Monthly Archives: May 2016

Battling the Dark Side Five Tips from Qui-Gon Jinn

Battling the Dark Side – Five Tips from Qui-Gon Jinn
quigonjinn by wynahiros

Overcome Over-Thinking.
Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts. – Qui-Gon Jinn
It is going to happen. You are going to feel down. You are going to feel like you are in a dark place. That is okay. Don’t over-think it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the repetitive trap of circular thinking. It is easy to get caught up in that down spiral of thought and rumination. Instead give yourself direction. Focus on the small steps. The obtainable goals. The little things you can do within this moment. Let go of the loftier goals and take your first steps toward the little accomplishments. Problem-solve rather than getting lost in the problem.

Nicely Done.
Your focus determines your reality. – Qui-Gon Jinn
When you feel in a dark place your judgment and thinking process can be clouded (and often is). To help balance that you need to remind yourself of a couple of facts. The first being the simple fact that you have survived this long. While you have faced many challenges and uphill battles you are in fact alive and not doing too bad for yourself. Especially considering what you have faced. You are alive and still capable of great things. Second, remind yourself of the good things you have done in the day (a worthy practice). All the little things and big things. Making someone smile. Helping someone out without recognition or credit. Feeling completely depressed and still getting in a 7 minute workout (available in the app store). Taking a couple minutes for meditation. Getting the dishes done though it was the last thing you wanted to do. Remind yourself of the good things and help balance your perspective. It isn’t all bad and you are moving one step at a time toward your goals.

The Present is a Present.
Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs. – Qui-Gon Jinn
The Past will get you every time. It is a dark place. Not because of events or happenings. But even the best memories can trap you from seeing what is happening right now in your life. You cannot drive forward while looking backwards, just as you cannot live life looking backwards. You are bound to crash eventually. Focus on the road ahead and just like driving you can only look so far down the road before it hinders what is in front of you. You have to stay present and aware. Look, you do not have a time machine. There is no going back. You have made mistakes. You probably have regrets. Things you’d like to do over. Meh. Such is life. Guess what, you just might get that second chance. But you will miss it, if you are not paying attention. So learn from the past. Then let it go. Mark the lessons. Look at those past events as prep work. Lessons for you to apply to your life now. And then live in the Now fully prepared with the life lessons you have earned the hard way.

The Future is in Motion.
You cannot prevent what you cannot see coming. You can only do what you think is right at each moment as you live it. We can plan, hope, and dread the future. What we cannot do is know it. – Qui-Gon Jinn
You can plan for the future. You can set goals, have dreams, and develop a plan of attack. Ultimately however you must live within the moment of day. You have to focus on where you are to get to where you are going. By working hard and wisely you can do your future self a favor. You can put yourself in a position to make your dreams come true, but that starts here and now. This moment, each moment, is when you begin making your goals into reality. So set down your plans and goals. Have an idea of how you are going to get there. But keep track of what you are doing each day to make it happen. Be fluid in your approach and adjust your sails as you need to.

Know Yourself.
You must be sure of what you want and believe. Sometimes the way will be confused, but allow yourself the time to understand yourself. – Qui-Gon Jinn
You are not defined by your past. Things which have happened to you do not define who you are. Take the time to really get to know you and your goals. What makes you – you. Then take the time to determine who you wish to be. Who do you want to become? Then start taking the steps to get there. One step at a time. One day at a time. Move forward with patience and trust in yourself. But don’t feel you have to do this alone. You are not alone. You have a social support structure there for you. Friends, Family, the Jedi Community even. Keep note of the people who help you move forward. Do not be afraid to lean on your friends when you feel tired and weak. It is okay to need a hand. You will need time to pick yourself up and get ready to attack life once again. Give yourself that time. Be patient and work steadily toward your dreams. Take the time to really get to know yourself. Your motivations, likes, dislikes, and what drives you. Push yourself when necessary and allow yourself time to rest and revitalize when necessary. Develop a basic schedule that works for you. A daily one and a realistic longer term one. Then take it a day at time adjusting as needed.

Tips for Remembering Your Jedi-Self

Yoda-Meditating

Everyone is a Critic.
Don’t lose track of the praise even in a stream of constructive criticism. Or vice versa.” – Luke Skywalker
More so in this day and age. The ease of putting out content and the ease of people being able to directly respond to said content (YouTube for example) has really helped the rise of the critic. Everyone feels their two cents is worth shouting from the rooftops – and it just might be. However the thing to reminder is not to get so caught up in all the critics and naysayers. Do what you do because you enjoy doing it. Know yourself, your goals, and keep to it. Don’t focus in on the negative things other people think or say you are. Take criticism with a grain of salt and use Jedi Self-Reflection practices as a way to stay grounded and focused on your goals.

Make Mistakes.
One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
You are going to. It is going to happen. No doubt you already have a few on your record. You are still here. Probably wiser for them. You live, you mess up, you learn, you grow. Sometimes we get success first try. That is nice. And refreshing. And it sucks when we try and fail. It doesn’t feel good to work towards something and fall flat. No fun. Especially when we are like – “that was just a boneheaded mistake. I am better than that.” But it does happen. Don’t live in fear of mistakes. You will have areas of weakness. You are not some all-knowing, all-powerful Jedi that is incapable of mistakes. Only I am that awesome as a Jedi ;). You work on areas that need improvement. You keep your strengths sharp. And when you make a mistake you acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward wiser for it.

You Have Grown.
Patience. A Jedi you still are, and with you is the strength to overcome.” – Yoda
So if I met my 1999 self – that kid would get a stern lecturing and probably a few marshmallows thrown at his head (not a bad kid, just a bit misguided). My 2006 self? I’d just punch that dude in the mouth (eff that dude). You are not who you were, and in ten years? You are not going to be who you are now. Hopefully these changes and growth are for the better. A place you are good with and happy to continue to move forward from. You are reading Jedi stuff so I figure you are heading in an awesome direction ;). Just keep on. Put in the time and effort. You’ll get to where you want to be. So don’t dwell on who you were. Instead celebrate who you are and who you are becoming.

Things Change.
Always in motion the future is.” – Yoda
Nothing is set in stone. The end of your story hasn’t been written yet. Your journey is not at its end. You may find the Jedi Path is not for you. Cool. You can go a different direction at any time. You are not pegged in. You have the ability to make changes in your life. Feel free to make use of that ability at any time. Determine the direction you want to go and go boldly. But don’t feel that you aren’t able to alter your course. Course-Correction is a valuable practice. You are on the open seas, not railroad tracks.

Beware the Lies.
Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald
Self-Honesty is key to the Jedi lifestyle. However some people have been telling themselves lies for a long time. How worthless they are. How nobody will miss them or cares about them. Lies told so often one begins to believe their own non-sense. You are not some perfect immortal butterfly all glorious and ever-lasting. You have weaknesses and flaws – wabi-sabi – that is what makes you beautiful and valuable. So beware the lies and instead be a bit more objective and honest with yourself. It is okay to see value in yourself. And when you see the flaws, the things you don’t like, just remember that you are in the process of growing and changing. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to grow. Acceptance is peace.

Respect Your Feelings.
Search your feelings, every day. Keep careful watch. The worst monsters are not those from without.” – Ikrit
Your feelings are valuable indicators of the self. Letting you know your preferences and sensibilities. But they are not the entirety of the world. Don’t focus so much on you feelings that you ignore the facts of your situation. Don’t lose sight of your options, opportunities, and advantages by getting lost in over-confidence or defeatism. Your feelings are one of the many tools in your toolbox, not the only one.

Mind Your Company.
Friendship shows us who we really are.” – A Friend in Need, Clone Wars 4.14
Birds of a feather…. Surround yourself with people that are good for your environmental and overall personal well-being. Find people with similar interests. Join a dance class or a after-school gaming club. Don’t keep yourself tied to toxic people or relationships. Instead fill your world with people who see the best in you and encourage you to see the best in yourself. If we are going to be constantly bombarded with information, we can at least do our best to make that positive and useful information. Giving and spending our time with people who appreciate us (and that gift of time/company) is a wonderful thing to have in life.

Real Jedi, Bullies

It is an unfortunate reality that there are times when we are faced with improper behavior. There are people who are leeches. They seek to suck and drain those around them. The Jedi Community, like any other, is not immune to these type of people. If you find someone draining your time and energy, don’t play the victim. Remember to adjust your focus and concentrate on what is truly important. Make sure you are investing your time and energy wisely. If someone crosses a line, remember that Jedi are not doormats. Non-aggression, peace, acceptance, patience, these do not mean to suck it up and put up with bad behavior. Here are five things to remember when you find yourself harassed by a person.

(1) You are Not to Blame. It is important to not fall into the trap of thinking that you did this or that this is your fault. You are not responsible for the actions and choices of others. Someone treating you poorly is not a reflection of you – it is a reflection of that person’s character. Do not blame yourself, do not resign it to karma or fate. It is person acting improperly because they have chosen to do so. They are aware of their actions. They are responsible for them. And they are to be held accountable for them. Do not accept blame for their impropriety.

(2) Speak Up. If someone is doing something you do not like. Or you just want to be left alone. OR someone is within your personal space or comfort zone. Say so. Don’t suck it up. You can voice your preferences and opinions. Your voice is valuable. Your opinion is worthwhile. You can be polite. You can be diplomatic. You can ask a person to take a step back with a smile. You can tell a person to leave you alone. You can tell a person they are being rude and harassing. Say No. Voice your discomfort and displeasure. You are allowed. But don’t take this yourself. Speak Up to Friends and Family. Don’t suffer alone. Don’t shoulder a burden. Talk with your support structure around you.

(3) Record. If you are being harassed online – take screenshots. Time and Date it. Save it in a folder marked harassment. Date and Time the images so they are easy to find. Document the inappropriate behavior. Offline, this is a little more work. You have to be careful with phone photos and recordings because a really aggressive person might break it or escalate the situation. So be mindful. But you can write it down. Date – Time – Factual Incident Summary – People Nearby (witnesses). Keep a record of this improper behavior as it can really help soldify your stance. As well it can show just how much you are putting up with. Sometimes we are a little to nice and lenient and having a record can show just how much we have allowed bad behavior to happen to us.

(4) Remove. Take action by removing the person to the best of your ability out of your life. You have absolutely enough to deal with. You have your own life, responsibilities, struggles, and worries. Don’t sit there and add another by allowing a negative element to suck away your time, ebergy, and good graces. If online – Ban, Block, Ignore. Have an iphone? Block the number. Whatever you need. Make it happen and don’t waste another second on it. Most people (like myself) don’t like doing this, but again, you are not responsible for the actions of others. If they prove they don’t listen to you and your request to leave you alone – cut them out. This is tougher to do offline. School and workplace issues tend not to allow it. But you can do your best to keep your distance and not get involved in the same projects as the other person.

(5) Report. A way to ensure not being forced into a group project with the person is to tell those in-charge. Teacher, Manger (boss), whoever, you let them know of the issue you are having and your desire not to work with the person. You show your documentation and various times where you asked politely for space and the demeaning and harassing behavior of the individual in question. Perhaps a more permanent solution will be presented. If it is online, especially in the Jedi Community, you can report to administrators or website leaders. Again you present your record of behavior and problems and state your issue. Leadership should hold the person accountable.

The thing to remember is that a person’s behavior is very rarely directed at a singular person. It tends to be a radiating thing. It spreads to many people. And by speaking up you could be adding to an already compiling list of issues. Or you may be the first that encourages others to come forward with their issues. Either way. Don’t be a doormat. If you have a dealing with a negative person – take action. Value yourself enough not to simply accept continual abuse from a person.

Another Five Point Article

Debate, Argument (in the classical definition), Discussion. These are common elements in academia. These are common elements in the online Jedi Community. And certainly that extends to the Jedi Path in general. But sometimes Internet Culture will win out over Jedi Culture. Loss of Temper, Taking Opinion as Fact, Personal Attacks. So to help with a brief reminder, here are five elements Jedi keep in mind within various discussions.

1. Opinions Are Not Facts.
If you are confident that only you know what is right, you’re making yourself the center of reality. That’s just selfish.” – Anakin Solo
This does not invalidate your thoughts and opinions. But it is important that you understand your opinions and judgments are not factual in nature. They are observations which are limited by your own scope and understanding. They may be educated. They may be accurate. You may have a better than average ratio of being right. But this does not automatically mean your views and opinions are fact. Example, it is your opinion the moon is made of cheese. This does not make it fact simply because it is your opinion. And it doesn’t matter that you have never been to the moon to see otherwise.

Another popular thing people will try to do is cite an “opinion piece” (news article based on opinion) as fact. They cite Huffington Post, Daily Mail (uk), and label them fact-finding. This is not correct and something you should be aware of. There are many news outlets available these days, but due to the new structure of online reporting, fact-checking is a limited thing. Most report what they saw based upon another news source they read. So while you can research and come across “news” articles on a subject, you still have to separate opinion from actual facts.

Opinion is personal viewpoint. Fact is a viewpoint that has been tested multiple times by multiple people with tangible and repeatable results leading to a clear conclusion. When you find yourself exploring or debating a topic, be sure to secure yourself in facts, not merely opinion.

2. Society Does Not Dictate Facts.
Suspend your judgment, and every being has something to teach you.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
“Oppression is a fact of life.” – “This is just how the world works.” – Society can be a very broken thing. It can be a great thing which encourages growth and prosperity. It changes over time and is different in different places. What is considered a sign of encouragement in one society may be an insulting gesture in another. The opinions created within a society, much like individual opinion, does not equal fact.

