Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn aboard Nute Gunray’s ship…
Obi-Wan: I have a bad feeling about this.
Qui-Gon: I don’t sense anything.
Obi-Wan: It’s not about the mission, Master, it’s something … elsewhere … elusive …
Qui-Gon: … Keep your concentration here and now where it belongs.
Obi-Wan: Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future …
Qui-Gon: … but not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living force …
Yoda and an impatient Luke in Yoda’s hut on Dagobah…
Yoda: I cannot teach him …
Luke: … I am ready. I can be a Jedi!
Yoda: … This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away … to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was … What he was doing … You are reckless!
I have been thinking about these two exchanges – a lot – of late. More so than I probably have in my 30+ years as a Star Wars fan. To make what could be a long story short, my husband Tom and I began a major painting project last month. Every weekend and many a weekday between mid-November and today has seen both of us with a paintbrush or paint roller in hand. We are not done, but we have decided to suspend the rest of the project until after the holidays. Goodness, we just put up our tree yesterday! It isn’t decorated, but at least it’s standing in its appointed spot in the living room. Not a single merry elf nor Santa Yoda sit on a shelf or table. Oh no. All the decorations are wrapped neatly and in their assigned boxes. In the garage. Where I put them at the close of last holiday season. Customarily, the house is decked out by the middle of the week after Thanksgiving. I’m way behind schedule. I usually have all my gift shopping done by Thanksgiving – so I can sit back and enjoy the holiday season, my favorite time of year. I have bought one – one – gift so far. There are only seven shopping days left. I am terribly far behind schedule! I am trying very hard not to panic. Each task … in its own time … everything will get done.
Over the past few weeks, as I’ve found myself with a paint implement in hand, I have fought against the nagging thoughts that have tried so valiantly to creep to the forefront of my brain. (It hasn’t helped to listen to the umpteen ads about holiday shopping on the radio. They have been my constant reminder that I have been falling behind – more and more – with each passing day!) Every time I’d let an errant thought through, the brush would slip, and I’d make a mistake (we’ve been working with four colors in three connecting rooms topped with a vaulted ceiling; there is a lot of close work!). I could hear Yoda: Your mind is on the future, not on what you are doing! After I’d admonish myself and clean up my gaff, I’d take a deep breath. Qui-Gon would whisper in my ear: Be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the present. In other words, keep my mind on what I was doing.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s and Yoda’s words ring so true! Maybe because the hustle and bustle of life at this time of year seems so heightened. I find their words slipping into my consciousness much more frequently. Do you, too? (Into your consciousness, not mine.) Of course, when we let the future command the better part of our brain’s activity, mishaps happen. Sometimes those accidents can have dire consequences … more than what a wet rag can clean up or a bit of touchup can conceal. At the very least, by staying focused on the present, you have the opportunity to savor what is right there in front of you.
I suppose one’s quest is to find that happy medium – to be mindful of the future (how else would we know in what direction we want to take our lives? For what goal we want to strive?), but keep our feet rooted in the here and now. Sometimes it’s easier to accomplish this than at other times, I know, but the happy balance is something for which to reach … don’t you think? It’s a lifelong endeavor. Always changing, though, because always in motion the future is. 🙂
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy holiday season. Chaotic, hectic it can get. However, may you find joy, love and peace every day, and may 2014 be chock full of wonderful, special memories when it, too, comes to a close.
Special Note: I’d like to thank my daughter’s friend, Betsy Gonia, for creating the new logo that now accompanies my blog. Betsy is managing editor and a colorist at Top Cow (her most recent work appears in “Witchblade”). I always am amazed – and impressed – at how she can take an idea I attempt to describe to her, and come up with a concrete concept. 🙂 She’s a very talented artist (check out her website www.betsygonia.squarespace.com), and I want to give credit where credit is due. Thank you, Betsy!
See you in 2014!
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