Category Archives: Real Jedi Blog

Personal Update:

Get it done. Put in the work daily. These are things I have told myself constantly. I am a master procrastinator and it is a battle to really ensure I follow through. Unfortunately I got one of those reminders of how important this is this week. I have been working toward a dream of mine. And I woke-up Tuesday with a message saying – give me your finished dream. But…. its not finished. I bought myself 48 hours. And in those 48 hours I did almost the exact amount of work that I had been doing for months. In those 48 hours I did absolutely nothing but work, nap, partake in some food, and indulged in a shower (hoping it would help refresh my mind). I did make the deadline. Of course I 100% loathe the work that was done. I do not like it and want to burn it all. Fortunately I cannot and do not even get the option were I able. Still it was a valuable wake-up call and experience.

I do work well with a set deadline. I do not work well with a huge amount of work in a very short time. My current schedule for working on my dream is woefully lacking. Not only that, but I have clearly been to caviler with my time management with it. So adjustments will be made and I will take this as the harsh lesson it is. I may have in fact torpedoed my dream all because I was being way to lax about my approach to my work ethic. There are rarely second chances when it comes to dreams and I already had mine. So not sure where this will leave me. Still I am not giving up. I am improving. I will take the work I have done and make it even better. And should it be called upon again I will have a much better product to deliver. Will that opportunity arise? Who knows. All I can say is that this has been an illuminating experience. Not the best feeling in the world, but I have decided to approach it with the mentality to be better because of it.

Just felt kind of defeated and worn out yesterday. And still having lingering effects of that today. So here I am typing it out and making sure I get my head right. Now. Time to get back work.

Four Somethings of the Somthing

4wn9l

Four Somethings of the Somethings – Entitled such because I have no idea. I just felt like writing. This is what came of that. So yeah….

1. Find Your Bliss.
Mine is Jedi. I know – weird. But when you look at the totality of the Path is covers all my little things that make me happy (from the daily practices, to the goals, to the general mission statement, I just enjoy it). So overall it is my Bliss and what serves as my truth, if you will. Your personal truth is for you. What is your sacred? We see underlying themes and concepts throughout human history and beliefs. Yet all have different flavors and focuses. What is your focus? What is your bliss? Once you have that there is little need to concern yourself with the warring “truths” out there (let them fight it out amongst themselves). Find Your Bliss and Live It. It goes a long way. How right. You are probably like – yeah, cause it is just that easy. Sometimes it is and the one thing getting in the way? Yep. You. Relax. Take a moment. What are the various things that make you happy? What do you enjoy? Why? How do these relate and play out in your life? Search for it and you will find it.

2. Befriend Your Thoughts.
A hard task when sometimes your thoughts are the meanest and most nastiest voice ever to exist. Some of the things you say to yourself? Shame on you. Or maybe that is just me. I know I can beat myself up way better than anyone could ever hope. So do not wage war. Instead turn those very strong thoughts into allies. Start developing the pattern of recognizing the negative thoughts. Face them, stop them, and then counter them. “Is that true?” Make it a new habit to acknowledge the flip-side. To be fair and honest with yourself. To not belittle yourself, but instead offer yourself fair evaluation. And remember – just because you think you did poorly, doesn’t mean you actually did. Listen to the input of others. And do not dishonor or disrespect their opinion by pushing it aside with self-deprecating thoughts. Instead listen with an open and fair mind. Let your thoughts not be your bully, but your friend. And when your fair thoughts are like – “Nope. You failed there blockhead. And here is why, because being fair…” acknowledge and grow from it. Use it to improve. Thank yourself for the good reflection and lesson. And get on to getting better.

3. You Are Not a Caged Monster.
Do not run from yourself. You are not some monstrous beast to be punished or feared. You are a perfectly flawed individual just like the rest of us. As equally as screwed up as the rest of humanity. Congratulations. The simple fact is we all have an area within ourselves we do not like to confront. However that is the true darkness. Allowing our fear to create ignorance and dark areas within ourselves. Your emotions are not your enemy. Pain is not your enemy. Sometimes these things do not feel good at all. They make us cry and really make it hard to love and befriend ourselves. But that doesn’t change with ignoring it either. Embrace the entirety that is you. Acknowledge and Accept. And then, and this is the important part, Find Your Bliss, Befriend Your Thoughts, Laugh at the Absurdity of it All, and Determine Who You WANT to Be – then go be that. If you can dream and see yourself as the Hero, be the damn hero. It is well within your ability. The only thing holding you back is you. So step out of the cage and be who you chose to be.

