I have a blogging schedule. I have a marketing plan. Today’s regularly scheduled
programmingpost was planned to be about engagement and marketing and choosing the right words (from the billion-plus we have in our language) that speak to the heart of the people I am here to serve and support.
Then Orlando happened. With a heavy heart I marched candle in hand on Sunday night with other grieving friends and community members. On that day, and since then, I’ve noticed my reaction to the normal sort of marketing emails and posts that have landed up in my inbox and feeds — they feel dissonant to me and haven’t held my attention as usual. The emails and posts that I read and responded to were the ones that were speaking to and about this tragedy.
Sometimes it’s good to step off the regular agenda and take time to stand in and speak to the moment. Today I know in my heart that it’s the right time for me to talk to you from my heart about gratitude even if, and gratitude no matter what.
Which I’m doing with you today.
I will resume talking about engagement, marketing, and business copy writing next time. Today let’s just get grateful together. Please.
I’ve had a gratitude practice for a long time. It’s a key part of my spiritual practice. I started writing fifteen items for which I was grateful every day in a journal almost fifteen years ago. Then I started sending my gratitude list in an email to my coach each morning. The circle expanded and I was sending that email to six or seven people every day.
When I started this blog, 800-ish posts ago, it began as a gratitude journal. I shared my daily gratitudes with the world. The blog has evolved in the nearly ten years of its life to be much more about living and being of service in a fully expressed way — integrating your passion, purpose, and prosperity into a seamless, sacred wholeness. But my gratitude practice has never stopped.
The practice has circled around again to a private one. I write my gratitudes on a piece of paper (varieties of brightly colored origami paper these days) and crumple it up into a little ball and put it in my seemingly bottomless gratitude vase. Today I’m sharing my gratitude with you.
It’s easy to be grateful when things are easy, less challenging, less tragic. When you can tap into your gratitude no matter what is happening to and around you and your business, when you can tap into your gratitude through your tears and your grief, you’ll find a new ability to experience and act from a place of radical acceptance and love.
What gratitude can you find in your heart? Let’s talk in the comments.
As I develop the new and upleveled brand for Magnolias West (coming soon!), I’m finding myself stepping over, around, and through any perceived barriers between my spiritual practices and my work. I am refining my offers, as you will soon see, and bringing every Priestess quality I manifest in my life and work to the forefront.
[Inserting a slight side-note here] Just like what happened to the Wizard in the movie, Toto seems to be pulling the curtains back for me as well — more is being revealed to me and through me to you. It’s a bit scary (makes me feel even more tender and vulnerable than usual), and completely the next right thing for me to do in my work, in my being of service. More on this coming soon. Stick around, won’t you? [end of side-note]
You can bring your best and highest — even if it may appear to some to be offbeat and weird — to your business, your work, and every part of your life.
One really good way to Priestess Your Life — to imbue every action with sacred intention — is to make and use a Goddess Box.
The Goddess Box is a container that will hold your wishes and your worries. It’s a way of handing those wishes and worries — could be anything you can’t resolve in this now moment — to the Divine. Doesn’t matter at all what name you use for the Divine — for me it’s Goddess. You might use God, or Allah, or Nature, or Source. Power tip: You don’t even have to believe in any particular kind of spiritual force. Really, just knowing that there’s something else besides you is all the opening you need for the Goddess Box to do its magic.
What this action of naming and then tucking away your wishes and worries gives you is a way to let go of that tortured idea that you have to solve this now — whatever this might be.
This releasing and surrendering idea is central to many spiritual techniques and practices.
I’ve used my Goddess Box to:
Your mind rests into the solidity of the gesture of writing down your wish or your worry on a sip of paper and tucking it into your Goddess Box. The restful ease comes from knowing that you don’t have to keep obsessing, that the Divine has got your back on this one.
You’ve written it down, whatever it is. You’ve given it structure. You’ve created sacred space for outcomes to unfold as they are meant to be.
