Friday, April 13, 2018


Please see original post here:


I'm seriously thinking about living in Mexico and commuting to work. After about ten years of living in spaces equivalent in size to a dorm room, I'd like to surround myself with lots of beauty and wide open space. If I could live outside in nature, I would. But, I'll settle for a lot of outdoor living.Here is part of my research for what I think I need to know first. Maybe it will help someone else: if the links are not clickable, simply cut and paste to your browser.


YOUNG VIDEO BLOGGER of LIFE in TJ: (check out Traveling Fresh Market)

Other lessons- 






To live there and still properly serve our congregation in San Diego, I'd need to commute at least three times a week to work (as many people, thousands, do daily.) Maybe stay over a night or two during the week. But being a little more remote would be similar to living in Ocean Beach or Escondido or Point Loma, etc... where it takes a little bit of time to negotiate and maneuver through traffic. I'd be going from zero commute to about 45 minutes - 1hour. I'd sort of be en-forcing (on myself,) appropriate boundaries and separation or work and play for the time being, which would be a good thing.
I'm contemplating how moving there may also be an affordable solution in order to have the kind of living space/ lifestyle I'd like and on my days off, to rest, relax, create, write, and also do the work of study and feasibility in regard to a Home for Children we'd like to establish in Mexico.

What it would afford is immersion in the language, an open ocean view, plenty of light, and plenty of space for myself and family/ friends, a large kitchen, a large patio, and an office/ art & Writing studio (which I would not have to break down, clear off, or set up every time I feel creative/ inspired.)

Many people ask why do this (orphanage) in Mexico ... Why not the U.S.? My answer, besides the fact that US dollars don't go as far here as they do there. Not personally or professionally, or in regards to donations for the Home for Children, is that the Lord called me to Mexico not the US. I too have these questions, but the notion came to me when i was twelve, so I'd say it's a bit over-due... I'm a hesitant, reluctant, resistant servant, and constantly tempted to pull back.

Also children are children, borders are arbitrary, and with approximately 210 million orphans in the world - depending on how you define "orphan" - If there is ever to be a heaven of earth, let's just say we need to start somewhere/ anywhere!

Also anything that helps build or strengthen the neighbor, helps increase resourcefulness, or develops independence; helps everyone. We're all connected. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it:
"All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be... This is the interrelated structure of reality."

Emanuel Swedenborg maintained the same. Scripture maintains the same That the Lord blesses universally. That the rain falls on the just and the unjust... That the Lord God is One God and Divine help and healing is therefore holistic. So if we are truly discerning in our help and support that we give... And we're confident (enuf) that we're doing the right thing... making good decisions... to the best of our ability and thus in the Flow of Divine Providence... So, if a single person or group of people gets helped and is going to be blessed; then we also, ALL of us, everyone will beblessed.

So I am discerning, praying, meditating, and considering all aspects, hoping that I will make the right decision, not based solely on my own will but "Thy will be done."
I am again reminded of MLK's words...
"And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when "justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." ~ Martin Luther King (last paragraph in the speech, "A Time to Break Silence"

And as an author friend of mine (Stephen Gladdish) appends his emails: "follow your your adventure...create miracles and change the world"

And as William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), wrote in his 1951 book entitled  The Scottish Himalayan Expedition“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way... ...Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

And as my sister puts it when its time to move on something: "Buck up lil' Buckaroo!

Or appending my Dad's words..."EeehhhQuitcherbelleyachinandgetonwithit"

Or as Goethe put it ...and my Brother might have quoted from Faust I:
" Der Worte sind genug gewchselt, lasst mich auch endlich Taten sehn!  Or in English: "Enough words have been exchanged; now at last let me see some deeds!" Faust I

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Restored Innocence - Awe, Wonder, and a Willingness to Remain Teachable

Can a Lost Innocence be Restored?

"The world is full of suffering, and it is also full of the overcoming of it."  ~ Helen Keller

Kisses From Heaven - Inspired by a line from Teasdale’s poem Barter – "
And Children's faces looking up... Holding wonder like a cup."  (see poem below)

I believe we can overcome.  The Infinite Mercy of God's Unconditional Love has made a way.  I think It is possible to see that overcoming and a way to renewed innocence is built right into our physiology. I'll try to show you some evidence for why I believe this; that by divine mercy, this kind of healing or spiritual renewal is linked right into the way we're made.  It might be easier to see, if we reframe and define "innocence" as "the willingness to remain teachable, the willingness to be led by what is good and true."  

Reflection and acknowledgement: There is so much suffering, devastation, violence and abuse in our lives, it is hard to imagine any way back from the brink of such pain or hellish existence.  Eckhart Tolle called it our "pain body." It seems as if there is no way to take memories, experiences, loss, and cruel circumstance back, or to remove the trauma and deep hurt resulting from the events away from the person suffering.  It's not like "it" didn't happen.  And the "it" can be anything from a deep an emotional injury, war, to violent assaults of every kind, and to a devastating loss of any kind - anything that so strips from us our currently held "reality"constructs - the way we thought it was...  Losing innocence seems to be the abrupt disruption or stripping away of world views. A violent deconstruction of our ontological existence.  Healing is about how we hold these experiences in our consciousness.  To give a short example of this: If someone causes deep injury to us, physical, psychic, or emotional. We have been hurt once. If we hold onto that hurt by rehearsing the hurt or trauma in our minds, then we hurt ourselves, over and over again as we recreate the intense pain. How do we interrupt that process when we think we will never be the same? 

BODY THEOLOGY - I'll show you something in our lives, in our very bodies/ physiology that is active with us from birth to death.  

The truth can help set us free - A new reality:  first, the assurance that there is an inviolate place in all people, a Holy of holies place, where Innocence Itself resides. It is here in this place, that the Lord has placed His greatest gift to us, something that "remains" with us, no matter what- fulfilling the divine Promise to never leave us. This most holy of essential "spiritual oils" - Innocence - has visible, manifest, analog features or correspondences the human body and physiological process that can help spring you into action and GUIDE and restore you to healing wholeness. 

There is a French word "soupcon" which means "a certain small something" in other words, "not much, but enough" to build on - fulfilling the promised to never leave us.  In this inviolate place there are divine"remains" or the "essential oils" of purity, wholeness, health, fullness of light, peace, and beauty, no matter our experiences. This is the departure point for healing. 

It is here in this holy of holy places in us, that no man, woman, even child, or circumstance,no event can ever approach, or enter. Nor can it be destroyed in us. Ever. It is from this place where all healing springs.  

This is pure presence, wellspring of Innocence Itself residing in us. It is at the center, the essence of our soul, it is our wellspring of new Life. It is present from first things, to last in first states in the physiology of our bodies all the way to death and old age. 

Let us consider a working definition: Not so much that innocence means what is always pure, new, untarnished, and young- So much as innocence is the thing that keeps us pure, growing ever younger, shining, and renewed...being forever polished (burnished.)  From this understanding "Innocence" could be said to be "the willingness to remain teachable, to be led by what is good and true." 

This is the kind of  renewed regained restored innocence we enter into after we have seen all, done all, experienced all manner of destruction, and find we can still come home. 

What if "innocence" isn't something that can be taken completely stripped away from an individual?  What if we can return to innocence? 

Here's how I believe the return to innocence in us works:  The return to innocence can be seen in three human qualities or characteristics, impulses to life, really.... call them instincts if you will, but present in everyone from birth - We can see them by looking at those first impulses or "first states" 

in infancy and how they get carried throughout our life...or can be re-kindled.  Like the wise men of the Nativity, we'll return home "by another way." 

1. In the first impulse there is the desire to seek after what is true.  a.) We see it at play in the joy of our first childhood longing: to gaze upon the pattern and countenance of the human face- or affinity for pattern.  b.) This desire to seek after what is true also shows up also in our first games we play and on into adulthood - peek a boo - seeking object constancy.  For everyone, it is a built in at birth as a gift to us from the divine-- the ability to seek and find. So spiritually speaking, this is so to establish divine constancy.  This "seeking after and finding" presents in a myriad of ways: playing hide and seek, chase, exploring, curiosity, discovery, a love of adventure, travel, of mystery- even mystery novels. Ultimately it turns into our interest in life-long learning.  The Divine Itself wants to be found!  Our Divine Mother-Father God wants the divine offspring and children to seek after and find the One who created them and LOVES them and wants to bless them.   God has made it pleasurable for us. We are to be led through our loves and delights.  And so this same quality is at the essence of what it means to have innocence or be innocent: to be ever willing to remain teachable, in awe and in wonder.  c.)  The desire to seek after what is true also has its material analog in following or looking toward the light, and later an attraction to sparkly, shiny, shimmering, things. And in being attracted to brilliance in all its forms. No matter what we call this impulse to seek after and find, to reveal mysteries, toward clarity and transparency, to keep engaging life,  experience life-long learning,  it is the first of  our divine Birthday gifts!  And there are two more. 

2. The next saving grace and quality given to us in infancy is the delight in what is sweet. All sweet sensation or sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. This never leaves us from our first taste of mother's milk, to the desserts of old age. This delight in the sweet sensations extends to the soft touch of a blanket, a sweet lullaby, a parent's gentle caresses and kisses, to soft gaze of wide loving eyes that hold us, even scents and pastel colors are a form of "sweetness." We are created to delight in sweet sensations and this lasts our whole life.   The lightest, gentlest, essential first state of anything (like pastel colors, or a first note on a piano)  is really the delight in what is GOOD and it never leaves us from all our senses.  This is the second of the LORD's Birthday gifts... All these first states belong and remain and belong to the LORD's alone.  There is another, a third, meant to bring the previous two together into a whole; into fullness and into fruition. 

3. The third is a combination and alchemical marriage of the first two; it is the desire and the delight in movement. This "soupcon" gift is for making goodness and truth manifest in our LIFE. We can see analog evidence if it our first comforting rocking in our parents arms, to a stroll in the pram, to twirling round and round, to sliding, swinging, running, racing, riding bikes, skating, and the thrill of racing, skiing and so on.  We want to MOVE.  We love to DANCE. There is delight in movement, especially the spiraling, toroidal spin because it reminds us on an intrinsically spiritual level how Love and Wisdom first joined, danced, joined and expanded to create - pure and simple.  This innate joy and pleasure in movement, is so all that we love and all that we think true can be unified in us and put into action. The love of movement is the IMPETUS to JOIN, to CONNECT, to BE NEIGHBORLY,  WALK and BE WITH to JOURNEY, to LOVE MERCY, DO JUSTICE, MAKE CHARITY and LIFE. 

All three of these divine Birth-day gifts are there in a holy triune. That presence in the Soft Temple of our Body holy of holy places, is the point of departure for all our healing. 

All these first states remain and belong to the LORD alone.  These "first states" of infancy and as they continue through out life are the "first-fruits" of Scripture and for which we are asked to give thanks and make a celebration and offering of these back to the Divine.  They are freely give, to be freely received, and freely returned. This is why GRATITUDE is also a FIRST STATE which begins the healing process.  We are even to give thanks before our blessings are visible! 

Egizo; "already, but not yet." 

No matter how much we lose, or are ourselves lost, these first states of innocence - seeking after and finding the truth; delighting in what is good; and the desire to move and take action - these GIFTS are always held safe, and are waiting to be activated, and bring us home to that place of our deepest belonging - the Heart of Heaven, the Lord Himself. 

This is the Poem which inspired the painting above.

Barter – Teasdale’s original title)

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Delighting in the ministry of San Diego & Baja

Please see original post at The Morning call: 

Delighting in the ministry of San Diego & Baja

The rabbis said of Galilee, "Although God has created seven seas, yet He has chosen this one as His special delight."
Photo: Alfonso Caraveo Castro

I feel the LORD has that same kind delight about the work of His church in San Diego and Baja.

Many people from family to friends to congregation have been worried about my safety and wondered about the various aspects that went into moving to Mexico. So I thought I would share a few positives.
The short of it is that I'm not afraid and my move will be a help/ less of a burden for the church finances in providing a housing allowance. The exact amount of my housing + utilities in Mexico can be offset precisely by the rental of the former apartment space. And I am only 26 miles from house to Church an visa versa.

Some people may have political differences with such a move- that is not my concern. My concerns are spiritual and spreading the the new good news- The Writings- to as many people's heart's and minds as can receive them. Here. There. Everywhere. That is always the first and foremost thing the Lord has asked us to do; to share His word with others for the good it will do, the healing and spiritual freedom and strength it may bring.

To that end, on two evenings a week, through outreach of this local San Diego Swedenborgian Church's ministry, not only do we hold classes here in SD, but we're able to provide fellowship, lessons, and the Lord's Holy Sacraments to our fellow Swedenborgians/ New Church folk and friends over the border.
Enthusiasts there in one study group are also learning our same lessons about angels, the afterlife, and the Lord, through his Word. Three are 24 participants, and there is the promise of many more.

There is a great rhizome of good work already done by others in Tijuana with an eagerness for the message contained in the writings (Proyecto Hispanaya, Rev Mark Perry, et al) which now seems ready to flourish and blossom forth. We are all in this work of evangelism and service/ uses together.

As far as danger to myself living in Tijuana might be of a concern to loved ones, the truth or experience is that actual theft and danger of my belongings and person have been more real in San Diego. Most recently, my car was stolen for the 3rd (!) time right outside the church. This time, probably pranksters for April Fool's Day (it wasn't funny and it was $275.00 expensive! to get it from the towing & storage place.) Gratefully, it was called in when an officer recognized the description. I got it returned to me (for a price) and I am grateful and very happy to be able to park it in my garage in Tijuana.

I have always said that The LORD is doing something special in the Border/ Baja California and San Diego area. And as we go forward in our efforts, perhaps we can take our example, our lesson in trust, courage and hope from the LORD Himself, who began His ministry of preaching and healing in Galilee. Galilee, was a bustling crossroads of a location, much like San Diego is.
Galilee was a port town also, with as many as 16 harbors and full of a diverse culture and people, seafaring individuals, fishing, other trades, certainly a crossroad of ideas, goods, and services.

The flat plain behind it stretched out beyond and behind it was rich and fertile as is the spiritual ground that is San Diego, its surrounding area, and the Baja Peninsula stretching further south and over to Tecate.
The rabbis said of Galilee, "Although God has created seven seas, yet He has chosen this one as His special delight." I can feel some of His delight about the work of His church in San Diego and Baja.

NEVER GIVE UP! 3 Videos of Loving Arms Mission's NEW LIFE HOME FOR CHILDREN

Please see Original Post here: 

3 Videos of Loving Arms Mission's NEW LIFE HOME FOR CHILDREN

Here are the Videos by Austin:   "Stranger in a Strange Land - Parts 1-3"


Here also is a short video from that trip put together by Fernando Vossa:

Some images in all the videos were made from footage captured by Kymri Wilt on our trip to Nepal one year ago. (Kymri's travel photos: )

Never Give Up!  - Dreams of the various children at Loving Arms:

My dream is to be a teacher in my life.

I want to be a good bassist and want to play in a band.
And I also want to help the people who are in need.
Spiritual loving marriage.
To know the world.
I want to be a good pianist, and I also want to help other people.
That love be true.
I wish that everybody in this world love each other like Jesus have loved us.
To travel the world.
My dream is to be helpful to others. Because people need any help to solve the problems. Now, I can do it. You also can do it.
I love people and country. I help my people and countries. Do not give up. May God (Jesus Christ) bless you and loves you.
I like to help poor people.
I want to be social worker and to be player of basketball and football.
I want to be a famous actor.
I want to make people happy.
I want to be a great.

Nepal Service Trip - 2009

This article by Rev Dave Brown is another account of our service trip to Nepal (my personal exploration in possibility- to establish an orphanage in Mexico)

Nepal Service Project 2009 -
By David Brown
Thanks to the Ministries Support Unit and members of the Swedenborgian Church, the Way- farers Chapel board of directors and staff, and the congregation of the San Diego Swedenborgian Church for helping to make this service project possible.
—Dave Brown and Carla Friederich

At 11:20 PM on Fri- day eve
ning, September 18, a small group of eight spiritual wayfarers lifted 
off from the tarmac of Los Angeles International Airport on route to our final destination of the Ama Ghar and Loving Arms Mission orphanages of Nepal. The Rev. Carla Friedrich from San Diego and I accompanied this group as the first international service project for our denomination in many years.
I am friends with Shrawan Nepali, founder the Ama Ghar orphanage, which I visited six years ago. I was impressed with how the organization was run, and so in 2008 I pro- posed a church service project to The Ministries Support Unit (MINSU). Rev. Friedrich had been in contact with Kent Rogers of the Loving Arms Mis- sion, who had grown up in the General Church and was led by the Lord to begin this orphanage in Kathmandu. It took over a year of planning and preparation to launch this effort, and I know it was truly transformational for all who took the journey.

I turned to the Holy Word and, of course, to Swedenborg’s writings for my inspiration for being charitable and useful. Two quotes have helped me keep the big picture in perspective: 
Religion that is pure and un- defiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and wid- ows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27).
Heaven consists in this, that from the heart we wish better for others than for ourselves, and desire to be of service to others in order to promote their happiness, and this for no selfish end, but from love (Diving Providence §60).

