” The Tao means “The Way;” a journey in which every step has the quality of innocence and perfection. This is the essence of the Tao ––effortless movement. This is the Way we can learn how to market our gifts. We can also apply these principles to our every day lives.”
Before any marketing materials, before any marketing strategies, there is a journey to be taken inside ourselves first. It is our connection to source –– the indefinable place where all thoughts and actions arise and subside, where pure intelligence reveals itself and bestows light and wisdom upon us. And then as Rumi, the Sufi poet, said, “There’s a push and another push, the necessary dyings, the ground crumbling that lets wildflowers come up.”
The Tao of Marketing is an initiation. There is a quality of being that takes precedence and a universal plea that invites us to become the student again; where we adopt “beginner’s mind.” When an artist steps up to a new canvas, there is a sense of awe, inspiration, and humility. When a composer begins a new piece, there is a quality of vulnerability, an openness, to his or her listening.
To be in the true spirit of the Tao of Marketing, we graciously drop our ego, shed the familiar, and enter a doorway through which reinvention can take place. Once we have taken this step, we find there are blocks to be removed, changes that need to take place so that openings for new possibilities can occur.
How we remain open to these changes is an individual undertaking, to be explored at our own time and at our own pace. Responding to these changes is an art that can be learned; either from a living teacher or through our own personal experiences.
“When an artist steps up to a new canvas, there is a sense of awe, inspiration, and humility.”
How we become initiated into the perpetual magnetism that draws us deep into the well of good fortune is a mystery I have observed for the past thirty years. I have witnessed failures and successes. I have seen lack of focus, the neediness of greed, and the willfulness of ego. I’ve seen generous hearts, the desire to change, and tremendous leaps of faith. It has been a fascinating journey, witnessing the decisions we make as we move through our stages of development. It’s a delicate journey.
We can be stopped by lack of insight and skillful means; or we can allow ourselves to be supported by the chi, the energy that can transform us. By imbibing the Tao of Marketing, we can manifest this chi more readily. We can create an outreach that resonates with who we are, without compromise. We can blossom as whole, integrated beings and enter into a world of infinite possibilities we never knew existed.
There are many aspects to the Tao. But the most impressive quality is how it transforms us energetically.
We begin to walk with a different rhythm.
Vibrate at a new frequency.
Speak from a place of conviction.
Move from fear to fearlessness.
From apprehension to one- pointedness.
From rigidity to fluidity.
From ignorance to higher wisdom
And all along the Way, we are reminded of Rumi’s words: “There’s a push and another push, the necessary dyings, the ground crumbling that lets wildflowers come up.”
The initiation into the Tao of Marketing drives us deeper into our own true nature. Not only that, it expands our relationship with our own creativity, our business, and the many marketing concepts available to us. This initiation is not intended to teach us how to compete, but how to think. This initiation begins with you, and your commitment to allow the wildflower to push through.
I invite you to partake in this enchanting journey of discovery with me.
To begin, the Tao of Marketing is an art and a science; it is a divine practice, a synthesis of interconnected ideas that work in unison with the visible and the invisible, manifesting a profound alchemy. On this Way, no longer do we have to force our way into people’s hearts with our products and services. No longer do we have to push and pull, be manipulative and coercive with our outreach. By imbibing this spiritual approach to marketing, we can begin to traverse a new landscape — one that soothes the heart and the spirit, and allows us to stay in our integrity with who we are, at the core.
When the context of our public relations efforts is in alignment with our content and we understand that we have a moral and social purpose to uphold, when we understand that emotional connection is the true driving force behind good marketing and that we don’t have to manipulate our content to get our audience’s attention, then the words public relations and marketing will no longer be greeted with hesitation or negativity. Instead, operating from the Tao of Marketing concepts of wholeness and integration, our mindful outreach will be understood as a crucial part of making our offerings known, and people will feel inclined to explore the messages in the materials that we create.
“Full of surprises and unexpected twists and turns, this journey is one that cannot be approached through the intellect.”
Connecting to source
We can experience the ease of moving into the Tao of Marketing when we are connected to source: that place inside us where consciousness resides, where we feel rooted, comfortable in our own skin, whether we are active or at rest. When we merge into this space, we have more trust in our decisions; we are able to work through emotional and physical challenges, and maintain objectivity. By surrendering into this relationship with our own inner being, by tending to this “inner garden” first, we move more quickly out of confusion and agitation and act with increasing clarity. By setting up a practice of daily meditation, we get in touch with the little voice inside us that tells us when to move, when to slow down and when to stop. The deeper we plunge, the louder that voice becomes, and the more we can respond from truth.
