Updated: Apr 12
Even when it seems like the world is falling apart. #youcansitwithus
Yes, that's me on the right, Carolyn Walton Lynch, founder of Mixolo, now the Mixolo Collective©️. To the left is an ex-stranger, new connection, one of the many solo riders who donned the Mixolo reflector wristbands during the annual Tour Dem Parks bike tour of four Baltimore parks in 2019. It was easy for folks to find their plus-some!
We're coming up on month 2 of the relaunch of Mixolo as the Mixolo Collective©️. I was thinking that it's time to update our community of solo adventurers and solo-friendly hosts that are ready to build the Mixolo Collective©️, together. I'm so humbled and grateful for your support so far.
If there was an actual "people person," I think that would be me. I could attribute it to my experience(or trauma)as a military "brat" without physical roots. That way of life seems to have heightened my appreciation for the joy of community.
My parents were the most welcoming pair. They made friends easily wherever they landed. While identifying as Christians, their friends and colleagues were of all faiths, and non-faiths. My father, a theologian, an ordained minister, and a scholar of philosophy and psychology, was fascinated with the universe and our place and purpose in it. "We're all connected," was his frequent refrain, waaaay before it was the thing to say.
He loved the prefixes inter- and intra- when describing or naming his community efforts. My parents' lively community dinners in our home(s) were made up of all ilks. In fact, they were also providers of sanctuary for the trans community, before we had the words to describe these fellow humans also deserving of community and acceptance.
I'll admit that community identity can sometimes be a detriment to individual autonomy and discernment, but individualism, as a movement, has had many more downsides: division, greed, hate, dissociation, apathy, ignorance, marginalization, isolation, loneliness...all killers of joy, and sometimes even human life. Self-harm, shortened life spans(even in the age of advanced medicine), and harm to others are all too common among us.
I remember grief-writing through several mass killings during Mixolo's Beta period from 2017 - 2020, with one email newsletter aptly titled: "How do we go on?" That question remains unanswered as no effective legislative action has been taken. Tennessee and Kentucky are the most recent states with cities grieving devastating losses to violence.
Ugh, why even relaunch or promote Mixolo?
I'm certainly not implying that Mixolo is THE answer to any of the inevitable life stuff, but inclusiveness and acceptance are antithetical to the marginalization of "others," arguably our society's most pressing problem and the underlying cause of violence against, well, others. We certainly don't need another app, or leader for that matter, that separates us and purposely plants seed of division for monetary gain.
Mixolo 2.0 is no longer an app, but a platform-in-the-making with a mission. The Mixolo Collective©️ strives to be inclusive. Plus-ones are always welcome, just never required.
We have single folks as members, and members who are married or in committed relationships. Not all couples (or throuples) share the same interests, and that's OK. My favorite Mixolo anecdote is about a young woman, also a wife and mother of three, who attended an event solo with Mixolo. She found community with other Mixolo solos, enjoying a unique musical artist that she did not want to miss. She said she felt comfortable coming into the city on her own, because she knew she would find a like-minded community. Coupled and family going-out culture has often been the default social outlet, until now.
I urge you to keep in mind that the goal of Mixolo is to help facilitate platonic, organic, and meaningful connections, sometimes outside of our comfort zone, but where our interests and goals may intersect. We're not a dating app, so no one comes seeking a love connection. Not even that now happy couple. What you will find is a safe space to connect as your authentic self, and grow your community.
How do we go on?
Naturally, many of us are still recovering from an extended period of isolation and heightened societal fears. Whether you identify as a solo adventurer and/or a solo-friendly host, it's also inevitable that you will find joy in making the effort to embrace new energy to flow through this thing called life.
We have a short stay in the scheme of the universe, but there are so many ways to make it count.
We ARE all connected, made up of the same basic particles as the stars and the universe. A palpable transfer of energy is evident in any encounter with another "celestial" human being. Contrast the feeling you get when you may be involved in an altercation with a rageful driver with that energy you get when you and a group of complete strangers solve a faux thankfully)murder mystery. Sounds simple, but there's a strong connection in either circumstance. We can either feed or absorb the bad energy, or purposely seek out the kind of energy that perpetuates understanding and acceptance. Embracing those qualities will lead lead to a sense of belonging, purpose, and, well, joy.
How do I support my Mixolo community? Glad you asked.
Reach out, go out, hopefully with us, and choose to contribute to the healing properties of a welcoming community.
We've listed our first impactful[returning] non-profit host, TasteWise Kids, a "food literacy" organization for children and their families, on our GO list with some exciting opportunities to work with local kids (4th graders, chefs, and farms.
Their Days of Taste program is modeled after the American Institute of Wine and Food French program, Journée de Gout, which translates to days of taste. The program takes place in the classroom and on working farms, and includes activities led by a local chef and local farmer. You will also personally benefit, as your relationship to food and its sources will change forever.
If you're a solo adventurer on our list, and there are no events near you yet, you can make it happen. Share the host sign-up link with your favorite creators and venues: https://www.mixolo.io/for-experience-hosts
If you're a host who has already signed up with our webform, but you have not yet accepted the Mixolo terms of service and pledge, do it now, and begin welcoming your community of solo adventurers.
Finally, the authentic plug...
Please also consider investing in our branded Mixolo and Mixolo Collective©️ items on our Shop'N'Fun(d)Online Store. Remember that Mixolo is not yet generating revenue as we rebuild our community of ready-to-go-out solos and ready-to-seat-you-hosts. We all know free is not really free. Besides helping to fund the relaunch, it's a great way to connect with others who are part of this movement to make the world more inclusive and, of course, solo-friendly.
Let's keep reaching for the stars, collectively.
Please note that we have added accessibility icons to the various hosts' and venues' events for folks to access more joy with the proper accommodations.