Jovi's Training Journal

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Jovi (oak) replied the topic: Jedi Community & Gender

Before I delve into this topic, I should put my experience into perspective. Although I had some experience with the Jedi community nearly a decade ago and Star Wars fandom immersion since then, I have felt like a relative newbie since I really only started coursework in earnest about a year ago. My interaction with the Jedi community both during my initial experience and now has been overall positive. I haven't always felt like I could talk to everyone, but that has been more a product of feeling like a newbie and being not sure what I should ask and what I should figure out myself. This past year I've had more of a voice because of facebook group participation, which has always been more accessible to me than forums somehow.

In my experience, the Jedi Community encompasses a pretty diverse range of people and overall embraces diversity. I personally have not experienced problems due to my gender/sexuality in any community interactions. I have never (to my knowledge) been asked any questions that required disclosure of these details, though I've been pretty open with them. I haven't felt like my treatment has been any different than it would've been if I were male, though I know my experience has been limited. I have seen some discussions directed at others that assume being a Jedi is one-size-fits-all in terms of physical and time requirements, and the stress that that has caused others who have family situations that might make this difficult. I personally haven't thought about what would happen if I had children, but I imagine I would face the same issues myself.

There are definitely some women's issues that I think could be handled more proactively. One thing I have dealt with personally and felt that beginner courses could address better is addressing emotions and mood swings. I know I have not brought this up in training assignments, and if I started a discussion, it probably would be addressed. But I know I have been challenged by the self-judgement that comes with feeling my emotions are stronger than they "should" be especially during PMS. I also cry easily, and do sometimes worry that that makes me not as "strong" as I should be. There are also body image issues that can be intimately linked to things like physical fitness - and to be perfectly honest, nowadays when someone is really interested in getting physically fit, there's a ton of "thinspiration" / "fitspo" to wade through that often promotes self-destructive attitudes towards one's own body. These are things that beginners, especially beginner women, face and yet aren't necessarily dealt with until/unless it comes up. Same thing goes for self-care, though that applies to everyone.

On the positive side, there are many strong women in the Jedi community who serve as positive role models and mentors, both formally in training and just through their presence in the community. My path has been made significantly easier to carve out because of their examples. I know that I probably would have had many more questions and worries had I not seen and interacted with some of them online, and I look forward to meeting at least some of them in person someday.

I have unfortunately witnessed racism/discrimination by a few who call themselves Jedi, most recently of the Islamophobic variety. Not everyone is as understanding/aware of trans rights issues either. I think actual training on privilege and diversity/cultural sensitivity would be helpful if not already given.

Overall the Jedi path has been beneficial to my life and a positive experience that I would and have recommended to others. As with any other path inhabited by humans, there are things that can be improved... any other the challenges mentioned above have not deterred me. I share my experiences because I do care about making the path accessible and positive to others. In my activities online I try to highlight female strength in life and in fiction. I hope the Star Wars franchise will continue to build on the badass female characters we already have, which will go even further towards equality becoming the true status quo. And we should remember that we already have badass Jedi women right here, an invaluable resource to the community.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Jedi Community & Gender

Trust me, females are not the only ones to have 'wild emotions' and major mood swings!
When the moon is an odd shade of yellow and the poodoo has piled up waaaay too deep, the swing and 'mood' can let loose. Sadly, sometimes as bad as gothy emo Kylo Ren in episode 7. But I understand. Even though we teach 'one size fits all' (mostly) -- there are things that might be better addressed as 'female Jedi specific'... just because females ARE different than males in some physical and biological ways.

That is not to say females are 'weaker' for having strong emotions. Quite the opposite. Strong emotional responses tend to indicate the strength of character / how fiercely one may respond to protect those they love, defend the ones attacked, etc. Emotion DEFINITELY does NOT mean 'weak'. People who are more emotional are experiencing life more than those who are not. They feel a more personal connection with their reality. They are, quite literally, living more. So, weak? I think not.

Body issues.
Again, I understand from whence you are coming from. Today's marketers are all about 'stick figure' perfection. Selling size 2 as 'zero' so some can feel even better about their self image. It's baloney. We come in all shapes and sizes. It is the one 'fun' thing I really like about the comic book "Green Lantern Corp". They are male, female, and every 'thing' inbetween... one is even a giant planet. And one is one round ball with teeny arms and legs... so 'round is A-Ok'.

