Archive for Force

solo-quoteIt has been quite a month since the last update.  As far as the book goes, I made great progress on the book for the two weeks following the last update.  However, up until yesterday I was at a difficult crossroads with the book that was resulting in an epic case of writer’s block.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t know what to write but that I didn’tcelebration-keyart-wide-132889 know how to proceed.  I knew I needed more information to be presented but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to segue from one section to the next.  But, while trailing the wife while pushing the cart in the grocery store and practicing some mindful walking, the Force provided me the insight I needed in regards with how to continue and finish the chapter.  Maybe the writer’s block wasn’t such a bad thing as it gave me some time to watch all of the information coming from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim!

What a weekend SWCA was.  In an unprecedented technological display, 30 hours of SWCA were streamed across the holonet for the enjoyment of those of us who couldn’t attend.  What information did we get?  What did we see?  The new trailer for The Force Awakens was debuted and I must admit that I still get chills when watching it.  There were some bootleg video versions for the new stand-alone film Rogue One, now known as Star Wars fett-600x245Anthologies, to be found on the holonet if one looked hard enough, and that film also looks to be extremely exciting as well, even if one reaches the conclusion that there will be no Jedi in it.  We were introduced to the new characters, and through the trailers and the images the story is starting to slowly flesh itself out while still leaving enough unknown to help build the excitement.  Star Wars Battlefront also released new in-game footage which also looks very exciting, and with it being the new canon one can also determine that Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc.  So much more information came from SWCA than one little paragraph here can cover.  With SWC8 announced for London next year, I am already looking into getting my vacation time in the middle of July to see if I can attend.vaderburnthelmet

That is it for now.  With less than 2 weeks to Star Wars Day I believe that the lack of writing for the last few weeks will prohibit me from meeting my self-imposed deadline.  So, instead of getting false hopes raised, just know that I am writing as quickly as I can to provide a great manual while still raising a family and holding a full-time job.  I can tell you that it will be complete before The Force Awakens is released, that I do know for sure.

May the Force be with you!

Greetings to all my fellow Jedi!  With a pot of Rootleaf Stew simmering on the stove top, I thought it appropriate to get a post in.  So, here is the March update!

First off, as you can see by the pictures attached, I had an opportunity to visit the Yoda Fountain.  If you are unfamiliar with the fountain below I have included an excerpt which I pulled from the 421st revision to the book, or was it the 501st or the 1,138th revision?  Needless to say, between all the adventures and additional revisions I am losing hope that the book will be completed in time for Celebration this year.  However, just past Celebration is Star Wars Day, so that is my new target.  If I get it done before then, I will consider that a big bonus.  I have made great progress towards completion in the last few weeks, plus I had some insightful inspiration occur to me while cooking my stew just a few minutes ago that I can’t wait to share with everyone.  Regardless, I have made what I consider to be the final revisions to the first 5 chapters (except for the new addition below) so I can now include them in proposals in an effort to get this book printed by a traditional publisher.

Now, to the Yoda Fountain.  This small excerpt is in a part of the book where I try to explain the following two questions.  Why Star Wars?  Why the Jedi?  I want to go through this at least one more time to possibly clean it up and revise it some more but I think this is pretty close to how it will appear in the book.  Enjoy!

But just in case all of those reasons were not enough to convince you of the need for heroes in general and specifically the Jedi, let me tell you a story about an experience I recently had.  It was just a short time ago in March of 2015 (it was on Pi day, to be exact) when I went on a pilgrimage to the Yoda Fountain.  For those that are unfamiliar, the Yoda Fountain is a 26 inch “life size” bronze statue of Yoda sitting atop a fountain in a small alcove at the entrance to Lucasfilm, which is located in the Presidio area of San Francisco and just a short distance from the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area, with high cirrus clouds to diffuse the intensity of the midday sun.  My journey to the fountain involved a hike of over seven miles from the light rail station at the Civic Center of San Francisco.  I enjoyed my stroll through the neighborhoods of the City by the Bay even though the trip to the Presidio seemed to be entirely uphill.

Shortly after entering the Presidio area I found the statue after a little searching and took the obligatory tourist photos and selfie, but instead of the other tourists who came and quickly left, I stayed in the small courtyard for a little more than an hour.  While I was there I must have seen at least 100 people stop by and visit their favorite Dagobah resident.  They were ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fans of all ages, ranging from a few months of age to some octogenarians.  They were of all ethnicities and races, and I personally heard Russian, French, German, and the Queen’s English being spoken.  And out of all of these diverse groups of people, all of them, without exception, began to smile when they rounded the corner and caught their first glimpse of Yoda standing atop his burbling fountain.  Their happiness was a palpable vibe that was joyous and overpowering, and you didn’t need to be a Jedi to feel and experience it.  People feel happy and secure and like they are a part of an order when they are around Yoda.  That is why we are drawn to the Jedi.

The recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have caused much public outrage and raised many questions.  I received this message from James last week:

Hey, I’m a college student and big fan of your blog. I hope things are coming together well for your book. I do miss your daily posts, especially the ones concerning recent events in the world. Right now in the news media the Brown and Garner cases are huge topics that are fueling a lot of debates concerning larger issues. With all of these different opinions and sides I find myself lost and uncertain. I was wondering what would a Jedi knight do in this situation? What stance would he take in this debate?

I gave James a quick answer, one that I could type out on my phone.  But I realized that I have had this discussion with my children as well and thought that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  So I am going to expand upon my answer to James.

First off, these two deaths were completely avoidable.  Had both of these men complied with the police officer’s requests, they would have been arrested and had their day in court.  But they didn’t comply.  They both resisted arrest.  And in doing so the responding police officers did what they had been trained to do, they attempted to restrain these men and take them into custody.  Had I been in Brown’s or Garner’s shoes, I would have complied with the police officer’s demands and the incident wouldn’t have even been a blurb or a sound bite on the evening news.

Following these two unfortunate incidents, grand juries were formed to determine if any charges should be made against the officers.  In both cases, the officers were not charged with any criminal acts.  This caused outrage in the community, but the outrage is based upon a trial by media and not all of the facts.  Many years ago the police were very much a family that would try to protect one of their own.  But recently this has not been the case.  If you don’t believe me, ask a police officer in Internal Affairs how popular they are among their peers.  If Internal Affairs and an impartial grand jury didn’t find enough cause to take these officers to trial for their actions then I accept their decision.

That is my take on these two situations.  But before you crucify me, hear me out.  My take is based upon who I am.  I am a white male, a man who carries a badge and who is the son of a police officer as well.  I am not a black male.  I am not a member of a group that is treated so very differently than I am.  So I can understand how their actions, born of distrust and fear, would be very different than mine.  Remember this quote from Obi-Wan:

Luke, you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

My point of view is that the police are there to serve and to protect.  My point of view is that the police as an entity are a safe and secure group.  My point of view of the police is different than the point of view of other people.  And this isn’t just a difference between white and black.  It crosses gender, race, social, and economic lines.

Opinions and points of view are also being shaped and, dare I say, manipulated by local, national, and social media.  The news is being written and delivered in a way that attempts to polarize the community with anger and hatred and incite further protests and violence.  Instead of trying to heal this wound, relieve tension, and mend the community, it either causes cries of “police brutality” or “inner-city criminal”.  Social media does no better.  I see posts and pictures that are supposed to be funny, or to show the irony or hypocrisy of the actions of both sides.  But even if they do make you laugh, chuckle, or smile, those pictures are unconsciously trying to deepen and widen the divide that exists between both sides of this issue.

So, what is a Jedi to do?  What stance would a Jedi take in this debate?  In this situation your role as a Jedi is to act as a healer, mediator, and arbitrator, helping both sides come together.  How does one do this?  Keep reading.

First, you need to search your own feelings and be honest with yourself.  Are you choosing a side?  Don’t misunderstand me, the police need to be held to a higher standard because they are there to protect us.  They are to be Jedi themselves, whether they like Star Wars or not.  But a badge and a gun doesn’t give them the right to invade and violate your own rights.  If you do find yourself choosing one side or leaning to one side, spend some time meditating to try and understand the thoughts, views, opinions, and feelings of the other side.  By fostering this sense of empathy it will allow you to connect to both sides with compassion and help them meet in the middle.

Next, when given the opportunity try to act as as a mediator.  If a family member, friend, coworker, or a crowd on the street expresses an opinion that is indicative of a highly polarized view in either of these cases, try to understand where they are coming from and then help them release their anger by showing them that their own point of view, while not wrong, is clouding their judgement.  Talk to them, listen to them, let them know that you understand their point of view.  But then try to help them understand the opposing point of view.  You wil find that the majority of their issues are rooted in fear, and the same goes for the opposing viewoint as well.   Police officers are not killers intent on genocide and all people not of your race are not criminals and thugs.  Yes, there are bad cops and there are criminals, but we can’t stereotype and assume that all people of a certain group are.  There can be no trust when there is fear involved.  Instead, reach out and be a bridge between both sides.   When one can see both sides they can then meet in the middle.

Many will not listen to you, desperately clinging with attachment to their anger and hatred, but you will make an impression on a few.  Remember these words by Mother Teresa:

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Your empathy and compassion will open the hearts of others.  They will begin to understand interdepence, the understanding that there is a symbiosis and interaction between all people and events, and that what one does to another is the same as doing it to onself.  This will remove the fear, anger, and hatred, and replace it with love, trust, and understanding.  And then they too will act as you did, and an awakening will slowly happen across this country and eventually to the whole world.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

That is what I feel a Jedi would do.

