Friday, May 11, 2012

To Market, to Market....is self promotion beneath you?

To Market, to Market....is self promotion beneath you?

Holding on to old ideas about promotion and self promotion may be tempting, but not so helpful.

The key for me  is to sincerely investigate my intentions every step of the way.

If we cannot see our books as a service to others and our duty to ensure that  "some ones" out there at least have the option to receive our work, then why, oh why did we really write at all? 

With this attitude, we unconsciously imply that the book / story is 'ours', about 'me' alone, and all 'mine'.

There is in this, a subtler and greater ego attachment! This kind of  self denial is unnecessary. It is selfless in fact, to  simply let go and facilitate  movement of your work  in the world through you. It takes time, energy, sacrifice and love to do so.

Let me give you a little story (smiles):


When I was pregnant (9 years ago)  Father Thomas Keating, a Catholic monk (an author of many books and articles on fine topics such as Centering Prayer, Attention and Intention and spiritualizing the heart not the ego and so on) came to Trinidad.

I went to hear him the night he spoke at St. Theresa's Church, Woodbrook. He was introduced by then Archbishop Gilbert who said to the crowd, "My role in the Church is mostly as an administrator, I come to sit at the feet and learn from a man who has devoted his life to meditation and silence."

He literally opened the door for everyone present to open their minds and hearts to profound esoteric and even mystical teachings.

Keating, in his 70s at the time, spoke for over an hour, energetically and plainly about every metaphysical, Chopra quantum physics, crystal light beaming concept of spiritual truth I have ever encountered. He sometimes made direct mention of some of these other systems, teachers and authors, and he also contained and applied it all in relevant ways to  the Catholic faith for those who needed it clothed that way.

It was a profound experience for me, ( with no direct bearing on the issue of self promotion,  but which I find hard to extricate from this much loved and often told personal story:) - I remember the entire time a feeling a sense of fulfillment deep within me that arose from my childhood :

A time when I wanted to be a priest! I began to notice that there were no women priests and felt quite uncertain about ever being nun. This was a 7-year-old  time when I pressured
my non-religious family to take me to church, almost having to argue my case some weekends. One day during the celebration of Mass my mother saw me gazing intently at Father Nicholson as he served at the altar. For all the depth and breadth I was experiencing within myself, when she asked tentatively, "What are you thinking about?"
All my shy self could articulate was something trite like, "Father is putting on weight." 
It became a long standing joke for her to retell as a parent (sadly, at my expense).

But I digress, that night  in St Theresa's, something I knew then in childhood was surfacing within my consciousness. Way back then I realized that there was something ineffable lacking and which I could not  articulate as a child. Decades later,  that missing piece was fulfilled through Fr. Keating, and I come to it all in the fullness of my feeling without censorship, shyness or fear:

"I always knew I would finally hear the truth spoken in the Catholic Church, in my life time."

After he spoke,  Keating sat at the back of the church with stacks of his books for sale, and invited autographs. He interacted with his fawning fans, with such neutrality that I understood something more  as I observed him; deeper perhaps than all the words he had spoken that night.

He neither rejected his role as author/ teacher  nor claimed it.  I could detect that he was in no way  ego attached nor had he shied away from, or shirked this duty. 

I opted to witness him as he engaged in the present moment, rather than line up for a book.

I did not have then as much of  the theory and conscious direct experience of present moment awareness as I can access now, yet it was palpable.

In hindsight, I see that for those minutes, I was certainly tuned in to the Present  by tuning in to and with  him. In his reflection  of true self, a lesson of true humility, (very different from false modesty), was transmitted and received.


Such work we may term "marketing", can be understood quite simply without all the images and historical implications that the word itself invokes. Marketing the self now, via blogs and so on,  is simply a matter of employing internet and mobile technologies in a time when we no longer rely on any "Massa" broadcaster and publisher. Why not claim this freedom as a great leap in our evolution, and an opportunity to each follow our own bliss? 

Surely more bliss for any one of us, is a blessing for all!

Until we can say I AM... and know that we are not aggrandizing the ego, but simply stating the sincere intention of self expression from the heart of the matter, we will remain caught in a web of shyness, fits and starts and cramp our legitimate fulfillment with haunting worries of what others think.

The best antidote, is to observe with courage and self honesty what you yourself may think, and deal with that one moment at a time as you create a work and delcare, "It is good."

To write about your own work is simply a way of  including yourself in the ALL - May ALL be happy.

To exclude ourselves from All, is to place ourselves where?

If we are not contained in  All then we are separate, set apart, beyond or even  above others! Cool ego trick eh? And there is much cultural evidence to convince us that we are being selfless in such thinking. All  the while some subconscious destructiveness, is having its victory over us - the fear has had its way with us! Our creativity has been blocked and the flow of good,  that  may be freely given and received dries up.

Contemplating and understanding the ways in which we are productive and destructive to our creativity, is helpful for our  healing as writers/ artists/ performers etc. We are killing creativity all the time! and for what?

Unless you have a publicist doing the work for you, then in my opinion it is unwise to NOT support your creations in the world. Would you give birth to a child and abandon it? ( I guess some do.)

And all the 'successful' writers who appear to do work successfully, solely on the merit of their  work is illusory.  They are, through their work,  simply  paying a cut to their publishers, publicists, agents etc to do such menial work for them. 

Nice life? Maybe.

I don't mind cleaning meh own house and doing meh own laundry so long as it is necessary and helpful for myself and others.

Is that, or get a 8 to 4!

To each his/ her own.

Above All,
Happy Writing,
JJ

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