When you add a Goddess Box to your sacred ritualized spiritual practice you add more even more quiet ease and peace to your mind and heart. More easy and peaceful because you won’t be so hung up in your worries; you’ll be more present, and more available to the magic of this now moment and the next.
Of course, you still take actions. You and the Divine, you’re a team. Take the actions, and rest in letting go of the results.
Couldn’t be easier. And it’s fun! Grab a box (I’ve used a shoe box, and I like the little pressboard boxes I can get for $1.99 at the local crafts stores too). Grab decorative bits. I’ve used images from magazines, paints, glitter (of course glitter!), markers, feathers, beads, and more. Set some intention to be shown what this box needs, and go to town. Make it beautiful. And you’re done!
No more than ten women, I supply all the materials, it will be so much fun. And hella sacred.
Sunday, June 19th, 1:30–5pm, $89 includes materials, $79 early-bird if registered and paid by 6/5/16. Download the info flyer here, or click or tap on the image to the right.
Have you made a Goddess Box? Does you feel called to create one? Tell me…let’s talk in the comments.
I’m deep in the design process now for the new Magnolias West website. As I started fiddling with the menu (nav) bar, I took a minute to really think about the main nav items, and about what website pages I want to include and which might be eliminate-able.
I really want to simplify the new iteration of my site, for a couple of reasons. This will be my first responsive website* for myself (after designing and developing responsive sites for my clients for the last 18 months), and I’m designing with functionality and ease in mind. In a responsive site viewed on mobile, sidebars appear below the main content, and there can be a lot of scrolling when you’re on an iPhone. So… no sidebars (for now anyway).
Second reason: simplicity for simplicity’s sake. My goal is to keep the text lean, and to embody and manifest the principles of heart-centered empathy-based marketing in as few pages as possible.
My current Magnolias West website has seven main pages:
As of this moment, the new site will have only five:
The Start here page. Also known as Is this you? or New here?, this page is a key element in empathy-based marketing. I learned this method of tribe- and practice-building from some amazing teachers, and in a large part from Mark Silver of Heart of Business (who is also the source of the doors and windows magic mentioned below).
The way this teaching has landed in my heart is this: Speak to and about your ideal client before you speak about yourself. Or: Roll out the red carpet for your ideal client so that he or she feels seen, heard, recognized, welcomed, and like they’re in just the right place. The “Start Here” page is a great way to do that.
Notice its placement in the order. It comes after Home and — most critically — before I start talking about myself and my badass expertise.
I’m going to combine what I’d put in a Start here page with my Home page text and see how that works. Hey, it’s WordPress, and there’s plenty of space. I can always add it back.
The How it works page. I have never really felt that this page served my site, as it’s very similar to the page called Work with me. This one is an easy one to drop. And since I’m in a dropping mood (for the sake of simplicity), it’s gone.
Of course, you create your nav menus with a reading order in mind, but there’s no way you can guarantee that your imposed order will be followed. Think about it: Do you ever read a website in order? Of course not. Something will catch your eye. Or you’ll enter from an external link and go on from there.
Knowing this, go ahead and create your website pages in the order you’d like them to be looked at, and then employ this amazing magic trick to increase the odds that your reader will check out the stuff you think is important:
Yup, leave easy paths for your reader to follow at the bottom of each and every main page. At the end of the text on each page, add a paragraph that reads something like:
Keep it to two links — no more. Keep it simple, and trust that by including these doors and windows you’ve added a few inviting and engaging links to those that appear in the menu itself.
That’s it from me today. Now I’d like to hear from you. How did you decide what pages to include in your menu? What do you know that I should? Share your questions and tips in the comments. Blessed be.
I learned this lesson about happiness twice recently: in tai chi class and then again two weeks later from Molly Gordon in her Art of Living class. (Just in case Molly’s class page is down, you can meet her and her beautiful work here.)
This happens a lot. I’ve been a tai chi student since 1974. So many opportunities to see (and be shown, in case I’m missing it) my ego in all its sad glory.
