Yoda

Yoda said it… there is no try.

Everybody knows the influence of Yoda in their lives.

Luke Skywalker didn’t believe he could use the force. Yoda told Luke that trying is just a form of doubt.

I’ve teased my kids for years when they say, “OK, I’ll try that!“.

I morph my voice into that fuzzy green Buddha-of-Wisdom Yoda and squeal out a squished and really really atrociously uttered,

There is no try… Do or do not”. 

They just wince, shake their heads, and walk away like they’re dealing with a crazy man.

try to be Yoda. I love it when my kids try anything that they’ve never attempted before. To try is to reject failure as an answer. Trying is a synonym for bravery.

To try is to hope. And what is life without hope?

And so, much like I see 50 shades of grey in just about everything I touch with my eyes and my mind, I understand the black or white value of “Do or do not” power BUT also its limitations.

Yoda said, “There is no try…“, and like an approaching steam train where you’re anxiously holding on by your fingernails waiting for the whistle to blow, he adds…

“… Do or do not.” 

It’s a simple statement about an unfertilized ovum line-dancing its way down a fallopian tube broadly grinning with dreams of promise and potential.

Without the charm of trying in life, we leave that poor wee egg without a sperm donor to kiss Sleeping Beauty to life and fulfill her destiny. Soon to be flushed away in a bloody flood out to the Dead Sea of Tampon.

medicis

I was at an Open Mic night at Medici’s Gelateria – an old restored Catholic church –  a couple of weeks back.

I did my 3 tunes, then after a really nice a cappella song by a pair of teenage girls, an elderly lady climbed the two stairs to the stage with an elderly guitar in her fragile elderly arms.

She shuffled to the microphone, her silver-grey hair poking out in waves beneath a wide-brimmed flowery Minnie Pearl hat, her pale purple cotton dress edged with lace swaying lightly against her thin calves.

Smiling brightly, she introduced herself as Angela, and then launched into an overly lengthy, high-pitched story about her diabetic health issues and the difficulties in eating well while living from a motel room.

There was a sweet sadness in her smile and a blue halo around her as she spoke in a little girl voice, not looking for pity, but wanting to explain and make a case for her musical deficiencies.

After a few minutes she stopped talking. She played and sang.

The song was Paper Roses ( a #1 country music hit for 14 year-old Marie Osmond in 1973). Although she strummed very simple guitar chords, her voice was strong and well-keyed. Her smile and voice resonated through the high-ceilinged former church, now Gelateria cafe.

paper-rose

All was well until partway along she strummed an off-chord… then another and … flustered, she stopped mid-song in embarrassment.

She looked out at the audience and plaintively asked, “is it me or is my guitar the problem?

I only took up playing the guitar 2 years ago and so I don’t always play the right chords…

She was trying her best to perform publicly after trying to learn the guitar in her elder years.

 

Looking down at her old guitar, she started up again and played a couple of lines from the song but it became obvious that her singing melody wasn’t in sync with the chords coming from her guitar.

She broke off strumming her instrument and continued singing in perfect pitch, embarrassed but determined…

…until all of us in the audience smiled back at her bravery and joined in singing along the simple words to her song…

I thought that you would be a perfect lover
You seemed so full of sweetness at the start
But like a big red rose that’s made of paper
There isn’t any sweetness in your heart

Paper roses, paper roses,
Oh how real those roses seem to me
But they’re only imitation
Like your imitation love for me

As Angela and the audience sang the last few words of the song, a cloudburst of joyful, enthusiastic applause rang loudly through the room.

I don’t think that most of us would have ever walked up those stage stairs the way Angela did that evening. It was embarrassing, right?

Her musical skill and ability was mediocre at best.

But it was her strength of positive spirit and character that endeared and entertained us despite her lack of high-level talent.

Angela had tried so hard, and if you were Yoda, I think you would have said, “she not only tried, but she did”. 

You know by now that I’m always looking for mentors and inspiration in the words and deeds of those around me and afar.

Sometimes I actively search for a bright beam of light in the night sky, a beam filled with ideas and strength and passion where I can catch a ride to a new destination.

More often than not, that beam of inspiration emanates from a bright star, a guitar playing mentor/hero like James Taylor, Eric Clapton or Keith Urban, a writer like Stephen King or Rachel Joyce, a chef like Jamie Oliver.

But I love those unintended surprises of encouragement and motivation that radiate from a back eddy, an unknown tributary of innocence and secrecy that flow in like a gentle old lady with a voice and a guitar.

She tried. We should all try.

I don’t think trying is doubt. I think trying is hope.

I’m not sure we should be relying on little green creatures to be our life consultants (and definitely not large Larry GREEN creatures either!).

I’ve told you this secret before but I’ll repeat it again.

I use you. I use you so I can try…

I use you to motivate me to write and to explore the minutiae of life, the little things that may seem meaningless… yet still, in their simplicity, like a statement from Yoda, contain BIG messages and stories.

When you converse with a good friend, you realize that life is a series of stories on a tender scented breeze, that slowly turns the pages… pages occupied with the boredom and exhilaration… the smiles and tears… of our book… one-by-one-by-one…

Book of life.jpg

 

 

 

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