Adventures in Abundance Part 1

I decided that today I was going to blog about the beautiful things that are manifesting for me during something called the 30 Day Abundance Adventure by keeping a journal during the day. You can learn more about this adventure at

I made some good headway on moving forward with selling the Farm Animal Sanctuary/and/or Vegan Retreat Center Site.

I’ve been resisting doing brainstorming about how to promote the sale of the Farm Animal Sanctuary Site/Vegan Retreat Center but this morning I gave myself permission. I started by researching the best brainstorming techniques, and I found out that “Brainwriting” is even a better technique.

The article got me going! Now I have some great ideas, including hosting a huge retreat/open house where people can come and experience fun activities and get to know the place so they can tell others about it.  I will probably ask the group I am in some specific questions now that I have some ideas–like:

“Does anyone know a movie star or celebrity who might want to start a Farm Animal Sanctuary?”

My partner in this effort, Sky Masters, followed through with what he said he would do which was to write an intro letter to various farm animal sanctuaries to see if they have advice. I edited the letter and we are ready to test the waters soon!

I did some more research on how to start a Farm Animal Sanctuary and realized that I want to make the blog have some very useful information on it so people will want to go to it and they might spread the word. I just love making blogs useful! I don’t like selling things!

I don’t like selling things, but this land and home are so beautiful in a myriad of ways, that I think someone is just going to be really happy when they find it and buy it.

And the fact that it is going to raise funds to complete my life-long dream of building a community, of course, is an incentive as well!


I thought I was going to have to spend a lot of time writing my friends in the Bay Area to go to a protest encouraging San Francisco lawmakers to ban fur. But I got news in this morning’s email that they made the decision already! So I will save some time, and my prayers for the ban to go through are answered! Learn more here. 

I have been reading that great people have been known to take short naps in the afternoon, and for the second day in a row I put on an 11-minute “activation” to help me visualize prosperity. I fell asleep both times. I usually do fall asleep when I am laying down and listening to a guided meditation.

This meditation was about looking a self-limiting belief. I was shocked to discover that I have a belief that I am a failure because I have not accomplished my life-long dream of living in a community.  And, even though I have been financially supported over the past 1 1/2 year, I still haven’t been able to manifest the dream. Wow!

I worked with that belief and will be working with it in the future because I can see that it is a deep one. I had a very nice nap.  I awoke with the revelation that while I am looking for just one person to co-found the community with me, I am preparing for his or her arrival because more than at any time in my life, I am doing personal growth work.

I realize that as long as I was a Christian, I was really holding myself back from success and not willing to utilize so many of the wonderful personal growth processes that really can help people. I still consider Jesus my friend and guide, and I love most of his teachings. Some, I just do not understand and I don’t have to in order to learn from him.

I am learning to tune into the universal truths that are clear and are written on my heart–like the importance of loving all of life, including my enemies, the animals, and the earth.

I am being grateful for what I do have, including now 3 people who I can really trust to be my good friends and who deeply appreciate me in their lives.


I feel grateful because I ran across this article about how to deal with how other people think about you, without searching for it. I really like this Uplift website with such practical advice. I think this is going to help me with self-limiting beliefs.


I took a walk where I limped very little. I sprained my ankle about 6 weeks ago, and today is the first time I felt comfortable putting on tennis shoes. The support felt good and I was really happy walking around the potential farm animal sanctuary site.

I noticed some fencing around the perimeter of the property and could easily imagine showing this to someone (plus putting it on the blog) as one of the many perks of the places.

Learning all that I am learning about the vagus nerve, I used my walk as a time of focused vagus nerve nurturing. I sang at the top of my lungs, did some vocalizes that fit in with advice I have received, talked to Jesus, laughed while I visualized goals I wanted to achieve, and practiced forgiveness. I also did a lot of deep breathing. Now my walks can be supercharged breaks that not only give me exercise but also help my vagus nerve.


Normally I do what I call “soul pauses” on live Facebook every two or three hours. I have been doing these for about 6 months total, with a month break where I could actually see how much I needed these soul breaks where I prayed, sang, laughed and did all kinds of things that helped cheer me and other people up and connect with the divine.

I chose not to do my soul pauses on Facebook today. I am sensing that finally, I can do them on my own. Doing them on video somehow helped me to discipline myself. Now, every half hour that I am on the computer, I take a break to stretch and do things that connect me to the divine and which tone my vagus nerve. My goal is to connect with the divine all the time, anyway, so every 1/2 hour break is better than every two!

I will see where this goes, but I definitely am feeling peaceful and in the flow today without being on FB live.

I am going to do a live FB session with my friend, Kim, because she likes to have encouragement when she gets off work.

Part of the reason I did these Soul Pauses was that I imagined living in a community where we would take these breaks together. I had read about a monastery where the people did this and how much it helped them all to bond and connect with God. The verdict is still out as to what will happen when people live with me.


As I continue to research the vagus nerve, I find that the people and websites where this topic is covered seem to be on the cutting edge of the positive things that are happening in the world. I really liked finding the website and it has a whole channel of inspiring films that are free. I watched a video on how to receive revelations from nature. It was short and very inspiring.

