Silent Awakenings – Deepak Chopra Retreat 2023 – Austin, TX

Good morning, Yogis! Well, here is a tale I’ll tell about my recent trip to Austin, Texas to attend Deepak Chopra’s final Silent Awakenings retreat. I think it was actually the last retreat that the Chopra organization is organizing (they held these for many years) due to the costs of putting on such a show! My story begins a few months ago when out of the blue I got an email from someone I used to know in Seattle, Washington. She and I helped with the ZPG chapter (Zero Population Growth, now Population Connection), and she must have been on my email list for all of the years since she reached out to me to ask me if I could help her sell her $4,700 ticket to an upcoming retreat that she couldn’t attend.

I answered that I’d be happy to try. So, for the next couple of months, I tried a variety of approaches – reaching out to the Chopra organization to see if they would buy the ticket back and sell it to whoever was on the waiting list; joining multiple Facebook groups (including many having to do with Deepak Chopra) and posting repeatedly that there was a ticket to this retreat (that led to some interesting revelations about the world of international retreats); and reaching out to my own vast network to see if anyone was interested. Then we lowered the price a couple of times and I repeated some of the steps – all leading to no takers. Eventually, I suggested to my friend that if no one was interested and she gave me a little lead time I would attend the retreat and that’s what ended up happening. 

One of the coolest group projects I’ve ever seen. At the bottom, I’ll post how this turned out. We all participated (200 of us) in creating this mandala throughout the week on the way to and from our silent meals.

In June of 2023 at the Breitenbush Summer Solstice Retreat, I met a new friend, Sundeep (who lives in Austin) and before the retreat, I spent a couple of days staying with him and enjoying his company and fine hospitality. It was a nice way to acclimate to Austin (105 degrees) and see a little of the town. Sundeep also lent (it turned out it was a gift!) me this fine outfit which I wore at our final closing ceremony on the last day of our silence together. 

On Saturday, September 9th, Sundeep dropped me off at the Lost Pines Hyatt Resort and Hotel about a million miles from nowhere. I registered for the retreat and checked into my room and said goodbye to my friend. I felt a little like a young kid being dropped off on the first day/night of sleepover camp, except my bed had lights that went on as I walked through the room and my room had two luxurious queen-sized beds and a beautiful view of a hummingbird garden down below. For the next 7 days, we were on a somewhat tight schedule featuring delicious food (pretty much all vegan and gluten-free), yoga, morning primordial mantra meditations,* more yoga, more food, talks, and lots of time to think and enjoy the property. I would have enjoyed the property a lot more if it had been a little cooler, but I did make some time to visit the steam bath and take a ride on the lazy river. 

There were lots of highlights throughout the week. I am not a frequent meditator, though I do spend a fair amount of time with myself and my thoughts. But this week pushed me into a new level of quiet and being with Albert. On Monday I got up for the 6 am outdoor sunrise yoga which was followed by a 7 am group meditation on a hillside overlooking the Colorado River. It was the only day I chose to get up that early, but it was really a very beautiful experience. The woman teaching yoga all week was delightful and I had many opportunities to hear her lead yoga classes throughout the week. Most days also featured talks by Deepak Chopra during the day (these were often highly theoretical (reminding me of Nassim Haramein). Somehow the day talks also caught me when I was a bit sleepy and I generally didn’t get that much from them. His evening satsangs (also talks) where he would answer questions that attendees posed were a lot more interesting to me. Deepak is a fantastic speaker – he knows a lot about a lot of subjects and is able to weave his answers together in surprising ways. I especially loved when he would talk about his passion for New York City where I attended college (NYU) and I still have so many great memories of it. 

Speaking of speaking, one of my highlights of the week was the main presenter, Brent BecVar. Brent led us in meditation training and also shared some of his wisdom, as well. I intend to follow his work in the future. He also performed music at the end of the week – some lovely Beatles songs which we all sang along to as we came out of silence for the first time. 

My personal highlights were these:

  1. Spending the week in silence around 200 people was something I had never experienced before. We came and went sometimes with a nod, but a lot of the time just “ignoring” one another. Every once in a while I’d catch a smile here or there or hold open a door for someone, but generally, for 6 days I was on my own. By the end of the week, I had a lovely feeling that I’d never noticed before – a feeling of not being judged by anyone. I had gone into the retreat with a little bit of an imposter feeling, but by the end of the week I realized that everyone was in a similar boat – no one was looking at how you were dressed; and no one knew each others’ personal stories – how we came to be there; what we were thinking – nothing. It was a huge revelation to exist in such a space. 
  2. Eating silently. Earlier in the Summer I’d actually put out the call to folks at the Summer Solstice Retreat to see if anyone would like to sit in silence together while we ate. I didn’t manifest it then, but boy did I get my fill at Silent Awakenings. It was really quite something – we’d line up at a couple of rows of buffets, take our food, and then sit in a giant ballroom (or outside once the temps came down) together, but alone. The first couple of meals were a little bit awkward for me, but after the first day, I was down for this type of dining. It enabled me to focus on the delicious food and my own thoughts. There was a strong encouragement by Brent for people not to bring their phones with them into the ballroom where we’d meditate, and this pretty much carried over to the space where we ate. Even with this message repeated, inevitably someone’s phone would go off in the middle of our meditations. 
  3. I really enjoyed learning and practicing the meditation style that was taught. We did the same meditation each time, and now I’ve learned it well enough that I’m practicing it at home. Doing this meditation really allowed me to drop in deeper and I appreciated the soft and gentle approach that our teachers guided us with. 
  4. I had a thought about my Dad during the week. He used to spend hours looking out our screened porch at our cabin (Camp Smiley). I never knew what to make of that, but this week I realized in a way he was meditating. That made my thoughts about him a lot softer.  I was also able to let go of some of the charge that a family member’s anger towards me has had in recent years.

So, that’s a little peek into my week. If you have any questions for me I’d be happy to try to answer them. I’m sure I’ll be adding to this report, but I wanted to gather a few thoughts to share with friends and family. 

I so appreciate this opportunity that my friend gifted me with. It’s given me lots to think about. I feel like my life path has been altered a little bit. I feel at the beginning of a life reset. I still feel very contemplative. I notice that I’m making some slight changes to my life already to change course a little. I tend to have a thousand activist projects going at once and I’m recognizing that that needs to shift to make room for some other parts of my life, such as romance and possibly travel. I feel softer. Quieter. And more curious about meditation and other worlds that I don’t know much about.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti Ohmmmmmm

Here’s how the communal mandala turned out at the end of the week.

There was also a table set up which people could add to during the week – this filled out quite a bit by the end of the week and was a beautiful reminder of the nature around us.

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Primordial Sound Meditation

Questions asked by the facilitator (or self):

  • Who am I/What am I?
  • What do I want – What is my Deepest Desire – What do I want?
  • What is my purpose? How can I serve myself and the rest of humanity?
  • What am I grateful for?(leave space for the answers to come)
  • I am (followed by your first and last name)
  • I am (followed by your first name)
  • Silently repeat I am
  • Silently repeat the Sanskrit equivalent AHUM (about 1 minute)

Meditate using your primordial mantra for 15-30 minutes.

Then the facilitator speaks the following intentions – releasing them into being (waiting about 15-30 seconds between each of them)

  • Joyful Energetic Body
  • Loving, compassionate heart
  • Reflective, alert mind
  • Lightness of Being

Continue resting for another minute

Take a few deep breaths, Start to move, and stretch gently.

When you are ready, open your eyes slowly


9.25.23 – More pics and context.

Oregon Country Fair 2023 in Review

OCF 2023

It was the best of Fairs it was the worst of Fairs. Every Fair is unique and this one certainly was that, too. Everyone has a different time at this Fair, too. It takes everything you arrive with, magnifies, twists, and takes it all into a kaleidoscope and brings it back to you for your amusement or derangement. It’s good, bad, and ugly! I had a time at the Fair this year. One of my fave fun things to do is to share some of what I learned or who I met at the Fair as a way to stay in touch with them and introduce you to them, so without further ado – and in no particular order – here is some of that! Photos by Mike Meyer! And if you want to see lots more photos and videos – check out the OCF Unofficial Group (I’m an admin on there!). And if you somehow found your way here and would like to get monthly updates from me about the life and times of Albert – Sign up here for The Eleven – my monthly newsletter. OK, now, on with the show!

