May the 4th Be With You, Everyday
Posted on 06 May 2018
This past week marked May the 4th. Star Wars aficionados rejoiced around the world with memes, messages, and salutations uttering those famous words, “May the 4th Be With You.” Everyone, that is, except me. Those of you who know me, understand what the Star Wars movies have meant. As a little girl, I dreamed of going into space. I joined the Astronomy Club in middle school and even went to the Air Force Academy to learn and experience all things above ground level. I can still quote Episode IV: A New Hope verbatim, am suspect of anyone who believes Episodes I, II, and III belong in the Star Wars canon, and have a copy of my father's best-seller, Life is Tremendous, autographed by Mark Hamill and Gary Kurtz as one of my most beloved artifacts.
Here I was cranking and banking through May the 4th when someone finally stopped me and said, “May the 4th be With You!” How did this happen? How did I miss the day to honor my all-time favorite movie in the universe? And then it struck me like a shot from a Storm Trooper’s blaster that finally hit something; I was so filled with the Force that I didn’t recognize the Force as something separate from me; I had become the Force. Psychologists call this state of being all in, getting into the flow.
Getting into the flow is where you stop looking, questioning, and dipping your big toe into all that is going on around you and dive into the deep end of humanity. I entered the flow of all that was going on around me in such a way that I no longer had the sensation of movement. I was the movement, so it became intrinsic and not something I extrinsically recognized. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi did a TED talk where he describes The Flow as what brings lasting satisfaction and fulfillment and makes life worth living. The Flow, or the Force, for us Star Wars fans, is the sweet spot where you have the will and the skill to meet the challenges ahead, and you do so without thinking or being aware of what you are doing. Just like when Luke Skywalker stayed on target and fired his proton torpedoes down the exhaust shaft blowing up the Death Star.
A close analogy is the experience of skydiving. Before stepping out of the plane, you are still aware of gravity, the harness, and your fear. Once you slip the surly bonds and enter the atmosphere, everything changes. You get into the flow of the air and become a part of it. I read this excellent description by Jessica Hui, “There's rushing wind, and there's blue. So much blue, and so intense: the blue of the sky, the blue of the Bay and the ocean. The view and the sensation are so consuming, I forget entirely about the parachute, barely remembering to look at my videographer. Everything feels both beautifully close and breathtakingly far. It's also incredibly radiant — bright white fluffy clouds below, brilliant ocean intensifying toward the horizon. Your gaze seems to extend forever. Time dilates. The twelve or so seconds of free-fall feel endless.”
Her words are a perfect description of how I've experienced life the past months. It has nothing to do with emotions or feelings, but more of the driven energy that moves you with certainty toward your higher purpose. When we give ourselves entirely over to living a tremendous life, we become unaware that we are living it because we are all consumed with being it. I have heard about the state where you become so entrenched in your desires that it becomes a part of you. The state where you lose track of time and world events because you are vectoring and operating in a completely different realm. It took me forgetting about the Force, to realize that I had indeed become The Force.