The most essential skill

The most essential skill in the Jedi life …

is returning. Picking yourself up. Getting back on your feet. Turning yourself around. And when you’re about to give up—not.

Of course, there are exceptions—a few truly blessed folks who seem to be born disciplined. They could stop a freight train through their willpower, difficulties that would crush others only make them laugh, and bad habits are as foreign to them as Old Alpha Centaurian.

I’m not one of them.

Last summer, after the thrill of further progress on my weight-loss, faster times in my races, my most robust energy in years, and the beginning of a great relationship—I crashed. A sudden load of stress re-ignited my sugar addiction, and a breakup followed by a short depression turned it into a firestorm. Within two months I gained nearly twenty pounds. I began running less—far less—often not at all. My race times regressed. I gained a even few more pounds till I edged back over the obesity line.

I went from having completed five half-marathon races last year, to being unable to even finish an 8K in March. Despite promising to update the blog frequently, I didn’t, and the reason was that I didn’t even feel qualified to. (Jedi Life? How can I write about Jedi life? I’ve made a mess of myself; I’m no longer living a “Jedi” life.)

However, my failure in the 8K was a wake-up call to turn things around. I eased back into running consistently, and soon finished a pleasantly challenging 5k obstacle course. I hired a naturopath to help me regain lost energy. I began making bets against myself to encourage me to lose weight. For example, all of my co-workers know that the instant they see me eating chips or sweets, they can collect $20. I also promised a friend a more substantial sum if I don’t weigh in at or below a certain number every week. This has been very motivating!

I rediscovered a sense of purpose, and also clarified the purpose of this blog.

Jedi life isn’t about mastery or stunning achievements, although there are amazing masters. It’s about progress. It’s the little efforts we do every day that contribute to massive changes over years. It’s about cultivating a mind free from the engineered dissatisfactions of marketing and random dictates of the Zeitgeist. It’s about creating a heart big enough to love not just another, but also yourself and the whole world. It’s about tuning in to that mysterious One that shapes and holds the Universe together. It’s about making your body the best vehicle it can be to carry you throughout this life, rather than letting inertia and sofa cushions shape it for you. It’s about becoming yourself, your best self, your true self, the self you don’t even know yet, not the self shaped for you by so very many people.

I’m enjoying the journey, and hope you do, too!


This is a guest post from Mark Haynes, DC. Mark practices chiropractic medicine in Southeastern Virginia, and is a frequent speaker on matters of healthful living. Mark lives in Virginia Beach with his wife Celeste, and children Hannah and Emerson.

After watching Yoda use the force to elevate his Xwing fighter out of the swamp waters and deliver it safely to land, Luke exclaims… ‘I don’t believe it’. Master Yoda replies ‘That is why you fail’.

In order to feel the force, you must first believe.

First you must believe that there is a force to be felt. The same force that lights the stars, moves clouds and causes flowers to bloom – animates each of us. Whether you choose to name that force GOD or simply prefer the acronym for Grand Organized Design, the presence of a universal organizing force cannot be denied.


Second, believe that your choices in life affect your ability to connect with and feel the force. You see, ultimately, your beliefs drive your behaviors. If you think that a happy meal really makes your body feel that way – you will eat lots of them. If you believe that your food does matter – that eating whole foods, full of natural nutrients nourishes your body then they will. If you think it is plenty of exercise to point and press the remote – you will be a couch potato. If, on the other hand, you believe that your body will work better if worked – you will exercise and enjoy the benefits. If you believe that your attitude affects your physiology for better and for worse, you will adjust it accordingly. If you believe that your mind, body and soul need time to restore, repair and recharge through rest then you will carve out enough of it.


The power that made the body heals the body – it simply needs the right raw materials.


So renew the body: eat right, stay fit, rest appropriately and think well.

Feel the force. It is you!

The 10 best and worst holiday habits

From Dr. Phil Maffetone:

The Best Holiday Habits:

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  2. Be with those you want to be with
  3. Stick with a holiday budget
  4. Balance work and pleasure
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Stay at home and have fun
  7. Do things you’re passionate about
  8. Shop locally
  9. Buy & receive only healthy gifts
  10. Share healthy food

The Worst Holiday Habits:

  1. Spending money you don’t have
  2. Visiting people you don’t like
  3. Going to parties you’d rather avoid
  4. Eating things you don’t want
  5. Drinking too much alcohol
  6. Last minute shopping
  7. Holiday travel (especially at peak periods)
  8. Going on a diet January 1st
  9. Gaining weight
  10. Buying unhealthy gifts

Death, Life, and Purpose

Steve Jobs spoke in 2005 to Stanford’s graduating class on how mindfulness on death and the brevity of life aids focus and purpose in life.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer …

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog … On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, … Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

(The quotation begins at about 9:03.)

Listen to an excerpt on, or read the entire address, or watch the video of it below.

(This was originally posted at The Wild Things of God.)