4. Laugh at the Absurdity of it All.
Life doesn’t care how serious you take it. The sun will rise whether you worry about it or not. The stars in the sky care nothing for your stress and complaints. So you can go through life in a very serious and overly stressing manner. The day will not alter. Likewise you can be a bit more carefree, smiling and laughing at the interesting twists and flow of life. The universe will continue on either way. The real question is not how will your attitude effect the world, but how does you attitude affect you? Which would you rather be as the universe continues on? The one laughing or the one stressed? I mean, come on. Even this article has to make you want to laugh. “Oh. There is Opie with his self-help non-sense again. And he calls this Jedi. BAH!” Or maybe I just wrote out another example of the previous. In any case – the universe continues on. Have a laugh or two – the stars will totally appreciate it.

Opie Rant: Knowledge Over Ignorance

shakespeare-on-ignorance
William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, Act IV, Scene 2)

I must admit that I am still surprised by and taken aback by “Jedi Masters” which fail to grasp the most basic foundations of our path. Knowledge is one of those focuses that all Jedi agree on. Whether you adhere to the Three Pillars school of thought, which lists Knowledge as the Second Pillar. Or you hold to the Jedi Code which has the Second line as There is no ignorance; there is knowledge or Ignorance, yet knowledge. If you follow the Jedi Creed, Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training. If you just keep the movies as pure inspiration – “a Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense.” I mean anywhere you look within the inspiration and context of the Jedi Path Knowledge is simply a cornerstone which is undisputed.

So when correction is given on minor mistakes, why do so-called “Jedi masters” respond with the wit of a six year old? Jedi Lesson 324: Rolling your eyes is not an appropriate response to education. Maybe if you are a 13 year old Jedi Padawan with a high level of sass (Obi-Wan, I am looking at you). But it is seriously unbecoming of an adult who was not even the focus of the correction. And allow me to share the correction with all of my fellow One Reader. Jedi is the plural of Jedi. This is a common mistake for a lot of people new to the Jedi way. They will type out Jedis. To inform someone of this is not nitpicking grammar, but a simple note worth remembering for future uses. Now the person who was “corrected” tipped the hat, acknowledged it, and was like “got it.” No fuss no muss. Fair deal everyone goes about their business – as any Jedi would expect.

But a “Jedi master” decides he is not in favor of this ‘nitpicking of grammar’. “I shall not join Opie in finding every fault in your grammar!!!… Lol… *eye roll*” So have I like gone back to elementary school and no one told me? Knowledge Over Ignorance is a pretty standard concept for the youngest Jedi. And I would certainly prefer to be informed of a rather simple correction than be allowed to continue to go around making an incorrect statement. Opie, you spelled Zimbabwe wrong. You had an a at the end. – Oh. Thanks, good catch. Knowledge over Ignorance – that could literally be the second lesson for most Jedi.

So – to all my would-be and awesomely rocking it Jedi: Remember that learning something new is a good thing. And it should not be taken or viewed with contempt or eye rolling. Actually be a Jedi. Acknowledge the lesson, accept it with grace, and apply it when necessary. And if we are ever at a Jedi gathering together and you roll your eyes in the face of knowledge know you better have excellent Jedi reflexes; because a lightsaber will be flying your head. Forewarned is forearmed. Boom! More knowledge. Cheesy_Grin_by_melonhead_emotion Hey! I saw that. Don’t roll your eyes at me. stinkeye … cough

 yoda1

Beware the False Master

Patience Young Jedi

One of the most difficult lessons I had to learn was my short-comings as a teacher. It was a difficult lesson to accept because it affected another person. This reality can often be forgotten in an online environment. The Jedi Path is a lifestyle. It is how one approaches life. What they use to base their decisions in life off of. This is no different than any other lifestyle people embrace. As such I am yelling often and loudly – choose your mentor wisely! Anyone can create a Jedi group. Anyone can make the claim of Jedi Master. But it is a role should not be taken lightly. Jedi first, that is the key word. Live that and the rest will fall into place over time. But not all who inhabit the role of Jedi Master are what they claim. I wish I had been told as much, both when I was a student and when I took on the responsibility too soon. So here are some things to keep in mind when seeking out your Jedi Mentor so you can hopefully avoid such costly lessons.

