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Miserable prophet with hands in chains posing over dark background

How to Awaken the Force


When the Star Wars movie, the Force Awakens, was released on DVD, I dressed up like Princess Leia to honor the occasion.


That was fun!

Watching the movie gave me a lot to think about.

(Spoiler alert: if you have not yet seen the movie and don’t want to know how it ends, bookmark this page and come back to it after you’ve seen the film).

There are a lot of things one can say about this movie, both good and bad, but the purpose of this post is not to write a movie review. You can find those elsewhere. purpose of this post is to explore and highlight the film’s message for US… the generation that was the same age as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia over 30 years ago, when the first Star Wars movies came out, and is the same age as the older and wiser versions of themselves portrayed in the movie now.

To me, the film was a reflection on our generation’s lives and work: on our roles as parents, and on our work in combatting the dark side of the Force, whether in ourselves, our families, our communities, or in the universe.

And I think that the movie addresses a very specific demographic: it is addressed to all the Luke Skywalkers who have retreated to secluded enclaves, away from the heat of battle, feeling scarred and defeated as we watch the forces of evil emerge from the shadows and gain power on the world stage.

We feel defeated, as if we are in chains.

We feel like our hands are tied.

Monk or prophet in chains

The chains that bind us are chains of guilt for all we have tried to accomplish and failed, as well as survivor guilt for all those who didn’t make it for one reason or another. We also bear chains of sadness, depression, and numerous battle scars.

It’s a tough world out there, and no one gets out of here alive.

Even Hans Solo didn’t.

But Hans made his life count for something.

He may have suffered a bitter and painful defeat, stabbed through the heart by one he had nurtured and loved.

A lot of us have experienced that in some form or another.

But Hans didn’t die in vain. He saved the solar system.

And we can too. But we can’t do anything if we are too depressed, too secluded, too disengaged, to remove those chains from our hands and our hearts and gather and join together, and make a difference.

Your mission may have been scrapped.

You may not have been hired on for anything new.

But: “They also serve who only stand and wait.” (–John Milton)

We need to let go of pride, and personal ambition, and the desire for achievement, and focus on what is at stake here:

The fate of the planet.

The fate of the solar system.

The idea of focusing on thankfulness came to me once I realized that all roads I had travelled had led me to dead ends.

I had tried everything, in both my personal and professional lives.

There was nowhere else to go.

There was nothing else to do.

Everything had failed.

Perhaps you’ve experienced that too.

And yet what COULD I do?

I could stand my ground,

Remain ready to serve,

Keep my spirits up, and be thankful. Being thankful is essential to keeping your spirits up.

If you are thankful, TRULY thankful, then you are not depressed.

You are not knocked out of commission.

You are not trying to run your own agenda even though it’s not working.

You are in the flow.

You are ready.

You are reaching for that light saber.

You have been called to serve the good side of the Force.

And your answer….the answer we’re all waiting for from Luke Skywalker as the movie comes to an end? 

​Your answer is YES.

​Your answer is YES.