A card found among the various business cards: “I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.” – Rumi

Well, it was the 11th – so, the rest of my story came out in newsletter form. – Enjoy! The Eleven, July 2023

OCF 2022 was a very short one for me.

SSHR 2023

Main Lodge - Photo by James Curtis

Main Lodge – Photo by James Island (infra red filter)

Summer Solstice Healing Retreat, Breitenbush, 2023

For the past 29 years, I’ve attended the lovely gathering at Breitenbush called the Summer Solstice Healing Retreat (SSHR). It’s a gathering of hundreds of people from babies to elders and everyone in between. We usually arrive on Thursday and leave for home on Sunday afternoon. Over the years I’ve generally taken the back way (via OR Rt. 46) to get there which shaves some time off the trip – but for the past few years that road has been closed due to the wildfires from a couple of years ago. This year that back route was finally reopened over the weekend and some people were the first to drive it home back to Portland or other northern destinations. I’ve been having a little love affair with the town of Silverton and so stopped there on the way to and fro this year. On the way there I got to have a short visit with my friend Greg who relocated there after selling his terrarium store (Roosevelt’s Terrariums) a few years back.

A thought that keeps coming to mind post-event is “Did you get healing” through this retreat? If you’re reading this and attended, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below. Feel free to elaborate. There are so many different healing modalities practiced during this event – here are a few:

  • There’s an area devoted to physical healing arts such as massage: I took a workshop on working on one’s psoas, and working on someone else’s, too. I received some intense work on this muscle and learned more about how big it is and what it does.
  • Sound healing: there were multiple offerings of sound healing – I think my favorites were one that took place in the North Wing of the lodge (building pictured above). This was put on by Tom Garden and Aiyana Lynnet McKenzie – they had us all lying on the floor and used all sorts of magical music to relax us and send us on our own journeys. The didgeridoo featured prominently! They also offered this to everyone on Saturday evening during our solstice ritual – having everyone lie down on the grass and enjoy the sounds together.
  • Ecstatic dance: there were many offerings of dance and Zumba during the weekend. Also a lovely DJ’d set by George Beekman on Saturday night. Generally, I’d prefer less recorded music, but I appreciate anything that helps get people moving their bodies.
  • Workshops devoted to personal growth: there were workshops on the Enneagram (Thanks, David Burdick!); the Love and Destiny card system (by Michael Townsend) and so many more. Part of the joy of this weekend is how many workshops we all offer for one another. Regarding cards, I took a workshop put on by Sandeep (of Austin, TX) which used the Cards for Connection deck. It was the only time all weekend when I was in a group that included some of the younger members of the community.
  • Music: there were a lot of fun music-related workshops. I led one with Kieran McManus which featured the music of the Grateful Dead. We held it in the River Yurt and sang through about 10 Dead/Jerry Garcia tunes in an hour and talked about why we love the music so much. DyAnne Greentree-Wood led a really lovely Song Circle style group that used songs from Rise Up Singing and had everyone choose their favorite songs for everyone to sing. Karly Loveling was also filling us all with songs so many times in so many ways it’s hard to remember them all. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was her song-weaving at our Saturday night fire in the flood plain down by the Breitenbush River. This was also a chance for many of us to offer songs and the giant choir that rose to sing the songs filled the night sky with song. Karly is a regular song leader at the wonderful local Singing Alive festival which I’ve gotten to attend a number of times.
  • Food – the food was incredibly nourishing and tasty. I started being a vegan a couple of weeks ago and it was easy to continue on that path at each meal. Breitenbush food is often something very special and this year did not disappoint one bit. Everyone looks forward to the strawberry shortcake on Saturday night – I got to try my first coconut whipped cream – yummy!
  • Nature. Well, in this regard Breitenbush is pretty magical: views; hot springs; the wet sauna; starry skies – really tops.

