If you type the words “life compass” into Google, a remarkably similar set of results appears. From blogs, to life coaches, to organisations, there are many people and institutions offering to help people navigate change, and find their way through challenges.
I’m not promising anything so big. I just want to write about the things that are my life’s compasses, and the directions they have sent me in, with the hope that some of the things I have learned will be of help to other people.
Today, the guide we follow is Star Wars. Frivolous science fiction, yes, but also full of life lessons.
I’ve written before about the impact Star Wars had on me when the first movie came out, and how it is one of the enduring pleasures of my life. These are the things I have internalised through many, many viewings of the nine movies of the core series.
Friendship is key. Think R2D2 and C3PO, droids who stick together through thick and thin. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca, flying forever together in the Millenium Falcon. These relationships provide much of the comic humour in the films, but they are the golden thread that keeps the rebel movement together.
Grammar is not important. Yoda never speaks a grammatical English sentence. Does anyone care? No. Is he one of the greatest movie characters of all time? Yes. My case I rest.
Small and tatty can be valuable. The Millennium Falcon is constantly in need of repair, yet always saves the day. Ewoks are small, furry creatures who can defeat the forces of the Galactic Empire. A small exhaust port can be exploited to bring down the Death Star.
In the end, you have to face your demons. The big story arcs in Star Wars are always about people coming to terms with their dark side. As Yoda says: “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ()
The imaginary universe of Star Wars is filled with strange and wonderful things. And its characters set forth on various roads to meet and deal with and learn from all those things. An open heart and a curious mind can take you anywhere. Even to the Mos Eisley Cantina. (But watch your back).
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Main picture: Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash