Monthly Archives: March 2016

Developing a Good Jedi Relationship

Luke and Yoda

Developing a Good Jedi Relationship (for Apprenticeships)

Communication
“Each of us is still an individual. We will have worries and concerns that are unique to us. We cannot expect to always understand each other. The commitment (to each other) is what is important.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
(For the Student) First and foremost open and honest communication helps to cultivate the other items on our list (especially trust). Being a Jedi isn’t about being liked and agreed with by everyone (even if by “everyone” we mean only the Jedi Community). Likewise it isn’t agreeing or liking everyone. It is about being honest with yourself. There will be Jedi you won’t agree with or like and guess what? That is okay. This helps you tremendously in finding Jedi that gets your sense of style, humor, and approach. Which in turns help you as you explore the Jedi Path. You don’t want to enter an apprenticeship with someone who will make you tear out your hair on a constant basis (not as the student or mentor). Be You and explore and discuss the Path openly and honestly. I promise you will find someone who vibes with that.
(For the Mentor) Like the rest of the list this really starts with you. Your willingness to be open and honest, you communicating clearly and directly will set the tone for the Apprenticeship. Be as clear and upfront as possible. Don’t try to be someone you’re not (don’t play Yoda when you are more like Anakin). Talking about your experiences and views is important for your student and for finding a student that will be a good fit for you.

Trust
Secret, shall I tell you? Grand Master of Jedi Order am I. Won this job in a raffle I did, think you? “How did you know, how did you know, Master Yoda?” Master Yoda knows these things. His job it is.” – Yoda
(For the Student) There are certain things that you are going to have to trust in your Apprenticeship. That your Mentor earned their place and rank. That they will safe-guard your personal information and personal struggles. That they will not abandon you or throw you to the wolves. That they will be able to help you reach your goals. That they will be able handle your endless questions and boundless curiosity. And that when things get heavy, crazy, or outright seems like your universe is caving in on itself, that they will be able to help you not only survive it, but come out better for it. What is important here is that Trust. Because you may not fully get or understand why they are doing what they are doing. You may want them to respond and act a certain way. Their approach may not be what you were expecting. This can cause doubt, but it is here that you need to trust in the process. Trust in your mentor. Trust in the Path. And most importantly – trust in yourself.
(For the Mentor) Trust is a two-way street which begins with you. “Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald (fictional Jedi Knight) If you really want a solid and firm training relationship than your student needs to trust you and that begins with you giving that trust. First and foremost, trust yourself that you didn’t pick a crazy Padawan that is going to run around throwing marshmallows at the Jedi Council during the Annual Jedi Gathering. I mean, unless the Council deserves it, which they probably do, so nevermind that example (and guess what we are doing this gathering now?). Still, point being that you chose your student for a reason. Presumably many reasons which were all grounded in common sense and good expectations. So extend them the courtesy of treating them as a honored Jedi whose council you value. Trust them so you can communicate what is going on in your life, what struggles you have faced, and may be facing. Trust that they will seek understanding and not ignore you or ditch you. Trust that they trust you.

Patience
Moving faster gives you little time to think.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
(For the Student) Or more to the point – little time to apply. The Jedi Way is not that complex. It is not this great mystery. You can learn the general concepts in a very short amount of time. What does not come out of that time is experience. There is a difference between knowing a thing and experiencing a thing. Reading a book on How-to Snowboard can teach you a lot, but it cannot make up for actually getting out there and snowboarding. Thus patience is required. Yes, you may know the Jedi Code, but how well have you lived it? There is a reason your Jedi mentor is a mentor. They have been there and done that a few times over. So be patient and trust the pace they set. And if that feels off – communicate that. Amazing how this all ties together right?
(For the Mentor) Simple – you were a slow-on-the-pick-up, million-question-asking, hungry-for-all-knowledge-ever, over-confident and brash young student as well. Relax. Keep it simple. Remember what it was like when you were a young and excited Jedi first exploring the path. No question is a stupid question. Because you have heard the question a million times before has no relevance to your student asking it for the first time. Empty your cup as well and embrace the long journey ahead. Treat your student with the patient respect they deserve. After-all they felt and agreed that you were the best mentor for them; don’t forget that trust they have placed in you.

