Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jedi and Politics….

How Jedi Approach Politics

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Opening Statement: I, like many fictional Jedi, do not like politics. However I do understand them and their necessity. I fully understand that they will impact my life for the short term and longer term. They have far reaching effects. So while I have a disdain for them I recognize the importance of voting and giving my say. This year has been particularly brutal, especially for the United States. As we approach elections I’d like to offer a core reminder. You don’t have to like politics. You do not have to like the candidate. But you should know where your vote will serve best and how that will affect things around you. Many seem to have forgotten themselves and their path in this heated and divisive year. So a small reminder.

One.) There is no emotion; there is peace.
Say it with me now: Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Currently there is a party waging a fear campaign. And we are seeing the results. Not just the minor unpunished crimes happening and being encouraged at rallies. But high tensions over justice and shootings. There is a lot of fear on all sides which is being turned to anger and hate. And we are seeing a lot of suffering (and death) because of this fear. This lack of understanding and ability to exercise patience and look for the truth of a situation is leading to emotional responses rather than Jedi ones. Which is generally these situations are a lot more complex than some one-sided emotional news reporting when none of the facts or circumstances are known. Patience, Objectivity, Knowledge. Approach these tense situations with the Jedi Mind.

Many leaders have lead fear-based campaigns. It is a known tactic within politics (and one which has proven to work – unfortunately), but it is not one Jedi should vibe with. We are all well aware of a Jedi’s stance on emotional reactions. We are all aware of a Jedi’s stance on fear and using fear as a tool to control people. Our decision-making is not based in knee-jerk reactions. We have a process and a method to comb through these very difficult and tough situations.

So remember Jedi. Emotion, yet Peace. It is very difficult – especially when some situations hit closer to home than others. But find refuge in your fellow Jedi, in your practices, in your routine and those that love you. And then approach the policies and topics with a Jedi Mind. Peaceful and Focused – not on the smokescreen of fear, but on what is actually being said and done.

Two.) There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
Knowledge. It is one of the Three Pillars of the Jedi. It is in any Jedi Code version you want to pick. The Jedi Circle, The Jedi Compass, no matter where you look Jedi prize, value, and extol Knowledge. And yet we are seeing a campaign infamously shrugging off facts as well as relevant and prudent information. We are seeing the media not bothering with fact-checking or holding candidates accountable for their claims and words. We are allowing the fact that so much crazy stuff has been said we are no longer calling it crazy and we are just letting it slide.

This does not vibe with the Jedi. Knowledge. Information. It is important to know where candidates stand on core issues. What policies they endorse and how they are looking to enforce them. It is important to know a candidate’s approach and negotiating tactics. In order to make an informed decision as Jedi we need to have as much of the prudent information as possible and we need to be willing to fact-check that information. This helps us make informed decisions. Not ones based upon emotional ignorance. If over 300 leading scientists tell you a candidate is going to cause problems within their respective fields which will have a negative impact around the world – that is something to take into consideration (not blindly and intentionally ignore).

Three.) There is no passion; there is serenity.
Another widely used political tactic is to appeal to the passions of the people. Because emotional and passionate responses help drowned out the logical and knowledgeable ones. Passion likes to ignore facts and information in lieu of heartfelt reasoning. There is a time to trust your instincts – but that is different than someone appealing to your passion. Right now there are a lot of hot issues which are sparking fierce conversations and debates. But allowing that to blind us to the overall effects a candidate will have is not the proper approach.

Instead focus in on the core policies with a calm and serene mind. Be objective in your views and dig into the issues that you are passionate about. Then approach them with the Jedi Mind. Take them one by one. What is the candidate’s position? What is their resolution? How will they make that happen? Be a Jedi – ask questions, be objective, and approach even the heaviest of topics with a calm and peaceful mind.

Four.) There is no chaos; there is harmony.
All of this directly ties to us and what we are looking for and want. But do not forget the bigger picture, the living Force if you will. Do not forget that we are part of an entire world and our actions have repercussions. Like ripples on a pond, the stone of this election will affect all of the water. So get the Jedi Mind on and consider how the candidate will affect the world. The world economy, the world environment, world trade, immigration between countries. Consider the entire impact.

Sometimes in politics you have to trade off impact. You don’t like this approach, but like the impact of this other policy. So you are willing to make that trade-off. It is a reason I really dislike politics. Cannot please everyone, but generally we are all making compromises during the election. Still, Jedi Diplomacy 101 – compromise is sometimes necessary. You have to work with it. Determine which is the best option forward for all involved.

We have a very diverse community – likewise so does the United States – and even more so the world. It is a benefit to us as a species (and as a Nation). It is something to be encouraged. So how does the candidate approach diversity acceptance? How do they handle and deal with different cultures and lifestyles and beliefs? This is valuable insight, because this view tends to effect policy and laws. It tends to highlight how people will be treated within the country and how the candidate will approach these issues on a global scale.

Five.) Honor Life / Respect All Life.
Instead of finishing out the Code here, because it got real dark in my first draft. I wanted to highlight something that is like Knowledge. Something that is core to all Jedi across the board. No matter the text you find a Jedi ideal of respecting and honoring life. Yet we see people support dehumanizing and degrading analogies. We see mass insults of entire cultures and heritages. We see a complete lack of understanding of different life experiences (the environment we grow up in will color our world view). Campaigns waged not only in fear and ignorance, but also a complete lack of respect for the diversity of life.

For a Jedi we have to look at the bigger picture. We have to understand that there are a million sides to every story. We will never know all the facts and the complete truth of all situations. But what we can do is honor and respect life. We can help foster an environment where life can thrive and grow in a positive and beneficial manner. That starts within us and grows outward, but it is also within our voting rights. We get to have a say on the world we want to live in. From your local City Council, to your Mayor to Congress, to the President. What is your value of life – what life would you like to see thrive? What life is conducive to the Jedi Way?

