I’ve had a tough time in the past few months, both on my path and in life. Stress at work derailed my usual meditation practice when I needed it most. I pulled away from people and resources that could help me work through my anxiety and concerns instead of remaining calm and acknowledging what was necessary to solve my problems. I made life harder for friends and family instead of being there for them in the way I wanted to. I shirked responsibilities at home and work. And I’ve made mistakes, ignoring critical conversations, engaging in drama or problems in my life and the community that weren’t productive or useful. These mistakes and struggles are not ideal Jedi behavior, and knowing that has made me overly critical of myself, which in turn makes it harder to get back on track. I’ve managed, slowly, to finally get things going back in a direction I wanted, refocus, and come up for air to take care of myself and my responsibilities, but it’s been a rough year.
I share this with you not to show how hard I’ve been working, or what an awesome Jedi I think I am, but to reveal that the path is just as hard for me as it is for you. I’ve been a Jedi for over a decade, taught at several different academies, been knighted twice, have an apprentice, and run a state-wide offline Jedi group, but I still struggle to be a Jedi, and that’s important. This is hard. As Jedi, we are regular human beings with trauma, bias, difficulties, and stresses who are trying to be better than what society expects of us. To have a higher degree of emotional understanding and control than absolutely necessary to succeed in life, to help others whenever possible, to learn and improve constantly in all aspects of our life and personality.
There is a common feeling in the community that if you’re struggling or something is difficult, or you make a mistake that you’re doing it wrong, and that if we don’t see our fellow Jedi expressing their own difficulties, they must not have any at all. We expect much from ourselves, so we are hard on ourselves when we fall down. We don’t share our difficulties or worries when we are having them, and we sometimes put on a brave and wise Jedi face to pretend we know what we are doing. The fact is, we’re all scraping and scrambling along; we have great successes, and failures, make progress, and stumble. This is not an easy path we’ve set ourselves, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that to be a Jedi, you must be perfect, always. But the better, healthier Jedi behavior is to talk about your struggles, be vulnerable and honest with your fellow Jedi. In opening ourselves we help others relax and share their problems too, and we can help each other up. We can use our Jedi friends and community as a support system, and be part of that support system in return only when we are honest with ourselves and the community, and trust each other to be accountable, but also accepting. You are not alone; if you’re having trouble with some aspect of your life or your path, rest assured someone else is right there with you.
I’m a Jedi. It’s difficult sometimes, and that’s ok. What about you?