Ask Questions
It was good for a Jedi to question…. Discipline was necessary, but unquestioning obedience was a limiting thing, not a growing one.” – Luke Skywalker
(For the Student) This is a core thing to do before Apprenticeship and definitely continues afterward. You will not know if you do not ask. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. That sort of thing. So be sure to speak up. If something doesn’t seem right. If you find yourself confused. Whatever the reason may be, if you have a question ask it. You are not a bother. This is what your Mentor signed up for. Anytime, Any Question. So make use of your time with them. Bug them. Bury them with questions. Give no quarter. Doesn’t even have to be Jedi related. Want to know why the sky is blue? Ask. Want to know why they favor a green lightsaber blade? Ask. Want to know their stance on political voting and who they support? Ask. No question is off the table. Unless your Mentor specifically communicates to you that something is off the table. Sometimes a certain subject requires more time before it can be explored – if that happens, remember Trust and Patience.
(For the Mentor) So obviously you know to ask questions before taking on a student and the importance of all that. So the main thing I want to stress here is to Ask, don’t tell. Don’t feel you have to have all the answers. And whether you do have the answers or not, the most important thing you can do is simply ask more questions. Help develop that line questioning so that it leads to answers. Asking the right right question can make a lightbulb go off. Not only that, but asking questions allows a student to explore the topic themselves rather than getting an answer to memorize. Ask questions so the student can experience it, rather just be told an answer.

Be Humble
Do you remember Yoda’s little maxim about humility?”
“Humility endless is,” Anakin quoted.
“That’s the one. Did you ever hear Mace Windu’s translation?” Anakin shook
his head.
“You’re never too old to make another big mistake.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
(For the Student) You are the Student for a reason. Clear? Empty your cup and remember that no is perfect or all-powerful or all-knowing. Be a student. Enjoy it. Relish it. Remember it.
(For the Mentor) You are a guide. You don’t get eminent domain over your student. You are a simple Jedi who got to where you are because of various other Jedi and people who helped you along the way. You are not special. You are not the best there is. You are not infallible. Take your ego out of it and simply offer the Jedi Way in a honest and open manner.

Failure is Okay
One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
(For the Student) It is going to happen. I mean that is just life. It helps with humility for sure. You will trip. You will stumble. You will make mistakes. And that is okay, as long as you learn from it. That is the key. Each success is a teachable moment and great experience as a Jedi. Each failure is a wonderful lesson and an important experience as a Jedi. Will you feel bad when you fail? Most likely. Failure rarely makes us feel happy and giddy. That is okay, it teaches us that we want to succeed. It provides as with information on how to succeed. You don’t have to like it, but understand it is okay to fail.
(For the Mentor) A good way to enforce humility is remembering the mistakes we made to get where we are. Part of remembering the importance of failure is looking at where we are and where we use to be. It is not the end. We still have a long road ahead of us. There will be more bumps along the path. Be as your student. Learn from it and remember that it is okay to learn the hard way. It is what you do after failure that matters the most.

Save the Apologies
Do not be sorry. Learn.” – Saba Sebatyne
(For the Student) “Sorry if I am asking too many questions.” “Sorry I messed up.” “Sorry I didn’t remember.” “Sorry I missed the due date.” “Sorry life got busy.” “Sorry I don’t know that one.” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be sorry. Learn. The best apology is to not do it again. Or in the case of silly apologies like, “asking too many questions” pfft. Look, apologize for things that cause a problem. Asking questions, seeking guidance and learning, this is not something to apologize for. Smacking your Jedi Mentor in the face with a toy lightsaber? Yeah, probably apology territory, but again – best way is to simply learn from it. It use it as a lesson, learn from it. “I apologize, I didn’t mean that. I shall endeavor to not allow that to happen again.” Don’t wallow in sorrow. Don’t get lost in feeling sorry. No pity parties. Use it as a way to improve.
(For the Mentor) You should have this one down already. So I’ll leave it at the quote.

Developing a Jedi Attitude

Russell Walks

Number One: Acknowledge the Difficulty of the Task.
Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Even still we are at times able to succeed in our task. Of course sometimes we fail. And that is okay because what we sought to do was difficult to begin with. This applies greatly to training as a Jedi. Sometimes we fail at living up to the Jedi name, but it is important remember that living up to the Jedi name is a very difficult task. Don’t allow success or failure to diminish the size and difficulty of the task you undertook.

Number Two: Acknowledge that Failure Happens.
Not everything goes according to plan. Things happen. Mistakes happen. That is okay. Failure is bound to happen. The more you seek to succeed at the more you can be sure to fail at times. It happens. Don’t get so focused on success and success stories that you don’t recognize the trials, errors, and stumbling blocks that happened on the way to success. It is rarely ever a smooth road to achieving our goals. There will be pitfalls, it is necessary to acknowledge that. Of course failure doesn’t have to mean The End. Just a part of the process.

Number Three: Remember that Success Does Not Define You.
When you reach your goals it is important to keep that Jedi warning of materialism in mind. Own, but don’t possess. Success, like failure, is just part of the process. It is a result of continued work, training, and dedication. Sometimes success brings a paycheck, which can be very nice, but that should not be point (merely a bonus). Don’t get so caught up in the end goal and the possessions of it that you forget who you are, what you believe in, and what brought you to the point of success.

