Inner Jedi Notebook: Week Ten

I haven’t posted any of my Inner Jedi Notebook entries for awhile, but I’ve still been writing them. I’m often scaling down the blogging to once a week for awhile, and then I suddenly decide to go back to several times a week. It all depends on what’s preoccupying me, lol.

Anyway, my last entry was Week 9, so I’ll continue with Week 10:

Week Ten

Coloring Meditations

Before a youngling can become a Padawan learner, they must first go to the planet Ilum, find a kyber crystal, and build their own lightsaber.

If you could design your own lightsaber, what would it look like? What color blade would it project? Sketch and color it in the space provided.

My answer was:

“I’m not even going to try to draw a lightsaber, lol. I will talk about the ones that I love, my favorites. Those two are Leia’s lightsaber, and Rey’s. I find it interesting that I like the two that were designed by women. Leia’s is certainly a bit more feminine–the coppery pink color and the graceful lines. Rey’s isn’t necessarily more feminine–it seems a bit more primal than any other I’ve seen. But I like how she’s incorporated a part of who she is into it–it resembles her trusty staff that was her weapon of choice before she became a Jedi. And I love the yellow color. It’s weird, because yellow is not my favorite color, but I love it in lightsabers. Probably because you don’t see it too often. Also, it’s the color of the Temple Guard blades, who intrigue me. I just think they’re cool-looking, with their eerie masks. So I’d definitely want mine to be yellow/gold.”

Leia’s lightsaber.
Rey’s lightsaber.
A Jedi Temple Guard.

I did tape photos of Leia’s and Rey’s lightsabers into the journal.

I haven’t done any meditating for quite a while. I just wanted to do other things during my precious free time, lol, like drawing or journalling. And that’s okay. I still listen to the soothing meditation music, though. Does that count? And it’s something I can always get back into if I feel the need.

What would your lightsaber look like? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 8

Week eight of my Inner Jedi Notebook journey. This week continues the exploration of meditation.

The question:

Having practiced meditating for a few minutes every day this past week, reflect on your experience of it. What are some challenges you faced? Have you experienced any positive outcomes?

My answer:

“After initially struggling with it, I find I look forward to my few minutes of quiet stillness every day. It’s downtime, yes, but also a time when I don’t have to do or be anything–just be. To just be conscious in the world, and of the world. To examine your own mind. Although sometimes I worry I’m just daydreaming, lol. But I do consciously try to let thoughts go and refocus on the present moment. It’s amazing how we’ve trained ourselves to be everywhere except the present moment, and it’s a struggle to unlearn that (“You must unlearn what you have learned,” as Yoda said to Luke). It comes naturally to babies and animals, and it’s fascinating to watch them. They are effortlessly in the now, and are unaware of anything else. It’s delightful.

One thing that surprised me about meditation is that you’re having a relationship with your mind–it’s not a boring, static thing–it’s dynamic. You get to see how your mind works, what it focuses on, how one thing leads to the next–it’s fascinating, in a way. You have to get to know it, in order to calm it.

As far as positives–I’ve always been a calm, collected sort of person, and not necessarily reactive (although sometimes I am). But it’s helpful to fall back onto the memory of quiet time, to be able to retrieve that sense of calm during stressful situations. If it’s busy at work and I’m feeling stressed, with a thousand things going on, I can find my center and power on. I’ll think, these moments will pass, and later it will be just me and the candle and the (meditation) music and the thoughts, and the letting go. There will be peace.

Meditating is the act of practicing peace. So during stressful times, you can automatically reach for that peace.”

Anakin Meditating

Thanks for reading! MTFBWY

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 7

Week seven of my Inner Jedi Notebook journey. This week introduces meditation, but I started doing it when I first began the notebook, so I already have a bit of experience with it. There’s always more to learn and experience, though.

Meditation

Meditation is a core aspect of any Jedi’s training. If you don’t already meditate regularly, try doing so now.

