Thoughtful Thursday: I Cried During The Last Jedi

Yesterday, I finally was able to see the latest in the Star Wars series, and I cried during the last 30 minutes of the film. It was not embarrassing - I often cry at films - but the story moved me greatly, and crying is my way of expressing emotions of all sorts. My sister fished around in her purse and came up with a tissue, so I was able to blot my tears without having to resort to wiping my nose on my R2-D2 t-shirt (worn specifically for the movie!).

I will make sure not to spoil anything about the movie for those of you who want to see it but haven't yet. I have been actively avoiding everything I found that concerns the movie because I didn't want to know until I saw it. I won't be a spoiler, so read on with confidence if you haven't seen The Last Jedi yet.


Here's an admission. I love Star Wars.

I always have, and I always will. I remember the first time I saw A New Hope (number 4 for those of you who do not know a time where there weren't Star Wars movies around), at the drive-in, when I was seven. That movie made such an impact on me and my thinking about the world that I have been a fan from the first notes of the overture. 

My house reflects the fact that I am a fan. I have Star Wars toys and pictures, towels and trash cans, washcloths and X-wing fighters, and two (yes, I said two) operational robots - R2-D2 and the newest addition of BB-8. I am accomplishing a dream of having a Star Wars themed room in my house, bit by bit, and with the assistance of my Mother and my Sister who like to decorate things.

My sister, much less of a fan, wonders why all this is such an epic experience for me. I'm not sure, but I identify with all of the characters in some way, and I think that pulls me back in again and again.

So, why am I talking about this on my blog? On a Thoughtful Thursday? What does this have to do with being a music therapist? Bear with me.

One of the ideas that is central to the Jedi religion and way of life as presented in the stories is the concept of "Do no harm." (Therapy connection, no?) Another central idea is a desire to make the world better for occupants through love for all. (Another therapy connection.) If you search for information on the Jedi Code, you can find all sorts of websites, including one for the Church of the Jedi - kinda interesting, but not my kind of church, if you know what I mean - that strive to explain the Jedi Code. For me, the idea seems to be one of benevolence and mediation with an expectation of working until a task is finished. All things that I strive for in my work with my clients day in and day out.
Hmm. Jedi seek harmony, serenity, peace, and knowledge. I think music therapists do as well (especially the harmony part of things). Even in the midst of chaotic instrument playing, the therapist seeks various elements to build relationships within and outside of the music to unify and communicate disparate patterns and ways of living into a coherence - eventually and with the thoughts of serenity and appreciation of the journey behind all interactions.

For me, the important part of music therapy has always been the process of getting where the client wants and needs to go rather than what our music production sounds like. It is more important that a client reaches out and engages than it is that the client sounds like a well-trained musician. If my clients are engaged in singing a song that they love and they cannot match pitch, that is more valuable to me than a client who sings beautifully but does not connect with the music at all.

The music therapy journey is more important than the outcome, but the outcome also matters. This fits in quite well with ideas in the Jedi Order. (I have lots of thoughts about the "aggressive negotiations" that happen during the war stories of Star Wars and how they relate to music therapy, but that's a completely different thought process. I'll work on that idea for someday...)

After all this - Why did I cry?

The story moved the way I felt it needed to do in order to move us onto a next step. There was symbolism throughout the film - reminders of things that happened in other places and other times - and don't even get me started on the emotional element of seeing Carrie Fisher up on the screen. I cried big, hot, silent tears (with lots of sniffling) when I realized what had to happen during the movie and found that it did indeed happen.

The music, by my absolute favorite composer of all times, John Williams, was perfect. It used themes that are as familiar to me as my heartbeat to illustrate what I was supposed to think about at specific times - I was able to make connections and predictions based on what I heard from the London Symphony Orchestra. The music led me into my tears, and the music kept me there.

So, I cried. I will probably be able to watch the movie without crying the next time round, but we will see. I may need that catharsis as a story that I love continues to have an impact on my life in ways that just reinforce my role in the world - do no harm, appreciate the journey, seek the betterment of all, and work for the benefit of the world in all things I do.

Peace and harmony to you all.

(I'm going to go and wring out my tissues now.)


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