100 Days

A couple of YouTube personalities I follow (you may have heard of the one, John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars) are going to spend 100 days, starting on January 1st, to make “lasting, meaningful, healthy changes in their lives.”  It looks really interesting.  In this intro video, John mentions meeting with a dietitian, a trainer, and a psychologist, as well as doing meditation, obstacle courses, rock climbing, ecc.  I might post a few videos if I find them really helpful, but otherwise it might be good to follow and watch (no, I am in no way affiliated, I just think it looks really helpful and interesting) for inspiration and information.


…The Confidence Will Follow


I always felt a special connection to Carrie Fisher, as I share a birth date with her (though many years apart).  I came close to meeting her in August, but just missed her.  It is sad to know I will never get the chance, but I will carry her words and memory with me always.

Mock Gathering – Bahama Cruise

To begin with, I was not the one who came up with this idea.  I am not sure I would have ever come up with the idea of a cruise on my own, but it is a damn good idea.

I looked at a few different cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, and MSC), and the best I came up with was Royal Caribbean.  I did not specify dates, which would effect cost, but overall, just pricing individually, I came up with a cruise to the Bahamas at $129-$200 per person for three nights.  Four nights was only about $10 more, but I could understand difficulty with schedules.  I will include just to be thorough. These prices are based on my original search, prices may fluctuate.  These prices include all meals, so this is less than or comperable with the most recent Gathering.

3-nights Bahamas – $134/person – Departs from Miami, stops in Nassau and CocoCay.
4-nights Bahamas – $149/person – Departs from Miami, stops in Nassau, CocoCay, and Key West.

Things To Do On Board:

  • Rock Climbing – 40ft
  • Flowrider (Surfing) – Private lessons additional fee
  • Ice Skating
  • Fitness Center
  • Fitness Classes – Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, ecc. (Some classes additional fee)
  • Mini Golf
  • Sports Court
  • Running  Track
  • Inline Skating
  • Scaba – additional fee
  • Complimentary entertainment and live music
  • Daily Brunch
  • Pool
  • Three Whirlpools
  • Library

Things to do in Nassau:

  • Only swimming with the dolphins was mentioned specifically, as well as the beaches

Things to do in CocoCay:

  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Jet Ski Rentals
  • Nature Walks
  • Wave Runner

Now, as I mentioned, the rates were based on individual rates, or for up to four rooms.  There are group rates available, I would just have to actually speak with a representative and have specific dates to acquire those, however some interesting group information based on their FAQ section:

  • Payment can be made by the organizer, or individually.
  • Eight stateroom (16 guest) minimum for group discount
  • Deposit due 30 days after reserving the space, final payment due 75 days prior to sailing
  • Dining arrangements can be made (so that we all dine together)
  • Various activities can be arranged for the group (scavenger hunts, private shore excursions, karaoke, trivia, cocktail parties, private dinners, rock climbing time, ecc)
  • Complimentary use of state-of-the-art conference rooms and most lounges


Jedi Trials: Trial of Insight (5/5)

From The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace:

Trial of Insight Reveals a Jedi’s aptitude for distinguishing reality from illusion through deceptive challenges.

Can Jedi be deceived?  Of course, but only if we ignore the will of the Force or the information in our Archives.  A Jedi who is deceived is no longer working for the cause of the light side.  In extreme cases, a Jedi operating under delusions may become a danger to innocents.

The Trial of Insight guards against this threat.  It was the last test to be formalized as part of the Trials of Knighthood, and rose to prominence after it became clear that the Trials were producing Jedi who were brave, competent, and could overcome temptation–but who could not see through the patter of a simple con artist.

Deception and misdirection are threats to the Jedi, and our enemies frequently use them against us.  The Hutts have been the ruin of countless Jedi campaigns throughout history, not due to their martial prowess but through their trickery.  The Trial of Insight tests a Padawan’s ability to see through illusion and judge the person beneath, and to filter out distractions in search of the truth.

Over the centuries many challenges have been employed to assess this ability in the Trial of Insight.  These include locating a single grain of sand within a field of stones, determining the content and meaning of a fragmentary text from scattered pieces, and solving any of the High Riddles of Dwartii–and no, researching the riddles in the Archives beforehand is not permitted.

The Trial of Insight may occur at a moment when you are not prepared for it, and may in fact be part of an unrelated challenge.  I am reminded of three Padawans undergoing the eighth hour of the Trial of Skill.  Through a perceptual trick all were made to believe they faced a horde of angry warriors.  One battle on the face of certain defeat and passed her Trial of Courage.  The second perceived the illusory nature of the combatants and passed his Trial of Insight.  The third bowed out of the trial, citing exhaustion, and failed to become a Knight.

“Insight may also be gained by seeing beyond what is physically in front of you, to what is real.”

Of the five Trials, the Trial of Insight gives me the most issue when trying to come up with potential ways to test insight.  As I have been told it has been done in the past, the deception has been done during the interview/trial process and has been done in increasingly disruptive ways.  This does not settle well with me.  With how draining the trials can be, especially with the Trial of Spirit, I feel like the student should be able to rely on the Jedi administering their trials.  If a Jedi is the one to represent the Trial of Insight, I would rather it be one not otherwise involved with overseeing the trial.  Not to say that there are ways it could be done ethically, but I see many problems.

I lean rather, to having someone not involved with the trial present the “deception.”  Either a fellow Jedi not involved in the trial, or to have a scenario set up outside of the Jedi community, although this again proves the difficulty of having qualified individuals available for this.

As for the exact deceptions that could be used…it is difficult to say.  While it would have to be something significant enough to register to the students sense of insight, I would also suggest that it not be something that causes a student deep distress.

