"New Year, New You" advice is exhaustive in the month of January, when the self-improvement pressure cooker is dialed all the way up. Diets, exercise trends, and other self-help fads clog our social media feeds, making it virtually impossible to feel anything other than overwhelmed and guilty â€“ useless emotions that are the polar opposite of what the New Year should be about: a time for positive aspirations and intentions, instead of goal weights and other numbered objectives that only set us up for pain and disappointment.In thinking about how I wanted to approach the New Year, I thought of one of my favorite pop culture properties, Star Wars, and how I've always aspired to reach the ultimate zen of the Jedi. True masters of the spiritual order carry with them an ultimate wisdom and sense of power that transcends brute physical force, focusing instead on intuition and reflection. With that in mind, I compiled five pillars of Jedi practice that I want to aspire to in 2019. Join me, will you?
There's no official in-universe guidebook for how to be the perfect Jedi, nor is perfection ever something to strive for, but one Jedi practice we see in the films is that of meditation. Yoda does it, Luke does it, Rey does it; it's a way to tap into the Force in their galaxy, but in ours can be a powerful tool for relaxation and focus. And, thanks to many creative YouTube channels â€“ like Jedi Living â€“ you can participate in Star Wars-themed guided meditations. Focus for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or up two an hour if you have the time. These calming videos are the perfect way of centering yourself in your Jedi aspirations.
We know that Jedi place a lot of importance on understanding the past to help guide a toward better future. One way to do that is through journaling, something IÂ aspire to do more of in 2019. Journaling is a great way to document the present so it can be reflected on in the future. It also helps us keep track of our headspace on any given day, a great way to sharpen the tool that is our mind. If we're keeping on theme, you can even choose to recount your daily activities in a Star Wars-themed journal, like this R2-D2 set.
Although I don't want to focus on exact numbers in 2019, I enjoy the idea of strengthening my body the way the Jedi do. That physical prowess is important when it comes to the sort of work Jedi do â€“ like, you know, saving the galaxy. This Mark Hamill-approved training video from Change4Life focuses on 12 key moves. When practiced every day for 10 minutes, it can help strengthen your core and agility, and ready you for a lightsaber challenge.
Another form of training that is just as mindful as it is physical is yoga, which puts us in touch with our bodies and spirit, strengthening our limbs â€“ and our inner-purpose â€“ on the way. Yoga is like a physical manifestation of meditation, but they go hand-in-hand. Do this 25-minute video a few times a week for ultimate strength and in both the body and mind.
In The Last Jedi, we learned about the a series of ancient Jedi books that were housed in a tree library on Ahch-To. Though Luke believes them to be destroyed when Yoda sets fire to the tree, in actuality, Rey smuggled them onto the Millennium Falcon and will likely use them to train the next generation of Jedi scholars. We don't know what the books contain, but I like to think they get to certain deeper philosophies and histories of the Jedi Order. We obviously don't have any real-world counterparts, but books that attempt to understand the Star Wars mythos through philosophy â€“ like The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned by Jason T. Eberl â€“ are a fun alternative, and a good way to filter our own understanding of the world. In lieu of Rey's Jedi books, I'll attempt to read titles like thatÂ deepen my understanding of storytelling and cultures as a creative and reflective boost.