Tag Archives: Don’t Give Up

How to Get Jedi Level Concentration

Yoda-Meditating

So one of the things that comes with being absolutely insane enough to run a Jedi website and training program is the concentration to write everything that goes with that. Since 2007 I have written over a 150 Jedi lessons for the Jedi Living training program alone. Now granted some of these were on the same subject (tedious) and some of these made their way into print (insert self-promotion of Jedi books here). As a genuinely lazy person and someone who cannot seem to focus on any one thing for more than five minutes – this amazes me when I reflect upon it. Though a not so subtle hint to avoid running any Jedi sites or programs. Live the Jedi Way and then Netflix and Chill – I am sure you’ll enjoy it more. Anyhow. Point being – Concentration is a must for any Jedi and one I have had to work on continually over the years. Here are a couple of tips to help you develop Jedi Concentration…

1.) Set Your Goal. This is probably obvious, but many leave this to undefined. In order to truly focus in with that single-minded determination you have to have something to focus on. You need a clear goal. From there you can establish a plan and direction for yourself to proceed. So before you sit down or whatever you are concentrating on (ping pong match), set your goal. and have a plan of action. Hold to your strategy and focus in on your task at hand.

2.) Control the Flow. Concentration requires energy and effort. It will drain you mentally. Anyone who has had a long day at a desk knows well how tired and worn out you can be without physical exercise included. Those that do both (like high rise construction workers) know how difficult it can be to keep a high level on concentration going. This is no different than physical exercise. Pacing yourself is important. And you have to take breaks to ensure you don’t wear yourself out. Ever tried one of those 5k Trainers (like Couch to 5k or Zombies! Run!)? They don’t just make you run. There is walking and run breaks. So – same principle. Focus. Break. Focus. Break. Focus. Break. And no. Don’t just wander over to social media stuff. Yes a break you can chill and look at instagram, but make sure it is a set time. I’d also more highly recommend something physical active to get the blood flowing. Jump rope, stationary bike, push-ups, something that doesn’t require much focus. Walk around the block allowing your mind to wander freely. Get back to it.

3.) Refocus. Grim determination. Slap in the face. Cold water in the eyeballs. I mean, lets avoid that, but same principle. This is the the – Suck it up Jedi and get to it – part. You know what you need to do. Don’t allow yourself the plethora of exercises waiting for you. “Oh I have time.” – “Well I am not sure exactly how to begin” – “My Hulu Free Trial is almost up and I don’t want to waste it.” – Knock it off. You got this. Deep breath – pull up your project and get to it. Set your plan into motion. Hold yourself to your timetable. Play to the peaks and lows – use them to your advantage, not as excuses. Sometimes you’ll have to trudge through it, but you will get a break. So work to that break. And when you concentration is lapsing. Close your eyes, Deep Breath (or five), Refocus, and continue forward.

4.) Minimize Distractions. You have your goal. You have a plan. You have your breaks lined up. Phone on Do Not Disturb during work time (you can have settings to ensure important people/calls get through). Do not have facebook, twitter, or whatever else open in another tab during the work cycle. Leave that for your break time. Put the blinders on. Get that single-minded focus going and cultivate it by removing as many distractions from around you as possible. And then….

5.) Self-Control Jedi. Come on now. I believe in you. You are capable of leaving those distractions alone for the time being. So just don’t do it. Easier said than done? Absolutely. I 100% agree, but still – don’t do it. It is within your power to focus in on your project and get it done. And here is the beauty. Once it is done – it is done. You get all that extra time to you. And you can be a weirdo like me and fill it with more projects. Or you can actually enjoy the extra time and relax with your loved ones. So practice that self-control Jedi. Work Now – Chill Later.

