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December 28, 2016

Carrie Fisher has Died, But her Force will Continue to Survive.

“There has been a great disturbance in the force,” with the loss of Carrie Fisher this Tuesday, but one that could never destroy the impact that this bold actress, activist and writer has had on all of us.

Fisher was the definition for many of a new type of hero and warrior—a female one.

I can’t help but draw a symbolic connection to my own spiritual path and standing up as feminist in this world, and to the life and role that I witnessed Carrie Fisher play.

In Star Wars, she became the leader of a movement that opposed the dark side, determined that as a freedom fighter she would transcend the presence of evil. And she did this, not just through her epic role in the Star Wars movies, but through the personal battle she fought with mental illness and addiction.

Sometimes I believe we are drawn to express the art that then mimics our life; one of the reasons we connected so deeply with this wildly, spunky individual was that this was her path.

Many of us don’t know that after her initial role as Princess Leia, Carrie went on to live a life that would continue to require great courage, as she faced the weight of a bipolar diagnosis and her attempt to cope with it through self-medication.

But, the truth of her struggles is why I believe we can say Carrie fits “the hero’ perfectly, as modern day archetypes go.

Fisher had to learn what the force meant in her own life, i.e., what it was to overcome darkness in oneself and to face the world while doing so.

And even after her death, this kind of strength could never actually die. She is here in the millions of women she inspired to fight. She is here in her example to be vulnerable in sharing the truth of our journey and she shall always stay as the fierce spark that could stare into the face of Vader and stand her ground.

We each will partake in struggle in our lives, big and small ones. Some of us will meet our darkest days and enemies in order that we may completely transform them. Sometimes the only way to know our force within is to overcome these hardships.

Strength is not simply something we are born with. We must earn it through how we decide to live.

As a woman, seeing Princess Leia as a protagonist in a cast of predominantly males planted a kernel that would later blossom into a full grown bonfire of desire for equality between the sexes. On my spiritual path, she planted a seed for the desire to wake up.

I will always remember her commitment to her mission, not only as Leia, but as one who was here to stamp out stigma.

In revealing her mental illness, she again became an advocate for the voiceless.

Every year at Halloween I have wanted to dress up as Leia. For some reason though, she has not yet been the right fit. Carrie’s boots are massive ones to fill and perhaps I have not been quite ready, but maybe next year I will be.

I think we can best honor her valiant and too short journey here by carrying on the messages she was so dedicated to spreading.

“I define [bipolar illness], rather than it defining me,” Carrie told us. While here she was referring to mental illness, we can relate this sentiment to each of our lives. As we move forward holding Carrie in our hearts, how will we choose to define ourselves again?

I know I will make the decision to continue to speak up for the silenced, to (as tirelessly as I can) bring light to what is dark and, as a women, to regularly redefine my—and our—status in the world.

Thank you Carrie for your time on this planet. Your impact on the force of good will continue to survive in each of us.

“You know, no matter how much we fought, I always hated watching you leave.”  ~ Carrie Fisher

As we hold the sadness of your passing, we can be reassured that you survive in the way many of us live our lives today.

“I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” ~ Carrie Fisher

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Author: Sarah Norrad

Image: Waylon Lewis/Instagram

Editor: Travis May

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Sarah Norrad

Sarah Norrad was born a wild woman in the rural and rugged forests of the Nimpkish Valley, on Vancouver Island, BC. This is a place where the mountains, forests and rivers speak louder than the people. A transformational coach, certified yoga instructor, mindfulness and lay counsellor, and authoress, Sarah muses at the world through a lens steeped in mindfulness, adventure, and tenderness. Currently, she exploits the cracks in her own heart to write as a columnist at elephant journal, her busy brain to create content for others through her business and her keen spirit to sit as coach and counsellor, teaching powerful tools for success in all aspect of our lives, especially personal power. Please track down her offerings and her mindful self on elephant journal, her writer’s page or her personal Facebook, her website, Cowbird, Twitter and Instagram.