There I am, in class, soaking up the too-infrequent feedback and instruction I get from my friend and teacher Greg (who visits twice a year from NYC, who’s known me pretty much this whole time — over four decades) and then I get frustrated and say something like: “Why do I bother even trying to do push hands? My body (and its musculo-skeletal challenges) — I just can’t. I’m too old, too damaged, too sick.”
Greg’s response to me: “You always have some reason that keeps you from fully engaging with what you have, who you’re with, what you’re doing.” I’m paraphrasing the exact words a bit (not the sentiment). I got so mad at him when he said this, and in the time between being angry and realizing just how right he was, I managed to forget exactly how he put it.
And every story I tell myself gets in the way of my ability to experience happiness now.
The assignment from the first Art of Living class was to “make a list of all the stories you’ve been living out.” Watching myself write these down as they occurred to me, I realized in a new and deeper way that the content of my stories is just that — content. I realized we all have stories, and while the content is different for each of us at different times, the pain and unhappiness they bring are universal.
Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. — Guillaume Apollinaire
What about you? How do you deal with the stories that dance around inside of you and get between you and your happiness? I’d love to know; let’s talk in the comments.
Mercury just began another retrograde (until May 22), Mars is retrograde (until June 29), and every other planet except Venus is retrograde (or approaching) right now. Are you feeling sped up? Slowed down? Stuck? More problems than usual? I know I’m moving slower than I’d like to. I’m hoping that when Jupiter stations direct next week, things will begin to ease up. I’m hoping. How’s it going for you?
Another in the series of posts about branding. This one is:
I’m not done yet. Yup, I may be standing in that still, deep water (at least I’m still on my feet, could be worse, could be flailing, or drowning) but that water is deep and it’s broad. I wanted to be done by the upcoming end of this month, and I won’t be. I can’t even tell you that I see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I can tell you that I know how many more stops there are before I can see that light. As soon as I get detailed layouts made (nope, not even started yet), and hand them off to my developer team, I will be counting the days to launch.
Continuing the story from the last rebranding article six weeks ago, there’s a lot that has been decided and accomplished. There are a boatload* of decisions to be made on a big project like rebranding, and when it’s your business, if you’re like me, you give those decisions some focused and supported attention because it’s your business!
I decided to keep the name Magnolias West. Although this rebrand is all about upleveling my brand and my offers so that I can better connect and work with the wise and passionate women I know I’m meant to serve; although I’m changing the look, the logo, the colors, the fonts, and every single word — when it came to the naming question, I realized that there are many very good reasons for me to keep the name just as it is.
How’s your business development going? What’s moving smoothly? Where are you stuck? Let’s support each other. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Yes, I am connecting scented baths and massages and similar yummy events to the care and nurturing of your business.
Because this: You love your business. It’s your passion and your calling. And this: Every action you take to feed and nurture your business reflects and manifests (and maybe even multiplies) the way you take care of yourself.
Exquisite self-care for your business starts with you. Exquisite self-care opportunities show up in many ways, some teeny and some huge. You get to choose and commit to self-care every day — in your work, in your life, in your relationships.
It’s an inside job. All the best external successes grow, thrive, and sustain because they have a strong inner foundation.
It’s pretty simple: It’s about having and keeping a sacred commitment to practices that let you establish and maintain a state of being resourced, restored, and in balance so that you attract the clients, revenue, friends, satisfaction, and joy you desire.
Eat, move, and rest like a boss.
Grow a loving relationship with your body and with food, and keep expanding and improving that relationship as you can. A juicy add-on: grow some food, even a pot or two of herbs in a sunny spot if you’re a beginner (it’s nearly impossible to kill a pot of peppermint).
Move your beautiful body — I love my daily walk. Take breaks and get away from the computer.
Prepare good meals and eat them away from your desk.
Absolutely do not forget the scented baths and massages.