Find a comfortable place to sit, and simply breathe in and out for one minute, before closing your eyes.

Then, for three to five minutes, visualize a warm beam of light slowly filling you up, from your toes to the top of your head. It’s perfectly fine if your mind wanders during this time, but gently refocus yourself on the warm beam of light.

Open your eyes and reflect on how you feel afterward. There’s no perfect way to meditate, so be kind to yourself, and try this exercise for the rest of the week. Use this space to journal about your efforts.

Next week, you will journal about your experience with meditation in a more detailed manner.

My response:

“I’ve been meditating almost every day since starting this journal. I began with five minutes everyday for the first week. Then ten minutes every day for two weeks. I’ve been doing fifteen minutes every day for the past three and a half weeks. Fifteen seems like a good amount of time right now, and will stay there until I feel ready for twenty minutes. I’d like to make it up to thirty minutes someday if I can.

The first couple of weeks, it was really difficult. It was hard to sit still, and impossible to calm my mind. I wrestled with my thoughts as if they were physical things, trying to tame them into submission. But I kept at it, no matter what. After a while, it was a bit easier–still a little twitchy and itchy now and then–but I didn’t feel like I was fighting my thoughts anymore. I simply began to accept them, note them, and let them go. A new thought always comes up, but I let that go, too, and on and on. They simply float by like clouds. I can’t imagine there will be a time when I have no thoughts. But they’re lighter, of no consequence. I’ve found a kind of distance. I note the thoughts, and think, “Hmm, interesting.” Then I let it go, and so on. I keep refocusing on the flame, or a part of the candle. I call it progress.”

Rey meditating, from The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

I’ve tried the beam of light thing, and it will work for a while, but I found the candle a better focusing tool. I like how they’re both incarnations of light, as in, the Light side of the Force. You’re literally focusing on the Light and letting it fill you.

Have a great week and May the Force be with you!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 6

Week six of the Inner Jedi Notebook.

This week’s question was:

The Age of the High Republic was a time of exploration. While the Republic expanded across the stars, Jedi were often stationed on outposts throughout the galaxy, helping those in need no matter where they were. Where are some places that you want to explore in your life?

My answer was:

“I’m not much of a traveler. I’m more of an armchair traveler than anything. I love learning about other places, but mostly in the comfort of my own home. Mostly, I don’t like the actual logistics of traveling–the driving, the plane ride (and the airport), the weariness of it; I just know I’d get sick, lol. If there were teleporters like in Star Trek, where you could just beam over–or a holodeck!–that’s my style. But I can’t deal with the stress of traveling. So I’ve actually been to very few places in my life.

This bothered me for a long while. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I like to travel? Don’t I realize I’m missing out on a vital experience of life? What a weirdo! Don’t I want adventure in my life?

Not really, lol. I’m like Reath Silas, a Padawan of the High Republic. He’s perfectly satisfied not to have any adventures, and would be happy spending his life in the Jedi Archives. I love him because of this–I can relate. Of course, he’s a Jedi, and it’s inevitable that adventure finds him. But me? I’m waiting for the holodeck!

So, what places would I program into it? Here’s a list:

  • The United Kingdom (London, Dublin, and Edinburgh in particular)
  • Europe in general, but especially Switzerland
  • New Zealand
  • An Alaskan cruise would be nice
  • California wine country
  • Hawaii
  • Pyramids of Egypt (of course!)

While I’m waiting for the holodeck, perhaps virtual reality technology could take me to some of these places. Until then, I’m happy to learn about and see these places in books and videos. Boring, I know. But that’s who I am, and I’m okay with that. A Jedi accepts what is, right?”