I could spend all day researching! And practicing.


Oops. I ate too much. I made cooked food and I normally all raw. I’ll survive. I am grateful for my usual self-control.


I watched some EFT videos and I am really ready to start using that technique. I have just heard way too many positive things about it.


I found this Dr. Chatterjee who is extolled by some doctors I respect. He is so passionate and is like an evangelical. He is very charismatic and that is a good thing. He spoke at this Ted Talk. 


I feel so grateful that I have high-speed internet even though I live way out in the country, and I have a good laptop and I Phone gifted to me by someone who believes in me.  I love to do this research and then share with others. I get more hopeful, as well.


I had a wonderful evening with my son and got to clear up some things that had been creating walls between us. That was really meaninful and freeing for me because we are very close and we don’t do well with feeling disconnected.


Lots of other beautiful things happened but if I wrote about them all I won’t get to bed and get adequate sleep which I know is really important for health and thus abundance! Thanks for reading this, and I would love it if you wanted to share any gratitude and celebrations you have experienced.



SOCIAL MOVEMENT CASE STUDY Social Movement Lessons From the British Antislavery Movement: Focused on Applications to the Movement Against Animal Farming Kelly Witwicki

This report includes one of my heroes, William Wilburforce, who lived in a community setting London with what is called the Clapham Sect. Healthy community is important for social change agents to be successful

A Powerful Prayer for the Animals: We Hear Your Cries by Brenda Shoss

I pray this pray periodically and it always makes me cry. (Trish)

We Hear Your Cries

by Brenda Shoss

We hear your cries
Inside lightless stockades where metal bars define your earth
Where your frantic eyes gaze over an amputated beak
Unable to dust bath or flutter one wing
An automated hum, the only sound in your artificial prison
We hear your cries
In the narrow crates that envelop you from endless pregnancy to nameless death
From your first and last walk down death’s corridor
toward a blood splattered man who guides your quivering body
into the crushing blast of his stun gun
From the impersonal thrust of his knife through still-warm flesh
to the final moment when you are dismantled limb by limb
We hear your cries
As you rock in the corner of your concrete world
Waiting for them to blind, burn and inject poison into your exhausted body
We ache to shield you from the scalpels and skull probes you have yet to endure We hear your cries
When they blast 5,000 volts of electrified pain into your flesh
Every time they batter you with metal pipes, bullhooks, flank straps and spurs
to obliterate your memories of a mother’s love and infinite green
We hear your cries
As you search for one familiar face in the desolate days before
a gas chamber claims your anonymous life
When you seek the comfort of one set of arms
Your last tail wagged
Your last purr heard in a gray room with no windows


Brenda Shoss is founder and president of Kinship Circle:

How Jesus Is My Friend and Guide

On Feb. 1, 2018, I had a faith shift. I literally woke up that morning and realized that somehow I need to leave my Christian affiliation behind. My way of doing that was to say that Jesus is no longer my lord and savior, but rather my friend and guide.

A young man who had left his Christian faith behind asked me what that looks like to have Jesus as my friend and guide.

I had been thinking about sharing this, so his question inspired me to write this post.

You see, I know so many people who have left the church, and left Jesus as well. Yet maybe they don’t realize they don’t have to leave Jesus along with the church.

I now give myself permission to cherry pick the Bible and take verses out of context, just like most Christians I know do. So these scriptures inspire me:

 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus. John 15:15

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” Jesus. Matthew 7:21

The way I see Jesus as my friend is that I cultivate a practice of being connected to him throughout the day. My goal is to feel his presence, just like a friend walking beside me, all the time. If I can feel his presence, then I can be attuned to his guidance as well.  This picture, painted by 8-year-old Akiane Kramerik which can be found here, is how I envision Jesus.

One of the ways I do this is by simply saying, “Jesus, remember when?” and then I tell him times when I felt his blessing in my life. For example, I might share a really profound memory like this one:

“Jesus, remember when I was at the darkest time of life when I was 20 years old, alone in Sri Lanka, and I watched the movie Godspell 7 days in a row? I sensed your loving presence during the movie and my spirits lifted so I could make a change that was so important. I so appreciate how you were there for me.”

Image result for pictures of godspell the movie

“Jesus, remember yesterday when I was feeling so sad, and then my time with Kim, my prayer partner, and friend, lifted me up so much. I know you were there with us. Thank you for Kim being in my life.”


I am grateful to my former spiritual director, Jade Mazarin, for the idea of saying to Jesus, “remember when?” Although she is no longer my spiritual director since we agreed that we have such different ideas about Jesus that we were no longer compatible. I will always cherish the encouragement she gave me when I was a Christian and be grateful for her loving guidance.

Click to View "No, God is Not Disappointed in You" Article on

Another way I connect with Jesus is to go to a special place which I visualize.  I spend time with him, talking to him about my problems and listening to his input. Or I share my gratitude, my hopes, and my dreams. I feel his encouragement and love.

