May the Fourth Be with You

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

It was 1977, and I was an intern at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC. I finished work that Friday evening and headed over to the theater in Bethesda, where the line was already snaking down the street. Hundreds of us were waiting for the ticket office to open for the 7:30 showing of Star Wars.

Once inside, I grabbed my popcorn, coke, and M&Ms (oh, for the days of that kind of eating) and found a seat right in the middle of the theater. Patrons filled in all around me as we readied ourselves to meet Luke, Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and of course, Darth Vader.

I was in the middle of my doctoral studies. I was intrigued by the role of affect in how people made decisions, related to others, and dealt with their emotional challenges. Psychology was very much focused on rational thinking processes to solve problems during that time, and it would be another decade or more before ideas like feelings and emotions would take center stage in how we interact with our daily world.

Obi-Wan Kenobi decided to speed up that discussion regarding the role of feelings and emotions. He told Luke about the power of tapping into our deepest instincts. “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” His explanation intrigued all of us. Could we tap into the Force, and would it help us to live a better or perhaps more enlightened life.

During this time, I began meditating and added yoga to my workout routine. I paid more attention to how people solved their problems and encouraged them to trust their wisdom and intuition. Over the years, I’ve seen that most of us have much more sagaciousness than we give ourselves credit for possessing.

Each of us possesses elements of that metaphorical Force. While Yoda may say we must let go of all attachments and just let things be, Anakin Skywalker reminds us that compassion and unconditional love are the most powerful elements in the universe. The Force has something to do with each of our unique superpowers. Today is a good day to connect with you, and “may the Force will be with you.

© Richard Citrin 2022

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