Your words mean something to me

Troublemaker Lover like Fire

So I recently received a message on Tumblr thanking me for doing what I do. And I started to write a reply and realized there was something I really wanted to talk about. And instead of drowning out the Thank you message I decided to make a post here. So here is the issue. I suck at Gratitude and Compliments. I am at a loss. Most of the time I will deflect with a simple thank you and then shut up as if I just sold my voice to Ursula for a pair of legs. Or my main go to is self-deprecating humor. “I got your book Opie.” – “Oh! I am so sorry for you. I apologize for that.” Now most tend to throw this in the self-esteem category. And at one time – that was absolutely correct, but as a Jedi have worked hard on that. Some throw it into the misplaced humility – trying to play at being humble in other words. But again, the whole Jedi thing has ensured this is not the case either. So what is it? Why is it that every time someone thanks me for me work that it is like a little Jedi Trial for me?

When I joined the Jedi Community it was a lot different than it is now. Maybe on the surface it looks pretty similar, but it is very different. The support, the understanding, the experience, all of this was non-existent. We were all kids playing Jedi. Didn’t matter how wise someone thought they were. How well they knew Star Wars quotes. Or Campbell. Or Taoism. Or Stoicism. Or whatever. It was all book knowledge. There was no understanding of application. There was no one who had been living so ingrained in their lives that they had a core understanding of what it meant to live and call yourself a Jedi in everyday life. And because of that there were a lot of mistakes made. And I felt almost like I was lied to. That the Jedi Community was a fraud. I came in search of a Jedi Master – someone who could help me become a Jedi Knight for real. And instead I found Cronyism and Nepotism – which left me (along with many others) with positions and titles I was nowhere near ready for. I wanted to be a Jedi in the worse situations in life. When I was beat down by life – I wanted my knee-jerk reaction to be Jedi.

So I made that determination to be what I was looking for. I trained, studied, and engaged to create the material I had been looking for. I sought to implement change to training, standards, and remove the segregation and cronyism that was infesting our Community. As such I was labelled a Troublemaker. I was an outcast. I was a naysayer. I was written off – “Oh that is just Opie banging his drums again.” I was fighting, arguing, and being looked down upon the entire time. As my frustration grew my Jedi Diplomacy shrank. I’d ask blunt questions. I’d challenge things that didn’t make sense (from certain people made leaders or “Masters”) or lessons that were so fluffy and full of nothing tangible. For over ten years I was looked at as this disruptive and ill-mannered failure of a Jedi who did not radiate the Calm and Peace that we hold to our imaginary Jedi Masters. I was mocked, ignored, and banned by Jedi Masters and Councilors.

When I went through my divorce and had that what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-crisis I really fell apart. There was a lot of support for a so-called troublemaker of the Path. And the Community that should been the most help was just as worthless as when I first started. Platitudes that made excuses for my unJedi-like behavior. Platitudes that told me everything would be alright in the empty hallow way that doesn’t actually help you work through the issues. Left alone to face the darkness that I felt and the darker things I had done in my life. The feeling of failure and a life wasted. Suicide indeed came up as a very valid option more than once during that time. I was suppose to be this senior Jedi – someone with years under his belt. Someone who continually strove to make the Jedi Path better – more tangible – more applicable. I was someone who fought against the pretenders of the Path who just wanted a title. And yet there I was – a supposed Jedi getting into bar fights. Disgraceful.

So – what does this have to do with gratitude and compliments? Wouldn’t this just highlight feeling that they are undeserved and thus why I struggle with them? Nah, it isn’t that. I fought my way back. I took the time to take ALL that material I had been building over the years and live it. I took every lesson, lecture, rambling, and rant I had and read it several times over. I applied it to my life. I went back to basics. I started from the ground up and I worked my way back into a position I felt good about. I built Jedi Living (under different names) into something I felt would reflect that dedication and the result.

