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.

Owning Manifestation, Money Shadows, and Personal Power

Unwritten rule #1 in the conscious business world is to never, ever reveal to clients that cash flow is an issue. However, those of us in business – whatever our vocation or calling – are in business presumably to make money. When cash flow is stymied, so is our ability to create and serve the collective through our business. Our autonomy is compromised, as is our ability to care for those we love. It’s not pretty.

Truly, the situation a lack of cash flow creates isn’t good for anyone. Lack constitutes the shadow side of entrepreneurial ventures, and most of us don’t like to air our shadow side nor our dirty laundry in public. Whether we admit it or not, when we work with clients who repeatedly don’t honor commitments, we invite difficulty. Lack is often caused by boundary issues that each coach or consultant receives coaching around in some form or fashion.

Thankfully, our greatest problems are also our greatest opportunities for unprecedented breakthroughs:action in the face of our greatest fears requires unprecedented courage – and that courage is always rewarded.

This month, I am focusing doubly on manifestation. Not only so I can model what that looks like for my clients, but also because 66% of my client monies for this month remain outstanding. Just let that sink in. That’s a serious boundary issue, and though I’m doing the “right” things to resolve it, the block doesn’t appear to moving. Something has to shift, and it’s got to be me.

Most of us understand that we can’t do more of the same and expect a different outcome.

So this weekend, I worked consciously with The Creative Mode of Manifestation, a set of understandings derived from and clarified by my work with the writings of Rick Jarow. Here’s what that looks like, and I’ll follow with my real life use of these concepts.

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The Power of Articulation

First, I was able to release clients to clean up their own messes while I cleaned up mine. These “messes” on their part include repeated late or missed appointments or reschedules, cash flow issues, avoidance behaviors, or other obstacles where the work we do together isn’t making a dent. On mine, the clean up entailed revisiting client agreements, clarifying the items in my welcome kit, updating contracts, and a check in with my executive assistant to make certain I’m accountable and the decisions I’m making are carried through.

Releasing clients when the money isn’t there seems counter-intuitive, but in reality it opens space for the clients who are ready and able to do move forward in a big way.

After releasing the energetic drain created by long term late payments or the time wasted by dragging out simple processes, I began to focus on attracting new work that would fill the void. Within a couple of hours, I was approached by a talented musician about working with her on publicity for her hip band. How cool is that?

The Power of Allowing

Second, I sent out one corporate proposal and 10 query letters to former clients who love my work. Then I took a step back and waited. Opening to receive instead of pushing to get is a characteristic of the Power of Allowing. I’m giving the offer time to settle, the clients time to percolate. Releasing attachment is key, because I know in my bones that not all things serve all persons at all times. Truly, I wish to be in service to those who are ready to fulfill their commitment to their business in the present, conscious Now. But if they do not need what I offer at this time, I’m okay with that.

The Power of Action

Third, if we take small, aligned actions representing the larger change we’d like to see, it’s easier to manifest that reality. Before deciding on my course of action, a walk in nature changed my perspectives, now informed by the elements around me. When I got home, I crafted those offers and sent them out.

At home, I began clearing clutter in my living spaces, clearing the remnants of the holiday season, and literally making space for the next right thing to appear in my world. Because I am physically moving in the doing of these things, I am changing my personal landscape and bodily energy from stuck to flowing.

When energy is flowing through the body, and through the space, it becomes significantly easier to manifest ideas into form, and form into (cash) flow.

Accountability is an important part of any manifestation process, so I also asked my assistant to take the next steps needed: scheduling discovery sessions, sending out a client letters, and posting new articles and leveraging new  content.

Manifestation is a process which turns ideas into income through the inherent powers of articulation, action, and allowing. Best of all, it’s a creation process that works. In a few days, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Abundant blessings,

Sherri

Please share below your own experiences with these aspects of personal power and how you access those in your business.

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.

 

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. 

Common Sense Crisis Communication Strategies for Online Entrepreneurs

No-one’s looking for a crisis, and especially not me. But human nature and the global climate as it stands suggests it’s not a question in the 21st century if a crisis will occur, but when. Entrepreneurs, whose businesses online and off depend on the changing emotional state of our clients, need to design a communication plan which allows us to respond to rapid change in ways that are authentic and appropriate.OctNovDec2011 089

Why does it matter? Well, let’s just say that after receiving emails from “spiritual” entrepreneurs using the Newtown tragedy in December to sell products or services, I engaged in a massive unsubscribe campaign. My trust hadn’t only been violated, it had been eradicated, and that type of decision is very bad for business.

So here’s a quick checklist of six easy strategies to employ in times of trouble to make certain your business can withstand the changing times, and you stay in integrity with your community of support. The common sense behind these strategies suggests they don’t need a lot of discussion.

If you’re confused, feel free to take a couple of steps back and examine your motivation in life. Because all you really need is love.

1. Stop auto-responders or pre-programmed social media blasts.
Deluging people with optimistic calls to action when they’re reeling from a tragedy could definitely be offensive. Turn them off, and post as a real person with real feelings.

2. Don’t use the crisis or tragedy in a sales letter.
“Invest in my product to show you value your lifestyle in the face of tragedy,” is bad form. Only once have I seen marketing during a time of crisis done well. The launch of a program continued, but the entrepreneur told her readers why she made the choice, supported pertinent discussion within a community forum, and designated a significant chunk of proceeds to help victims of the tragedy. Afterward, there was transparency regarding the donation. Nicely done.

3. Be real in your response.
Honesty is the best policy. Share your feelings if they’re pertinent. And don’t sell, market, or shamelessly self-promote after the heart-felt moment. To do so betrays the intimacy of the moment. Not sure what to say? Wait until the words come.

4. Show up for the work.
If it’s a national crisis, think about what you can do locally to pitch in to help, if not those specific survivors, then others in a similar plight. Then do that. If you don’t know, call United Way and ask where help is needed. Share your direct experience of what it means to help others. Consider short video snippets where you speak your truth directly.

5. Respond publicly.
Got something relevant to say due to particular experience or expertise you carry? Issue a press release and send it over to the daily newspaper which covers your town. Use your knowledge to educate people about what’s happening to their world during a time of crisis, confusion, and deep emotion. Do this from a place of service to the greater good.

6. Leverage your platform to help others.
If your convictions, beliefs, and business are aligned with certain values, speak from that place directly to your community of support. Focus on the human factor. Help get the word out to potential volunteers, fund raisers, donors, and others by sharing how they can compassionately help those in crisis. Talk about how many people you were able to help by pulling everyone together to respond.

 

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.