What if you could be self-promotional and be of service?

Green means go by Britt Bravo

One of the themes that stood out for me from your responses to last week’s Calling All Healers survey was the resistance to self-promotion:

“Social media is an obstacle because I resist it. It’s a time sink and feels self-promotional.”

“Sometimes it’s challenging for me to promote myself.”

“It can be challenging to balance out the ‘self-promotion’ aspect that seems like there is a lot of for myself/business”

At first, I was surprised that this was an obstacle, but then I realized it totally makes sense. If you are a solopreneur who is promoting your individual, personal, and sometimes hands-on and face-to-face services, it can feel vulnerable to say: I’m the one who can help you.

Also, if you’re a healer, you may tend towards taking care of others, thinking about others’ needs before your own, and being of service. Directing attention towards you may feel uncomfortable, unnatural, or even “wrong.”

But what if you could do both: be self-promotional and be of service? To do so may require you to look at your beliefs:

1. Do you believe in yourself and what you’re offering?

If you don’t believe that you can help someone, well then, yes, it’s going to feel pretty icky to put a spotlight on your work because deep down you believe that their hiring you would be a bad idea. Post something by your computer so that when you sit down to work on marketing stuff, you remember how your work has changed lives (e.g. notes/testimonials/photos from clients you’ve helped).

2. Do you believe that telling people about your work makes the world a better place?

A core value of many healers is to “be a force for positive change,” or to “improve people’s lives,” but if someone who needs your help doesn’t know about your work, how can you improve their life? When you are feeling resistant to promoting your work, imagine one of your clients before they came to you, lying in bed and in some kind of pain or suffering and thinking, “Who can help me?” Make it easy for the people who need your help to find you. Self-promotion is part of your “mission” in the world as a healer.

3. Do you believe how you self-promote can be a form of healing?

Every tweet, Facebook update, Instagram photo, YouTube video, e-news issue, blog post, webinar, advertisement, interview, and promotional event can make someone’s life better. It’s possible for all of those things to be beautiful, or inspiring. It’s possible for all of those things to help someone solve a problem, learn something about themselves,  laugh, or feel a powerful emotion. And it’s possible for all of those things to help someone find you after they’ve searched and searched for healing help.

When a person is unwell physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, they may not have all of their usual resources to figure out and find what they need to feel better. One of your jobs as a healer is to make it easier for people who are suffering to find you.

Believe in yourself and what you’re offering.

Believe that telling people about your work makes the world a better place.

Believe how you self-promote can be a form of healing.

Self-promotion of your healing work IS a form of service.

Please take my anonymous 10-question Calling All Healers survey. I want to learn about your Big Vision for your healing work in the world, what comes easily, and what your challenges are.

Image: “Green Means Go” by me.

Calling all healers

purple-spring-flowers

Since the election, when I’ve been thinking about how to best be of service during this time, I’ve heard a little voice in my head say, “Help the healers.”

At first, this didn’t make sense to me, and then I thought about how divided we are as a nation. How the election has caused some people to lose friends and family members. How high stress levels are. We need healers, people who excel at making people and things whole again, more than ever.

The word “heal” comes from the Old English word hælan, to, “cure; save; make whole, sound and well.” If you consider your work to be healing (e.g. alternative medicine, art, bodywork, coaching, counseling, environmental, mediation, meditation, nonprofit, religious, social work, spiritual, teaching, therapy, western medicine, writing, yoga), I’d love it if you would take my anonymous 10-question Calling All Healers survey. I want to learn about your Big Vision for your healing work in the world, about what comes easily, and what your challenges are.

If you know of other healers who might be willing to take the survey, please pass it on to them.

Thank you!

P.S. If you’re a healer, you might like a post I wrote last summer, 7 Social Media and Online Marketing Tips for Healers.

Photo by me.

Every act of love and friendship will make a difference

heartinclouds

My husband and I recently started to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I wanted to see an epic story about a group of beings from different cultures (hobbits, elves, dwarves, humans, wizards) working together to defeat a terrible, evil force.

At the end of the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, the main character, Frodo, decides that he needs to continue alone on the long, difficult journey to Mordor to destroy the ring. As he stands on the shore, poised to set off by himself, he remembers a conversation he had with the wizard, Gandalf:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.

As Frodo starts to row across the water, his best friend, Samwise Gamgee, comes running after him and almost drowns. After Frodo rescues him, Sam reminds Frodo of a promise he made to Gandalf:

Sam: I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. “Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.” And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.

