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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 10 months ago #41155

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The Chicago Way
by Boom Darklighter, Consular, Chicago Jedi

Hail and well-met, fellow Travelers! Chicago Jedi has had a very busy first-half-of-summer summer this year, both at home and at the annual Jedi gathering. I didn't attend the gathering, but other people who DID will be posting their experiences here.
We began the summer with our fourth annual appearance at the Kankakee. Illinois, Library Fantasy Convention. It's always a pleasure to attend this Con and talk to and entertain the public, especially the kids. Our lightsaber stage show was the centerpiece and closing entertainment of the Con. The kids loved being able to learn lightsaber technique and watching us perform.
The annual Jedi gathering was held in Altmont, Michigan this year, and, as usual, Chicago Jedi had a whole gang of people traveling east for it. However, this year was delightfully different, as we had several out-of-town Jedi coming into Chicago in order to travel with our group to the gathering. We welcomed Crystal Neumann and her youngling, Eli, Michael Hannigan, Charles McBride and his Padawan Liu, as well as Opie McLeod and Laurent Malaquais (the director and producer of the documentary “Bronies,” who is currently involved in making a full-length documentary about Jedi).
On the Tuesday evening before the gathering, Chicago Jedi hosted a dinner at our favorite restaurant, the 3rd Coast Cafe on Chicago's Gold Coast.
We filled two long tables with local and out-of-town Jedi, totalling eighteen Jedi (which is completely a world record for Chicago Jedi) meeting and revisiting with one another.
The dinner was an opportunity for our local folks to meet and get to know (even if only a little bit) the out-of-towners. Seat-switching was the event of the evening, as everyone wanted to meet everyone else. The dinner was a complete success, and everyone ate and talked until late in the evening.
I had a treat of my own on Thursday, as Kai-An (a Chicago Jedi moved to California), flew into town and spent the afternoon visiting and gossiping with me. It was great to see her.
By Friday, everyone was off to the gathering, leaving me to a peaceful weekend in Chicago.
The rest of our summer is scheduled already, and we have many plans. On Sunday the 13th, we are meeting at the Zen Garden (Japanese-styled park here in the city) for lightsaber practice and meditation. At the end of July we are having our bi-monthly book club (this month we are reading “Path of Destruction,” the first book in the Darth Bane trilogy, though we rarely read fiction) and adding a cookout to round out the day.
For August, we are planning on enjoying an afternoon of archery, and at the end of the month, we have scheduled team-building exercises. Later in the fall, we will have a table at the Toy Fair, where we act as escorts to the Star Wars luncheon. We have at least two “demos,” or “demonstrations,” this autumn, where we get the opportunity to educate the public about what it means to be a Jedi. Yes, we DO wear Jedi garb, but normally only to events where we will be interacting with the public. We will be guests of the Limestone Public Library as they host their annual “Star Wars Reading Day.” This gives us a unique opportunity to encourage kids to read—not only Star Wars books, but books in general.
Chicago Jedi normally holds two events a month, plus a dinner meeting at the 3rd Coast restaurant.
That's the news of the day from Chicago, see everyone again next month! If anyone has any questions about what we do and how we do it, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me!


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Living the Chicago Way August, 2014 2 years 9 months ago #42384

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“THE CHICAGO WAY” Jedi Institute Newsletter, August, 2014

