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!

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