Visioning our deepest intentions
This vision quest is a wondrous ride we take to discover our hidden directions and desires. Full of surprises and unexpected twists and turns, this journey is one that cannot be approached through the intellect. In fact, it bypasses the analytical mind and ego entirely, enabling us to connect with our highest intuition from the purest place. Like the divination techniques of the I Ching, the Tarot, and the Runes, which reveal our unconscious thoughts, the quest to align with our soul’s calling bares our deepest longings and helps us define and outline our future. It energizes our soul’s destiny, making it visible to us. Unlike divination techniques, there is no need for any outside reference –– no cards, no yarrow stalks, no stones, no coins. All it takes is us!
Visioning, nurturing and dissolving
There are the three stages of creativity. We see them portrayed in the Hindu Triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Understanding these faces can be an incredible asset to our creative development. It is about staying conscious and understanding that each face of the triad, each stage, merges into the next; each contains the next, and they are not to be seen as separate or solid entities. When we fully comprehend that each stage is moving, shifting, forming and dissolving into the next in a constantly dynamic motion without ceasing, we begin to honor these stages. We see that they ultimately give us an image of a fluid poise, pointing the way to restoring equilibrium when something in our creative process has become unbalanced. Knowing how these cycles manifest, we are quickly brought back to center.
Moving beyond our comfort zones
Many of us walk around every day ensconced in our own little worlds, without the slightest understanding or compassion for the worlds of others. And because we feel so safe and comfortable, unthreatened inside our
little grooves, we limit our exposure and narrow our field of opportunity. And then we wonder why we feel stuck and our businesses don’t prosper.
Myopic behavior has deeper implications than just our inability to have an open mind; it brings to the surface our selfishness, our failure to listen, and the limits of our compassion for others. Do we want to live our life within these margins, or can we choose to be another way? Demonstrating concern and kindness for others is not a weakness; rather, it is a sign of integrity, a posture that strengthens the heart. When we move out of our comfort zones, open up to new possibilities, our lives and our businesses stay fresh. They keep their sparkle, and we keep moving toward our highest aspirations.
“By setting up a practice of daily meditation, we get in touch with the little voice inside us that tells us when to move, when to slow down and when to stop.”
The power of our story
The power of our story illustrates the throb, the pulse and the initial intention that brought our businesses to life. When we stay true to that spanda, that primal pulsation, our stories indeed become known. Not because we spend thousands of dollars on advertising and promotion (although we might) but because our stories contain the seven essential ingredients: passion; a problem; solving the problem; broad appeal; a personal, emotional connection; a beginning, middle, and end; and an unexpected twist.
What is the story other people are sharing about your business? When the feedback returns to you, and you hear that you have uplifted the human spirit, there is no better story than that.
Ritual and ceremony
When we speak, do we not want our listeners to be interested, captivated, intrigued? Of course we do. Our role is to be the channel for the information we want to convey. Using ritual and ceremony in our presentations gives us permission to be naked, present, outrageous, funny, and loving when we stand before our audience. When we reveal ourselves in this way, we reveal our inner light. We become the light. We allow that sacred element within us to blaze forth and create that blessed bond with every person in front of us!
When we bring these essential qualities to the forefront without holding back, we give our listeners the opportunity to connect with that same space within themselves. We honor their pace and their ability to learn, their own creativity and capacity for delight. They feel secure in our presence –– and thereby safe to dream, to feel their aliveness, and trust that they too can be who they are in the most fundamental way.
“The power of our story illustrates the throb, the pulse and the initial intention that brought our businesses to life.”
Our soulful collateral
Our Soulful Collateral includes our hard-copy and online materials, such as our websites, cards, brochures, flyers, and ads. It also includes our live and taped presentations. These materials support us in establishing our personal and business identity, showcasing us to the world. Their function is to be our extended arms and legs, to hopefully touch our audience, cultivate interest, provide a platform for us to speak out and proudly voice: “Hey, look at me. Read this! My product, my service will change your life, it will make your life happier, healthier, wealthier, wiser . . . if you do.”
When our marketing materials, our voice, our visuals, reflect the heart and soul of who we are, the listening audience will either be attracted to what we have to say, or not. We can’t be attached to who listens, who becomes interested, or who turns away. That is not our job. Our job is to be in alignment with our message and ready with our materials, so we can open to receive those who come to us.
“The process of building bridges for financial gain or philanthropic purposes, releases us from the narrow confines of our secular lives and opens us to broader perspectives.”
With a few clicks, we can meet people around the block, in the next city or state, or in the most distant country. We can e-mail or pick up the phone and introduce ourselves, break the ice, establish friendships, and create magnificent partnerships. As spiritual marketers we want to bridge our businesses with people we trust and who trust us. Only then will we establish a network of flow that brings substance, support, resources, energy, and passion from all directions.
The process of building bridges, whether for financial gain or philanthropic purposes, releases us from the narrow confines of our secular lives and opens us to broader perspectives. Once we understand the magic of linking, we see our lives expand, our businesses prosper, and our hearts swell. By committing to an evolutionary agenda, we consciously use our collective wisdom for the highest good. Opening to this kind of sharing, creates the impetus and becomes the catalyst for Leveraging Our Assets, the next step in the initiation process.