Number Four: Acknowledge that the Force is Real.
I don’t care what you call it. The Force, Luck, Coincidence, the Hand of God, Happenstance, whatever. The point is that sometimes things happen beyond any reason, foretelling, planning, etc. Something just falls into place out of nowhere. This happens. Sometimes it works in our favor. We are blessed by the Gods of Humorous Happenstance and are given a wonderful opportunity. Sometimes we are cursed and find ourselves buried under things out of our control. It happens. Its fine. It is not the end. Acknowledge it and move forward. Prepare as best you can, but don’t discount the flow of the Force.

Number Five: Remember that Change is Inevitable.
Life moves forward. Time doesn’t stop, even if we wish it really would sometimes. With that comes the lovely concept that things change. “This too shall pass.” Bad times do not last forever. Good times do not last forever. Enjoy the moment when you can. Work until the bad times pass. As long as you keep moving forward things will evolve around you. Things will change in time, whether we want them to or not. Make use of this. Make it work for you. Know the bad times will pass and focus on getting pass that. Know the good times will pass and thus savor them deeply when they are here. And keep moving forward.

Solving Problems Like a Jedi Knight

Use Patience JediYou will know, when calm, at peace, passive.” – Yoda
Deep breath. Focus. Now, clearly identify that this is decision-making time. Don’t get stuck in indecision. Do you need to make a decision? Yes? Get to it. Not your place? Don’t need to make a decision? Outside of your control? Cool. Done. Time for some meditation or a workout or something.

You gather enough information to make your plan. If you’re planning without information, you’re planning for failure.” – Mara Jade Skywalker
Define the issue clearly and simply. Use very simple terms and breakdown exactly what the situation/problem is. What exactly are you addressing and making a decision on? Don’t overload the problem or add the unnecessary. Keep it in terms that are easy to understand and follow.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
What are possible solutions? As Jedi we focus on the solutions rather than the problem. Brainstorm. Make a list. Include all you can think of, from the crazy solutions to the most simplistic solutions. Keep an open mind and list all possible choices. This is a good exercise in itself, but when faced with tough decisions you want to be able to consider all options.

Wisdom is knowing when you’ve given all you can.” – Leia Organa Solo
Start narrowing down that list by stipulations. Jedi Ideals (Ethics), Money (or lack thereof), Safety, Risk, etc. What you are willing and not willing to do. Work through your list crossing off the ones that just do not work for you. Rank them in order of which appeals the most to your values and addresses the problem at hand.

Make a decision, make another, but undo the past you cannot.” – Yoda
Evaluate your best option(s). Then make a decision and go for it. You can re-evaluate later if need be. But basically you are going to have to make a decision and determine how that plays out. Change tactics as necessary. Have some back-up options ready, but once you have gone through the list, make your decision and move forward confident in your choice. Believe in your abilities and capabilities.

Overall, keep it as simple as possible. You can narrow this process to a mental task that takes seconds really. Be specific about the issue at hand. Be clear about your limits (cost, time, money, energy, etc.). Be clear about the parameters, who gets final decision, what limitations have been placed upon the situation, etc. Allow outside options and seek advice from those you trust – more input can help clarify any situation. And ultimately experience is the best (if not the harshest) teacher. Trust your instincts and whether success or failure learn from the situation as you progress forward.

 

Five Ways You Can Start Living Like a Real Jedi Knight

http://naiku-haru.deviantart.com/art/In-Meditation-479862577

1. Get that Jedi Mind
Before Lightsabers and Force Powers Jedi were taught that a calm and focused mind is the most powerful weapon you can wield. Peace, Patience, and Propriety is what empowers a Jedi in the most trying of times. In a world that moves fast and demands your attention 24/7 it is important to make sure your mind is ready to handle the challenges you will face.
Practice: Meditation. Find an App, Subscribe to a Meditation Channel on YouTube, join a Meet-up Group. However you pursue it, make sure you get your meditation on twice a day.

2. Learn the Basics
Knowledge is Power and Power is Change. Start filling your brain with some some Jedi Thought. Whether you pick from the fiction – Empire Strikes Back, The Old Republic, or The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace (etc.) – Or books by Jedi for Jedi – Jedi Circle, Jedi Compass, Exploring the Jedi Lifestyle (etc.kindle versions available) – The key is to learn what it means to live as a Jedi. How to apply those high ideals of objectivity, accountability, service to others, and so forth. Plenty of Jedi manuals out there for you. Jedi Rules of Behavior is a good place to start as well.
Practice: Fire up the kindle, hit the Play or iTunes store, get yourself some Jedi material. Most won’t be above 10 dollars. Consider it a worthy investment. Oh yeah, than make sure you read through it. Jedi stuff can be dry and a bit boring, so take small bites. Digest a bit each day.