A strong connection to the divine — to a power bigger than you — helps you stay grounded through the hectic busyness of each day, even in the scary and unwelcome moments. Grounded, peaceful, and motivated. Grateful. Happy.
These days my daily practice looks like something like this: two rounds of tai chi, a journal entry, gratitudes written on colorful paper and added to my gratitude vase, and a guided meditation. I take a walk and I do a workout or a stretching routine as well.
Dress for work, even if you work at home.
Don’t wear the clothes that you slept in. (What? You wear PJs? Me, I keep it simple. I just ditch the bra layer and sleep in the shirt I wore all day — works 90% of the time because I wear comfy cotton knit t-shirts 90% of the time — and slip into yoga pants if I’m not wearing them already.)
Doing errands around town? Dress in something you wouldn’t mind wearing when you are meeting a new prospective client.
You never know when a stranger you encounter will end up becoming your next prospective client.*
Want a successful and sustainable business that has you doing your inspired best work for your ideal clients? Then nurture and sustain yourself.
Work/life balance is a thing. When you’re out of balance and working so much you can’t make time to play and restore, your good health and positive attitudes take a hit. Over time those hits can suck the life, and love, and success right out of your business.
Working at home on your own? It’s so easy to slip into feeling alone and worried. Take an action that fits your needs and your financial reality: Find a mastermind group. Hire a coach. Set up an accountability buddy system with a friend whose business is in a similar reality to yours.
These days I am in a paid small group for coaching, I have a buddy I meet with every other week for content development and heartstorming, and I have a no-fee peer-led mastermind where we talk through business questions and do content creation separately together.
I use the tools that allow me to schedule my life and live my schedule and be accountable when things change.
What’s working for me these days is a powerful combination of mostly cloud-based systems that allow me access from anywhere with internet. The three main ones are Evernote, Apple’s calendar, and Google docs and sheets.
Put on your big-girl panties and find out what it feels like to have a grown-up relationship with money.
When you know what’s going out and what’s coming in, you’re in clarity (not vagueness) and you’re in much better shape to be present and take the next right action.
Drop me a line in the comments.
The Equinox — that beautiful balance point — was sandwiched between the two eclipses of the season, just ahead of the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse this week.
In my world — in my life and in my business — the balance point this year felt like a moment of stillness wrapped around a fiery ball of energy ready to explode! How did the Equinox, and its moment of balance, feel for you? Did you notice anything unusual?
Now we are in that beautiful creation-inspiring, fiery, let’s-get-going, time-for-new-starts Aries energy.
Step back from the details and the day-to-day tasks and take a fresh look at your brand. Solopreneur, wisdom teacher, healer, or humanpreneur — your brand is all about how you show up in the world matches your values and actions. What’s aligned, what isn’t? In business: Does your marketing reflect where you are now? Are you supporting your work in the world with a clear, steady, loving presence? Is it time for a facelift, or an upleveling of some or all of the elements of your brand?
Outside of business: Are you walking your talk? Are you showing up as you intend to? When shit happens (and it does), do you let others know that things have changed? Power tip: Schedule a no-strings call with me and I’ll look at all of it with you.
Clean house. Release what no longer serves you. In your office: Step back and take a look at your desk. Declutter those piles of paper and business cards. Take a quick look at each one and either file it, or schedule an action, or toss it. Have a lovely reunion with your cleared desktop and in-baskets.
You can do the same thing with your clothing. For each item you can ask: Is this in good repair? Do I wear it? Does it fit? Do I like the way I look in it? Depending on the answer, keep it, give it away, or toss it.
Start something new, something daring, something you’ve been meaning to do. In your biz: Ask previous clients for referrals. Call someone you’ve met online whose work interests you — bonus points for calling a niche-mate! Schedule some fun time right in the middle of your work week.
Up your wellness game. More/longer walks. Regular meditation. Take a class. Start cooking. Knitting. Dancing. You know, that big scary stuff!
I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up in this fiery new season. Talk to me in the comments, or send an email.