One person’s experience of Patricia Mikkelson:
“Patricia Mikkelson worked for me in the company called Live Love Laugh. She was always a dynamic and energetic presence in making things happen, coming up with creative new ideas, coordinating many volunteers, organizing events, workshops and publicity– just to name a few of her many contributions to the success of Live Love Laugh. During that time she also helped organize and produce various Self Esteem workshops led by the now famous Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Patricia is a forward thinker and seems to always press for things that make it a better world for everyone.”
Cliff Durfee, Founder of Live, Love, Laugh, and producer of Jack Canfields Self Esteem Seminars.
Other recommendations can be found here.
Simplified living and downsizing
Project planning and management
Voice lessons: Using the natural approach as taught by Lara Henderson
Non-violent Communication coaching, specializing in parent-child relationships
Coaching/mentoring–helping people define their values, life purpose and setting and achieving goals which are in alignment with their highest priorities of life.
Blogging: Writing blog posts and setting up a simple blog
Administrative assistant work: Word processing, editing, letter writing, transcription, administrative assistant
My Experience, Education, and Employment
A talent for organizing: 1962-present From the age of 8 I have been involved in organizing activities, such as a neighborhood festival, a neighborhood club, and more. I always thought big even when I was little, and loved to organize play activities such as library, hospital, grocery store, and of course my birthday parties. Moving to different neighborhoods every 3 years forced me to learn how to get to know new people and help create the sense of community I loved to have.
Jr. High/High School 1968-1972: I was a class office from 9th grade on. I loved working with the other officers to plan meeting agendas, dances, sign painting, and fund raisers. I was voted most active, was editor of the feature page for the high school newspaper, and member of the pep band. I attended most sports events because I loved to cheer our team on even if they always lost! I was chairman of the Youth Council at the United Methodist Church. Even though I was on the college prep track, my counselor encouraged me to take office occupation classes, where I learned secretarial skills including typing which have helped me immensely to this day!
College: 1972-74 I attended two years of college, but really after the first year I realized that I was not going to fit in with mainstream society—go out and get a good job with my wonderful college degree. I attended San Diego State University, where the radical economics class really turned me around, and helped me to realize that our government was not as it was supposed to be. I also took regular economics classes, and became thoroughly familiar with the benefits of the free enterprise system.
Travel education: 1974-75 At age 19 I left for Europe and ended up going overland from Turkey, through Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. I learned a great deal about the value of family and community—and how fortunate I was to live in a free country. I came home with the revelation that I wanted to serve, yet do something that I enjoyed.
1977-1979: Coordinating Whole Foods Coop: When I was 21, when natural foods were just starting to take off, I co-coordinated a food coop in Chimes, Arkansas. We did all aspects of organizing, including taking orders, publishing a newsletter, fulfilling orders, taking care of the money, organizing volunteers for the monthly pickup.
1981-83 Managed and help start one of the first Mailbox Etc. like businesses in Encinitas, CA. I enjoyed doing all aspects of the business practically single handedly, attending to a multitude of details and multi tasking, including: answering phone, distributing mail, sending UPS packages, and networking in general.
1964-until now: At ten years old I was organizing activities such as carnivals and luncheons for our teachers in our neighborhood, drama clubs, parties and such. I normally liked to play things like library, hospital, store–where I could organize both items and a group. I have loved to help organize groups and encourage people to get involved in activites that enrich life ever since then.
1968 Served on the refreshment committee in 8th grade. The President of the Associated Student Body tried to force me to put the coke cups in a certain pattern. I did not feel good about his demands, and got angry–was fired from the committee. From that point forward, I made two decisions: I did not want to work under demanding, controlling bosses. I did not want to be an angry, controlling boss.
1969-1972: Ran for Student body secretary, and won. Learned how to work with a team, inspire participation from others, get things done. School spirit was my big thing, along with raising funds.
1971 Methodist Youth Fellowship Council Chairman: learned a lot about leadership.
1972-1974–Attended San Diego State University During this time, I learned that school was not going to teach me what I wanted to learn, and that I was not going to just find out what I was passionate about by attending various classes. I was fascinated by sociology, psychology, and logic–but had no desire to study these topics in an academic setting. After the first year, I decided to travel. The second year was just marking time, mostly playing volleyball and barely getting by.
