Tag Archives: Kevin Trout

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.

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.

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

Day 3 – Exercising Sound Judgment

I wanted to put up some exercise videos today. Not instructional or anything. Just some exercises I routine do and enjoy. Kind of touch on that whole Physical Aspect of Exercise. However I am dealing with a slight medical condition. It is an Indirect Inguinal Hernia. My doctor has me on a wait-and-see approach. Not waiting to do surgery unless it is truly necessary. And since manual labor or heavy lifting is not a part of my daily life (job/career) there is less chance of me making it worse. Of course I run Spartan Races and train physically as a Jedi. I prefer High Impact Interval Training as well. So I haven’t been the best patient at times. Which is silly because that only hurts and endangers my self. Not really a Jedi thing to do since Physical Well-Being is one of our Five Axioms (per the Jedi Circle) and that means taking care of our bodies. Resting when ill, healing when injured, and not worsening our physical state by poor work-out habits and diet. Something I have really kept to in more recent times. And I have had to adjust some of my training/work-outs accordingly.

Anyhow. Yesterday and today have been bad days. With the recent changes to Jedi Living from the original Jedi Academy Online format I have just felt full of energy. I have this sense of good things to come and want to capitalize on that. Really get and offer the most out of this energy spike. Of course if you start to push yourself to hard, your body is going to let you know. So I have had to ease up and not get the videos done that I had hoped to do – Yet. So today instead of physical exercise demonstrations I am going with sound judgment exercise.

Since the Doctor has me on this wait and see approach I have done some research into non-surgical “cures”. Nothing actually looks promising. Unlike most beliefs it isn’t about muscle per se. While good muscles can help prevent what is actually involved is Fascia. My type of hernia is very common in men due to our anatomy – I was surprised how common. Anyhow, Fascia is not like muscle or skin. It is different and thus heals and acts differently. All Hernias need surgery to be fixed. Truly healed? I haven’t really come across anything that suggests one is ever truly healed. In fact, my doctor said with age there is a higher risk of re-injury and/or a new hernia happening due to the strain on the muscles and fascia. However there is information on strengthening exercises and stretches you can do for such injuries. Which do help the fascia. Staying in shape is actually one of the requirements and doctor recommended activities – just have to do so in a sensible manner.

So it was a fight between doing what I wanted with the risk of making my condition worse or taking it easy for a bit and seeing how my body responds. My exercises aren’t that bad, except for the Pull-up Burpees I like to do (which was one of the exercises I wanted to film). They require jumping, leg lifts, and landing. Plus the normal squat, plank, push-up positions that come with the regular exercise. Now I normally don’t have an issue. Plus I take measures to help, such as a truss to help keep things in place. But as I said, these past two days have not been kind. So instead I have decided the more Jedi-like thing to do would be to focus on healing. As I really don’t want surgery and that will become mandatory should things get worse.

So today is exercising sound judgment. Doing some easy non-weight related exercises in the house. And monitoring myself to ensure I haven’t pushed beyond acceptable perimeters. I also won’t be putting this up on the Tumblr or FB page. Just a little more personal and I am not sure it would be of interest to those mediums. So if anyone actually reads just the blog – congrats. Your weird tenacity has made off or something. Now to exercise some meditation. 😉

10 Things You Should Not Sacrifice for Jedi Training

Ancient_Monument_TCG_by_Cynthie_Sheppard

Whether you consider yourself a teacher of the Jedi Way or especially if you are looking for a Jedi Mentor there are 10 things you should not sacrifice for training. Master or Padawan your training relationship is important and should not cost you these ten things. Now these also VERY much apply to Jedi Websites, Groups, and Training Programs. Also while I am speaking to the Student – if you Jedi Mentor feel this list applies to your student(s) time to consider a change.

1. Freedom.
Routine check-ins are a part of training. So is adhering to the rules and ideals of the Jedi Path. But you are always free to walk away, choose a different mentor, go to and participate at any Jedi Site you so choose. Possessive behavior almost always points to an extreme internal insecurity. If your Jedi Group.Website has a no training at other places policy/rule or not allowing outside views – you need to question that. It is cult-like behavior to isolate people. Controlling behavior suggests that the person does not feel comfortable with him or herself, and this definitely needs to be worked out before he or she commits to any long-term relationships (romantic, educational, or otherwise).

