Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery
And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:24
Hello guys and welcome to Episode 25 of the atheists and recovery podcast. And today marks the end of our movies that move us series. Today we talk about the movie or the movies and the franchise Star Wars. And I have a special guest that I want to welcome you to, or introduce you to but before we get to our guest, I think you’re gonna like this episode. It was definitely wide ranging. We talked about the first couple of episodes of Star Wars, you know, The Empire Strikes Back. And then we went to some of the more modern episodes. And we look at religion throughout the franchise and and how George Lucas has a focus throughout the movies and what he wants the audience to take from it. And it may not be what you think. And so we talked about that we talked about the hero’s journey, and we talked about the force. Of course, we talked about the force and how it’s everywhere, and it connects us to one another. And maybe you’re a Darth Vader. Maybe you’re Luke Skywalker. Maybe you’re both. So on to our guest, Reverend Edie Weinstein delights and inviting people to live rich full juicy lives. She is an internationally recognized sought after colorfully, creative journalist, interviewer, author and editor a dynamic and inspiring speaker. She’s also a licensed social worker and interfaith minister bliss, coach, event producer certified laughter yoga leader, certified cuddle party facilitator and cosmic concierge Edie is the founder of hug mobsters armed with love which offers free hug events worldwide and a plan and spontaneous basis. She speaks on the subjects of wellness relationship trauma, recovery, addiction, mental health, spirituality, sexuality, loss and grief. Edie is the author of the bliss mistress guide to transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and co author of embraced by the divine the emerging women’s gateway to power passion and purpose. She has contributed to several anthologies and personal growth books including taming the anger dragon from pissed off to peaceful Her work has been seen and beliefnet elephant journal psych Central, the Huffington Post, the Good Men Project as well as a growing number of other publications. She was the host of vivid lives, It’s all about relationships on blog talk radio for more than three years. Over the past 30 years she has the honor of interviewing many celebrities and influencers and one of them one of my personal favorites, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The last four decades She has worked with those who have been diagnosed with life altering conditions including mental health issues cardiac disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility end stage conditions, eating disorders, addiction, trauma, brain injury, stroke, depression, and anxiety. Her focus is on her clients resistance and assist them in developing a solid toolkit of personal coping skills is both a clinician and a patient she is aware of what it is like to be on the other side of the treatment relationship and can be of service to the patient, their caregivers, as well as their treatment team. Edie can assist with the issues that arise such as body image trauma, sexuality, relationship changes, vulnerability changes in physical or chronic livability, ageing, end of life issues and communicating needs. Okay, if you want to learn more about Reverend Edie, you can go to her website. And there are other ways that you could reach her. But one way is www. opti-mystical.com and email bydivinedesign @ Comcast. net and I’ll link to the other ways you could meet her on social media. All right, guys. On to our show.
Ed Weinstein, welcome to the show.
Edie Weinstein 4:40
Thank you. I’m honored to be happy to be on the show.
Adina Silvestri 4:43
So today we are talking about the movie star wars and our movies that move us series and I want to start there with the first time that you saw Star Wars. Yeah,
Edie Weinstein 4:57
yes. 1977 was the year that episode four, a new hope was released. I was sitting in the backseat of my friend john Wesley’s father’s car. She and I gone to school together. She moved from my town of willingboro, New Jersey, up to New York. And I don’t remember where he was driving us. But her brother, who was kind of a geeky nerdy kid, had a little tape recorder, and he says, You got to hear this great music. It’s from a movie soundtrack from a movie that’s going to be out soon. And he started playing it and I was hooked this and I got to see this movie, because I really love science fiction growing up was fascinated watch Star Trek throughout my entire childhood. And I got to see this. So that’s when I first went to see it. I don’t remember who was with me. I don’t remember the theater. But I do remember being so captivated by that those trilogy, the first first trilogy of Star Wars and That was that I seen those episodes several times I have to admit that I’m not anywhere near as well versed in the later ones including the more recent ones.
Adina Silvestri 6:11
what was that experience Like how did you how did you feel?