Leveraging our assets
Fine-tuning our businesses, knowing what our business does well and where it needs improvement, is an art and a science in and of itself. There will always be aspects of our profession that need altering –– whether it’s our day-to-day operations, our employees, our marketing materials, or our technical requirements. At the same time that we observe and address these business concerns, we also need to care for our personal growth, so that our own evolution parallels our everevolving careers. The attention we give to both these facets, even while they shift from week to week and month to month, gives us the proper footing, the leverage that empowers us to be of significant influence in the marketplace. Regardless of which forms of leverage we choose, be they astrology or feng shui, the approaches we select can be a catalyst for change and a way we can learn about others and ourselves. Adding these approaches to our bag of tools gives us the positional advantage we need to stay on the cutting edge, particularly at those times when we need a moment of pause or a second opinion.
Responding from abundance
Making offerings, developing social responsiveness, does not have to be an undertaking we make once a year during Christmas or Thanksgiving. Nor do we have to wait until there is a disaster before offering our support to our neighbors –– whether in our own communities or around the world.
When we start responding to the greater world and move out of our insular caves, we automatically create a ripple effect in our own lives, for our families, for our children and our children’s children. Is there a guarantee that this responsiveness will grant monetary success or a more meaningful life? If we are open to it, and respond from the place of inner abundance, we will find ourselves living a richer and fuller existence. Through our offerings we build a more meaningful life — and the entire planet opens up to us and offers us, in return, its bounty, its magnificence, and its perfection.
Write to learn
The process of writing and the reasons we write vary from person to person.
Some of us write to explore our artistic potential, to connect with the deepest part of ourselves, to challenge ourselves, to teach, to dare, to fantasize. Others write to express our creativity, to engage the heart in ways we cannot reach by plunging into any other form of activity.
When we dive into the music no one else hears, explore those subterranean crannies in our minds, and keep digging, we bring jewels and gems to the surface. The more we drop into that place where we learn what is already known, the more we sharpen the spirit, discipline the mind, and honor the knowledge that has been given to us.
When we develop the courage to explore the limitations of our minds and let go, when we respect what has captured our attention, when we do justice to what has driven us to write and to place those precious words on that pearly white page, we become the author to our own future. Tis a noble goal to strive for!
“There’s a push and another push, the necessary dyings, the ground crumbling that lets wildflowers come up.”
The element of surprise
When we add the element of surprise to our lives, we bring out the creativity, the fun, and the inventiveness within us. We elevate those with whom we share our delightful surprises –– and brighten up both their day and ours. We have so many avenues by which we can reclaim our awareness of and access to “the surprise.” We can think about the people we work with, our coworkers and clients, and by what means we can uplift their day. We can call a colleague and share a funny joke. We can surprise a client by treating them to theater tickets or a basket of fruit, bringing them a fresh idea or a new contact. We don’t have to wait until there is a crisis, a birthday, or a holiday to be generous. This element, this manifestation of surprise can be an ongoing, stimulating adventure that continues to promote optimism, stir a change of heart, and cultivate an ever-expanding spiral of openness and potentiality.
By making the first move, not waiting for someone to gift us first, we celebrate those we care for, begin to trust in the power of our imagination and lightheartedness, and see firsthand that the return on our investment, whether tangible or intangible, will always be beyond price.
Living intentionally, communicating honestly, enjoying life with discipline is a minute-by-minute, day-by-day, conscious effort to be better, feel better; live a happier, more productive, love-filled life. Our lives and our businesses suffer when our actions are not disciplined. The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. Subtle and insidious slips cut into our freedom, carve stumbling blocks into our mental pathways, and without notice pull us down into the depths of unconscious behavior. We lose sight of our goals, and our life comes to a screeching halt.
So, how can we master our senses? How can we transform our ordinary perception into an extraordinary vision and make the most of this initiation? We can stay alert. We can notice when our lives are working and when they are not. We can stay mindful of our true needs and the needs of others. And when they are not being met, we can pause, refresh our resolution, reshape our journey, and then . . . keep moving.
Discipline is a mysterious process. For some of us, it is mastering our intake of food; for others it is disciplining our speech. For most of us it is seeing discipline as a joyful, enriching experience that has monumental rewards. The rewards are not just something that we get from discipline, but something rewarding in the experience of discipline itself –– something exhilarating, something spacious, something balancing, something that breathes.
Andrea Adler is the founder of Holistic PR.com and the author of The Science of Spiritual Marketing: Initiation into Magnetism, and Creating an Abundant Practice. She is an international speaker, workshop presenter, and consultant. For 30 years, Andrea has specialized in educating entrepreneurs, small and large business owners, and students on the relevance of marketing with integrity. www.HolisticPR.com