Way back in the 70s when the first two movies came out, I was in the military and pretty darn 'in shape'. I even thought that I could at least equal Luke's performance in the swamps with Yoda. 35+ years later -- I'm more like that very round Green Lantern... BUT, I still think I can do a Jedi proud... even if I'm not running 5 miles a day with a 50 pound pack. I may huff and puff more... but it's like that line from Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- "I do what he does only slower." (The 'he' being Captain America)

It has always been my contention that, even if confined to a wheelchair, a person can still be a Jedi. Perhaps they can't leap and spin and climb and such... but they can still have the heart and spirit... which can still fire and inspire others in a different way than 'action hero mode'. While I have yet to see a demo of the style, I know there are some who teach a form of defense with short sticks and even slightly shorter quarterstaff for those in a chair. We have some who are just physically disabled due to illness, injuries, etc. If they can open an eyeball -- they can give a Jedi 'piercing eyed glare' which can intimidate as much as the fizz and snickt of a lightsaber igniting... so... it's not impossible.... just a challenge... being all they can be as they are. Don't give up on yourself for not being a 'stick'. Curves are wonderful things in nature.
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Jovi (oak) replied the topic: Jedi & Management

Just started a management course as part of my mundane training. Honestly never saw myself as the "management" type, but I think that's just a framing error. In the Star Wars fiction, Jedi aren't always the lone wolf, they manage. Jedi manage big time.

Don't believe me?

What do you call what Yoda did for Luke? What was the Jedi Council for the rest of the Order? What did the Jedi do during the Clone Wars? What did Jedi do when they were called in to help another community, planet, system, etc?

Although we aren't taught to see it through this lens, all of those activities can be thought of as management activities. Helping to organize and lead the activities of others basically comes down to effectively managing. Even 1 on 1 mentoring can be thought of this way, albeit on a smaller scale - you devise and execute a training plan, determine what tasks are to be done when, provide mentoring, feedback, etc...

All of this is to say that it isn't out of character to learn management skills, and can actually make you a better leader and partner, since you understand what cooperatively needs to be done.

Delegation is a crucial management skill that I've seen people trying to follow this path struggle with. Along with the lone wolf mentality is the belief that giving away tasks will somehow make you seem weaker. Or that things won't get done unless you do them all yourself. But it's not accurate, and can often be counterproductive. You will often be a lot slower working alone. When people are given new tasks (with a little guidance), they learn new skills, build confidence, and can often exceed your expectations. A lot of community-building also occurs when people work together.

So you don't have to be the hero, lone wolf, etc that swoops in to save the day. Believe it or not, a lot of times the real Jedi way is to help people help themselves. So learn a little management. It's good for you.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Jedi & Management

Re: Delegation and the Jedi Council

Very much a management and delegation of resources matter.
Consider -- out of ALL the Jedi Knights available at any given time (not counting the Clone Wars), the Jedi Council had to pick ONE Jedi Knight which best 'fit' the situation. The one they figured would best be able to go in and help AND come away learning something 'knightly' along the with completing the task assigned. Not such an easy thing. Yes, Jedi all trained 'the same' but learned differently with their mentor/Knight teacher. Each encounter and assignment shaped what they learned and who 'they' were. Jedi were not clones. Imagine having to 'know' several thousand personnel well enough to assign that one particular person to best 'get the job done'.
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Jax replied the topic: Jedi & Management

If you don't mind me adding something about delegation, for many it isn't about weakness. I know for me it's an issue of not being able to properly articulate exactly how I want a task done which means another person is unlikely to do it the way I need it to be. I've been delegating more, and letting go of the 'how' more, but there are just some things that don't work well to delegate.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Jedi & Management

*phew*

We are slowly keeping Jax from going to the Dark Side -- seeking TOTAL CONTROL -- of every aspect of everything. :palpatine

(babies tend to demonstrate this -- nothing is totally 'under control' when a kid is thrown in the mix)
:P
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Jax replied the topic: Jedi & Management

hahaha so true...
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Jovi (oak) replied the topic: Jovi's Training Journal

You're right Jax. I should also have stated that some of the people I know personally don't delegate because they've never been taught how to do so, and have had many situations in which in order to get something done (or done right), they've had to do it themselves. But at the same time I've seen these people assume that they have to do gigantic tasks themselves when it could easily be broken up and there are tons of willing people that want to help. I think sometimes it's difficulty even seeing it as an option, let alone knowing what to do if it is an option.
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Jovi (oak) replied the topic: Jedi & Physical Fitness

Physical activity and I have a complicated relationship, and I suspect that this will spin out into a couple of posts, so I'm calling this Part 1. Keep in mind that I can only speak from my own perspective so these are the views and experiences of one person.

