Tag Archives: Real Jedi

Waiting for you…

There is a difference between handling things and and dealing with things. This is one of the biggest traps for most people, including Jedi. Life can get busy. It can come at us quick. And we can feel we are doing a great job of dealing with things. that we are tackling each new challenge and responsibility that we encounter. The reality is often we are just managing these things. Marking a checklist and then moving on to the next thing. But when we slow down and find ourselves with a few minutes to just relax (meditation, laying down to sleep) things seem to creep in on us. And we start to feel bad or stressed or overwhelmed. Where did that accomplishment go? Why when things are finally done do we feel the most broken?

Human beings are great survivors. We are pretty tough. Doesn’t always seem like it, but individuals have been defying the odds for as long as we have kept records of it. Our ability to power through is a great asset, but it can mask emotional trauma. Something that is just as valid as physical illness. If you break your foot, you don’t power through it. You go to a medical professional, get it set, and than rest accordingly to allow the body to heal itself. Same with being sick, you rest up until you feel healed and ready to go. Yet we continually ignore this standard practice with our mental health.

And sure, there are some moments and even days when you have to suck it up and power through. This even goes for physical ailments. There are always exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking we need to be aware of our state of being and address it properly. Jedi have various practices which help us out in this endeavor. Self-reflection, Awareness, Meditation, there are many things we practice which have us stop and look within ourselves. These should be moments of relief and comfort. But what happens when we are not?

Well it could be a sign that we are managing things. We are dealing. We are getting by. We aren’t fully addressing what is going on within us or our lives. And we have come to no conclusion within ourselves about how we truly feel about what is happening within our lives at the moment. This isn’t really a failure of living the Jedi Way – again this can be a feeling that arises during Jedi practices. And this is how the Jedi Path can helps us. It gives us the chance (daily) to look at where we are at, how we are feeling, and that information is invaluable. You need to know something before you can do something about it.

So if you are meditating or laying down for bed and find that something is waiting for you – what can you do?
1.) Don’t run from it. I know you may have an important day tomorrow. Or in a few minutes. But you can’t keep putting it off. If you have a day off tomorrow or you know you’ll have time later to sit down with this and really look at it. Then obviously acknowledge that. Set that time up for yourself and then power through. But don’t keep running away from this feeling. Procrastination is not the answer that is going to help you here.
2.) Acknowledge and Accept. We all know this one, right Jedi? We have to be willing to face ourselves. Look ourselves in the mirror, be honest, and be willing to acknowledge and accept what we find facing us. It is only when we acknowledge a problem that we can begin the process of solving it. So – take that time to face this mountain that is casting a shadow over you. And accept that this is a process and it starts with being honest with ourselves.
3.) Patience. Nothing is fixed in a instant. It takes time. A broken bone doesn’t heal over night – why would a broken heart? The flu doesn’t go away because you have more important things to focus on, why would your stress? You have to approach it like any other health problem. That requires rest, patience, and treating yourself right.
4.) Meditation. The original tool for mental health. Constant and regular practice. Finding a technique that works for you within this moment. Since you are dealing with this emotional or mental injury you may have to change your normal meditation style. You might need to use a technique that helps you acknowledge, accept, and let go of the extra weight. Allowing yourself the time and energy to heal. So be mindful on your meditation and find a technique that you find helpful (keeping in mind that it may take a few sessions, patience). When in bed – focus on breathing and just letting go of that extra weight with each exhale.
5.) Professionals. Do not forget that there are resources out there for you. As you would go to the hospital for a severe injury you may want to consider seeking professional help with emotional of mental injury. That is a call you are going to have to make. But don’t rule it out. Even just seeking that professional online advice can provide you with more tools and resources for your recovery. Sometimes we reach the point as far as we can get on our own. In that case – make note that you will research professional help the next day, be at peace with that decision, and meditate until sleep takes you.

