CADY McCLAIN

Director, Producer, Artist

Gentle Discipline

Posted on: November 27, 2011

Everyone asks me, “Doesn’t writing take so much discipline?”  I say, “well, yes it does, but everything else worth having does, too.”

Think about it, doesn’t it take restraint not to yell at a stranger when you are really angry?  That’s discipline.

Or to NOT eat the entire carton of low fat ice cream, even though you really, really want to and “C’mon, it’s LOW FAT?”  That’s discipline.

Discipline is a word that has such a hard edge to it.  It’s definition brings up words like “obey, punish, obedience…” not fun or juicy words.  Cold words.  Ick.

However ALL learning takes our willingness.  We cannot change without our implicit participation on a fundamental level.  So here is another way of looking at it.

To be disciplined in your creativity is to give yourself the gift of being willing to learn from the Great Wah in all it’s forms.  To be disciplined in your creativity is to be open, to be soft, to be teachable.

The funny fact about creativity is that it really teaches YOU more than you teach it.  It is more like going into conversation with a very particular part of yourself, a wise and old part of yourself, that is not always verbal.

“Okay,” you say “I AM disciplined, and I DO sit down at the desk (or where ever you like to work/play) and it’s agony.  The critical mind just won’t shut up.”

I hear you.  This is why I include spirituality and healing in the same category as creativity, because for me this always happens.  The “guardian a-hole” starts talking.  Yappity yap yapping away about what an idiot I am.  Quietly at first and then sometimes so loud I have to stop what I am doing and go find a cupcake to dive head first into.

I believe the reason more of us aren’t creative more often is because of this voice.  A voice that was put in us when we were little by some most likely well meaning teacher, parent or friend. This voice says that we are one of many things, but most likely stupid, untalented or wasting our time are some of those things.

And you wonder why you don’t want to pick up a paintbrush or write that song you keep thinking about?

When the message is always negative, we shut down. Of course we do.

So how do we change these messages?

More discipline.  (YUCK!)  But wait, here’s the really fun part.  You  probably won’t change until you really want to and you know what that usually means.

Yes, you guessed it!  PAIN.  Whoo hoo!  Fun’s a poppin’!  Aren’t you glad you are reading this??

In order to want to change we usually have to feel some kind of pain first.  That’s WHY we want, need, become COMPELLED to change!  To STOP feeling the pain.  Ain’t it grand to be a human.

Here’s a quote that has helped me stay willing to be open to the messages from pain:

“The wise man (or woman) embraces pain because s/he knows that it will teach him (or her)”

In other words, again: “wise people stay open to learning.”

Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it?  But if you think about it, what it means to be WISE is different that what we think of as SMART.  To be WISE means to have real understanding, not just knowledge.  I remember a boyfriend who I used to say to, “for a smart guy you are pretty stupid!”  Because for all of his knowledge, he just had NO CLUE how to function in the world of people.

Or as someone else used to say, “If common sense were common, everybody would have it.”

You will find lots of quotes and teachings about embracing pain out there and they are all right and in essence, all pretty similar.  Pain exists to teach us and as soon as we become willing to learn, the pain begins to subside and transform into wisdom.

“Okay,” you say, “I AM open and willing and disciplined and STILL not happy with myself or my work.”  Gotcha.  I feel your conundrum.  So here is the next step:

Apply GENTLENESS.

We cannot beat ourselves into perfection or at being better at our creativity.  Art is the application of self through another form.  It grows through practice.  Practice takes time.  Time… takes time.  While time passes, we must take ourselves by the hand like a good parent and lead ourselves toward the art, the desk, the page, the museum, the play, the book, the script… gently.

Because of my parents early passing, I tend to have such a strong awareness of death that I can stop everything that takes time because “what the hell, I’m going to die anyway, so what’s the point, huh, right?!”

Pretty good rationalization, huh?  Yea, me!

Or as I have often said, “Do you know how old I will be by the time I finish this book?”

Answer:  “The same age you will be if you don’t.”  Right.

Yes, it’s hard sometimes.  But guess what?  It’s actually REALLY FUN sometimes, too.

SO here is the BIG QUESTION:  Can you allow yourself to have fun AND grow?  To play?  To experience something NEW?  Yikes!  That’s the scariest thing I’ve said yet!

Why is the idea of FUN being a CALLING so scary?  Because if you follow your calling, you are going to change.  And there is NOTHING scarier than that.

So what do we need to face all these fears?  Oh yeah… COURAGE.  I think there is a tendency to believe that anyone who is successful has no fear.  I can guarantee you this is absolutely NOT TRUE.  I think they have almost always experienced regular bouts of crippling fear.  I know I have.  I have shaken in my shoes, literally, but you know what?  I did it anyway.  Why?  Because I really wanted to.

And that made me strong.  Strong in such a profound way that I would like to now share how to get strong with you.  The very first step?  Get ready, you’re really gonna love this one: CLEAN YOUR ROOM.

Are you LYAO yet?  I hope so!