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About NotChurch

We are a community of people, mostly American expatriates, living in a small coastal town in Baja California. Though some of us come from 'church' backgrounds, many bristle at the thought of organized religion. That doesn't, however, mean that we are not seeking something more out of life, and to connect with the spiritual--though that takes many different shapes for us. Not Church has emerged as a way for us to continue on that journey together.

November Not Church – Privilege

November 2020 Not Church

A look at Privilege–an important and powerful gathering.  We are grateful to all who participated and shared their experiences and thoughts from various perspectives on privilege…Erin, Bene, Gina, Zee, Nadine, and Rhonda who gave us a peek into just a few of her experiences coming up against privilege…traveling across country in the 60s, to the workplace, car-buying, apartment renting, applying for home loans and more.  A lot to think about and consider.

Here’s the video…We’re new at this and there’s a lot of “fiddling” and dead space in the beginning…so we recommend you start at around 18 minutes when we actually start the gathering!

Here’s a link from Zee… to the poem she shared  by Nikki Acquah: https://theonlywayisegham.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/privilege/ It was thought-provoking, as was the 10-finger exercise!

If you wish to pursue the idea of privilege and investigate further…here’s an excellent article, UNDERSTANDING WHITE PRIVILEGE.

If you’d like to “slide off those shoes of privilege” and “take a little journey with Taiwo Adesina, here’s the full poem from Medium, called “Re: i can’t imagine”

Take a journey with me, all who say you can’t imagine this
Take a journey with me, so our feelings you can no longer dismiss

Close your eyes for a second, maybe for a minute or two
Slide off those shoes of privilege, and force yourself to see anew
You can imagine what it’s like, you don’t need my assist
You can see through my eyes, you can picture the twist

You are a woman or man, a girl, or a boy,
A citizen of your country, one that should bring you joy
With dreams and goals, striving for a life without lack
But just for a second, imagine you are Black

Imagine living in a world where you must constantly explain
The reason for your existence, the reason for your name
The texture of your hair – and why you buy it or not
The reason for your success – whether you took their spot

Imagine a world, where you are literally forgotten
Until it is time, to gather the cotton
Your art goes unpraised, unless to them it can speak
“I don’t get it,” they say, as another agent you seek

Imagine a world where you fear for your kin
Not the normal fear of a parent, but one amplified within
So you sit them down, your children, so round and so cute,
and demonstrate with your spouse, “hands up, don’t shoot”

Yes, yes, I know you will never know how it is
I’m not trying to trick you, this is no pop quiz
I just want you to discuss with us, then keep your internal dialogue alive
Because any human can imagine how to want to survive

So, try. Just try
Yes you can, yes you can
Take off those shoes and
Imagine you’re a Black man

Imagine what it means to constantly be a suspect
To walk through the world always harassed, always checked
Think of what it means to be a Black girl who goes unfound
And no one mounts a search, no one makes […]

By |2020-11-13T14:53:24-08:00November 12th, 2020|About Events, Blog|0 Comments

NEW BOOK – November 10th

The Way of Effortless MindfulnessWe finish this 6th year, continuing our study of the path to greater happiness and well-being with Loch Kelly’s, The Way of Effortless Mindfulness: A Revolutionary Guide for Living an Awakened Life. (our 15th selection)

Kelly reports that “Students who consistently practice effortless mindfulness describe a relief from judgmental thinking, a deep sense of safety and well-being, a sense of openness and interconnection, and an ability to welcome  strong emotions with less worry, fear, and shame.”

Purchase the book from Amazon or from your favorite book source.

The Group meets on ZOOM (for now) Tuesdays from 2pm – 4pm. The ZOOM link and study outline will be mailed to group subscribers around the 9th of November and subsequent Mondays.

Please email Nadine @ nadine.lockitch7@gmail.com or notchurchbaja@gmail.com if you would like to join our study group.

By |2020-10-28T10:43:07-07:00October 28th, 2020|Happiness Study Group|Comments Off on NEW BOOK – November 10th

A Few Inspirations from October Not Church

October Not Church on ZoomOctober Not Church on Zoom

Thank you to Doug Rye for hosting the October gathering on ZOOM, to Yella for her comments on words, Bene’s meditation, Erin’s talk, and to Keith and John for the inspiring poems posted below.

Thank you to all who joined us we look forward to seeing you all again on November 8th.

