Day 2: Getting Out of Your Own Way Challenge

Holistic coaches Christopher August and Sara Oakley of Soul in Wonder are challenging me and I’m not taking it from these young whippersnappers! ! I quit! Not!

I love what they are doing. I feel invigorated and inspired. I have done a lot of personal growth work in my life and thus I appreciate that they are doing some cutting-edge stuff that stretches me! So here I go–answering the questions on the worksheet.

  1. The self-sabotage behaviors and characteristics I have expressed in the recent past are:

Getting embroiled in situations that completely drained my energy because I thought I needed to protect people from certain situations.

I realize now that I need to choose my battles, and let people learn their lessons in their own time. I want to be more in tune with God as to where I should pour my energy.

I have stayed with people who were supportive with their words, but in so many ways with their actions were not supportive.

I need to be more discerning, and not be seduced by people’s charm.

I have in the past used food to drown my sorrows or distract me from doing what I needed to do. I haven’t done that for two days! Yay!

I have gotten swept up in trying to help people do things–that were not necessarily for their highest good–but I let them persuade me that it was. I wasn’t listening to my intuition. I wasn’t being honest with the other person because of fear of being rejected.

Okay…this is taking forever! I’ll work on this more tomorrow! Next question:

2. What excuses do you often make?

I don’t have enough time.

I don’t have enough money.

I need to get this done before I do that.

If only so and so would not be doing that, I would be okay.

Yikes! This is too much. I’ll do more tomorrow! (oops–that was another excuse)

It is too hard technically for me. I’m not technical.

I don’t like to learn new things.

3. In what way do these excuses and behaviors get in the way of you achieving your goals?

My time and energy is drained by drama.

My thoughts go towards the drama and keep me from focusing.

I have to do a lot of processing–which is a good thing–but if I am creating more things to process–that is a bad thing!

4. What do you get out of not thriving in this area of your life?

Not having even one person here to join me in the community has given me time to really figure out what I am about and what this community is going to look like.

All the drama that has occurred especially since I started conceptualizing and building this Vegan Ecovillage has been a blessing because it catapulted me out of my Christian mindset and now I can be open to people of all kinds of faith walks.

I really think that on some level I did not attract a compatible person to help me co-create this community was because I just wasn’t ready!

Less and less I find myself self-sabotaging.

I know this wasn’t the expected outcome of this question but it feels good.

Which needs and values are not being met as a result?

I have blocked myself from my true values one of which was critical creative thinking–I thought in my Christian walk I was being logical and studying Christian apologetics so I could justify my faith walk and feel a sense of belonging.

My actions of getting involved in trying to fit in with groups because I was so desperate for relationships which resulted in so much drama–kept me from having healthy relationships.

I see so clearly now that when I finally accepted that I would rather be alone rather than compromising my values with people, that I opened myself up to close friends who are really supportive.

I know I need to go deeper into this work, but this is a good start.

Thanks for reading.





Tuesday: Reflections On The Challenge from Soul in Wonder: Vegan Warriors

A week-long challenge is taking place at this Facebook group, Soul In Wonder: Soul Warriors. Already I have felt inspired to develop a doable goal that I can feel passionate about:

I am joyously developing a description of the ideal compatible person who can help me co-found Vegan Ecovillage and finding that person by March 20, 2018. (First day of Spring)

You can still get in on the challenge!  Or if you want to go through this on your own at some point. I have a reassurance that they will leave the videos up. But if you can go through this real time, I highly recommend it.

It is so much fun to go through with the group and get to know each other and encourage each other! There is power in numbers, right?

I wanted to share a smoothie recipe that people might want to use to give them super duper energy to go through this challenge. I have been following this recipe for months now and it is by far the best smoothie I have made in my decade or so of green smoothie making. Thanks, Josh Meckel, for figuring this out!

During this challenge, I am making a commitment to eat all raw and mostly liquids. I love blending fresh squeezed orange juice with soaked almonds and moringa or other protein powder.

