Why Journal as a Spiritual Practice?

Why would anyone keep a journal?

I use mine to whine, to rail, to complain… to call in change.
I use mine to chronicle, sort through, dig deep… to call in change.
I use mine to talk directly with Source, or to balance my inner selves… and call in change.
I use mine to workshop my relationships, grow my business, grow myself… and call in change.

Journalling is a text of the self. And the way I do it, it’s a text of the higher self. It’s about letting my lower self, my monkey mind, my cortisol laden brain clear out so my higher self and my purpose can get through.

Plain paper, an inspiring writing implement, the page, and you. What a beautiful way to start each day.

Start each day with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice.

Here is what I know is true:

I cannot lie on the page
I cannot commit to straight lines or neatness
I cannot always use words
I sometimes skip journaling as an avoidance tactic (see #1)
I sometimes journal when I have nothing to say just to clear the way
My journal is my refuge and solace

It’s the place where I write letters to my Mama, who isn’t here any longer. I write to my guardian angels and my divine feminine leaders. I write to my child and to my inner child. Blessings, prayers, poems, blurts, plans, welcome all.

I also write things I don’t intend others to see. My mother kept a journal where she “dumped” big blobs of worry. In everyday life, she was an optimistic person. I believe in my heart that she was able to see the bright side of things because she got them out of her psyche and onto the page.

I journal to cope. For decades, I’ve struggled with stress and seasonal blues. Journaling is my pathway through the dark months and back to light.

Due to the recent political climate, I have returned to my journal as a way to find a stillpoint in the chaos, a touchstone, a way to hear myself think and feel without the cacophany of monkey minds we encounter online and in life these days.

Taking this right action led to almost instantaneous infusions of energy and clarity. As my favorite poem by Max Ehrmann says, “Go out amidst the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Find the silence where your inner voice resides with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice

This kind of silence isn’t the one of “keeping quiet.” It’s the place where we find our voices and meet our truth. It’s a place that’s above or beyond the commonplace in resonance. It’s the sacred space where journalling takes place.

My favorite way to journal is to prepare the space. I clear the table, lay out my tools as though I’m creating a formal place setting for a special dinner with a lover. I light a favorite candle: orange or nutmeg with coffee beans or spice. Ground and center. I open my eyes and begin to write. Stream of consciousness, the words spill over the page in blobs and blurts. I write without lines and without limits. Whatever comes, comes.

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Sherri McLendon offers Journaling as a Sacred Practice, first Mondays monthly through June 2018.

I write in different ways at different times of day. At night, I may write about why I cannot sleep, why the owl hoots at the dog who barks back, or I may make a list of gratitudes. Gratitude journaling at night is a beautiful way to close a day.

So you’ll find different types of journals scattered all over my house dedicated to different types of journalling. For most meanderings, I recommend an 8 1/2 by 11 sketchbook journal with no lines. Should you need boundaries, you’ll be the person defining those. If you choose an artist’s pad with spiral binding, decorate the front cover with fabric or special paper and trim to make the journal special to you.

Over the next 12 months, a beautiful group of women and I will work with a range of journalling techniques, tactics and tools gleaned from more than two decades of writing my way back to center. Learn more by clicking on the Journaling tab or one of the links in this post.

It’s my honor and joy to share this work from a place of gratitude and pure love of Journaling as a Spiritual Practice. 

So be it.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence based marketing public relations pro, conscious business coach, and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International,http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

(C) 2017 BY SHERRI L. MCLENDON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINT WITH PERMISSION.

Energizing the 5th P of Marketing

Traditionally, marketing practice tells us there are four “P’s.”

It’s a pneumonic device for remembering four strategies: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.  The man who suggested Public relations is the fifth “P” is Philip Kotler, a marketing professor and author. In a widely-cited article in Harvard Business Review, he notes:

“Public relations takes longer to cultivate, but when energized, it can help pull the company into the market.”

There are two particular reasons Kotler’s statement catches my eye as I work on a clear definition of “what I do.” The first is the specific use of the word “energized.” Energized in this context suggests public relations practice approached with active power, strength, potency, spirit, efficacy, vibrancy, health, and animation, can shift marketing dynamics in significant ways.