Before Winter by Kwame Dawes
read by Keith Williamson

I imagine there is a place of deep rest—not in the resting but after,
when the body has forgotten the weight of fatigue or of its many

betrayals—how unfair that once I thought it clever to blame my body
for the wounds in me: the ankle bulbous and aching, the heaviness

in the thigh, and the fat, the encroachment of flesh. It is hard to believe
that there are those who do not know that it is possible to let things

go, to then see the expansion of flesh—it is so easy, and that knowing
is a pathology. What is unknown to me is the clear day of rest—

I carry a brain of crushed paper, everything unfolds as if by magic,
every spot of understanding is a miracle, I cannot take any credit

for the revelations, they come and go as easily as the wind.
You must know that this is a preamble to an epiphany I will record—

the late-morning light of October, the damp soiled back yard,
the verdant green lawn, the bright elegance of leaves strewn

over it all, turning nonchalantly in the wind, and the Nebraska sky
blue as a kind of watery ease, a comfort, it is all I can say, the kind

one knows, even standing there waiting for the dog to squat;
one that I will remember for years but will never have the language

to speak of—one of those precious insignificances that we collect
and hoard. The moment lasts ten breaths, and in that silence

I imagine that I can see spirits, I can know myself, and I will not fear
the betrayals of body and love and earth, and the machinations

of self-made emperors and pontificates. It will be winter soon. I know my body
is collecting water in its nether regions, the weight of the hibernating

mammal, storing everything in drowsy, slow-moving preservation.
I mean I am losing myself to the shelter we build to beat back

sorrow and the weight of our fears. I have covered thousands of miles
in a few days, and I feel my parts flaking off, a shedding of yellow

pieces covering the turning earth, and I am helpless to this soft
disappearing that some call sleep. I will stretch out and breathe.

***********

Abyss by John Stadelmann

Free time is an abyss.

Life has changed.

A cat in a kennel

exploring a space getting smaller

and smaller.

Senses more sensitive,

awareness heightened

to the point of distress,

DEFCON 2 all the time.

Choices of what to do

are narrowing

as we head toward a sharp apex off in the distance.

We crave normalcy but the experience is too brief.

Not much of that commodity around these days.

So, we got up early to get flu shots,

an event as normal as you’re likely to find […]

By |2020-10-13T12:21:07-07:00October 13th, 2020|About Events, Inspirations|Comments Off on A Few Inspirations from October Not Church

Happiness Study Group Completes Spira…

The Happiness Study Group will complete our study of Rupert Spira’s “Aware of Being Aware” and our introduction to the Direct Path this coming Tuesday on September 29th.  It’s been a beneficial foray into non-duality and we look forward to continuing our investigation with a new, yet-to-be-determined selection on the 20th of October.  The group will be on hiatus from September 30th through the 19t of October.  Please contact Nadine at nadine.lockitch7@gmail.com if you are interested in joining this group.  Everyone interested in “happiness” is welcome!

By |2020-09-26T14:21:57-07:00September 26th, 2020|Events, Happiness Study Group, Study|Comments Off on Happiness Study Group Completes Spira…

A Special and Important Summer Not Church

Please join us for a special and important Summer Not Church with John DiCecco. 

Saturday, August 22
10:00 AM – !2:00 PM PST

The ZOOM Link will be emailed next week.

Space is limited so please be sure to let us know if you want to attend, either on Facebook or by sending an email to notchurchBaja@gmail.com  Please do NOT respond to this email.

************************************************

Overview: Planning for Medical Emergencies, End of Life wishes, and a DEATH in Mexico. Mexico is a different culture, language, legal system, emergency response system, and the “pathways” to care are different than those of the USA. What you need to know and what to consider so can you make plans for you, your family, and community.

Goals:

  • Distribute Important Emergency Contact Information to Participants
  • Learn simple “hacks’ that are useful in a Baja Emergency
  • Encourage Individual, Family, And Community Planning to get care in Mexico and the USA. Remember to have backup plans:
    • Plan A, if not,
    • Plan B, in not
    • Plan C, etc
  • Provide Tools for a “Grab and Go Packet” to help you, the EMS response, your family, and your community in an emergency situation.
  • Provide Tips for Handling Car Accidents in Mexico
  • Prepare Participants to handle a Death in Mexico
  • Additional Support Resources

Disclaimers:

1. Every Individual is Unique: Your individual and family plan(s) need to take into account your health conditions, insurances, legal status in Mexico, any Private Resources you will use for care; Your location in Baja; The Community, Development, Condominium Association, or Ejido in which you live; The friends and family in the USA and Baja you want to notify or involve in your care; medical practitioners available to you in Baja, and when/where the emergency occurs! 

There is not a universal “plan” that we can provide for you!

2. Information offered in this workshop can change (due to the Pandemic) and with age may become obsolete and inaccurate. This is not meant to offer legal advice or medical advice to participants. We encourage you to discuss these matters with your Mexican physician, your USA physician, your attorney, and others who have had experiences with these systems in Mexico.

3. This workshop is being recorded. By entering and or opening this workshop you agree to be taped as a presenter or participant in this event. 

The taped event will be uploaded to youtube and the link to that file will be available to you. All tools referenced in this presentation will be sent to participants after the event.

