We had a California Jedi meetup yesterday in Sacramento with an excellent turnout; nearly ten Jedi showed up for fellowship and training. Normally when we do meetups in the park like this we do martial arts, meditate, or play lightsaber tag. It being over 90 degrees in the shade however made physical exertion not the best idea, and so we naturally started talking. In fact, we ended up just talking; for almost five hours we sat in the grass and discussed everything from current politics to candy preferences.
At first I was a little nervous: I’m the leader, should I be moderating or guiding discussion? Will people be disappointed if we don’t get any ‘traditional training’ done? But then I realized this meetup had naturally drifted to what everyone seemed to need, which was community. We talked about our fears, our problems, our anxieties, and instead of focusing and fretting, we felt better. We felt supported by each other, and listened intently to to one another. Between that, the sunshine, and the smell of grass, it was the most restorative and relaxing day I’d had in a long while.
Studies have shown that the chemical created in our brains when we spend time with people we love, admire, or feel close to, oxytocin, not only strengthens our immune system and reduces stress, but it increases our ability to remain calm, be empathetic, trust, resist negative habits, and be more generous and giving with our time and skills. In short, spending time with community encourages the exact behaviors that help grow and strengthen that community. As Jedi, we often ask ourselves: what can I do to strengthen my community, grow my chapter, or support other Jedi?
The answer is simple. Reach out to other Jedi. Participate in your communities. Chat, relax, share yourself, your ideas, your worries, and your hopes with one another. Don’t underestimate the power of community.