Choose Your Own Adventure…

Nuclear bombs are released.  The world as we know it is over.  You were lucky enough to have survived, either you were far enough from the nearest blast or you happened to be in a building that isolated you from the fallout.  Law and order is non-existent.  People scavenge for food and supplies.

You are out walking one day and you see a small child.  The child is alone, and looks tired and week.  They have likely not eaten for days.  You have one can of safe food left, but you know you can find more, so you give it to the child.  The child is ecstatic and runs off towards, you assume, their shelter.  You smile and turn to do the same, but you stop suddenly when you hear a scream.  You run towards it, and see the same child.  He is being attacked by a man who wants their food, but the man does not stop upon taking the food, he continues to beat the child.

******

Now for the choose your own adventure part.

Scenario A:
You watch in horror.  There is no one else nearby.  The child will likely die if you do not intervene, but you never learned to fight and the man is clearly stronger than you are, so if you intervene, he may very well kill both of you.

Scenario B:
You have never been in a street fight, but you did take a form of martial art in order to prepare yourself for just this moment.  You rush in to help the child.  You use only enough force that is necessary until the man runs or is unable to continue fighting.  The child is injured, but with proper care, will be fine.  You take them to safety.

******

I am by no means a great fighter, though I have taken about two and a half years of various martial arts forms (and I intend to take more once I am able).  I have been attacked though….twice.  Both times would have likely resulted in sexual assault had I not been previously trained to keep my head and react as necessary.  Both times I walked away safe.  The first time there was a bit of a struggle before I managed to escape to a public area, the second time I only needed to show the slightest bit of ability before the man was scared off and left the scene.  I have several friends who have not been so lucky.

There are still many within the community that hold to the idea that Jedi do not need to learn how to fight.  Perhaps it is a stance of pacifism, perhaps it is fear, perhaps it is another reason entirely.  Learning how to fight does not mean one NEEDS to fight however.  A proper martial art sharpens the mind and spirit as well as the body, and you are encouraged to only fight when necessary.  Learning how to fight means that you know what to do IF you are ever in a situation that demands that you do, if you need to protect yourself, or someone else.  It is the duty of the Jedi to serve and protect.  It is therefore the duty of the Jedi to prepare themselves the best they can in order to serve and protect in any situation.  When I say that Jedi should learn how to fight…it is not for some silly tradition, it is not because my standards are set impossibly high, it is because I do not want to see anyone injured, murdered, raped…if any of us are in a position to prevent it.

 

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Weekly Training Summary

Another crazy week.  This time I worked Wednesday, but then I did not return home until Thursday afternoon.  So I really missed out on two days, plus I went to Six Flags again on Saturday, as it was the last weekend the water park would be open (but I still get a pretty good workout at a waterpark).

Mind:

  • Reading – Finished Dark Disciple, and read three plays.  Also made progress in Dune, and Buddhist Wisdom.  Began Lords of the Sith.
  • Mental Floss – Did World History #17 – Wait for it…the Mongols! (The mongols are a huge running joke of exceptions throughout this course), #18 – Int’l Commerce, Snorkeling, Camels, and the Indian Ocean Trade, and #19 – Venice and the Ottoman Empire.
  • Language – Watched four episodes of La Pimpa, and read three pages of Pinocchio.  I found a website that has an Italian/English side by side version of Pinocchio, which will be extremely helpful since there is so much colloquialisms and dialect that I am unfamiliar with.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – 9,597/15,957 (6,360 deficit) A little short this week, but I have been over the past couple weeks, so it evens out.
  • Weight Loss – -1lb – I FINALLY BROKE THE DAMN PLATEAU!  It is not as much down as I would like, but it is great after two weeks of not dropping.
  • Workout – I only got my routine in Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday due to everything going on.  However, I did a lot of walking on set and at Six Flags, and I used to wave pool to really focus on treading water and keeping myself above the waves (I am pretty good at it until someone goofing off slams into me…I swear it is like am aquatic mosh pit).  I think I am going to up my in and out straight arms to the next weight next time I do them.  I’ll leave my current weight out in case I need to do a drop set, but they are getting easy.
  • Diet – Oh so much fail this week.  I did not get enough water most of the week (and have a killer headache now because of it) and while I tried to be good, there were just so many times I had little choice this week.  Next week will be better.