Edie Weinstein 6:16
I felt like I was I don’t even know what to call it another world obviously because that’s what was portrayed there was a whole other world and I felt captivated is the word that came to mind. And I you know, identified in some ways with with Princess Leia character, you know, I laughed at the costuming and you know, the bluster and bravado of, of Han Solo and they’re, you know, they’re bantering back and forth relationship. And there’s another really cool now all these years later, really cool connection. My son and daughter in law got married two years ago and he’s, he’s into Star Wars and she’s into Harry Potter. So the cake topper on their wedding cake, you know, the the line That Han Solo and Princess Leia exchange where she says to him, I love you. And he said, I know. Well, that was on it. And then the Harry Potter reference was the word always. So they I don’t know whether either one of them have taken the other to their favorite movies. But who knows, maybe that seed was planted so that my son could be interested in in, in Star Wars as well.
Adina Silvestri 7:24
Great. That’s great. So I want to ask you a question that I asked. Most of my guests.
Let’s start by talking about your spiritual background from childhood.
Edie Weinstein 7:36
Sure. Well, I was raised Jewish, I went to Hebrew school. From the time I was probably six or seven, till I was 16. I became a bar mitzvah. And back then, in 1960s, and 70s, girls and women were not considered of equal status standing in synagogue were not permitted to be part of what’s called an Minyan which is a quorum of 10 people that are necessary to say certain prayers. women couldn’t wear a tollis. But I grew up in a family where my father who was very active in synagogue, wanted his daughters, my sister and me to feel like we were not second class citizens. So he would take us to synagogue. And on the Jewish high holy days, when men were tollis, the prayer shawl, I would sit next to him and he’d wrap it around my shoulder. So he taught me to be a little subversive, snuck me in, and they had a Sunday morning breakfast club for the boys. That included prayers and ritual, and my sister and I broke the gender barrier. And then other girls came into it. So I grew up practicing Judaism in my home, but not just the ritual, you know, the the, there’s a term called tikkun olam, which is repair of the world. So a lot of it was peace and social justice. That has stayed with me. I’m now an interfaith minister. I was ordained in 1999, from the new Seminary in New York, and the ordain interfaith clergy. And the school was founded by a rabbi, an imam a priest and the minister. So our opening line of a joke is I don’t tell anybody what to believe spiritually that you know. So again, I do believe in something, I see it more as an energy than an entity. And I believe that prayer is portable, that it’s not just, it’s not necessarily praying to an entity or an energy for intervention, but the shared force and then again, battle that ties in with Star Wars, the shared force that we all have when we set intention together. So that’s what’s
going it is ongoing.
Adina Silvestri 9:48
Thank you for that. So I deeply enjoy everything about Star Wars. And I love that there is this there was this seismic shift From the old Jedi movies to the more recent ones, and I thought maybe we could talk a little bit more about about that.
Edie Weinstein 10:09
Well, as I said, I haven’t seen too many of the more recent ones. But I like the idea that there’s a timeline that goes back and forth. And that each movie, there’s a sense of strengthening about what the force is. That’s the biggest piece for me. I also, do you know what Reiki is are you familiar with that?
Adina Silvestri 10:28
Can you explain it for us?
Edie Weinstein 10:31
Sure. It’s Reiki and it’s universal life force energy, you know, like the word chi or key or prana is that that lifeforce energy that permeates everything. And that to me is what the force is and you use it for good. It’s a healing modality that can either be done hands on or sent from a distance. I mean, if you can rub your hands together and just feel the energy and heat between them, that’s what what Reiki is, although there’s a training and attunement that goes along with it, but if you No notice everything is energy. So when I think about the force and how it you know, how the understanding of it evolved in all the movies, I realized that we all have that ability it depends on how we cultivate it with such on the Midi-chlorians or whatever that you know that the whatever factors are in somebody’s blood that indicates how, how tapped in they are to the force. I don’t know if there’s a real test for that. But I’ve always had a sense that without even knowing the languaging that I’ve been a Jedi and training probably all my life really quirky kid, I would tell my parents that I was an alien baby left on their doorstep. Even now my you know, my sister rolls her eyes, you know, her weird, weird sister. So I like the idea that it shows that there are other you know, other people in the in the movie that possess that ability, and that want to do something about it want to be able to to cultivate it and strengthen it in their own lives.