We haven’t finished the trilogy yet, but if memory serves, Frodo wouldn’t have succeeded on his journey without Sam’s help.

You can watch the clip here:

I also recently re-watched Love Actually, a 2003 romantic comedy that follows 10 love stories. The film opens with images of real people greeting each other in the airport (it was filmed with hidden cameras). In the voiceover, Hugh Grant says:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion is starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that.

Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.

When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge. They were all messages of love.

If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking feeling that love actually is all around.

You can watch the opening scene, and the closing scene, which shows additional airport footage, here.

Why am I sharing these clips? Because they reminded me that love, support, friendship, caring and connection have power.

One of the antidotes for our divided world will be to increase people’s experiences of interconnectedness. So, be like Samwise Gamgee. If someone is struggling, walk beside them on their journey. Give them a call and listen. Send a surprise gift. Make a meal. Sit with them so they don’t feel alone. Every act of love and friendship will make a difference.

Photo of a heart in the clouds by me.

Big Vision Love Day: Pay What You Can Feb 10

big-vision-love-day-2017

I woke up yesterday feeling like my heart was shrinking. Something about witnessing the repeated acts of selfishness, unkindness, intolerance and hate in the news and on social media was making me feel small, powerless, and contracted.

And then a video of someone bringing gifts to young people in a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth popped up on in my Facebook feed, and I felt my heart grow a little larger. It was as if I needed to be reminded that acts of compassion are still possible and that the power of love and kindness is real.

So, I would like to offer you a gift.

Being confused, stuck, or in transition around your work in the world, can be painful and financially stressful. Sometimes all it takes is one hour talking with someone to see the beginning of the path ahead, but you just can’t afford it when you need it the most.

On Big Vision Love Day, Friday, February 10, 2017, when you purchase a one-hour Big Vision Mentoring session, you’ll have the option to pay-what-you-can. Your session is non-refundable, but you can use it any time. It never expires. You can find more information on my Big Vision Mentoring page. I wish I could offer this for a month, like I did last year, but my schedule won’t allow me to serve the number of people who signed up last year.

If you feel like talking with me for an hour would help you get unstuck on your Big Vision journey towards your work in the world, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.

What is a gift you can give to bring a little love and kindness to someone today?

How to work with fear in these times

Magical Tree

Please note: I don’t have a medical, psychological, or healing background to draw advice from on how to work with fear, but I can offer the tools I use, and reflections from my Facebook community.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I dealt with a lot of health issues last year, including PTSD from medical trauma. Since then, I’ve become more aware of how fear affects my body and my mind. As I watch the news, scroll through my Facebook feed, talk with friends, and observe myself, I’m aware that our collective fear level is very high.

The purpose of fear is to compel us to take action to survive: to fight, or to flee. According to the Psychology Today post, The Anatomy of Fear, when you feel fear, your body does this:

“[Y]our heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing gets quicker, and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. The blood flows away from the heart and out towards the extremities, preparing the arms and legs for action.”

And your brain does this:

“[T]he brain basically shuts down as the body prepares for action. The cerebral cortex, the brain’s center for reasoning and judgment, is the area that becomes impaired when the amygdala senses fear. The ability to think and reason decreases as time goes on, so thinking about the next best move in a crisis can be a hard thing to do.”

The thing is, we aren’t supposed to feel fear 24/7. It’s not good for our bodies, or our minds. I’m concerned about our collective physical health (especially without access to affordable healthcare!), and our ability to make good decisions as we navigate this challenging time.

Sunset with beautiful clouds

Here are some of the practices that help me work with fear:

  • Exercise: I try to meet my weekly Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps, do my daily home yoga practice, and go to Zumba once a week.
  • Noticing beauty: Since the election, I’ve been trying to take more walks in nature and take a photo most days of the sunset.
  • Meditation: There are lots of Meditation Timer apps available for your phone.
  • Limiting caffeine, sugar and alcohol: None of these are innately “bad.” I’ve just found that consuming less of them creates less highs and lows throughout the day.
  • Journaling: I find it helpful to write down what I’m grateful for, what I fear, and what my best possible future could look like before I go to sleep at night.
  • Spending time with people I love: No explanation needed ( :
  • Reading cheerful, uplifting, or inspiring things: I’m still on a “cozy mystery” tear.
  • HeartMath: The app is free, but you have to purchase the sensor.
  • Getting support: What’s going on right now can feel pretty overwhelming. Talking with a friend, or a professional (e.g. coach, therapist) about how you’re feeling can help. If you don’t have a friend to talk with, and professional help is too expensive, research if: 1. You can join a group, which is usually less expensive than seeing someone one-on-one, 2. Your local religious/spiritual community has support services, 3. The professional you’d like to see has a sliding scale, 4. There is a free support group you can join (e.g. a 12-step group), or 5. There is a therapist training program in your area with reduced priced counseling (e.g. JFK University Counseling Centers).
  • Body/alternative healing work: I’ve found acupuncture and acucraniatsu massage to be very calming, but it can be expensive. If bodywork isn’t in your budget, see if: 1. The bodyworker you’d like to see has a sliding scale, or is open to a skills trade, 2. There is a healing training program near you that needs people for their students to practice on for a reduced fee (e.g. National Holistic Institute Student Massage Clinic), or 3. There is an affordable healing clinic near your (e.g. Oakland Acupuncture Project, Deep Roots Urban Refuge).