Spirit:

  • Meditation – I fell a bit behind here too.  I lost a day of headspace on Wednesday because I did not go home, and again on Sunday because I was too tired by the time I got home from the park.
  • Charity – I have been wanting to add this in for a while, but my current unemployment has prevented me from getting out much.  Most of what I put here will be related to the 501st Legion, sometimes the charities are obvious and large, like participating in a Make-A-Wish event for a child or a cancer awareness walk, other times they are less so.  This week for example, on Monday, Adler Planetarium requested the 501st to come in for an event they were holding for the eclipse.  I am not sure what if any charity arrangements were made, I usually do not get involved with the details.  However, overall my garrison raises tens of thousands of dollars a year for charities, and even for the events were we may not raise much money, we are volunteering our time (and money when considering we make our costumes ourselves) to bring joy to people at events.  On Monday I was dressed as Rey, and as I wandered the (very impressive) crowd, children, parents, and just general fans would run up to me or shout out Rey, asking for me to come take a picture, or just say hello to a shy child who held me as their favorite Star Wars character.  With so much negativity going on in the world today, I am happy if I can bring a smile to just one child’s face, because as far as they are concerned, they just met their hero.

Sexism in the Jedi Community

Upon “resurfacing” in the Jedi Community, I was almost instantly confronted with other Jedi (primarily female Jedi) talking about sexism within the community.  I was asked if I had encountered it way back when, and I did, but I shrugged it off, it was not really offensive, just misguided.  However I am learning that my experiences then were nothing compared to what I have seen in the community today.

First off, the sexism of then WAS generally misguided.  It was the males of the community being overly chivalrous.  For example, I uncovered a conversation about whether or not females should be included in a draft if the war came to reinstating a draft.  The comments from the males were generally along the lines of not wanting women to be included, because they would feel the need to protect them, and that would be too much of a distraction.

The sexism I am seeing now is rife with inappropriate comments about females and a tendency to oversexualize them.  When the females are spoken of, I hear mention of their periods, sexual professions, reaching the point of climax, and even one discussion about what were good female role-models (a discussion with no female participants) that when one was contested, one of the speakers boiled his choice down to basically having the hots for her.  There have even been issues of males being brought to the leaders of the community for inappropriate touching.  Very little is done or said against any of this (one of the reasons I decided not to fully rejoin the “official” community).

Another disturbing fact to this is, that I am hearing these things from males who are referring to themselves as knights and masters within the community.  And it is not just them claiming the titles, but others are treating them with such deference.

I am not a leader in the community, I am not even really a part of the greater community, so there is very little I can do.  It boils down to this though, if you are in a position where you hear people talking inappropriately or doing something inappropriate, don’t just sit there quietly, call them out on it.  And beyond that, don’t support these people.  If people do things that are disrespectful, then they are proving themselves unworthy of respect.

Weekly Training Summary + Bonus

This week was a weird one.  I was booked as an extra twice, then was cancelled for the second one in the 11th hour.  The one I did work, on Tuesday, was at 6am (which meant I had to wake up at about 3am) and the day lasted 12 hours (yay overtime pay!)  Then of course I was outside that entire day, so by the time I got home I was exhausted.  Sunday I also spent the day at Six Flags with friends, so while I easily hit my calorie goal and managed to keep my calorie intake down, I did not work out.

This was all a tad disruptive to my schedule all around, so sleep was off, reading was all over the place, workouts and calorie burning was off, diet was off….I am super happy to get booked a lot right now, because I need to pay my bills next month, but it is difficult to make a schedule when the hours are so odd.  Still, I worked hard to catch up on the days off, and I think I did a relatively good job.

