A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …
I don’t care who you are, but when those words pop up on the screen, when those trumpets sound and the Star Wars logo comes firing up on the screen, you stop what you’re doing for a full on nerdgasm and watch as the most epic saga in the history of space operas opens.
The Star Wars Universe is vast and the fandom that envelops these stories of adventure is almost infinite. Hell, this entire website is playing off of the theme of that movie franchise as a couple of geeky, video-game playing, bourbon-drinking dads try to take on the world with one blog post at time.
And it’s been over time that we’ve likely divided into factions of support depending on the era of the saga you choose to call your favorite:
- Episodes IV-VI: the original trilogy following along with Luke, Han and Leia (still the best so far … anyone who disagrees can fight me);
- Episodes I-III: The second set of films that followed Anakin, Padme and fucking Jar Jar fucking Binks;
- Episodes VII-IX: the newest member of the family starting with The Force Awakens
No matter where our allegiances may lie, we’ve all let our imagination take over at one point in our childhood (and even adulthood for some of our nerdier friends) and pretend to wield a lightsaber and fool weak-minded Stormtroopers with some Obi-Wan Kenobi-like Jedi Mind Tricks.
Alas, my friends, we may never be able to use our mind to move an X-Wing while holding a handstand and balancing Yoda on our foot, but there are plenty of ways to pattern our life after the Jedi Order.
As the guardians for peace and justice throughout the galaxy, the Jedi are known and loved by movie watchers for their ability to kick a lot of ass when push came to shove … or … Force Push.
The Jedi are revered for their calm demeanor, wisdom and patience. It’s the Jedi Code that governs their faith:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.
There’s nothing intricately special about these practices. It’s a way of life that we can adopt in our everyday walk of life. No lightsaber needed. You don’t even have to put on a big ass brown robe. But by following along these principles, you’ll be one step closer to beginning a life of a Jedi Master.
Begin your training today, you will … my young Padawans. And it all begins with the mind.
“It will be a hard life; one without reward, without remorse, without regret. A path will be placed before you. The choice is yours alone. Do what you think you cannot do. It will be a hard life, but you will find out who you are.” – Qui-Gon Jinn, to Anakin Skywalker
Mindfulness. Being aware of all that surrounds you. That’s the first and most important trait that the Jedi possess. There’s so much noise throughout the course of the day – whether that be work, or the kids, or even a combo of both – it’s imperative to break from the craziness. We love to provide a respite for our physical body, but far too many take a mental break to allow our brain to get away from the bright screens and the stress of the day. If Qui-Gon can knock out a quick meditation during a lightsaber duel, I’m pretty sure we can manage even 10 minutes at the top of the morning to kick off the day like a boss to help reduce stress which in turn will lower the risk of heart disease, mental illness, some cancers, and even chronic pain.
Stay in shape
Ever see a Jedi that’s fat, out-of-shape and struggling to force jump from platform to platform because he ate a few too many cookies at the holiday party? Nope didn’t think so. Luke spends a bunch of his time on Dagobah exercising and working out with Yoda to train the body for the battles to come. You must do the same. Find an exercise plan and stick to it. Be sound in mind … and body. Start with our exercise plan provided in the Dad’s Survival Guide – no equipment needed, all you need is a few feet a space and a determination to get in shape.
Too many times we put things off until the next day or the beginning of next week, because for some reason, we think that’s when we’ll be on our A-game or some shit. This happens a lot with people starting a nutrition and exercise routine; “I’ll start on Monday,” is code for “I want to eat a bunch of junk food and be lazy this weekend, so I’m going out with a bang before I torture myself starting next week.” Don’t do that. If you have a business you’ve been dreaming about starting, a fitness plan you need to crank up, a class you want to take, a book you want to read, take action now.
Do your best – don’t be afraid to fail
Once you’ve taken action, it’s time to put all fear of the unknown aside. Don’t worry about failing or not being 100% perfect with everything you do. This is how we learn and get better. Let’s turn to the Jedi Master for another knowledge bomb from Yoda:
De-clutter your life
Obi-Wan jetted off to Tatooine to live in a fucking cave after his epic battle with Anakin. Hell, even Yoda scurried off to live the rest of his life in a swamp after losing to the Emperor in a one-on-one duel. Can’t get much more minimalist than that, folks. We don’t have to dump all of our worldly possessions, but to truly live the life of a Jedi, at least think about taking a weekend and cleaning out that closet and maybe ditching some of that excess junk in your garage.
Find compassion for others
The Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice throughout the galaxy. You don’t have to leave our Solar System or even defeat a Sith Lord to make a difference in the lives of others. Find some worthy causes and make a special commitment to help others in need.
“Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.” Yoda spells it out perfectly to a very young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace (lotta good that did). Feeling fear is natural – it’s actually even a little healthy to let our natural survival instincts kick in from time-to-time. But, giving into our fears and anxieties and anger issues only leads to more problems. Be appreciative of what you have, live a life of positivity and you’ll avoid drifting down the path to the Dark Side of The Force. Don’t give in. Face your fears and be strong.
The path to becoming a Jedi will not be easy. It may take many years of learning as a Padawan before moving on to the Jedi Master level. But with continued practice of mindfulness, health and compassion and by avoiding the negativity of anger, hate and fear, we’ll all be one step closer to following the true path of the Light Side to learn how to be a Jedi and protect the galaxy from evil … or at least just be pretty awesome at life.
How do you live the life of the Jedi? What tricks do you have for those Padawans trying to advance to Jedi Knight and even Jedi Master levels of success and happiness?
Chime in below with your comments … and as always:
May the Force be with you.