Friday, July 1, 2016

eight years later...Community: Connect! is born!

Hey friends. I have not posted on this for about eight years. But my dream of spreading the word about Community Gatherings has not died, although it did go dormant for the most part after the initial wonderfulness of our gatherings ended because of lack of a cohesive team.

But now, in the  Bay Area, I was able to host the most successful community gathering ever. At the advice of Raines Cohen, I re-named the event Community: Connect! I look forward to sharing about the event on my new wordpress blog

You can learn about the promo for the event here

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making progress on getting work as an Organizer

I'm happy to say that I am working both on getting clutter-busting organizing work, and community organizing work. I realized that I can do both simultaneously. I really do love to help people organize their homes, and I'd rather do that then go out and get a "regular" job, or do cleaning--which I am willing to do. But I hope that there will be a demand for my services as Community Organizing Coach--for people who want to better their organization or their neighborhood. I just will keep on holding onto the vision--that even though my right livelihood isn't a "normal" job yet--it will be! I have met and heard of people who get to do this for a living. More and more people are consulting--I don't want to be an executive director. Actually, if I had my druthers, I would work with a team of people to create a training program for Community Organizers. I will work towards that goal soon.

Finding right livelihood in Community Organizing

I woke up this morning with my mind on freedom. That song, an old Negro spiritual (I believe) literally was in my head one of the first moments as I was just waking up. I imagined myself leading this song at giant community sing along. Thousands of people who support clapping and singing. The harmonies are amazing. The musicians and other singers on stage are totally in sync and stoked. We can feel the freedom. We can feel the possibilities of what could happen if we could just cooperate in our own neighborhoods and communities.

But now I cry. In fact, I am weeping. The tears are rolling down. I need to blow my nose. Excuse me. Okay, I’m back. I cry because of the lack of freedom I am afraid I am about to have.

You see, I am thinking that I need to focus all my attention on getting paying work. And then when I get the work (if I do), then I probably need to work at doing something that is unrelated to helping to promote Community Gatherings.

I also won’t have much time to promote the first Community Gathering which I am hosting this Friday, Oct. 5. I believe with all of my heart that if people like Ron Paul supporters, church members, and leaders in our cities could just see the possibilities of Community Gatherings being held in every neighborhood—maybe even every block—that the power of the people could be unleashed. I can see it, taste it, feel it, touch it, hear it. It seems so real to me. I have seen and heard about what happens when people can come together in a spirit of cooperation—in an environment that encourages personal empowerment. Miracles happen. Neighborhoods are transformed. People do things they never thought they could.

And then I cry. The sobs are deep. The tears flow. How can I describe the pain that comes from feeling so helpless. I have been able to live without working at jobs I don’t like for almost a year now because of the generous inheritance which my dear mom left me. During that time, I got to spend more time with my children than ever before—that has been such a blessing. My dream was that if I could just have more time to focus on creating a right livelihood helping neighborhoods become thriving, self-reliant communities, then I would never have to go back to cleaning or organizing or gardening. I was just so sure that I could do it.

But now I need to pay a lot of bills. I just can’t put them off any longer. I say to myself, like a parent to a child, “You have to be responsible—you can’t keep working on what you’re a passionate about. You have to do the right thing”

And I wonder, “what is the right thing.”

The sobs are subsiding. I feel a little more peaceful. Perhaps it is time to pray. Perhaps it is time to imagine what I want, rather than what I don’t want. I will do so in my next blog.

Imagining that I Won the Nobel Peace Prize!

I won the Nobel Peace prize last night! Okay, I was just playing the game of Life with friends, and that is how I won the prize. But don’t you think it is great that in the past I have imagined myself winning the Nobel Peace Prize for helping neighborhoods everywhere become thriving, self-reliant communities, and now I can say it actually happened? I mean, it did—it is a fact. Just because it was a little piece of paper and a seemingly random pick doesn’t matter! I won it! No one can deny it. I had witnesses.

This is the really funny thing. I don’t like playing games. But I wanted to join my daughter and my friends at a game-playing gathering. I have been choosing to get out more (partly because I am getting offered rides—I don’t have a car) and partly because I want to connect with friends, and party because I want to get a feel for other community gatherings that were taking place. You see, I have noticed over the past 45 years or so of my life that people love to get together to share meal and have fellowship. That is why I am so drawn to the idea of a community gathering as a way of encouraging people to cooperate to work together to create the neighborhoods and communities they envision.

So after a nice potluck meal and some wonderful visiting, it is time to play the game of Life. I try to wiggle out of it. I don’t really want to play. Games seem so contrived and often useless. And you have to sit and wait for others to take your turn. I just hate sitting and waiting (I got allergic to that in so many years of school!) I had brought my computer. I want to be writing—doing something “useful!” But my daughter, Mahriyanna, who is eleven, urges me to play. I want to nurture her. I want to be with her. So I stay and play.

