Can you believe it's already December? This year has gone by quite quickly again. Many of us will be celebrating holidays throughout the month which will likely help this last month move rather quickly as well. Remember, no matter how insane everyone seems to be, take the time to breathe and center yourself. You don't have to buy into the craziness of the season.
We have some excellent news to announce. Two members completed their Novice Trials this month, Atticus and Brian (aka Kurin). Brian has the distinction of being the first member who has done their entire training (without a long break) with IJRS to complete the Novice Trials. The remaining have been faculty members (or long time members). This was an enlightening process for us all and shows that the process is working as we anticipated. All of our Novice members continue on with their training toward Adept and then Knighthood, an individualized process that takes into account their needs and goals. We look forward to more Novices in the coming year. Keep training and you can be among them!
In this month's newsletter we'll continue with another member interview thanks to Brian. And Boom brings us an update from the Chicago Jedi, along with a lesson in the value of journaling on paper.
Meeting the Members: Yoshio
One part of the Novice exam is to interview another Jedi. This month brings you Brian's interview, as submitted in his written exam.
For my interview, I interviewed Yoshio, an instructor at IJRS, whose given name is Johannes Schiebl.
Where are you from?
I’m from Salzburg, Austria.
How old are you?
This year I will become 37 years old.
What do you do for a living?
These days I’m working as an engineer in the aerospace field with a major in light weight constructions and Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics.
How long have you been a Jedi Realist?
I needed to look this up in my faculty bio as it is not of that big of an importance to me as walking the Jedi Realist Path is more important to than how long one actually did or claim to do it.
Anyway, I first gave it a search sometimes around the year 2001/2002 and started my official training and study at the “The Jedi” homepage, faculty in 2002. This means it is now my twelfth year of walking this path.
What is your definition of Jedi Realism?
My definition of Jedi Realism is to make practical use in everyday life of what one studies, here at the IJRS as well as elsewhere.
A Jedi Realist, in my opinion, is someone who believes in the Force and to possibility to use it or make use of it. Furthermore a Jedi Realist is a person of open mind and the willingness to improve one’s self everyday new, a humble person who puts his life into the service of others and the society one lives in.
What brought you to the Jedi Path?
My search for truth and a way in life which would help me to understand life in general and myself better so that I can become able to become the best me possible.
Do you believe in The Force?
Yes I do believe in the Force as it is for me ‘just’ another name for lives energy, Chi, Ki or all the other names given to it. For me the Force is what makes us and binds us together and helps us to find our way to whatever we are meant to explorer and experience.
If you had a lightsaber, what color would it be? Why?
The colour of my lightsabre would be of dark blue. Why? Simply because I love blue in general and more precisely because of that blue, obviously, symbolises water and water is somehow lives energy.
Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Why?
Pretty easy to answer, Qui-Gon Jinn. Why? Because he is for me a kind of role model of what it means to me to be a real Jedi and living in tune with the will of the Force.
Do you practice a martial art? If so, what is it? How long have you been studying this discipline?
Aye, I do practice and study martial arts. I started with 14 years of age with Shotokan Karate Do. Later did Aikido, Shaolin Kung-Fu, Tai Chi Chuan and Qi-Gong till if finally found Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu/Ninjutsu.
Bujinkan I study and train now since the year 2000 and 2014 I found again a good teacher for Chen Tai Chi Chuan so I’m back into this art as well.
Do you meditate? If so, how often?
I tend to meditate frequently every morning from Monday to Friday for about 10 – 15 min.
Do you exercise regularly? And if so, what do you do?
Yes, I ride my bicycle every day from Monday to Friday for all together around one hour.
I do some bodyweight exercises in addition to my martial arts trainings and if I find some time I go for a run on Sunday which last for about 8 to 10 kilometre or something between 30 min. up to 1 hour.
I learned that Yoshio has been training for twelve years which seems to me to illustrate a dedication to the path that is more uncommon. From my experience in the Jedi Community, it seems that there are a lot of people who sign up to sites but far fewer who engage in any actual training. It seems for many a passing fancy. But not for Yoshio. Dedication is an important value which I take away from my interview with Yoshio.
The Chicago Way by Boom Darklighter
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.”