There is a phrase that comes up in my work frequently. "You alone must do it, but you can't do it alone” O. Hobart Mowrer, a psychologist, said it. Years of watching people succeed or fail has shown me that this is so. We often focus exclusively on the first part of that phrase, but I would like to spend a bit of time thinking over the end.
You work hard. You are committed. Whatever your perspective on the Jedi path, you want to see it through. You put a great deal of stock in your work. You train your body and your mind. You read. You meditate. You choose your words and actions with your code in mind.
Good for you. But you don’t do it alone.
Time to give it thought: Who supports you on your path? Who keeps you coming back? Who helps you write the next journal entry? Who reminds you to make the right choice? Who inspires you? Who makes that difficult choice, the Jedi choice, every time, or even just that one time, when it mattered to you? Is there a Jedi that helps you stay focused, whether by direct action or example?
Who helps you stay honest?
I’ll tell you a secret: I keep a list. I write down the names of the Jedi that exemplify what I want to see in myself and in the community. I refer to them as, ‘Jedi to watch.’ These Jedi consistently respond with the poise, clarity, and commitment I want to see more of. I keep the list handy in case I have to add a name. They’re just people, warts and all. They struggle like everyone else, but they live the code as best they can. And when I need a boost, I remind myself that these people are out there, serving the world in a hundred practical and significant ways.
I’ve never met a perfect person. I’m not sure I would know one if I saw one, but I’m not worried about it. I don’t really expect to meet one. What I love is the journey; the barrier and the push onward. I appreciate the people that commit, even if they stumble. I remind myself that the people I admire fall down sometimes because they are trying something they are not certain they can do. They fail from time to time, just like me. They also get up, every time.
How could I do any less?
I am doing this. I get up every day, just like all of you, and I move forward. And I have so many people to thank for it.
It is easy to be vain, to think we do this all on our own. But we speak words first coined by other mouths. Our books were written by other minds and bound by other hands. Now might be a good opportunity to give thanks.
If you were to make a list, your own ‘Jedi to watch,’ who’s name might appear? If no names come to mind, you have some soul-searching ahead of you. If you did find names, reach out to those people.
It need not be grand or dramatic, but this is our Day of Recognition. Be sincere. Whether for the ones that inspire us from afar or the ones that listen to our pain late at night; the ones that support us or the ones who have forced us to grow with questions, let them know how they have helped. Share a little love with the people who ushered you along. Myself, I have a number of messages to send.
The Force is with us.