Tomorrow moringing I am going to begin something that I have never yet succeeded at, but I hope that my third try will yeild better results. Years ago, while living in my "monastery" in Louisiana, I tried the Total Consecration (which when shortened like that sounds like a fad diet or P90X-like workout) by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. I made it ... a week. I tried again a couple years later in 2007 when my circumstances had changed and I was living by a more intentionally spiritual basis. Again, I made it a week. So this will be my third try, but my first with backup. I've got a good friend on speed dial for accountability and I have invested in both a hard and electronic copy of "da book" so that it should be handy no matter what happens.
Truth be told, I am planning on doing it twice this year, now and again in November, and then I'll consider making this a yearly thing. Why? Because I need habits. I need cycles and I need rhythm (yeah, that kind too) in my life. I don't really have any of that right now, living in a purely reactive mode. But to truely thrive you need to get beyond a reactive posture and begin to be proactive. Schedules are important, and maybe the first step, because to be proactive, you need discipline.
Discipline 101: Live on a schedule.
On one of my favorite Cistercian blogs, an OCist novice talked about learning latin, and how much easier it became as he spent more and more time in the abbey. Why? It certainly wasn't just attributed to waking up at 4am to sing and eating veggies. It was the discipline imparted by a schedule.
I've started working on small rituals to build up to a full blown schedule. When I get to work in the morning, I grab a cup of coffee, batteries for my monitor and check off my narcotics and drug bag. Its small, but starting small is effective. Also it helps to not get 3 calls into the day and realize that there is no more Narcan. (Hasn't happened, actually, but it would be a bad thing)
Soon I will begin working on a 3 day schedule, one that follows my work pattern. I wish that there was a watch that would let me imput each item on my schedule and let me know when the next appointment came up. a wrist version of the monastic bells.
It is going to be a long series of small steps. Hopefully without too many deviations from the path, I'll become more disciplined over time.