I've been thinking and reading and talking a fair bit about self-discipline over the last months. As you know, I struggle to resist the call of chocolate chip biscuits at work and tend to have more projects on the go at any one time than I can possibly complete. I don't do sport or exercise anywhere near enough and the housework is usually just overlooked.
As I suspect are many people, I am an expert in feeling really guilty about 'being bad' - whether with my health or my home - though not very good at turning that into action. It's actually a fairly familiar background feeling.
However, I had a conversation last week which has made me rethink this. After a busy week at work, I felt I ought to get out of the house and do something at the weekend, towards one of my other goals, but I was so tired physically and mentally that I really just wanted to curl up with some knitting, an old DVD and a cup of tea. The response was that self-discipline also means not pushing yourself too hard, knowing when you have earned and in fact need a rest.
I realise that I generally feel that I should be doing something productive, and if I'm not, I feel bad. But after putting in a lot of time and effort at work, it's perfectly ok if I preter to read than to sweep the floors. I do want to get that done too - but feeling bad about not doing it will not help, nor will pushing myself to sweep the floors at ten o'clock at night, or clean toilets first thing on a Sunday morning.
I really enjoy a lot of the posts about home from people like Rhonda at Down to Earth and Shannon at Radical Homemakers. I love the idea of home as the harbour we come back to after our trips out to sea - some beautiful, some tempest-tossed, some fruitful and some frustrating - where we restock and repair. nourish body and soul, and prepare for the next trip. Today, home is making pancakes for brunch in spite of the state of the floor.