Greetings and salutations from the Windy City! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. It’s been quite cool here all summer, which seems to make Chicago natives happy, although I can’t fathom why.
It’s the time of year when Chicago Jedi try to take advantage of the (non-icebox) temperatures and schedule as many OUTDOOR events as we can manage.
Once everyone returned home from the Gathering, we got our normal schedule started again.
Since I last posted, we had an unexpected (and pleasant) visit from our favorite filmmaker, Laurent Malaquais, and we had dinner then dressed in our Jedi garb to go up on the roof deck of my building so he could film us swinging our sabers in the dark, overlooking the beautiful Chicago skyline. The mundane people having a party seemed to enjoy what we were doing (I find that if you appear pretty much anywhere, wearing Jedi garb, with a lightsaber, you tend to attract positive attention!), and took pictures of the events.
Our next event was an afternoon of lightsaber practice and meditation at the Osaka Japanese Garden, which has become a familiar landmark for us to utilize for any number of events, where we need some space and want to be in a peaceful place. We also volunteer at the Garden, usually twice a year, and we plant bushes (the ones we planted two years ago are happy and thriving!), haul wheelbarrows full of mulch, and rake and sweep in the spring to tidy up the Garden for warm-weather visitors. Myself, I rarely get a chance to get out and get my hands in the earth, so I welcome the opportunity to connect. This is only one of a few ways that Chicago Jedi contributes and pays it forward in our community.
So, we met up at the Garden, and did about forty-five minutes of lightsaber practice, led by our Arms Master, Raphael ben Raven (aka Master Raven aka Ross Greenberg). We covered both sparring techniques as well as working on shii-cho forms. We are trying to if not perfect, to get it together so we can perform for the public at Conventions and demos.
This particular day, I was working on my double-bladed saber skills, up against opponents with double-and-single blades. I was on Flag Team in high school, and I’ve managed to retain my twirling and tossing skills (thank you, muscle memory!), so of course I think I have mad skills…Well, sort of. I’m getting there.
After saber practice, we did a unique meditation led by Master Angelus. We each had paper and pen, and we spread out throughout the garden, each of us picking a comfortable spot to sit and do the meditation. I thought of it sort of as a mindfulness meditation. We sat on the grass, under the trees or in the sun, as well as out on the large flat rocks that overlook the pond. I have a feeling that the designers of the garden put those stones out where they are deliberately to encourage people to sit and meditate.
We were told it didn’t matter how we sat, or whether our eyes were open or closed, as long as we were comfortable and open to our environment. We were to write down what we saw, heard, felt, smelled, etc in the space of fifteen minutes. It was a really interesting sort of meditation, something I, at least, haven’t done before. We followed the event with dinner at our fave restaurant.
Last week, we held our bi-monthly Book Group at Master Raven’s home. The book up for discussion was “Path of Destruction,” the first book in the Darth Bane trilogy. Nota bene, we rarely read any fiction, even Star Wars fiction. We prefer to read and discuss books that are relevant to our Jedi Path. However, since we read “I Jedi” several months ago, we thought we’d make it a summer casual book to read Darth Bane. Our goal was to compare and contrast Jedi and Sith philosophy and training, and see how it can apply to us as Masters, Padawans, and simple Jedi Realists. We also discussed the differences between the Jedi Code and the Sith Code. Since we have two members (who were leading the book group this time) who are very interested in the Sith Path, it was an interesting discussion, to say the least.
On this particular occasion, we were having a barbecue potluck dinner as well as hanging out in Master Raven’s brand-new pool. It was sort of organic, as we spread out the conversation about the book over the course of several hours—as we prepared food, and ate, and hung out in the pool. We discovered that it is perfectly possible to stand around in lovely cool water and discuss Jedi/Sith philosophy (see photo, which was obviously posed, but we really DID discuss it in the pool. My own copy only got a little bit wet. I think we all learned from one another, as well as having some fun.
Last week we held a Chicago Jedi Council meeting, at Master Angelus’ home. We try to meet every four-six weeks, either in person, or (especially in inclement weather) over a “holo-chat” on Google Hangout. We discuss how past events went, and brainstorm and then schedule future events. We also spend time discussing Jedi politics, as well as our Master/Padawan program. As of this past meeting, we are scheduled through November.
Next weekend, we have fourteen people signed up to go out to the archery range, and practice our focus and aim, as well as our discipline. Archery is a great way to cover all of these things.
That’s it for this month! Everyone enjoy the rest of your summer, see you in September!