4. We ask you to give a brief evaluation and provide comments at […]

By |2020-08-09T19:55:16-07:00August 9th, 2020|About Events|Comments Off on A Special and Important Summer Not Church

Meditation and Action by Dr. Mary Contreras

Never Regret Being KindI want to talk today about Meditation and Action.  Even before this pandemic, I have been wrestling with the ideas and practices of contemplation, meditation and how these are linked to action.  This particular time in our shared history brings this ever more present and crucial for me.

We all know that meditation, while subtle, is a powerful practice for waking up to ourselves…and to one another.  We learn how to be present to our immediate experience. The more we sit still, the more the mind becomes calm and clear.  Our awareness becomes less distorted and less judgmental.  Our heart is more open and compassionate toward others.  When we do get upset or thrown off balance, we are much quicker to regain our composure and find our seat amid all of life’s inevitable ups and downs.  It is meditation that has helped me to find gratitude in the midst of this pandemic.

But I also believe this is not enough, especially now.  We also need to act. But let me also say that without meditation or contemplation in our lives, our actions will not be as powerful or fruitful or done out of love, which I believe true positive change originates from.

I believe we are being called now, more than ever to bring about a revolution in our way of living our everyday lives.  I love that some have called this the Great Pause.  I also love that some people are acknowledging that we shouldn’t return to normal because normal was fraught with problems.  So how should we return to our lives and living?

We live in a world whose people and the planet are in deep pain, and have been for a long time.  Some of this pain is a product of economic inequality which the pandemic has made more evident.  We have long known that millions suffer and die from hunger each year.  Obama recently said in his speech to graduates, “A disease likes this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,  We see a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question, and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questions.”  He goes on to say – what I believe is crucial here for us today – “Injustice like this isn’t new.  What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing, that the old ways of doing things don’t work, that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick, and that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves but about each other.”

Pope Francis declared May 16 to the 24th as the 5th anniversary of “Caring for Our […]

By |2020-07-19T13:53:40-07:00July 4th, 2020|Talks|Comments Off on Meditation and Action by Dr. Mary Contreras

June Not Church…Powerful!

Not Church La Misión on ZOOM

 

The theme for the June Not Church was ‘life and death in the times of upheaval.’

With the pandemic in full swing and world-wide protests, we certainly do live in challenging times.  We tried to acknowledge the challenges and find inspiration for finding the opportunities for positivity.

Doug welcomed us with personal reflections. Nadine led us in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to acknowledge just how long George Floyd suffered under a policeman’s knee.  Maria inspired us with a poem by Hafiz and one of her own. Rhonda read a poignant, timely poem, “The Black Prayer” by RuNett Nia-Ebo and Erin tied it all together asking us to reconsider what we mean and who exactly is included when we talk about “we.”

A lot to think about.  It was a powerful gathering.

The Candle burns down by Hafiz

We melt a little each day.  The candle
burns down.
And it may wonder at times, it may
wonder:
What will become of me? What will
happen to my precious flame?

O, so much brighter my dear, you will
become, so much brighter. 

Untitled by Maria Rosales
When you hit rock bottom
dig further down.
When you reach your molten core
Mystery will arrive
in so many disguises—
a songbird once drowned
out by the noise in your head,
purple and yellow blossoms
dazzling your morning eyes,
or a bee heavy with nectar
pauses to look at you—
perhaps that oak branch tapping the windowpane
asks permission to rock
your scorched soul, whispering
“Hush…”

The Black Prayer read by Rhonda Purdle

This is deep, so take your time.

Why Did You Make Me Black Lord
Lord .. Why did you make me black?
Why did you make someone
the world would hold back?…
Black is the color of dirty clothes,
of grimy hands and feet……
Black is the color of darkness,
of tired beaten streets…

Why did you give me thick lips,
a broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did you create someone
who receives the hated stare?

Black is the color of the bruised eye
when someone gets hurt…
Black is the color of darkness,
black is the color of dirt.

Why is my bone structure so thick,
my hips and cheeks so high?
Why are my eyes brown,
and not the color of the sky?

Why do people think I’m useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do people see my skin
and think I should be abused?
Lord, I just don’t understand…
What is it about my skin?
Why is it some people want to hate me
and not know the person within?

Black is what people are “Labeled”
when others want to keep them away…
Black is the color of shadows cast…
Black is the end of the day.

Lord you know my own people mistreat me,
and you know this just ain’t right…
They don’t like my hair, they don’t like my
skin, as they say I’m too dark or too light!

Lord, don’t you think
it’s time to make a change?
Why don’t you redo creation
and make everyone the same?

God’s Reply:

Why did I make you black? Why did I make you black?

I made you in the color of coal
from which beautiful diamonds are formed…
I made you in the color of oil,
the black gold which keeps people warm.

Your color is the same […]

By |2020-07-01T15:21:38-07:00July 1st, 2020|Events, Talks|Comments Off on June Not Church…Powerful!