When I first arrived here, I pondered a lot about what this next year would mean. Since I was new to this place and literally had no idea as to what will come, I figured my word for the year would be “trust.” Complete trust in God that is since I felt my insides stirring into potential anxiety. It’s been nearly two months now and I believe that my word for the year isn’t trust after all, it’s discipline. Ever since I can remember, I’d always been driven by external factors…deadlines, exams, interviews, etc. I noticed that I would always have goals, which I would reach, but never resolutions. They’re different after all – a goal is something you work towards and complete, a resolution is a lifestyle change – you resolve to do it everyday. Part of why I could never complete personal projects – like the ones I promised myself this year – was because I would be subject to my whims. I’d be driven by how I felt, not what I should do. And when I was working full time at a job that was invariably draining, the further I got from my personal goals, which translated into a lack of discipline. But being here and having this space to really focus on adhering to my personal promises – sleeping when I should, writing and studying at my allotted times, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day – has led me to believe that I am to strengthen the virtue of diligence (along with the other virtues really) so that I can live a life that is not dictated by my fleeting emotions, but by disciplines that will help me truly manifest God’s plan for me, and the gifts He’s endowed me with. As of right now, I am starting small: get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, write for a couple hours every day, and read scripture every day, which I am recording in a journal so as to have a means of measurement. Next month, I’m going to add exercising for at least 30 minutes a day and cooking, and so on. The goal is to be disciplined enough to adhere to things I say I will do, which, I hope, become habits that, in turn, will translate into being my best self. After all, just as we should keep promises to other people, so, too, should we keep promises to ourselves. And you know what I found interesting? I’ve been learning a lot about Japanese culture, and one of its characteristics is its incredibly disciplined society in many aspects of life – work, home, school. Well, how fitting, then, that my word for this year turned out to be “discipline” against the backdrop of disciplined Japan. Looks like this place will be my personal coach in this endeavor.

PS: as you know, I am working on strengthening the cardinal, theological and capital virtues in hopes of becoming a more effective disciple of Jesus Christ. And it donned on me that in disciple is discipline…both of which are rooted in learning…


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