I always loved Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, even as a little girl. Only later would I understand Leia's attraction to Han Solo, because Yoda and Ben were my inspiration. The way of the Jedi, the tao of the Peaceful Warrior, the path of the aikido practitioner, always appealed to me even when I didn't know there was a way, a tao, a path.
Today I watched (again) the movie, Peaceful Warrior, based on the autobiography of Dan Millman. The book was good, and I passed it along to others who I felt might benefit from its wisdom. Earlier, my sweetie was watching Return of the Jedi, and I realize how much these movies have in common. Now, years after first seeing these movies, new layers show themselves to me. My hours of dharma talks, my years of pursuing a path, showed themselves simply. I liked the movie better the second time. The first time I felt a little pushed out by the masculine themes. The second time I didn't care that I wasn't a college age gymnast, but instead a survivor of a different kind. I had since lived through bone crushing injury, and had to let go of it all to get anything back together. I had to become the hero in my own story.
The hero's journey is the universal theme of these movies. I have many more hours ahead of me, reading Joseph Campbell or watching documentaries of his work in the realm of mythos and human archetype. Sometimes, I wonder what or where is the hero's journey for girls. Certainly, we have our plucky heroines sprinkled through, often mirroring the ferocity of their male counterparts. Still, outside of the path of wife/mother, the wise crone and warrior woman has not had the same celebration. And I do find Buffy the Vampire Slayer a little cloying with the smart aleck remarks and cute outfits.
I've recently been busting my workout to the minutes of Xena, Warrior Princess. I loved the show when it came out some years ago, and still find it innovative and refreshing. Admittedly, I am more a Gabrielle than a Xena. Or maybe another kind of heroine that just wasn't really in the show. The wisdom of the ages is flipped through their dialogue, much the way Mr Miyagi and Socrates toss their spiritual gems to the Karate Kid and Dan Millman, Yoda to an ego bound Luke. Again and again, it is about the journey, not the goal. Happiness is not something we acquire externally, living in the present is where it is at, all the wisdom of the universe may be found within us at any given moment if only we'd shut our chatty mind and get out of our own way. Yada yoda yoda.
I struggle with identifying as a warrior, yet I suppose I have always been one. I gladly would accept identity as healer, or educator, but suppose they do not have to diminish my warrior status. I believe in pacifism, and propose non violence, suggest mediation, and look for the middle way. I have to periodically trip up my own ego to make sure I don't block my ability to learn, to see, to listen, to move past understanding and into living. I receive these inputs when and how I can, and yet am the one who must set the bar for my own self guidance. Still, I need my own Yoda.
The wisdom of the universe- its themes and plots and mysteries- lays about in dust motes and cats' eyes and clouds alike. It is always there to see, and yet sometimes I still get stuck in searching mode. My journey needn't be a striving for, but a moving through. We can only be here, now. Repeat.
May you find the Force within you.