Knighthood in Six Months or Less. Oh! Or Jedi Knight in Ten Easy Steps. Yeah, any shortcut promised is a shortcut in results. If you truly want to live your life as a Jedi it will take time. You want to be a Jedi Knight? It will take time. Have you been a Martial Artists for twenty years? Same amount of time. Philosophy Teacher for a decade? Same amount of it. Star Wars fan for two days? Same amount of time. What is that amount of time? It actually varies. Different groups simply have different standards. And some people learn and apply at different levels. But at the very least you should expect two years of dedicated training with a specific group/teacher before you even start hoping for that Knight title. Anything less is robbing you of valuable experience as a Jedi; and throwing you to the wolves without Liam Neeson there to save you.
Don’t accept shortcuts either. Your previous life experience certainly will play a part in your training and life as a Jedi. But it doesn’t make you a better Jedi. It adds to your knowledge and flavor as a Jedi – especially when you become a mentor. It is information and experience you can still pass on. But the only thing that qualifies you for is being the awesome and unique Jedi that you are. Knighthood is a matter of experience specifically living as a Jedi (and all our crazy stipulations of the Path). So don’t sell yourself short. Put in the time and effort. The investment is worth it.

Selfishness and Abuse. Some points should really go without saying, but I have found that is rarely a wise idea. Ask “stupid” questions. Say the things that go without saying. Speak openly and freely. So this hopefully clear. Using the “Master” role as a way to dominate others, to make sexual advances on students, to basically prop themselves up in a juvenile fantasy. This is all a no-no. No one is getting rich by being a Jedi Master – nor should they be trying to be. Jedi Master does not translate into sex god. It is honestly just a bigger hassle – um, I mean – responsibility. It is a recognition that you have put in so much time and have lived the path so completely that Jedi is just who you are. The stumbles and falling flat on the face has slowed down a lot. There are no benefits to it – unless you do really enjoy more work. Than plenty of benefits to be had.
This is a simple one. The training relationship is an intimate one as it is. Any “Master” trying to twist that for them needs to be dumped, reported, and slapped in the face with a real lightsaber. Since those don’t exist, I guess a dueling saber will have to do or an iron. Don’t turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior. Speak up. Sometimes people just get to carried away. Know you boundaries and when they are crossed say so. An actual Master will apologize and acknowledge their mistake. They will ensure not to cross that line again. Again, of course, if it is a big violation – One Strike your out rule.

Hypocrisy. Jedi Path is not a do as I say not as a I do path. Now hypocrisy in the Jedi can actually take a little while to see. Big things are easy to spot (as we listed above, for example). But it is the little things that reveal a False Master. One example, online conversations have a general etiquette. Private messages are private (excluding, sexual harassment, threats, etc.) for example. This is especially true in the Jedi Community because we all have bad days. Now if I am going through a particularly difficult moment and I seek out the Jedi Master to vent and seek advice from I want that trust to be honored. Thus I use a private message system (e-mail even). Now I have seen “Masters” take private messages and spread them around. Sometimes to a select few (a council of some such) or worse they post them publicly. This automatically shatters the trust and respect of the position they claim. Especially when they do so only to make themselves look good. Now, how do you know “private” messages will be honored as such? Because they say so? Because they’d never do that to you? Come on. That is a fool me once, fool me twice set-up right there. They acted against the staple of the Jedi Path. Trust, Respect, Honor the Jedi, Honor the Student. The “master” in this example has shown that another’s privacy means nothing if it suits the “master’s” personal goals.
Some things will only be visible once you know the details of the Jedi Path. Such as the Jedi Rules of Behavior and the Jedi Circle. Of course, be sure you don’t mistake Devil’s Advocate with hypocrisy. Jedi teachers will often question or even tear down their own teachings (in debate – rarely in action) to help a student formulate their own thoughts and views on a particular topic. They challenge the student to not simply echo someone’s words, but to have their own understanding and experience with the subject. If you are in doubt – ask. Ask for an outside opinion. Grab a Jedi Knight and be like – yo! Is this copacetic?