Mind:

  • Reading – Finished Scourge.  Finished Insight Meditation.  Finished Star Wars and Philosophy.  Finished The Bounty Hunter Code.  Started Buddhist Wisdom.  I finally finished all the extra books and can focus on reading one Star Wars book, one Jedi-related-material book, one Italian book, and one book club book at a time.  I was juggling far too many there for a bit.
  • Mental Floss – I only made it through one episode this week.  I will have to work harder next week.
  • Language – Six episodes of La Pimpa but only two pages of Pinocchio.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – 8,875/15,783 Deficit of only 6,908, short of my weekly goal of 7,000, but not bad all things considering.
  • Weight Loss – Zero…again…seriously body?  Seriously?  I get it, you are getting stronger, but it is time to start getting a little leaner while you are at it.
  • Workout – I pulled some weights out of my dad’s collection, so I have up’ed the weight on my chest presses.  Did it first on Thursday, I really need to get the rest of the weights up, especially the in and out straight arms and the overhead tricep extensions (those are the lowest two right now.
  • Diet – As I said, this was out of wack all week because of being on set…and I was offered Portillo’s again….damn you Portillo’s, why are you so tasty?  Luckily they messed up and gave us a chocolate cake shake instead of a chocolate shake…so I barely touched that (I do not like to chew my drinks).  Sunday at Six Flags I indulged a little, but I still burned way more than what I ate.

Spirit:

  • Meditation – Sunday night after posting this, I did my nightly meditation.  I am finally back to the point when I feel completely detached from my body (which is something considering I suffer from chronic back pain), I had the spinning sensation.  Not the first time, but this time was turbulent.  I tried everything to stabilize myself, but when the nausea set in, I ended up having to finish my meditation with my eyes closed.  I am not sure if it was something going on with me, or just the energy that is out there right now, but it was awful.  Fortunately the next days was much better, I reached the point of detachment, there was a slight bit of spinning, but I was able to steady myself.
    I have also decided to start up a meditation journal.  I went down to the basement and dug through my box of blank journals to find one, and I started writing in it on Thursday.  I have never kept a physical meditation journal, though I think I must have used to type up experiences on livejournal or on my old ezboard forum.  I think the journal will be beneficial though.

 

The main thing I really want to add to my daily routine is my morning yoga routine.  I choreographed one years ago that I would do every morning when I woke up.  It was a great start to the day, and I am trying to recreate it, though it will be difficult to execute regularly because I do not always have the room at my disposal when I wake up.  However, even if I only am able to do it a couple of times a week, it is still better than not doing it at all, so look for that to be added in the next week.  Also, I would count that as both a workout, and a meditation.  Yoga is good at hitting the physical and spiritual at the same time like that. 😉

Okay, the bonus.  Sort of as penance for me not doing the greatest this week, I have made a video.  It is a sped up version of my workout, and I laughed at myself several times because it looks so ridiculous.  I apologize for the video going blurry in a few places, but it never lasts too long before I fix it.

You Do Not Always Have to Agree

Debates with friends and family can be a great thing; an exchange of ideas that help you understand a varying point of view is good for you.  The problem occurs when you cannot accept the fact that someone may have valid reasons for having an opinion that differs from your own.  Instead of having a conversation about topics and issues, people become defensive, and even antagonistic; becoming angry at the other person for not immediately changing their mind and adopting the “correct” way of thinking.

We will constantly encounter people who have different views, and sometimes those views are valid, and other times they may not be.  However, as Jedi, we should always be able to hold our calm when encountering different ideas and points of view.  If appropriate, we may state our arguments (again, calmly), but in the event that the person stands their ground (and they most likely will), we need to be able to agree to disagree.

Example from my own life: my parents have very different political views.  I find the things that come out of my fathers mouth backwards, offensive, and completely uneducated.  He considers me young and foolish.  We will never agree, he will never accept my opinion, and I have come to accept that.  My father is also the type to become enraged when you do not immediately adhere to his opinion, so I simply do not engage in political discussions with him and will physically leave the room when he starts ranting politics (he is often found yelling at the television).  It is not worth the fight, and I would rather keep the peace at home.