I would like to thank Jamie for the question, and I would like to thank you for reading through this post.  I hope it inspires you to go out and make a difference.  Share your message and get the word out.  May the Force be with you!

Time flies so fast . . . .

Whoops!  Where did the time go?

I was under the impression that my new schedule was going to give me some extra time to do some writing.  As for September, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  Work was extremely hectic and fast paced.  The first part of October wasn’t much better as I not only worked a hectic schedule but also had to deal a sick wife, sick Younglings, and do some extra studying outside of work.

But now things are settling in and . . . . . . . . .

FINALLY!

So, enough of the excuses.  On to what the Jedi really want to know.

I have made a few more technology changes that will facilitate writing the book even more.  I have embraced the cloud and given myself numerous options as to what platform and which computer I can now write on.  I find this extremely exciting!

So what does that mean?  Even with my frantic schedule I did compose the outline for the final and as-of-yet unwritten chapters.  I then went in and did a very dirty rough-rough-rough draft.  The data in the final chapters is more notes and thoughts, but from these fragments the chapters will spring forth.

Thanks for checking in on this update, and may the Force be with you!

Book Update for August 2014

by Jetsi

I nstar-wars-death-star-hologramow hold all the knowledge in the palm of my hand.

Don’t get too excited, though.

I have just completed compiling all my notes and creating the outline of the final few chapters.  Instead of them being on my PC, Evernote, my iPad, and my iPhone (in pictures, voice memos, and notes), everything is now compiled into one source.  And I went really old school on this.  It is on paper.

With this tedious yet so important task completed, I am in the final push to finish up the last few chapters.  With the first few chapters in a “highly polished” state I am also ready to begin courting publishers.  Don’t worry though, even if no publisher picks this up I will be self-publishing a limited number of copies and creating an e-book.

With the Padawans back to school and my work schedule changing to where I will have lots of time sitting in a hotel room to write I am now making the final push to completion.

It is not a massive amount of information but it does show that the finish line is near.  Thanks for your continued patience.  You will have your book soon enough!

Book Update for July 2014

by Jetsi

forceforchangelightsaberMy oh my!  The summer sure does bring about some busy times if you have Younglings in the house.  Even with the little ones and work I have been able to make some edits to the book.  These edits are thanks to the change by Disney/Lucasfilm to rename the Expanded Universe as Star Wars Legends and to remove its status as canon.

The change in status left me in a quandary for some time as I tired to figure out how to incorporate  these changes into the book and whether the loss of canon status was going to require me to rewrite significant portions of the book.  However, after some contemplation I realized that it truly didn’t matter and may even work to my benefit.  Throughout the book I am referencing Joseph Campbell quite extensively.  I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that the change from the EU to Legends happens tie in nicely with the underlying training theme of the book.

Another nice tie in with the book is the Star Wars Force For Change program.  This program allows fans of Star Wars to give back to the Republic while garnering opportunities for some pretty intense prizes to be given away raffle style.  As of this writing there are less than 2 days left to participate in the program.  If you wish to participate you can click here to make a contribution.  It will go to UNICEF, a very worthwhile cause.  You can forget about being in the movie, however, I am winning that one particular prize!

With the Younglings returning to the Academy in less than a month and changes to my work schedule and domicile I will be returning to writing more in the near future.  I understand that sounds like a broken record to those who have been following this for a while but I thank you for your patience and promise you a book that you will find enlightening and enjoyable to read.

May the Force be with you!

If only I were a Besalisk

by Jetsi

Image courtesy of StarWars.com

Things would be much easier, and get done much more quickly, if I were a Besalisk like Dexter Jettster and had four hands.  In theory I would then type two different things at once.  But alas, I do not have that luxury and stuck with the limitation of having only two hands.

Time for a history lesson.  Not too long ago and in a galaxy very close to us there was a man who decided to take what he had learned about trying to be a Jedi in our modern world and share it with others.  In the course of writing the book, however, he quickly realized that he wasn’t ready because there was still plenty of things to learn.  With a half a book written he put it on the back shelf and decided to explore the areas where he felt he was deficient and write about them.  From that point, over 5 years ago, this website was created.

If you remember the website in its initial creation it was quite the sight but quite a horrible site.  It has changed many times since then, to its current incarnation.  I do have a few small tweaks I would like to make and a few portions of the website to finish but that has been sidelined for now, read more about why below.

When I was first writing the book I wanted it to be available by Celebration IV.  That deadline passed and it changed to Celebration V and then Celebration VI.  I am not going to make that one as well, although I have been trying.  Life and the Force just sometimes have other plans.  But one things I realized is that I can ‘t split my writing up and effectively write the book and keep this blog updated.  So now I am leaving the choice to you.