Closing Thoughts: Approach politics as you would all things – as a Jedi. Knowledge. Objective Information. Calm Fact-Checking. Looking at the policies not the hyperbole and smokescreens of emotional appeals. In other words – Emotion, yet Peace. Ignorance, yet Knowledge. Passion, yet Serenity. Chaos, yet Harmony. Remember the topics that mean the most to your. Rights, Laws, Education Reform, economics and the increasing gap between the classes. Be a Jedi, determine your stances, and which candidate best helps keep this ship floating until we can actually fix this broken thing. So if you can – get out and vote. And may the Force be with you.

Ten Time Budgeting Tips

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Lately I just felt overwhelmed and done. As such I allowed certain things to fall to the wayside for a bit. I was mentally exhausted. And allowed my own time management practices get lost in the business of life. It was a bad Jedi moment. Minus 20 Jedi Points for me. A student at Jedi Living labelled and talked about Time Budgeting in our financial budgeting lesson. And it really reminded me about the point of the Art of Timing. We only have so many hours in a day, just like we only get so much money per month. Both require us to keep a close eye on how we spend this so that we can maximize our spending and budgeting habits. Here are some tips I found to be useful in getting back on track with my time budgeting.

One – Get Yourself a To-Do List. Pick an app. Make it happen. Google has the todo list app which can really help. There are many great organizational Applications out there. Get one. Make use of it. Put it to work for YOU. It helps. It works. If you use it. So that is step one. Sometimes the obvious needs to be said. Sometimes it just needs to help pad the list.

Two – Do the Quick Stuff First. And I do mean the quick. Taking out the garbage. Putting dishes in the dishwasher. Or putting dishes away. The things that have like five to ten minutes? Get them done and out of the way. This does an amazing thing on your To-Do List and adds the feels of accomplishment even if the day gets away from you. Remove the easy stuff so you can really focus on the important tasks.

Three – Knock out the Important Stuff Thereafter. With the super quick out of the way – get the important things done first. Prioritize. This is key. Make sure you prioritize your To-Do List. And then knock out these important things first. It will give you peace of mind. “At least I got that issue taken care of.” Saying that at the end of the day is wonderful. Removes a lot of stress from your life.

Four – Budget Time not Projects. When setting up your to-do list and schedule make sure you give time to projects. Don’t just write in a project and exclude all things until it is finished. Instead offer up a set time. Example – I am writing a book. I don’t have – Book Project. I have two hours set aside for my Book project. That way I don’t get tunnel vision and allow other things to go undone while focusing on my important project. This still applies to above. Knowing you put in some work on your important tasks makes a difference and you don’t get discouraged because you didn’t finish the project.

Five – Say No. You are not Superhuman. You are not the Flash or Superman. You cannot do everything for everyone. You will have to say no. When you are swamped – No is your friend. It sucks. We want to help and do it all, but we cannot. So learn to say no. You only have so much time – make the most of it and do not spread yourself thin. It helps no one when you bury yourself and burn out.

Six – Delegate. Likewise learn to delegate. Know who might be able to cover things. If someone asks for something and you cannot help, you can always direct them to someone who might be able to. Or maybe pass on a project to someone you know is available (maybe even better suited) while you pick up the new project. Budgeting time is about knowing the resources around you and who is available, willing, and capable of taking on work.

Seven – Get an Early Start. Don’t delay. Get it done as soon as possible in your day. Knocking things out right away just feels like it opens up your entire day. Not only that, but toward the end of the day when everything is done? It feels good to just sit down and relax knowing your To-Do List got done for the Day. You can truly enjoy your down tie then. So Do Not Procrastinate.

Eight – Make Use of Your Down Time. Weekends (whenever those are for you) are sanity savers. But if you use just a couple of hours each day in them – you will cut down on the To-Do List while keeping your weekends for You. It is important to have down time. But you can also throw in a small amount of budgeted time to finish off a couple of tasks. That way on “Monday” (again whatever day that is for you) you are not stuck with a huge pile of work. You can also make use of time you are waiting for things. Anytime you have idle time – waiting for laundry to finish (for example) you can use that time to knock things off of your to-do list.

Nine – Buffer Time. It is important that you give some time in-between tasks. I recommend a quick meditation in there. Give yourself some time to rest and refresh. Maybe snack time, lunch, time to go for a walk. Especially after one of those important and big tasks. When we form a budget we often list and list and list all the things we have to do, but forget to give time for ourselves and our mind to recharge. And that is how we get burnt out. So make sure you Budget in some Buffer Time in between tasks. You can use this to budget internet and phone time. Facebook, BuzzFeed, YouTube. All that more frivolous internet browsing time. Budget it in so you still have it without it becoming a distraction. Giving a time limit and allowing you some time to just enjoy rather than work on something.

Ten – Do or Do Not. Focus and lock into the task at hand. Close all the extra browsers. Put the phone on Do Not Disturb. Create or Find a place you can work without distraction (or at least minimize distractions as much as possible. I like to put on some music (mostly soundtrack background music – no lyrics) and close my desk off to the rest of the world. If you want something to get done then get it done. Don’t allow yourself the distractions and set yourself up for failure. Focus on the task at hand and work towards your budgeted personal time.

Also – side tip. Do forget to have fun. Even chores can be made in a game. Play music that makes you move and lifts your spirits. Have fun with your day. Just because you are working doesn’t mean you cannot have fun while doing it. Enjoy your life – even when it is budgeted and filled to the brim with To-Do Lists.