This my two pennies. I am not a professional – so as always – grain of salt. But as this was something I have been dealing with I wanted to write something on it and talk a little bit about my own practices and experiences. You have to be patient with yourself and accept who you are within the moment. The Jedi Path provides a lot of great tools and resources for growing beyond such experiences in a positive and healthy way. The Jedi Community can sometimes interfere with that. So be mindful of that. Still focus on the Path, live it as best you can, and I believe it will help right the ship. Meditation, Fitness, Awareness, Patience, etc. You’ll get there Jedi – just have to take it one step at a time.

Five Steps to Jedi Calm

http://alishmcmalish.deviantart.com/art/Arden-Valtari-634652642

One.) Acceptance is Peace.
In order to correct a problem we must accept that there is a problem. It is the first step. Acceptance is acknowledging and allowing something to exist. Most feel acceptance is passive. You accept and so you just leave it. “I accept injustice in the world, so I won’t do anything about it.” But that is not full acceptance. You have to accept your world, but also yourself. And that means accepting all of you. Your strengths, your weaknesses, the things you like, and the things you don’t. It is okay if you feel you have darkness in you – philosophically debatable, but if that is the label you use then accept your darkness as well. This allows you to fully address all situations you find yourself in because you know your limits and how far you are willing to go. So our first step to Jedi calm and peace is to accept the universe and ourselves.

Two.) Measure the Risk, Embrace the Now.
Too often we can get caught up in the what if scenarios. The potential hazards and consequences of a situation. Our minds can process hundreds of scenarios where something bad happens. And sometimes we feel anxiety and have no real reason, we just are worried. Focus yourself on the risk, regret, reward. Not worse case scenarios, we know those readily and easily. Instead think on the moment. This moment – what is the risk of doing? Will you regret not taking this opportunity? What about in a year, five, ten? Is this moment worth the leap? Measure your risk, sure. Be rational and consider your options, but don’t live so far in the future of endless possibilities that you never live for the moment and act in the present.

Three.) Acknowledge the Warning, Forget the Worry.
Fear is a natural response to what our instincts tell us is dangerous. That we are about to do something we are not comfortable with and don’t feel confident in doing. It is not bad or evil or dark. It is just a natural process. The issue arises when we allow fear to create worry and distract us from what is right in front of us. The endless possibilities of consequences and bad things that could result if this happens or if that happens. Worrying is a hamster running on a wheel. There is a lot of movement, a lot of energy, but no progress and no advancement. Acknowledge and accept the fear. Thank yourself for the warning. Measure the risk, and then embrace the moment. Worrying about it won’t change it.

Four.) Focus on Your Reality
We all know the Qui-Gon quote. Direct your attention where it will be most beneficial. You have accepted and embraced, now it is time to just focus. Steady the mind and hone that energy and focus onto something productive. If you are lost in thought on some what-if scenario you could miss important signs. You may not react or respond properly. Keep your attention here and now, because this is the moment that requires your attention. So focus on where you are and what you are doing. Hmm?

Five.) Just Live.
In the end forget all this nonsense and just live your life. Be happy. Enjoy the ride. It is going to end eventually anyhow. No one lives forever. No sense in wasting what time you have trying to be something that doesn’t make you happy. Being with someone who doesn’t make you happy. Refusing to do anything that you might enjoy because it is safer to do nothing. Live. Embrace your life. Whether that is the Jedi Life or the Snowboard life. Whatever. Just live. And if that means staying in a bed reading an endless pile of books because that is what makes you happy – then go for it (I mean you will have to work to afford more books and hot cocoa and such, but still). Point being is to simply live the life you want to live to the very best of your ability. Do that and you’ll build that inner calm within.

Real Jedi, Activism (Written Lecture)

I was asked to do a video on this topic. Which yes, if you have a topic or question, ask away and I’ll do my best to address it. With some videos I feel having a written lecture or script to share helps people understand the topic better.

Okay. So, is Activism a part of the Jedi Path? And if so, what can we do as Jedi? If not, what actions can Jedi take? This will be a two-part look at the topic. The first on Activism. The second on Jedi less keen on Activism. Activism and Action is basically what I went with.