You could also encounter a person whose religious or cultural background causes them to believe differently.  If it is someone you are close to and can comfortably have a debate on the topic with, by all means, discuss, but chances are very low that you can change their mind, so accept that, and see it as an opportunity to learn about another culture.

Everyone does not have to agree with you.  In their mind, you are probably just as wrong as they are in your mind.  You may both be right.  You may both be wrong.  Everyone is different from you with their own past experiences that have shaped them, and that is good.  Diversity is good.  New and different opinions create change and growth, and make the world much more interesting.

Even within the Jedi community, you will encounter people who have very different views of what the Jedi should and should not be.  In the eighteen years I have been around the community, I have run into all sorts of different opinions there.  I have seen it end friendships.  I have seen new communities develop and other sites dissolve for it.  And yet the cycles continue and patterns repeated.

Bottom line:  learn to not take offense from opinions different from your own.  Realize that what another person thinks does not change your thoughts or who you are.  If someone chooses to adhere to a lower standard in your opinion, that does not mean you need to lower yourself to their standard.  Live your life, be an example of what you believe, and if your way truly has merit, others will inevitably follow suit.

(Disclaimer: I feel the need to point out that I am not speaking in regards to protesting great atrocities in society and what not.  I have great respect for those who have protested peacefully for change, though I have less respect if they do not act in ways to support their protest or take the existing actions available to effect change.)

Weekly Training Summary

Mind

  • Reading – This week I finished reading Book of Sith, started and finished the Imperial Handbook, and just started The Bounty Hunter Code today.  I finished Aftermath: Empire’s End.  Keeping up with Star Wars and Philosophy (on Chapter 14), The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation (on Chapter 9), Scourge (should finish tomorrow), and Dune (up to date with book club schedule…about 43% of the way through the book).
  • Crash Course – I watched three episodes of World History: 13-Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars; 14-The Dark Ages…How Dark Were They, Really?; and 15-The Crusades – Pilgrimage or Holy War?.
  • Language – I watched four episodes of La Pimpa, and read two chapters (six pages) of Pinocchio.  I am starting to memorize the song for La Pimpa too…it’s just a short little children’s song, but it never hurts to start a habit of singing along to Italian songs.

♫Quando il sole sale su
Alto in cima al cielo blu
L’orologio fa cucù
E nessuno dorme più

E la Pimpa corre e va
In campagna o in città
E di certo scopirà
Qualche nuova novità♫

Body

  • Calories in/out:  8400/15775 – 7,375 Deficit…honestly the calories in are probably a little off, but because I have been coming up short most days this week, and I really need to adjust for that.  I am only eating one big meal per day right now, but I need to squeeze more protein into one or more of the small meals.  I keep munching on pepperoni at night after working out…which is not the best thing.
  • Weight Loss – 0….grrrrrr…scale does not matter….scale does not matter…scale does not matter……
  • Workout – Thursday marked the end of the fourth week of doing the arm exercises I have been doing, so I decided to add an alternating set.  The original set focused primarily on the anterior delts, so I created a set to focus on the biceps (in and out curls), triceps (overhead tricep extensions), and more on the posterior delts (bent over row) (my anterior delts are solid right now, I definitely need some balance).  I figure I can alternate between the two arm sets on different days.  I am also going to switch up lower body exercises on those days.  I have not been doing a lot on legs, cause cardio does a good deal (I actually have a few Zumba songs that I call calf  or thigh songs because the respective areas are burning by the time I finish them), but I still do a little.  So instead of squats on Bicep/Tricep/P.Delts day, I will do calf raises in three positions.  This week I did three days of each set.  Also, on my chest presses, I think this is the last week I am going to be able to use my current weights, but I do not have a weight above them…I might have to raid my father’s weight room.  As of Saturday I am in the fourth week since I started doing Zumba again.  I am really hoping the four week rule holds true and I start seeing some results, cause so far my size has not been doing much budging.  I found a few of my missing Zumba songs from the video games, so I have done some rearranging and swapping of songs in my routine.  I should be good with the current line up for a couple weeks, but I will continue to change the routine as I become to comfortable with it.
  • Diet – I did really good most of the week…but on Thursday my father offered me Portillos…it made me feel sick the rest of the day.  That is the problem with eating really clean, when you indulge in some not so clean favorites, you tend to regret it.  People think I am crazy for not eating steak or most fast foods anymore, but honestly, I really do not want to feel the way I know I will feel after eating it.

