Over-Analyzing

During my second year of college, I took an English Composition class.  For one of the papers, we spent a class going through stacks of magazines in groups, and each group was supposed to select an ad which disturbed them, and then write an essay describing the ad in detail and then explaining what was disturbing about it.

I remember her talking about one ad…with a guy wearing loafers and a goth looking girl coming after him.  She wanted us to be offended by the ad.  Sure, it was silly and unbelievable, but I did not find it offensive.

I did learn something important from that lesson, but not what the instructor intended, I am sure.  I learned that if you try hard enough, you can find meaning in anything, but that meaning is not what was intended, just what you projected.

There is a fine line between properly analyzing something and over-analyzing it.  It is like saying a word over and over again, to the point that it sounds weird and the meaning seems lost.  As Jedi, we need to learn to trust our instincts and gut reactions.  You cannot necessarily do so right out the gate, but gradually you learn through trial and error.  If you then start over-analyzing situations, you will discover meaning and intent that do not exist.

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Sometimes the curtains really are just blue.  Enjoy the color.  Move on.

 

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The Ability to Fight

“A Jedi’s saber is his most precious possession.
He must keep it with him at all times.
This weapon is your life!”
~Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Attack of the clones

“This weapon is your life, but it is also your responsibility. Don’t let it out of your sight.”
~Ashoka Tanno to Younglings – Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2 Episode 11 “Lightsaber Lost”

“Protect others, how does a Jedi, hmm?”
~Yoda about Lightsabers – Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 5 Episode 6 “The Gathering”

Any time we see any sort of Master/Padawan relationship within the fiction, inevitably there is a lesson at some point about the lightsabers.  Indeed, every single Jedi in fiction carries a lightsaber, they are even shown to by synonymous with them.

Anakin: You’re a Jedi Knight, aren’t you?
Qui-Gon Jinn: What makes you think that?
Anakin: I saw your laser sword. Only Jedi carry that kind of weapon.
~Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Not only does every single Jedi in the fiction carry a lightsaber, but every single Jedi in the fiction is trained to USE their lightsaber.  Sure, they may never see combat for the rest of their lives, but they are trained to fight, and to defend themselves and others.

Imagine meeting a Jedi of the fiction.  While in their company, someone is attacked.  They scream for help, and the Jedi does nothing.  You ask the Jedi why they did not help, they tell you that they do not learn how to fight.

Or, an alternate scenario, the Jedi tries to defend the victim, but are obviously inept at doing so and is quickly and easily defeated.  You ask the Jedi why this happened, and they say they never learned how to fight.

The Jedi Path is very much a spiritual and intellectual path, but it is not ONLY such.  Being a Jedi, means combining that spirituality and intelligence with physical fitness and prowess.  This does not mean a Jedi should jump at every opportunity to fight, no, quite the opposite.  That is where the spiritual and intellectual sides kick in.  But a Jedi should be able to fight and defend themselves and others when it is necessary.  You can use all the diplomacy you want, but some times it just does not work.

Pacifism has its own virtues, and there is nothing inherently wrong with taking that stance.  However, when it boils down to it, pacifism is not the Jedi way.

You want to be a healer?  Great.  What happens when someone walks in on you when you are with a patient with intent to harm them, and there is no security around to stop them?

You want to be a diplomat?  Great.  What happens when you are off on a “mercy mission” and there is an attack?  Hell, look at Leia.  She came from a planet known for being peaceful and having no weapons, but she knew the importance of defending herself when necessary and was as capable as Han when it came to wielding a blaster (yes, I know, not a Jedi, but still a good example).

You want to be a librarian or historian?

ahsoka_vs_jocasta_nu

Defend those records!  None of that Library of Alexandria business on your watch!  (Yes, I am aware that was not actually Jocasta in that scene, but she still carried a lightsaber…you better bet she had learned how to use it).

Make any argument you want, if you really examine it though, every argument I have ever heard boils down to “I don’t like to fight.  I don’t want to learn how to fight.  So I do not consider fighting important to Jedi.”  The fiction and lore does not support this.

If you want to be a pacifist, if you want a path that focuses entirely on the spiritual and intellectual with no need to learn fighting, those paths exist and you are no better or worse for choosing those paths over Jedi, but learning to fight is part of the Jedi Path, proven again and again through pretty much every single piece of fiction we have been given on them.  Find the path that suits you, do not change the path to suit you.  Once you change it…it is no longer the same path.

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Addendum: There is of course the issue of people with physical limitations and whether this means they can be a Jedi or not.  I would say this is to be taken on a case by case basis, and more important than a persons ability to fight in these scenarios, is a persons willingness to fight.  A person in a wheelchair with full use of their arms can still learn striking techniques.  A person missing a limb can still make use of their remaining limbs.  Jedi make due with what IS available to them, and what is possible, rather than focusing on what is not possible.  Someone with a physical disability has an automatic upper hand, in that they are not expected to be able to defend themselves.  Prove people wrong.

Mock Gathering: Fiji

Oh, Fiji!  You could not make this easy on my, could you?

From a price standpoint, there were some EXTREMELY affordable options in Fiji (six under $200 that I recorded), ranging from $6/night to $184/night.  Amenities however, were slightly trickier.  Some places had no wi-fi…fine, a weekend without the internet wont kill anyone, and it might be good for some.  Some places had not Air Conditioning, again, could be a good experience for those who have always had the luxury.  Some did not provide essentials…though I am still not 100% sure what falls into “essentials” as I have seen places say they do not offer essentials, but then later list that they do offer, what I would consider, essentials.