El Capitan to the left, Bridaveil Fall to the right, and the rest of Yosemite Valley behind

I usually imagine the place where I had my first major revelation in my life. I was on the last night of a 4-day backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. My girlfriends and I were camping overlooking the Yosemite Valley. Looking up at the stars while I was cozy in my sleeping bag getting ready for sleep, I sensed a voice saying to me,

“You need to travel and get out of your present environment.”

I ended up traveling a year later for 13 months and my life was changed drastically for the better.

I like to go to this special place where there is a beautiful view of the Yosemite Valley and do something called the Emmanuel Approach. I love this method of connecting with Jesus because there is no need to consider him Lord and Savior. I have been practicing this beautiful technique for about 4 years now, and through it, I have really fostered a closer relationship with Jesus.

You can learn more about The Immanuel Approach here.

Sometimes I go to my special place and just hang out with Jesus with a method inspired by Greg Boyd. Here is an excerpt from an article he wrote about this:

“And a major part of this is making regular time to imagine Jesus. I put on some beautiful music, turn out the lights, and then meet Jesus, listen to what he has to say to me (always the same wonderful stuff he says in the NT, but now it’s to me personally). I sometimes take walks with Jesus, and we sometimes go back into the past and redo wounding memories.” Greg Boyd

Finally, I take what I call “soul pauses”. I am often doing these live on this Facebook page every two or three hours throughout the day. I stop and pray, meditate on scripture, do affirmations, visualize, sing, dance, laugh and do many other things which you can find on this page. These activities help me to connect with Jesus.

Whenever I pray, I include Jesus in my prayers. I like to start my “formal” prayers by saying, Father-Mother God, Dear Jesus…”

I have a longer time of connection with Jesus every night when I call my friend Kim Broniman who loves Jesus and doesn’t judge me for my beliefs about him. I feel so encouraged and my faith grows as we both notice how Jesus is working in our lives.


My friend and prayer partner, Kim Broniman

Jesus may or may not be God incarnate. I don’t think I need to know this for sure in order to have him as my friend and guide. I just sense that he continues to guide me and be with me every moment during my day, and the more I can sense his leading and love, the more peaceful and joyful I am.

And the more peaceful and joyful I am, the more I can tune into his guidance and do those things that help me do things to fulfill what I believe is my divine purpose–to build the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage. 

I also sense Jesus guiding me to people who can guide me along this path, including having the ability to live according to my values which I perceive as being Jesus values. I believe that when I live according to these values, Jesus can help me more because I am following his commandments.

“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” Jesus. John 14:21

I don’t think Jesus stops loving me if I don’t obey his commandments. But I think he is more able to reveal himself to me and thus I can receive the wise guidance I need to be most effective in the work I am doing.  

I hope this is helpful, and I would love to hear your comments if you are seeking to know Jesus outside of the box of Christianity.






A Warning From A Christian Friend About My Faith Shift

I received a text from a Christian friend that was rather ominous. When I told her I thought we could agree to disagree, her final words were:

What we are is DONE. I am no longer going to throw my “pearls to the swine” Patricia. Yes, you have made your choice.”
Thus, I am going to respond to her text later in this blog post.
I really do believe that the person who wrote this text cares about me. In fact, if my Christian friends and family really believed I was going to hell and was going to suffer greatly because of my faith shift, I would hope that they would all be begging me to reconsider.
And as much as I appreciate the sentiments of this writer, her beliefs really do reflect much of why I have left the Christian religion.
Jesus never told anyone to make a religion out of his teachings. It was Paul who wanted to get everyone organized and said, “do not forsake fellowship with the body” which many Christians interpret as meaning, “whatever you do, don’t stop going to church.” I do think that it is essential to have friends who can encourage me in my spiritual walk.
An increasing number of Christians are saying, “focus on Jesus, not religion” but they still demand that to follow Jesus you need to believe certain things–mainly that Jesus died for our sins and unless we accept him as Lord and Savior, we are going to hell.
That sounds pretty religious to me.

When I took the plunge about 4 years ago and studied Christian Universalism, I was already opening myself up to criticism.  They believe that all people will somehow get to know  Jesus in spite of his bad reputation which the majority of Christians give him. And then, they could go to heaven.

But they still believe in the Apostles and Nicene creed which are pretty standard beliefs of Christians.  Also, don’t you think it is rather arrogant to think that all the really good people in the world who are not Christian will somehow come around to the truth that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.

Many people leave the church and they leave Jesus behind because they never developed a relationship with Jesus that was nurturing. All they experienced was Jesus who said, “Come to me or go to hell,” along with other Christians who were crazy about Jesus but not so crazy about treating people in ways that were truly nurturing.
I feel grateful that I did develop a personal relationship with Jesus that was so strong that I could feel confident that he was the one who told me, “Get out of Christianity because you are not doing me any good by staying.”
So many Christians believe in a similar way. Progressive Christians and liberal Christians don’t buy into the creeds and beliefs. They don’t even believe the most of the bible is historically accurate. But they want to remain in the realm of the Christian religion for reasons which I frankly do not understand.
I honor that they think they can redeem Christianity, and I honor that I have given up like an increasing amount of ex-Christians are doing.
Now I want to answer this text from my friend. Her words are in italics
Friend: After many days I have come to a conclusion. There is only one answer for someone to Denounce Jesus as their Savior and Lord
That is if that person never had the 18-inch conversion
You received Jesus into your head. But never let him into your heart

If you had opened your heart to Jesus, there would be a profound transformation, an amazing, life-changing freedom that you, Patricia have yet to experience.