I cannot express how happy I am. How much I enjoy and love life. It is not great. I am not where I want to be. I still have a long road ahead of me. But that is what Jedi Living is about. Living as a Jedi and sharing the journey with other Jedi. The ups, the downs, and everything in-between. It was a renewing of the idea of Being the Jedi I wanted to find when I first started. Having the materials that would have helped me on my journey. Not giving any answers. You can’t really. But I can give my experience. My ideas. What I have gained from near thirty years of absolute failure at being a Jedi Knight.

In the past couple of years there has been a shift. I have not been written off. People in the Jedi Community have not been saying mean things behind my back (I mean some still, but that will always exist – you never escape high school :P). People have been sending me messages of Thanks. Of support. Of Encouragement. And I really have no experience – none what-so-ever – in responding to that. Praise? Gratitude? Appreciation? The Hell do I do with that? The past 13 (minus two for the recent years and five for the years I was just a quiet student and observer) years in the online Jedi Community prepared me on how to handle criticism, how to handle bullies, how to handle adversity. I learned that Endurance and Perseverance wins the day, because here we are. 2016. And somehow Opie-Wan Macleod has gone from Community troublemaker to a Jedi who gets message of Gratitude. So I struggle with that. However.

I want to say to anyone reading this. What I want to say to anyone who would thank me or appreciates the time, energy, and effort I have put into this. Just be better than me. All I ask. It may seem daunting if you are just starting out. But I have had over twenty years. And this is as far as I have gotten. I am not done. I am not standing still, but in ten years you can be a way better Jedi than me. You are the next to lead the new generation of Jedi. I fought against an entire Community and now the foundations are there (because of other Jedi, not saying because of me :P). You have lessons, actual academies with lectures based upon experience and understanding – not speculation and wishful thinking. And if somehow I have helped in your path as a Jedi – I am truly – 100% happy. I am glad that I have helped – provided some measure of information to help you grow in a lifestyle and path that you want live. I will never be able to truly express how grateful I am that you feel I have had a positive impact on your path. And if that is just one person – if it is just you (whoever you are reading this right now) – it makes all of it worth it. If I have helped one person achieve their dream of living as a Jedi in everyday life – my investment and life was absolutely worth it in my mind. So I guess if I were to try to make this a lesson the moral would be – be a troublemaker. Challenge – question – fight for what you believe is right. Because you may never get to experience it, but the next generation may very well benefit from your efforts.

So, Thank You! Be a Jedi. That is all the repayment I need. Heck just take some of the ideas and live a positive life – Jedi or not. That works to. And I will continue to do my best to create material that I always wanted. In the hopes that it may help future Jedi achieve their dreams. From the bottom of my heart – Thank you for your words of support and gratitude. I’ll continue to fight for you and the next generation. Love you Jedi.

When You Fall (Fail at Being a Jedi)

 

http://mattmoylan.deviantart.com/art/Mace-Windu-94693537

Forgive Yourself. Yes, acknowledge the mistake, but remember that being a Jedi is a process. It takes time, training, and application. It doesn’t happen overnight and even the most experienced Jedi still stumbles. There is a lot to the Jedi Way and you are not infallible. Beating yourself up over it serves no good. In other words, don’t be sorry, learn and grow from it. Save the self-pity, focus on moving forward and being better for it.

Get Back to the Inspiration. Find your passion and enjoyment of the Path again. If that means a Clone Wars (tv series) binge or a Machete Order Movie Marathon then go for it. If it means putting some your Jedi costume and doing some charity work – handle business. If that means lightsaber practice with friends, get it done. Find your enjoyment of the Path once again. Find what makes you smile when you think of being a Jedi.

Remind Yourself of Your Goals. Adjust your focus to why you do what you do. There is a process, a path, a point and purpose – what is it? What are you striving for? Remembering our goals and where we are looking to go can really help motivate us to pick p the challenge once again and help us get to the finish line.

