Conscious Reciprocity in Principle & Action: Release to Receive

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.


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.

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

(c) 2011, 2017 by Sherri L. McLendon, all rights reserved. Reprint with permission.

The Price of a Cup of Coffee: reflections on gifts

A few months back, as a judge for a prestigious awards program for the Raleigh Public Relations Association, I enjoyed the opportunity to peruse an outstanding ad campaign with a new take on the “less than a cup of coffee per day” idea. It led me to reconsider my ideas about individual buying power and the magic phrase in question.

In the past month, I’ve enjoyed cups of coffee with connectors and potential clients and referral partners. In a couple of cases, I felt uneasy when the person I was meeting insisted on buying me a cup of coffee. And I didn’t really understand the feeling. After all, it was just a cup of coffee, right?

Anyone who knows me knows I love coffee, the ritual of it connects me to home and a happy childhood. I’d no more give up the scent of my morning coffee warming my heart than I’d give up hot showers, unless forced to do so.

So I began to really, really pay attention when I began to have difficulty closing sales conversations with clients. I began to check for energy leaks I’ve allowed around the energy of money in my life, and followed the trail back to the source. And here’s what I found.

Last week, I accepted a sample session from a potential referral partner, a common practice among those who want others to understand what they do so it’s easy to refer others. Ignoring the fact practitioners should be able to explain in words what they do without giving away free sessions, I accepted the gift.

That’s just not like me. More than a year has passed since I said “no more” to barter, trade, and free sessions. I limit discovery sessions related to business to those specific persons who are ready to work with me, simply to make certain we are a good fit. So why did I compromise? I initially said, “No, thank you,” to this kind, generous, and talented woman. But she scolded me just a tad for not being open to receive abundance, so I ignored my misgivings.

Please don’t misunderstand. The session was lovely, needed, and a blessing. But it was also an opportunity for the universe to teach, and, well, I’m here to learn. Suddenly I’m covered up in people who want to work with me if I’ll trade or barter. A second look is warranted.

As I followed the energy trail of my money leaks backward, I realized where the shift occurred. She bought me a cup of coffee. So did the woman I met last week. And another colleague bought my meal while I was in the bathroom when we met for lunch at a restaurant. So that line of inquiry brings me back to my original question.

What is the real cost of a cup of coffee?

Sacrifices Abundance Consciousness

The intention may be to share abundantly, but the unconscious underlying assumption is scarcity or lack. True abundance lies in sovereignty and wells from an internal source; when we don’t allow individuals to be sovereign in dealings around our businesses, no matter how small, we’re undermining our ability to co-create as equals.

Gifts Create Debts

The “gift,” as opposed to an “offering,” creates a relationship based on the owing of a debt. Essentially, the word debt comes from Latin from the French, de habere, which literally means to keep in one’s possession what belongs to someone else. An offering, on the other hand, is freely given and the outcome for the other person is left to choice.

Sacrifices Fair Exchange

Practically speaking, I’ve realized the exchange immediately removes the possibility of this person becoming a client. The relationship becomes more about me working at the level at which they are comfortable, than about my taking a leadership position through which I can facilitate their growth. If I accept the gift, I sacrifice my sovereignty and my ability to set an energetic example of what it means to be sovereign around money.

Increases Scarcity Mentality

Scarcity mentality takes over when gifts are exchange. No matter how well-intention, gifting assumes the other person does not receive enough to get their needs met. It also assumes they must give while they can. This in turn suggests the individual knows their OWN work is not self-sustaining, and they’re mirroring that reality for those around them.

So the next time someone offers me a coffee, and I say “No, thank you,” it’s not because I don’t welcome abundance into my life. It’s because I do.


An Ancient Triad of Giving to Receive: The Role of Taxes, Charity & Tithes

Divine feminine entrepreneurs frequently gift their clients
with products, information, classes, or offers which have both substance and value.
At the same time, they often struggle with issues around devaluing their work
in the world. Marketing and money goddesses see their offers as an investment
in reciprocity, growing directly from a sacred tradition of giving, challenging
thinking about abundance and sacrifice from a heart-centered perspective.

From ancient times and in many cultures, including the Mayan
culture, abundance and fertility were assured by blood sacrifice. If we look at
money as a metaphor for the life’s blood of exchange, then it becomes possible
to understand traditional forms of giving through taxes, tithes, and charity
from a divine feminine perspective.


Sacrifice is an offering. In ancient times, altars would have been designated for the
sacrifice of animals or persons to the gods to ensure fertility. Today, the word can refer to both the act of the offering and the thing that’s being offered. Its purpose is to secure a thing of importance by giving up something that’s valued. From this perspective, taxes can be considered as a type of “blood” sacrifice to ensure individual liberty.

The peoples’ consent to taxation by their governments occurs because “sacrifice of a degree of freedom ensures the essential freedom,” according to Helen M. Luke, writing in a 1981 essay “Money and the Spirit of Relatedness.” In other words, citizens give money as a type of sacrifice in order to ensure a certain way of life.

