Mock Gathering – Wisconsin Dells

 

I hesitated on posting this one, because it has the probability of being a little more expensive than usual.  However, these ARE ultimately just for fun.  They are a sort of brainstorming, that may give others ideas when they are organizing future gatherings, so I am going for it, cause this one would be fun.

Accommodations
The Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.  The Kalahari is the largest indoor resort in the Dells, with both and indoor and outdoor waterpark.  For the purpose of this Mock Gathering, I priced the Entertainment Villa, which is listed for sleeping 18, and if everyone is doubled up in beds, will sleep 18.  Couches provide additional sleeping space, though I think I would make an executive decision to keep the lower level common area free of people sleeping, so that there is somewhere in the open people can hang out all night without disrupting someones ability to sleep.

kalahari-map

The Villa provides a five bedrooms, one with a King bed and the other four each with two queens.  There is a fully equipped kitchen (with full sized refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove/oven), free high speed internet, a laundry room, pool table, a private secluded entrance, and complimentary shuttle to the lobby.

Within the resort itself, there is a fitness center, lazer tag, bowling, mini golf, a ropes course, go karts, climbing walls, arcade, and, of course, the waterpark with a lazy river, various slides, hot tub, wave pool, ecc.  I believe some of these may be extra, but I do not remember what the cost was.  The website lists prices for non-guests though, so perhaps I am mistaken.  I know when I was there several years ago we received a different color wristband for each day of our stay.  I only ever used the waterpark, though I think after I left on Sunday, the others I was with went to the amusement park area with just their wristbands.

Dining
Unfortunately a non-included situation, though there is the kitchen in the Villa that meals can be arranged if all pitch-in (as Jedi should be willing and able to do).  There are also several restaurants on site, so if people wanted to go out for a meal, that is also an option.

Price
The price I came up for in August was $4,388.91 total, which comes out to $243.83/person (for three nights, I believe four days of passes are included) for 18 people.  You could easily fit a few extra people in to bring the price down a little, but only the first 18 would be included in the passes, so extra passes would need to be purchased and it might just end up the same anyhow.  Of course extra would have to be factored in for food, but not so much extra, as I believe California Jedi manages to feed everyone for about $30 extra.

Also, that price is for the peak season.  If a Gathering could be scheduled for the winter, you would lose the added outdoor waterpark, but the price drops about $1,000, bringing it down to $184.59/person, which is down where I like to keep the price, and trust me, the indoor waterpark is VERY good.  It would just be a matter of getting people to agree on a winter date.

So yeah, a little more expensive than I usually try to keep these, but so many things to do, and it is a full on resort, so it works for those who use this as vacation time as well.

Leadership – Ask or Be Asked?

The new year brings about elections for a group that I am a member of, and I find myself thinking back to the elections last year.  I was friends with two of the people running for the leadership position, one more than the other however.  When I was talking to friend B (friend A being the one I was closer with), he made a comment along the lines of “Of course you are going to vote for friend A, he probably promised you a position on his staff.”  I informed him that that was not the case, and made a joke that no one ever wants me on their command staff.  He responded by saying that he never knew I was interested, and talked as if he would add me to his command staff if he won.  He won.  I am not on his command staff.

For me, I never ask for responsibility.  In situations like the one above, I assume that if I possess qualities that someone wants for their leadership, they would ask, yet time and time again, I have people tell me similar: “I never knew you were interested.”  “Why did you never ask.”  I have to wonder if that is truly the case or if they are just trying to be polite.

Basically, I feel like asking to be given leadership responsibility puts people on the spot.  If they do NOT want me as a leader, now they are forced to either accept my help despite being unwanted, make false promises (as my friend apparently did), or tell me they do not feel I am fit for the position.  It is not a fun position to be in (unless you like breaking peoples confidence, of course), and I hate to put anyone in that position, especially if they are someone I am close to.  Nor is it very fun to be told by someone that they do not think you are a reliable leader for whatever reason.  Besides, I would hope someone I am close to would know that they could ask me for help if they had need or want of it.

Perhaps it is just me though.  Politics tend to work differently, but even our leaders in the group I mentioned need to be nominated before they can be elected.  Still, I do not desire or need leadership positions, so I do not ask for them.  However, if my participation in a leadership role is wanted, I am usually willing to help (if not, it is much easier for a person being offered the role to say they feel unable to fill the role, than it is for a person giving a leadership position to tell another that they are unfit).  It just makes me wonder how many people who could be fantastic leaders never do so because they were just waiting for someone to ask.

I know that seems contrary to what being a leader is, but there is a quote out there that I cannot recall the source of, may have been George Washington, but I might just be remembering it in regards to George Washington, that basically says that the best leader is often the one that does not want the job (Washington did not want to be President).  Besides, how often do those who actively pursue leadership positions, prove to be focused on the power of the position, rather than actually helping the people and the community.