2. Yourself.
The Jedi Path is about change. But it is about changing into the best version of you, not changing the essence of who you are. It is about not being defined by your past, but embracing and becoming the person YOU want to be. Do not change yourself for ANYONE but yourself. As a Jedi Mentor I assume students have made a choice to live by the Jedi Way and seek the change that comes with that. But if you become uncomfortable with certain requests, or worse demands, to change your behavior – Speak Up. This is a lifestyle and path of personal wellness and betterment. If you don’t like the person you are becoming, cut ties, and reflect on what you do like about yourself and run with it. All relationships require some compromise, but these are things like using Google Hangouts instead of Skype which you prefer. The right person will like you for you and will want to cultivate the best version of you (not change who you are).

3. Happiness.
If someone does not enhance your life and add to your joy, then what purpose do they serve in your life? Again, applies to all relationships. Being a Jedi is about Finding Your Bliss. As a Jedi I am a million times happier than any point in my life. My life is far from perfect and yet I feel joy, bliss, and happiness on a daily basis. If your Jedi Mentor is not helping you reach this – time to seek out a better training environment. Now, it won’t be all sunshine, puppies, and balloons. Your Mentor will need to be tough on you sometimes – such is the teaching role. But you should be able to determine if a relationship is adding to your happiness or just making you miserable. If unsure, ask those that see you daily. Ask them if you have been smiling and laughing more or less than usual.

4. Fun.
Above all else, you should have fun. Can you joke openly and freely with your mentor? Do you feel like a kid at times during training? A relationship always comes with disagreements from time to time, but you should never give up fun in a relationship. Life is stressful enough. Learning a new lifestyle carries its own challenges. You have to be able to have fun too.

5. Your dreams.
Seriously. Living as a Jedi is a dream in itself. So why would your Mentor being trying to dream-crush any of your other hopes? I mean, maybe if they are about world domination or something. But all relationships are about trust, communication, and support. If someone is making you feel like you should just be a grocery bagger and never dream beyond that? Our dreams define a good part of us. To give them up is to give up a part of ourselves.

6. Inner peace.
This is a core of the Jedi Path. Cultivating Inner Peace is mandatory. So if your Mentor damages your calm? Time to run away quickly. They obviously are not there yet and need to focus on their own training. So if they are pumping out negative energy time to find a new training partner. Jedi Mentor should reflect the calm within.

7. Your desire to explore.
Exploration is core to our path as well. All Jedi Students are like cookie monsters of knowledge. So yes, there will be restraints. Your mentor will look to slow that devouring of information. But never at the cost of exploration or an exploring spirit. In fact your mentor (or Jedi group) should have materials for you to explore and compare to their own view. And if you express a desire to explore outside their view, it should be encouraged (with stipulations and addendums perhaps ;))

8. Your other relationships.
Your relationships with friends and family should not have to suffer just because you are training to be a Jedi. It is possible some in your life may not like or respect your new lifestyle. You’ll need to exercise mindfulness in determining that. But No Jedi Mentor should be restricting or sabotaging any of your relationships. Training requires contact, but it should not be your entire life ot the exclusion of others. Family and Friends are core to the Jedi Ideal of Social Well-Being. A confident training partner won’t need you to ignore all else and focus only on them. They should understand that life needs attention and you’ll need time away to handle the crazy things that arise in the roller coaster of life.

9. Your spiritual/religious beliefs.
I don’t care what “ism” you follow as a Jedi – your spiritual and religious beliefs are for you. they are your’s and your’s alone. No Jedi Mentor should seek to convert you. Or tell you that you are not a Jedi because you don’t X, Y, or Z. Spiritual Well-Being is core to the Jedi Path, but it is for each Jedi to discover, explore, and determine for themselves. Your mentor will help. They will help question and offer new concepts to consider, but your choice should always be respected.

10. Communication.
Every relationship requires a deep commitment to truly listening to the other person and understanding his or her thoughts and feelings. Without Communication you have nothing. True learning will not take place. You cannot learn form or teach those that lie to themselves. If they are unable or unwilling to truly shut up and listen to what you are saying then it is a waste of your time. Your feelings and concerns are valid and should be given full attention. Talk, Listen, Communicate. If you feel you can’t or just aren’t being heard – you guessed it – time to move on.

(I am counting this as Jedi Circle – Exercise: Day 2. Exercising my mind and understanding of Jedi ideals. plus I want it out there so I am held accountable to this as well. This article is inspired by one I read on powerofpositivity.com which was more about intimate relationships. Wanted to see if I could approach the subject as a Jedi.)