1974-75 At age 19 I traveled by myself first in Germany. After three weeks of wandering and having fun, I realized that Europe was not where I wanted to be. After consulting with my older sister, a veteran traveler, I decided to head for India, where it was “cheap and exotic.” I took directions from friends who said, “Take the Orient Express to Turkey, then take a freak bus to Afghanistan, and proceed from there.” So I followed the directions exactly, and spent a year traveling around Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka. I spent three months living and working in Meshad, Iran, after I got hepatitis and was told I needed to stay put for a while. I found jobs teaching English and transcribing medical notes for an English doctor. I had a revelation on the plane ride back: “Serve humanity, but do what you love to do.” I have been pursuing that mission ever since.
1975-1976 After returning from my long trip, I was in culture shock. I was trying to find meaning in a country (Southern California) that was so prosperous, after leaving countries that had so many obviously poor people. I lived very simply, and found a family (through a classified ad) that took me in and let me live there, helping as I was willing. I gardened, made meals, and just soaked in knowledge of how to live rightly. I met my husband at the Garden of Eden at San Diego State University, and learned organic gardening and about how the Federal Reserve bank was no more federal than Federal Express
1977-1980 Co-coordinated one of the first whole foods co-ops in Arkansas. My husband (now former husband, present friend) and I did everything except transport the food. Duties included: publishing a monthly newsletter; collating orders; making the order; coordinating volunteers; taking care of the money; coordinating re-packaging of the food. There were a lot of details, and it was a good learning experience. We also encouraged people to have gatherings, and were active in the community, including hosting various community gatherings ourselves.
1981-1983 Returned to Southern California because our dreams of founding an intentional community were not happening. I floundered for a while, doing many odd jobs including house painting, selling crystals, working for a few health food stores, trying out being commission only employment agency, and even one day worked for 7/11 Speedymart. I wanted to work at a job I loved, but just could not figure out how to do it. I did temporary secretarial work, where I learned much about typing, word processing, and details about running businesses. I also learned I never wanted to have a permanent job working for a big business that just saw me as a cog in the wheel.
I started my own business, “Meals on Moped”, where I made food to order for my customers, and delivered it on my moped plus custom made trailer.
I was passionate about getting people to sing together–first at Christmas, then wanting them to do so all year–why sing just at Christmas, especially going to convalescent hospitals where they were flooded with carolers during a small time of year, then no visitors the rest of the year. All of my spare time was spent making a song book with chords and a song book without chords–so people could easily have sing alongs.
1981-83 Managed and help start one of the first Mailbox Etc. like businesses. I enjoyed doing all aspects of the business practically single handedly, attending to a multitude of details and multi tasking, including: answering phone, distributing mail, sending UPS packages, and networking in general.
1983-84 Helped produce Jack Canfield’s new seminars, Self Esteem Seminars. Yes, I was there when he left Insight Seminars and started his own company—now he is known world-wide for his Chicken Soup for the Soul Series as well as a host of other accomplishments. I helped coordinate the volunteer “miracle workers” who performed various functions to produce the seminars.
I attended just about every seminar Jack facilitated that first year, which was about 2 a month, including Loving to Learn seminars for teachers. I helped with almost every detail of seminar promotion, including actual set up, logistics, and enrollment, I also learned a lot about myself by attending the seminars, and experienced tremendous personal growth. I also learned that having high self-esteem was not everything, and I decided to quit working for Jack.
1984-1992 Created and ran my own business, Music for Life. I used every creative means possible to make money being creative with music and fun, including:
Kristina the Elf: I wrote a story about an elf who lived at the North Pole who yearned to do things other than make toys. Santa Claus encouraged her to follow her dreams. As Kristina the Elf, she facilitated Christmas sing-alongs at parties, and shared other talents such as stories, cooperative games and movement.