Namaste and MTFBWY,

Dame Boom Darklighter
Consular, Chicago Jedi
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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 9 months ago #42385

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I am so excited to attend the Archery event next weekend! It will be my first Chicago Jedi event I have attended in person. Everything else has usually conflicted with work or other personal issues. :meditate
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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 7 months ago #43004

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By Boom Kennedy
Consular, Chicago Jedi

A festive Autumnal Equinox and L’Shana Tova to all! Alas, summer is over in Chicago (and everywhere else!), and so Chicago Jedi are beginning to move our events indoors.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a terrific turnout for indoor archery at a range in Plainfield, IL. Master Zen-Ryo (Jeremy Cowan) has always come forward as our informal archery master. Archery is a good skill for Jedi, as it teaches patience, breathing, concentration and focus. Plus it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon!
Just this afternoon we met at Sensei Ross’ (Master Raphael ben Raven) dojo to practice our lightsaber skills. We are practicing shii-cho, a sword form we use as a group when we do stage shows at conventions or library demos.
Lately, we have been seeing some new faces at our MeetUps, folks who may or may not stick around to become full members, so I thought it would be cool to share with everyone the information sheet we send (or hand out) to prospective new members. This document was put together by the Chicago Jedi Council. As the Consular, I wanted to base it on a new member packet I wrote when I was the Chatelaine (which is kind of like a Consular) of the Barony of Settmour Swamp (central New Jersey) in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
We wanted to make this document available to everyone in the Jedi Realist community. If you find yourself with an off-line group of your own, please feel free to use and edit it to your liking.


We are a non-profit, non-sectarian group of Star Wars fans who choose to practice Jedi Realism as a way of life. Chicago Jedi is only one chapter in a worldwide organization.


Jedi Realists seek to recreate and emulate the Jedi Order as presented in the fictional Star Wars universe by embracing the Jedi’s virtues, strengths, and knowledge to embrace them in the real world and in day-to-day-life. We direct our actions and intentions in a direction that serves humanity. We work toward self-development and train in all areas of life: mental, physical, spiritual, without adhering to a specific organized faith through it. All faiths are welcome.

Jedi Realists strive to achieve balance in all areas of life, through martial arts of all kinds, meditation, reading, and discussion in groups and between mentors and students.

We respect and defend life in all its forms, approach life with courage and honesty in order to find wisdom, humbly perform charity work for our community, individually, and as a group. Jedi Realists practice compassion and patience toward others as well as towards ourselves; viewing the world critically and objectively, with a willingness to challenge conventional thinking this sentence is too vague and complicated!


Absolutely not. We welcome men and women of all faiths to join us on our Path. There are groups of people in the US and abroad that practice “JEDIISM” as a religion, but the Jedi Realist path does not involve a religious commitment of any kind.


Yes, but not immediately. For most of our events we wear our everyday clothes. If we are doing a public appearance or event, or for a special event or occasion, we wear our Jedi garb. We will be happy to help you outfit yourself or assist you in making your own personal garb. We can certainly provide loaner garb at first, until you have time to get or make your own.


In the mythos created by George Lucas, the lightsaber is the unique symbol of the Jedi. It is a badge of membership in the Jedi Order, and a Jedi’s prized possession. It is usually his or her sole weapon should a weapon be needed. The Jedi Realists don’t expect you to run out and purchase an expensive replica right away, but you should have one, or even build one, eventually. You will need one if it comes time for you to be knighted.


Yes, most of us meditate and think on what our Jedi name will be; the PERSONA of ourselves as Jedi as we study and learn and teach. Some Jedi choose to use only their mundane names. This is fine.

HOWEVER…What you CANNOT do is adopt the name of any person from the Star Wars universe. We will not accept you as Jedi Anakin Skywalker, Master Mace Windu, or Grandmaster Yoda. If you decide to join our group, we can help you decide on a name, but will encourage you to find whatever name fits you best.


No. Just as in the fictional Star Wars universe, a Jedi must earn his or her rank. No matter how old or young you are you begin as a Padawan (apprentice). If you are under thirteen, you are considered a youngling, and we prefer that you are accompanied by a parent or guardian to all events. You will begin by training with a Master or Knight in order to pass the Jedi Trials of Skill, Courage, Spirit, Flesh, Insight, and the Mind in order to be knighted. With consistent study of the Force and other Jedi arts, rising from Padawan to Knight can take about three years.


The short answer to this is, no, we cannot.


The Chicago Jedi request dues of $25/year. If you come to events that we attend (Jedi Gatherings, comic book or science fiction conventions, paintball, laser tag, dinner out as a group) you will be expected to pay your own way.


