During Tom's fever-induced naptime this weekend, I happened to stumble upon a Star Wars marathon on TV. So I listened to The Empire Strikes Back while doing some photo editing. And as Yoda schooled an impatient Luke on Dagobah, I found myself getting pretty pissed off.
Let's be clear. I love Star Wars - and have ever since my brother introduced them to me one at a time, on his trips home from college. And boy howdy did I respond. I was a pretty nerdy kid. For my eleventh birthday, my hair was done up in the Return of the Jedi double braid crown. The first essay I ever typed on a computer (around the same time) began with "I know everything there is to know about X-Wing Flyers." Yoda is my favorite character, other than my schoolgirl crush on Luke. (Don't be surprised that it's not Han. I also prefer Raoul over Erik, Riley over Spike, and young X over young Magneto. Though it's impossible not to prefer Rhett over Ashley.)
Anyway... as I listened to Yoda's fatalistic platitudes on Sunday, I found myself thinking he was full of crap.
|Wrong, you are. Full of the force, am I. Filled with crap, I am not.|
Wrong again, Yoda.
Here's the thing. You ask Luke to lift a whole ship out of a mud-laden swamp with just his mind. You say...
"Do or do not. There is no try."
It has, in fact, become one of the most popular quotes to come from the movie. (Next to... that one. You know the one. "Scruffy-looking nerf herder.") And, like Yoda, it is full of crap.
Now, I'm not saying Luke can't do it. You and I both know he can. But Luke needs practice. And what's another way to say that? He's trying.
My first day working out at Slimmons - my first minute, actually - I was struggling. The aerobics was kicking my ass, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it through all 90 minutes. And, in fact, I didn't. Within 20 minutes, my heart was pounding so hard that I felt nauseous. I had to do the rest of the workout sitting. I was humiliated. The road ahead of me seemed not just challenging but completely impossible.
But Richard, and the kind people at Slimmons, encouraged me. So I came back to the next class, and I sat down before I felt nauseous. I kept attending. The more I worked, the longer I could make it before needing to sit down. And within a month, I made it through all 90 minutes.
On the journey to better health, you'll face all kinds of challenges. You won't be able to do everything you want to do, right away, so try to be patient with yourself. Sometimes you'll be your own challenge, and a food choice or a missed workout you regret will make you want to throw it all away - because you've been told all your life that you're supposed to be perfect.
Well, no one is perfect. And all we can do is take that regret and transform it to wisdom. NO DAY is a lost day, if you don't let it be lost. If you missed your workout after work, can you talk a walk with your family after dinner? If you overate at lunch, try thinking about it, talking about it, and letting it go.
There's too much pressure on us (from ourselves, mostly) to perform perfectly at everything from moment one. The ensuing shame and fear will only make it that much harder to try and keep trying. Remind yourself that you're not perfect, and then take a moment to be mindful. You don't have to wait until tomorrow. You don't have to wait at all. Every minute is a new minute for you to take care of yourself. And taking care of yourself takes practice.
You say "there is no try"? Well, suck it, Yoda. I say...
Try or try not. But there is no do without try.