Actually, it was quite fun. It was different way to relate to people. That’s a good thing-get out of the usual mind set. I can imagine being at a Community Gathering where one part of the large room is set up for gamers. Lots of card tables are available. Many different games are going on. I get to know all my neighbors in a fun way. I imagine some of us even develop a neighborhood board game that is just the opposite of the game of Life. No taxes. You aren’t forced to do anything! Creativity abounds because of the lack of controls by the government. People cooperate a lot more, and at the end, the person who wins is the one who contributed to the well being of others while joyfully sharing his or her own talents and gifts. And everyone wins because we got to laugh and play and get to know each other.

One of the saddest things in the world is how people have so little time to play any more--with their kids and with each other. How about if we who are neighbors and lovers of liberty take a bit of time to create a Community Gathering in our neighborhood? We can have a chance to play with each other—don’t you think that would be fun?

And in the new game of Life where thriving and self-reliant neighborhoods are the norm, I can still win the Nobel Peace Prize! That would stay the same!

I'm Feeling Encouraged!

I have sponsored a lot of activities in the past. I realize now that they were too specialized. And too structured. I love that I have finally realized that people need freedom. If they come to a gathering, they want to have freedom to participate in all kinds of ways. I feel hopeful that the structure of the community gathering is open enough to include everyone's needs. I see structure like the banks of a river--if the the structure is effective, it will help everyone to flow--like the river. Okay, enough about structure.

I have heard some very encouraging words. Some people are excited that I am hosting a gathering--it has been about a year since I have sponsored anything. One person noticed that I hadn't been very involved with our Fayetteville community for a while (I go in and out--in cycles) and she was glad to see that I hadn't given up. One person who encouraged me to do this is inviting others. She is already talking about future events, and planning on bringing free stuff to the park to share.

Another friend's face just lit up when I gave her the flier. She wanted extras to post and hand out. She knows how hard I have been working on this idea. She wants me to succeed, as well as get the benefits of the community gathering.

I offered to take the kids of a friend to the gathering. She is very busy these days, and I wanted to give her and her partner some time together. I was pleased to hear her say, "I feel torn--I want to attend because it sounds interesting, and I want time with my partner."

I feel different inviting people to this gathering than anything I have ever hosted. I feel inspired to give people a very personal invitation. I wish I could send an individual invite to every single person on my email list. It is a time to reconnect with people. One person who had been distancing herself from me replied to my personal invite (I did have time to send some personal invites) said she was ready to reconnect. One person said she was "thrilled" to receive an invitation, even though she couldn't come.

What's really exciting is that I am looking forward to having a good time! Even though I am the organizer, I won't need to control anything. I will simply present opportunities for people to interact. I have been way too controlling in the past. Going to the Open Space Technology Workshop with Lisa Heft when I went to San Francisco really helped me a lot in seeing how important it was to just create the space where people can thrive and open up.

I have had quite a challenging time because I don't have a car, and I don't have a printer. I didn't have any printed invitations. So I finally wrote a flier out by hand, and borrowed a friends car to get it copied. It is kind of funny how in this age of technology, I forgot that I had an option to printing something out! I suppose I could have hand copied each one--just putting on essential details, but I do so love to include all the juicy details.

Well, that happened all in the past few days. I look forward to sharing with you more wonderful news. And even if there are any obstacles, I will turn them in to stepping stones!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A real live community gathering!

I decided to just go ahead and sponsor a community gathering myself. I hope a lot of people come. Send some prayers my way, okay? And of course your feedback.

The Community Gathering

We are gathering to deepen our sense of community in our neighborhoods and our world. Everyone is invited.

Friday, Oct. 5, 6-10PM
Walker Park, Fayetteville, large gazebo near S. College
Potluck dinner. Please bring your own dishes and utensils. If you don’t have food to share, come anyway! Do you best to share what you have.

 Do you need work? Let’s network!

 Do you have goals and ideas that you want to share with others? Let’s share ideas and resources!

 Do you want to make new friends and deepen old friendships? Let’s share an evening together!

You are welcome to bring:
 networking materials to promote your business, or other topics you enthusiastically support
 musical instruments and games,
 things to give away like seeds, clothes, household items.
 your ideas for topics to discuss—we will have fun ways to help people find similar minded people.
 anything else that you think will inspire connection and fun.

Please invite anyone you like to attend, especially already existing groups that have similar values and goals, and also people in the Walker Park neighborhood

If you have any ideas to share, or would like help in sponsoring a Community Gathering in your neighborhood, please contact Patricia Mikkelson, founder and director of the Livable Future Project.

Sponsored by Livable Future Project, helping neighborhoods become thriving, self-reliant communities
For more information: Patricia Mikkelson
Learn more about the larger vision at

Ron Paul : When in the course of human events...

I appreciate the spirit of community that is portrayed especially at the end of this video. I cried as I heard Ron Paul speaking, and all of his enthusiastic supporters cheering and marching. The wonderful thing is that we are becoming more connected and cooperative as we support Ron Paul.

I hope that Ron Paul supporters will want to sponsor Community Gatherings everywhere so that we can include as many people as possible in this positive energy. I encourage you to watch this very inspiring video of Ron Paul which is serves as a sort of overview of his campaign so far.It also gives you a quick view of where he is at in his views.