Author: Charlene M. Proctor, PhD
Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D
Today, Katherine J. Turcotte reviewer for Bookpleasures.com (Click Here to View Katherine J. Tucotte`s Reviews) is pleased to have as our guest, Charlene M. Proctor, PhD, author of the best-selling Let Your Goddess Grow: 7 Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking and The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential.
Thank you Dr. Proctor for taking the time out of your busy schedule for our interview. Your book, Let Your Goddess Grow: 7 Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking has been a huge success and is definitely a book women from all walks of life can relate to. I know that reading your book has changed my life!
Q: Other than uncertainty, what do you think makes people resistant to change?
A: The comfort factor and fear of responsibility for what we are capable of creating. Change is a natural concept. It’s a dynamic necessary for our own evolution. Without change, we can’t reach our potential. We don’t embrace life as an opportunity for growth. It is the evolutionary path of the soul, both individually and as a group that allows us to more fully experience conscious co-creation. That means taking the attitude that we are God. That is our essential substance, our natural state. On any given day, it’s difficult to see the broad picture, especially when we get comfortable with the path we are on, whether that is a relationship, job, or people in our lives.
In terms of fear of responsibility, we sometimes become fearful of how powerful and beatific we really are, so we stay within safe boundaries. It’s tough to “do the work” as the self-help experts say, and in order to change we often need to experience deep emotions. Those emotions challenge us to love more, forgive, and accept ourselves as spiritual creations and can be painful, but at the same time, liberate us from our humanness and move us into a state of being.
Q: Do you feel our ability to survive a serious setback, e.g., life changing illness, depends strongly upon how we deal with change in our lives on a daily basis?
A: Change challenges us to new levels of intellectual and emotional heights – only accelerated by more resiliencies. But being resilient doesn’t mean we harden ourselves and are bitter because we feel something is going to be taken away. We can only strengthen our resolve to evolve with challenges we’ve scripted out for our own soul development. There’s a fundamental, universal cooperation with all life forms in moving forward. We’re never going to stagnate, reach the end, or even reach the end of our ropes – there is no such thing as the end of an infinite and endless cosmos.
So, when we perceive setbacks as opportunities to propel us collectively, whether they are physical or emotional, and move the past gently aside, learning to love life in the present, then time becomes meaningless. All that matters is now. People who understand this live joyfully and prove to be hugely inspiring to others because they know, at an intuitive level, that change is necessary for the soul’s survival in a constantly changing universe.
Q: How can we bring the true spirit of self into our lives?
A: The authentic self is the true self, which is spirit. It is the indivisible you, an individual spark of divine power. All the great masters taught this, and fortunately it is an old Gnostic concept currently in revival. We are beginning to believe we are embodied spirit and treat this existence as sacred and beloved as it is, even though it is temporal. To bring spirit into your life means that you translate the Divine through you. Not just once in awhile, but everyday and always. Your diversity and unique path you have scripted is simply your own flavorful rendition of the Divine. No matter how you slice it, it is impossible to not translate God through you, unless you are so shut down that the ego has convinced you that you are separate from God. There is no separated-ness. That is why when we affirm we are spirit, or the I AM, we are reconnecting and remembering our source. It is our natural state of being. You don’t need to bring anything to invite spirit or the All into you, it’s already there, present, and waiting your realization.
Q: How do we find balance between “being” and “becoming?”
A: When we realize life is an undulating polarity between matter-earth-emotion, (mother earth) which is represented by this experience we seem to be having, and our spiritual infrastructure, or the static intelligence that composes the infinite (the father) we are able to move between the two concepts. If you arrive at a state of knowing you have a foothold in both realities, then life becomes all about demonstrating that which is within you. You view your body and your situation as a vehicle for spirit to demonstrate its wonder. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to direct that energy once we get here. The sooner we accept that we are both matter and spirit, and that our real occupation is to intuitively allow our source energy to manifest in ways we can experience our own thoughts, and then we’ve reached a state of awareness where we encompass both principles.
Q: Can you explain what is meant by “spirit remains constant?”
A: Spirit is the eternal, infinite and endless substance that is All. It is static and many wisdom traditions assign male imagery to this. Father God usually represents the infrastructure by which we navigate. Mother imagery is akin to the journey of the soul, of matter, Mother Earth, the psyche. She is the individualized soul, our temporary existence. The female energy gives birth to experience; otherwise, all there is is static intelligence. The process of being “She” makes it possible for the experience of intelligence. Hence, the birthing metaphor.