Train for Free. Online training should never once cost you money. There is a cost of hosting a website. Time and energy put into running, maintaining, and improving are worth money. So if you, without being asked, wish to donate to your home online “Order” then by all means. But you should not be asked for donations. And you should never feel obliged to pay anything for your time online. It is important to remember that Jedi is not the charity. Individuals like myself who host Jedi sites and put material out there do so because they find it a sound investment of their time and money.
It is an investment on both parties. If one is unable to support the cost, time, and effort needed to running a Jedi group than perhaps they shouldn’t be doing that. You, as a student, are investing your time, energy, effort, and trust into the training material. That is a return in investment for the group. Their materials are being used and should result in one more quality Jedi in the world. And let me assure you – that is well worth a little money in hosting fees a month. Only addendum I would add is offline training can get tricky. Some groups offer it for free. Some work off basic non-profit membership dues (look at Rotary or Optimist group for comparable concept). This is generally a very low and fair price that basically covers things like charity set-ups and refreshments. But use your judgment. If you do not feel comfortable paying than don’t.
Control Instead of Criticism. Jedi are not paper-cut-out copies of one another. We follow the same Path, but we are still our unique individual selves. We will not always agree with one another. Our experiences in the path will not always lead us to the same conclusions. Debates are going to happen. Disagreements are going to happen. However the False Master will not like this and will not be able to handle this and so they will shut it down. I have seen posts and entire discussions deleted. I have seen members get banned. Instead of simply addressing the concerns and issues of the members the “Master” incites control and demands obedience. They will use their administration rights to silence what they don’t like.
Make no mistake. Your time online is valuable. It is still your time, your effort, your thoughts. If you take time out of your life to read something, consider it, and address it then you have invested something into it. It may not be much, youtube comments for example may be a very minor investment. But your online Jedi training tends to take a bit more effort. And if the “Master” cannot honor that investment and cannot be trusted with it then do not put your time there. Invest you time where it is most valued. Not where it will be erased or you’ll be removed because the powers that be don’t like it.

Beware the Grandmaster. Really any oobie title is a sign of unnecessary ego-inflation. I personally have an issue with just the title Master. But at least Master can be and is often viewed simply as a honorific title. Once you go beyond that title, you are trending into the world of ego-trips and self-satisfaction. Temple Lord. Overseer. Grand Pumba of Jedi. Most will try to justify these titles as organizational. Though really look at the structure of the organization. Consider is it truly a necessary position? Generally speaking it is not necessary. But a way for people to feel a little bit more special. To get that little extra praise. Any Jedi I have talked to feels Jedi is enough. However in a group new and curious people do like to know who is qualified for what. Jedi Knight informs those who is capable of teaching. Jedi Apprentice lets people know they are in a structured training arrangement and have a little bit of experience in the path. Jedi Newbie (I don’t think that is an actual title anywhere by the way, just an example) allows people to know who is starting out and may be around their own experience level.
One title which you may see is Founder. I tend to give a benefit of the doubt and say it is there for records and history sake. Simply a notation in the logs to who put this ship together and invited others along for the ride. Note that it doesn’t take a wizard to create a Jedi group. So while thanks for their work and effort is appreciated, do remember it doesn’t make them any better of a Jedi.