I’ve been keeping up my meditation practice, fifteen minutes every day. I’m not quite ready to move onto twenty minutes yet, but I’ll know when I am. There’s no right amount of time, anyway. But my personal goal is to get up to thirty minutes, perhaps by month three. It’s funny; some days are more challenging than others. Some days I’m just so twitchy and itchy; and others, I’m serene and still. But I show up everyday to sit and be quiet, unless I’m sick or something (I had an allergy attack the other day and couldn’t imagine sitting while sniffling and sneezing, lol). But overall, it’s going well.

In honor of the Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser trailer this week:

Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton.

Where would you want to explore? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 5

Week five of the Inner Jedi Notebook. This week instead of a question (or in addition to one) there was an activity. At first I thought I’d skip the coloring activity, thinking it silly or unnecessary, but then I thought, if you’re going to do this, do everything. Don’t skip. So, below witness my Luke and Yoda masterpiece, lol.

Coloring Meditations:

“Luminous beings are we.”

Yoda

What are some of the qualities that make you a luminous being?

Color in the scene on the opposite page, and then decorate the following spread with illustrations, taped or glued-in ephemera, and other embellishments that symbolize your best traits.

I forgot how much I loved coloring when I was a kid.

This is just a bunch of stuff I found on hand when I was working on it this week. I focused on my family and my love of nature, mostly. How do these things make me a luminous being? They’re things that make my soul happy.

My tribe.

I’m still meditating fifteen minutes every day. I think as a beginner, you never really know if you’re doing it right, lol, or how you’re supposed to feel afterwards. I find that I do look forward to that little bit of quiet time everyday. No computer, phone, TV, book, work, errands, chores, people needing me, etc. It’s me-time, when I can just be quiet with myself. And that alone is worth it.

Obi-Wan by croaky on Devientart.com

What makes you a luminous being? If you’d like, we can talk about it in the comments below!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 4

This was a fun entry, and echoes a post I did about my five favorite Jedi. The journal only gave five lines for each of the Jedi, so I had to be especially succinct. If you’re interested in my more exhaustive blog post, you can check it out here.

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Who are your favorite Jedi Knights? What are the qualities that you admire most about them, and how do they embody the spirit of a Jedi?

These were my choices:

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan is the ideal Jedi–he’s kind, empathetic, dedicated, and loyal. He’s calm in a crisis, and is a superb warrior. He loves deeply (Anakin and Satine, for example), but not possessively. His commitment to protecting Luke borders on martyrdom. He is selfless–yet not perfect. His loyalty to a flawed Jedi Order cost him Anakin. He always trusts in the Force.
  2. Qui Gon Jin. Qui Gon is an authentic Jedi in the truest sense of the word–he is true to the Force (mostly the Living Force) and himself. He is a wise, patient master to Obi-Wan. And he questions and defies the Jedi Council numerous times. He questions authority when warranted. He’s a bit of a mystic, with an interest in the Prophecies.
  3. Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka is a Jedi with the biggest heart. Her first instinct is to help people, always. But she’s also got some sass, and some cool moves. She’s brave for leaving the Order and striking out on her own when she felt they’d betrayed her. And I love her double lightsabers!
  4. Luke Skywalker. Luke personifies compassion. He loves his friends, but it was his unconditional love for his father that saved Anakin from Darth Vader and the Emperor. He’s been tempted by the Dark several times, coming to the brink, but never lets it consume him.
  5. Kanan Jarrus. Through Ezra, Kanan relearns to be a Jedi, and what it means to be one. He learns to care again after the devastation of Order 66. He made the ultimate sacrifice for those he loved most, and for a cause he cared about.

I’m proud to say I’ve made it up to fifteen minutes of meditation everyday. Still fighting the thoughts, earworms, and images that come into my mind, as well as the itchy face, aching back (even though I’m sitting in a chair, lol), and occasional cat disturbances. Maybe someday I can be as serene as Kanan here (I’m not holding my breath about lifting the rocks):

Kanan by Jake Murray on Devientart.com

Who are your favorite Jedi and why? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 3

I’ve been working on my Inner Jedi Notebook for three weeks now, and I’m really enjoying the experience.

