Archive for Zen

Architectural Freedom

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It could be said that we as humans are inately architectural. Everywhere we go, with every single activity, we are creating structures. These structures are comprised of our thoughts, intentions, declarations, and ultimately actions. When you are a child you are far more your own architect than when you are an adult. Sure, you may have the structure that your parents provide or whatever church or school you belong to … but really you’re allowed a level of freedom that is considered a luxury as an adult.

As an adult you are told that you must be responsible … and this basically means you must take on the structures of what everyone else deems acceptable. So all those areas of free thought that you loved as a child are ceded away to the structures of Work, Church, Political Party, etc., etc. … all the way down to the structure of whatever neighborhood you live in.

You “must” do these things in the name of being “responsible”. We CRAVE the days of our youth … but what we really want is Architectural Freedom!

For a very long period of my life I knew that I did not want to fit into any of these structures, so I rebelled against all of them … subconsciously thinking that this was the path to freedom. Ultimately though I was just choosing a different structure … I was choosing the structure of No Structure; of Chaos. So, while I was different and somewhat more free, seemingly, I still was a prisoner of a structure that was not composed of my conscious intent.

Now my structure is based on Love … the only infallible foundation that I have found. Now I am building my very own structure upon that foundation … and it is beholden to no one but myself. I can choose to take on other people’s structures or other organizations’ structures … but it will be based on my own personal decision of whether or not it fits MY personal structure that I have chosen to be Love.

True freedom is becoming your own Architect … recognizing the value and power of structure and then crafting and creating what you want that structure to be; with intention.

The “kicker” in this architectural equation is that you also are responsible for EVERYTHING. Everything that is a result of your structure is yours to own and live with the consequences of … to learn from, really. If you hurt someone it is because of your actions, not because the church you go to told you to reject or judge someone. If your chosen structure is working too much and ignoring your family, you can no longer blame the people who made you work too much. If people are denied equal rights it’s partially based on your decision … you’re no longer just a small part of the greater entity and therefore not responsible for such a thing!

Every … single … decision … becomes the result of your chosen structure.

See, we LIKE having these excuses. We might say that we want freedom, but we sure as hell don’t want the responsibility that comes with it! That scares people! Most people will go their entire lives without ever creating their own structure simply so that they don’t have to be responsible.

The other frightening aspect of becoming your own Architect is that you have to look at every part of your life … and let go of or, in some cases, even break down the structures that exist. This is painful to both you and the people involved in your accumulated structures. We don’t want to hurt people, so we just go on maintaining the structures that ultimately hold us back.

It is no easy task … in fact, it is incredibly difficult at first. Once you have done it though you FEEL the unlimited amount of energy that flows through you … energy that you never even imagined existed in the Old Way. Life, God’s Love, literally flows through you like a river … it guides you to where you are supposed to be … all based on the structure you have created for it!

Some might think I’m preaching rebellion, or anarchy … when in fact I am preaching exactly the opposite. We NEED structure … we simply don’t necessarily need the structure that everyone else tells us we need.

But that is up for you to decide … at least it is if you take the transformational journey of becoming your own personal architect.

Peace and Love.

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pic of Disney Hall.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marin, San Jose, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Palm Springs, Long Beach

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Self Worth Matrix

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I have been meditating on the issue of Self Worth of late (along with Duality) and, over the course of a series of guided work and meditation, I’ve come up with the idea of a personalized Self Worth Matrix.  For basically ALL of my life I have judged and assessed myself based on what “the World” tells me is good or successful.  The problem with this is that I have basically made decisions in my life that take me in an opposite direction.  Why would I continue to judge and assess myself by “the World”‘s standards when I have flouted its infinite wisdom in the first place?  Good question! 🙂

So I came up with topics, issues, and tasks that are authentic and have meaning to me:

1. Help Someone

2. Do Something Creative.

3. Decide and Act Intuitively (based on Divine guidance/Intuition).

4. Connect Spiritually (prayer, meditation, grounding, healing, open-hearted connection to God).

5. Communicate Love (to another person).

6. Do a “menial” task that furthers my dreams/calling.

I then created check boxes next to these items.  I intend to do each of them at least once each day, however this is not some sort of task to add yet another checklist … this is a way to re-wire and re-program my brain.  This is a way to generate validation, good will, kudos, and “back-slapping” for myself on the things that have meaning and are important to me … where I can tune out that negative Inner Voice and drown it out with affirmation.  No matter WHAT that Inner Voice says to me (or what anyone else has to say as well!) I can respond with,

“Nope, today I have done every, single thing that has meaning to me … today has been a great and productive day!  Awesome job!!”