Titles R’ Us. What is the point of being a Jedi Knight? It is minimal. The point is simply to live your life as a Jedi and to have reached a point where you are capable and comfortable with passing on the Jedi Way if you so desire. An overly attached view and stock in titles is not a great sign. Because it often highlights the mentality that Knighthood or being a Master is the end. Such people and groups miss the most important thing about being a Jedi – Living it. Living it well. I don’t know what to tell you outside of the fact that I find living as a Jedi unbelievably awesome. It is a great path to live by (the community not so much sometimes, but that is another post for another time). Don’t be focused on Knight or Master and if your mentors have that end goal view, take it as a caution sign. The Jedi Path is just about living as a Jedi in your everyday life. You really don’t need any fancy titles. Of course organizationally speaking (as we mentioned earlier) they do have there place. But titles aren’t the end all be all. No Master should have a focus on getting you to a specific title. That misses the point.
This applies to enlightenment as well. That should never be a stated focus. Jedi isn’t a path specifically designed for you to reach enlightenment. Can it happen? Absolutely. It will it happen? Who knows. That isn’t the goal. Spiritual absolution is not something that can be promised. It is as simple as this – Jedi is about living it. If you achieve something more form it – wonderful! If not – I fully believe the path itself will prove itself a worthy investment of your time and focus. But I am a bit bias in that.

Online Jedi Training

Is a fallacy…. To get all Jedi Code-y on it – There is no online training; there is online guidance. All training is done offline. Whether one gets that material online or not is rather irrelevant. Meditation is done offline. Physical fitness, offline. Study materials, even if read on a kindle or a laptop, is still done in an offline environment, despite the source of reading being “online.” Community service, offline. Even if one pursues energy work, this requires practice that is done offline (even if alone). I really can’t think of one example of online training. Materials, syllabus, study guides, all these things can be gained online. And doing so does NOT devalue them at all. Online is a source, a place that allows the free-flow of information to all who are able to access it.

Yet in the Jedi Community there seems to be this nose up in the air mentality when “online Jedi training” is mentioned. As if it is looked down upon. And that has just never made any sense to me. The way the community is set-up, we are really our own Jedi Masters. But even if we had a Jedi mentor in-person, right next to us, we would still be our own Jedi Masters. It is the whole integrity thing. What do you do when no one is watching? How do you act when left to your own devices? In the end, no matter the training program. In-person, online, academy, whatever, it all comes down to you. You can be given the best training program ever, but if you have no desire and drive to follow it then it will not matter. Likewise if you are given a mediocre training program but you are all about the training, you will turn that into something much more. You will grow beyond it and seek out more valuable sources. Training – Jedi or anything – comes down to you. The time, energy, and effort you put into it.

Online/Offline training is just another glass wall of the community. Something to trip people up. Training is the key word. And whether your source material came from an online website, a published paperback book, or an old handwritten Jedi manual doesn’t matter. While one may be cooler than the others, the quality of the training will be reflected in yourself. It is you that decides how much use you will get out of it. Jedi Training, in any format, is a worthwhile pursuit. And if anyone gives you grief and says something lik,e “Well I train offline, not online.” Feel free to remind them that you do as well. Because being a Jedi is something one lives.

SDCC: The Force Awakens Panel

The battle of generations has begun. It is a silly battle of course. One that still hinges on a lot of speculation. Abrams and many Star Wars fans grew up with the Original Trilogy and were greatly impacted by it. The Hero’s Journey they experienced with Luke, Han, and Leia inspired a generation. In 1999 a new journey was created specifically aimed at the next generation and it hit its mark. Many younger Star Wars fans grew up with Anakin’s journey, with Qui-Gon, and young Obi-Wan. They enjoyed the style and presentation in which the journey and characters were presented. Add in Ahsoka and now Ezra and you have many Star Wars fans highly accustom to CGI and animated effects.

The comments on practical effects were not digs. They were a generational outlook. A desire to get back to hands-on effects and feel. This is absolutely no surprise since the people pushing the most for the sequel was the generation that fell in love back in 1977. This was a concern for many Star Wars fans So there is a focus to ease that worry for the original fan culture of Star Wars. For the people who wanted in ComicCon like lines to watch the original trilogy in theaters. Those comments were directed to them, but to bash or dig at the prequels.

Look at Abrams work and you can see the clear use of computer generated special effects. There will be a balance. It is demanded by the type of cinema that dominates these days. But it is purely 100% simply a generational focus. It is merely the older generation saying – “Hey, we want to recapture that feeling we had with the original trilogy.” They didn’t get that with the prequels, because the prequels were not made for that purpose or for that audience. ((This is all generalization by the way. Obviously their are outliers – I myself enjoyed both trilogies.))