First let’s make sure we properly define Activism. Activism is defined as the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. I am sure people have their misconceptions of the word. But I’d prefer we approach this with a Beginner’s Mind. So try to put aside the assumptions about activism and lets just dig into it.

Activism is just about demonstrating the change you want to see in the world. What “change” will determine what group of people you will associate with. There are many activism groups out there; with a wide range from the NRA to Farm Sanctuary. However this is NOT a requirement for a Jedi. Yet many Jedi, due to our seemingly over-developed sense of justice, do have an eye towards political and social change. So many do find themselves seeking to be more proactive in these areas (on all sides of many topics).

If you are one of these Jedi who wants to get more involved – how can you do that? Basic Jedi Code stuff. Knowledge over Ignorance. First determine what you want to see changed. Then research what groups are available, especially in your area. Dig into the group and be sure they practice activism in a way that you agree with. Some groups go to extremes that can undermine their causes. Be sure their actions are things you won’t mind doing and supporting (especially as a Jedi). Knowledge, Information. Arm yourself properly before running off to change the world.

Along these lines – You may want to write clear goals and the vision you have. Help establish exactly the direction you want to take. Also – look at successful events which may help you organize peaceful events for your cause. Mainly it boils down to this.
Step 1 – Preparation/Planning. Have a clear outline of your event. Inform necessary people of your participation. Friends, Family, and Teachers. So they know where you are, what you are doing, and can respect your rights to peaceful protest.
Step 2 – Get Your Materials Together. Signage, Markers, Baked Goods. Whatever you need for your event.
Step 3 – Meet up with your group and those interested in participating to fully plan and organize your event.
Step 4 – Promote. Spreading the word about the event will help raise the awareness of the cause and encourage other people to join in your event.
Step 5 – Participate in Event. Don’t forget to have ways to record your event. Especially if there is strong or hostile opposition. We all have a voice and the right to be heard, but you want to protect yourself from any misinformation and ensure everything goes down peacefully.
Lastly – Use that footage, pictures, etc. to share with other like-minded groups and social media to continue to raise peaceful awareness and encourage and support the change you want.

As with all things in life exercise some moderation. Remember to be a Jedi. That means being patient. Changing the world takes time. Segregation in Schools in the US didn’t change over night. The right for women to vote didn’t happen overnight. Remember to take time out for you and your peace of mind. Self-Care is important. Do not burn yourself out. Remember it is okay to say No. You do not have to be at every event. If you had a 12 hour work shift, don’t feel you have to be at a protest for the next four hours thereafter. Don’t forget to take a break from Social Media, News Outlets, and even your fellow Activists. Disconnect to Reconnect. Go hiking for a day. Camping for the weekend. Stay in bed and cuddle with someone having marshmallow fights and candyland tournaments. And of course, keep up your daily Jedi practices.

In the end, be smart, be safe, be a Jedi. And if activism is your jam – here is a link to some great tips for getting involved.

Here is a link which has some great tips if Activism is your jam. http://www.publiceye.org/ifas/fw/9606/guide.html

Be smart. Be safe. Be a Jedi.

Ten Time Budgeting Tips

tumblr_nqts1nQIi81sfcn57o1_540

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Jedi Life Lessons

960260_239850526175481_1482579524_n

1. Stay True to Your Word
“Easy it becomes to be false in big things, if false you are in small ones.” – Yoda
Do what you say you will do. It is really that simple. Don’t promise anything you aren’t comfortable with. If you really don’t want to do something and feel you won’t follow through (making plans to hangout, helping someone move, whatever) then don’t say you will do it. Say what you mean and do what you say. In this you will build a solid reputation and honor to your word.

2. Don’t be a Bystander
“Courage was something a Jedi did not think about. It was simply the will to do right. It was the discipline to move forward.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
It can be scary to stand-up for what is right. Equality, fairness, not to allow bullying. The silent observer is much safer and certainly has a time and place. But if something feels wrong it is okay to say something. Don’t stand on the sideline of your life. Don’t allow fear to make to accept hurtful and unfair behavior. The way we make changes and stop such things is by standing up and saying something. Showing that we will not allow such behavior to go unchecked.