Adina Silvestri 11:58
Yeah, that’s interesting. So In my work, I work with women that are struggling with substance abuse issues and eating disorders. And one of the key components to our therapy is that you have the answers. You know, maybe this script in your head is a little faulty. You know, you can’t talk to yourself, about yourself to yourself, especially when you’re depressed, you know, so we work on that and therapy. But undoubtedly, I feel like you do know the answers.
Edie Weinstein 12:27
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. As I’ve been career therapist for 40 years, and I sit with people every day, who have experienced trauma, and in some cases addiction, and what I tell them is that Yeah, I’m a guide, but I don’t have all the answers. And together we can explore the answers and help you figure them out. But ultimately, you live with you 24 seven, for the rest of your life and you know your life better than anybody. So I totally agree with you. So imagine what it would be like and I’m going to use this today. In my Seeing clients all day. I’m thinking use the idea that what if you were a Jedi Master without a light? You don’t need a lightsaber? The lightsaber is within you. That’s just a tool, lightsabers just a tool. But what would you do if you knew you had your your Jedi powers? So I’m going to think about that today. Like what I would do differently if I could tap into that all throughout the day.
Adina Silvestri 13:23
So I thought we could talk a little bit about good versus evil. So point, it’s the whole point. And so, you know, maybe even just talking about Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker, you know, it sort of like this some interplay between good versus evil. And who are you today and who were you 20 years ago? And yeah,
Edie Weinstein 13:51
right. Well, one of the things that I that I like I forget if it was, I think it was a Yoda quote, to look that up. You know that anger leads to the dark side. Anger is a normal human emotion. And I tell my clients that all the time, but it’s about what you do with it. You can use it as a tool for positive change, or you can use it as a weapon. And what happened is that, you know, Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader uses a weapon that he let his ego take over, he let that over, you know, overshadow the goodness that he had experienced because what is the absolute power corrupts absolutely, you know, we see that out in the world today with everything going on with all the you know, the anger, the hatred, the violence, lying, cheating, so, whatever all that that goes on in the world. So, it was an evolution or de evolution if you want to call it that with Darth Vader that he d d evolved from somebody who was kind and caring and and use his intelligence and creativity unfortunately, for evil as opposed to good. And Luke is part of you know, as part of Him. And I think it was one of the biggest shocks for Luke to find out like, Oh my god, this is this is my father, because all along he had no you know, no idea who his father was. And when he discovered that it wasn’t, you know, oh my goodness, like, what does that mean about me? And the scene that I talked to you earlier about before the show was when he was confronting Darth Vader in the cave. And he has, he was in training with Yoda. And he had the lightsaber and I can actually hear the sound (Edie makes sound) lopped off Darth Vader’s head. And when he looked at him, he said, he saw his own face. So he knew that he was being tempted by by the power of, you know, of what, what he had experienced. So one of the things that I loved about his relationship with Yoda, is that Yoda helped him just like a good therapist, to harness the power and use it for good and not let it scoop him up and run away with him. Yeah.
Adina Silvestri 15:57
Yeah, and Darth Vader wasn’t born. Evil, and I
Edie Weinstein 16:00
don’t think any but I mean, there are people that are that are hardwired like people that, you know, that are psychopaths that may be considered wired for evil behaviors. But I believe that redemption and this is not a religious not in a religious sense, but we can redeem ourselves, which is something that Darth Vader’s character did when you know, when he died, he was saving other, you know, saving lives. So, it is possible.
Adina Silvestri 16:28
Yeah, so talk to me a little bit more about redemption. And I’m almost I really want us to talk more about forgiveness, you know, can you do evil things, and also have the self forgiveness but then also hold yourself accountable?