Physical fitness has intimately associated with the Jedi because of iconic scenes in the movie - the Dagobah bootcamp with Luke running, swinging, practicing one-armed handstands. For the powerful Jedi in the prequels, everyone appears to have explosive physical energy, flipping, jumping, running, swimming... And I'd wager that even though some of their fears can be attributed to their Force-enhanced abilities, we still file it under that physical fitness tab in our brains. If you try to label the physical abilities of the Jedi, you might say strong, fast, skilled, or other words that positively label their physical attributes. So even though Yoda walks with a bent back and a cane, when those Force moved get whipped out I'd even wager that you'd use those words for him.

When Jedi ideals get translated into regular human society, we have a hard time shaking those things. The Jedi path definitely attracts martial artists and other types of athletes who want to hone their skills to perfection. But sometimes that leads to an everyone-must-be-super-fit no-excuses attitude that ignores quite a bit of the path.

In my humble opinion, physical fitness has a place in the Jedi path, in terms of striving to be the best "you" you can be. Improving our physical abilities can support our overall capability and ability to help others and our communities. But it's a path. And that no-excuses attitude described above can be toxic.

The fictional and real-life Jedi communities encompass diversity, with some individuals having natural abilities that others do not, things that some have to work a lot harder for, and some things that an individual could not do no matter how much you asked them or how hard they tried. Personal abilities change over time too due to natural processes. Yoda as a younger Jedi probably faced a lot of challenges due to his size, and then even if he became a great athlete sans-Force-abilities, he then had to deal with the effects of aging on his body.

Jedi in real life also have their own lives to deal with. Lack of funds, time, resources, and experience/access to training are real things people face. So no-excuses actually is an incorrect stance to take, and can lead to a lot of badness - shame, anger, self-destructive behaviors (whether intentional or not), abandoning the community or the path, etc.

Jedi life is a path. We're not expected to be at our destinations already. And not everything goal has to be tackled all at once. If someone is starting from nearly zero activity, developing something light like walking regularly is a great step, and an accomplishment in and of itself. It's also something you're probably less likely to burn out on (and getting injured) then starting right away at marathon training.

If you're not a physically fit person, you can still be a Jedi. If it is something you can work on safely, then pursuing physical activity goals can be a useful part of your path. And there is tons of support out there to help you with your goals. But don't let haters get you down. You alone know your body the most intimately, and you define your path.
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Jovi (oak) replied the topic: Meditation & Mental Health

Ooo, I got some catch-up blogging to do. I just had three very different days of meditation in a row. So first off, I have to admit that I didn't keep up with the daily meditation the past two weeks. I was focusing on getting physical activity in, and it sort of fell off my list as a priority. Still not entirely sure how I did that, especially when my phone continues to give me daily reminders... I think Maybe I was just busy. Well, falling off the meditation wagon and a week of not getting to go to the gym were a setup for badness, and I ended up having a number of bad mental health days (and yes, I made myself an appointment to see someone). Two days ago, and I couldn't focus enough to do much in the way of work, so I realized I needed to get grounded and reset a bit. I basically performed Day 23 meditation, sitting, counting my breath, and with a nice chunk of rock in my hand. I actually started without counting my breath but just sat in stillness with my rock, and when I felt I was making progress, I switched over to the breath meditation. I used my original 4:4:16 count, which I find to be more calming. I think I probably could have used the breath counting from the start too. The two meditations made a huge impact on the rest of my day, and I was able to start to turn my mood and my outlook around.

Yesterday I meditated again, Day 24. I had had a rough morning but with some willpower and support from my partner, I pushed myself to do what I had set out to do. Super glad I did, since it was an awesome self-defense training that was incredibly empowering and filled with supportive people. But the meditation I did was on the train on the way in, seated, breath counting (4:4:16), for 10 minutes. I didn't intentionally do any grounding visualization, but I think it was still a grounding experience. I occasionally got a little distracted, but not much.

This morning I woke up a bit early, energized. I did Day 25, breath counting (4:4:16), lying down. I used the couch, which wasn't the best idea because it wasn't an even surface - even after I started the meditation I did some fidgeting to get into a stable position. This morning my mind definitely wandered, thinking of the cool stuff from the course yesterday and random things. I can't say I felt refreshed afterwards because I didn't feel bad to begin with, but I did note that my heart rate decreased to around 60 bpm (it was similar to the clock tick in the background).

Meditation can't solve mental health. I'm not saying that it does, or that it's a cure-all. But it can be a powerful tool in your self-care arsenal. It has both preventive and therapeutic applications. For me, it definitely makes a difference.
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