3. Discover the Force
The Force is Ineffable. There is a force in the universe. What it is? No one can say it is any one thing. Perhaps it is everything? Maybe it is simply an idea that everything in this universe is connected and we should live accordingly. Maybe it is basic physics, maybe it is quantum physics, or perhaps it is God? The Goddess? The untapped human potential? One thing every Jedi has learned through training (even the most skeptical) is that they can Feel the Force. Once you can experience it, you can explore it, and then next step is to define it. This definition is for you. It may take a day or a lifetime. You may stick with ineffable as your definition or it may be much more spiritual. Whatever the words and label you chose the Force will a part of your journey and growth as a Jedi. So question, study, experience, explore, and define.
Practice: Meditation can apply here. Or just stop, take a moment to observe life. You can do this as you wait in line for your Starbucks. Take in the movement, the life, the energy. Deep breath – ask yourself, what is the Force? Keep exploring the universal (oldest question) until you find an answer that works for you.

4. Embrace the Lifestyle
The mind is key, but don’t neglect the body. You don’t need to be running any marathons, but a Spartan Race (or Battle Frog, etc.) is pretty close to Luke training on Dagobah (get a Yoda backpack and it is nearly identical). Stay healthy. Stay active. That varies from Jedi to Jedi – again don’t have to be a fitness model, but pick up that lightsaber and swing it around for 30 minutes to an hour. I promise you’ll be tired by the end. Or be more sensible and just start a nice fitness routine.
Practice: 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

5. Meet Those Living It Already
From yearly gatherings to local meet-up groups there are Jedi out there. Type in 2016 (or whatever year this is) Jedi Gathering and you are bound to find information. There are websites and blogs with hundreds of Jedi running around. Chances are you aren’t alone in seeking to become a hero from a galaxy far, far away. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. Luke Skywalker and Rey (Kenobi? Solo? Skywalker? Organa? Lars? Darklighter? Kartan? Hurry up Episode VIII!) *cough* Point being that Jedi are way cooler (and have more fun) when they are sharing the journey with other Jedi. And if you find yourself in Southern California (at Six Flags Magic Mountain), give me a shout.
Practice: Find a Jedi to share the journey with. No rush on this, patience Jedi, the Force will guide you. 😉

Remember, the Force is with you, always.

Physical Wellness

I think this is a topic that is automatically misunderstood because people allow their own insecurities and fears to color the topic. And the more a person allows this aspect of their life to stagnate the more the topic seems daunting and unnecessary. After-all, one has lived this long not worrying about, so why does it matter? They are already preparing to argue against a daily work-out routine. Ready with excuses on why they can’t run or jog. But it isn’t even about that.

This is just about being healthy. Yes, get active. Sure, get “in shape” whatever the hell that means. But mainly – just be mindful of your physical well-being. A personal example is something I wrote about once in this little journal. I had a hernia. Originally I was given the wait and see approach. The type of hernia I had (there are many different kinds) isn’t always considered dangerous. And mine was so small, it wasn’t a concern to the doctor. Of course, I am a crazy monkey that does enjoy being active. I love reacting Dagobah Jedi training. Give me mud runs, swing from ropes, handstands, full body workouts. Lets do this. Anyhow – that type of activity is not really helpful to a hernia. So after a couple of years of Spartan Races and very active Jedi Living it got progressively worse. Until one Spartan Race I seriously made it worse. I then ran another Spartan Race a few months later (it was for a charity and I couldn’t back out), in which made it so I had to get surgery. That is why they take a wait and see approach sometimes, because the only way to fix the type of hernia I had was with surgery.

So last Thursday (a week ago) I underwent surgery. The surgeon told me that I was right to get it fixed right away. It was at a very dangerous level and had grown large. I have spent the last week healing up. This is a part of physical wellness. Surgery, Medication, Doctors, your personal health is what we are talking about. Resting in bed for a week when I’d rather be doing anything else. Not being able to begin slowly working out again for another 6 to 8 weeks from now. Which I dislike. I feel like I am wasting away and getting fat at the exact same time. I can’t keep up my Luke in the swamps training. I can’t even do my little morning exercises I encourage other Jedi to do. No runs. Heck I still cannot even take my dog for his walks because he gets excited and pulls on the leash and that strain is too much. But this resting and healing is a core part of physical wellness.

When sick – don’t push yourself. Your body is telling you. Yo! Need some rest to fight this internal battle. So help out. Get the Orange Juice, get bed rest, and allow yourself to heal up. Part of being healthy is taking care of your health. Amazing I know. Break through wisdom right there. But it seems so many overlook that simple and obvious premise. So busy that one cannot spare time to rest and heal. Stop, Rest, Revitalize, and then you’ll be able to attack the day again at 100%.