I am going to get this book out.  I am going to try for traditional publishing methods but if there are no takers I will provide it as an e-book through some online portal such as Amazon.com.  It will have plenty of illustrations and expanded information about the principles discussed on this website.  But if I am going to get this book out of my head and into your datapad I need to be able to devote my full attention to it.  So there are basically four choices:

  1.  Leave the blog and Facebook and twitter account alone and write the book
  2. Forget the book and devote my time and attention to the blog
  3. Try and do both at the same time like I have been and not produce much content on either platform.
  4. Concentrate on the book but provide links to relevant information via the Facebook and twitter accounts.

So, the choice is yours.  You can leave a comment here on the blog or go to our Facebook page, like us if you aren’t already doing so, and answer the poll I am putting there right after posting this.  Speak up and make your voice be heard!

This is a play on the quote by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;

I think too many people are more concerned with the title of Jedi than by actually being a Jedi.  They seem to be more concerned with what the martial arts training and the lightsaber than the self-reflective and compassionate diplomat that are the hallmark of a true Jedi.

Instead of the Jedi we could be training as the medieval knight, the samurai, the ninja, or the Shaolin monk.  No matter what path you choose, however, you still end up at the same destination.  All paths up the mountain end at the summit.

Don’t get too wrapped up in calling yourself a Jedi.  That is an ironic statement to come from a website aiming to train you as a Modern Jedi Knight.  But the true paradox is that as you advance in your training as a Jedi you will associate it as “Jedi Training” less and less.  It really is training in being a good human and humanitarian.

Resilience

by Jetsi

Every Jedi will stumble and fall at least once in their lifetime.  We have plenty of examples of the movie Jedi, such as Anakin’s fall to the Dark side, Luke’s failure at the cave in The Empire Strikes Back and his attacks on Darth Vader and the Emperor aboard the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Never give up!

The stumbles can be internal, external, or both.  But the cause is the same, which is the ego getting in the way of channeling the Force through mindfulness.  Fear, anger, hatred, revenge, or physical hostility all come from the same location, the ego.

So what is the solution?  Continue to meditate and get used to being mindful so you can carry it over into your everyday activities.  When eating, eat.  When walking, walk.  Don’t cloud the Force with memories of the past or thoughts about the future.

Every Jedi will stumble and fall at least once in their lifetime.  The difference between the Jedi and the Sith?  The Sith remain fallen while the Jedi pick themselves back up.

Should a Jedi be Vegan?

by Jetsi

A few weeks ago I did a review about The Book of Jedi by Dogen Elohim Altieri, and in this review he mentioned that Jedi should be Vegan/Vegetarian.  With a daughter who has recently decided to go Vegetarian on moral principles I thought I should look into this a little more.

Most Jedi who follow a Vegan (from this point on Vegan will refer to all forms of Vegetarians, including octo-lacto, etc.) diet do so because of the Jedi Code as re-written by Luke Skywalker that says that Jedi respct all life, in any form.  Vegans and I will agree that commercial food lots that hold their livestock in small pens and feed them an alien diet full of drugs are very disrepectful of animals.  However, people have spoken with their wallets and livestock raised humanely in large open fields and fed a native diet are now available in grocery stores at a small premium to conventionally raised meat.

So if the animals are being treated with respect while alive and throughout the butchering process I ask the question, is eating an animal a form of disrespect?  I say no.  It is a biological fact that the human body is designed to be fueled by animal products and my point is that it runs optimally on a diet that imitates the diet of the human race prior to the advent of the agricultural revolution (discussed here and here as the paleo/caveman/evolutionary/primal diet).  Like the story of the frog and the scorpion, it is in our nature to eat other animals so there is no disrespect in doing what we are designed to do.

So, what can we do as Jedi to respect the life of all of our food (remember, plants are alive as well!)?  The first thing you can do is buy the right food.  Buy organic and free range.  Buy your beef and bison grass-fed and finished.  Let your chicken not eat Vegan and live on a diet of bugs and larvae like they are meant to.

The second thing we can do is recognize the sacrifice the animal (or plant) has given to become our food.  Say grace if you are so inclined, or do like the Japanese do and say “Itadakimasu” (literally means “I will receive” but said in thanks prior to eating) or something equivalent.  Give thanks again when your meal is complete, to what you just consumed and to whoever created the meal for you (yes, you can thank yourself!).

The third thing we can do is be mindful while we eat.  Pay attention to the food as you put it into your mouth, truly taste it as you chew it and swallow it.  Do not sit in front of the TV, or the computer, or the iPad, or be on the phone while you eat.   Be here and now and enjoy.

You can still be a Vegan Jedi if you so desire.  Just be certain to do it smartly and get all of the nutritional components that you need.  However, don’t feel pressured to do so to live up to the Jedi Code.

Are you a Vegan Jedi now, thinking about it, or were you one in the past?  Let me know what you think!