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Institute for Jedi Realist Studies Newsletter January 2015
Just like that it's 2015! This time of year is a perfect example of the fluidity of time. When we look to the year past it seems as if time moves rather quickly. When we look to the year ahead it feels as if there's almost an infinite amount of time available. And yet we know that time will continue to shift fluidly. We shouldn't take any of it for granted.
This month we'll look at the year in review for the Chicago Jedi, with the IJRS review coming next month, assuming I don't give birth before having the opportunity to write it up! Birth, like death, is one of those things we cannot predict. This was brought home with the unexpected death of a member last month.
So while this month is a time when we mark the changing of the calender, life continues cycling on. We can't stop moving, training, or growing. We can use the new year to start fresh, but we aren't limited to it. Every day is a fresh start if you choose it. The choice is yours!
In Memorium: Omni, aka Rick Page
Omni was most active about two years ago. I knew him to be a thoughtful man with varied interests. He was talented with metal working, which he did with his wife. Some of his favorite moments were spent riding horses or walking on the beach with his wife and dogs. And that's where his physical life ended on December 28 at the age of 50. He experienced a catastrophic heart attack from which he passed rather quickly, reuniting his spirit with the Force.
We don't know when any of us will leave this physical plane. Rick certainly wasn't planning to leave at the young age of 50. But he lived his life until the end, enjoying the natural world to the fullest with the woman he loved. Not such a bad way to pass in my opinion! Here's a picture of Rick with one of his dogs on the beach. Send Rick and his family some loving energy for their new journeys.
The Night Before Life Day
The Chicago Way by Boom Darklighter
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!