Trish: I’m confused. How much have you experienced me in the past four years? What do you know about the state of my heart?  And how do you know my life has not been completely changed by my decision to say that Jesus is my friend and guide rather than Lord and Savior. I have felt more peace, joy, and freedom since that decision on Feb. 1 than I have in my entire life.
Friend: And when that day happens, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ Yeshua is the Son of the most High God and he is Savior to those who ask him into their HEARTS.
Trish: I am banking on my experience. I feel more connected to Jesus and more loved by him than ever before.
Matthew 10:33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Wow. If he is disowning me, he sure isn’t doing a very good job since I am feeling more love for people, myself, and God, than ever before. I am experiencing blessings beyond measure.
Friend: My heart is very sad for your choice.
I am guessing that when someone like myself leaves the Christian religion, you see this as some kind of betrayal, and perhaps that we no longer can be friends?
I hear that you really care about me and that you are sad for my choice, and concerned about where I will spend eternity. I will take my chances. I feel connected to Jesus and he does live in my heart.
I believe he loves me no matter what my beliefs are. I feel his love and guidance.
 Friend: Yes, I do really care about you, Patricia. Yes I am sad about your words. I believe that you are confused about the Son of God. And about the absolutes of God’s word. You have chosen to “create” your own form of “god” to your liking.
Trish: I feel confused once again. I am doing my best to focus on following the teachings of  Jesus which are really clear. Things like, “Love your enemies, forgive others, don’t worry, Love God, yourself, and your neighbors, and if you even think someone is upset with you, before you worship, go reconcile with that person.”

It’s weird. These basic teachings are rarely taught in sermons, especially the sermons I listened to at the local church we used to attend together. I’m doing my best to focus on the universal laws that I believe our Creator wrote on our hearts.

Friend: I know that God is very clear about eternity. 
Trish: God is not clear about eternity. Some ex-fundamentalists who knew the Bible inside and out have figured out that it is not clear that there is an eternal damnation for anyone. Do some research on Christian Universalism and you will find tons of evidence for this.
Friend: How could you feel connected to Jesus when you have denounced Him? 
I haven’t denounced them. I am actually following his teaching where he says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Can you tell me where Jesus actually says, “I am your Lord and Savior?” And that I have to call him that in order to have a connection to him?
Friend: The Jesus that lives in your heart is not the same Jesus that lives in my heart.
Trish: That’s fair enough. I can’t prove to you that I am connecting to the real Jesus, and you can’t prove to me that you are connecting to the real Jesus. So we can give that up right now. 

Friend: And God’s word is very clear. I respect your choices. But they do not line up with the God of the Bible.
Trish: I appreciate that you respect my choice. And remember, there are countless bibles that have different interpretations.  The God of the bible is not always so clear, especially when you look at the Old Testament compared to the New Testament. And with thousands of denominations–I would say that God’s word is pretty muddy in a lot of places.
Okay. Sounds like we need to agree to disagree. Does that sound okay with you?
Friend: Yes, if we were having a philosophical discussion, perhaps. But this is NOT a discussion. It is a warning from me, and the word of God concerning your confusion in the matter of who the Son of God truly is. In fact, I think you prefer to disagree with all of God’s word.
Trish: No, I don’t disagree with all of God’s word.   I just cherry pick the parts that I resonate with like all Christians do.  I feel a bit uneasy about you feeling a need to warn me. I just don’t see Jesus warning me about this.
Jesus did say, after all, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21.  Seems like he makes it pretty clear that I don’t have to call him Lord to be part of the kingdom of heaven. Or have some particular interpretation of who he is in order to be connected. 

Friend: I do love you though. Or else I would just let you slip off the cliff without throwing you a rope. Consider this to be the ONLY rope you are going to receive from me.

Trish: I really appreciate that you want to help me out. You are acting in alignment with your beliefs. I respect you for that. 
Friend: What we are is DONE. I am no longer going to throw my “pearls to the swine” Patricia. Yes, you have made your choice.
I really don’t want you to waste your time on me because it is a hopeless cause. I have made up my mind. I have been moving in this direction ever since I reluctantly committed my life to Jesus 17 years ago. 
I think you are right. I never did swallow the Christian teachings hook, line and sinker, and thus I never believed as you and many others do. When I first committed my life to Jesus, I  yearned to believe as you do 100% so I could feel a sense of belonging and acceptance from other Christians. 
But I realize now that my need for community was never being met within the Christian world, and that I was trying to believe something I couldn’t for reasons that were not healthy. I wanted approval and love at the expense of being true to my values and what I really believed. I deeply regret that. 
I studied Christian apologetics so much because I wanted intellectual proof that my spiritual beliefs were valid. But now I see the holes in those arguments. I still love Christian apologetics and most of the people who teach these logical arguments for the validity of the Bible are really smart and sincere. But they are missing a lot of points that I won’t go into here.
I trust in a good Creator who loves me and wants the best for me, and who loves you and wants the best for you. A beautiful, wonderful, powerful, omniscient, omnipresent Creator that wants to co-create with all of us a world where everyone is happy, safe and free, including the animals, is the One who I am believing in. 
I trust that Jesus knows my heart and that he is helping me on my new path.
I’m trying to do those things which I believe Jesus sees as beneficial which includes being a vegan.  I sense his support as I continue working on the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage (formerly Jesus Vegans Ecovillage) where we can demonstrate Garden of Eden principles and share this with the world so that all of life can thrive.

