By Trish Mikkelson
This the schedule that is planned at this time for Monday through Friday. I am experimenting with following this schedule by myself and adjusting it as I learn how it goes. We can adjust this schedule when we experience the group dynamics. I definitely am doing the "Holy Breaks" at these times. Learn more about these times when we do spiritual practices that help us stay connected to Jesus here.
Pausing for these Holy Breaks has transformed my life so that I am increasingly feeling Jesus presence and staying connected to Him. This has given me an abundance of peace and joy that is becoming very consistent. Taking holy breaks is something that is done in most monasteries. I learned about this practice from the book called Seven Sacred Pauses. This review is very inspiring.
There may be times when some or all of us go out and do work to make money like team organizing, or building hugelkultur gardens, or helping people transform their lawns into gardens. We won't be following this schedule if that is the case. The ideal is that we can work on our projects mostly in the community. And we can pause very briefly at the Holy Break times.
7-7:30 Christ-centered Yoga*
7:30-8:30 Holy Break*: Scripture meditation, prayer, praying our prayer lists individually
8:30-9:15 Breakfast check-in and plan day
9:15-10:00 Get ready for the day
10-10:15 Holy Break*
1-1:15 Holy Break*
1:15-2:15 Exercise break (walk, volleyball, swimming etc)
3-3:15 Holy Break*
6:00-6:15 Holy Break*
7-9 Various activities including watching a movie, talent night, community gathering, a class, and weekly conflict resolution and connection meeting
9:15-10:15 Holy Break*: Group spiritual practice: meditation, reflection on the day, Immanuel Healing journaling.
An Imaginary Day at Jesus Vegans by Trish Mikkelson
This is my way of getting in touch with the flow of life in community. Although not everyone will be an intern, those who are able to live and work here full time can have this experience.
Wow! I am looking forward to another great day at Jesus Vegans Event Center where I have been part of the internship program. I love it so much. Let me tell you about what I have experienced during the past week.
When I first arrived, I felt so welcomed. I was already feeling at home because the screening process was thorough enough that I got to know Trish before I even got there. And she got to know me. I felt very comfortable knowing what to expect, the guidelines, and that Trish and other folks who live here were caring, authentic, Jesus-loving people that I could trust.
As a single person, I was assigned to the female dormitory (accommodations for couples are available to a limited degree) Since there are other quieter places to retreat to (a meditation/journaling/study space and a healing room) being in a dorm is really quite nice. I am getting to know my roommates very well, and I love them all!
We have a rule of quiet time in the dorms and tents after 10:15 PM and before 7:30 AM so that people can get enough sleep. But if people want to stay up late, there are plenty of common spaces like the co-working space, healing space, meditation space, and play space where people can hang out and talk quietly and do other things.
Breakfast and Holy Breaks are so encouraging!
Going to the morning spiritual practices time is really inspiring. We pray, meditate, and do other spiritual practices like Lectio Divina and breath prayers. I am learning more about spiritual practices than ever before and they really help me draw closer to Jesus. Some people are not Christian, as I am, but I notice they enjoy the time just as much as I do. I love seeing people get introduced to my beautiful faith in this way.
During breakfast, we do an “emotional check-in” where we each have a few minutes to share what is going on in our hearts. One day I was feeling really homesick and a little anxious because of my new surroundings (even though everything is really great). I shared my feelings with everyone and people were so loving and accepting!
Some people checked in with me throughout the day to see how I was getting along, and it felt so nurturing. After I shared I felt immediately better just knowing I was safe. People mostly had positive emotions except for one guy who just found out his mom had cancer. He got extra attention that day too. In fact, we all agreed that if he wanted to take the day off, he could. We can make decisions like that as a group.
I love the brief Holy Breaks. They are always engaging and refreshing, including the joy break at 10am when we always laugh with the Lord! Each one of them helps me to connect with Jesus which is helping me express the fruits of the Spirit and be more peaceful, forgiving, and able to listen to Jesus guidance.
The Food is Delicious!
Choices of fruit, green smoothies, and oatmeal for breakfast really give enough variety to make everyone happy.
Of course, lots of pure spring water give me a lot of energy too.
We take turns helping prepare the meals with someone who is more experienced so that we all can learn how to make meals and have more variety in our work. The food at every meal was healthy, delicious, well-balanced, mostly raw, whole foods. And of course.... vegan!
Balance of Work and Free time
We have free time to walk (and lots of people like to walk here!), bicycle, swim, kayak, hike on the local trails, and visit the nearby cities like Fayetteville, Eureka Springs, and Huntsville.
We always have something interesting to do after work. In the summer, we can swim in the nearby lake almost every day in order to cool down, exercise, and relax. Volleyball, kayaking, and hiking are other options to do right around here. We always try to get some good aerobic exercise in.
Dinner is usually a salad bar or fruit salad--always delicious! Lively conversations abound! Deep conversations are one of my favorite pastimes here at Jesus Vegans. We talk about our faith, our lives, social problems, philosophy, current events, and so much more. Connecting in deep authentic ways is encouraged and is part of the culture of Jesus Vegans Community.
Some people need to work outside the community for now in order to pay their expenses for staying here, which are so minimal compared to living outside in the "real world." Also, there are some who want to work a lot to make cash to help support the community because they see value in doing that. They are able to participate in the community in wonderful ways, and already we have plans to have businesses on site which will help finance everything.
The main expense is the Jesus Vegans event center which has a monthly mortgage of about $2100 and the usual expenses that are needed to maintain a house. Fortunately, Robert, who is on staff as operations manager, can take care of either doing, or teaching someone to do, most of the upkeep.
Evenings are full of fun and educational activities
Evenings we have interesting classes such as learning how to stay more connected to God, how to deepen our spiritual practices, and practicing Nonviolent Communication.
We also have fun activities like dancing, campfires, sing-alongs, talent nights and watching movies. Sometimes we invite other people in the local community to join us. Sometimes we go out to gatherings in the community.
We always take time, usually at 9:15 PM, to reflect on the day. We share things like what we were grateful for, (including specific things that people did that blessed us), and when we were either connected to God or disconnected. We pray together--for each other and for other specific topics. Quiet time is after 10:00 PM. I love the rhythm of each day. Everything we do helps connect me on a deeper level, with increasing love--to each other, and to God, and to the larger community.
Our weekends are very rich. Often we go on field trips like hiking, camping, visiting nearby cities like Fayetteville and Eureka Springs, and going to farmer's market (the one in Fayetteville is amazing!). Sometimes we even visit local farms and communities.
We have a wonderful time of sharing at our Home Church where people get to share from their hearts. Testimonials, songs, psalms, scripture meditation, dancing, art, and so much are facilitated and shared by anyone who wants to share in a Christ-centered way. Often there is a potluck that the whole neighborhood is invited to, and we celebrate holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving as well. We can come and go freely as we wish, but there is usually such interesting and fulfilling things happening at Jesus Vegans that I stick around to see what kind of excitement is brewing.
What I love most about being here is that I am always reminded to connect with Jesus. Not in a rigid, boring way--but in a joyful, inspiring, interesting way. More and more I am feeling peaceful and trusting in Jesus. I feel His love, compassion, forgiveness, and guidance more and more each day. This is so fulfilling for me!