Drinking my Chaga hot chocolate is keeping me going till at least noon. I heard that celery juice in the morning is good, too. I might try that. Christopher has shared these nutrition tips in the group.

I’m going to start making fruit salad again. It is simple: a variety of fruits cut up,  ground up almonds, sesame, sunflower, and flax seed. Soaked raisins to give some liquid to the ground up seeds. You can grate a bit of lemon for zesty flavor. Yummy! I learned this from my former husband, and present community supporter–Cliff Mikkelson.

I fell in love with Cliff and this fruit salad when I first met him 42 years ago! We ate it daily for fifteen years.  I am happy to say that we are very close friends after all that we have been through, and we are the only vegan, interspiritual people in our neck of the woods that we know of.

I did a spiritual practice session this morning that lasted an hour and 20 minutes. I seriously could not believe how the time flew by! But I truly believe that the time I invested is going to pay off. Doing spiritual work to help achieve goals and clear away the blocks is so helpful. You can find the spiritual practices on this page:

The spiritual practices can apply to anyone who believes in a higher power.

I found that I needed to refine my goal to make it more doable. I went from “Creating a Vegan Ecovillage” to “Find one compatible person to help me co-found the Vegan Ecovillage.”

I narrowed it down to one phrase that I could meditate on throughout the day: One compatible person.

At first, I thought compatible was a rather boring word, but really–it says it all. I need someone who is in alignment with my beliefs, values, and goals. And this person can get to know me in so many ways, especially watching the videos where I do daily spiritual practices because I am so vulnerable.

I don’t want to change myself. I don’t want to change anyone to fit my needs! I just am believing that person is out there. Of course we will do shadow work to help each other continually grow–but just the willingness to do that work is a huge quality that I will need in a person.

For a while, I was wanting to draw 4 people, but just one would make such a difference! Once there is one, we can start drawing more.

I am eager to get this Vegan Ecovillage off the ground.   I believe that if I can find one person who wants to pour their energy into both getting our relationship rooted in trust and to do things like get some abundant permaculture gardens manifesting, the Vegan Ecovillage will take off quickly.

I have a screening process that is very thorough. If a person has good references that demonstrate his or her trustworthiness so I can have the reassurance that this person is in integrity plus they show themselves to be compatible in every way, that person can move here.


More about the process:

We were given a simple but profound worksheet that I filled out and then shared during the evening spiritual practice time that I do with my dear friend, Kim Broniman. She is taking the challenge, also, and she shared her answers. We felt happy to share and perceive that we were celebrated by each other. We are already seeing the benefits of having a buddy!

I had really been resistant to narrowing down my values to only eight. I had written down the values that I want people who are interested in Vegan Ecovillage to share. “Why do I need to do more of this work?” I asked myself. “I’ve been working on values work since I was 28.” (I’m 63)

But being the obedient student that I am,  (following my value of integrity) I followed the instructions and found that I loved narrowing down my values. I discovered that by having only 8, I could really focus on them.

I can write pages and pages describing the values and what that specifically looks like for me. I did use a lot of the words in the list that was provided so that I could get an idea of what my values were because I loved those words!  You can see what I did here. 

I feel happy when I  see more comments on the thread attached to the video that we watched live with Sara and Christopher last night. I have shared a few more comments and am responding to comments made. I just love conversations like this, getting to know people better, and supporting people.

Finding the Soul in Wonder: Vegan Warriors is one of the best things that has happened to me since I became a vegan!

I’m thinking about turning my goal into a “SMART” goal. I just found this link that is really helpful. I know that this challenge is not about stating the goal perfectly, but rather to discover what our blocks are to achieving the goal.

But I am in the mood to refine this goal and so I am going to review this process. I’m also going to complete a blog post about my friend Kim Broniman. I have realized that I really want someone like her to join me as a co-founder.