I would love to hear your comments. Have you had similar experiences with Christians before? Or are you a Christian and concerned about my salvation?

Celebrating My Friendship With Bo

Bo is a made up name for a dear friend who has forever changed my life. She doesn’t like to be in the limelight and thus she prefers that I do not use her real name.  So I am calling her “Bo.”

I met Bo through a series of absolutely miraculous, synchronistic events when I was living in Berkeley, California. The first time we met, she shared with passion about how much she loved nature and animals. I had never heard anyone speak with such fervor about this topic. She also shared how she had been a vegan since 1989!

I was almost immediately inspired to take my vegan lifestyle to a new level–to become an animal rights activist.

Bo also was inspired by my relationship with Jesus. Even though at first she was pretty hostile to the idea of me being a Christian, almost immediately she changed gears when I told her that Jesus was like my friend. Her ability to change her mind quickly when presented with some logical reasons for doing something is one of the many things I love about her.

We met with another friend every Thursday for about 8 weeks, and our talks would be all over the place. I know I felt safe with Bo, and she brought out the best in me. We always talked about animals and nature along with so many things. Hours would fly by and yet time stood still.

We worked on organizing a gathering at her home, and I just loved how she participated in the event and added so much richness to the conversations. Afterward, her enthusiasm and encouragement were so strong and she validated that I was an excellent facilitator and creator of structures that encourage people to thrive.

Our friendship went to a new level after this gathering, and I was also going to be returning to my home in Arkansas in a few weeks. We met as much as we could. I loved our long brisk walks around the lake in Berkeley. We also went to a dance together, attended Direct Action Everywhere events at the Animal Rights Center, and she helped me produce the Community: Connect! event at The Place For Sustainable Living.

We found we had so much in common and we had so much fun and fulfilling times.

Bo and I stayed in touch when I got to Arkansas, and I loved our daily conversations and texts. I felt connected to my new friend, and so supported in every way.

When I shared with her my vision of what an ideal community day would look like, she was immediately inspired and wanted to help me manifest and be a part of this beautiful lifelong dream that I had been cultivating for the past 43 years.

I went back to Berkeley to visit several times, and Bo and I continued to get to experience each other in various ways such as attending some of the events at the DxE Forum for Animal Liberation. I loved sharing our passion for animals by doing protests together.

We even created our own little retreat day with a friend where we designed together a focused time for healing which included being playful, dancing, and sharing our deep vulnerability. I will always remember that very intense and precious day where we flowed together and left the world behind for a brief period experiencing unconditional love and acceptance that felt so healing and refreshing.

We have had our challenges, yet we always managed to talk about them and work through the difficulties, no matter how hard they were. Each of us has been in different crises over the past 19 months that we have known each other. The way that she was able to comfort and guide me through the most daunting of experiences is something I cherish.

There are so many little things about my dear friend Bo that I appreciate and cherish.  Her ability to discern truths intuitively while I needed to read about those truths to figure out was astonishing to me at first. The way she laughs and is so spontaneous and free encourages my little child to come out and play.

Our ability to encourage each other and celebrate our lives together brings me so much joy. I love singing with her and teaching her how to play guitar–she is a natural!

One thing she initiated was something we call “playful talk”. Some people might call it baby talk, but really, baby’s don’t talk like that at all! But we talk with a funny way that just makes us laugh and be creative. When we shared this a few times with men friends who were visiting us, we had so much fun helping them bring out their inner child. Bo and I were a great facilitator team when it came to helping people open up and let go of so much control.

I cherish the way that we could include other people in our friendship and celebrate nurturing others with the love that we shared.

Bo’s love of animals and her fierce dedication to nurturing her 3 cats and other wild creatures who visit her home is immensely inspiring to me. Her concern for animals and nature, in general, is something that continues to help me be even more motivated to dedicate my life to helping create a vegan utopia by creating Vegan Utopia Ecovillages.

Once we decided to have an all-day retreat with another friend. How I loved the way we were all able to organize the day within a half hour and make sure that our deepest yearnings for that day were met. We danced, went on a scavenger hunt outside, shared vulnerability, ate delicious vegan food, and did many other things that just helped us feel alive and loved. We felt even more connected after that day together.

I learned more about my friend Bo, and I always enjoy getting to know her on a deeper level.

Trying to describe the amazing way we converse is almost impossible, but I will do my best. We both have the ability to talk fast and track well. One of us might go on a 5 minute or longer monologue because we get so inspired by sharing some experience or idea. The other can really “grok” what the other is saying and add something that can allow the topic to go even deeper.