Yes. There are many chapters of Jedi Realists across the country, and internationally. We meet with them online and in person at JEDI GATHERINGS, usually held annually in the summertime.


Most Jedi Realists study martial arts in one form or another. From yoga and tai chi to karate, aikido, and jiu-jitsu, we apply ourselves to these physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines as a way to become stronger and better Jedi. If you are already a martial arts student somewhere, terrific! If you are a teacher, that’s terrific as well.

Til next time, MTFBWY and allons-y!

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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 7 months ago #43510

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by Boom Darklighter


Master Angelus Kalen (Gabriel Calderon) has been involved with the Jedi community for well over a decade. He began his online training in 2002 with what was then the JEDI Academy (now the Institute for Jedi Realist Studies), working his way up from student to teacher, eventually becoming the Principal. However, he took a step back in order to focus on his offline involvements. He is still a senior instructor at IJRS.
Angelus also became involved with the Jedi Resource Center (now the Gathered Force Community), which organized offline Gatherings. He attended his first Gathering in 2005 and knew this was the direction he wanted to go. With the encouragement of the organizers, Angelus started an offline chapter, Chicago Jedi, in 2006. As the founder and Master of the very busy and active real-world Chicago Order, Angelus provides direction and leadership. He oversees the Council and makes sure the Chapter operates effectively.

I sat down with Master Angelus last week.

1) What's your favorite part of being the Master of the Chicago Jedi Order?

It's definitely bringing people together to share their thoughts and experiences - whether at leadership meetings, member events, or conventions and demos. It's always fun to come across others who love Star Wars, especially those you might not normally encounter. I like that our group is so varied. We have teachers, doctors, writers, martial artists, students, lawyers. Where else would you come across such diversity.

2) What's your least favorite part of being the Master of the Chicago Jedi Order?

It would have to be all the work that happens behind the scenes. With so many projects it's hard to keep track of who is supposed to do what and by when. It does take up time in addition to regular events. However, all this needs to get done so that the events go as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, I have a great council to help me out.

3) Tell us something about the new Padawan training program. What makes it unique?

I'm excited by the Padawan training program. It had been a slow start with just one Master, one Apprentice. With the influx of new members we've had to review and formalize the process more. We have a comprehenisve curriculum to work on all aspects of training - mind, body, and spirit. I can see the time where we are promoting Knights every year at a Gathering.

4) How has the Jedi Realist movement changed in the last ten years?

The Jedi Realist Movement has gone more offline. I remember doing my training at an online academy exclusively. Then someone had the idea to meet offline and share knowledge at Gatherings. Those gatherings have inspired the growth of Chapters. Now, I see those chapters communicating with each other and organizing into a stronger community.

5) What do you want the rest of the Jedi community to know about Chicago Jedi?

Chicago Jedi isn't just in Chicago. We have members throughout the US forming chapters of their own. We have open lines of communication with others across the globe. One of our missions is to build the community. Anyone interested in connecting with us is encouraged to do so.

6) How do you maintain your mundane life alongside your life as a professional Jedi and teacher/mentor?

I balance the two very carefully. At this point, both sides have blended well and support each other. My teaching profession has given me lots of insight and experience in the area of education which I used in developing our training program. The Jedi has exposed me to different people that have enriched my life and helped me to look at situation from various angles. I'm grateful to have a family that is supportive of everything I do.

7) What advice would you give to Jedi who want to start their own offline Jedi chapter?

My biggest piece of advice is to go ahead and do it. Each group has its own way of operating, its own focus. There will be a lot of trial and error, believe me. Eventually you get it to run - by itself,

hopefully. Throughout the process you will have time for fine tuning, sometimes even changing direction. Remember, it is a process. It's also helpful to link up with others doing the work - whether it's people to help run the chapter, speak to colleagues, or find mentors. You aren't in this alone.