Her life circumstances do not allow her to move here, yet she has helped me realize the qualities of the person I am wanting to draw to work with me on this project.

Okay, I just reviewed the goals article and I have refined my goal once again. I put it at the top of the article.

Thanks for reading this! I would love to hear your comments and hear about how you are doing on this challenge or any other insights you have.



“Get Out of My Way Challenge” with Vegan Warriors: Part 1

I am participating in a seven-day challenge with holistic coaches Sara Oakley and Christopher August in their wonderful FB group called Soul In Wonder Vegan Warrior Community.  I highly recommend that you join this group and get in on this challenge! We just started, so there is still time.

I decided to share the exercise I did on a blog post so you can get to know me better and see what this group is up to.

First, I did an exercise so I could discern my core values. Here they are: Community, adventure, servant leadership, team building, compassion, spirituality/self-actualization, integrity, and health

My goal I want to accomplish is:

To find at least 1 person who shares my values, has complementary skills and is passionate about working with me to co-found the Vegan Ecovillage.

What is important to me about achieving this goal is that in order to progress faster on this project, and for it to be more fun and efficient, I need someone to work with.

The way this aligns with my core values is:

Community: Having at least one other person to work with me will give a sense of community and how the flow of working together, doing spiritual practices, food preparation can happen.

Adventure: After going through a thorough screening process to make sure we are compatible, it will be an adventure to live with a new person (or persons) and learn to work together and get to know each other.

Servant Leadership: Since I have established the vision, beliefs and values of the community, whoever comes will need to be in alignment with these things, and I can use my leadership skills to discern what talents this person help them to use them to the maximum. As I get to know this person, I can delegate more and more.

Team building: Because I absolutely love working as a team, I will thrive as we encourage each other and cheer each other on in achieving the goals that we discern are the priorities.

Compassion: I will be able to use my skills of empathic listening, patience, encouragement to help this person feel safe.

 Spirituality/self-actualization: We will do spiritual practices together and connect on a deeper level as we meditate, pray, reflect, do laughter yoga and so much more.

Integrity: We will start things out right by having a communications agreement that really spells out how to be authentic, transparent, and honest. We get to practice integrity by daily asking (after we appreciate each other) “Are there any incompletions. We will do our utmost to discuss any conflicts in ways that uplift and help us to see our shadows in a gentle way.

Health: We will together make super healthy food, juices, smoothies, and elixirs. We will work outside as part of our exercise routine, getting fantastic gardens planted since spring is coming up. We will be supportive of doing things for every aspect of health: body, mind, and soul.

This goal does not clash with any of my values.

This goal is important to me. On a scale of 1-10, I would say 10. The reason is because as long as I am alone trying to create a community–there is no community! And there is SO much to do! Especially with gardening season coming up. One more person could really make a difference in helping to promote this Vegan Ecovillage.

We also need to sell the Event Center to raise funds to complete the community center at the Vegan Ecovillage site and so much more!





Trish’s Core Values

Thanks to  holistic coaches Sara Oakley and Christopher August of Soul in Wonder for the exercise that helped me complete this. You can find it here:

Since I have been working with identifying and living in congruence with my values since I was 28, (35 years ago–I’m 63), I hoped it was okay if I took the liberty of playing with this exercise and using it as a kind of jumping off place.

I had a blast (value: adventure!)

I decided to go through the list and give numbers to each value. 0=no value, 10=high value. This helped me to narrow down the choices. I think for my personality type this worked better than the way that was suggested in the exercise.

I added the following values: Integrity, Courage, Vulnerability, Transparency, Whistleblowing, Sociocracy 3.0 (in place of democracy), emotional intelligence and critical creative thinking (instead of intelligence).

I combined Spirituality and Self Actualization–they are so similar.

I had so much fun with this–I don’t exactly know why. I think each of the words that I ended up with has a vibration that really resonates with me. I might meditate and write about each one as a spiritual practice. 