For example, we might talk about child raising. Bo has an intuitive sense of how children can best be raised to nurture them, and I have experience and book learning which backs up her theories. So shares what she knows intuitively, and then I share my experiences and book learning.

We are so enthusiastic about talking about ideas. Bo has endlessly validated my beliefs and values, and I have done the same for her. She really stretches me, too. Her deep respect for animals and nature helps me realize how human-centered my outlook has been. She has helped me to be more sensitive to the needs of animals and given me a desire to go deeper in my relationships with her.

Her awe of nature, helps me realize that I want to learn more about how to connect with plants and trees like they do at Findhorn.

Bo has helped me value myself more. Just this morning I was joking about how it seems like the song, “how do you solve a problem like Maria” reminds me of how people often see me–as a problem to be solved.  She wrote, “How do you enjoy a vibrant person like Trish”

Sometimes I have had a hard time believing that all the wondrous things she says about me are true. Bo is so good at seeing the positive in people, including me, and appreciating the subtle things. I learned how to be more appreciative and celebratory through her example.

I hadn’t realized that I was holding myself back from loving myself and loving others until I experienced Bo’s unconditional love. It was as if I had been hurt so many times that my heart had a protective icy layer over it that I did not realize was there.

Her affection and ceaseless appreciation of my presence in her life as well as the qualities that I hold dear were like a warm water dissolving the ice surrounding my heart so I could open up to give and receive unconditional love.

We have had our intense moments, because we are both powerful, intense women! In the past when I have been with strong women, when things blew up, usually the other person would withdraw. We have been able to speak truth to each other that was very painful. Or, one of us would say something that we didn’t actually mean, but didn’t quite know how to say it well. And because we loved each other so fiercely and are committed to being life-long friends, we always worked things out and were closer than ever.

Bo is just so much fun to be with. When I was living in Berkeley and we could be together in person, we played guitar, sang, danced, walked, went to various gatherings, organized things, and went on hikes to places like Muir Woods. I loved singing with Bo–she has such a beautiful strong voice and is a natural at playing guitar.

We went to see the movie, Snowden. 

I deeply valued how we could talk about the movie and be in such agreement about how Edward Snowden is our hero and our concerns about the government.

Everything is fun when Bo is around, including shopping at El Cerrito Grocers, our favorite health food store in the bay area. I loved having her as a companion at animal-rights related events.

We are amazing communicators, and perhaps our longest phone call ever was four hours! The time just flew by. She could easily be a motivational speaker and to be able to listen to her as she processes various ideas and shares her insights is quite a privilege for me. She listens deeply to what I have to say which leaves me feeling very nurtured and validated.

Bo has such a melodious voice and has been a great radio show host.  She has a knack for writing succinct pieces that really get the point across. I know that someday she is going to be doing this kind of work and making a difference for the animals.

When I have been in crises situations, which unfortunately I have been several times in the time I knew her, she has really been there for me.  I taught her the skill of how to listen empathically, and she learned really quickly how to listen to me in a way that was healing and helpful.

I am really hopeful that I have broken this pattern of attracting and allowing people into my life who betray me or attack me in ways that leave me emotionally devastated.

She has listened to me and helped me work through the challenges in ways that helped me to realize that I was not the worthless person that others left me believing that I was.

It was Bo who helped me realize that I just had to go forward with my dream of creating community.  Without her, I would have given up on this dream. But she had a way of giving me the confidence that I could follow through on this life-long dream. Perhaps most importantly, she helped me know what the focus of the community needed to be–something related to helping move the vegan movement forward.

Bo came along at a time when I was about to focus all my energy on helping to get time banks and other alternatives to the money system off the ground. I really thought this was the solution to all of our problems. I am so grateful that she helped me see that inspiring the whole world to care about animals and the environment by becoming ethical vegans was the first thing we needed to do.

Just her presence and passion constantly reminded me that human needs are not the most important thing. I found the book, The World Peace Diet, by Will Tuttle. He confirmed what Bo taught me–that unless humans stop hurting and herding animals, we will never have world peace. She was the first person who taught me about how I was actually a speciesist–and how I needed to be anti-speciesist.

Bo has known this fact for decades. I know that her early adoption of veganism at a time decades ago when the word was rarely used, was part of what helped pave the way for the momentum that veganism has gained.  I am proud that she adds so much value to the conversation because she intuitively realized the importance of this issue way before many people, including myself, did.

I feel so grateful for Bo. She is my cherished friend, and I love her dearly.




Celebrating My Friendship With Sky (Scott) Masters

I am writing a series of articles celebrating my friends for these reasons:

  1. I want to let them know how much I love them!
  2. I want people who are interested in co-founding the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage to get a sense of the kind of people I like to work with.
  3. I want to introduce my friends to other friends so we can start creating an online cooperative community

The chances that I would meet Sky were about 1 in a million! But we met–and I think God wanted us to do so!

The sense of gratitude I feel towards Sky for being my friend over the past 4 years. We have a foundation of trust and love which gives me hope that no matter what we go through we will always be friends and be supportive of each other.