It is my belief that in doing this, over time, the negative Inner Voice (based on social programming and other people’s “Shoulds” and “Shouldn’ts”) will be changed to an affirming, positive Inner Voice based on these domains that have value for me.

Give it a try … what is YOUR personalized Self Worth Matrix?  Remember, it’s not about “making yourself do something” … it’s about finding a way to generate Self Worth for what is important to you.  You WANT this list to be comprised of things that make you feel good.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

The Great Gatsby

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I do believe this is my first ever movie “review” on this blog (lol) … although I won’t be hypothesizing on alternative camera angles or FPS :-).

I went to see The Great Gatsby today and I was struck by the stark contrast between the protagonist (Gatsby) and those whom he sought to be accepted, and even loved, by.  The life story of Jay Gatsby is one that truly epitomizes the “American Dream”: dirt poor farmer’s boy who leaves his home for a dream and becomes one of the richest men in the country.  The catch is that he didn’t really do all of the things that he did for money, or fame … he did it solely for love, or at least the love he had convinced himself he MUST have … that he had idealized … so it ended up not really being love at all; just the fulfillment of his fantasy.

The real truth behind this film comes in a scene where all the central characters are in the same room, and Gatsby is confronted by the husband of the woman he madly loves.  A woman whom he had met and fallen mutually in love with before she married the wealthy man she’d never been in love with, but married because Gatsby was at war and wanted her to wait for him to make some money.  The husband exposes him for the charlatan that he truly is: someone who grew up poor but is pretending to be of “noble birth”.  When the husband does this he invokes racism and classism as being almost equal … BOTH are atrocious, and I certainly have met plenty of rich people who actually think this way in both regards (although there are also a great many who do not in today’s day and age).  Gatsby explodes … and Daisy sees him for who he really is (I still don’t understand why that is a bad thing, but for her it apparently is) … she wanted a “blue-blooded, authentic” rich person as opposed to someone who built up everything he had with sheer will power and charisma … go figure.

The reason that I found this to be the pivotal moment is that all of the “animal instincts” were exposed … we see the carnal nature of man, and the consequential results of Duality, right there on display.  BOTH sides were “fighting the fight” … they were fighting basically OPPOSITE fights, but it is the fact that they were fighting SO hard that led to both sides being completely f’ed up as a result … Duality.  Light and Dark.  Good and Bad … from alternating perspectives.  Which is why it is SO difficult to actually figure out which way to go, or what to do with our lives.

This is what I have found myself meditating on almost perpetually lately.  Fighting.  The “What if?” questions fill my mind …

“What if Gatsby had allowed himself to stop fighting long enough to see that Daisy actually chose money over true love for a reason (and then did so again).”  

“What if Daisy had simply gone with her heart instead of fighting for the exterior, empty facade that exists solely because of the judgment of others.  She was obviously unhappy with the results, but she went right back to it.” (So much fighting).

“What if different classes of society, different races of people, different sexual orientations, different genders could actually step back from these things that supposedly define them … and just let them all fall away … and just BE ?” (Constant, every day, every hour, every second FIGHTING.)

It’s all seeming so simple to me that it makes me wonder why it is all so difficult … but it is. You have to get down through ALL the layers of social programming and upbringing to really SEE how trained we are to fight … we do it all the time. Even when you think you are “there” … you’ve really just hit a plateau. Believe me, there are MANY more layers to go … but every layer frees you that much more. Every breakthrough frees you that much more up to happiness. Press on.

The truly courageous people are the ones who will allow their fighting to fall away … and just be the innocents that they were, and started out as, all along. That is where a truly free, open-hearted connection with your Creator flourishes.