Don’t Make It Hard on Yourself. Don’t try to do what the Jedi with thirty years is doing. Start small, keep it simple, do what works for you. Difficulty with meditiation? Use one of the 10 minute youtube guided ones. Difficulty with working out? Use a simple 10-10-10-10 routine (e.g. 10 jumping jacks, ten push-ups, ten sit-ups, ten squats). Don’t drowned yourself with trying to be the best and doing it all in one day. Understand it is a process and to work your way up. When training for a marathon you don’t start out running 26 miles, you start small and work up to that distance.

Begin Again. Deep breath. Keep the Basics at Heart. And pick up your practices and lifestyle once again. And know that when it happens again you have a system in place. There will be growing pains. There will be slips and stumbles along the path. That’s Okay. Acknowledge, Accept, and Move Forward. No such thing as a perfect Jedi. Take one step at a time and be willing to repeat the process if you need to.

Photo Credit: http://mattmoylan.deviantart.com/art/Mace-Windu-94693537 Great stuff. You can check out more from Matt Moylan at www.lilformers.com

Five Tips for Battling a Dark Side Day

Okay, first I do apologize for the title. Point is, Bad days happen to all of us, yes, even Jedi. So a few things to do when you find yourself having a day turning yourself less like Master Kenobi and more like Lord Maul.

Step One: Turn to the Tunes. A good soundtrack makes an impact and can help turn your entire day (or week) around. Personally I like to indulge a bit with some mood-reflective music and then change it (a well-crafted playlist to make it gradual) more where where I’d like my mood to go. Some good inspirational music should be available at all times.

Step Two: Get the blood flowing. It may be the last thing you want to do, but it is probably one of the first things you should do. It gives time to allow the mind to reflect while needing enough focus to keep you from completely getting lost in your thoughts. Also chemically/biologically speaking exercise releases feel good chems into the system that help improve the mood. An increase in oxygen and blood flow definitely can help turn a bad day around.

Step Three: Write It Out. Write that e-mail. Write that text. Write in a journal. Blog it. And then never publish/send/tweet/ or otherwise distribute it. Simply write out what you are feeling. Why you are feeling that way. Say exactly what you want to say and what you feel you need to say. Maybe send it to a very close and trusted friend if you feel you need it out there. Or have an anonymous blog specifically for those moments when you want to vent and maybe say not so nice and politically correct things. So you can just get your feelings out there to your pretend audience. I have a lot of deleted e-mails and blog posts. Just getting it out of your head does wonders.

Step Four: Dial-a-Friend. Hang out. Get dinner or lunch or a cup of coffee. Go watch a comedy. Put on a bad movie and laugh together at it. Play darts or go fishing. Whatever. Just take some time to distract yourself temporarily. And this is best done with a good friend. Don’t isolate yourself for long. Social interaction can help us adjust our mood.

Step Five: Meditate and get your reflection on so you can get to bed early and allow the bad day to end. Remember that tomorrow is a new day. Problems don’t disappear, but a good night’s sleep can help put things into perspective. Allowing us to remember that in a week, a month, a year, in a decade things will be different. Life continues on and our mistakes serve to help us grow and be better for the future. So let the day end and be ready to tackle a new beginning in the morning.