Edie Weinstein 16:47
Yes. I absolutely agree with that. And you nailed it. There’s a difference I think between doing evil things and being evil and I’ve struggled with that concept all of my life, where I denied that there were genuine Usually people evil people, but I think they’re very wounded people out there and I think the ones that are most expressive that that evil energy are very wounded people. And when I work with abuse and trauma survivors I tell them it stops with you that your history is not your destiny. And that’s a very never heard it said that when Star Wars but that’s pretty strong Wars theme. But just because Luke and Leia came from Darth Vader, they also came from Queen Amidala. Yeah, Amidala so they had both and it was an either or, and they both had unassuming had to come to terms with their parentage. And how is it nature versus nurture? So the forgiveness piece, you nail that when you said self forgiveness has to come first. Because in some ways, it’s easier to forgive other people than it is to forgive ourselves. I still struggle with that. There’s some things that I wish I had. differently in my life, and that I have regrets and beating myself up over it as a recovering codependent. And recovering workaholic isn’t going to change the past and it’s not gonna make me any happier, healthier. So that’s when I have to come to terms with choices that I made based on fear and anger. Again, yeah, dark side. I see an article percolating. I’m also a journalist. So I see an article percolating from our conversation here. So forgiveness doesn’t mean it’s okay. It just means that we’re human, that we’re going to do things that are not in our best interest, and not necessarily in the best interest of the people in our lives. So I’m learning to forgive myself and and other people who I feel at times have, at least from done me wrong, but that’s kind of what it feels like sometimes. But again, maybe that’s an illusion to everything that’s ever happened has been a learning experience for me. Now, I’m not saying we have to attract things to learn stuff, because that feels very victim shaming. But I realized that if something happened, that was hurtful to me, I can use it to to evolve. The fertilizer helps plants grow, so I can look at it as fertilizer.
Adina Silvestri 19:14
Yeah, no, that’s great. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, talked about wanting to do more than entertain the masses. He said he wanted to introduce young Americans to spiritual teachings through new myths for our globalized, materialistic millennium. And I thought, Wow, that’s so true for what for some of the newer Star Wars movies.
Edie Weinstein 19:37
Yeah, well, that ties into what we talked about prior was the hero’s journey. And for those of you listeners that may not be familiar with it, I mean, he didn’t make it up but he he brought it to popularity was Joseph Campbell, who was a philosopher and a writer. mythologists if you want to call it that, so he talked about the idea that the hero or heroine and It starts out in ordinary world, and everything like with with Luke he was living on on tatooine and he was with his widowed mother. Life probably felt a little constraining and boring for him. And then there was a call to adventure. So he finds the message in R2D2 little memory banks, where Leah says Princess Leia says, help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope. And then he’s off to the races. Then he says he refuses. He says, Now I’m not going to do this. It’s too scary. Who am I to do this? We doubt ourselves all the time. You think about your clients, my clients, they say, oh, who am I to be, you know, to be out there in the world who am I to be successful because my abusive mother told me I’m nothing. Then he decides to do it after his aunt and uncle are murder. And then he needs his mentor. And that’s Obi Wan. And he learns more about the force than he they call it crossing the threshold. So he crosses the threshold of the journey where they have at that wild gathering on that Planet, you know, the cantina scene, he starts to, you know, gets gets into a fight. And then he realizes, okay, I’ve got this ability, I’m going to use it for good. Then he gets tested their are allies or enemies. And then he goes to that inner cave that we talked about, where he confronts his inner Darth Vader. And then there’s the ordeal and he’s got a struggle with all that. And then there’s the reward. So he gathers his abilities, and then he heads back. And then there’s this what’s called the resurrection. Again, not necessarily religious, but when we’re resurrected from the depths, we rise above. So that happens whether you’re spiritual or not, because you think about our clients, how many of them have risen from the depths of their addictions, and the depths of their abuse? And then he comes back with the what they call the elixir, which is the treasure. So that’s, I think that’s what George Lucas was was alluding to, not his brain, but that I’m imagining do you think about that, and then The Wizard of Oz is sort of the same thing. There’s tons of look up the hero’s journey and the movies but definitely look up hero’s journey and Star Wars. You’re gonna see a ton of stuff.
Adina Silvestri 22:08
Yeah. So, as we kind of wrap up, I want to know what you think. Or what is your favorite part of the Star Wars movie? And it could be any part. Yeah. Okay.