We can get wrapped up in our world. We can get caught up in our heritage. Culture and history can be very important things to us, but they do not have to be constricting things. Don’t fall into the trap of judging things based upon society’s viewpoint. That is a just major opinion, it does not equal fact, it does not equal right. Many horrors have been done on a societal level. Slavery has existed in just about every civilization we know of. Genocide has been committed by many societies. Mass hysteria doesn’t make reality just because the majority have succumb to it.

Research, understand why something is a fact. Know the scientific method that helps to establish the things we come to know as facts. Continual experimentation to test theories and results. Peer review by other experts in the field (who also test theories and results). Don’t accept societal habits as matters of fact.

3. Be Objective About Subjectivity.
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
Not all things in the world are written in facts and unchanging stone. Beauty is a subject which is very subjective in nature. This does not mean that objectivity has no place. It simply means we must apply that knowledge. Understanding that there are things that change depending upon our own point of view and experiences in life. Understanding our bias and subjective ways of thinking can be approached in an objective manner.

This is the basic, “keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.” Be open to the experiences of others. As much as we are similar as a species (birth, blood, bones) we are different individuals. We don’t always share the same views and don’t always react in the same manner. What may make one person angry may make another person sad. It is not our place to tell people how they feel or even how they should feel. Objectively look at the situation, at the events, and facts of the matter, but be sure within the objectivity that you allow for the subjective nature of human beings to take place as well.

The twist on this is that people tend to look at things as completely subjective and thus completely different. Which really it goes to the quote above. It is not really different, we just perceive it to be so in our minds. But if you break it down, you have people reacting to outside stimuli. Reacting differently, sure, but feeling, reacting, and seeking to do the best they can nonetheless. Don’t get so lost in the differences that you miss the connecting factors as well. You can understand someone’s viewpoint without sacrificing your own.

4. Not Everything is Meant to be Fixed.
There is a lot of unrest in life. The Force is created by life, so it has unrest in it. If you open yourself to the Force, how can you not open yourself to a certain amount of unrest?” – Mara Jade Skywalker
A lot of society these days is about correcting problems. Fixing what is not normal. Adjusting people’s behaviors and outward appearance to match with that the current standard is. In life there are many peaks and valleys. It is actually one of the more interesting and beautiful things about life – its unwillingness to conform to a specific path. The beauty and perfection of life is not found on a magazine cover or in a youtube video. It is random, it is always moving, and it is completely natural.

Wabi-Sabi is one of the more utilized and solidified forms of this. I prefer it as a philosophy, but mainly it is used in design (interior and architecture). The idea idea that perfection is found in natural imperfection. The tree is beautiful, not because it is straight, slim, and perfectly groomed, but because it grows and sways as necessary. The clay tea cup is better for the cracks in the surface than a smooth polished finish.

You can engage in conversation and debates without needing to change or fix someone’s view and/or opinion. You can accept diversity without needing to force conformity. You don’t have to agree with someone to understand their viewpoint and where they are coming from. There is such a thing as respectfully disagreeing. Personal attacks are not necessary to disprove points or offer a productive alternative. There is beauty in the natural exchange of ideas, thoughts, and experiences, without the need to try and cure them or fix them.

5. You Know Nothing Jon Snow.
The more we learn, the more we discover how much we do not know.” – Yoda
It is important we remember the extent of our knowledge. Science and our understanding of the universe is not set in stone. Many facts and things we thought to be core truth have been proven false over time. While we have developed things like the scientific method to help minimize our assumption of reality and facts, we are still in a process of discovery and growth.

When in a debate or faced with a challenge in life, it is important to remember we do not know everything. There is plenty in the this universe that is still a mystery. There are subjects and topics in this life that we just are not well educated on.

The beauty of nescience is that it presents us with an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t blindly hang onto ignorance out of ego-sake. Look upon your lack of knowledge and understanding as a chance to learn something new. Even if that is merely how someone else in the world views a topic. It is a chance to gain new perspectives and information.

And it is doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that we don’t know everything. Do to our enjoyment and intake of knowledge and experiences we can sometimes we can forget that.

Jedi and the Troll

To be clear this is not a lecture or lesson on dealing with trolls. At least not in a formal sense. By all means take away what you will from this. But this is merely a reflection on a recent encounter with a person who has embraced being a running joke of an entire online community. And as the picture above shows I decided to take a different tactic -burn the house down to fix the problem- just this once to see if it would make even a fraction of a difference. Cold hard truth. Vulgar insults. A mixture. The other truth – “I don’t care.” Which ended up being repeated ad nauseam with no avail or effect. It was a absolutely fascinating experience for me, but that wasn’t the sole purpose of this experiment (I was hoping it would encourage accountability on those that support him as a Jedi Knight – spoilers, No.). Here is my account of what not to do. Because really – one ban click solves your problem (not the problem, but it might be very egotistical to think you can solve that problem).