Here’s the question for Week Three:

Yoda assigns Anakin Skywalker a Padawan in Ahsoka Tano, in the hopes that mentoring a young Jedi would help Anakin discover his own best traits.

Decades later, Yoda would implore Luke Skywalker to pass on what he has learned to a new generation of Jedi. How can you be a mentor to people in your own life?

I answered with this:

“The obvious example that comes to mind is my daughter. We care for our children, protect them, play with them, but I think we also hope that we can guide them, teach them, impart some wisdom. My daughter is thirteen, so is probably at an age where she doesn’t quite want to listen to my lessons, lol. But I’m hoping, throughout the years, that a few things sink in that she can later retrieve: Be kind, always (she’s already pretty good at this; in fact, she’s got the biggest heart in anyone I know). Love yourself. Stand up for yourself. Listen to your intuition. Respect yourself. Believe in yourself. These are actually things I’m still working on. I’m hoping by imparting these lessons to her, I will also learn them. Be the example. Like a Master and a Padawan, the hope is that you can learn from each other. I know that eventually I will need to learn to let go, to teach her to be independent and send her out into the world. This terrifies me, lol, but is probably the most important lesson of all.

Yoda says over and over, especially in the High Republic books, that Padawans teach Masters the hardest lesson: to let go. Yoda ought to know–he’s probably had dozens of Padawans over his long life. And he had to let each one go. People with multiple children must guide and protect them, and then let each one go, one by one. I only have one child, and that seems hard enough!”

I got up to fifteen minutes of meditating this week, at least until Wednesday, but then I didn’t feel well, and didn’t do it for a couple of days. But I’m better and back on track, so I’m planning on fifteen minutes every day next week. It’s a habit I want to get into, like brushing my teeth; and also work my way up to thirty minutes, if I can. It seems impossible now, but so did meditating in the first place, so we’ll see.

Rey meditating on Ach-To by Shawn Duddridge on artstation.com

Are you a mentor to anyone? If you’d like, let me know about it in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 2

Last week I decided to share my thoughts and insights from my Inner Jedi notebook.

Here’s the question for Week 2:

As a Padawan learner, Jedi apprentices study under the tutelage of a Jedi Master. Who are the mentors in your life who have imparted great wisdom to you? What lessons have you learned from them?

Here’s my entry:

“When I think of mentors, I think mostly in terms of writing. There are a few teachers who encouraged me in writing–my fifth grade teacher Mr. Lapean, who liked my fantasy stories; my English teacher at the community college, Phyllis Nahman, who liked my papers and essays and told me that I’m a good writer. They were good encouragers.

But as far as “wisdom” goes, I have to go to writers and their books on writing. My major writing guru for many years was Natalie Goldberg. I discovered her book “Writing Down the Bones” in the early 90s when I was in my early 20s, and it was probably the greatest influence on how I went about writing–and living. I read all of her writing books and all of her memoirs, and filled stacks and stacks of notebooks with writing based on her methods and exercises, notebooks I still have in a cardboard box somewhere. Her writing rules were: 1. Don’t think; 2. Keep your pen moving; and 3. Go for the jugular. Timed writing is big–start with “I remember” and go for 10 minutes, don’t stop until the 10 minutes are up. The point was to evade the censor and get to “wild mind.” I still do this kind of writing sometimes, but not always. What stuck with me was her absolute commitment to writing, her personal stories, and her belief that writing and living are intertwined. One enriches the other.

I’ve had other writing gurus over the years–Julia Cameron and her “Artist’s Way” books; Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” is a wonderful book on creativity and living. And lately I’ve been reading Jen Sincero’s Badass books, which are about reaching your greatest potential. I guess gurus are a bit different than mentors. I’ll just call them teachers.”

I’m still meditating, too, which impresses me, lol. I’m up to ten minutes a day. It’s definitely an interesting experience, wrangling with your own mind. These two make it look easy:

saddew.art.design on tumblr.