3. Make a Change for the Better
“Must relax…reach out with my mind…reach inside…through the pain…renew!” – Ki-Adi-Mundi
Look in the mirror and commit to a positive change. Be willing to sacrifice who you are for who you want to become. You want to be a Jedi? Then be a Jedi. Commit to the practices and philosophy. Live it and understand that it will change how you see and approach life. This goes for all things. Make the effort to be better. At school, at work, in your social relationships, commit yourself to working pass the obstacles, fears, and pain, and being the best version of you possible.

4. Focus on Problem Solving, Not Problem Blaming
“If all who faced adversity surrendered to it, nothing of value would remain.” – Plo Koon
It doesn’t matter where the fault and blame lies. What matters is finding a solution and resolution to the problem at hand. We can point fingers and pass blame all we want – but it doesn’t matter if it was our fault or someone else’s. Focus instead on fixing and oslving the problems. Fault might be necessary for stopping an issue at its root, but don’t get so caught up in blame that you miss the core fixes and ways to avoid the similar problems in the future.

5. Act Now Not Later
“Use your time. You’ll find one day that you have too little of it.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
The best place you can apply this in chores and tasks and homework and all that stuff that most people want to put off. Forget that. Play the Nike slogan- Just Do It. Better to get it done and out of the way now and use the time later on for fun things. Focus on responsibilities, get them done and out of the way so you can enjoy what time you have left. Focus on the here and now. Handle your responsibilities. When asked to do something – stop, take care of it right then, and get back to doing things you’d preferring to do. This also applies to number 2. Don’t wait until things are out of control or too late. Act now, get it done, solve the problem, move forward.

Pokemon Go + Jedi = Charity!

First off I have to say I haven’t been into Pokemon for a long time. It is not really my thing, but when I was younger and it was relatively new – I did partake in the cartoon and games. But now they have released this new App Pokemon Go and it is not only pretty fun, but has really encouraged kids (of all ages) to get outside and walk around. So how does that work? Well it is simple. Pokemon Go is a ARG – Alternate Reality Game. In which you use your phone to track your movement/walks and stumble upon Pokemon out in the world. When that happens you pull up your camera and you use Poke Balls to catch the Pokemon. You collect as many as possible. And you find new Pokemon by going to new locations. Parks and major shopping areas tend to have stores and Gyms where you can connect with others. Overall it is a pretty interactive and fun little App that encourages outdoor exploration.

This has really come in handy in a couple service projects I am a part of. One is a little more limited in application – as it is with the Big Brother (Big Sister) program. And has really helped turn our little hikes into more regular events and much more interactive as well. This has been a great thing as we were struggling in common ground activities there for a bit. Especially in more active (and free) activities.  So this has help create a fun way to hike around and explore the city we live in. Driving to different parks, walking around the paths, hiking in the hills. It has really been a great experience. However this is a very personal experience and limited really to my current situation. There is a way to use Pokemon Go and your normal Dog Walks to help a great organization.

The WoofTrax App (http://www.wooftrax.com/) is a great thing I have been using recently which tracks your dog walks and helps support a local shelter in your area (or if there is not one in your area – a animal shelter of your choosing). Can you see the connection? Download WoofTrax, Download Pokemon Go, get out there and catch them all at the same time as supporting a great organization. If you don’t have a dog you can virtually walk their own rescue dog. This has been a great blend of modern technology, internet fade, and doing some community service.

No one said Community Service had to be trying, boring, or no fun. Blend your passions. Be a Jedi. Catch ALL the Pokemon. And support a wonderful cause at the same time.

5 Life Lessons from Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker

Life is this crazy, wondrous, beautiful, and ever-changing thing. It is not always easy to navigate its fast and flowing currents and we can find ourselves a bit lost on how to proceed. Often in these times we look to areas which inspire us. People who have attained the goals they pursued. Or characters which we have come to identify with. For many Jedi that has been a lowly whiny farm boy turned confident hero, Luke Skywalker. Here we explore some quotes of the character for a little advice in life.