Without this soul journey, meaning the life you are living, there can be no true understanding of what spirit has created. For example, love has certain meaning as an idea (love in mind) but another as love in action (emotion or experience). Your participation in love allows a fuller, more robust understanding of what love is. That is why in many wisdom traditions the concept of the feminine or God the Mother is so sacred. She represents the undulating, free choice, unfettered, and sometime chaotic experience of intelligence and He represents the static and constant infrastructure that we operate under. He is subject, She is object. He is the blueprint, and She is the embodiment of intelligence, or action. And by the way, that is why the idea of female is so powerful. She gives birth to him. If women identified with these concepts more often, there would be no lack of female empowerment.
Q: Can you define consciousness and unconsciousness of spirit?
A: Consciousness is simply our complete identity within the unity of the whole. It is our knowing of that which is. In our conscious state we are bearing witness to our experience. The unconscious state is that which is not. The unconscious state does not bear witness to any experience, it is the void. Since our universe is a polarity, and we perceive it as having dual capabilities (male – female, dark – light, etc.) we are actually that which is and is not – because the totality of All must include both.
Q: You mention connecting to or identifying to a particular archetype – who is the archetype you feel most connected to?
A: Jean Shinoda Bolen did a lot of work with Goddess archetypes as images that we identify with that might give us a sense of belonging to a group of ideas. For example, Artemis was a Greek goddess of the hunt who favored nature and lived in the woods. Her companions were animals and nymphs. She was depicted in mythology as free-spirited, autonomous, yet compassionate and unconstrained by husband or hearth. She personified the independent, feminine spirit that enables a woman to seek her goals on a terrain of her own choosing. When we embrace Artemis as an archetype, we realize both masculine and feminine qualities to achieve inner balance, which is the true meaning of wholeness. Artemis maintains balance with both intellectual and emotional aspects in order to reciprocate with the natural world. You can look up her story on Goddess 101 of our website.
Although I can’t say I run around the house shooting my two teenage boys and beloved husband of 24 years with a bow and arrow, I know there is a little Artemis in me. At times, I do identify with certain aspects of that archetype, such as being a wildly, independent woman who rejects certain elements of the status quo. I recognize her in me; however, I embody a great deal of Kuan Yin and Sarasvati, both goddess archetypes who exemplify compassion and wisdom.
Q: What steps can we follow to take control our destiny?
A: Release old emotions that no longer serve your higher self. Let go of anger, resentment, fear, who said what to whom at Christmas dinner ten years ago. Think in the present moment, in the big eternal moment of now, and affirm the Divine within you. When you affirm your “I AM” presence, you are identifying with the ultimate idea of creation. That alone is such a powerful exercise. When many people revisit the I AM though prayer, meditation, or just walking on the beach, there is such a complete and utter sense of love that fills you, it is overwhelming. This has happened to me so many times in my life, it reminds me of how ridiculous it is when we do not remember who we are and instead favor clinging to ideas that prevent our expression of our highest vibrations, such as love, service to humanity, and joy. If you want to control your destiny, think about those things more often and forget about what Aunt Edna, your sister, or your in-laws did, said, bought you, or didn’t buy you long ago.
Q: What are some of the barriers that come between us and our image of self? How can we move beyond them?
A: We listen to too much T.V. news. Things are not as bad as the media would like us to believe. Stop seeking comfort in the thought that everyone is being punished, political leadership is out of control, or someone will blow up the world any minute. Instead, go outside and look at the sky. It’s wondrous. Notice what’s important.
Q: Your say we need to be “in love” with ourselves. Why is that statement not narcissist?
A: When you release the logical mind and gravitate over to the intuitive, you feel God present. Spirit chats to you like a summer breeze. There is always guidance from beyond, and also from your higher self. St. Germain, and many other ascended masters, said that the higher self was the intermediary between you (the human) and the source, or the ultimate intelligence. When you accept you are all one, big package consisting of your human self, your higher self, and the Divine, there isn’t anything left to love outside of you. You are the All. There isn’t anything else. When you love your “self” you are loving what is, which is God. You are loving the composition, not the ego or personality which are ideas that lead us to believe we are separate. Nothing is separate from God. Jesus said, “The way to the Father is through me.” What he meant was we are THAT, which is God, and by loving each other, or by loving the “Christ in you” (the concept of embodied spirit, or the Christed self) we are actually affirming our own divinity. We discover we are in love with our “self” which is God. That is where your potential lives. There’s nothing egotistical about loving God.
Q: Why do so many people feel deprived by their circumstances? How can we turn those negative circumstances into stepping stones?
A: Deprivation, despair, lack are all human ideas, not divine ideas. We forget we are unrestrained, divine substance. When we identify with limitlessness, we begin to demonstrate lives filled with unlimited opportunities. Life is a manifestation of what’s in our heads. The reason there is so much unhappiness, despair, and war is because humanity has held a mental equivalent of these thoughts for a long time and when we come back to temporarily visit, we buy back into it. The only way to undo what we’ve done is to keep teaching ourselves to unseat old assumptions about lack, poverty, and all the other negative ideas that hold us behind from realizing our gifts. Each day is new, no matter how you slice it. We’ve got to get up, swing our legs over the side of the futon, and arise knowing each day is an opportunity for growth.
Q: What three things can be a foundation for disappointment, depression, and illness?
A: Fear of failure and the mental equivalent of having boundaries are two reasons for demonstrating undesirable circumstances. And being homesick for the other side (heaven). I think subconsciously we miss being around unconditional love. We ache for it. Much of our time is spent searching for ways to recapture that very feeling and many people spend their entire lives looking for someone or something to fill them up with the love of the Divine. If they looked within, they would save a great deal of time in this department.
Q: How do old assumptions block or limit our abundance? We tend to associate money with abundance. Why is this not true? Should money be viewed as the effect or cause of great abundance?
A: If we don’t believe there will ever be enough for everyone, or that someone will lack as a consequence of another person getting ahead financially, then we really don’t believe in an abundant universe. This kind of thinking negates the very thing we want, and that is to demonstrate prosperity in relationships, happy circumstances, many friends, opportunities, and creativity. Also, the earth plane is slow. Everyone in metaphysics theorizes it takes longer to demonstrate the power of the mind on earth. It’s a learned skill. I think we give up too easily when we want to demonstrate good health and wealth. Remember, money is an effect, not the cause of abundance. Look to the cause and correct the faulty thinking first, then you can invite money along for the ride.
Q: What are the five negative traps that hinder us in our search for attaining prosperity?
A: Enroll in Faulty Thinking 101: We are addicted to negativity and believe in it. We also think there is something wrong with abundance and feel guilty when we do have a prosperous life because we think others are lacking because of it. Another blockage to abundance thinking is our attitude toward the environment. We’re convinced we don’t have enough resources to go around. The problem is not what’s on the planet – it’s our inefficient ways we use what’s here. We also don’t want more responsibility – saying that we are truly in charge of our abundance. It’s easier to blame the boss, the weather, or the person next door. And finally, we have old programming on the concept of deserving. These are early messages we receive as children or impressionable adults that tell us money is evil, bad, or rich people are mean. When we accept these mental programs and they become part of our belief system, we can’t be abundant.
Q: How does owning up to our mistakes and failures make us more prosperous?
A: It is only the recognition and correction of faulty thinking that embarks us on a journey to prosperity. Exchange self-pity and cynicism for expansion, creativity for an opportunity to serve humanity. Those ideas will fill you with possibility and delight.
Q: Why do clarity and interest play such a vital part in our goal of reaching abundance?
A: Some of the greatest prosperity teachers, such as Emmet Fox and John Randolph Price taught that perseverance was a genuine quality in reaching abundance. Also, clarity and interest. You have to visualize what you want with clarity and feel it with emotion and passion. You must know the joy of having what you desire in your life before you see it. It’s like the dinner table prayer-of-thankfulness for what you are about to receive. You acknowledge the meal is there, you can already taste it, and you thank in advance because you know it’s coming down the hatch and it’s going to be wonderful. We get too hung up on the process and don’t express enough gratitude for what we know is divinely ours. If we thanked more frequently before receiving our goodness, the world would appear more abundant to us.
Q: Why is gratitude so important to generating a prosperous life?
A: Other than rejoicing and celebrating what you already have for the fun of it, it is the final step when following the laws of generating prosperity. If you really believe you can manifest something from thought, then you have to recognize you are already in receipt of it before you see it. Giving thanks for what you receive, or about to receive, seals the deal.
Q: What part do affirmations play in our quest for abundance?
A: When we affirm the I AM presence within, we are remembering our God-self. Ernest Holmes talked about affirmations in The Science of the Mind. Affirming the I AM presence within is the highest vibration we can generate. All an affirmation does is declare to the universe what you perceive is already real and present in your life. You are affirming that you are whatever it is you want to be real. So, if you want to be prosperous, you need to affirm that you already are, that you are open to an inexhaustible supply, and that you believe abundance is your natural state. Like attracts like, so be in your mind and heart what you most desire and you will become it.
Q: What two words are most damaging to our mind set?
A: “Hate” and “Try.” Hate for obvious reasons. And the word “try” implies that you really don’t believe you can have it, do it, or succeed because it is in the future tense. The word “try” always lets you off the hook. Strike “try” from your vocabulary. Either do something or don’t, but never try. Saying “I’ll try” implies you won’t succeed.
Q: Why is it important for women to identify with both the feminine and the masculine aspect of God?
A: Women have a tough time seeing themselves in the face of the Divine because God (in the western tradition) is “he.” We have still a patriarchal society, very male-dominant, and practice male-oriented language. Women don’t as easily accept that they are divine substance, because they have a more difficult time identifying with an image of God. There is no woman-Christ. When women realize that both male and female are illustrations of the Divine within, they will have an easier time stepping into the true and empowered vision of who they are.
Q: Gender polarity is so important is establishing balance in our world, why is this so?
A: With everything, there is an opposite and equally important energy, because that is what defines a particular concept. At this time in our evolution, we have love and hate because not only do we have a mental equivalent for hate, but we have to realize, and grow into love by knowing what “not love” is. I think we have a long way to go, evolutionary speaking, before we eliminate the need for duality. It seems to be an earth principle, perhaps not a cosmic one, because at the most abstract level there is no duality. Duality is an illusion but it is teaching us something at this time in our self-development.
Q: Why is present moment awareness so vital to our growth as women?
A: When we listen to old programming in our minds, leftover from old world cultural values, family ideology that doesn’t enhance our own capabilities, or ingrained messages such as not having the power to manifest the lives we dream about, we are giving up our power to old ideas that no longer matter. This prevents us from exploring a robust experience today. We must constantly move the mind to the present moment, doing what matters here and now, and not dredge up old emotions and thoughts that do nothing but hold us behind. Since women are great complexity managers, we tend to manage far too many details anyway – for our families, relationships, communities, and our own daily routines. We’ve got to have the discipline to let go more often, stop resenting the past, and move forward. It’s the only way to allow space for more personal growth. Weed – and plow yourself into fresh, fragrant soil more often. You’ll be surprised and enchanted at what can grow.
Q: What role has religious dogma played, in terms of stunting our belief in the female aspect of God?
A: Myths built into organized religion that describe women as sinful, blemished, half of a person, less important than a man, are all stories that stunt a woman’s confidence. Everyone is whole unto themselves. When we accept outdated mental programs, and begin to demonstrate our life experience based upon damaging ideas, we have given them power. Then we’re setting ourselves up for a very disappointing, non-empowering experience. God the Mother, the Goddess, the Shakti, or the Divine Feminine is part of every man and woman. When we deny the female aspect of God, we are denying part of creation. Not a good thing.
Q: What two things hold us back from empowerment?
A: Letting go of the fear of being divine and what we might accomplish if that were practiced on a daily basis. And the belief that we are not the unlimited substance that pervades the universe. Essentially, for every man or woman, this about sums it up.
Q: Why was Paganism eradicated, and why is there such a fear of the occult?
A: Paganism and nature religion encompassed many disciplines and practices. People used nature as a metaphor for spirit. A Pagan, in some ways, was defined as a “country dweller” - someone who worshipped God/Goddess by connecting to the energies and sacredness of nature. Over the course of centuries, Paganism had various flavors. Some incorporated more mystical philosophies or rituals depending upon the geographical area and time in history. In terms of Christianity, Paganism was slowly disassembled in favor of the new religion, but many Pagan traditions, holiday, and rituals were assimilated. We’re actually celebrating many of the same holidays (holy days) today.
Long ago, a very bad public relations job was launched in order to unite people under the new religion. When fear was spread about mystics, the intelligentsia, intuition, women’s sexual rites, and feminine healing practices, we had folks who were interested in portraying those things as devilish, bad, or sacrilegious. Women’s property ownership, community validation, and the power and influence women had as community leaders were destroyed. There was a terrible female body count unlike any other time is history. We don’t talk enough about this in history class. School textbooks have eliminated the reasons why this happened because it has to do with one religion unseating another, sex, and politics. There is so much ignorance and intolerance still over these matters, it is astounding.
For everyone, please read about the history of your religion and learn how it commenced. Do some research about why some stories were recorded, why others were not, and how influences in past culture and politics influenced the language and values evident in such stories. Doing this would eradicate your fear of witches, the occult, and being tempted by devils, sin, and other less desirable imagery that has been a ridiculous excuse to burn libraries, assume control of other people’s property, and contain the female spirit. A good history lesson would open your mind to new possibilities. Certainly, it would make you stop worrying about curses, witchcraft, horrific rituals, and being possessed by Satan. Good heavens, this is the press release sent out so long ago, you’d think by now we would have had a good laugh over it and move on to other, more important ways to love one another.
Q: How has The Goddess Network enriched your own life?
A: Being a channel for wisdom in today’s world requires a great deal of technology and assistance in order to reach the hearts and soul of many people. I am astounded by the letters, phone calls, and thankfulness I receive from people who just want to believe in themselves once again. I enjoy finding new ways to inspire them, whether it is through the website, writing books, or doing audio CD’s. Every day seems to be a new adventure and I just strap on my wings and go wherever I am needed. It’s an exercise in trust. Each of us is enough to make a difference in the world at any given time.
Q: What resources are available to women at www.thegoddessnetwork.net?
A: Our website is a place where women can connect on-line and learn more about personal growth, the Goddess, spirituality, living a balanced life, and positive thinking. There is a newsletter called Divine Woman that includes many woman-affirming events around the nation. We also have some fun programs too, like Soul Cards. Positive energy has many forms and often sending a good thought to someone can turn the day around and get them to focus on the Divine within. Also, you can participate in The Empowerment Show beginning July of 2006. It’s an on-line, multi-media lecture series you can take from your own home via computer and telephone. I’m bringing the message out in any way possible. The website is a great place to see what’s happening.
Q: Why shouldn’t we claim our personality or physical identity as our true self?
A: Because the ego-self is concerned with separated-ness. We are born into the illusion that we are all separate which is not true at the fundamental level. When we subscribe to that idea, and don’t buy into the unity that is everyone’s birthright, then life becomes a series of exercises meant to measure your importance, money, career, personal appearance against everyone else. We spend too much time championing our own individual causes and comparing our philosophies, success, and religions and fret over who is right, not doing it right, who’s on the right side of God. It’s absurd, and the only reason we do it is because we don’t truly accept the unity that binds us. Once we accept that simple idea, we won’t be that concerned with how we look, who has the bigger house and car, and keeping up with the neighbors.
Q: How can we make ourselves more receptive to receiving comfort from men? How can we become more open about what we need from the men in our lives?
A: Women still need a great deal of practice in using their voices. Vocalizing an intention and desire helps bring it out of our inner space into reality. Over the centuries, influences from church politics, dogma, cultural values have squashed the female voice. The idea of the Sacred Feminine was reformatted to such a degree that women could not identify with themselves as an image of divinity. Consequently, there’s been a lot of cultural conditioning involved with finding a nice, safe, quiet, and proper place for the female voice.
Women are still working on how to express themselves in the world community. Look at how female heads of state, leaders of major corporations, and community leaders are beginning to look at the feminine value set that embraces decentralized and rotating leadership and champions the practice of compassion and nurturing. Women put much more time into maintaining effective communication. They believe they are the center of a web, like Spider Woman of the Native America tradition. Men can vocalize these concepts but where they fall short is in the practice. And they don’t see them as strengths. Men tend to associate these values with weakness, under achievement, and opt instead for hierarchical control and win-lose scenarios. Life is not a zero-sum game, and women who are in leadership positions, whether on the home front or in the community are beginning to open their voices and lead like women, not men. It’s a capability, not a liability.
In terms of making ourselves more receptive to comfort, or to anything else we might desire, we need to first learn to ask, open our mouths, and articulate what we want with strength and dignity. We have to risk being rejected. Once anyone releases the fear of rejection, whether it is about a difference of opinion or getting a hug, then we vibrate at a much higher frequency with the thing we want. We are constantly attracting that which we hold in the mind and practice in our own voice. To be loved, be loving, and hold loving thoughts. To be abundant, think about success and be success. To be desirable, know that you are the Goddess and God within, and you will be so magnetic, you will be overwhelmed with the unlimited opportunity and inspiration that can craft your life from a mundane, ordinary experience into one of joy and creative possibility.
© Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. 2006. All rights reserved.