Point is – movie is not out. What we have seen thus far has been good stuff. For everyone. There have been some original trilogy squeal moments. There have been some fun fly-bys that give you more of that action and movement feel from the prequels. Until December we won’t truly know. And any derisive bickering over what was said and in what context with what tone of voice and blah blah blah is all moot. The six films are canon – Disney gets that say and they have had their say. The new films will set new canon. And the younger Star Wars fans will just have to put up with any changes like all the older fans had to do with the prequels. lol We are all excited and nervous. We all have our favorite moments and films of the franchise. Some still love the 80′s Ewok adventures (crazy, right?). These new films are made with love and a focus on what inspired the individual filmmakers (and that will mostly be original trilogy stuff – at least until about 10 to 15 years when those inspired by the prequels are the ones running shop).

So Star Wars fans – relax. Enjoy the ride. Embrace a new adventure. And stop with the finger pointing. It is silly. Love YOUR Star Wars, which ever it may be. And let other people enjoy THEIR Star Wars.

Jediism = Real Jedi

Watch Out

It is an interesting thing to me. I understand and advocate the need for classification and the use of proper organizational titles. I find these are useful and beneficial elements in any group. Especially one which works off a ranking system for educational purposes. It simply makes sense. You join a new Jedi Group. You’d like to know which Jedi is writing the lessons and been living it for ten years or whatever. As well as much Jedi is like you, fresh, new, and perhaps someone who can relate to your experiences a little better. So titles are given to help people navigate this at first glance. Student, Knight, Instructor, all pretty clear indicators. So I support this type of classification.

Where I find difficulty is when that begins to devolve into unnecessary titles. “I am a Jediist, not a Jedi Realist.” What? What does that mean? “It means I follow Jediism, not Jedi Realism.” What is the difference. – Now here is where many in the Jedi Community miss something important. To the rest of the world there is no difference. To the Media, News, Magazine writers, Filmmakers, your curious cousin, makes absolutely no difference. This is because it all means the same thing to them. Jediism = Real Jedi. Or at least people who think themselves real Jedi.

To be clear, people in the Jedi Community will say there is a difference. And this has been true in the past. Originally Jediism meant Jedi Religion. And Jedi Realism meant religion was left to the Jedi. But that difference has been on a losing battle from day one. Every day more and more people coming looking for “Jediism” as an all-encompassing term. Thsi is due to above. The people giving real Jedi any coverage do not adhere to the petty Glass Walls the Jedi Community create for themselves. In the end the word with the most use wins and currently that word is Jediism.

I have been against colors, isms, and other various little lines drawn in the sand since 2000. They are irrelevant. Either you are a Jedi or you are not. Jediism shares the same core ideals as Jedi Realism. These share the same core as Jedi Pragmatism. The question is always the same – are you or are you not living your life as a Jedi? If yes – doesn’t matter your ism. Now most people take this stance as me saying – “You are not allowed to have any ism. Stop calling yourself this or that.” Which is incorrect. Say you follow Jediism or Jedi Realism. Cool deal. I will shrug and view it 100% as relevant as your hair color. It is simply another feature which is a part of you. But ultimately doesn’t affect whether you actually live as a Jedi.

I have, even in the popular days of Jedi Realism, stuck to simply Jedi. It is my focus. Grey Jedi, Purple Jedi, Jediist, all unnecessary additions which simply prop people up in their own little corners declaring who is better than who. “Jedi Realism is role-players and fakes because they don’t have the courage to complete to the Jedi as a Religion.” Yes that has actually been said. “I am a Jedi Realist. Our training is just way better and doesn’t focus on religious overtones.” Said. Silly little who is better than who non-sense. Tribes fighting over a hill and failing to see the mountain. It is this segregation I have argued, fruitlessly, against for however many stupid years it has been. And it continues. To me it is simple. If you love Jediism or follow Jedi as your Religion. Cool. That is about as important as your race, gender, or sexual preferences. Other words – doesn’t matter.