“It was never too late to correct a mistake.” – Luke Skywalker
It is going to happen – at some point you are going to make a mistakes. Gasp! Shock! Surprise! You will find a choice you made was not the best one and it had an affect on your life. But not everything is written in stone. Often sometimes we can adjust and make the most of a mistake. We can correct our course. We can apply the freshly learned lesson and make-up for a poor decision. Pencils have erasers because mistakes happens and sometimes we can correct them. That correction may take time, it may take years, but don’t just surrender yourself to a bad outcome. You are alive. You are wiser. You are capable of correcting past mistakes.

“Wishing that things were otherwise does nothing to erase memories. Wounds do not heal by ignoring them.” – Luke Skywalker
There are plenty of things in life that can leave a mark. Times we want like to change. But none of us have a time machine. Dreaming and wishing you could change things doesn’t affect anything. You cannot live life looking backwards. It is like driving a forward while staring in the rear-view mirror. Torturing yourself over the past only serves to blind you to what is in front of you. Learn from the past. Eventually accept and come to terms with the past. You cannot change it, but you can use it to help build a brighter future.

“Having more experience doesn’t mean making difficult decisions are easier, but it does let you know that sometimes the tough decisions must be made.” – Luke Skywalker
I have been doing this Jedi thing for, well, longer than most – lets just say that. And there are times in life when it is still difficult to Jedi-up and do the Jedi thing. When you first begin the training you’ll find plenty of obstacles and hurdles, but eventually a lot of those become easy and second-nature practices. Yet no matter how long you live, how long you are a Jedi, there will always be a time when you are faced with a tough decision and it is still a tough decision to make. But experience does remind you of one important thing – not making a decision is still making a decision. When presented with choices, you must move forward as best you can. Use your experience and training and make a decision you feel best.

“It was good for a Jedi to question… Discipline was necessary, but unquestioning obedience was a limiting thing, not a growing one.” – Luke Skywalker
When one first starts out on a path they are taking a lot of things on faith. They are assuming the practices and lessons are made out of experience and will lead to positive and beneficial changes. So not every little thing is questioned and faith is put into the instructors. Such is nice, but one should never follow blindly. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you do agree with soemthing, talk it out. If you something just doesn’t seem right, then discuss it. You can respectfully question material, methods, and practices. You can question traditions and why things are. This is a great tool in learning. Any real instructor will appreciate the questions because not everything is always covered in the lesson plan. Exploration is necessary. So dig into it and should you ever have a question – ask.

“Your overconfidence is your weakness.” – Luke Skywalker
It is absolutely important to believe in yourself. It is important to your know yourself. Your weaknesses, your strengths, and your limits are all core self-knowledge items. Some people will mistakes confidence and self-knowledge as arrogance and over-confidence. Know yourself and hold to it. Humility is knowing your strengths and using to them, not bragging about them. Still you will need to be careful of over-confidence. It blinds a person not only to their own flaws and weaknesses. It starts to rely heavily on assumption and begins to ignore information counter to your own belief. A small danger can become a huge one if you start to believe yourself infallible and untouchable. Over-confidence is a weakness that will cause you to get blindsided a harsh reality. Assume you can do anything and you’ll quickly find out how incorrect that is. Know yourself and know your obstacles and you will always overcome them (one way or another). So be objective, honest, and fair with yourself and you will grow into a very capable person.

Battling the Dark Side Five Tips from Qui-Gon Jinn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Five Point Article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Be Objective About Subjectivity.
Each of us is still an individual. We will have worries and concerns that are unique to us. We cannot expect to always understand each other. The commitment (to each other) is what is important.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Not all things in the world are written in facts and unchanging stone. Beauty is a subject which is very subjective in nature. This does not mean that objectivity has no place. It simply means we must apply that knowledge. Understanding that there are things that change depending upon our own point of view and experiences in life. Understanding our bias and subjective ways of thinking can be approached in an objective manner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Ways to Help like a Jedi