If you are interested in becoming a member or friend of Chicago Jedi, please check our Facebook page (Chicago Jedi), our MeetUp site (meetup.com/chicagojedi) or our home page (chicagojedi.com)
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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 5 months ago #44597

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The Chicago Way, December 2014

Since I didn't do a regular column last month, I have some catching up to do regarding what Chicago Jedi have been up to. The last week in November, we had our bi-monthly book discussion group. This month we studied “Modern Bushido: Living a Life of Excellence” by Dr. Bodhi Sanders. This time we weren't in the swimming pool (it's a little chilly in Chicago for swimming in October), rather at Master Raven's dojo. The reviews on this book were sort of mixed. I think we pretty much agreed that Dr. Sanders (a nice fellow who was thrilled that Jedi were studying his book) has some interesting things to say that apply to Jedi studies, but he tends to be a bit repetitive. That doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it as a good read for Jedi Realist students (that would be you guys).

We celebrated Halloween in traditional Chicago Jedi tradition—with a theme party. The theme this year was “fandom mash-up--” take two different fandoms and put them together in one costume. We had a Jedi pirate, a Han Solo/Indiana Jones, a Vulcan Time Lord (me, see picture), and lots of other interesting combinations.

Last week, we closed out the yearly convention season with an official appearance at Chi-TAG—the Chicago Toy and Games Fair. This was our fourth year at this con. They hold a Star Wars luncheon,and our group acts as escorts. It's a busy weekend!

This month I want to talk about Jedi Journaling. Journaling and writing are subjects close to my heart, and I have been doing both for nearly forty years. That's a lot of pens. In the last five years alone, I've written VOLUMES about being a Jedi (see photo—that's three composition books duct-taped together) using paper and pen.

When I first started my Jedi Realist studies, I was encouraged, as we all are, to keep a blog recording my thoughts and my assignments. I have never journaled using a computer, and I figured some of the stuff I was writing was for me and my teachers, not for the entire community. So I started my journal, and Masters Angelus and Zen-Ryo checked my work.
Master Angelus was sort of puzzled about my insistence that journaling with a pen and paper is a wholly different experience than blogging using a computer. It took some fast talking, some convincing,and one or two direct discussions (read “arguments”) about how he wouldn't know unless he tried it. Finally he did, and he (rather sheepishly, sorry Master lol) told me that it WAS a different sort of writing, and a way to write that might work better in some situations. I can be sort of pushy when I need to be.

This is a new generation—using a computer to write everything from school assignments to journals to grocery lists, rarely picking up a pen.

Here's the thing. There's a certain type of visceral energy that goes into your writing when you pick up that pen and put the keyboard aside (this column is drafted in a steno book). There's a flow of thought that you can only find when the thoughts go from your head to your hand and out the end of a pen. It's easier and more difficult at the same time, starting out. Allow me to explain. It's harder, because you won't necessarily write as fast, or as accurately with a pen, at least at first. That might frustrate you some, but don't give up. It's easier because you will find yourself being less likely to edit yourself as much, and your writing might be more honest...And that might scare you.

When I was in college (in the Dark Ages of the early 1980's), I read a book that changed my journaling and writing forever. It's called “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg, and I have read it again and again over the years. Natalie recommends writing fast and getting all your garbage out on the page. She calls it “free writing” and I highly recommend getting a copy of the book. And giving it a try. Get a notebook and a pen you like and give it a try with one of your Jedi assignments.

A last word of advice—I don't recommend going out to Barnes and Noble or Amazon and buying a fancy leather-bound journal, at least not right away. You might find yourself intimidated by the book, and you might not want to sully the (fancy and expensive) pages with your mind-garbage,or anything less than perfect, lyrical prose. Natalie—and I—recommend cheap spiral-bound notebooks, and I use those black and white composition books with the wide-spaced lines (college ruled notebooks make me have to write small, and my thoughts are smaller if I can't do big, loopy handwriting). Get a pen you are comfortable with (gel or fountain pens are nice, as they don't require putting pressure on the page so you can write faster).

As Hemingway said, “Write hard and fast about what hurts.”
Give it a try—you might surprise yourself!

MTFBWY and Happy Holidays to all!


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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 5 months ago #44601

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Good writing (and good penmanship) are becoming a 'lost art'.

