Every few years, (or more if I am lucky), I hit an intense moment of change. Mid-life crisis, life transition, crisis of faith: regardless of your terminology, everyone has at least one in their life. Suddenly, life seems insubstantial and unstable. Suddenly you’re reevaluating everything you’ve ever believed. Despite your terror at what you might find, you cannot help but wipe the slate clean and dive again and again into why you think the way you think, hunting ceaselessly for where you are wrong.
(No, just me?)
Maybe this sounds familiar to you, maybe it doesn’t, but it is the nature of the Jedi Path: constant questioning and ceaseless change. We cycle through our lives and thoughts and beliefs over and over, just to get that extra nuance, that new take. To process our lives and come out focused and whole. Our own Trials of Insight, our own experiences in the cave on Dagobah or Ahch-To.
This process is exhausting, terrifying,a and utterly merciless. No belief, no matter how sacred, heartfelt, or foundational, is safe from this emotional and intellectual spring cleaning. But after all of that work, all that excoriating fire of truth and logic and sincere emotion, you are left with only that which is worth keeping.
When I started on this path, I was a 14-year-old girl. I was dealing with problems that even now feel monumental, and elbow-deep in the process of becoming an adult human being. When the dust settled, the path was still there for me; changed, upgraded, but still a vital part of my life. When I returned to the path after the hectic days of college, a young woman figuring out the direction her life would take in the days and years to come, the dust settled and the path was still there, pointing the way forward and handing me the tools to build my own world.
I’m in that space once again. But instead of panicking about the instability that was my life and mental/emotional landscape, I already know where to begin. I have faith that whatever is worth keeping will come with me, and so I let go my ideas of who I am, who I am meant to be, and who I appear to be, and return to the basic beliefs and ideas that define me as a person. I am even prepared for that change to tell me that the Jedi path no longer serves me, as stressful as that may seem. I let change flow over me. And as I start to emerge on the other side, I recognize all the old friends and new knowledge reborn into something stronger, more useful, more interesting. The path is still there, and I am equipped to become a better Jedi.
Change is terrifying, but there is nothing more healthy to your growth as a Jedi and a person.