10 Things You Should Not Sacrifice for Jedi Training

image

Whether you consider yourself a teacher of the Jedi Way or especially if you are looking for a Jedi Mentor there are 10 things you should not sacrifice for training. Master or Padawan your training relationship is important and should not cost you these ten things. Now these also VERY much apply to Jedi Websites, Groups, and Training Programs. Also while I am speaking to the Student – if you Jedi Mentor feel this list applies to your student(s) time to consider a change.

1. Freedom.
Routine check-ins are a part of training. So is adhering to the rules and ideals of the Jedi Path. But you are always free to walk away, choose a different mentor, go to and participate at any Jedi Site you so choose. Possessive behavior almost always points to an extreme internal insecurity. If your Jedi Group.Website has a no training at other places policy/rule or not allowing outside views – you need to question that. It is cult-like behavior to isolate people. Controlling behavior suggests that the person does not feel comfortable with him or herself, and this definitely needs to be worked out before he or she commits to any long-term relationships (romantic, educational, or otherwise).

2. Yourself.
The Jedi Path is about change. But it is about changing into the best version of you, not changing the essence of who you are. It is about not being defined by your past, but embracing and becoming the person YOU want to be. Do not change yourself for ANYONE but yourself. As a Jedi Mentor I assume students have made a choice to live by the Jedi Way and seek the change that comes with that. But if you become uncomfortable with certain requests, or worse demands, to change your behavior – Speak Up. This is a lifestyle and path of personal wellness and betterment. If you don’t like the person you are becoming, cut ties, and reflect on what you do like about yourself and run with it. All relationships require some compromise, but these are things like using Google Hangouts instead of Skype which you prefer. The right person will like you for you and will want to cultivate the best version of you (not change who you are).

3. Happiness.
If someone does not enhance your life and add to your joy, then what purpose do they serve in your life? Again, applies to all relationships. Being a Jedi is about Finding Your Bliss. As a Jedi I am a million times happier than any point in my life. My life is far from perfect and yet I feel joy, bliss, and happiness on a daily basis. If your Jedi Mentor is not helping you reach this – time to seek out a better training environment. Now, it won’t be all sunshine, puppies, and balloons. Your Mentor will need to be tough on you sometimes – such is the teaching role. But you should be able to determine if a relationship is adding to your happiness or just making you miserable. If unsure, ask those that see you daily. Ask them if you have been smiling and laughing more or less than usual.

4. Fun.
Above all else, you should have fun. Can you joke openly and freely with your mentor? Do you feel like a kid at times during training? A relationship always comes with disagreements from time to time, but you should never give up fun in a relationship. Life is stressful enough. Learning a new lifestyle carries its own challenges. You have to be able to have fun too.

5. Your dreams.
Seriously. Living as a Jedi is a dream in itself. So why would your Mentor being trying to dream-crush any of your other hopes? I mean, maybe if they are about world domination or something. But all relationships are about trust, communication, and support. If someone is making you feel like you should just be a grocery bagger and never dream beyond that? Our dreams define a good part of us. To give them up is to give up a part of ourselves.

6. Inner peace.
This is a core of the Jedi Path. Cultivating Inner Peace is mandatory. So if your Mentor damages your calm? Time to run away quickly. They obviously are not there yet and need to focus on their own training. So if they are pumping out negative energy time to find a new training partner. Jedi Mentor should reflect the calm within.

7. Your desire to explore.
Exploration is core to our path as well. All Jedi Students are like cookie monsters of knowledge. So yes, there will be restraints. Your mentor will look to slow that devouring of information. But never at the cost of exploration or an exploring spirit. In fact your mentor (or Jedi group) should have materials for you to explore and compare to their own view. And if you express a desire to explore outside their view, it should be encouraged (with stipulations and addendums perhaps 😉 )

8. Your other relationships.
Your relationships with friends and family should not have to suffer just because you are training to be a Jedi. It is possible some in your life may not like or respect your new lifestyle. You’ll need to exercise mindfulness in determining that. But No Jedi Mentor should be restricting or sabotaging any of your relationships. Training requires contact, but it should not be your entire life ot the exclusion of others. Family and Friends are core to the Jedi Ideal of Social Well-Being. A confident training partner won’t need you to ignore all else and focus only on them. They should understand that life needs attention and you’ll need time away to handle the crazy things that arise in the roller coaster of life.

