Monday, October 15, 2012

Do or Do Not...

  In the Star Wars movie series, there is a wise old character named Yoda, who speaks in riddles and witty one-liners. One day, Luke Skywalker crashes his space ship in the swamp where Yoda lives. Yoda begins teaching Luke how to lift his sunken vehicle out of the water, using a form of telekinesis known as "the force".

Predictably- the student fails, and complains to the master: "I'm trying!"
Yoda responds: "Do, or do not! There is no try."

  There is great wisdom in this thought, but being a pragmatic idealist (ugh) I am sometimes tempted to follow Yoda's advice in a way that I am pretty sure he did not intend. If there is no "try", and you find that "doing" isn't working very well, what then? Sometimes "doing" seems to cause more harm than good. Some days it seems like it would be so much better to "do not", to sit quietly in a corner and stay out of everyone's way.

  Do you ever catch yourself feeling like the only reliable way to reduce frustration in your life is to drastically alter your dreams and/or personality to match your circumstances, instead of continuing the endless quest for a genuinely satisfying life?

  Is it time to quit being a thermostat, and accept the simpler life of a thermometer? I admit, part of me lobbies for a pathetic sort of resignation in the name of practicality and peace. Fortunately, another part of me is burdened with the knowledge that such a deep, profound level of concession would, of course, be nothing more than giving up. A good intentioned, but obviously selfish, way of giving up.

  Working hard to change and grow, to really make today a little bit better than yesterday- is an uphill battle at best, and doesn't win you any popularity contests. If you are an advocate for change, a voice crying out against mediocrity, someone who genuinely wants to achieve something great in your lifetime... be prepared to count your friends on one hand. It's going to be lonely and frustrating a lot of the time, and you are setting yourself up to be criticized and resented by those who don't understand the vision you have in your mind, and the passion you have in your heart.

  Prepare to be judged as a hypocrite for enthusiastically believing in ideals which you yourself are not (yet) good at practicing. And along the way, when life gets especially hard- you, like me, may secretly wish you had the nerve to just give up. But the sad joke is that I am stuck "doing", because there is no try, and I am too stubborn to sit back and do nothing. *sigh*

  So anyway... do you want to build a good life for yourself and those around you, despite your faults and failures? Then we have something in common. Because like a certain green, pointy-eared sage... I too thirst for a life of purpose, built from something more lasting and real than just "trying".


  1. Firstly - HUGS! :) Secondly - I relate so much more that you could imagine. Especially your second to last paragraph. There is that secret wish to have the nerve to give up. I wish I could want that. To just sit, to just be...but because I know better, I force myself to "do". Honestly, that is how I survived the divorce/cancer/car wreck/broken body that all happened at the same time. When all I wanted, when all I felt I could muster was to lay in bed and cry all day... I forced myself to get out of bed and "do" at least a little bit of something. Sometimes it was only for show, for the kids, or for whoever was around at the time (because letting someone see me fail at surviving was just enough incentive) but there was always that secret wish...

    I love you. Keep hanging in there. It's called "enduring to the end" for a reason... And while that doesn't make things feel any better - it can give a reason.

    1. Thank you. <3

      It's always nice to know that my attempt at writing about difficult thoughts/feelings like this actually made sense to the reader. :)

    2. Amen to allllll of's tough to explain this feeling, and although i haven't suffered even a PORTION of what either of you have been through, i am at least aware of this feeling on my own level. i can't tell you what it means that the both of you are my FAMILY. i wish we all lived closer together. :(


  2. Good post. It is hard to construct sentences that describe such intensely felt, yet difficult to fully describe, emotions.

    I've been enjoying your writing lately, keep it up!