Breitenbush River – photo by Umi Kitada

After all of the above, you’d think I’d have a great time! What could go wrong? What’s the matter, Albert?  Well, like any 4-day long event, there are ups and downs and so I’ll try to share some of the things that I experienced – cause all of it is part of the healing experience, I expect. I’ve been attending this event for many years – my first time was 1995. That was a long time ago. I’ve watched people come and go. And literally go – like no longer alive – go. Breitenbush has also changed some over the years – that’s what a couple of seasons of intense wildfires and a Covid epidemic which shuttered the place to the public for a while will do to you, I guess.

I think this year I had a little early onset grumpiness going on. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I was stumbling a bit emotionally. Usually, I find my outlet through playing music with others, but this year there didn’t seem to be as many openings to do that.  There was an aspect of this year’s gathering for me that had to do with missing people who I’d gotten used to seeing at the event. As the years roll along some of the regulars have decided not to come back; some have moved; some have died. Some of my favorite people on the planet are people who I’ve grown to know and love at Breitenbush – and a lot of them were not there this year. I think part of what I’m challenged by is just simply aging. Of course, given time we’re all going to watch our friends face challenges which will keep them from attending things we’ve all enjoyed together in the past. This felt like a big year of that for me. My mental response to it seemed to be to try to conjure up images and memories from past events and I relayed some of these to fellow attendees, but I’m not sure that that made a ton of sense, but it became like a game for me. Remember that after-party? Remember that one cuddle pile?

Then there were simple things that I could have done better at preparing for cold night weather. My first night it was probably in the 40s or 50s at night and I woke up with a sore throat which was pretty intense. I forgot to bring throat lozenges and so asked friends (asking for help = key to healing, of course!) for assistance. My accommodation this year was a step up from tenting in the field (for 28 previous events!). But these missing key people – I just couldn’t shake it.  All weekend long. There were some other feelings coming up which are pretty typical – feeling jealousy toward those who are partnered. Wondering “When will I find love again”. It’s too hot. It’s too cold.  It just led me to feel like a grumpy old man. But as the weekend continued on I was able to connect with a lot of people – many through music and sometimes just through simple conversations over meals or going to and fro. Plus, there were plenty of my good friends there, too.

I realized on my ride home that my mind had gotten into this neat place which I hardly ever feel. Quiet mind. Almost all of the way home I was having this lovely meditative peace that I’m not used to at all. Also, I realized that I’d spent 4+ days not riveted or paying any attention to the news. No Trump. No trying to fix everything all the time. No helping others by answering technical questions. It was quite a nice liberating feeling.

So, did I get healed? I tend to think everything you do in a healing direction is a good thing. That’s why I spend a lot of time doing Co-counseling (RC). It’s useful to me to take little bits of time to scrape off the various places where I’m not thinking clearly. Add in ecstatic dance; making music; being in nature; eating healthy food and being surrounded by others who have the same intention = a healing environment. I noticed others getting a lot out of this weekend’s event. We tend to often say at SSHR “May this be the best Solstice ever!” – They’re all good. Was this the best solstice ever? I don’t know – it was the best one this year 🙂

Special thanks to the Counsel that puts so much time and effort into making this event happen each year. To the Breitenbush staff who host us and cook for us! And to everyone who lifted a finger to get out of their comfort zone and make good things happen. Thank you!

I may add to this, but it’s time to put down the pen and head out to visit with a friend. Onward!

Photo by Kaya Singer

Photo by Kaya Singer

Love, and happy Summer Solstice, Albert

SSHR 2022 Write-up.


Create an outline for a soap opera series that teaches people about climate change

ChatGPT Sez:

Title: “Shifting Tides”


I. Introduction A. Introduce the setting: A picturesque coastal town called Harmony Bay. B. Present the main characters and their relationships. C. Establish the central themes of the series: Love, betrayal, and the impact of climate change.

II. Love and Rivalries A. Introduce the protagonist, Emma, a passionate environmental activist. B. Emma’s complicated romantic relationships: her ex-boyfriend, Ethan, and her childhood friend, Mia. C. Ethan, torn between his love for Emma and his loyalty to his family’s oil business. D. Mia’s role as a marine biologist and her growing affection for Emma.