Modern discourse surrounding civil disobedience is rooted in the 19th century writings of Henry David Thoreau, and the 20th century direct actions of Gandhi and King.  From this lineage we inherit the conviction that individual citizens have the right to break unjust laws, such as paying taxes to fund social or civil injustice, such as war. The people can invoke this right if the government is believed broken its sacred compact with the citizenry. In this context, the government may be seen to jeopardize the essential freedoms for which the taxes were exchanged. The taking of monies unjustly from the people gives rise to the derogatory phrase “blood money,” indicating the sacrifice of the life’s blood of the peoples in ways which do not ensure essential freedoms.

Your Take-away: For entrepreneurial women, questions about taxation arise
during the foundation phase of their businesses. Paying taxes as a business
instead of as an independent contractor changes the structure and format of the
“sacrifice” to ensure their freedom to earn a living in their chosen professions,
and provides a measure of protection for their personal property and livelihood.


Charity is a form of giving which assumes there are those persons who have, and those
who have not. In English, the word for charity has its origins in the 12th century and the feudal class structure, though the root word, char, from the Latin meaning dear, is much older and the practice of extending charity well-established by that time. Essentially, most acts of charity are rooted in ideas about scarcity and lack, and laden with judgment about those who have less. Not ironically, colloquial American English today includes phrases indicating one in a position of superiority “Lords it over” the less fortunate.

Though charity is predominantly seen in modern times as a position of benevolence from which one gives what one can afford to those in need, a second look is needed through the lens of history. In the 11th century, a Jewish theologian named Maimonides created a “Golden Ladder of Charity” with eight steps tracing the level of virtue of the giver. In the lowest rung on the ladder, the giver feels “reluctance or regret,” according to Tad Crawford, in the Secret Life of Money. On the highest rung, the giver “is to prevent poverty and avoid the need for charity.” Instead of giving, the emphasis is placed on creating a way to independence for the person in need.

Today, as work with money mindset evolves, one of the underlying
precepts which emerges is “what one focuses on grows.” Charity in its modern
form may be seen as a support of the aspect of lack or create an expectation of
scarcity, according to Barbara Wilder, in Money is Love: Reconnecting to the
Sacred Origins of Money

Your Take-Away: For the divine feminine entrepreneur, investment in scarcity or lack often shows up in their business in two primary ways: in the giving away of their work for no pay and without reciprocity; and in pre-judging what their clients can or
cannot afford to invest in their businesses, which leads to undervaluing their offers. Shifting one’s mindset about “value” removes judgment about worthiness of both the giver and recipient, and allows one to release attachment to outcomes for the recipient of the gift.


Tithing is also a form of offering which probably traces its roots in ancient agrarian societies. The word tithe traces to Old English, Anglo Saxon and Norse equivalents from the tenth century and perhaps earlier. Quite literally, it means one-tenth, and relates to the creation of sustainability within the society. An oft-quoted, unattributed piece of advice is “Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly
from the field.” In this way, the wise farmer ensures that he has enough seed
for abundant harvests in the coming season – and in the case of disaster or
relocation, enough to start over in a new place. The tithe is a means to ensure
abundance, a state of more than enough.

Once mandatory in churches, tithes are today a way to ask individuals to stretch their conceptions about giving to give “10 percent more than you think you can afford,” says Wilder. When tithing, the individual “gives upward” and “demonstrates abundance.” Million dollar marketing coach Kendall Summerhawk openly talks about her own experience with tithing from a feminine, entrepreneurial perspective. In a recent
blog article
, she recommends women tithe with every sale in order to create
sustainable business. She explains, “I set aside a small percentage of every
sale and earmarked the money to be used to either fund the development of my
business or to smooth out some of the financial rough spots that occurred in
those early days.” She sees tithing as “a means of giving financial thanks to
those who feed your soul and spirit. …you’re giving yourself the resources you
need to stay connected to spirit and to your Soul’s Divine Purpose.”

Your Take-away: Business and money goddesses of today can choose to work
with the essence of tithes to set aside 10 percent of their earnings, or to raise and meet their goals by 10 percent monthly in order to increase abundance in their business over time. Tithing remains a way to demonstrate, increase, and invest in abundance. It provides a direct connection to the sacred origins of money and abundance as it relates to sustainability and values, moving the giver toward her full potential.


Falling into the Money Story Well

Falling into someone else’s money story is a lot like encountering oceanic undertow while swimming an artesian well.

Still on the surface, the waters of emotion and money often run deep. When we allow a friend or colleague or client to drag us under, we allow another’s beliefs to distort our perception of reality.

Not only do we not have to fall into others’ money stories, we do not have to accept the money stories others give us as truth. This distinction enables us to discard money stories that do not work for us, especially pertinent if they are stories engrained our own identity. In my own experience, working with the archetype of the ancient Roman money goddess, Moneta, enabled me to exercise the option of rewriting my money story from a position of compassion and action. Daily and mindfully, I choose to accept the belief I can create the money to have a life that I want and love. Today, I use my gifts and talents to support myself. I hold space for that reality for others to follow.

When we choose to remain separate from another woman’s money story, but instead act as a witness to it, we support the first step to autonomy and sovereignty. We allow her to figure out a way not to let money stop her from doing what she wants. If we continue to hold the belief she can create the money to have what she wants, then we have empowered another spiritual BE-ing at the moment of transformation.

Why drown in the artesian well of a money story, when we can choose instead to drink deeply of the waters of our hearts and fill the vessel of our soul’s purpose with clear intention?