Do you have any mentors? If you feel so inclined, tell me about them in the comments, and we’ll talk about it!

Inner Jedi Notebook Week 1

You may know that I recently got an “Inner Jedi” notebook that’s beautiful and super-cool (check it out here if you want). And I thought that maybe once I started writing in it I’d share some insights and entries here. I don’t usually share such personal stuff here, and some of you may not be interested, but I really think it’s a great exercise (and fun, too!).

The Week One journal question is this:

“Jedi are keepers of the peace who act on pure selflessness. As you embark on your Jedi path, what are you hoping to achieve or discover by using this journal? How can seeking peace and acting on selflessness help you reach those goals?”

Good question. My answer was this:

“I want this journal to help me act on my better self–the one who gives money to the homeless, who shovels the neighbor’s sidewalk, who encourages a writer friend online. I like to think I’m a “nice” person, compassionate, understanding–but actions speak louder than thoughts. It’s these little acts of kindness that make a difference in the world–and counteracts the belief that that the world is shit, which is a pretty easy thing to believe right now. It’s easy to get lost in your own bubble and forget these things. This journal will remind me.

I’ve also been wanting to start a meditation practice for a LONG time. I just never “get around to it” or make the time. I think it’s important for a lot of reasons: it will help de-stress and center me, calm my mind, build up patience, and just give my mind a break from all the crappy thoughts that clutter it. I hope it will instill a sense of peace and serenity that I can call upon at any time. Also, per Jen Sincero [author of You Are a Badass], it directly links you to Source Energy: the Creator, Universal Intelligence, God, or–yes–The Force. (Okay, not just Jen, but she’s the one who inspired me–as well as the Jedi, of course).

Two things I want to work on are anger and fear. Just watching the news makes these two emotions spike exponentially. Anger tends to come and go and is a quick reaction, and just as quickly dissipates. But fear tends to linger and haunt me. Fear about many things–money (or lack of it), Lilly’s health and happiness [my daughter who has spina bifida], the fate of democracy, lol. It’s more like a gnawing worry that’s an undercurrent of my life. Like a Jedi, I must learn to deal with these emotions and keep them in their proper place.”

Master Yoda by Entar0178 on Devientart.

Yeah, so I’ll never swing a lightsaber like a Jedi or move rocks with my mind and stuff, but, with some practice and commitment, maybe I can achieve the poise and calm that these warriors possess. Life goals, lol.

How would you answer this question? Feel free to give me the long or short of it in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Finding My Inner Jedi

While scrolling through a Star Wars fan group on Facebook one day, I saw some one had posted an ad for this super awesome Star Wars journal called Inner Jedi, and I knew I had to have it! I received it the other day, and it’s beautiful, geeky, surprisingly thoughtful, and I love it.

It has my favorite Star Wars symbol on it.

The journal is meant to be your guide throughout 52 weeks of reflection, meditation, and “daily acts of peace and selflessness” to help you find your inner Jedi. There are pages for every week in a year (no specific dates; just start whenever you want to), words of wisdom, quotes, and even coloring pages to help you along your journey.

A weekly page for keeping track of your selfless acts.
Some added pages for more in-depth soul-searching.
Coloring! Crafts! Yoda! What’s not to love?
As a list lover, this kind of page hits the spot with me.

I haven’t started writing in it yet (not sure when I will, maybe at the beginning of next month), but I’m looking forward to filling this gorgeous notebook with my inner Jedi self. It’s the kind of thing I need right now, to calm and center myself in this crazy world and these crazy times. Just breathe, focus, and find the good. The fact that it’s Star Wars is the cherry on top. I might even share some posts inspired by the writing I do in here for something different once in a while.

This notebook cost about $20 and is available on Amazon or Insight Editions.

Do you have any cool Star Wars-related notebooks or journals? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!