III. Environmental Challenges A. Develop a subplot involving rising sea levels and coastal erosion. B. Show the devastating effects on the town and its residents. C. Highlight the conflicts between Harmony Bay’s tourism industry and the need to protect the environment. D. Emma’s tireless efforts to rally the community to take action against climate change.

IV. Family Secrets A. Uncover a secret: Emma’s family has been hiding their involvement in harmful industrial practices. B. Emma’s internal struggle as she balances her love for her family and her commitment to the environment. C. Introduce Emma’s estranged cousin, David, who has been working to expose the family’s secrets.

V. Community Unity A. Emma’s journey to unite the townspeople and create a sustainable action plan. B. Explore the conflicts, resistance, and prejudices within the community. C. Highlight the importance of collaboration, education, and compromise in addressing climate change.

VI. Personal Sacrifices A. Ethan’s gradual realization of the consequences of his family’s actions and his decision to support Emma’s cause. B. Emma’s ultimate decision to break free from her family’s legacy, despite the personal sacrifices involved. C. The impact of their choices on their relationships with Mia, friends, and the Harmony Bay community.

VII. Global Perspective A. Introduce an international climate summit that Emma attends to represent Harmony Bay. B. Emma’s interactions with other activists, scientists, and policymakers from around the world. C. Highlight the urgency of the global climate crisis and the interconnectedness of communities worldwide.

VIII. Redemption and Hope A. Emma’s efforts leading to positive changes in Harmony Bay’s environmental policies. B. Show the town’s resilience and adaptability in the face of climate challenges. C. Explore the characters’ personal growth and newfound hope for a sustainable future.

IX. Conclusion A. Resolve the romantic tensions and conflicts between Emma, Ethan, and Mia. B. Demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the characters to environmental protection. C. End with a call to action, encouraging viewers to take steps to address climate change in their own lives.

Note: Throughout the series, intersperse educational segments, such as informative conversations, news updates, or brief documentaries, to provide viewers with scientific knowledge and practical solutions related to climate change.

Title: Breaking the Spell: A Journey from MAGA to Prosperity

Outline for a 10-part MAGA De-programming Television Series:

Episode 1: The Awakening

  • Introduce characters who were once deeply involved in the MAGA world.
  • Explore their personal journeys and how they became enamored with the movement.
  • Present the initial signs of doubts and cracks in their beliefs.

Episode 2: Understanding the MAGA Phenomenon

  • Dive into the history and rise of the MAGA movement, exploring its appeal to different demographics.
  • Analyze the psychological and emotional aspects that draw people into this world.

Episode 3: The Power of Media and Echo Chambers

  • Examine the role of media, social media, and echo chambers in reinforcing MAGA beliefs.
  • Discuss the importance of critical thinking and media literacy.

Episode 4: Empathy and Listening

  • Highlight the significance of empathy and listening in understanding those with opposing viewpoints.
  • Show how engaging in constructive conversations can break down barriers.

Episode 5: Healing from Polarization

  • Address the negative impact of political polarization on society and relationships.
  • Present tools and techniques for healing and bridging divides.

Episode 6: Fact-Checking and Critical Analysis

  • Teach viewers how to fact-check information and recognize misinformation.
  • Showcase the importance of critical analysis in forming balanced opinions.

Episode 7: Unraveling Conspiracy Theories

  • Explore common conspiracy theories associated with the MAGA movement.
  • Provide evidence-based debunking and encourage a rational approach to information.

Episode 8: Finding Common Ground

  • Follow characters as they engage in constructive dialogues with others of differing beliefs.
  • Show the power of finding common ground and shared values.

Episode 9: Embracing Positive Change

  • Highlight success stories of individuals who left the MAGA world and embraced positive change.
  • Showcase how they found purpose and fulfillment outside the movement.

Episode 10: A Prosperous Future

  • Depict characters’ journeys toward leading thriving lives full of love and prosperity.
  • Offer a hopeful vision for a united society where diverse perspectives are respected.