Edie Weinstein 22:22
Yeah. Well, the scene in okay was the first one then Return of The Jedi. And then it was the third one, The Empire Strikes Back was the second one and then Return of the Jedi. Were at the very end, you know, where the Ewoks where were celebrating after the blew up, you know, in the Death Star. And all these little little creatures are dancing around celebrating. And you see the gathering of the tribes that you got, you know, in spiritual form or not in physical form. You got Obi Wan Kenobi, you got Darth Vader, looking like his human self. So That’s what we’re, you know, what we’re seeing there. And that that’s my favorite and when when Luke when Han Solo realizes that that Luke is not competition for Leia that that is the brother right?
So the romantic and me like that part. And the again the spiritual warrior if you want to call it like the part where even when they’re all out of their body even though they’re all dead, they’re still there. Because I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life. My husband died when I was 40. That was 21 years ago. My parents are both on but I feel them around me. So that’s my that’s my favorite scene.
Adina Silvestri 23:40
Yeah, I love when Yoda is burning the texts. And this is I think the last the last movie that has aired and you know, he’s trying to shock Luke out of out of these old religious texts that don’t, you know, don’t mean anything and trying to shock him out of his guilt and shame about the past and make him focus on you know on the now and I thought well that that’s pretty Buddhist.
Edie Weinstein 24:09
Yeah, I gotta watch that. I said, I haven’t seen the last few movies. And I’m hoping to see the other one coming out now. And maybe I can snag my son
Adina Silvestri 24:18
you should snag your son.
Edie Weinstein 24:19
Oh, yeah, see if he can feel see it with me. But
Adina Silvestri 24:25
any final thoughts as we wrap up our Star Wars movies? Yeah,
Edie Weinstein 24:30
yeah. You know, I encourage people to use the Force in their life for good, not for evil. And to trust that it’s always there. It’s never not there. And I look at the forces love that love not necessarily in a romantic sense, but that heart to heart connection. Oh, quick story. Remember I told you about meeting your Darth Vader. Yes, had a character. A couple of years ago I was doing. I do free hugs for I’m one of those people that go out and hug strangers by consent. And a few years ago is the fourth of July parade in Philly, and There was a whole contingent of people just in Star Wars costumes, including Darth Vader. So I approached him and I asked if he wanted a hug. And he agreed. And I said, I suspect that that bad guys really need hugs. And he said, bad guys even more than anybody. So if you can hug that bad guy in yourself if you can hug somebody that you perceive as being a bad guy in your life, not necessarily male but a bad you know, some some concepts some person that not if it’s any if you’re dangering yourself, but that that judgment like let go, if you can have the judgment about that person being bad, let’s see really are you know, but but again, have your own Darth Vader maybe that’s
Adina Silvestri 25:41
why I believe so much that, you know, we, we start to believe that negative self talk that we say to ourselves, it’s even helpful just to write down all the negative things that you say about yourself and, you know, just sort of stare and be the observer and you know, you wouldn’t talk to Your best friend like that you wouldn’t talk to your five year old self like that. So
Edie Weinstein 26:05
yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Yeah. So be kind to yourself people
Adina Silvestri 26:10
be kind to yourself. Yeah, well thank you for being on and what are some of the ways that that people
can find you and all the awesome work that you do?
Edie Weinstein 26:22
Thank you. My website is www opti Opti- mystic.com (spells it out). Where that came from is that a few years ago I had this. I get messages from wherever, what whoever? And it says you’re not just an optimist, you’re optimistic, who sees the world through the eyes of possibility. So so it’s wwwOpti-mystic.com. I’m on Facebook is Edie Weinstein (spells it out) and I’m pretty active there my son calls me a Facebook addict but I use it a lot for spreading the word about all kinds of pieces, social justice kind of things. And as a writer, my, you know, my articles are up there too. So those are the two best ways to reach me.
Adina Silvestri 27:09
Okay, great. Well, thank you again for being on the show.
Edie Weinstein 27:12
Oh, my pleasure. Enjoy your day.
Adina Silvestri 27:15
Thank you for listening to the atheists and recovery podcast. For more great info and to stay up to date. Head over to atheistsinrecovery.com