sunset

I also asked my Facebook community to share their thoughts, ideas, and resources for how to work with fear:

• Transformational leadership coach, Julie Daley, writes in her post, Developing a Foundation for a Creative Life, “You are not afraid. You are feeling fear. There is a big difference. One slaps the identity of fear on you, that you are a fearful being. When we do this, we begin to believe that we are afraid. But, when we realize fear has nothing to do with our identity, that it is something we feel just like any other feeling, we shift into an entirely different relationship with it. It no longer is us. Instead, we can keep moving, feeling whatever comes.”

• Doula, Zoe Krylova, asks the pregnant women she works with who are having a lot of fear around childbirth to make a list of their fears and then a counter list of best outcomes. Each time a fear comes up, she asks them to counter the fear with a positive possibility (e.g. “I am too old and out of shape to have the strength to push out my baby,” becomes, “My baby will descend with ease and my body will work with me to push the baby out with success.”). You can use this technique in any situation when you fear the worst outcome: a medical procedure, a series of tests or challenges, travel, or civic and environmental concerns.

• In her e-book, 30 Days of Courage, Marianne Elliott, author of Zen Under Fire: A Story of Love and Work in Afghanistan, writes, “In my experience, the bravest thing I could do when I was in free-fall was to sit still and breathe and pay attention.  .  .  . Every morning for 10 minutes, I sat on a cushion with a timer and paid attention to my breath. Every few seconds I would notice that my attention had wandered off with a thought or a plan or a worry or a distraction (and they are all just distractions really) so I would gently nudge my attention back to my  breath and keep sitting. . . . I was training my mind, and like a puppy it needs gentleness and incredible patience.” Marianne has generously made 30 Days of Courage available to download for free.

• Expressive arts instructor, Chris Zydel, says, “Paint. Make art. Use the creative process to channel and engage with your fear in a way that can access your courage.”

Life Artist and Transformational Consultant, Gabriela Masala, writes, “Throughout history, fear has been used as a way to control people and keep them disempowered in survival chemistry (which can not exist at the same time as the chemistry of creation/creativity). For me, working with fear during these challenging times means staying empowered, creative, and connected to creation. It includes flooding my nervous system with the vibrations of nature, beauty, gratitude, affection, touch, love and engaging in a life of embodied soul expression.”

• Ann Dyer, Director at Mountain Yoga, says, “From an energetic point of view, fear is ungrounding. We can work with the body to become more grounded and more rooted in our power. Lots of strong, dynamic leg work and hip opening are recommended!”

• Coach, Lianne Raymond, says she returns again and again to the work of mythologist Martin Shaw. She shared a link to his post, A Counsel of Resistance and Delight in the Face of Fear, where he writes, “Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Listen. Go for a walk. Let in.”

• Nancy L. Seibel, founder of Keys to Change, LLC and life coach for service-oriented professionals, shared some of her self-care practices in her post, In for the Long Haul: writing, creating visual images, noticing signs of beauty and kindness, finding ways to deeply relax, respecting messages from your body, giving and receiving support, and having fun.

Sharon Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Rockwood Leadership Institute wrote, “I was on a call yesterday with teacher, Norma Wong, who shared that in times of maximum fear, our obligation is to create hope. I view this as resistance. Double-down on your own practice of spaciousness and take care of yourself. To start, at least 7+ hours of sleep and clean food. For me, it means my focus and presence in each moment. And I will prioritize self-care, my relationship with my partner, and my work with Rockwood. The discipline of these three. And more love.”

I hope that somewhere among these lists and links there is at least one idea, resource, or tool that will help you during these challenging times.

Please share how you are working with fear so that we can all learn from each other.

All photos by me.