The second, is his description of “pulling” the company into the market. This term denotes a receptive dynamic, as opposed to pushing, a projective dynamic. In the profession, this distinction is sometimes made as the difference between inbound and outbound marketing. In spiritual terms, this may be described as “yin,” or “feminine,” instead of “yang,” or “masculine.”

Thomas Harris, in his book, The Marketer’s Guide to Public Relations, calls the phenomenon MPR, or “Marketing Public Relations.”

Synonymous terminology within the public relations and the “spiritual” marketing movement to define the same “pulling” phenomenon may be found in the realm of “attraction marketing,” or “magnetism.” Today, most individuals in the Western world who would describe themselves as “spiritual,”  have seen or been exposted to “The Secret,” within the past decade, and understand the basic universal principles of attraction marketing from a broad spiritual perspective presented in that work.

What does your experience with Law of Attraction, manifestation or magnetism suggest to your approach to marketing your business as we begin 2017? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

An earlier version of this piece originally appeared on the Professional Moneta blog in 2011.

 

Feminine Creative Potential and the Magdalene Heart

Water and money share currency, and the ability to source abundance from the feminine, sourced from within, is a topic that spirit-rich women business leaders may consider deeply. The feminine archetype represented by Mary Magdalene is associated with the sex and money dynamic of the second chakra, comprising a part of women’s identity and relationship to money. 

In ancient Sumeria, a Priestess holds an urn, waist high, from which she pours the living water of Source. Where there is water, there is the currency of deep emotion and of love. The vessel she holds is symbolic of womb and vagina, and of the mythic feminine principal of Creation. Centuries pass. Another woman follows in the footsteps of the first and picks up the urn, assuming the ancient feminine identity associated with the struggle between good and evil. Her name is Mary Magdalene, and it is the symbolism associated with her person on which we now focus.

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A 15th c. Bourbonnaise statue bears a striking resemblance to the Magdalene statuette in the private collection of the author.

This inquiry began when, recently, a vintage chalk statue of Mary Magdalene found its way to me. At first, I wasn’t certain who was depicted in the simple form in modest attire, with downcast eyes, and a lidded jar. At once human and saint, and despite a “garbled Biblical account of a female follower of Christ,” the story “conceals a woman of immense importance,” according to Witcombe’s “The Shifting Identity of Mary Magdalene in the Renaissance,” a 1993 scholarly paper presented at a 16th century studies conference. To many, she is at once human and saint, priestess and goddess.

The urn, traditionally an ointment jar, may be depicted with the lid either closed or ajar. “Taking the lid off” is a particularly potent symbol-action, according to Witcombe. The equivalent in mythology is the opening a Pandora’s box of sexuality and feminine power in which the source of life is also the source of evil. This depiction is shared with ancient Goddess images of Isis, who hold a skull in one hand with a snake wrapped around their arm, and the telltale ointment jar in the other.

Certain of the Essene Gospels remark upon Mary Magdalene’s use of spikenard ointment in ritual and ceremony; there are more of these verses than the oft-cited Alabaster Jar anointing of Yeshua, and these bear closer scrutiny. In these, it is the Magdalene heart which emerges.

In Magdalene’s identity, women may choose to consider the import of the one who has travelled the singular path of the divine feminine – even when doing so seems counter to the society of the day. Should we choose to pick up the vessel in turn, we might ask:

  • What does it mean today to be a vessel for the energy of Source through our symbol-actions in the world?
  • What of our relationship with our bodies as indwelling temple spaces?
  • How does it feel to explore our sexuality or Creation power and its connection to money and abundant resources?
  • What do Magdalene and Yeshua model for us regarding conscious equal partnership with our beloveds, both within our hearts and in our relationships with our partners?

How do these influences positively or negatively impact our creation potential or ability to increase currency in the forms of energy or money in business and life?

Sherri L. McLendon is a conscious business coach, marketing public relations consultant, and content strategist with Professional Moneta International, http://www.womenspiritandmoney.biz.

