• Nick
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Nick replied the topic: Praxeum

Sam Thift wrote: Live-in-work-in options, particularly centered around the martial arts "student/master" concept would be neat too. For example, Nippon Kan Aikido in downtown Denver does a 30 day live-in program where students pay tuition which covers room and board, but in addition to the focused training they get, they also cook, clean, perform maintenance, and tackle community service projects too. Just a thought there.

For a Praxeum, the most important aspect on which to build is the student-teacher relationships as in this setting the teachers will be able to interact intimately with students. The example Sam describes is exactly the type of mentoring relationships which the teachers should cultivate. It is more than just an opportunity to teach planned lessons in a classroom environment. The biggest gain with the students being around the teachers is that the teachers get to observe and evaluate every aspect of the student to understand their behavior strengths and weaknesses, their application of the knowledge and philosophy of their Jedi Path, and their progress on improving skills and behavior throughout their session. A retreat setting as peaceful and ideal for spiritual growth. It is difficult to test and evaluate a student's behavior and skills in ideal conditions. An urban setting offers better conditions and more opportunities for test and evaluation.

"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."

--Mahatma Gandhi

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  • Jax
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Jax replied the topic: Praxeum

Sorry everyone, I didn't see the notification of the replies. Thank you to Sam for pointing this out. I'll hit a bunch of things with this first reply and see if I get it all. :-)
1. Location
As Sam mentioned, the Denver area is uniquely suited to the convenience of the city yet getting into open space quickly. Sunday we were driving in the near mountains and could see some areas of great potential. It would be within an hour and a half of the airport, an hour of downtown denver, but easily remote as well. Now, it's not easy to snag land in that area, and not affordably, but it's a possibility. And, if I can come up with the amount of money that is possible through some other endeavors it won't matter.

For other locations, there's no limit on that. For one, we'll have an urban center, it just won't be the larger facility as it doesn't need that space. Plus, real estate is so expensive in Denver it would be a challenge. We would want to start with leases as we built up interest, but in time I want to own everything so it can last for generations. This is not a quick project for me, but one I expect to work on for lifetimes, so to speak. And it will be part of the larger Jedi temple network as that builds up.

There have also been discussions of roving Jedi who travel around the country in an RV for instance. There are some who would really enjoy that! And for other states that's also open for people to take on. They seem to be farther away time wise though I will help those any way I can. And I encourage those of you interested to do the same. Start by getting together with local-ish Jedi now and build that community. ;-)

2. Property
Yes, I do want things like a library, quiet training areas, loud/martial arts training areas, greenhouses, farm animals, all the things needed to self sustain. I'm thinking a lot of stone based buildings to withstand wildfires and last for hundreds if not thousands of years. And that also means I want an underground storage area and emergency shelter in the event a fire starts up quickly and evacuation is unlikely. For instance, a fire proof vault in the library where the Jedi Realist specific texts are kept that don't have multiple copies. Personal training journals perhaps? In essence, protect the things that have value that can't easily be replaced.

For the type of land, there are options. Other retreat centers or spiritual centers come up for sale from time to time. So once there's money available I'll be reaching out to commercial real estate brokers to look at that as well as ranch land.
also, we might need to parcel up the land to minimize taxes. I'm not sure if a non-profit can own the land that a for-profit uses, so we'll figure that out with lawyers. I'm looking for a large plot of land so I can also parcel off a chunk of it for other purposes unrelated to the Jedi path (a group home for foster kids is one of them.)
3. Jedi
I don't think we will be able to legally use the name. I will explore it, cautiously, once we're closer to implementing. Their take on it all might change by then.
4. Other orders
I actually envision other orders having their own 'office space' which they can use for their own order specific training sessions, webinars, etc. Whether they use it is up to them, but it's a real possibility.
5. Other community stuff
The other thing we see is having it be the center of a small community. So, open the dining hall to the public and charge nominal prices for the food. Build entertainment areas. A pool, bowling alley/game center, recreation center stuff for sports, kids and adults playgrounds for fun strength training, as well as open lectures and such. So if someone wants to just come to take yoga, they may find they are drawn to other things we offer and we'll be changing even more around us, adding more good in the world.
6. Staff
At the last Colorado gathering we had a good discussion about what we learned from other communities. The key was making sure staff has adequate training time as well. So everyone could be on a rotation system where they work full time for 3 months, then half time for 3 months, allowing time for more training. Or do part time the whole time. Or take off just two weeks for a full time session. Basically, we'd have a lot of flexibility with that. And allow people to change jobs when they are interested. Also, for people wanting to do shorter times they can work part time for just a month or a summer. If we need/want to we can also just hire people from the community as well. It's a benefit to strengthen a rural community anytime we can.
7. Affordability
Part of the process will be teaching Jedi about money from some very different perspectives. While yes, we need it to be affordable, we aren't doing them any favors if we don't empower them with the tools to create their lives, money included. Now, the 'civilian' retreats will be more profitable and will be used to offset costs for Jedi training programs so they can be more affordable. Also, scholarships and work study will be made available. What I don't want are people who are there just to take. If they are on scholarship they need to be giving back in some way.
8. Long term training
I also believe in the long term mentoring process. Cultivating the mentor/student relationship over time, and yes in different settings, will be a huge benefit. I know I always learn unexpected things about other Jedi when I spend time with them in person. I'm most excited about being able to train more consistently, in more areas, without having to worry about 'work'.
9. Taking in Jedi
Due to the high likelihood of future events causing internal refugee type events, I am also planning for the potential of Jedi coming to us for sanctuary. We will have a large food store of dehydrated and other-preserved food to supplement, as well as the ability to add more shelter. We can design it to be flexible, so used for a large gathering or event so it isn't just put away for a potential issue, but that we aren't left without the options if it happens. I also see the option of Jedi retiring on our land. They would simply sign a long term lease, have their little carved out space, and just be part of the community as they live out their days.

I don't know how long it will take for all the aspects to come to fruition. I might not live to see it all happen, and that's ok. I will work with lawyers (and a council) to determine the best way to set things up for perpetuity, rather than letting someone just buy it out and do whatever they want in the future. It will be a challenge, but a worthwhile one. :-)
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