Entertaining at children’s parties: I dressed up as various characters and used Kristina the Elf style talents to provide creative and, inspiring activities that helped children from 1 year old to 8 year old have fun and learn life lessons,
Developed and performed self-esteem and character building elementary school assemblies
Taught voice and guitar to all ages and types of people including developmentally disabled
Christmas entertainment; Kristina the Elf, wandering minstrel, story teller, song leader, and games leader
Performed at convalescent homes, a shelter for abused children, a psychiatric hospital, and senior citizen homes.
Performed at festivals
Co-leader at devotional singing events.
Produced and sang on 6 cassette tapes of uplifting, inspiring music for all ages, including coordinating instrumentalist, vocalists, and children’s choir.
1984-1992 Director of a choir which had as its main purpose to sing at convalescent hospitals and other places where people needed cheering up. I helped create sense of community within the choir, and our shared experience of service to others was bonding and uplifting. Even though I couldn’t read music very well, I was very successful because I figured out ways for the choir members to learn their parts without having to wait around and listen to everyone else make mistakes and finally get it right. I worked with others who had more musical knowledge than I in order to make practice tapes.
I also appointed leaders of each part, and they would practice separately in different rooms, during the choir practice. Our very first practice of a season would result in singing beautiful three part harmonies.
People loved the way that I would take their feedback and incorporate it into the various workings of the choir. If someone was passionate about doing something, I encouraged them and supported them, which enriched our choir immensely. People made new friends, felt a sense of accomplishment and service, and learned how to sing better. People who thought they were poor singers became soloists, some of them performing on my tapes that I produced.
During the height of my musical career I started the not-for-profit company, Sing for Service where I published a newsletter and supported people musical talent to lead groups in singing at various places like convalescent homes where people really appreciated both the visiting as well as the music. I lead many groups myself during this time, and inspired people to participate.
I studied music therapy informally on my own, including becoming friends and studying with Hal Lingerman, who wrote The Healing Energies of Music http://www.amazon.com/The-Healing-Energies-Music-Lingerman/dp/0835607224
I also studied books by Dr. Diamond and was very inspired by his teachings including how the energy of the musicians affected the audience. I read books about music therapy in general and these teachings inspired me in my own musical presentations.
I produced 3 children’s tapes, 2 very healing tapes for all ages, a tape with Christian hymns, and Christmas sing-along tape with a song book with words and chords to inspire people to host Christmas sing-alongs.
For two years or so I sang with two other women in the group “Angelfire”. We performed at New Thought churches, festivals, and our own concerts. Our close harmonies were tight and unique. We performed songs that were uplifting and family-oriented.
Melanie Lococo and I performed together in the Self Esteem building assemblies and traveled as far as Northern California. We also sang jut before Virginia Satir spoke at a Whole Life Conference in San Diego.
Coordinated Christmas eve caroling with Self Realization where people would break into small groups with leaders, and go to indivuals homes (shut ins) to sing, then gather to sing at a convalescent home with a potluck following. This was open to everyone in SRF and was a meaningful activity for many.
1984-1992 Hosted numerous Community Gatherings in our home. Every holiday was a chance to invite folks who didn’t have family—or who considered us family—to join us in uplifting, connecting potlucks. We would always have a circle to share meaningful feelings and thoughts. Time after time people would meet new friends and keep the connections going even after the event.
1992-2007 Mostly did cleaning and organizing, some waiting tables. After moving to Arkansas hoping for a better life for our family, I had a hard time getting my music career back in sync. This was an intensely humbling and learning filled time where I learned more about the hardships of the working class. I learned a lot about being short on money all the time because of taxes, credit card debt, and just never having the time to get back on track with being an entrepreneur in doing what I loved to do.
1992-2007 This time was an intense learning period for organizing people. I tried many times to get people together for various groups, including the Sustainable Living Network, Livable Future Project, Homeschooling groups, neighborhood groups and more. The times I was most successful was when people were totally on fire about something—like the tree issue and property rights issue described below.
I learned a lot about leadership—about empowering people to do what they love to do, not try to control them but encourage and provide information, resources and support. I discovered more and more that people wanted to make a difference, but they were so busy that they just didn’t have time because of two income families, single parents, rising costs of food and basics, inflation and taxes. I started researching ways that we could get out of this negative cycle, including alternative currencies, barter, and time banking.
