Saturday, May 21, 2016

We believe in the power of commitment...

We believe in the power of commitment. There is something sacred about going “all in” with another. You declare ahead of time that whatever pain or discomfort comes up for you in your relationship — and it will — you will face and heal within the relationship, rather than running from it. 

When we jump from one relationship to the next, we take the same “hot button” issues with us to the next person, and then are surprised when the same problems keep happening.

Flora just performed her first “covenant marriage,” in which the marrying couple agrees to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept more limited grounds for divorce. 

Why would people voluntarily limit the ways they could legally terminate their marriage? 

To consciously deepen their commitment, which increases their opportunities for healing and growth.

In the  ceremony, these lovely words preceded the vows:“Because you will be safe in marriage, you can risk:  because you have been promised a future, you can take extraordinary chances. Because you know you are loved, you can step beyond your fears; because you have been chosen, you can transcend your insecurities. You can make mistakes, knowing the other will be there to catch you. And because mistakes and risks are the very essence of change, of expansion, in marriage you will expand to your fullest capacity.

And the power of commitment is of course not limited to our human relationships.

Our assistant, Karen, and her husband Raymond, recently adopted a one year-old rescued dog they named Jake. Jake is a high-energy puppy that had been found wandering, underfed, un-neutered, and completely untrained. They reported it was like having a highly caffeinated toddler in the house. Even though they trained and worked with him daily, Karen was often driven to tears of frustration by Jake’s destructive, disruptive and disobedient behavior. They began to question if they would be able to rehabilitate this dog, and considered giving him back to the shelter. But they knew if they couldn’t work it out with Jake, it was unlikely that another person would be willing to try. After much talk, they committed to Jake, as solemnly as they had committed to each other. “Divorcing” Jake was no longer an option. Once they committed, the question shifted from, “Canwe do this?” to, “How will we do this?” And bit by bit, over the months they figured it out. Although still a naturally high-energy dog, Jake is happy, appropriately playful, and yes, (mostly) obedient. Karen and Raymond can’t imagine life without him.

We invite you to take a moment now and look into your own life. Where would the power of committing — of going “all in” and not giving yourself any back door escape — give you the power to move forward where you’ve been indecisive and splitting your focus and creative energy? 

Commitment makes life both easier and harder. Easier, because your path becomes clear; you do what needs to be done to honor the commitment. And harder, because you may be scared or have other uncomfortable emotions or maybe not even know how just yet. But that’s where the richness and fullness of life happens.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness . . . Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  Begin it now.” — William Hutchison Murray

We would change that last line to, “Commit to it now.” And so be it. post republished by permission, Flora Schule

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Love Is My Religion's podcasts

There seems to be a problem accessing Love Is My Religion's podcasts from iTunes. Thanks for the emails and calls outs pointing to this issue. I've tested and re-tested the podcasts' downloadability (not a real word) from

Why listen?
Just listening to a podcast about love supports you in having more loving thoughts. The more loving thoughts you have, the more likely you are to take loving actions. The end result:  more love for everybody.

So, to get your podcasts, please go here:

In love and peace,
Raymond Ussery 
Executive Director, Love Is My Religion 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Love Is My Religion - Origin Story

Everyone loves a good origin story. 

This is Live Is My Religion's first podcast and origin story. Please download our podcast and share it if you are so moved.

My hope is that by listening to this podcast you get a feel for how Love Is My Religion came to be, and how you can participate in this inclusive movement.

Wishing you love and peace,

Raymond Ussery,
Executive Director,
Love Is My Religion

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Do You Live Love?

            Love is my religion – at least that's the name of this blog.  Many religions, including the one I was raised in but no longer practice, talk a lot about love.  Jesus, either the historical figure or the deity, whichever you prefer, had many profound things to say about love.  
The one that always comes to my mind is his classic “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

            What does it mean to love?  We use that word a lot in our society, both flippantly and seriously.  When we talk about loving our family or our partner or our sports team, we know exactly what we mean.  It's easy to think of concrete ways to demonstrate our love in those relationships.  But what about everyone else?  The world would be a far less inviting place if we only stuck to our clan, so how do we show love to those outside of our immediate circle?

            When I was growing up in the church, “Love your neighbor as yourself” was drilled into my head.  I always assumed that it meant something to the effect of “BE GOOD TO EVERYONE – ALL THE TIME!!!”  

We were always told that loving “other people” was really important, but they never really gave us any specifics on how to go about doing that.  The ways we can and do love the important people in our life are often obvious.  How do you show love to someone you barely know? 

            While I recognize that there's more than one “right” answer to this question, for me the easiest answer is to use the power of words.  And the most common place I apply this is at work.  I’m a teacher in a special classroom for teenagers who’ve survived extreme trauma.  In addition to their trauma, most of my students haven't attended school in many years and are way behind peers their age.  Many of my students did not have a positive relationship with school when they did attend.  Occasionally, I even get teenagers who don't know how to read or write.