Now I get it. Minority voice here. Give the people their bread. Let them hold onto their security blanket of isms. Which sure. I am all for you picking your poison. Love your Jedi Religion with a hint of catholic flavor. Temple of the Jedi Order is for you. Like your Jedi Religion heavy period? Church of Jediism it is. Jedi Religion not your thing? Institute of Jedi Realist Studies perhaps? Maybe you want some offline stuff? Near Chicago? Chicago Jedi has you covered. California Jedi might be able to offer you some face time. It is the groups that you chose to grow with that make the difference – not the ism. Not even whatever ism that specific group promotes. What matters is finding a place that you feel comfortable growing as a Jedi with. A place you feel is positive and beneficial to your growth. Don’t worry about whatever ism is attached. It doesn’t matter. In the end the important tile/word is Jedi. And all you need to worry about is finding a group that helps to obtain that goal.

 

 

Your Insecurity is Most Disturbing

insecurity

Courage is not dependent on previous acts of courage. If I am terrified of heights, but climb a tree to help someone down than I have shown courage. It does not take away, diminish, or in anyway reflect the courage it takes to be a Police Officer, Military Soldier/Infantry, Fire Fighter, Search and Rescue, or any other profession which seems more heroic on the surface. Courage not simply something regulated to combat. In fact speaking for peace requires a lot of courage as bodily harm and death are tools often employed against such advocates.

Courage is not allowing Fear to govern your life. Across the world courage has been shown in social issues. Being from the united States we have plenty of examples of Social Courage. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. showed courage. Jane Addams showed courage. Ghandi showed courage. This does not mean George Washington showed less courage crossing the Delaware. This does not mean First Responders to terrorist events like 7/7 and 9/11 were any less courageous.

It makes me wonder how insecure people are they have to lash out at those being courageous for a fight they don’t understand. Caitlyn Jenner has faced ridicule, threats of all kinds, and continues to be insulted by uneducated bigots. But she knew that. She knew that embracing her own image and doing so while tied to one of the most public families would bring a wave of criticism, attacks, and condemnation. Knowing that, knowing a large chuck of the world was not educated and enlightened enough to accept people for who they are and would lash out, she made a courageous choice. She chose not to be ruled by fear or hate or self-denial. She chose to face real consequences and repercussions for simply being true to her self. That is the very definition of courage. “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

And you want to know something? That does NOT take away from any one who has been, is currently, and will be Brave. The continued comparisons and ridicule people face for social courage only serve to prove how much courage is necessary to stand up. In some parts of the world doing so is in fact a death sentence. That does include parts of the United States. Standing against social ignorance and bigotry is not easy, it is not safe, and it is not a minor issue. So the next time you see a picture of some soldier bleeding and a snide comment about courage – remember they are merely proving the point. It is not easy. You are brave. And one day the world will pull its head from its @$$ and recognize that. It is a long fight. Ask anyone involved in equal rights. You’d think the world would it get already – it is all glass wall non-sense. We all bleed. We all feel. We are alive and just trying to do the best we can. But it seems a hard lesson for the world to learn. So continue to be You. Continue to be Courageous.

Opie Rambling: Beware the Jedi Group that does not value your Investment.

So as happens I was involved in a dust up in a Jedi group on facebook. Surprise surprise, I know. And I grateful for it added to my chapter on choosing a Jedi group for the book I am working on. But it also brought forth this Opie rant which I felt like sharing. Lets set the stage….

A topic about emotions comes up within a Jedi group. You however a counter view and an exchange of views from two Jedi ensues. You invest your time and opinion. Another topic on Jedi Service and how to best do that comes up. Again you engage with various Jedi investing time, thoughts, and effort.  You care about the Jedi Path and those silently watching, reading, and reflecting on the various opinions offered. However the Administrator feels these “debates” make his group look like “other Jedi groups” which have arguments. So the administrator deletes the last 16 hours worth of discussion.

A couple things. First even incorrect views are teaching tools. The worse decisions in human history give us stark reminders of what not to do. Why these are bad things. And why we should really think before we act. Also the Jedi Path encourages the inquisitive mind. Question! If I tell you the Jedi Way is about punching people int he face that annoy you. You should really question that. Obviously something doesn’t add up.

Second, sweeping dirt under the rug. Throwing trash in your closet. Yeah, these don’t clean your room. They do not make your house better than your neighbors. You are ignoring issues. You are treating the symptom. Setting up the exact problems to resurface. You can only hide dysfunction for so long. Just ask the 1993 Houston Oilers (or last year’s 49’ers). You have to address the underlying causes to truly improve your group. Not simply delete things you personally don’t like to see.