9. Your spiritual/religious beliefs.
I don’t care what “ism” you follow as a Jedi – your spiritual and religious beliefs are for you. they are your’s and your’s alone. No Jedi Mentor should seek to convert you. Or tell you that you are not a Jedi because you don’t X, Y, or Z. Spiritual Well-Being is core to the Jedi Path, but it is for each Jedi to discover, explore, and determine for themselves. Your mentor will help. They will help question and offer new concepts to consider, but your choice should always be respected.

10. Communication.
Every relationship requires a deep commitment to truly listening to the other person and understanding his or her thoughts and feelings. Without Communication you have nothing. True learning will not take place. You cannot learn form or teach those that lie to themselves. If they are unable or unwilling to truly shut up and listen to what you are saying then it is a waste of your time. Your feelings and concerns are valid and should be given full attention. Talk, Listen, Communicate. If you feel you can’t or just aren’t being heard – you guessed it – time to move on.

(I am counting this as Jedi Circle – Exercise: Day 2. Exercising my mind and understanding of Jedi ideals. plus I want it out there so I am held accountable to this as well. This article is inspired by one I read on powerofpositivity.com which was more about intimate relationships. Wanted to see if I could approach the subject as a Jedi.)

Jedi Circle – Exercise Day 1

Lightsaber_Training_by_Jedi_Art_Trick

This is the first topic in the Jedi Circle and thus the first one I’ll be tackling. Exercise. It is one of the Five Habits and carries a very broad use. Exercise can be applied to all areas of our well-being. Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, all can be exercised in one form or another. But before I get into the topic specifically I wanted to talk briefly on the Five Habits or more to why they are called such. When I was developing the Jedi Circle for a long time I called these the Five Practices. Which is true enough, but I felt it was missing a key point of these practices being daily. During a conversation I was asked by a fellow Jedi how I kept up my practices on a daily basis and I mentioned that they were basically habit. It is just what I did when I woke up. Thus the title was renamed to enforce this concept. Exercise, Meditation, Acceptance, Acuity, Assiduity. These are daily things Jedi work on which formulate into habit.

Now as I was developing the Jedi Circle “Exercise” was actually listed as Physical Fitness for years. It is a core aspect of being a Jedi. Physical well-being. That is a very broad field and most think Body Builder, then they think Unnecessary and then they move on to something less taxing. This working out is only one aspect of physical well-being and that doesn’t mean power lifting. So knowing I need to really approach the topic with more depth I gave physical wellness its own category and changed Physical Fitness into Exercise.

Lots of things fall under the umbrella of exercise. Play Table Tennis for hour – exercise. Some may scoff, but we all have our own level of fitness. I spend about an hour and half every morning on physical exercise. I also spend about twenty minutes in my day on awareness exercises. I look to exercise my mental faculties as well, which takes a vary of forms. Logic puzzles, reading, learning something new. I seek to exercise my emotional well-being. Exercise covers such a broad spectrum of the self that it really serves as a great habit for the Jedi.

Throughout the week I’ll be looking to talk a little on various exercises I use in my day. And how you can use them as well. Time management is a factor and thus a lot of my exercises are two birds with one stone. With a little common sense you can adjust these to fit your life as well, if you are so inclined. But more than talk I will look to get a video or two to demonstrate these exercises. That is all I have for today. It is a busy day. Exercising my priorities. 😉

Jedi Circle – Exercise Day 1

Lightsaber_Training_by_Jedi_Art_Trick

This is the first topic in the Jedi Circle and thus the first one I’ll be tackling. Exercise. It is one of the Five Habits and carries a very broad use. Exercise can be applied to all areas of our well-being. Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, all can be exercised in one form or another. But before I get into the topic specifically I wanted to talk briefly on the Five Habits or more to why they are called such. When I was developing the Jedi Circle for a long time I called these the Five Practices. Which is true enough, but I felt it was missing a key point of these practices being daily. During a conversation I was asked by a fellow Jedi how I kept up my practices on a daily basis and I mentioned that they were basically habit. It is just what I did when I woke up. Thus the title was renamed to enforce this concept. Exercise, Meditation, Acceptance, Acuity, Assiduity. These are daily things Jedi work on which formulate into habit.

Now as I was developing the Jedi Circle “Exercise” was actually listed as Physical Fitness for years. It is a core aspect of being a Jedi. Physical well-being. That is a very broad field and most think Body Builder, then they think Unnecessary and then they move on to something less taxing. This working out is only one aspect of physical well-being and that doesn’t mean power lifting. So knowing I need to really approach the topic with more depth I gave physical wellness its own category and changed Physical Fitness into Exercise.