Throughout the series, experts in psychology, sociology, media studies, and political science can provide insights and strategies for de-programming from the MAGA world. Additionally, real-life testimonies from former MAGA supporters who successfully transitioned to a more open-minded worldview can be included to add authenticity and inspiration. The goal of the series is to encourage viewers to question their beliefs, foster empathy, and promote critical thinking, ultimately guiding them towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

The Three Travelers – Biography

The Three Travelers – BiographyThe Three Travelers

The Three Travelers, who take their name from one of their favorite songs are a group of young Philadelphia folk singers. They have sung together since 1959, except for a two-year break when they justified their name by world traveling. They all returned to America and Philadelphia in 1963 and continued performing in colleges and coffee houses in the Philadelphia and New York areas. The Three Travelers repertoire although international concentrates mainly on songs of the English-speaking people. Its variety ranges from Elizabethan ballads to sea shanties and from lullabies to gospels. The group got started during their undergraduate days at a party in Brooklyn naturally where they discovered each other and their ability to sing together. Their first concert took place a month later in Brooklyn and they have been singing together ever since.

Bart Singer, a final guitarist as well as a skilled recorder player was born in Philadelphia and graduated with honors from Temple University. A Fulbright fellowship took him to Germany where he spent some time in Hamburg and then traveled throughout Europe. He is currently interning in clinical psychology before returning to school for his Ph.D. His excellent bass-baritone is the cornerstone upon which the group’s songs are built. He is also a keen student of folklore

Sandi Lessin, a strikingly attractive former Penn State Coed is blessed with a full rich voice capable of singing in a wide range and with an ability to improvise varied and intricate harmonies. Sandy spent a year in Rome where she opened a coffee house with another American. She traveled next to Israel where she spent another year working on a kibbutz (collective farm) in Galilee and singing throughout Israel. Sandy currently divides her time between folk music and acting in experimental theater.

Rich Kaufman, the spokesman for The Three Travelers contributes his tenor voice, his mellow guitar, and the wit and satire that are also a part of our folk heritage. He does most of the group’s arranging and occasionally plays his lute, 12-string guitar, or recorder in the songs. Rich is the only married Traveler. He is a chemical engineer by profession having graduated from Drexel institute. His world travels have taken him as far as Baltimore, MD.

The Three Travelers style of folk song presentation is unique in many ways. Each member of the group has come from a different musical heritage. Their individual elements were blended in a period before the hootenannies sound came into vogue and thus their singing has no over-arrangement or imitation in it their harmonies and instrumental accompaniments at times very simple and at times intricate have a freshness and vibrancy that comes from putting the emphasis on the song itself rather than its arrangement.

Hear their sound here

Small Achievable Things – Take Action!

Nextdoor.comSmall Achievable Things

This post ➡️ was my first post on – a social media site like Facebook organized by neighborhood. I believe is the best tool for local organizing that’s ever existed. I use it to make my neighborhood a better place.  Here’s the first article I wrote about Now, onto the small achievable things – you can probably take some action yourself to implement these right now. Hit me up if you need encouragement or have ideas on how to move these forward quicker –

  1. Phasing out Gas-powered leaf blowers. Here’s our website for this effort Here’s a collection of approaches that have worked well in Portland, Oregon.
  2. I turned this one into a blog post on key fob/noise reduction – hereLess beepingThis method sounds like it works on a lot of cars.
    4.27.22 – OMG – Best resource ever!
  3. Traffic Calming on Hawthorne and Division – Still working on this 🙂 – but we got to 20mph on residential streets and 25 on some arterials!
    Traffic Calming in Portland
  4. Do you have fruit/nut trees that you’d like to share the bounty from? – 3.28.22 – See the latest developments.

  5. A Request: Please Drive Slower and More Carefully. This one is an ongoing issue. Luckily, we’re at 20mph on residential streets in Portland, now. I think 15 mph would make more sense (4.14.2020).
    Slow the Fuck Down

  6. Neighborhood places: Marino Adriatic Cafe on 41st and Division.
    Marino Adriatic Cafe
  7. Stop Receiving Yellow Pages @ – Sadly, I can’t believe in October of 2018 yellow pages are still a thing, but they are. This is a good thread if you live in my neighborhood of Richmond, Portland, Oregon, USA. It talks about how to get off of various lists – Red Plum; Oregonian Food Day, etc. There is also a FB group for this purpose.