Quickly – for a more accurate account on what I normally do and support in dealing with trolls, head here: http://www.jediliving.com/365jedi/jedi-vs-internet-culture-aka-trolling/

That said and done I finally wanted to see if accountability meant anything to groups handing out titles like special clubhouse passes. In case you are curious the answer is no. It is the usual turn and blind eye, allow the behavior, and thus by failing to confront it you encourage it. A recurring theme in certain online and offline Jedi Communities which annoys me because it perpetuates the behavior. And this is why I decided to go off books for a change. Spider in the house?
So I went fire with fire. “You don’t want to challenge me.” he said. “Fine. I challenge you. You are hereby challenged.” I respond. “Accepted” he answers. Oh noes. This means he is going to beat me up at the next Jedi Gathering. Or is it? My disdain for the individual was never a secret. The guy is a troll. He likes to run his mouth and this isn’t the first time he has made threats of violence should we meet in-person. A honest concern of mine (as I am not a fan of violence and we were filming a documentary at the time – so bad impression right?) my first time meeting him. In which he smiled and laughed and hugged me. All happy that we finally get to meet face to face. Yes, but about all those things you said? Called him on that and the next year we meet. Guesses? Again, as if we are best of friends. So am I worried about this new threat? No and sure because his previous threats have been empty, but also because a bully’s only power is fear. They use it for control. They use it as a way to manipulate people. Without it they have to honor their threats and there are problems with that (which feel free to point these out if someone is bullying you) – witnesses, legal repercussions, policy (school, workplace, organizational policies) repercussions, people not sitting by for their BS, that fact that fighting is rarely one sided and even one awkward punch can cause serious harm (the human body is amazingly weak and strong all at the same time). There are risks and many will only go forward with them if they feel very, very confident they can get away with them. This person may be delusional, but they know fighting me is not something without risk. So I have no fear of this person or their threats. And carry full expectation of laughing and trying to hug me.

But of course that wasn’t the beginning or end of the encounter. It was just another way for him to validate himself. Because I stated “I don’t care.” Several times in an effort to clearly highlight that his reasoning, ideas, opinions, advice, thoughts, all of it was wasted energy. You can only teach those that seek to learn. A reality of life. And so I conveyed my full unwillingness to even listen. Did that stop the constant messages of delusional superiority and belief that people are jealous of him? Of course not. So it continued. Don’t care after don’t care, it just kept coming. And so did his messages. So the truth then?

I threw it out there, done with the BS of it all. “You are a joke. Every Jedi holds this view of you. Not one Jedi takes you or what you say seriously. Even your supporters hold to, “he is a joke and that is why I like him.’ No one respects you. And this is all by your own actions, your own design.” His response, “I don’t give a f*ck what people think about me.” My response? “Yes exactly. I don’t either. But you are still here. Justifying yourself to me. Trying to defend and explain and convince yourself of these things.” The end? Of course not. I am the villain of this story and the hero cannot exit without defeating the villain.

It went on and in circles for some time. Finally I was left alone. I had given enough material for the troll to use. I am sure it will be spread around. “Look it at what Opie said to me! He was mean to me! And he wasn’t acting like a Jedi.” All which is true of course. I definitely took the time to throw my caring out the window and made the conscious decision to see if pure uncut as big as possible F-U would provide any level of change or realization. And certainly, not really what I would call the Jedi Approach. And no – it did not provide any level of recognition, change, reason, or even stop the constant messages. Again, eventually I was left alone, I suspect to other reasons (such as having to do other stuff). It was interesting, to be sure. But yeah – I can double down on my “Don’t burn down the house to kill the spider” philosophy. It is indeed pointless. And I stand by my original conclusions in the Post linked above. How do you deal with trolls? Be a Jedi. Make Use of Ignore and Block Options. Recorded the Problem and Bring it to the attention of those who can do something (even if just remove the person or just a shake a finger – at least show you won’t just sit there and take their garbage). Better that than the alternative which just hurts you.
 Of course I enjoyed the experience, but I am glad to have it done with. It was draining, not worth the energy or time used. A certainly does nothing for me as a Jedi. Definitely a failure (regardless of reasoning), but I am willing to own up to that. Acknowledge my idiocy, learn from it, and move forward a bit wiser for the fall. Be a Jedi. Use that block button. And focus on the things that matter. Which is definitely not trolls playing Jedi and my time is wasted as a Jedi playing a troll.