After I wrote this article, I realized that I talked a lot about how many conflicts Sky and I worked through. You might wonder, “Why did you want to be friends with someone with whom you had so many conflicts?”

The answer is that we share so many values and goals. We wanted to learn how to love each other even though in many ways we were shining lights on each other’s shadows and sometimes bringing out the worst in each other!

Our values and goals that we shared were so essential l, and so rare to find in one person:

  • Living in intentional community and cultivating healthy community relationships. Being community builders.
  • Working out conflicts in ways that lead to win-win solutions and growth
  • Using tools like Nonviolent Communication to increase our connect to people
  • Wanting to help people through coaching
  • Wanting to have a friendship that was therapeutic as well as fun
  • Having a connection to Jesus and the common desire to pray together each time we spoke on the phone (our friendship has mostly been long distance
  • Making and keeping agreements is essential for building trust

Let me start by sharing how we met.

Almost 4 years ago, my 17-year-old daughter had the opportunity to live with her aunt and niece for the summer. I felt guided to come with her to San Diego because she had never lived on her own before.

Maybe I wanted some adventure, too!

Miraculously, I found a place to stay in an intentional community called The Enchanted Garden. I even made enough money during my last days in Fayetteville to pay for the rent. Leslie Goldman, who is the founder of the community, invited me to go to a potluck at a farm.

Out of all the people in the gathering, (and there were lots), I was mainly guided to talk to Sky for some reason. (Maybe he will remind me.)

I was a bit put off by him because he immediately started sharing all kinds of vulnerable things about his life.  This is sad because in the past  I would do the same thing with people and wonder why they might tend to reject me!

However, we discovered we had some common friends, and we decided to connect and explore how we could cooperate.  One of my roommates at the Enchanted Garden was good friends with Sky, and we started working on creating a coaching business together right away.

I loved our calls because Sky had always embraced the idea of having structures that facilitated everyone being able to participate equally. My motto, “Structure is like the banks of a river so that our energies can flow freely” resonated with him. I loved our calls with our other friend, who I will call Jim.

Sky shared my passion for community and thus we had so much in common already. He loved having gatherings at his home in National City, a former museum which was located only 2 blocks from where I lived during a very intense part of my life from age 15-19.

When I returned to Fayetteville after a few months in San Diego, we stayed in touch. I will be forever grateful to him for giving me some coaching when I was struggling with a relationship challenge. We continued pursuing our coaching practice with Jim on 3-way calls and I loved Sky’s steadiness and how I could depend on him to follow through.

We were really disappointed when Jim gradually withdrew from our endeavors without giving any reason. Sky and I share the common experience of getting close to people and then having them reject us or disappear. So we were able to comfort each other and move on.

Sky and I had a commitment to work things out no matter what, and we had some rough spots for sure! I went back to San Diego soon after I returned to Fayetteville because Sky offered me a free place to stay and I wanted to continue to see how we could work together.

Living together was intense because he worked during the day, and at that time of my life (but no more!), I would get lonely and sad if I was alone a lot.  But I think I was also deeply affected by the fact that I was living only 2 blocks from the place where I experienced so much pain.

I walked around National City a few times, attempting to heal the memories that specific places brought up, but in some ways, the pain increased,

I see now that instead of trying to work on projects, Sky and I would have been better off working on our inner child healing and use tools that would help us to stop re-creating situations that kept coming up for both of us.

Although we have since resolved this, I still feel sad that I left his house suddenly after a week and moved in with another friend who made her place available. This was one of the many ways that I hurt my friend. I took him for granted way too many times.

Yet as long as I would take responsibility and look at my part in contributing to conflicts and pain, Sky always forgave me. I feel so grateful for that because he really did have some good reasons to give up on me!

Even though I didn’t live at Sky’s home, we still worked together. I got to facilitate a Community: Connect! event that was super successful. I loved that Sky was willing to promote and host this event even though he wasn’t totally clear on what it would look like.

I still remember how we danced at the end, and I facilitated people doing silly motions that really gave us so much joy. This is the song we danced to. Sometimes we recall this time with great enthusiasm. I love Sky’s abiity to be playful and fun.

Another thing I really appreciated about Sky was that he felt connected to Jesus. He had been part of the organization, Teaching of the Inner Christ for a while, although he was no longer attending there. I was really glad that he was accepting of my relationship with Jesus even though back then it was a bit more fundamentalist.

We did the Immanuel Approach healing work together, and have since done it several times, and this is a great thing to have in common.

Twice, we found people that we were sure would be the perfect people to work with. Sky is such a great networker. He is similar to me in that way. He can talk to anyone and make friends quickly. He is passionately committed to doing personal growth through 12 step programs, mainly CODA, and other methods. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who is so committed to growth as he is!

Living in a big city like San Diego expanded my possibilities to connect with people even when I lived in Fayetteville.

Each time we met someone, we had such high hopes for creating a coaching practice.  Sky continued to be his dependable self, showing up for calls and following through with what he said he would do. He was creative, supportive and insightful.

