and discipline is not imposed from the outside, rather it is self designed." — this is so key: that we get to enjoy a customized life that fits us and our goals, values, and needs exactly. <3

  2. Jacinda, I've always been fascinated by the relationship between freedom and discipline. I love this line of yours: 'These qualities give form to the day and supports us to show up to work we want to be doing." Your use of the word "support" is revealing. People often balk at the word "structure" but structures are often what it takes to support us and our desires!

    I appreciate being part of your online community of thinkers!