Four Tips to Improve Your Jedi Training

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1.) Exercise: Mind and Body. You probably hear this advice all the time. Get out and get some exercise. Chemically you produce endorphin which, awesome. It provides a time to focus and clear the mind. A it addresses point number three by punishing the past you, gives a good experience for present you, and a nice gift for future you. Exercising is just good for you. But don’t forget that muscle in your skull. Exercise by reading and studying. Fictional or otherwise, pick up some books and experience and explore some new ideas, feelings, and concepts.
2.) No Days Off: Jedi is a lifestyle, not a job. You don’t get a weekend to forget being a Jedi. This doesn’t mean no fun of course. Plenty of fun to be had as a Jedi, of course. And there will be days where you just don’t want to do ANYTHING. But just before you go to bed a bit unhappy that you in fact didn’t do anything. Stop. Do one push-up and one sit-up. Pick up a book and read one sentence. Recite the Jedi Code in your head just once. Take a deep breath and remember point four. Now you can go to bed. Just one, you can do at least that. Because one is not nothing.
3.) Honor All of You: The Past, Present, and Future all factor into our lives. Acknowledge your past self. While you may not agree with past decisions, they have helped lead to to this moment. Be grateful for that. You are alive and in a position to doing something. You can drive towards your goal. Secondly, we hear it a lot. Focus on the present. Embrace this moment because it is very important. Indeed, “keep the mind here and now where it belongs.” Vital and plays a part to the person we usually hurt the most – our future self. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Be kind to that future you. Understand you will be there, your next moment depends on this one, so do right by it. Give your future self something to be grateful for. Stop hindering and harming yourself and start building the steps that you’ll use to get to the next level.
4.) Accept It: This is most important. Some might label this – Forgive Yourself. Either way the point is the same – realize that what is done is in fact done. You will make mistakes. You will have days where you do one push-up, one sit-up, and read one sentence, because you just couldn’t get going. We all have bad days, rough weeks, and sometimes horrible months. Do not let it define you. Do not get so down on yourself that you give up. Accept it. Forgive Yourself. Move Forward. Right now. You can make the decision to simply let go and move forward. Difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Of course not. Will it take time? Yep. Effort and hard work? Yep. Will it be worth it? Ab-so-Forcing-lutely. So accept and continue towards your goal Jedi.

Failure of a Jedi

The past couple of days have been rough on an emotional level. On Tuesday I was just hit hard with an old companion – Defeatism. That is what I have long labelled my depression. That is the mask it wears. Self-crushing doubt and worthlessness. That no matter what I do it is all worthless and wasted effort. That I have already failed and even if I gain some measure of success I certainly do not deserve it.

It has been some time since I actually had my old friend knocking on my door so loudly. In recent times it has been a quiet thing which I could acknowledge, sit down with, and ultimately move forward happily without ignoring or bottling any emotions. Basic Jedi meditation and reflection was more than enough to confront my defeatism and walk away with a smile. But Tuesday I was done. That soul-crushing feeling that any effort, getting out of bed, getting food, typing on a computer, getting a cup of tea or coffee, all of it was pointless and the last thing I wanted to do. I was done. Done with the struggle, done with life, simply done. I wanted to end my romantic relationship – too much effort. I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to throw away my computer and video game systems. Quit everything and just be done with it all. Fortunately all of that would have required effort. Also fortunately I have been doing this Jedi thing for some time and have long recognized my Defeatist self.

Yesterday didn’t help as my cell phone decided to die on me. And to get a new phone is going to cost me around 400$. I had to cancel a trip with my girlfriend. A recurring medical issue was acting up. Yesterday seemed to be a day to justify how I was feeling on Tuesday. To show me – nope, not just an emotional low, there is a reason for this feeling see? You haven’t achieved your goals. You are spinning your wheels. You are digging a hole deeper and deeper in pursuit of goals you don’t know will materialize. And this is what you have to show for it.

Nothing has changed today. Today I get my new phone. Yay spending money I don’t have! w00t!! Well that isn’t entirely true. There is a change. there is something different. I took the time not to fight how I was feeling, but to embrace it. To examine it and acknowledge the truth of it. It is absolutely true I am not where I want to be and I am not earning the paycheck I had hoped. Yet I have made the decision. This is my year. Why? Blind faith? Unrealistic optimism? A little bit, but more because I have made big strides. I have achieved a lot of steps necessary to achieve the success I want. I am not there yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress. I have put in the work. I have sacrificed a lot. And I have seen the results of that effort. Not where I want or what I want, but that doesn’t mean it is worthless or wasted. Just means the road is further than I desire. But it always is.

