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The Power of You: Actions Through Intentions

January 2021 Screenshot

We had a great turnout today with old friends, new friends and many new guests from across the country…a wonderful kick-off to the 10th year of Not Church.

The full video is posted below along with some of the material from the gathering…

Royce set the tone for our gathering on the topic of intentions with the lyrics to  “Buenos Dias Señor Sol.”  We were all disappointed that ZOOM isn’t ideal for songs, but you’ll see from the lyrics below while his Jr. High kids had such fun singing it at the start of their day.  We suggest you check out Juan Gabriel’s version on YouTube if you need a little cheering up:

Todas las mañanas que entra por mi ventana el Señor Señor Sol
   Every morning Mr Sun comes through my window
Doy gracias a Dios por otro día mas
   I give thanks to God for another day
Hoy como ortos dias yo seguiré tratando ser mejor
  Today, like other days I keep trying to do better
Y sonriendo hare las cosas con amour
  And smiling I will do everything with love
Buenos Dias alegria, Buenos Dias Señor Sol
   Good morning joy, Good morning Mr. Sun
Buenos Dias al amor
   Good morning to love
Buenos Dias a la vida
  Good morning life
Buenos dias Senor Sol
  Good morning Mr. Sun

Maria Rosales’ inspiring, liberating poem, “If This Were My Last Day” 

If this were my last day
I would let the cat sit on my lap right now, as I type.

If this were my last day
I would forego sleep to write this poem.

I would step outside this morning without shoes,
to watch the sun rise over Mount Diablo

I would walk the dog before taking my coffee,
spend an extra languid hour by the lake

If this were my last day
I would wear something frivolous to the garden,

loll in the hammock in satin or silk,
reciting my poems to the birds, or to the pastel dawn.

If this were my last day
I would reel all my grudges in like fish,

take the hooks out, and let them free,
so I could call those who hurt me and love them anyway.

I would surprise myself with tenderness for my enemies,
sip jasmine tea and eat dessert twice,

look in the eyes of everyone I meet,
let them know, out loud, or in silence,

that they matter and are loved.
I would be an ambassador of peace in my world.

If this were my last day
I would play before my bed was made, and make a happy mess

in the kitchen, baking complicated cookies from scratch,
naked except for a starched apron.

If this were my last day, looking back or forward
would make no difference. And I would be at peace with that.

If this were my last day, my children would know
that I am ready, and they would release me with joy

By |2021-01-13T18:25:20-08:00January 12th, 2021|About Events|Comments Off on The Power of You: Actions Through Intentions

A Bittersweet Celebration

Our Celebration of Endings was bittersweet.  A big thank you to everyone who made this gathering and all previous gatherings possible.  Thanks to Tom Werder, Rose Lee, Ron de Jong, Nadine de Jong, Anna Zimmerman and of course…Erin Dunigan.

You can watch the recording below.


Here are the full poems on thanks, gratitude and new beginnings by Laura Fanucci, Ranier Maria Rilke, and Pablo Neruda.  All of us who were present have a great deal to be thankful for!

Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.”

When this is over
by Laura Kelly Fanucci

May we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.
When this ends
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way — better
for each other
because of the worst.”

Ode to Thanks
by Pablo Neruda

Thanks to the word that says thanks!
Thanks to thanks,
that melts
iron and snow!
The world is a threatening place
makes the rounds
from one pair of lips to another,
soft as a bright
and sweet as a petal of sugar,
filling the mouth with its sound
or else a mumbled
Life becomes human again:
it’s no longer an open window.
A bit of brightness
strikes into the forest,
and we can sing again beneath the leaves.
Thanks, you’re the medicine we take
to save us from
the bite of scorn.
Your light brightens the altar of harshness.
Or maybe
a tapestry
to far distant peoples.
fan out
into the wilds,
and in the jungle
of strangers,
rings out
while the hustling train
changes countries,
sweeping away borders,
then spasibo
clinging to pointy
volcanoes, to fire and freezing cold,
or danke, yes! and gracias, and
the world turns into a table:
a single word has wiped it clean,
plates and glasses gleam,
silverware tinkles,
and the tablecloth is as broad as a plain.
Thank you, thanks,
for going out and returning,
for rising up
and settling down.
We know, thanks,
that you don’t fill every space-
you’re only a word-
where your little petal
the daggers of pride take cover,
and there’s a penny’s worth of smiles.

By |2020-12-16T15:16:46-08:00December 16th, 2020|About Events, Uncategorized|Comments Off on A Bittersweet Celebration

A Celebration of Endings – December Not Church

A Celebration of Endings - December Not Church

Email notchurchbaja@gmail.com for the ZOOM link.

A Celebration of Endings
Sunday, December 13 at 10am on Zoom
Special time for talking will be added at the end and there are some recommendations for how to do that below.

Spiritual Program Is Expanding

As the tenth year of Not Church is beginning in January, our spiritual program will be expanding with even more ways to share what we’ve learned, welcoming guest speakers, more inspirations online, and more–you’ll be hearing details soon. Taking what we’ve been doing in our wonderful community online has made it accessible far and wide and that’s creating natural growth and new ideas.

Adding special discussion time this month

And first, to complete this year we’re going to celebrate what has been. We’ll express appreciation and celebrate all the benefits we receive in coming together in this way. Erin Dunigan feels complete with participation in Not Church so we’re going to take this opportunity to recognize all she’s contributed in the founding and supporting of the community all these years.

So please,  think about what you might like to say in the special time at the end—what you’ve gotten from participating in Not Church, what it means to you, thoughts about the future for yourself and the community, and words of appreciation for Erin.


For the discussion at the end we’ll use the Raise Hands option on Zoom. You’ll find it under “Participants,” at the bottom or top, depending on your device. If you’d like to say something, using ear pods or headphones with a microphone makes it easier to hear and be heard.

Please remember to go straight to the heart of what you’d like to say so everyone who’d like to can have a chance.

All Not Church events are currently being held on ZOOM.  All are welcome.  Email notchurchbaja@gmail.com for the ZOOM link.



By |2020-12-05T15:51:10-08:00December 5th, 2020|About Events|Comments Off on A Celebration of Endings – December Not Church

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|Comments Off on November Not Church – Privilege

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

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.


  • 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


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

A Photo for the Archives!

Not Church Online!

This photograph may not seem particularly outstanding but it is historic! It’s the first photo taken of a Not Church Online gathering, April 19, 2020–a whole new and potentially very expansive concept for what started here in this “tiny coastal town of La Mision on Mexico’s Baja peninsula,” as TIME magazine called it shortly after it started in March of 2012.* That article “The Rise of the Nones,” which was referred to on that week’s cover, can also be read here under “articles.”

It’s not of the first Not Church online gathering, that was Not Church Norte on March 23, a couple of weeks before, but it hadn’t quite landed on us that these are historic times so there’s no photo documentation.



By |2020-04-23T14:54:00-07:00April 22nd, 2020|About Events|Comments Off on A Photo for the Archives!