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A favorite quote from the movie that says it all: “I just LOVE large parties, they’re so much more intimate.” 😉

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan Jose,San Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Duality Perpetuating Machine

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I recently have been doing some guided inner work and want to share a recent epiphany I have had with all of you.

As I was going through an area of my life that I have named Reclamation, I noticed several areas that had to do with Self Esteem (or lack thereof).  As I went down that Self Esteem rabbit hole a bit further I ended up on the issue of Duality.  An infant has no struggle with Duality (OR Self Esteem issues). Duality is something we learn through instruction and life experiences (good and bad), … we then internalize it to the point where we become our own personal Duality perpetuating machine.

So, I came to realize that Reclamation is really about recapturing the state of wholeness … as opposed to my current Dual state of fighting and constantly separating parts of myself out to allocate and place judgement upon … that is all what I have been taught or “taught” myself.

We want to fight all of these fears inside of us … along with what we deem wrong, not worthy, or even downright nasty. It’s the fighting though that creates the split … we fracture ourselves into so many pieces. It’s not that Duality ever goes away … rather, it’s accepting Duality AS wholeness that brings true internal freedom. So my focus and intent is not about overcoming duality, it is about reclaiming the areas of my life that I’ve lost to the fighting of it (whether through other peoples’ “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”, or my own mental programming) … as well as working consciously to stop the internal fighting against Duality that has become SO much a part of my nature.

This, I believe, is work that is life changing …

Peace and Love

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan Jose,San Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

The Approval Exercise

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There is a huge difference between caring about other people and caring about what they think of you.

Recently I had an experience which brought to my mind just how much I STILL am bothered by the judgment of other people (toward me). When it happened I went through what now has become a ritual for me: ground myself, keep my heart open … don’t allow the negative energy to make me close, or shut myself down.

There are sometimes in your life though when you’re triggered SO deeply that doing these practices, or any other type of practices, seems impossible.

So my mind went to work I trying to solve this puzzle. An answer popped into my head but it was not one that I particularly cared for … stop caring what other people think.

I didn’t like this though. What about my significant other, or family members, or friends? Do I really want to become such a jaded person that I don’t care what any of them think?? No … that isn’t the right answer.

Suddenly it hit me; like a lightning bolt, or lightbulb flicking on in the darkness of night.

The words rang through my head and then were gone, leaving the significant reverberations of their echo:

“You can care deeply for someone without caring what they think about you.”

Sounds simple, eh? Perhaps. How often do we actually DO something that simple however? Do you really deeply care for someone looks down on you? You can clearly see the sneer, or derisive disgust in their eyes … and you naturally respond with open-hearted compassion? You’re a pretty spectacular person if that’s true ;-). If not, here’s a helpful exercise:

I began practicing this yesterday, and it has already had a profound effect on my life! Whenever I have interacted with someone, anyone, I phrased the words in my mind,

“I care deeply for you, and I don’t care at all what you think of me.”

It felt liberating, I tried on different ways of saying it,

“I have compassion for you … and I don’t give a damn what you think about me!”

… and other formations of phrases that I won’t write here (lol). The effect was drastic and startling! Suddenly, not only was my heart open all the time … I became kinder in action, made more eye contact, and smiled with genuine, authentic compassion. I gave freely from the abundance that was within my heart … I wasn’t holding Love back; reserving it only for those who approve of me.

My caring became unconditional … because approval is a condition we place on others ALL too often.

I encourage you to try this exercise out, even if just for a day. Moving forward it certainly seems like one of those epiphanies that alters my life in a unique way.

Peace and Love.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California,Mission Viejo, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marin, San Jose, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Palm Springs, Long Beach

Hurricane You

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I once had a professor who would jokingly refer to me as a literal hurricane … because we were close I took it as a token of affection.  I was studying to be a classically trained singer, so what better description could one ask for than to be compared to a force of nature?? lol

While I do have a fairly sizable personality, we ALL affect the world around us in the same way … even the quietest and shyest person in the room.  If you don’t believe me, try doing an experiment where you act in a manner that is unusual for you.  For me that would be to sit in a corner, without saying a word.  For someone else, perhaps that would look like they were being wildly charismatic.  What do you think the result would be?  I’ve tried this experiment out, so I know for myself.