Yet both times, our 3rd partner withdrew and did not really communicate in ways that left us feeling complete. I know I had my part in this because my commitment to integrity would not allow our partners to hide out. Sky and I really wanted business partners to be close friends as well as pursuing a business. So in some ways, it was better that the people we worked with decided to withdraw.

After all, Sky and I were willing to be vulnerable and we wanted others to do the same. Our commitment to being honest and looking at our shadow even in the midst of trying to create a coaching business was a bit intense for others, I think.

I admire Sky because even though he has had such a challenging childhood and multitude of losses throughout his adult life, he has always kept this child-like spirit of trusting people and God.

He hasn’t become cynical or discouraged. His ability to bounce back after severe disappointments that he experiences  is inspiring to me. And like me, he is making better choices as to where he puts his energy so disappointments come less and less.

Sky worked with Cliff (my former husband and neighbor to the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage site) and I when the ecovillage project was getting off the ground.

I so appreciated his loyal support to this project because he wasn’t sure he would be living at the ecovillage. I really depended on Sky and Cliff during these trying times as we sorted out the vision and values. Sky brings a business sense to the table that I often do not have. He asks good questions.

He is wonderful to work with when it comes to making decisions because he truly believes in making decisions that fit everyone’s needs.

When I think about all that we have gone through during the past four years both together and in our separate lives, I see that we have grown tremendously. Our relationship has continued to deepen, and it was only recently that our friendship has come to a point where we can be more appreciative of each other.

Any time I come to Sky with a concern about some behavior that he exhibited that I did not enjoy, he is totally willing to talk about the isssue take responsibility for his part in the matter. He is so humble in that way. But he also helps me to see what my part is so that I can learn and grow, too.

We also realized that we needed to stay up to the minute in terms of any incompletions we had with each other.  Even though we were good at working out the big conflicts, the little things would build up and create walls between us.

Since both of us have been traumatized by rejection so many times, I think we needed to have these years of going through trials together and sticking it out. We created a strong foundation upon which we now can go forward with supporting each other. Throughout our relationship, we have been so vulnerable to each other and worked out so many conflicts which helped us to see our shadows and release behaviors that did not serve us.

And of course, each time a conflict was resolved, we grew closer because our faith in our ability to work things out got stronger. Sky and I are very different in many ways. What is beautiful is that as our friendship expands to agape love, we find that our strengths can complement each other, and we can really help the other overcome our weaknesses through gentle transparency.

I discovered in my relationship with Kim Broniman that it was really helpful to start our meetings with a prayer, sharing appreciation, and then seeing if there were any incompletions. I suggested this format to Sky and he embraced this idea.

After our first use of this structure, we realized that we had a number of incompletions that stretched back as far as a year ago. In a short period of time, we cleared these up and got into a more harmonious and loving flow than we ever have. Now, we use this format each time we connect on the phone, and we are discovering that this is helping us to have so much joy and positive energy and we get so much more done!

Sky and I have not worked on a project in about 9 months. I think that was because we really needed to focus on our friendship. But now, just when I really need his help, Sky is working on helping me to sell the Retreat Center/Farm Animal Sanctuary site 

I appreciate how he helps keep me focused and on track as well as doing his part and giving constructive feedback. This has always been a strength in our friendship.

I decided to sell this house land in order to raise funds to complete the building projects on the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage site. In addition, trying to do both projects is way too much to do at this point.

We also are ready to pursue our dream of coaching, and we are discovering our niche. We also think we have a third person to work with–that is going to be revealed soon!

I value Sky in my life, and I truly don’t know what I would have without his steady connection during the past 4 years when I have gone through so many changes that needed to happen in order for me to get to a place where I could be creating the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage. Without his support and friendship, I wonder if I would have been able to weather the many storms I have gone through.

I realize that one of the highest values I have is integrity, and that includes the quality of being willing to work out differences in ways that don’t blame and shame. Sky has demonstrated his integrity and commitment to working things out over and over again.

We usually think of marriage as a lifetime commitment where partners stay with each other through thick and thin.  I need this kind of commitment in friends, and I have found it in Sky.

We have always been platonic friends and I think that has simplified our male/female connection in many ways. I may be, for the rest of my life, leading a celibate life. It is possible this is the life I am best suited for in my later years, although I am not sure what might unfold. Having a male friend like Sky with whom I can be so close is invaluable for I want both female and male friends.

Recently, Sky has been inspired to connect with Jesus on a deeper level. And I have been inspired to connect in a different way. No longer calling him Lord and Savior, I cherish Jesus as my friend and guide.  I celebrate that Sky and I can connect with Jesus in ways that are nurturing for us, but not limiting or judgemental.  We have always honored each others’ spirituality, but now are closer than ever in how we see Jesus and relate to him.

I feel so grateful to call Sky my friend. He is the kind of person I would love to live in community with. Maybe some day he will move here. We will see!

He would like to help the person who buys this place get a retreat center and farm animal sanctuary up and running. He considers living here half of the year (in the warm months.)

Whatever unfolds, I am just glad to have him in my life as friend and business partner. I celebrate Sky and all he brings to my life, and in service to all of life.