During and after the Civil War, more people were learning to read and write and a letter was the only alternative to walking or riding distances to communicate. And, entering into the Victorian Era, letter writing was becoming an 'art' -- where style was nearly as important as substance. Words and concepts were thought out before being laid down so as not to waste ink or paper. A 'simple' letter took time and focus and had an elegance all it's own.


Here is an example from the Civil War era where the 'art' was still in it's infancy but still impactful (as compared to a 140 character tweet!).

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

A letter from Sullivan Ballou to his wife. He was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. And, this letter was never delivered but found with his personal effects when his remains were finally collected to be sent back 'home'. Sarah lived on another 60+ years.

Pen and paper journals today can be as sparse as a tweet and as simple, and elegant as the above letter. Communication -- even to one's self in the future -- should be a focused effort. (Unless you are doing 'flow of consciousness' writing -- which is another whole ball of yarn.)
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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 5 months ago #44602

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Great comment. I'm a Civil War buff, so I'm familiar with Sullivan Ballou's letter--I own the book "For Love and Liberty" in which it appears. It's a beautiful piece of writing.
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Living the Chicago Way 2 years 4 months ago #45297

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Chicago Jedi 2014: A Year in Review

First off, I would like to wish all my Jedi family online and off, a very happy and healthy new year! Another year to walk the Path of a Jedi and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with our studies.

2014 was a productive and fun year for Chicago Jedi. We had twice as many Padawans sign up for serious study in the last year than ever before, did several conventions and library demos, did charity work, practiced our lightsaber skills, read several books, saw movies, worked on our Padawan training program, attended the biggest Jedi gathering yet, and were filmed for a major motion picture documentary, “American Jedi.” We also ate and drank and laughed together.

We began 2014 with Jedi Book Group, studying the first section of Forrest Morgan’s classic “Living the Martial Way,” which is part of our Padawan training program. This book reminds us that we must live 24/7 as Jedi, just as we would do if we were martial artists (well, most of us ARE, but I digress). We continued our discussion of this book in April.

As winter continued, we started making plans for the warmer months, and for convention season. We had requests from three separate suburban public libraries to appear on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), and we planned to appear at at least two conventions. The winter closed out with an afternoon of strategy games followed by dinner, and a viewing and discussion of the film “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

In May we did THREE events to celebrate Star Wars Day. We began our morning with some of our members doing the annual MS Walk (yes, in Jedi garb), to support and promote awareness and fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis. From there, we went to a demo at the Morris Public Library, where we talked about being real-life Jedi, and teaching lightsaber skills to kids, as well as to adults and both of the librarians sponsoring the event. We concluded the (rather exhausting) day with dinner at our favorite hang out, the 3rd Coast Café. We spend a lot of time eating together.

Spring brought a new sort of meet-up, one for Knights and our students called (thank you, Angelus!) “How to Train Your Padawan.” A fairly serious discussion with all the knights and padawans present (in Angelus’ backyard) talking over mentor-mentee issues (wisdom, judgement, resilience, adaptability) as well as the Jedi Trials (Self-improvement, meditation, connection to divinity/the Force, physical training). We wound up the day with a game of “Cards Against Humanity,” thanks to our Games Master, Master Zen-Ryo.

Our summer was almost frantically busy, with most of our membership heading to the annual Jedi gathering and being filmed and interviewed by Laurent Malaquais, the fellow making “American Jedi.” (Laurent interviewed all the knighting candidates and the Chicago Jedi Council rather seriously, but he ended up admitting that I was turning out to be something of the comic relief. What, ME? Nah. All I can say is that for the amount of time I spent this summer with a camera nearby or in my face, I’d better at least be IN the film!)

After the gathering, things settled back down into our normal routine, and we held another Book Group, this time studying “Modern Bushido” by Bodhi Sanders. In addition to the other events I mentioned in earlier columns, we rounded out our year with an appearance at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair where, for the fourth year in a row, we acted as escorts for their Saturday luncheon. We ended our year the way we began last year, with our annual “Life Day” party, and toasted ourselves, as well as raising our glasses to Angelus (Gabe) and his fiancé, Jay, who were married on the Solstice. Mazel Tov!

Til next time…
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