  8. Be Idle Free
    Be Idle FreeHere’s more proof from the Washington Post – There is no need to idle in cold weather. 
  9. LED street Light improvements. Here’s how to get a shield on your nearby LED street light. Mention “light trespass” which is what is likely happening – light coming from the LED into your house/porch/eyes. –
    Here’s a source for outdoor friendly lighting:
    If you’d like to participate in an effort to change these lights with me, please sign up, here.

    Shield Request Process

  10. Where does the dirt go? Dumptrucks on Division – Here’s a dirty idea:
    Where does the dirt go?
  11. Get Rid of Your Lawn – I’ve been posting about this one a lot, of course, given my love of Farm My Yard 🙂

  12. Sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Eleven.
  13. Here’s what we can do to keep large trees standing in our neighborhoods – Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees Now is the time to reform City rules to preserve more large healthy trees in every neighborhood! Thanks to the direct action of neighbors and financial donations from the community, the 150-year-old giant sequoias in SE Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood were saved from the developer’s chain saws. However, the rules that permitted their removal and the cutting of large healthy trees in neighborhoods across Portland are still in place. From Powellhurst-Gilbert to St. Johns, from SW Hills to Richmond, Cully, and beyond, Portland’s neighborhoods are experiencing extensive tree cutting driven by a highly lucrative real estate development market. (article cont’d here).

    This led to starting a Facebook group to organize on this topic. Join us, here. And our newsletter, here.

  14. Learning permaculture – a possible way for us to transform our urban landscape:

  15. TURN OFF YOUR CAR HORN – LESS BEEPING = LESS NOISE – This led to the post below (and one other) and a new post on my website: Feel free to share widely!

    Stop using your car fob to lock your car and beep

  16. Solutions to Barking Dogs & Other Noise Nuisances – Answer 🙂
    Get your Dog Trained

  17. How to Throw a Great Voting Party in a vote by mail state:
    Voting Party

  18. A neat article on Communities vs. Networks – to which do you belong?
  19. Want to try out a new game; meet some neighbors; move your body?
    Birthday Game
  20. Building Neighborhood Resiliency (from 12/2016): As the snow is here – in Australia it looks warm and sunny 🙂 I just got this newsletter from an Australian group called Good Hoods.  Here’s what they write: Dear Albert, During the recent Discovery Tour around Australia we met some great people and heard about amazing initiatives working to build community connection and resilience. We now have a network of passionate resilience experts, including yourself, and together we believe we can create a nation that is ready for anything. Following the tour, we have been thinking through how we can continue to help people connect and come together. We know that resilience is a process and something that grows over time. One of the first steps we all can take is to connect with others so we feel a sense of belonging. That’s why we are launching Good ‘Hoods – a new initiative to help create connections and a sense of pride in where you live. We want to connect people who want to work together to create more resilient communities, and share initiatives so the good continues to grow. We have shared some of the great initiatives from the tour that you may want to replicate in your community, see a sneak peek below: Do good in your hood: learn more about the initiatives that we discovered during our tour. If you have an initiative you would like to add let us know about it so we can continue to grow the list. Street BBQ: there’s nothing like a good BBQ to bring people together. We’re encouraging our people to say that first hello to their neighbors this summer, and we want to share the resources with you too. To help get you to get started we’re giving the first 200 to register their own street BBQ a $50 supermarket voucher. These first resources are based on what we heard would be helpful. We would love to hear your feedback and ideas on how we can continue to grow and improve Good ‘Hoods. If you have any feedback please get in contact with IAG’s Shared Value team on 1300 306 493 and Please join us and become part of the Good ‘Hoods community. Sincerely, Jacki Johnson Group Executive People, Performance and Reputation Insurance Australia Group SNEAK PEEK One of the great initiatives we heard about. Learn about this and others on the Good ‘Hoods website. In 2010 and 2012, floods devastated Uranquinty. So a local group, Progress Association, worked with the NSW SES to devise a disaster response plan to minimize damage from future floods.

    This led to a long list of items on building neighborhood resiliency.