Written by Katie Mock
I hate running. Truly despise it. It’s boring and grueling; ten minutes in every time I’m gasping and limping along with shin splints and a stitch in my ribs.
Normally I do other exercise: I bike, swim, rock climb, lift, and many other activities to make sure I am continuing to work on my physical wellness as Jedi. But when California Jedi Opie Macleod started the Jedi Against Abuse fundraiser and L. Christopher Bird (very persuasively) talked me into joining them on the Spartan race, I said yes, knowing that running was something I would have to get better at in order to attempt this physical challenge.
Every morning now (with the encouragement of my awesome husband) I haul myself out of bed and run to the park to work out. It’s early and cold and painful, and I think about quitting every single time. I think ‘I don’t have to do this today’, or ‘Don’t push yourself too hard Katie’. But that isn’t the Jedi way.
One of the five trials of Knighthood in the fiction is the Trial of Skill. In the fiction this is often passed through demonstrating one’s skill with a lightsaber. But the test is not about one’s fighting skills; it is about what they represent. To learn to use a lightsaber with any level of ability requires constant, repetitive training. You train for years and years in all situations, pushing through boredom, exhaustion, and possibly injury or trauma. The Trial of Skill is not one of ability, but of self-discipline, of perseverance. The ability to tackle something unpleasant but necessary over and over again, to do what is necessary to improve yourself and the world around you, no matter how hard the going is. Life sucks sometimes; its chock-full of chores and busywork and the emotional and physical aches and pains that make up a human being. But we have a purpose. Deciding to walk the Jedi Path means that we are responsible for the goals we have set for ourselves, and, to some degree, responsible for the world around us.
So I get up in the morning. Usually all I have to show for it are tiny victories; my bike ride home becomes easier as I get stronger; I hurt slightly less. But sometimes I get to work and see that we’ve broken through the second level of funding for our fundraiser. I see that my commitment to follow through with this race is reflected in people’s trust and faith in me and my fellow Jedi. I see that it means that even if the race was tomorrow, we would have over a thousand dollars to give to a charity that helps people in a vital and important way. And I remember why I walk (or rather, run) the Jedi Path.
Push yourselves Jedi. You are capable of so much, much more than you give yourselves credit for. I believe in you, just as I know you all believe in me. Hang in there; its worth it.
May the Force be with You.