Lots of things fall under the umbrella of exercise. Play Table Tennis for hour – exercise. Some may scoff, but we all have our own level of fitness. I spend about an hour and half every morning on physical exercise. I also spend about twenty minutes in my day on awareness exercises. I look to exercise my mental faculties as well, which takes a vary of forms. Logic puzzles, reading, learning something new. I seek to exercise my emotional well-being. Exercise covers such a broad spectrum of the self that it really serves as a great habit for the Jedi.

Throughout the week I’ll be looking to talk a little on various exercises I use in my day. And how you can use them as well. Time management is a factor and thus a lot of my exercises are two birds with one stone. With a little common sense you can adjust these to fit your life as well, if you are so inclined. But more than talk I will look to get a video or two to demonstrate these exercises. That is all I have for today. It is a busy day. Exercising my priorities. ;)

Jedi Circle – Exercise Day 1 was originally published on 365 Jedi

I am not looking for a friend, I am looking for a Jedi Master

I am not a huge Luke Skywalker fan. The character sort of rubs me the wrong way. Really it is just me think, grrr, I’d be a much better student and Jedi. But I the quote above fits me perfectly and my interactions and time with the Online Jedi Community. I should have just been quoting that from the very beginning at people. But as someone who tuned out Luke as much as possible, it never sunk in. Yet my mindset and approach from day one has been summed up nicely here. “I am not looking for a friend, I am looking for a Jedi Master.

Funny enough. I have found friends and not a single Jedi Master. I mean sure, plenty of people waving the title around like it is the Black Flag and they are Tortuga. But I haven’t actually met a Jedi Master. I recently correlated the dates of when I first began my online Jedi search. 1994 at CompUSA ditching sixth period class my freshman year of high school. 1990 was when I first saw Star Wars on VHS. And 1998 was when I fully committed to the online Jedi Community. So however you want to chop that up as a starting point, I have been doing this for a bit. I have met a lot of people. great people. Smart people. People with things worth teaching. I have definitely found some Jedi Knights in that time. And certainly I have found people who would be worthy of the title if they chose to follow the Jedi Path (I don’t believe in calling people Jedi, especially giving them rank, if they don’t follow the path). It is important to make note, because i think people get that confused. There are no Jedi Masters so this whole thing must be worthless. I fell into that trap once. I was disappointed and disillusioned. I just soldiered on. Kept reading, kept studying, kept living it as best I could, but missed a lot from experienced people. All because they were not Jedi masters.

I did not become a Jedi for the social aspect. Like everyone not a Jedi, I saw it for the silliness it was. To go around calling yourself a Jedi? Absurd. Borderline delusional. And online friendships meant absolutely nothing to me. No. I saw value in the concepts. I liked the lifestyle. I understood the depth of pain some Jedi characters went through and admired their ability to be even stronger for it. So I was not interested in buddy-buddy chatty time. It is why I never made an effort to stick around before 1998.  When it was chat rooms and role-playing and hanging out, I had no interest. My internet time was extremely limited. If I was going to spend on a computer with friends, well, my friends played DOOM and Warcraft and Monkey Island. Friendship I had and it was not what I was looking for. But….

It is something I found. For most of my online Jedi career, if you will, I have been considered stand-offish and prickly. Again, not looking for friends, looking for Jedi. I am not interested in popularity contest. I am interested in beneficial practical application that can be applied to my every day life.  All I could offer was me. Me as I am, online or offline. There is a difference of course. I cuss in-person whereas online I’d have to go out of my way to do that. My humor is a bit more dark and sarcastic in-person, which is hard to convey online. So the natural differences in writing and speaking present themselves, but I seek to be as open as possible so the difference between the two is as minimal as possible. The point being, when you do that people tend to respect it. And while my prickly reputation grew, so did my no BS policy, and people were able to respect that; even if they didn’t always like it.

Over time I came to trust people online. By 2002 I was on my way to the first Annual Jedi Gathering in Montana. Moved there that same year to be around other Jedi. I have been fortunate enough to make many friendships online and offline since my joining the Jedi Community. My major romantic relationships have been tied to the community. I have often life-long friends Id never had without the online Jedi Community. The emotions, the trust, the in-depth and intimate conversations allowed for relationships to grow. And out of that many friends were made. It is something I have been very thankful for. And I am glad to say I do not see and end to that. I have met new people and continue to do so. And the idea of those online meetings turning into fully realized friendships is something I enjoy and hope for.