The main categories helped me to realize the core value I identified. The other words helped define the core value.

I also have written out many values in another format: http://www.veganutopiaecovillage/values

I loved this exercise because it helped me to see how I value autonomy–like when I have adventures, I often like to have them alone (unless someone is really open to being crazy and spontaneous! That is why I traveled alone at age 19 from Europe overland all the way to Sri Lanka and back.)

Yet I crave the stability of community.

And I want to be a leader–but a servant leader–with a team that I can work with and help facilitate–but not boss people around.

My spiritual side is essential. In my mind, self-actualization is synonymous with spirituality so I combined them. 

Compassion is so important to temper my commitment to Integrity.

When I look at my Enneagram personality type (you can look at them here) I think that my values align with the description of who I am aspiring to be, and who I am meant to be. You can take a free test here

“Level 1 (At Their Best): Become self-restrained and magnanimous, merciful and forbearing, mastering self through their self-surrender to a higher authority. Courageous, willing to put self in serious jeopardy to achieve their vision and have a lasting influence. May achieve true heroism and historical greatness.”

Wow! I loved doing this. Thank you, Sara and Christopher! 

Note: my core values are bold.










(sociocracy 3.0)















































Emotional intelligence


Servant Leadership






Hard work




Recognition for the group

Reputation of integrity/trustworthiness








Critical Creative Thinking











Helping others



Inner Harmony/peace










































How DxE Changed My Life Forever–In Good Ways!

I am not exaggerating! Let me tell you the story. 

 I was living in Berkeley when I decided that I wanted to go to a new level in my veganism. I had been a vegan for 2 years or so. My friend, Bo, because of her deep empathy for the welfare of animals, inspired me to become an animal rights activist.

At age 62 I finally learned what I wanted to do with my life!

Direct Action Everywhere came into my life right when I needed it so I could focus on my new passion. I really think this is what I am going to be involved with for the rest of my life: working with others to create a vegan utopia where all of life can thrive.

I remember with great joy how I learned about DxE. I felt compelled to go to a Martin Luther King, Jr. nonviolence training event. I was torn about attending because I was wanting some time to myself. But just as so many things in my life have happened, I think that God was guiding me to go because I was supposed to meet Paul, Cassie, Sarah and a few other DxE activists. 

I was so surprised to find out that there were 6 vegans in the workshop–and there were only 15 people! But I learned during the lunch break that all of them were attending because of DxE. Paul very eloquently told me about DxE, the open rescue strategies, and the Berkeley Animal Rights Center. I ended up not going to the 2nd day of the training because I was not super inspired by the format. But my main purpose in attending was accomplished. I believe I was guided to be there to learn about DxE.

I was really inspired to learn that people from all over the world were coming to live in Berkeley in order to help pass legislation to make Berkeley the first city in the world where exploitation of animals was outlawed. Because of my passion for community, I enjoyed hearing about how people were willing to live really simply.

I felt inspired to hear how people were sacrificing their comfort and privacy by sharing rooms and learning how to get along. They wanted to save money so they could work less at regular jobs and be able to work more at being activists.

I was very happy that every Saturday there was an event at the ARC. I remember the first time I went. There was a class on meditation. I was encouraged that they were focusing on inner work as well as the outer activism. Everyone was super friendly.

I was thrilled to meet the dog who Wayne and friends rescued from the Yulin Festival in China where dogs are cruelly tortured and killed so people can eat them. I heard the story how these brave people risked their lives to both document this travesty as well as save Oliver and his friend. 

I experienced much warmth from the folks at the ARC. Michael, who died last year in a car accident, took me under his wing. He even gave me a ride to the farmers market and we had a wonderful talk while driving there. How sad I was when I learned of his death because even though I only knew him a short time, I loved him a lot. I later met his mother and sister when we went to the very first Save Vigil during the 2017 forum. I was glad to be able to tell them how much I appreciated Michael and celebrate his life with them. 