A good leader knows how to lead by supporting, and while some may pursue leadership and prove worthy, others may only step up and become a leader if it is requested by others, or absolutely necessary to avoid failure and collapse.  A call to action, as it where.

If you see someone you think would make a good leader, ask them, or if you are not in a position to offer them leadership, perhaps suggest they pursue it.  Who knows, maybe they never thought about it before because they did not think others saw them that way and you could be offering them a new perspective on themselves.

“Your Truths”

Recently, I was having a discussion with someone about an experience in my past.  Before I came to the conclusion of my story, the interjected, stating that something I once believed was true.  I then continued, with the end point being that I discovered that thing NOT to be true.  From there, when went on to have a rather heated discussion, debating whether this thing was true or not and they stood their ground saying that they have found this thing to be a universal truth.  I let it go eventually, knowing that it was not worth the price of the argument, and still, this is not about that topic exactly (which is why I have not stated what that topic is).  However, this is about what people “know to be true,” or as they stated, “universal truths.”

Urban Dictionary defines Universal Truth as:

The one simple fact that is so overwhelmingly true that all mankind bows down and acknowledges the validity of the statement

There are universal truths out there, like you need food and water to live, air to breath, ecc.  But concepts, and ways of living are very hard to label as such.  Something that one person finds absolutely essential to their life may be completely inconsequential to someone else.  Not only do our lives follow different paths, but our minds each have different ways of processing something.  What would be overwhelming for one is a basic state of rest for another.  None of this makes either person right or wrong, they just know different truths, different ways.

It can be difficult for us to put ourselves in other peoples shoes, to really understand what it is like to BE them, so before we judge what is and is not true for them, remember that your “truths” may not work for everyone.  Despite what you have discovered in your life, their path has led them to different discovers, and they are no more or less valid than yours.  Even if they are to find one day that they were incorrect, that must happen by their own discovery, and you telling them that their way is invalid will do no good for either of you.  Of course, there is always the possibility that YOU will be the one to discover the error.  Regardless, our job is not to tell people they are right or wrong, especially if their belief is not harming anyone.  Discuss yes, but do not judge.

Mantras

“I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.”

We have all heard it, we have all said it by now.  Many of us have giggled at them as someone throws them out as a joke, not out of disrespect, just because the context was amusing.  Chirrut Imwe’s words echo in our heads in repetition as they did throughout the movie.  I think most, if not all Jedi out there connected with his character, a character who believed strongly in the Force and could feel it, but could not harness it and use it as the Jedi did, yet still chose to live by their ideals.

His words have since become a mantra for many Jedi, and of course many are working them into meditations or looking for ways to do so.  Thus far, my favorite use has been with Mala Beads.

I bought my mala beads several years ago, I had wanted some for a while, and this particular string called to me.  It is an amethyst set (purple IS my favorite color), and only has 106 beads to the standard 108 (six is my lucky number).  They usually sit wrapped around my bedpost, and I use them for various mantras as needed.

The idea is, that you hold the string of beads in your hands, and you gradually move your fingers on one hand from bead to bead, reciting your mantra for each bead, focusing on the words and the meaning as a form of meditation.  There is one bead that where the string is tied off, on my string it has a tassel on the end, so you can begin or end with that one.  I like to end with it personally.  The beads make for a nice focusing point, as well as a good way of tracking yourself without consciously counting.

Some other mantras I have used are the recitation of the Jedi Code (sometimes only one line, sometimes the entire code per bead, sometimes one line per bead with the last bead being the entire code (as I use the five line).  I have also used various quotes from the fiction.

Recently I wrote a line for myself to remind myself of my worth in something…as I begun, the words did not mean much, but as I neared the end, I found myself in tears as I began to fully realize the meaning and truth behind the simple words.  Mantras can be powerful things, and only in the act of repeating them can we fully digest and understand the wisdom in the words.  So, get on board with Chirrut and start repeating your mantras.

100 Days – Playground

I debated posting today’s 100 Days video…especially since it might make this week my first three-post week., but I really liked the focus on exercises that could be done with little to no equipment (I saw a couple moves I might have to steal), as well as the mention of doing moderate exercise regularly.  Note that the moderate regular exercise will give you the health benefits, but if you are trying to gain strength, gain definition, or lose weight (though weight is lost in the kitchen, but burning more calories through exercise helps, both through the instant burn of cardio and the increased metabolic rate resulting from an increase of muscle), more workout is necessary.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Knight?

Time to Learn

     A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:
“If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen?”
The Zen Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?”
Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”
“But, if I really, really work at it.  How long then?” asked the student.
“Thirty years,” replied the Master.
“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student.  “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer.  Why do you say that?”
Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

I wish I could give a source for this story.  I first read it in a book many years ago, when I first began training as a Jedi, but I have seen it many places, and in many variations.  People have commonly applied it to Martial Arts as well, asking, “How long until I earn my black belt?”  Whatever the discipline, whatever the goal, the message is the same.