 

 

In January, She Dreams: An Invitation to Wisdom

In Appalachia in winter, the days dawn with a bright yellow white light that glistens off the damp ground. Snowfall, an invitation to deep insight and inner wisdom, encourages us to shift from planning to doing, from note taking to writing, from inaction to action. As the Epiphany window closes, the door to the next phase of our path and work opens with Capricorn new moon, then unfolds with the sun in Aquarius, followed by a Leo full moon.

Beginner’s mind belongs to the fool, the one who is ignorant of what the future holds, but remains filled with optimism at the journey ahead. As initiates, we enter anew the journey toward Sophia, the divine feminine experience of wisdom.

The Tao Te Ching tells us, “Experience is a river bed. Its source hidden, forever flowing: its entrance, the root of the world. The Way moves within it. Draw upon it; it will not run dry.”

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A Stand of Cypress on the Satilla River, Georgia

In my mind’s eye, the tannin-amber mirror of the rivers of my native south Georgia wend their ways through my veins, carrying me back to source, back to the wisdom of my own experience. Wisdom, then, is an initiation into our relationship with Source. Within the wisdom of our experience lies our path, our unfolding journey within the flow of source energy.

Moneta Movement: An Invitation to Inner Wisdom
This year, I invite you to join me for a journey into abundance, prosperity and mindfulness to deepen and expand our relationship with our inner self and what we manifest in the outer world. This is a cyclical process to strengthen our relationships with spirit and money in business. I hope you, too, will participate in the dance. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • An uninterrupted block of time
  • 2 pieces of music for dancing
  • Optional background music while you work
  • The Initiation Questions (below)
  • Your Journal and favorite pen
  • A Candle or Incense
  • A Glass of Water
Gather everything together into a space where you have room to move and a place to write. Start by preparing the space, lighting the candle or incense, and working with any inspiration or guidance you chose. Put on the first piece of music, and dance to clear space in your body and mind. Then, as the music closes, sit with your journal and answer the questions until each one feels complete. Drink your water, as it will help your thoughts flow. Allow it to nurture you deeply. Pay attention to the places where you feel resistance, and put a STAR by those, as these feelings mask the greatest opportunities for growth in the New Year. When it’s time to put down your pen, dance in the new with the second piece of music you’ve chosen. Dance until you feel inner alignment with the understandings which have emerged.
Moneta Manifestation Questions
Remember, in every end there is a beginning, so the first stage in the “Invitation to Wisdom” is reflection. Your answers may reflect on your personal or professional lives, in whatever way these answers show up.
1. What trials have I met in the previous year?
2. What gifts have I gathered through my experience?
3. What new knowledge have I obtained through coaching, training or education?
4. In ways do I express gratitude for these experiences?
5. How did I celebrate my successes?
6. What tools do I need to navigate the change which lies ahead?
7. Which tools do I already have, and which might I acquire?
8. What do I need to release? (Use the coming Leo full moon to release in order to expand.)
9. What needs to be re-membered, or made whole?
10. What is the transformation I dream of this year?
 Sherri L. McLendon, MA, @SherriMoneta, is a conscious business coach, marketing PR consultant, and content strategist near Asheville, N.C. http://www.professionalmoneta.com

Memos Regarding Mindfulness – Or, the Things I Say Again and Again

Applying mindfulness practice means those taken for granted beliefs we carry around in our back pockets no longer serve. These outmoded ideas about  the way the world works, and the business world in particular, must be shifted or release to make room for new growth.

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A focus on BE-ing through our work rather than DO-ing our work also requires a shift in experiential reality. In other words, it feels different to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset which creates change rather than maintains the status quo. It feels different to be the person creating and manifesting resources and income rather than collecting a check. To adapt to this changing emotional landscape in our vocation, we also have to change our thinking.

Mindfulness Memos

The following seven statements are drawn from memos I write to myself about the things I say to my clients again and again. These are business insights drawn from my own mindfulness practice and its interface with business clients of all sorts, men and women, entrepreneurs and corporate shareholders, and the occasional freelance consultant. As a feminine business leader, you’ll find these are indicators of what I’m learning about what that means, too, in the context of working with other women who are also emergent leaders in their own businesses.

