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.

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 community_gathering@yahoo.com
Learn more about the larger vision at http://www.communitygathering.blogspot.com

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.

Livable Future Newsletter Sept 2007

Published by Patricia Mikkelson livablefutureproject(at)gmail.com

Hello friends…it has been a long time since I have published a LFP newsletter. But I have been busy working on the goal of Livable Future Project, which is:

To help every neighborhood become a thriving, self-reliant community where everyone’s basic needs get met.

I know that this goal is a pretty tall order. But I do believe this:

that with God all things are possible, and without vision, the people will perish

what man can achieve, man can achieve

, as well as This newsletter has a few ideas that I present to you to help achieve the above stated goal. The Community Gathering is coming up soon—I am so excited about it that I put it at the very top of the newsletter so no one would miss it. I really hope to see you at some of these activities.

I felt so encouraged when I spent a month (back in July 2007) on the West Coast. I learned that I am definitely not alone in my passionate work of helping to create community everywhere. I left Fayetteville on a greyhound bus with $80, and came back with $40. I got to attend several conferences, the Oregon Country Fair, visit co-housing communities and cooperative housing, and spend lots of time with folk who are working on similar projects as myself. I feel more optimistic than ever that in spite of the many times that my efforts did not bear fruits that I wanted—now the harvest is at hand. I hope you have a wonderful, productive, fruitful fall!

Warmly, Patricia Mikkelson, Founder/director of the Livable Future Project

P.S. If you want to print out this newsletter, I have sent an attachment.

Community Gatherings: I have come to the conclusion that one of the easiest way to get people involved in civic engagement and bettering our communities and neighborhoods is to sponsor fun, festive activities where conversations about what people consider to be important issues can take place. I hope you will check out this vision and slide show at the myspace website I created. http:// www.myspace.com/communitygathering

Ozark Area Community Congress www.ozarkareacommunitycongress.org

OACC 28 -- October 12-14, 2007, Ananda Kanan International Retreat Center.
All those who love and care about the Ozarks are invited to gather
together once again to celebrate, appreciate, and learn from this
phenomenal part of the Earth and each other. Only $35 for adults, $15 for children, discounts for couples and families. This is an opportunity for those of us in Fayetteville and surrounding areas to share and connect on deeper levels, as well as get to know new folks. I hope you will check out the website, and that I will see you there! Mahriyanna and I are looking for a ride.

Organizing work wanted: I would love to help you clear your clutter, create order, and create systems that help you stay organized. For the past 8 years I have been able to help clients create order from chaos in organizing garages, whole houses, basements, teenager’s rooms, tool sheds and offices. The trick is getting rid of the clutter, then having a place for everything. I help you in a compassionate, non-judgmental way. Call Patricia 479-225-0047

Time Banking: An Alternative to our money system. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you. It's that simple. Yet it also has profound effects. Time Banks change neighborhoods and whole communities. Time Banking is a social change movement in 22 countries and six continents. www.timebanks.org I have researched this thoroughly, read the book by founder Edgar Cahn called NO THROW AWAY PEOPLE, and have talked to Edgar Cahn in person. I believe that with the increasing worthlessness of money, Time Banking will become a household word. We will some day soon wonder what we did without this system, which has as its mission: Strengthening communities through reciprocity. Please check out the website, and let me know if you are interested in being part of this wonderful project self Self-Reliant Neighborhoods: Growing food and becoming more self-sufficient. I was delighted to find www.Edibleestates.org which encourages people to make their lawns into gardens. The website http://www.selfsufficientish.com/ is a fantastic resource for becoming self-sufficient in the city. It has a great forum: which has what looks like thousands of posts—you can really get a lot of support there http://www.selfsufficientish.com/forum/

This article has a description of and resources for community gardens. It may inspire you to get one started! http://www.thegreenguide.org/article/community/gardens

Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness: For years I have been researching the best source of information for Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness. I really like the Three Steps to Emergency Preparedness booklet I also really like the plan which is devised by the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee. You can download free information, including a step by step way of how to help your neighbors get organized. Please check into this and consider starting a program in your neighborhood. You could even adapt this for more local challenges (this focuses a lot on earthquakes).

Family Emergency Preparedness: I just found this Survival website www.captaindaves.com It has a lot of great resources and information you can print out about what to do in the case of just about any emergency. This could help you in your neighborhood emergency planning as well.

Martial Law and other ways our government takes away our freedom: In working to prepare for emergency situations, one scenario is that our government will declare Martial Law, and we will have zero rights. I encourage you to read this article about how our government is encouraging pastors of churches, and other people with good intentions for community building—to help government control us more. You can also think about what we need to do to prevent this from happening by educating our neighbors about this aspect of emergency preparedness. This is important! http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2006/240506femaplan.htm

Nonviolent Communication and Neighborhoods: Just think what might happen if everyone in your neighborhood learned to communicate in a way that helped people to prevent and resolve problems, as well as help people get all their basic needs met. What if there was a person in every neighborhood who helped organize a weekly Community Gathering—who wanted to share Nonviolent Communication with everyone who attended. What if most of the people in each of those neighborhoods got really excited about learning NVC (as more and more people are doing). And what if a critical mass of people speaking a language of compassion could just make such a difference that we could help make every neighborhood a place where every living creature thrives? That’s one of my visions. You can take a free class as well as learn more about NVC from an online academy. Click to check it out!

About Meetup Grassroots organizing at its finest! I am finding that meetup.com has a way of helping people connect that is really effective. I recommend that you look at the possibility of starting a meetup group for already existing groups and new groups. The thing I like about meetup is that it teaches people how to be an effective group organizer and supports them with many easy to use on line tools and in person meeting suggestions. It can cost from $12 to $19 a month, and teaches you how to get members to pay for these costs. Here is some information from their website. As you will see, they share my passion for community!

Meetup.com helps people find others who share their interest or cause, and form lasting, influential, local community groups that regularly meet face-to-face. We believe that the world will be a better place when everyone has access to a people-powered local Meetup Group. That's our goal.

Meetup Groups help people:

  • Find others who share their interests
  • Get involved locally
  • Learn, teach, and share things
  • Make friends and have fun
  • Rise up, stand up, unite, and make a difference
  • Be a part of something bigger — both locally and globally

We're proud to give more power to the people and we believe it's possible to make a profit and make a difference

Open Space Technology is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help people come together to work harmoniously on a common goal. I hope you will check out this website and learn more about it.

Ron Paul for President: I had given up on the government being any help at all with a grassroots movement for people taking back their power. But when I heard that Congressman Ron Paul was running for president, and a grassroots movement supporting liberty and justice for all…I changed my mind. I hope that you will visit a few of the many websites that are supporting Ron Paul. www.ronpaul2008.com www.dailypaul.com

The internet is the main place where you can see the power of the people who are not only supporting Ron Paul, but the values of upholding the constitution—meaning small government and more local power. Two of the greatest things he wants to do is abolish the income tax and bring ALL of the troops home from everywhere across the world, especially Iraq.. www.ronpaul2008.com www.dailypaul.com I hope you will join our local Ron Paul for Presdent meetup group to stay in touch. You can click on this icon or this link:

The Fayetteville/Univ. of Arkansas Ron Paul 2008 Meetup