The newsletter has returned! I apologize for the break but parenthood takes a bit more time than I expected. Since April a few things have happened, most notably the Jedi Gathering in Colorado. We all had a great time. I'll link to the various reflections below.
Six of the attendees were faculty members or collaborators who are working toward being faculty members. This created some great energy for the Institute. We are putting that energy into new courses and refreshing old courses. For those who couldn't attend the gathering but would like to view the videos for the training you can still do so for $30. All proceeds go toward scholarships for future gatherings. Just paypal $30 to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will ensure it gets to who needs it, as well as send you the link to the videos.
Connor did a fairly extensive write-up here. Here's an excerpt.
So, Day Two was equally amazing! We all got up for early morning Zazen. It was pretty awesome! I enjoyed my time on the cushion. If I’ll be honest, it was the only morning I was able to get up for the early morning stuff. I’m not so much a morning person…
I realize that this is becoming extremely verbose! So, I will try to be more concise.
First activity we did was called Access Bars. It was a really wonderful modality modeled around energy points on the head that hold conclusions about how we live our lives. And, the bars exercise allowed us to clear a lot of those energies. Many people reported feelings of light-headedness, heat, energy, etc. I ran Katie Mock’s bars. She ran mine. Lots of fun!
Second activity we did was Yoga! It was your basic vinyasa routine, moving through downward dog, planking, and many other wonderful poses. I have incorporated some of them into my own exercises. Katie ran that section.
We then worked on some lightsaber forms for a bit of fun! The dulons and velocities can be used as a discipline practice. Important for Jedi to have discipline. So, while it can be “play”, it can also be training. Baru led us in some fun movement activities.
After lunch, we did more swordplay. Then, we had a workshop called Attunement. Attunement is a healing modality, but it is centered on the principle of moving energy radiation through the physical planes of the body. Namely, the endocrine system. I really enjoyed this exercise because it was about opening us up to the idea that energy interacts with our physical body, and our endocrine glands have a lot to do with our energy production and balance. I took it upon myself to buy a couple of Attunement books, and I have incorporated them into my practice.
Somewhere in there, we did some chanting! We went to the small chapel at Sunrise, and Baru told us about the history of the Ranch and the Emissaries of Divine Light. When we got inside, we did some toning to feel the spirit. Then, we did a couple of awesome spiritual exercises.
Atticus led an emergency medicine class! He’s preparing to launch a class that deals with the lay first responder… what the normal, uncertified person can do in the face of an emergency situation. The class was informative. ☺ I greatly enjoyed the subject matter, and I can’t wait to learn more as he releases this class.
I don’t want to give away all the details of all these classes, by the way. But, a majority of this information is available if you buy the recordings for 30 bucks. Contact Jackie for more information.
In the evening of the second day, we did a social meditation. I loved this exercise. The gist is: We sat in a circle and stared at one another until we became uncomfortable. Honestly, we weren’t uncomfortable. ☺ We were totally at ease with each other, and that’s amazing.
My apprentice, Lars, and I also did the exercise. We learned much in just a couple of minutes. Really fabulous.
This month I thought I would focus on what the Council members of the Chicago Jedi think it is about the organization that makes us succeed and keep going strong. We have 10-15 regularly attending members, so that certainly speaks to our doing something right. I put the question to myself, and the other three Council members.
Master Angelus Kalen (Gabriel Calderon)
“One thing that makes us successful is that we embrace diversity. We have members from different walks of life, and each adds to the group in some way. Relatedly, we accept people where they are; each of us human. We create a space where people can vent and gain the confidence and strength to face the world. We make people into better versions of themselves.”
Master Zen-Ryo, Jedi Sentinel (Jeremy Cowan)
“(What makes us succeed is) persistence and a core group willing to put in the time and effort to keep things moving. There is a critical mass below which things feel like they aren’t happening, and above which they almost perpetuate themselves. A lot of time, hard work, and frustration went into creating that critical mass. Once you reach it, you still have to put in the time and effort, but the frustration goes away and joy replaces it.”
Master Raphael ben Raven, Jedi Guardian (Ross Greenberg)
“Chicago Jedi started so humbly with only two members attending. We grew exponentially over a short period of time. We attract people who are not just fans of “Star Wars,” but intelligent, special people who bring their abilities to the table and openly share with the group. This has only made things better and stronger as time has passed. Now, not only has it become a very social experience to be part of Chicago Jedi, but we also have a built-in support system for all of those who are committed to be part of the larger cause.”
“I joined the Chicago Jedi when it was an already established organization, so I had no hand in its’ beginnings. I was immediately impressed by the number of active participants and the general organization of the group. Intensity, humor, sincerity…We are not only companions on the Jedi Path, but friends outside the Order, as well. What we all have in common, what holds us together, goes beyond Star Wars. We share different interests, from martial arts, reading, to Doctor Who and Star Trek (and beyond). Our Council takes the organizational part seriously, keeping everyone happy, and focused on training. We meet in training and studying, but we also meet socially, at least once a month, and we just hang out, talk about projects, have a laugh.