Here are my “Memos Regarding Mindfulness:”

1. Tactics change, strategies last. 

In short, decide who you address and what you want to accomplish before deciding how you’re going to reach them. Strategies drive tactics, not the other way around. Learn more about this in my October 1 post, “Carts, Horses & Tail Wagging Dogs: How Tactics-Driven Business Creates Failure,” at http://www.sherrimclendon.com.

2. There’s more than one way to do everything. 

The “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t do it any more. And mindful marketing public relations practice is not one size fits all. Which brings us to the next point. Pick the way that’s right for you.

3. Your work style and learning preferences matter.

Frankly, if something doesn’t feel right to you, it isn’t. If you’re a visual person, Pinterest is your friend, not a long-winded blog. Why does this work? Because your ideal clients are a natural fit. If you preference marketing that feels in alignment with who you are relative to the work you do, then you attract more of the people who are meant to work with  you.

4. You don’t have to know it all.

You need to know what you want to accomplish, or begin with the end in mind. Then ask, “Where do I need help?” When it comes to tactics, you need to know enough to understand where you need support, and where you do not. That’s it.

5. Simplicity is the goal.

The simplest answer that gets the job done is often the best. Beware of bright shiny object syndrome and guru hoodoo.

6. Money is a mirror into the self.

Think about how a tactic will return before you spend the money. Nine times out of 10, no- or low-cost options can be preferenced in your marketing public relations planning with no negative effect on a small business. Look at tactical expenses as investments. If there’s not a discernable advantage for the investment, you don’t need to spend the money.

7. When  you’re stuck, ask for help. 

This one has two parts. First comes help by way of support. Build a team you can trust, and have a contingency plan in case you’re needed elsewhere.  Second, ask for INSPIRED help. Dance, go for a walk. Write yourself into the truth. Listen. When you pay close attention, the answer you seek will come to you, literally out of thin air.

Sherri L. McLendon, @SherriMoneta, is a feminine business leader, content strategist, and marketing public relations practitioner in Western North Carolina. 

Words Like Stones – Mindful Creation, Monkey Mind and Beginnings

We can all throw words like stones, but it doesn’t really help our clients.

My clients work with me because they want to build something authentic, create something from the uniqueness of their lives. They see the need for strategy, for creating an inbound system of relationships, so they can maximize their energy, whether expressed as money or life force.

In a mindfulness approach to marketing public relations, the goal is to start where you are. If you need to go from zero to hero, and want to do it all yourself, starting where you are often means using what you’ve got and refining as you go. If you wait until things are perfect, you’ll never move forward. For this approach to work quickly, integrating simple systems designed to grow outreach across platforms is created one piece at a time, layered content around a central message. A lotus, if you will.

Yes, I could sit down with any website and make a list of what’s wrong. I can make a list of what the client “must” do, or how their consultant isn’t serving them based on the way I would do it. I could say, ‘don’t do anything until X is perfect.’ But I don’t do that. It feeds the “not enough” monster, the one with the bottomless appetite and the monkey mind. Instead, I take a deep breath and help my clients clear the clutter and move the next step forward.

Always forward.

Criticism is rarely constructive. It creates fear, overwhelm, anxiety. It forces decisions out of that lack of confidence in one’s self, through negativity. It destroys, fans flames, creates dramas. All of which are counter-productive to building and moving forward. Criticism is not critical thinking, which is about discernment. However, criticism is a powerful tool for convincing others spend money by creating a sense of fear of “not enough.” That we, and our work, are “not enough.”

Enough. We are enough.

Beginner’s mind in Buddhism suggests the potentiality in looking at each day anew. In the ‘new’ business model, there are no mistakes, only the conscious practice of our business as a part of our soul journey. Each movement along the path yields valuable information which allows us to adjust as we go. Cleanly, clearly, and with clarity.

We watch perfection, and we let it go. We start where we are. We begin again. We improve. We learn. We grow. And so does our business. One beautiful unfolding at a time.

Do you have what it takes to be a Spiritual Entrepreneur?