I continued to attend various gatherings in the next month or so and all of them were really inspiring and organized.

I left to go back to my home in the Ozarks, where the vision of Jesus Vegans Ecovillage was born. At the time, I was very much involved with Christianity. I am changing the name of the community to Vegan Utopia Ecovillage.  


I came back to Berkeley in early May 2016. I was visiting a friend for a few weeks and did not know about the DxE Forum that was happening in late May. After attending a DxE event and learning about the Forum, I felt inspired to cancel my return flight and stay another month so I could participate. I am so glad I did! I found such camaraderie, inspiration, and encouragement in all the activities.

I was very vocal about my Christian walk because I wanted to share about Jesus Vegans Ecovillage, and I also wanted to have conversations with people about their spiritual paths.

I was delighted to find that people were really open and accepting of my faith walk especially as I was accepting of theirs. I now see that people influenced me more than I realized.

Because I had the courage to share that I was part of a very unpopular spiritual path, people shared with me the tragic stories of their experiences with Christianity. I have heard these stories from countless people.

At that time, I wanted people to know that there were Christians who did not believe that non-Christians were going to hell because of their beliefs. I still thought there were parts of Christianity which people could derive good out of, and so I hoped to plant some seeds that would inspire people to be more open to surrendering their lives to Christ.

Now, I realize what happened was that all these loving atheists, agnostics, and others people who were not Christian–helped me realize that vegans of any kind of spirituality were the kind of people I wanted to be around.

I also realized that the very nature of Christianity, even Christian Universalism (they don’t believe in eternal damnation) meant that I had to think my path was better than anyone else’s path. Even though I felt uncomfortable about that part of the Christian path, I still accepted it because I thought that I needed to belong to the Christian path in order to be happy and at peace.

I now call myself an ex-Christian who considers Jesus my friend and guide rather than Lord and Savior. I am seeing how the beliefs of Christianity just separate me from my vegan friends.

Veganism is my foundational value and Christianity certainly does not share that value. That is one of the many reasons I have decided to withdraw my energy from this religion.

After the Forum, I felt inspired to host a Community: Connect! Event at the ARC. I was really delighted with how Almira helped me to reserve the ARC on an available night even though I’m sure she was exhausted after all the work at the Forum. The handful of people who showed up seemed to really enjoy the event, and I was glad to get to know people even better.  

I made so many friends at the Forum, and in my visits at the ARC. I stay in touch with some of them still. I love staying connected with DxE with the new happenings at ARC.  

I’m really happy to hear that the next Forum is expanding. DxE is really into forming coalitions, and I am passionate about that as well. This year the Save Movement will be a cosponsor. I envision next year that there will be more cosponsors, and the biggest problem will be to find a place to seet 5000 people. They are expecting 1000!

Now it is called the Animal Liberation Conference, and I am going! I am SO excited. 

I will forever be grateful to DxE for the contribution this organization has made to my life. I want to thank all the wonderful people who are a part of DxE who helped me feel at home and nurtured, including Wayne, Paul, Matt Johnson, Priya, Almira, Jason, Sage, Andrew, Cassie, Jon, Jay, Jake and so many more.

I am hoping that some DxE people will want to help co-found this Vegan Utopia Ecovillage and then we can get a chapter started. There are still only a large handful of animal rights activists in my neck of the woods, and they are mostly focusing on doing Anonymous for the Voiceless actions, which is wonderful. I will be co-leading an event at the end of March 2018.

I look forward to seeing how I can be supportive of DxE now that I am focusing on how to help people live in healthy vegan intentional communities. I know they are doing a great job in Berkeley with helping activists live in community houses, which is so awesome!

Yet some people can be in the country as well!

Thank you, DxE. I am forever indebted to you for helping me to get involved with the animal rights movement. I hope I can pay you back by the work that I do in my particular niche!