I was called magic yesterday.
She had just felt standard shaman magic of helping her see herself in a new way, changing her perception of her relationship with the world, feeling empowered and transformed.
Today, though, we often call that magic “marketing.”
Marketing is the thinking side of business, as Peter Drucker has said. It requires looking at the four key relationship areas of business — with consumers, with owners, with staff and with the community/government — and finding ways to make them more effective, balancing needs and keeping them sweet.
While marketing always has to look at cold facts — there is always a spreadsheet somewhere, always another metric to be tracked and analyzed — much of the job of marketing is about shaping perception, about opening paths to new visions, new ways to see.
The magic of shamans is always about shifting perception, because we know that perception is reality. If people perceive walls and boundaries, those separations become real because people treat them as if they are real. Their choices, their lives, their relationships are all shaped not by some objective reality but instead by their perception of that reality.
Shamans have always dealt with the power of the mind, using all sorts of tricks to reshape perception and transform reality. From psychic surgery to vision quest & sweat lodge rituals, the goal is always to break through the old, limiting perceptions and expectations of the mind to create the possibility of the new.
My marketing view and my shaman vision have always been intertwined, coming from the same place. Seeing things in a different way which illuminates and re-positions them is just something that comes to me.
In the past few months, when I have been able to get out, I find that it is my marketing insight, being able to transform the unexpected into the seen, that people respond to. I cut through the noise around the art community, offered my sister a new way to see her business, and delighted many women at an entrepreneur meetup with insights on increasing their effectiveness in the world.
They are used to seeing themselves and their product only through their eyes and not through the eyes of others. My need to understand the perceptions of others to stay safe — starting with my parents when I was a small child — has taught me to collect both that understanding and find tools to reshape it.
One reason I have trouble marketing myself is that just like every one else, I too live in my own blind spot, limited by my history and my current perceptions. I don’t have a shaman who sees and encourages the marketing possibilities, making it clear to me what to say “no” to and what to say “yes” to.
Many see me as the writer who makes their life clear, but I do that by living in the question, in the liminal space between, rather than in the the conventional doctrinaire box.
To me, marketing ideas are just a socially comprehensible facet of my shaman energy, listening to and invoking many voices to reveal what lies unseen.
Is that magic? I have been pleased this week when people like my sister’s business associate and those women at the meet-up saw it as that.
It is, though, as always, magic that doesn’t seem to come back to me,