Jedi_Explore_Corp

1.) Choose Carefully.
There a few things to consider when you want to honor the Jedi ideal of Service to Others. Most do this by participating in a charity. Getting involved with an organization that has the structure set-up to create a desired impact. While you may want to mail a box of goods to a region hit by disaster, there is no one there to receive it, distribute the goods, and make sure it goes to those that need it most. So instead you would donate to a charity group you know has boots on the ground and is providing that service. Of course with so many charities out there, you need to be choosy.
So first off pick a Cause that is important to you. You can start broad and narrow it down. Animals or Humans? Young, Old, Endangered? Education, Prevention, Relief/Aftermath? Lets say you pick Animal Protection. You feel a desire to specifically help Gorillas such as the Cross River Gorillas. So you go to www.gorillas.org. Maybe you can’t get that specific so you go with www.worldwildlife.org. Or maybe you want to be part of a smaller group like www.wildlifewaystation.org. The main thing is to pick something that speaks to you as that will focus your efforts.

2.) Time can be more valuable than Money.
It is not about being rich and using charities as tax deductions. I mean if you are, awesome or whatever, but not all of us have money we can send to a charity. At best we may have a 50 dollar yearly charity budget. But a lot of organizations find your time much more useful and thus more valuable. Relief efforts often require a lot of people sorting, packaging, and moving goods and care packages. Homeless and Animal Shelters often need help with cooking, feeding, and cleaning. Reading programs at local libraries often need volunteers more than money.
So don’t feel money is the only way to give back and be of service. You can make a big impact by giving your time and energy to a charity. This may be more difficult with certain charities as they operate in countries where specific problems or animals are located, but there is usually something you can do. Just do your research and really look into how best you can help a cause that resonates with you.

3.) Seems Legit.
Homework. Research. Verify any Charity before you give. Also consider the size of the charity. Their records on where their money is going and if they have positive financial stability. You don’t want to give to a charity that is about to go under due to years of poor financial use. Giving your time and money to a big charity is often most appealing because they tend to have visible impacts as group. Of course smaller charities can really use help and your efforts can often be felt and seen right away.
The main thing is to make sure the charity is legit and using the money properly. Which there are plenty of sites which allow you to see the rating of charities and exactly where the money is going. Groups like Charity Water boost 100% of all donations going directly to their cause. While other groups some of the donation will go to administration (employee) costs, which is not a bad thing. But it is important to make sure your money is being used wisely. Many charities have gotten in trouble for putting most of their money into management pockets. So do your homework.

4.) You are Not Alone.
Rope in your friends, family, and all humans within arms reach. Okay, maybe not that, but you can arm yourself with knowledge and information and education those around you. Some people may be interested in the same causes you are and looking to help, but don’t know where to start. Others may be less proactive, but are looking to donate to a worthy and verified charity. So don’t feel you have to silently and singularly help out an organization you like and feel is doing good work. Talk about your work and efforts. Have fun with your cause and look to encourage others to get involved. Also remember you are in fact joining a group. Many people who are seeking to help just like you. Saving the world does not fall on your shoulders alone. So don’t approach it with that mindset.

5.) Don’t Over-Extend Yourself.
First off – if you are donating money budget for it. Do not just give all your money away. Spend wisely. If you ruin yourself financially then you won’t be able to give in the future and that doesn’t help anyone. So spend wisely, budget accordingly, and continually give what you are able and comfortable in giving. If that is 10 dollars a year – then that is what it is. Don’t try to save the world all at once.
Of course just as important is to make sure you don’t over-extend yourself. Don’t wear yourself into the ground, working yourself to death, for a worthy cause. Again, if you destroy yourself in the process then your helping stops and no one wins in that situation. Slow and steady wins the race. You cannot cure or save the world overnight. Whatever cause you chose will take time. So pace yourself accordingly. You want to make a positive impact and that will take you a few years. So don’t spend all day every day giving all of your time, all of your energy, and all of your money. Because you can only keep that up for so long. So spend your time and money wisely on the charity of your choosing so you may do so for as long as possible/necessary.