Spirit

  • Meditation – Still averaging two times a day, I just shifted from doing one before bed to doing a headspace meditation after my shower.  What I really need is to work in a morning/afternoon meditation.
  • I have also been watching youtube videos of the Dali Lama this week.  I wanted to watch one a day, but some of them are ridiculously long, between the length and listening through him struggling with the language, I tend to lose focus.  I may have to just set myself a time limit per day and watch a little of each video each day.

New Logo

In addition to the new look and name, I have made myself a logo.  Up until this point, I have been using a purple version of the Jedi Symbol.  There are multiple reasons I wanted to get away from that, I will not get into all of them, but I decided to make myself something unique.

RoaJ3allone

There is a lot of symbolism in here for me.  The crystal in the middle is because of my draw to the kyber crystals.  The complete circle is an overall thing for me, I prefer circles, the symmetry, the connectedness, the lack of harsh corners, and the many things associated with circles (seriously, there are so many).  The three dashed lines outside the circle are to symbolize either Mind, Body, and Spirit, or The Force, Knowledge, and Self Discipline.  I always felt these two sets were equivalents of each other:  Mind=Knowledge, Body=Self Discipline, and Spirit=The Force.  The greater image in the banner contains the symbols for the latter set (referenced from The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace).

3

The new symbol being in the middle of the three is my way of stating that here, all three are equally important.  Finally, the four lines crossing on either side of the crystal.  The initial idea was to show one long line, because I always thought I would have a double bladed saber.  It did not look right.  I tried making three lines, or six points, because my lucky number is six.  It still did not look right.  I ended up with four lines/eight points, which I felt fit with the fact that as a dancer, I always count things in eights…even in my workouts, I have a difficult time doing 10 of something or 12 of something, I always have to go 8, 16, 24, ecc.  It also has fictional meaning towards me, but only in my own stories I have dreamed up, so while those have meaning to me, they have little meaning to the rest of the world (maybe one day I will share the stories…maybe not).  The scenic background in the banner ties into that as well.

Last thing I noticed, was that the symbol sort of looked like a cross section of a lightsaber, as if you looked from one end to the other. Not that you want to look down the top end of a lightsaber (Luke), but still neat.

I may continue to tweek this (the image was completely flat until a week ago).

One Year Anniversary: New Name, New Look

Today is officially one year since my first post on this blog.  I decided long ago that at the one year mark I would change the name, let’s face it, you can only be returning for so long.  And yet, I have not really returned.

While I participate with some groups, I am still sitting on the outskirts of the community, outside, looking in.  I went to a gathering, and I had planned on being at the California Gathering this week (finances prevented that), but I am still not fully involved.  I hang out in the California Jedi chats and I make my posts available for Katie to share on the site, but I am still acting as an entirely independent entity.  I still refuse to take on a title, and I still study on my own, on my terms and based on my standards (which tend to be a lot stricter than anywhere else I have seen thus far).  I have often likened myself to Yoda on Dagobah or Obi-Wan on Tatooine (I am listening to the Audiobook of Kenobi while I type this…definitely hitting home in a few spots), and wanted this blogs new name to reflect that.  This is my post-Order 66 hideaway.

I toyed with several names that involved Ilum, but the new fiction leads me to believe that Ilum is not only a dangerous place to be after Order 66, but most likely no longer exists by the time the First Order comes around.  I toyed with names involving Kyber Crystals, as I have always felt a draw to the crystals themselves, but nothing felt quite right.  For a good length of time I had settled on Elysium, either Elysium Jedi Sanctum or Elysium Jedi Enclave (I might break one of those out if I ever finish my curriculum and decide to curse myself with opening a training academy).