I have yet to find a Jedi Master, let alone My Jedi Master. Never found my Yoda. The Jedi Community itself sort of took on that role and offered up a plethora of lessons, often mercilessly. The teacher known as life and experience can be a very harsh instructor. But a useful one. When you get kicked in the teeth by life, learn the lesson, so that you won’t have to repeat that lesson again. There will be others, but you definitely do not want repeats. But I digress once again.

I do not know if you, my one reader, came looking for a Friend or a Jedi Master. I am kind of mean to my friends. Brutally honest and giving a hard time. I am not a Jedi Master. Maybe one day, in twenty years or so. But what I can say is you will find a little bit of both at the Jedi Academy Online. Or in books, because my literary agent tells me I need to plug those. >_> Seriously though, Jedi we have. Understanding we have. Experience, Knowledge, and Empathy. Maybe you find lifelong friends in the Jedi Community, I hope so. If nothing else, I know you will find something of value. Information that will be useful to you and beneficial to you in your life. Maybe not a Jedi Master, but maybe a Jedi Friend.

The Roller Coaster of Life

Real Jedi Living. It is always something I have sought. There have even been a few times when I thought I had mastered it. The reality of course was like a cold shower at 6am. I know I am not where I’d like to be. There has been a fair amount of fear of failure that has sought to creep in. In 2007 it was that fear which ultimately lead to my failure within my marriage by 2010. As my ex-wife sought a new path I was left to examine where I had gone wrong. I had been a Jedi for over a decade at that point and yet I was lost. I stopped my Jedi practices and became an armchair Jedi, a fugazie, a fake. It was a dark road. Not dark like sith or any of that non-sense, it simply means I was not in a good place. I was drinking alcohol from the moment I woke-up to when I went to bed. I stepped off the path.

It took a young Jedi student to continually slap me over the head and help give me purpose. It was a small thing. Direction. Asking questions, pushing for website material, seeking how it relates to my life. At the same time she did not judge. She never scolded me or accused me. She simply kept living as a Jedi and continued to encourage that I do the same. It took some time, but eventually it began to sink in. The Police Academy didn’t give me much time to dwell, but when I graduated in 2011 I again had a little too much time. So after a conversation with this tough cookie of a Jedi (who is a true inspiration with what she has dealt with and deals with) I looked into adventure racing – mud runs. Tough Mudder was too much too start out. 10 to 12 miles with obstacles? With my non-Jedi, alcohol consuming, fast food eating fitness level? No way. Instead I found the Spartan Race. With one near me starting at 3.5 miles. More my speed.

I felt I was Luke Skywalker on Dagobah. It was awesome. It was cold. It was harsh. It was tiring. It made me cramp up near the end of the race. I thought I wouldn’t be able to complete it. A test of endurance and will. I was Luke, a young (mentally and emotionally for sure) kid lost and searching for something more. I found my Dagobah. I have gone every single year since. This will be the fourth year. Spartan Races has grown into this huge thing. Reebok sponsorship, prize money for the competitive heats, televised on national sport channels. But I still just go to affirm my Jedi Training. This year I shall be going dressed as a Jedi. Make it really tough. And it comes at the right time.

My Dad has cancer. This is the second time and it is pretty heavy. My Brother and Sister are freaking out a bit. Been a lot of death lately around our circle. And we are still young. None of us have kids. And there is that fear of losing someone important to us before we get to share these wonderful events in our lives. And have our kids really get to know their grandfather. So there is worry, there is concern. Fear of loss. It is a big one and it is what crept into me in 2007 – fear of loss. This time has been different though. This time I have really stuck to the Jedi Practices. And have been that outward Jedi for my family.

The possibility of loss should not destroy the living moments we have now. Enjoy this time. Do not fill it with fear, sorrow, or anger. Instead use this time for laughs, smiles, and determination. Embrace the moment and encourage hope. Should the worse come to pass we will be able to look back with fondness, not regrets of time wasted. Of course, I suspect my Father will be around for another two decades at the least. The will to live counts for so much. And he has a thirst for life, a stubbornness which will be of benefit. It is not about running away from the fear or pain. It is about facing it, embracing it, and still living a beneficial and positive way. That is the Jedi Way.