2000 Helped to lead a passionate group of people who wanted to uphold the Fayetteville Tree ordinance. Department store wanted to cut down to accommodate their store. I had never been involved in politics before, but I got angry when I miraculously had first hand evidence that the City Council was trying to sneak this issue through without too much public scrutiny. I got really angry, and solicited advice and mentoring from people with more experience than I had.
By using my own creativity, encouraging people to follow their passion in the issue, networking and communicating through the internet, and using creative techniques which got me on the front page at least 4 times, we rallied together and had 200 people attend the city council meeting—where they still decided to violate the tree ordinance.
I sent out the word to ask people to commit acts of civil disobedience, and the people who showed up helped 55-year-old grandmother, Mary Lightheart, climb a tree. Grassroots self-organizing resulted in huge amounts of publicity and a 33 day tree sit. We saved about 6 beautiful oaks. This was a lot of work for only six trees.
But people have told me that the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology would never had been started without the momentum which was generated by my efforts to save the trees. Omni is Fayetteville’s main group to help activists cooperate and generate interest in helping the world have a culture of peace.
I am also told that it was because of my efforts that our city government was changed in a positive way. This letter from Anita Schnee explains more objectively what I did.
2002 Saved an orchard from getting taken over by the state through emminent domain. Spearheaded a 10 day blitz which helped keep the Springdale School Board from using imminent domain to take away a 2 generation orchard owned and operated by the Eddie Gay family. Simply by strategic planning and getting publicity, empowering many people to get involved as they freely wanted to, we were able to inspire them to drop their threats and find somewhere else. I wanted to keep the organization I started, Neighbors Unite, going, but I found that with my need to work and attend to family I did not have time or energy.
2003-Present Purchased 27 acres of land which we want to make in to an eco village and exemplify the best ways that we can live in ways that nurture the land and our freedom. My dream continues to be to live in an intentional community where many people who want to help change the world in positive ways can live and work, being the change we want to see happen.
Personal details: Mother of two wonderful children, Mahriyanna 11, and Chris 18. Married to Robert Kersbergen, 16 years. Homeschooled our children since their home births. Vegetarian for 35 years. I love Jesus, who inspires me so much, and I do my best to be lead by him. Lived in Fayetteville for 10 years and have many friends and connections because of my activities here. Married to Robert Kersbergen for 16 years, and still cooperate closely with former husband, Cliff, to whom I was married for 15 years.
Talents and skills:
- Fast typist
- Fast reader
- Fast thinker
- Good writer of articles, proposals, press releases, newsletters, scripts, blogs
- Self motivating
- Music–good choir director, song leader, band facilitator
- Excellent meeting facilitation
- Can Organize anything–space, groups, clutter, papers
- I have always had a gift for Seeing the big picture
- Sales and marketing
- Good listener
- Good at building bridges with people who are different from me and from each other.
- Fast, effective researcher Knowledgeable about a lot of things on the web since I am always researching and reading and talking to people
- Networker extraordinaire
- Team builder
- Skills in open space technology facilitation
- 19 years experience in using non-violent communication
I moved a lot as a child because my dad was in the navy, and he managed to move us to the mid west during some of my most important formative years because he was an ROTC instructor at Purdue University, and Navy Recruiter in Muncie.
1954 Born in Lafayette, Indiana
1957-62 Lived in California, mostly San Diego area
1962—65 Muncie, Indiana
1965-1974 National City California (San Diego)
1974-75 Various countries in the east
1975-76 San Diego area
1976-1979 Arkansas (Jerusalem area)
1979-1992 North San Diego County (Encinitas)
1992-Present I’ve lived in various places in the Ozarks, including Springfield, MO, Eureka Springs, Shirley, and East Wind Community, and visited Berkeley, CA
1998-2016 Lived and worked mostly in Fayetteville as professional organizer, gardener, cleaner. My main role was being a mom to my children, Christopher and Maud
2016-2019 Main focus: Creating a vegan intentional community in Arkansas. Lived part time in Berkeley and helped with animal rights movement.