Lastly, each member of a group has a life. They have limited time. The fact they chose to invest it with you is a wonderful thing. When they take time out of their day to offer their two cents it should be valued by the group. Whether agreed with or not is another matter. But certainly we can all agree that sharing our opinions within a group is an invest of time and energy. In a Jedi group we can be confident in saying it is also done with intentions of growth and education in mind. Intention and result being two different things of course, but I digress.

It is simply important in my opinion to invest your time with a group that will honor that investment. Maybe they don’t agree, but certainly they give your words time and thought. They protect your contributions to the group. And continue to honor you commitment to their organization.

SWTOR Inspired – Commission by Rayn44

http://rayn44.deviantart.com/

http://rayn44.deviantart.com/

These moments were never easy. Teachable moments is what his Master had called them. A time when both the Master and the Apprentice learn something valuable. Not just of the subject, but of each other and their relationship. Kirvin knew well the sting of failure, especially when you wanted to impress your Mentor. Arden had been doing so well lately. She had been receiving praise for her dedicated study and quick application. Her growth and skill were remarkable, but she was falling into the trap of over-confidence, arrogance, and looking down on others. So Kirvin had taken her to one of the tougher testing areas. It would probably be another 10 years before she ever saw this room again. Holographic diplomacy scenarios. Telekinesis Boulder Movement. Advanced Lightsaber Combat Scenarios. Advanced Knowledge of Meditation Techniques and Showing them under duress. Physical obstacle course. It was all very involved and not something she was prepared for. The lesson being that there was always more to learn. No matter how good you think you are there is another level you can reach for. No one is better than anyone else, just at a different stage.

This does not come without its risks of course. Blame can be quick to join someone in such a moment of defeat. It can turn inward and eat away at a person destroying their motivation and drive. Creating a habit of defeatism. A pattern of thought that no matter the effort, it just won’t be good enough. Or it can turn outward destroying trust and dooming a relationship. The key was how one approached the student immediately afterward. The Student has been torn down, the misconceptions they held have been shattered. Now the time comes to help them put the pieces back together. You cannot do it for them, they must find the valuable lessons and learn to pick themselves up. A lesson on failure, infallibility, and the Jedi Way to learn, grow, and move forward. To give the answers is to rob them of those core lessons and create a habit of dependency. Teaching them instead that they don’t have to think for themselves, but can simply turn to you for answers. A delicate time and Kirvin wondered if his Master had experienced the same doubt he was having. Wondering if he was capable of pulling this lesson off.
Arden was standing in the hallway as Kirvin exited the training room. He had given her time to process the events and consider the possible reasons for this exercise. Now was the time to help ensure a very promising Jedi was not lost to the inevitable defeat we all must face during our lifetime. She looked hurt, struggling with the utter defeat she just faced. Kirvin walked over to her and knelt down so they were eye level.

“All things have there purpose. Especially here at the Temple. The schedules on eating, the order of classes, these are all designed with the growth of the Jedi in mind. Likewise this moment right now has a purpose.”
“To tell me I am not good enough?” Arden pouted back.
Kirvin gave a small smile. “What you take away from it is for you and you alone. But know that what you take away from it will help shape you as a person and your future as a Jedi. That is the only hint I’ll give you. When you feel ready, we can talk about the answer you come to. Until then,” Kirvin’s signature grin spreading across his face, “lets go to this really great sweet shop nearby. It is where my master took me when I failed this test.” Kirvin began to standing up to leave and Arden’s eyes widen. “You failed this Master?”
Kirvin looked back still smiling “Come on Padawan. The shop doesn’t stay open forever.” Arden quickly caught up to his side “Yes Master.” Kirvin knew more explaining would be necessary in time, but that she had begun to grasp the most important hint. Failure was not the end. Even a Jedi Knight has experienced failure. The sting would last a bit longer and the lesson would hopefully last a lifetime. But for now they could smile, joke, and he could continue to help her grow into one of the best Jedi Knights the Order would have.

(( Drawing by Rayn44 :: http://rayn44.deviantart.com/ ))