This first leg of the flight for our Nepal service project was approximately twenty hours long before landing in
Thailand. Upon arrival in Bangkok, I handed everyone in our group a home-baked chocolate chip cookie that Amara and Mikayla (my wife and daughter) had made for us. It was a welcome treat after a very long flight and it was the last taste of home for the next few weeks. Bangkok International Airport is a massive structure filled with all the modern conveniences that you might find in any major airport—fast food, coffee, factory outlet, and duty-free shops lined the twenty-minute walk through the terminal to our connect- ing flight.

It was here that we met as a group, and I helped prepare everyone for the enormous adjustment in cultural and socioeconomic circumstances we would be facing in just a matter of hours. Perhaps prepare is not the appro
priate word here, because there really is no way to properly prepare anyone for the experi- ence of going from a wealthy Western country to a poor country in Asia.
It is not only a shock to the senses to travel from a wealthy nation with a massive in- frastructure to a poor, developing 
nation, but also a culture shock of dif- ferent languages, social norms, reli- gions, and life philosophies. From the Bangkok airport to landing in Kathmandu is only a four-hour flight, but it is a gigantic transition from the rela- tive comforts of the modern Western world. The last words of advice I gave our group before boarding the plane in Bangkok were, “Go with the flow.”

Spiritually, it is always a good prac- tice not to resist whatever happens in life, to accept the reality of life no mat- ter what form it takes and to maintain your spiritual center. This spiritual 
teaching, like most, is much easier to say than to practice. Landing in Kath- mandu was a flurry of activities—ac
counting for all of our bags, making sure everyone was present, and then transporting all of us through the crowds of people anxiously wanting to help us as we exited the terminal.

As we exited the airport parking lot we caught the welcome sight of Bonnie Elison, the director of Ama Ghar, who then helped us sort through all the confusion of people and bags. The van ride from the airport to Ama Ghar was a bit of sensory overload, taking in the fresh sights, sounds, and changes surrounding the city of Kathmandu. The Ama Ghar orphanage is six miles south of Kathmandu in the valley of Godavri.

That evening we were greeted with the amas (mothers) of Ama Ghar placing red tikka on our foreheads. All for
ty children of the Ama Ghar orphanage had been practicing for several days to make our arrival special. They performed several dances, popular songs accompanied by guitar, and traditional Nepali songs as a large group. (One of the girls who danced a traditional dance, Krishna, had won an award several years earlier and had been flown to Japan for her performance.) After they performed, the children kept the music playing and got everyone in our group up on their feet dancing with them. It was a magnificent evening filled with joy, laughter, and dancing after a long, somewhat grueling trip.

Many of the children left the next morning for their home villages, because the largest holiday of the year for Nepal, Dasain, was about to begin. While we missed many of the children during our time there, it also meant that each of us was able to get to know the ten orphans who did not have villages to visit for holiday. Spending time at an orphanage is one of the most heartwarming experiences in life. Although these children come from very difficult circumstances, their eyes sparkle and they are full of life! Their joie de vivre is infectious.

The stories of how these children arrived at this orphanage can be heart- wrenching. In the West, the devastat- ing effects of AIDS are not as visible as in Nepal where there are at present over 100,000 children who are orphans because their parents have died from complications due to AIDS. One of the orphans that I became attached to, Santosh, was taking care of his father at the age of five because his father was dying of AIDS. He had begged on the streets with his older sister, figuring out how to survive. The common- place level of poverty and need in Nepal is unlike anything here in North America.

We were able to spend quality time with these children for two weeks. 
Simply being a loving presence in their lives for this period was a gift to share with them. It let them know that people care for them and that they are loved. Beyond spending time with the children, we of course made ourselves as useful as possible. Organizing their library, mending and patching old clothes, repairing a volleyball net, setting up an old tire to use as a
basketball hoop and finally clearing an area of land that will become a part of a new orphanage site that is set to open in August of 2010.

The new orphanage is under construction, and when it is opened it will house seventy orphans, and there will be guest accommodations for ten volunteers. While in Nepal, Rev. Friedrich helped to create a bridge between the Ama Ghar Orphanage and the Loving Arms Mission Orphanage. I invite all of you to make donations to both orphanages if you are able. They do incredible and important work that helps to create a better and more loving world. Here are their Web sites where you can find out more about them, the children, and to donate if you are so moved: and
The Rev. David Brown is a minister at The Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.