            My primary job is to teach, but it's also important that I support my students from an emotional and mental health perspective as well.  Often, that means using schoolwork to distract them from their bigger life problems.  Other times it means letting them draw or color, because that's all they're capable of doing on a particular day.  And sometimes it means pushing them hard so that they can gain confidence as they progress and achieve their goals.  But most importantly, it means showing them that they are loved.

            A lot of my students think of themselves as screw-ups or believe that they're destined for a life of menial labor.  They, like a lot of adults, have preconceived notions about the limits of what they can and can't do.  Now that they're forced to go to school again, they have to face their self-imposed limitations, and the collision between what they are expected to do in school and what they believe they cannot do is intense.  Needless to say, I spend a lot of time with upset and angry teenagers who feel like they're failing at life.

            People talk a lot about the three magic words “I love you," but in my line of work I've found there to be only two magic words: “good job.”  It seems so overly simple, but the effect these words have had on my students has been profound.  Most of these kids have never had positive encouragement in school before, let alone in life.  Often, the first few times they hear me say "good job," they’ll look up at me from their desk with a look of bewilderment, like maybe I made a mistake.  With a little more repetition, they get used to hearing me say it and they stop doubting my sincerity.  Then they reach my favorite phase, where they actually start to believe it themselves, and no matter how cool they try to seem, their new confidence and pride is obvious.

            When I realized the effect those two magic words were having, I started trying to say them more and more often.  I tried to end almost any interaction with a student, no matter how small, with those words...  

              I figured that at some point my students would get tired of hearing it, or it would get old, or that they would catch on – but get this, that still hasn't happened yet.  Those words never seem to lose their ability to inspire, and the kids never get tired of hearing them.  And it isn’t just those two magic words, any positive feedback or compliment has the power to help change a student’s perspective. 

            I started thinking about the other people in my life, especially people my age or older, and I started trying to give out more direct, specific compliments to them as well.  If I thought a co-worker did an excellent job handling an incident with a youth, I made sure to tell them, and include the details.  If I was on the phone with a customer service representative who helped me make sense of a complicated bill, I made sure to thank them for explaining things in a clear and concise manner.  Basically, everywhere you look you can find people you may or may not know doing a good job at something.  And while adults don't wear their emotions on their sleeves in quite the same way that children and teenagers do, they are not immune to the power of a simple, well-delivered "good job."

            I do believe that being loved changes people.  It doesn't matter where that love comes from – parental love, friend love, romantic love, etc., – all people thrive on love.  The great religions of the world don't have a monopoly on loving others.  It's something we can all do, in ways large and small.  And sometimes, those small ways add up.

— written and shared by Carli Newsum

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"The Rich Soil of Your Being"

The deeply rich and nourishing soil of your being is always available to you. It IS you. Whether you dig deep or slightly scratch the surface it is there for you. It has been there since before you can remember and it will be there when you no longer do. 

You can relax into it, it is your very own skin, and it’s your heartbeat, the growth of your hair and the movement of your body. It is intimately woven into the very fabric of your being. Honor the Ebb and the Flow of your being. You are nature. 

There will be periods of intense focus and incredible acceleration, blooming and producing and creating and there will also be periods of quiet, introspection and nourishment, tapping into the feeling of being, existing for no reason at all. There will also be everything in between. Miracles abound. 

You are always connected, always in alignment, always tapped in. There is nothing you can do to get out of what you are, no action, no reaction; no experience can take you away from YOU

You may experience momentary confusions, this is ok and it doesn’t mean you are lost. The confusions are also a part of your Rich Soil, like fertilizer it directs the deeper growth that is on its way. 

You do not even have to trust it. It IS, always has been and always will be here for you.

The Ebb will always catch you. Every single time. 

The Rich Soil of Your Being is the only answer to every question you have ever wanted an answer to. It is the deep well of unlimited potential, the fertile ground of possibility. Some call it Intuition, some call it Source, some call it God, and some call it many different things. It is what you are, always and when you no longer doubt you will sit in the deep Rich Soil of your being, dirty, open, happy, fulfilled, complete and you will use the soil to enrich the life you see unfolding before you and it will be magical.

It already IS.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Thank you,” to the ‪#‎Loveismyreligion‬

A big, “Thank you,” to the ‪#‎Loveismyreligion‬ community.

This is the second time this week that someone has alerted me to a sign of love, out in the world. Thanks, Meredith for sending this to me.

 To my friends and family who don’t believe in God, and you’re seeing this billboard and feeling excluded. (or you’re seeing messages on #Loveismyreligion and you’re feeling excluded.


You’re not left out.

If there is a God, God would love you, even if don’t believe in God. And God is NOT in the punishment or rejection business. God loves everyone no matter what.

Could God reject any part of God’s self?

I invite you to accept the bill board with a cognitive switheroo’ing.

“God is Love,” translates to, “Love is Love!”