<![CDATA[The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County - Ava's Blog]]>Fri, 13 Jan 2017 23:51:15 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Before and After Follow Each Other]]>Mon, 16 Mar 2015 03:52:00 GMThttp://goddesstempleoc.org/avas-blog/march-15th-2015“BEFORE and AFTER FOLLOW EACH OTHER…”
by Ava
February 7, 2015

Last week I gave a talk at a local university to the “Peace Week” conference attendees. Afterwards, a few came up to compliment me, “Great talk, brilliant!” For a millisecond my human ego was puffed up … then I remembered the truth.

The Tao Te Ching says it: “before and after follow each other …” (2:1-3) …which means that nothing happens in isolation; nothing occurs independent of the context of continuous Life, the Source of which is continuously, without fail, supporting us.  Everything is always, at the deepest level, touching everything else, affecting everything else, arising or subsiding within the shared web of all other events and states of consciousness.  The seemingly independent events of our lives continue to unfold even as we remain always held in the loving arms of Source, The Great Mother.  

When I speak in Sunday Services on behalf of our Temple, it appears that I am the one initiating the concepts about which I speak, that I alone am responsible for the speaking, and that I alone should either take credit or blame for what is said, but the truth is actually much more interesting. Of course, we are each individually responsible for what we speak, however this is also true: when a leader speaks, she is actually simply expressing some aspect of group mind.   “Before and after” are “following” each other.

When speaking on behalf of a group, it appears that the leader is “leading” with her thoughts, and “convincing” the group which is listening, but the hidden truth is that it is often exactly the other way ‘round: the leader is simply the convenient channel the group has agreed upon--not consciously, but at a much deeper level—to express its current state of mind, or … and this is important: where the group knows it now wants to go. The “leader” is the one who is connected to the spirit of the group mind which has already decided upon, at a very profound, unspoken level, the particular state of consciousness to which it now chooses to evolve —or devolve, as sometimes happens. The group is simply allowing that individual called “leader” to serve the group by bringing to light whatever its choices are. This proves it: individuals will not remain part of a group if the “leader” does not more or less consistently and accurately continue to express their beliefs. We have all left groups because we decided we didn’t like what was being promoted. So who is leading who? A “leader” with no group is just a lone nutjob on a street corner yelling at the air.

On the one hand, this is bad news for our egos because as an individual we can never really take “full credit” for anything.  On the other hand, this is good news because we realize we can relax. When we remember that “before and after follow each other,” that nothing can happen outside the context of the Web of Life, the tremendous burden of responsibility many of us feel for “getting it all done” suddenly is considerably lightened. We remember that we alone are never responsible for making it all happen. From rushing around frantically trying to accomplish it all, we can stop, lift our heads up, take a moment to breathe and look around and see that …omigoddess, how wonderful! … All is already unfolding within the supportive arms of The Loving Mother. 

“What!?” some may say …. “There have been plenty of times in my life when terrible stuff happened and I was not supported by any ‘loving arms’!” Yes, of course, the wisdom that “all is happening in a context of supportive Life” does not mean that we never temporarily “fail.” A good mother watching her baby try to walk doesn’t rush to prevent the stumbling and falling. The falls happen, but Mother is attending, supporting, always there, always right behind baby. She will permit baby to fall so the kid can learn to walk, but Mom won’t ever let anything really bad happen.

In the same way, for our own learning, Source lets us fall in various ways in various lifetimes, but in the end, nothing really bad can happen to us. Our Being is eternal; “… fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it… ”  In that eternal sense, nothing can ever really hurt us.   

If you belong to a group, the leader of which is promoting principles with which you disagree, it may be your responsibility to speak up. It may very well be that the group mind secretly wishes to evolve and needs a new speaker –maybe you!--to bring that to light. I know my own mind and speaking has evolved, and continues to do grow and become more refined because of what individual members take time to share with me, quietly in personal meetings or e-mails.  Thank you, everyone.   

   “Before and after follow each other …” Nothing we think, feel, speak or do occurs in isolation. Everything takes place within the context of continuous Life, the Source of which is continuously, without fail, supporting us all. We can relax. We are all always held safe in the loving arms of The Great Mother.  Thank you, Mom.

