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.

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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, http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

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

That’s Entertainment: Tap Dancing Around the Issues of Everyday Life

Miss Barbara, my neighbor, leans over the fence to watch me chase chickens every chance she gets. I’ve got a variety of routines. Her favorite is the one in which I wield a big black umbrella, flap it back and forth, and make hawk noises to scare “The Girls,” six beautiful fluffy white-and-tinted hens, hand raised by yours truly, back into their cozy condo.

She missed the show yesterday when a real hawk showed up and swooped down into the chicken corral. The feathers flew, but he went away with talons empty. My routine varied to include a floppy yellow dust mop and percussive “shoo” noises. My girls performed beautifully, running for cover just as they’d been trained.

My fear? Someone’s going to install a hidden camera and my 6-year-old will see me on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Heaven forbid. Of course, my pied piper clucking and my grandmama’s fail safe “chick-chick-chick-chick-UN” calls are worthy of a You Tube video or Grand Ol’ Opry appearance.

I’m known for my studious nature, but the time I spent in dance, theater and entertainment industries means I value showmanship and a good laugh in a variety of circumstances. That’s why this week when the plumbing dissolved into a swimming pool in the basement, I chose to laugh about it. That’s why this week every time the roofing job gets post-poned, I look for the sunny side up instead of dwelling on the Humpty Dumpty side of things.

Entertaining women are anything but boring. We can tap dance their way around any subject, or spotlight a personal passion. We consciously create memories weaving the fabric of the meaning in our lives. The most entertaining women, who we may know as lifelong learners, dancers, potters, weavers, painters, dreamers, and do-ers, have perfected the arts of reckless abandon, personal expression and manifestation.

Whether sharing a pot of perfectly brewed tea as we cultivate our friendships, or hanging over the garden fence with the woman next door, entertaining the important women in our lives may be as simple as recognizing the significance in our everyday dramas, then finding what makes the serious parts laughable.

But a subject we shouldn’t tap dance around is the need to respect and protect our uniqueness in our businesses. A hard-won lesson I’ve learned first-hand as an entertaining woman, whether performing, speaking, or writing with a client or collaborator, is the need to “get it in writing.” No matter how simplistic, contractually defining the responsibilities and ownership of any work for hire agreement or collaborative venture is important. The terms need to be spelled out by individuals who enter into creative partnerships of any kind.

I learned this lesson the hard way. In the early ‘90s, I pioneered a publication series which gathered and aggregated data for sale to business owners within a specific industry as a service. My co-collaborator offered to do the computer work if I’d create the information stream and do the marketing. As soon as the first month’s edition was ready to go, she copyrighted my work under her name, grabbed my marketing strategy (I’d trained her), and earned a living off the fruits of my intellectual property.

I didn’t see it coming.

Yesterday, a writer friend of mine told me the same thing happened to her. She recently collaborated on a movie script with a colleague, and the colleague took the entire work – including my writer friend’s significant contributions – cut her out of the mix, and claimed the work as her own. Now her colleague is collecting the royalties, and my friend’s significant writing contribution? Immaterial.

She didn’t see it coming, either.

So here’s the moral of this slightly scrambled and anything but over easy tale. When we know what the expectations are, it’s easier to mix business and pleasure, to share laughs and build businesses, to create networks of support and community around our work. When those expectations are in writing, and both parties have agreed, we eliminate the same-old-song-and-dance routine and raise the curtain on a new evolutionary leadership that entertaining women consciously craft.

Believe me, any actor worth her salt since Katherine Hepburn became the first woman in Hollywood to manage her own career and contracts knows that necessity is the mother of re-invention: “I have not lived as a woman, I have lived as a man. I’ve done what I damn well please, made enough money to support myself, and I ain’t afraid of being alone.”

Katie would be appalled if she knew ours is a 21st century United States in which women are not guaranteed equal rights under the law. That after burning her bridges and setting new, high standards for feminine leadership, we continue to be historic and social minorities, without equal pay for work product, or adequate legislative recourse for creative copyright violations.

She’d likely have something pithy to say about the whole mess. On camera.

Until women require contracts which favor their rights under the law, we’ll continue to give up our power to the benefit of others – a decision which makes about as much sense as running around with an umbrella trying to convince chickens you’re a scary hawk while the neighbors watch you instead of television.

Yeah, right.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., owns and operates Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com, specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations and feminine leadership. This article originally appeared in WNC Woman Magazine in November 2012. 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.

 

Two Masters on Reciprocity: Christ & The Buddha

As spirit-rich entrepreneurs, we already understand a heart-centered gift serves and empowers others through consciousness and love. That is, the offer is made with awareness and a genuine desire to be of service. The divine masculine masters, Christ and the Buddha, each reflect on the reciprocal nature relationship between individuals giving and receiving to one another.

Christ, or Jesus/Yeshua, spoke of the the universal debt of reciprocity in a system of giving in this oft-quoted phrase: “Owe no man anything but to love one another.” In business, often seen as a cycle of debt and repayment, we symbolically incur this debt with our clients, and symbolically pay it in every exchange. (Luke, Helen, Woman, Earth, and Spirit, 92). Love, then, from this perspective, becomes an ebb and flow of every transaction, personal and professional. The object of heart-centered exchange becomes the loving reciprocity between giver and receiver, not the money itself. The money is simply a symbol of the exchange, not the object of the transaction.

There’s one truth in particular that must be part of any loving exchange with our clients, and The Buddha speaks into the importance of our essence, or our true
presence, in interpersonal transactions.

He says, “The greatest gift we can offer anyone is our true presence. Our true presence is our essence. If you love someone, you have to produce your true presence for him or her, you share your essential being. When you gift that gift, you receive at the same time the gift of joy.”

Joy indicates we are in the presence of what we wish to receive. That means that our gifts to others needs to honor and acknowledge their worth. It is through the offer from our essence that we create joy for others, and open the pathway to our hearts so that we can receive it for ourselves.

Your Takeaway

Make decisions from a place of love and desire to be of service.

In the past, I’ve personally heard six figure marketing mentors Elizabeth Purvis and Kendall Summerhawk speak directly to the struggles women have with assigning value and creating reciprocity. For example, lot of women struggle with putting too much information in their offers, thinking it creates value. In coaching sessions, they – may – like me – run over on time commitments repeatedly. And what we need to come to  understand is that if we overgive, it’s usually out of a feeling of lack and fear of not-enough, as opposed to the love of abundant exchange.

Giving from a fear of lack instead of a love of abundant exchange stands to devalue the relationship between coach and client, mentor and mentee, merchant and purchaser, practitioner and client. That’s because it throws reciprocity off balance, which in turn, creates boundary issues. It’s not about information, and we’re no longer in an “Information Age.” We’ve entered the era of “Experience Economy,” and value is no longer measured in terms of dollars for hours, services rendered, or volume of goods.

We find that today, as in earlier times, spirit-rich individuals find value and wealth lies in the free flow of money as love between the spiritual realm and the material realm. The real value in every transaction lies with the loving transformation that becomes possible for the other person as a result of any exchange.

So the final decision is what to leave out of the package to leave room for movement to occur, not what to put in.