When Frodo set out to destroy the Ring, he prepared for the journey as best he could. He packed his trusty Elven sword, the impenetrable chain mail gifted by his uncle, and basic necessities. But he, Sam, and the others of their party could not know all the challenges that would lie ahead, and likewise, neither does any entrepreneur. But for a Spiritual Entrepreneur, whose vocation is chosen in answer to a higher calling and a sense of their soul’s contract or purpose, the path fraught with meaning becomes allegory, and the challenges, symbol. In the search for spiritual meaning and higher truth, Spiritual Entrepreneurs must, like Frodo, come to the task at hand in sincere service to others.Image

Here are some of the challenges you can expect on a modern day spiritual path which leads deeper into your calling.

Are you prepared for the journey? Are you…

Ready to decide who you serve?

Because we want to help others and to serve the highest and best outcomes for our clients, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking we have to serve everyone. Instead, to make this work, you’ll actually want to narrow your focus and identify the specific characteristics of people you want to work with.  You’re entering a relationship with these persons, and you want to love working with them, so pretend they’re a prospective mate and make a list of what you want.

Prepared to ask others to invest in their own success?

Bartering and trading are regrettably, rarely an even exchange of life force energies for both parties. If the client says they want what you offer, but aren’t ready to pay for it, chances are they’re not invested in themselves at the level you’d like. How many times have you said you’d like to attract clients “who are willing and able to do the work?” If the client isn’t invested, chances of their deep commitment are limited. Plus, if we’re really honest, there’ s nothing spiritual about not being able to support yourself.

Willing to trust even if you don’t know how the story is going to end?

The journey of the Spiritual Entrepreneur is never boring, but that also means it’s not predictable. What I’ve learned is that when the next step isn’t apparent, there’s actually a choice between sitting with the situation and allowing the path to unfold and leaping into the abyss of the unknown. Different situations call for one or the other. The trick is accessing your intuition so you can learn which is which.

Unwavering and faithful in your focus and vision?

Sometimes, you won’t be able to see the forest for the trees. That’s why knowing your core values and acting from that ethos in all situations, holding your vision for the future in alignment with your actions, is a crucial factor for moving ahead. The Roman money goddess, Moneta, from whom we take the Professional Moneta name, carries with her the archetypal modelling of unwavering focus on the abundance you seek.

Open to ask for what you need, and to receive it when it comes?

If you’re not willing to ask for what you need when it comes to support for your entrepreneurial journey, you won’t be able to stay the course. How do you know when it’s time? If you find yourself forgetting how you got yourself into this mess, then it’s past time to ask for help. But once you do, it’s of paramount importance to receive it in the manner in which it comes. If you’re asking for help, but saying “no” to every possible answer, it means you’re probably way too attached to the status quo. The only thing that’s constant in the journey of a Spiritual Entrepreneur is change.

Discerning in the company you keep?

Listen, really listen, to the messages you’re getting from your companions on each leg of the journey. If you’re hearing lots of persons talk about the bad economy, lack of affordability, scarcity, discounting, and difficulty, it really doesn’t matter how spiritual they are. What we focus on grows, and that goes for our friends, too.

Ready to grow at every level of your being?

When you’re a Spiritual Entrepreneur, you will find you will not be able to sustain yourself or your business without balanced attention in the physical, mental and spiritual practice realms. If you spend too much time in one or the other, the business will suffer and it will show up in the money. If you’re going to continue the journey, good self care, diet, exercise, attending your own emotional, physical or financial healing, and learning new ways of thinking and doing will fill the well from which you draw the inspiration to grow your business.

Invested in your own success?

Be willing to model the change you wish to see in the world by investing in your own success. This may be investing in support from experts, coaching, acquiring new skills through education or training, creating a team to lighten your load so you can develop from your uniqueness, or adding specialized tools, tactics and strategies to enhance your ability to serve. How do you expect your clients to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself?

If you feel resistance to these ideas, you may be on the path, but not yet committed to the journey or prepared for its rigors. If you need help with charting a course with vision and action, let me know.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., O.M., is also known as ‘Sherri Moneta.’ She specializes in helping exceptional entrepreneurs with a higher calling accelerate their money-making communication strategies and deepen their mindfulness practices in business so they can help more people, grow personally and professionally, and improve their sense of value and worth. Her clients need the expertise and support necessary create the change they want to be in the world and close the gap between their unlimited growth potential and their current limitations.