<![CDATA["Fifty Shades of Emotional Dysfunction" ]]>Mon, 16 Mar 2015 03:50:13 GMThttp://goddesstempleoc.org/avas-blog/fifty-shades-of-emotional-dysfunction“FIFTY SHADES of EMOTIONAL DYSFUNCTION“
February 8, 2015
by Ava

The film “Fifty Shades of Grey” is opening shortly … along with plenty of hype. I read the book last year to see for myself what all the hype was about.  

Fifty Shades of Grey? Yes, “grey” indeed because of the fog of murky emotional crap being promoted to the public as “romance.”  More like “Fifty Shades of Pandering to All The Emotional Dysfunction We Can Milk in a Movie for the Masses.” But I guess that title was too long.

The book glamorizes and romanticizes something very painful and yet all too common in relationships today. An insecure woman is attracted to a cold, aloof, remote, emotionally unavailable and immature man who is sexually aroused by abusing and controlling her, but he –fantasy of all fantasies!—falls in love with her in spite of himself. “Yes, in spite of all that pain he is causing, he really does love me!”

Initially, of course, the woman “can’t help herself,” (“swept away!”) and, against her own better judgment, she “falls in love” with this bad boy (“boy” being the operative word for those of us who are paying attention).  He has the power over her. In the end, though, the woman, through her quirky and unconventional attractiveness (because that subtly manipulates the average woman into relating to the character better than someone stunningly beautiful---“Hey, I could be that woman!” ---sneaky!), combined with her deep, powerful, true love, conquers him … and changes him for the better.  It is revealed to us that, yes, ultimately, she has the power. What woman doesn’t want to be told that! We knew it all along! Yay! The power of love! What a great fairy tale. What a fantasy. Wait a minute.  Aren’t we too grown up to fall for this?

Let’s use the hype over this film as an opportunity to inspire each other to educate people about the truth of this situation so we may all mature beyond this tired old paradigm of projection of power.  “Bad boys” and emotionally immature, unavailable and messed-up men are only attractive to women with resonating and matching emotional dysfunctions.  Women must not project our own original power onto men, then try to “buy it back” by “making him fall in love” with us. 

In reality, this never actually happens. Dysfunctional men are transformed, not through some kind of magical fairy tale romance, but only through their own individual personal work and effort to understand all they are keeping hidden from themselves about their human natures. When they honestly start looking into this, they have the chance to mature beyond their issues. This is when they begin to be wonderful partners. Just like women.

Certainly, the “love of a good woman” can indeed provide a safe and loving context for a man (or woman) to do this work, but the maturation, and the fulfilling love relationship that results, does not happen automatically simply as a result of one person loving another. That’s the fairy tale part. That only happens in the movies.  But a lot of women keep buying it because the idea of doing the hard work of maturing emotionally –or requiring another to step up and do this in order to be your partner---is just not as fun and easy as a fairy tale.

Neither women nor men, nor any other gender, for that matter, can afford to keep playing this game of “emotional hide and seek” with ourselves and each other.  For women who are attracted to bad boys (or girls) or to remote and cold men (or women), ask yourself: are you hoping to feel “the power” in transforming him, in magically getting him suddenly to realize how wonderful you truly are so he can finally have that warm, loving and fulfilled relationship you are just sure he has always secretly dreamed of … with you?

Women love to fix things, to rescue people. In choosing broken people, what broken past relationship are we desperately seeking to restore, to fix, to make whole?   Being attracted to bad boys or remote men is a big red flag for women … and an opportunity to see what is resonating inside ourselves with that dysfunction … and get past it. The bad boy, or the aloof man, can be kinda interesting in the beginning, but in the end, trust me (and I speak from personal experience!), he never contributes to a happy relationship. Unless you’re happy being miserable. 

It’s the princess who falls in love with and magically transforms the prince—at least in the fairy tale,  But we’re grown-ups. We are no longer princesses, but now queens, and queens keep their own power. Bad boys, keep walking. Remote, cold, aloof men? Go be by yourself for a while and figure yourself out. We’re too busy being happy and fulfilled with emotionally mature, joyful, honest partners to take time to save you. We are Queens and we are living life as it was always meant to be … not with perfect people, but with partners who want to keep living, loving and growing happily with us.