Far be it for me to call out the most ingrained and beloved movie trilogy of my formative years.
From early childhood I absorbed the wonder, awe, and magic of the Force, the power of focused concentration, deep wisdom I would revisit over and over in later years… and more than a dash of dysfunctional conditioning.
“Anger, fear, aggression… the dark side are they.”
Raise your hand if you learned (from Star Wars, your parents, society, or anyone else) that it wasn’t ok to feel — much less express — anger, fear, or aggression.
Suck it up!
Stuff it down!
Don’t rock the boat!
Good girls are always nice, quiet, and polite!
Has that followed you into adulthood?
When you’re about to speak up in a meeting or conversation, especially if you’re voicing a contrary opinion, do you feel your heart racing or involuntary tears welling? Do you feel embarrassed because you’re getting emotional and you were taught never to let them see you sweat?
Guess what: you’re human.
Anger, fear, and aggression are normal emotions. They're normal reactions to stimuli.
They’re not a dark path that will “forever dominate your destiny” — unless you don’t allow yourself to feel them and process them.
While I thought I had a grasp on that concept, I quantum leaped my understanding of it when a friend introduced me to the nervous system regulation work of Irene Lyon last summer.
This is the next level of my own personal growth.
Irene and her husband, Seth Lyon, have life-changing knowledge and wisdom to share (they're not paying me to say this ;).
Key takeaways are too numerous to name, but I’ll share these two:
1) Hate is not normal. Hate is an unnatural byproduct of normal but suppressed/unprocessed anger, fear, and aggression.
2) Taking a deep breath is not necessarily a helpful response to stress. It can undermine the body’s natural processing of what it’s experiencing.
It’s time to “unlearn what [we] have learned.”
Now that’s a Star Wars lesson I can get behind.
Wishing you a Happy Star Wars Day — May the Fourth Be With You, and May the Force Be With You — all of it.
Interested in learning more from Irene and Seth? They have loads of resources; below are some great starters.