When I was in college I once made the attempt to not say one word for an entire evening.  You’d think that I would have had an educational evening of solitude where I could actually learn things about others (what a concept).  No … suddenly people were buzzing around me, trying to figure out what was wrong!  They kept asking me if something was bothering me and I would simply shake my head … it all went on for quite a while before I finally broke down and said I simply was taking a break from speaking for the evening.  Even that explanation wasn’t good enough … I became the topic of conversation simply by doing nothing!

The point is, we each are our own personal force of nature.  Whether you want to own that or not, it is most definitely true.  You can decide that you aren’t going to believe it and continue to stumble about the world like a bull in a china shop; causing unintended ripple effects in reaction to you wherever you go.  OR you could start to pay attention, become a watcher, and see how things unfold around you … and what role you have played in them unfolding in the manner they have.

What we really are supposed to be UP TO in life is being conscious, awake, and aware of this reality.  When you truly see it you then start to try and figure out how to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive aspects you bring into the world.  That is just the beginning … because what you ultimately will find is that there is a TON of work to do at figuring and sorting yourself out … who you really ARE.  You will go on a wonderfully frightening adventure within yourself; meeting both the demons and saints of your psyche.  It is your own personal mythology and, if you stick with it, you will ultimately discover that Love is really the only thing of importance in this world … Love is what will set you free.

Eventually (we can all hope) you will get to the point where you decide you don’t want anything but Love to be the ripples of your influence.  That is certainly what I hope for myself ;-).

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– this post was the result of meditating on my prior post, “Freedom“.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Beware Your Intentions

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Inevitably your intentions are what end up owning you.  What is a famous saying?

“Oh, but I had the BEST of intentions!”

Really?  Truthfully? More frequently than not our intentions have everything to do with with something that will wind up being beneficial for US.  We fight for them. We lie for them. We deceive for them. We even cause pain for them.  It doesn’t start out that way, for sure … but if we don’t guard what the roots of our intentions are, we wind up on a difficult road to climb.

There is no substance known to man that is more slippery than intentions.

So how do we get at the roots of our intentions? Well, it really is pretty simple in concept … it’s the execution that kills us.  We have to let go of the outcomes … we have to simply step back and TRUST that whatever takes place is what we are meant to experience and learn from.  We don’t like that though … being polished isn’t pleasant, and being honed is even worse.  That is what these experiences in our lives are for though … they are what we need to learn the lessons that we are supposed to learn.

When we go about trying to force reality into a box of our own making THAT is when we start bringing things into our lives that are harmful.  Then we wonder how God could be SO cruel to allow something like that to happen to us … when most of these circumstances are simply the realities we have created for ourselves.

If you have a relationship and you are dreadfully frightened that they will leave you or be unfaithful … what do you do?  You scheme, and snoop, and badger, and harangue the other person SO much to try and make sure they aren’t … that you actually drive them to the place you feared most.  You created that reality … your intention wasn’t based in Love.

If you get a brand new car and it is so beautiful that you adoringly fawn over it … but then somehow it loses its luster over time.  Well, you clearly have to go get something new that you can fawn over again, because it felt SO good.  More and more, you just keep piling it on … and each thing you guard ferociously, because at one time they meant SO much to you.  Eventually through all that hoarding and possessing you wind up stepping on people’s toes, or worse … you actually behave dishonestly.  Something happens and you end up losing some or all of the things you cared so deeply for.  You created that reality … your intention wasn’t based in Love.

The list can be described for virtually anything … any possibly thing that you can attach an intention to.  Does that mean you should do nothing … not attach any intentions to anything??  No … it merely means that you want to be as vigilant as possible as to your true intentions actually are.  Check your intentions, scrutinize your intentions … make sure that the intention you affix to something has Love at its core.

True Love … Unconditional Love … does not step on toes, bully, push people out of its way, snoop or spy on, or any other number of results that come from unhealthy intentions.  True Love lets go … it allows your heart to always be open … it allows your intuition to hear where you are being Divinely Led.

So get at your roots … and don’t be afraid to dig.

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– pic from the soul is bone.

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Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach