When offering our clients a gift of our making, whether paid or free, our goals are often framed in terms of “engagement” and “return on investment.” Given such parameters, it’s often easy to think of the marketing around that offer from the old, projective “masculine” view of marketing. If a conscious, holistic entrepreneurial woman forgets the sacred, divine feminine role of reciprocity in a fair transaction, she may find her objectives falling short, and her vision obscured.
In the emergent, receptive “feminine” view of marketing, we need an understanding of the cycle of related reciprocity – and ways we can actively initiate and activate this cycle to increase prosperity and abundance. The Principle of Reciprocity allows us to see giving to others as a gift we give ourselves.
One of the best discussions of reciprocity related to women, work. and money I’ve ever encountered is in a 1980s essay from the book Woman, Earth, and Spirit, by Helen Luke. She describes the feminine aspect of the flow of money as “free giving and free taking” in equal proportions. She writes: “In every money exchange, we both earn and pay, pay and earn, then our earning and paying become the free giving and free taking whereby whereby money enters the ‘temple’ once more…in the pure gold of the human heart.”
Heart-centered business leaders know that in order to give and take freely, ulterior motives and manipulation have no place in our exchange with our clients. We know to communicate authentically and honestly from our core essence and values. We know we must come from a sincere place of service, and offer an experience of transformation. We know that the body is a metaphor for the ‘temple’ of yore, and that the natural relationship model at the cellular level is one of reciprocal exchange. We draw our strength from this knowing – or, as the goddess Moneta would remind us, this re-membering.
Once we remember the feminine Principle of Reciprocity, we must determine how best to initiate and continue to activate our intention to increase the level at which we receive. The most direct way to engage these energies of reciprocity is to engage in Conscious Acts of Releasing.
The act of releasing makes new room to grow. Think of removing clutter from one’s house, money clutter from one’s financial life, or relationship clutter. Where there is clutter, there is inequity in the cycle of give and take. The removal of clutter in our mundane world frees up a lot of energy, increases flow and reciprocity, and creates space for the growth we desire to occur.
To increase abundance sustainably, it helps to re-member that when we release something not in alignment with our soul’s purpose, it also clears space for us to create abundance in our lives in the forms of increased happiness, love and joy. When we
re-member that money is a symbol for the divine flow of these qualities in our
lives, it becomes possible to increase our potential for manifestation by releasing those things we cling to not in service to our potentiality. When we re-member that what we focus on, grows, we release the outmoded, survival level ideas about denial and self-sacrifice as a source of strength we carry from the old paradigm, and instead receive permission from ourselves to answer our heart’s calling.
In the book Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests human be-ings release three things in order to follow a path of love and compassion, peace and joy: cravings, anger, and suffering. These guidelines may provide useful ways for individuals to identify their readiness to release those things which no longer serve their vision for the future.
1. Release cravings – what do you crave to fill an area of lack in your life?
Do you crave food? Alcohol? Things? We are told to “Look into the nature of what you think will bring you happiness and see if it is…causing you love to suffer.” Instead, we’re encouraged to move attention to the present moment and “the wonders of life available right now.” Paying attention to our physical existence allows us to fully experience the bounty life has to offer.
2. Release anger – What makes you angry?
Is it a situation? An inconsiderate boss or partner? The need to release a vengeance or vendetta? Punishing the other person usually just makes the situation worse. Instead, why not follow the advice of The Buddha and “send her a gift. Instead of punishing the person, offer him exactly what he needs. The practice of giving can bring you to the shore of well-being rather quickly.” Shifting from judgment to discernment enables us to be of service to the other person, instead of forcing them into a position of servitude.
3. Release suffering – instead, seek understanding.
A simple exercise to increase understanding is the antidote to suffering. “Focus your concentrated attention on one object, look deeply into it, and you’ll have insight and understanding. When you offer others understanding, they will stop suffering right away.” When we go deeply into our own truth, we are able to truly be of service to others and have something of inherent value to offer.