Too often, students on the Jedi Path fall prey to this mindset.  They want so much to be the knights they know of fiction, that they are more focused on the title than actually being what that title represents.  Some people attempt to put time limits on the time a student must be a student, in order to control this.  One person I knew applied decades; ten years as a student before becoming a knight, ten years as a knight before becoming a master.  Others have begun to apply hours, but these measurements of time only add to the problem.

People now-a-days want instant gratification.  Six months and you are a knight.  Train two Padawans in the next year and you are a Master.  Really?

Your basic college education takes four years, even an associates degree is two.  The Jedi are supposed to be knowledgeable and well trained, at the very LEAST I would say the time it takes to become a Jedi Knight should equal a Masters degree, let alone be shorter than an associates.  If you go back to the fiction, students spent on average 10-13 years training in just basic Jedi skills before even being considered for a Padawan; and the Temple had this training down to a science.

Regardless of what time you apply to it though, now the student has a time frame to work against, and whether you stress that these limits are a minimum or not…they will look to that time limit for their progression, not to their training.  And, if they are not given their desired title after that time limit, they will focus on the why for the wrong reason.

Within the fiction, from what we know, there is a set amount of time that most students study in a class format at the Temple, however once they are taken as a Padawan, it seems the only measure, is when the master feels they are ready.  Obi-Wan Kenobi was knighted during the events of Episode I, at the age of 25.  Anakin Skywalker was knighted sometime between Episode II-III, somewhere between the ages of 20-23.  If we had a list of all the Jedi Knights that existed, I am sure we would find a great range of ages in which they were knighted.

The honor of being a Jedi Knight is not something that can be measured by any amount of time, but in what a student has learned and achieved.  Give the student goals in study and practice rather than giving them arbitrary dates that may or may not be enough.  When the student fully embraces and lives the path, then they are a Jedi Knight.

Jedi Resolutions

Ah, New Years Resolutions.  Some people love them, some people hate them.  Some people prefer smaller chunks of goals, which I do as well, but I like to set annual resolutions and check up on them throughout the year.  I have had varying degrees of success with them, though I feel like I have been more successful as I have grown older…although I still struggle with the weight loss resolution. :/

I have a Lolita blog, also on WordPress, which I started back in 2012 as I first started participating in the Lolita fashion community.  I decided back then to make myself Lolita resolutions, separate from my regular resolutions, and I think it would be beneficial for me to do the same here, although my Jedi Resolutions are more likely to overlap with my regular resolutions, but I will try to focus on at least a few Jedi exclusive goals.

  1. Return to a regular workout schedule and keep to it.
    The past couple of years have been difficult for me health-wise.  In the summer of 2015, a large tumor was discovered in my abdomen and I was not allowed to workout at all until six weeks after it was removed.  It put me out of commission for for over three months.  This year I was having a severe reaction to mold in my apartment, which has caused a number of health issues.  While I have already begun to resume a workout routine, the goal is really to keep it up.  To increase my strength, flexibility, endurance, and, yes, weight.
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
    I go through phases of being really good about this, and I am usually better in the summer due to more in season produce, but I really need to work on this.  Plus, it should be easier once I move to California later this year.
  3. Create a first draft of Jedi Curriculum.
    Yes, when I discussed my old website several months ago, it made me want to work on the class curriculum again.  I started work, but when it comes down to specific lesson plans, I am always overwhelmed.  I need to remember that the first draft does not have to be perfect, but to at least get a first draft done and go from there.  If I work on 4-5 lessons per week, I would have a first draft of the entire curriculum done in a year.
  4. Read six new texts relevant to the Jedi Path.
    I had a difficult time coming up with a number.  I initially thought one per month, but I will be moving a lot, so that is a lofty goal, plus I do not have any ideas at the moment.  Thought of five…nice, standard number, but six is my lucky number (notice the number of resolutions 😉 ), so we’ll go there.  Six relevant texts.  Could be a book of meditation, or a book on philosophy, ecc….anything along those lines.
  5. Find a few possible Martial Arts schools in California.
    Note that I just say to find.  Whether or not I can actually register for classes will depend on how quickly I find a job once I move, but I would at least like to have options for once I am ready to register.
  6. Continue posting once a week.
    I have been doing well thus far, but it becomes more difficult to come up with new content the more you post, and I have had the tendency to fall off with other blogs in the past.

I seriously considered changing one of these to be about getting more involved with the Jedi community, but I am still experiencing a great deal of anxiety within the community.  Even with sites where I know the people running them, I feel extremely irrelevant.  I think to some extent, I will become more involved just through attending the California Gathering next year and what not, but I am very much a person who needs to feel a sense of purpose to be involved, and right now, I have no purpose anywhere.  Maybe this next year will change that, but not really something I can set a resolution to at this point.