Way back when I first joined the community in 1999, I created my website, and I named it after a solar system in a Star Wars story I had made up.  When I created my first forum, I actually named the different subforums after each of the planets.  Elysium system was essentially where I would have been from were I in the Star Wars Galaxy, a sort of character back story if it were all true.

However it still felt wrong…the name felt empty, and if I ever wanted to create an actual training academy, I felt it would be in conflict.  I tried to look at what I post here, and find something that fit.  I ended up polling the Jedi on my facebook (thank you to Christopher, Alex, and Katie for the imput) and finally settled on Jedi Journeyer.  In the Legends fiction, the original Je’daii Order had four main ranks: Padawan, Journeyer, Ranger, and Master.  The Journeyer’s had successfully completed their formal Padawan training and would travel between the nine Temples of Tython, each Temple having their own subject area of focus.  I felt it was a good term…sort of a not-a-student, but-not-a-knight middle ground that was all about exploring different subjects and practical, real world training (granted I have been at that for much longer than the Je’daii two year term 😉 ).

So, welcome all to Jedi Journeyer.

Weekly Training Summary

A new addition to my posting, I intend to post this every Sunday night/Monday morning as a way of keeping myself accountable.

Mind

  • Reading – I have been doing SO much ready lately.  In the past week I read Kenobi, Bloodlines, and I have started Empire’s End; and I am gradually making my way through Star Wars and Philosophy (for California Jedi Book Club), Dune (for another online book club), Book of the Sith, The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation, Le Avventure di Pinocchio (in Italian), and Scourge.  I am making small progressions in most of these, but cumulatively I am reading at least 100 pages per day.
  • Mental Floss – I have done three lessons in World History this week.
  • Language – I have not done as well with my Italian as I did last week.  This week I only watched two episodes of La Pimpa and only read one chapter/four pages of Pinocchio.  It has been a busy week though, I was booked on set twice and had an audition.

Body

  • Calories in/out – 8,935/16,845 (Burned a total of 7,910 calories more than consumed)
  • Weight Loss – 1.5lbs – They weight has been up, down, and all around this week, but the trend is still going down (which is the goal).  As frustrating as it is that I am not losing my goal of 2lbs per week, the fact that I am burning more than 2lbs per week (based on 3,500 calories=1lb) means I am also putting on muscle, which is also the goal.
  • Workout – I am still doing really well on my workout.  I did not workout three days this week, the three days I had class and was on set (but I still hit my daily goal of burning 1k calories more than I ate, otherwise I would have pushed myself to workout those days too).  The other four days I did my full Zumba Routine, stretched, and did strength training (skipped strength training tonight because neck was hurting and had well surpassed calorie goal for the day, so I did strength training three of the seven days, which is still acceptable).
  • Diet – My diet has been a little odd this week, but I have still kept pretty much to healthier foods.  Usually the most difficult time is when on set, but I managed to not snack on any Kraft Services this week.  I actually have been finding myself a little short at the end of most days (like today…I need to go find 351 more calories to consume).
  • I also began researching a new Martial Arts school this week.  I cannot afford classes at the moment, but I am hoping that will change soon.  It has been far to long since I have taken classes, and I am eager to learn new skills.  I have a few possibilities on my list, but I will do more research when living and financial situations settle.  I am still on the hunt for a good Ba Gua Zhang school, also considering Kung Fu, Aikido, Jujitsu (if I can find a good school teaching the Japanese version as opposed to Brazilian), or even returning to Capoeira…maybe (it has always been my favorite, but I like to try different forms).

Spirit

  • Meditation – I have meditated at least twice a day this week.  I did not manage to squeeze in a third time, aside from using my Mala bracelet while out and about, until Saturday.  I have the entire old version of Headspace to try out now…and there are at least 650 guided meditations there (granted…some are focused on things I have no need of…like pregnancy…if I still had my tumor I would totally use the pregnancy meditations for that :D), so I have plenty of meat there.  Plus the meditations from the book I am reading, and I will probably pick up a few other similar type books next time I stop at the library.