In the end, I found my favorite place to be Bougain’ville Suites.  The rate would be about $215/night plus food.  They have AC, they have wi-fi, they have essentials and a kitchen.  There are six bedrooms, 14 beds, and could sleep up to 22.  Oh, and it is the only one on my list that has a pool.  Of course, this is actually in Samoa, not Fiji.

The next best option would probably be what was titled “Home away from home, friendly.”  This one is actually in Tonga, but the rate is more affordable at $55/night plus food.  It has all the same amenities, except one…AC.   A trade off, to be sure.

The activities in this area mostly center around the aquatic, some lodgings offering arrangements for Whale Watching/Swimming, Cave Diving, and Snorkeling, but also Hiking and other land activities.  Fiji has a couple of temples, there are volcanoes and blowholes throughout the Island, and a lot of different cultural sites and activities.

Top Things to Do in Fiji
21 Things to Do in Samoa
Things to Do in Tonga

 

The “Old Guard”

One term that was completely new to me when I returned to the Jedi Community last year was the “Old Guard.”  Evidently it had become a term to describe those who were around “back-in-the-day,” though I have never really seen a defining line of what constitutes “Old Guard.”

Of all of the Jedi still active today, I only know of one who has been around longer than I have, and that is Opie (and just barely).  There are a couple who I have seen say they were around from about the same time as us, but none I could confirm.  They were Jedi who stuck to one board or another generally, a lot from Jedi Academy or Force Academy, and I did not tend to be overly active at either of them, so like I said, I cannot confirm (though I am not saying they are lying).  The rest of the Jedi out there pretty much came from 2004 and forward, which is still a decent length of time, though again, most of these I never interacted with.

One of the attendees of the 2016 Stronghold Gathering approached me on Saturday night and said something along the lines of “I know you are, like, Old-OLD Guard.”  If my eyebrows were capable of rising individually, one would have climbed new heights at this.  Yeah, I was around since practically the inception of the Jedi community, so “Old Guard” was not?  What about these people claiming join dates of the same time as myself?  People who still seem to be in the same place that they were back then.

What is the “Old Guard?”

 

Well, nothing really.  Yeah, it is pretty neat for some of us to be able to say we were there at the beginning, but while that is cool, and COULD mean something…it does not necessarily mean anything.  We witnessed a lot…if we got out of a singular bubble community, yes, but that is not to say we have all grown from what we have seen.  You can respect a person for being around a long time, but at the same time, you should look at who they are.  Is this someone who seems to have learned from all their time?  Or is this someone who is still rehashing the same struggles and not learning at all?

Just like you cannot put a time stamp on when in the future you will be a knight, you cannot look at how long a person has been on a path already and know anything from it.  Judge by actions, not by time.

Travel Workout

The best laid plans of fitness are often completely derailed by travel plans.  You have your routine at home, whether it is a trip to the gym after work every evening, a run every morning, or time set aside each day in your home gym; when you travel, you are not following your daily routine of work, play, or work-out.  Often times this is due to equipment.  Someone used to going to the gym or using at home equipment are not sure what to do without their machines and weights.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with a good fitness center.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with a very bare bones fitness center.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with absolutely no fitness center, or you are staying with friends/family.  Whatever the situation, there are a few solutions.

First, survey the area.  If you have a fitness center at the hotel, great, check it out, it may suit your needs.

If you are interested in cardio, they may have a treadmill, or you can look up possible routes near where you are staying.  I have a friend who goes to Sci-Fi conventions and sure enough, every morning as I am just rolling out of bed and onto the con floor, he is walking in in his shorts from his morning run (I prefer to workout at night).

Another option is to see if their are gyms nearby where you are staying (that is within commutable distance, whether that is walking, public transportation, or if you have a car) that offer free trials.  Even if you only get a day or two during a week long trip, it is better than nothing at all.

Finally, the no-fail option, is to have a travel routine that requires no equipment, or only equipment that you can easily fit into carry-on luggage.  This can work as your entire workout routine for the trip, or as a supplement to whatever else you are able to find.  Here is a list of some of my favorites (with links for more information):

  • Lunges – Works Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings – No equipment necessary
  • Squats – Works Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings – No equipment necessary
  • Calf Raises – Works Calves – No equipment necessary (also try toes turned out, toes turned in, and single leg)
  • Standing Hip/Leg Abductions – Works Upper Glutes, Outer Thighs – No equipment necessary
  • Resistance Band Bicep Curls – Works Biceps – Resistance Bands
  • Resistance Band Upright Row – Works Delts, Biceps, Traps – Resistance Bands
  • Hand Grip – Works Hands – Hand Grip
  • Plank – Works Core (seriously) – No equipment necessary
  • Donkey Kicks – Works Glutes, Hip Flexors, Lower Back, – No equipment necessary
  • Laying Leg Abductions and Other Laying Leg Exercises – Works – No equipment necessary
  • Laying Resistance Press with Butt Lift – Works Pectoral, Triceps, Glutes – Resistance Bands (I cannot find this with the butt lift, but it is an added bonus that adds  the glute element.  Just plant your feet so you are in a standard sit-up position, press down on them so that your butt lifts in the air, with all the weight on your feet and shoulders.  Hold that while doing the exercises, or press up and down with each rep.)

There are many more, including your standard jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, ecc.; and a simple search for “travel workout” can lend numerous results for you to tailor your own routine.  It may not be as intense as your regular workout, but it will help maintain your fitness and schedule in the interim.