flushable goddess and discipline

The other night, I lay in bed, listening to the toilet run. I had jiggled the handle, to no avail. It just kept running. Every so often, the noise would become a wee bit fainter, but wouldn’t stop. Finally, I got up and flushed the toilet again. There was again the sound of what promised to be another prolonged tank refill, but then it stopped abruptly, just like it’s supposed to.

“Ah,” I said to myself as I walked back to bed, slipping beneath the covers with a satisfied smile on my face. “I am the Flushable Goddess.”

Somehow — I’m really not sure what the thought process was — this got me to thinking about the word, “discipline.” I studied tae kwon do for a time, and while I liked the moves and combinations we were learning, I didn’t care for the environment of “discipline.” It felt too much like being in the military to me.

While I never served formally in the armed services, I did spend a period of time in high school as part of the local unit of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) — “official auxiliary to the United States Air Force.” CAP is made up of volunteer youth and adults and is called upon for search and rescue activities (e.g., downed-aircraft, missing persons). And it is a military-style operation, with uniforms, ranks, etc. While I usually won the tap-outs, I still sometimes wonder why I remained in the organization as long as I did, as my unit was not once mobilized while I was a member.

The word “discipline” came up frequently in our weekly CAP training meetings, though I think what they were really talking about was “obedience,” which is quite a bit different. I was both disciplined and obedient (mostly) when a teenager, but that pesky obedience has been falling by the wayside as I grow older. And so the atmosphere of the martial arts studio, with everyone following “orders” without question, didn’t sit quite right with me.

So, still lying in bed, awaiting sleep but with too many thoughts racing through my head, I figured that if I could find a class that offered instruction in martial arts with a more groovy, yoga-like teaching style, I might give it a try. I remembered fondly the early morning groups of tai-chi practitioners and dancers, gathering in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver BC to observe their daily exercises even as their breath froze on the chill air….

Moments later, I was awakened from my reverie by the familiar “clink-clink” of the sink-top drinking glass against the faucet. I once again leapt from the bed, this time to shoo away the mischievous kitty. Thus I also gained the enviable title, Guardian of Water Glasses.

Posted in thoughts from the spiral.

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