We want instant results. We want the lottery win. We want the overnight success. But that is the exception, not the rule. Many fail in pursuit of their dreams and goals. But a lot of those people fail because they quit. They give up. The sacrifices become too much. There is a line everyone has in which they will call it quits. This is why they say genius and success require madness. Because it is a touch of insanity that pushes people beyond that line. It is that absolute refusal to throw in the towel until the goal has been achieved. And by that time it isn’t about money or success – it is about completing and accomplishing the goal/dream you set out too. Even if no one sees it but yourself – you are willing to cross that finish line no matter the cost. And that is what is different today. I am not done yet. And my old friend Defeatism can kiss my … because I haven’t finished yet. I still feel unmotivated today. I feel weak and wrecked. But I gave my friend his say. I listened. I acknowledged. I embraced. And now I am I saying – who cares? So I am not there yet. So what? Doesn’t mean I won’t be. I never thought I would have been interviewed. Never thought I’d have a literary agent. Progress has been made and it is going to be continued to be made. It has taken me twenty years just to be at the beginning. And if it takes me fifty years to see the end, so be it. I am willing to make that choice.

I will not allow fear (of failure or success) and self-pity to stop me. I have and will continue to make the choice to strive for my dreams. I will work for it and I will suffer those bad days. And I will happily look back at them. When I am standing at the end I will thank those days. Because they are valuable teachers. Reminding me of my limits and that I have the strength and power to go beyond them.

HAHA! So I originally just wanted to post the Power of the Jedi lesson on Infallibility. Seems I had something else I wanted to shout from my virtual rooftop. I am not done! Time to put in the work. See you at the top my loyal follower and thanks for taking the time. Failure is a lesson, not the end.

Jedi must understand that failure should never be the end. The Jedi Path places a heavy load on the Jedi, requiring almost superhuman traits for them to accomplish all it demands. In large and small ways, all Jedi eventually fail the challenges posed by the Path. They might act in anger or succumb to temptation. They might work against the balance of the Force, even with the best intentions. They will fall from the high ideals they hold.

True failure of a Jedi is not in stumbling or failing to live up to the ideals of the Order. The true failure occurs if, once having fallen, the Jedi fails to rise again. Jedi strive to live up to the Jedi Code and the teachings of their Masters. When (not if, but when) a Jedi fails to attain those goals, the only choices are to let the failure dominate her life, or to rise from the ashes of that defeat and strive to make peace with himself through the Force. That is the Way of the Jedi. – Power of the Jedi Sourcebook

Challenge Level: Life.

I recently embarked on a journey that is far beyond my capabilities. And I may have hit my ceiling. Not a roadblock, simply the point in which I cannot move beyond. Which may mean my pursuit is over. Over in the grand dream I had envisioned, but certainly not over as in quitting. Just means it is back to the drawing board. Back to studying and learning. 

It is hard to know when that pivotal moment in life is. It usually takes years and a lot of reflection for us to say – this moment, this one event had that course altering effect. All you can do is move forward as best you can. And when you are hurt, when you fall, and feel like crying then cry. But don’t cry and give up. You are already been through the pain. You already fell. So cry and keep going. Slowly pick yourself up and push yourself forward.

Bad days suck. No doubt there. My reminder to myself is this: Claw and crawl your way to f*king success. Just because the road isn’t easy, doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worth it. 

(Image Credit: http://choboroy.deviantart.com/art/Jedi-170051660 ) Forgot to do that last time.

 

For years I dealt with the online Jedi Community. I fought with them, I argued, I drove myself crazy trying to get them to understand. That was my mistake. Because over the years something became very clear. And that is what is above. At first I was wrong, then I wasn’t doing good enough, then they could do it better. The whole time I kept moving forward and the cycle has continued. Because as people get to where you were, you have already moved on. And once again you are wrong. The secret is not to pay attention to that back-chatter. To simply keep moving forward. Not to give-up because others don’t understand where you are at. It is YOUR journey. Your benchmark is your own standards. Keep grinding, keep pushing, keep moving forward.