A possible example that comes to mind is actually an April Fool’s joke some friends and I pulled on a friend back in High School.  My friend was very much against smoking, so I acquired a pack of cigarettes from my older brother and my other friends and I acted as if we were going to go out back to “Smokers Corner” as it was known.  Something like that could be done, to see if the Jedi figures out it is all a farce or if they believe their friends apparent actions.  In fact, a good number of April Fool’s type ideas could work well for this.

A student could test out of the Trial of Insight if they have seen through significant deceptions before.  For example, a deception I admittedly failed during my senior year of High School was being “quick changed” (in my defense, I was 17 years old and had only been a Jedi for about a year).  Where a Jedi to encounter such a deception and see through it, that could warrant a pass on the Trial of Insight.

Jedi Trials: Trial of Spirit (4/5)

From The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace:

Trial of Spirit Tests a Jedi’s ability to vanquish inner battles and emerge unscathed.

Outsiders think that the Jedi exist to crusade against enemies–that we are mere counterbalances to the threat of the Sith.  Only among our own ranks do we recognize that being a Jedi is an emotional commitment to a higher spirituality.  This is the challenge represented by the Trial of Spirit, known among some as Facing the Mirror.

Jedi possess great power, and those who have fallen to the dark side have unleashed their power in waves of misery.  The Trial of Spirit measures your temptations and whether you can put them aside in the service of a greater cause.  Although this is just as much a battle as the Trial of Skill, during this challenge you might not flex a single muscle.  The battlescape is in your mind, and victory is marked by a profound sense of peace.

It is impossible to describe the Trial of Spirit.  I do not know the fears coiled in your heart.  Not even Grand Master Fae would presume to dictate your challenges.  The Trial of Spirit is to be carried out under deep meditation, with a Master who will nudge you onto the path that you least wish to tread.

Under meditation you may feel that you’ve been transported off Coruscant entirely.  You may see the faces of colleagues who have long since passed into the Force.  You will undoubtedly see things that disturb you, from enemies you have faced to the most horrific cacodemons in the Core’s nightmarish mythology.

Remember the third precept of the Jedi Code: There is no passion, there is serenity.  Stay true to the discipline of self-control, and keep in mind that you are but an agent of the Force.  Once you accept that grief, shame, revenge, and all other emotions that center on the self have no hold on you, you will emerge victorious.  If you do not, you will emerge broken and screaming.  You should hope you do not fail the Trial of Spirit.

“During the Trial of Spirit, Jedi must mentally face their deepest fears.”

This Trial would probably be the most difficult and intensive.  It could be useful if done before the Trial of Courage however, as it will likely present many fears and insecurities.  This Trial is the primary reason I think the Trials should be given more adequate time then just a few hours.  I believe for this Trial, a student should sit down with a Jedi and go through their life, slowly, bit by bit.

About a year ago, I started typing up a sort of autobiography.  It is amazing how emotionally trying this is, not to mention liberating.  To go through all the painful moments, many that you forgot, to find the root of most of your fears and insecurities, and to examine the experience of your youth through an older, more aware and knowledgeable set of eyes.  There will likely be tears and laughter, but in the end, the student would come out of it with a better understanding of themselves.

Ideally, this should be done with someone who has trained in a field like psychology, or specializes in this sort of healing, that way they can help the student deal with things, or know well enough to advise them to seek out additional help if needed.  The student should also be prepared to take time to recover from the experience after if possible.  This could be done in one day, or several days, depending on the amount of detail brought out and whether there were any major issues in a students past.


Jedi Trials: Trial of Flesh (3/5)

From The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace:

Trial of the Flesh Determines a Jedi’s capacity to overcome great pain.

For many Padawans, the Trial of the Flesh is the most difficult of the Knighthood trials.  This ordeal will test your ability to overcome great pain, and it may be quite literal.

As a historian, I have studied the Trial of the Flesh in its incarnations throughout the millennia.  During the Pius Dea era, the Jedi Order subjected Padawans to torments of cold, cuts, sonic shock, and the application of sustained, low-powered blaster fire in the technique that the smugglers call “the Burning.”  Now condemned as barbarism, this practice is best understood as a product of its time.  It did, however, crystalize the Trial of the Flesh’s most fundamental principle:  divorcing the self from the spirit.

During the most recent war against the Sith, the Council viewed battle as a living expression of the Trial of the Flesh.  All Padawans who survived a war injury passed this Trial on the evidence of their scars.  Padawans who had defeated a Sith Lord sometimes passed the Trials of the Flesh, Skill, and Courage simultaneously.  Far from being a matter of political expediency, these battlefield trials have a long precedent in the Jedi Order.  Padawans who lost a limb to cho mok or another Mark of Contact surrendered their flesh to demonstrate their commitment to the Jedi Order.

It is now a different time, and we do not expect Padawans to prove their worth through wounds.  The Trial of the Flesh, in fact, is about more than physical agony.  The pain of loss is part of your passage from Padawan to Knight, for you are giving up the closest pond you have ever known.  As the partnership with your Master is formally dissolved, you may be overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or regret.  This is part of your Trial of the Flesh.  Think well on the first precept of the Jedi Code: There is no emotion, there is peace.

“Physical pain is one type of test a padawan may face in the Trial of the Flesh.”

This is probably the only Trial I think is more suited to not being tested on the spot. Additionally, it should probably be the easiest to pass.  Everyone experiences pain throughout their natural lives, both physical and emotional.  I think this should be a trial where a student is asked for examples of times they felt both extreme physical and emotional pain.  If a person is out there, living life, they will have more than enough to tell.

Emotional:  The loss of a loved one, betrayal, abandonment, ecc.
Physical:  Broken bones, sprained limbs (take it from someone who has done both…sprains can hurt SO much worse), severe illness, chronic disease/pain, ecc.