Professional Development

I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my work life more efficient. Since I’ve recently started on a research project, I’ve wondered how I can make my note taking easier. This led me on a journey into the world of speech recognition software.
While investigating my options, I discovered that Windows 7 and Windows 8 have speech recognition software built into the operating system.

By outward appearances, Neo lived an unremarkable life. He slept, ate, went to work. Yet a nagging feeling something was not as it appeared persisted. His search led him to take the red pill, and wake up to a more-real reality he never before imagined.

Nice plot for the sci-fi hit movie The Matrix. But screenwriting siblings the Wachowskis consciously tipped their hats to the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. The admonition to "Wake Up!" has a long history in Western culture.

Of course, the Greeks didn't have a red pill. But they did have a sophisticated theories of of the meta-physical. In the agora and in their living rooms, philosophers debated how creation moved from a transcendent unity, the One, to the multiplicity of manifestations populating our mundane world. These "theories of emanations" provided model they used to explore how to (re)unite with that transcendent, divine "light."

These "lovers of wisdom," were not simply talking about ephemeral theories, they were, in the words of French scholar Pierre Hadot, pursuing "philosophy as a way of life." They developed practical techniques – "spiritual exercises" – to cultivate an interior landscape conducive to the experience of joy; compassion and equanimity in the face of suffering; as well as emotional and mental self-mastery. In other words, such exercises blazed a Western path toward enlightenment, toward connecting oneself to a more direct experience of the divine light.

Such exercises were familiar (and practiced by) the Greek and Roman philosophers, including those involved with the development of astrology. Pieces of this knowledge were preserved in classical texts, inherited by the early Catholic Church and preserved in monastic orders.

However, unlike the early days of the Church, the Greeks and Roman philosophers did not necessarily divorce themselves from the mundane affairs of daily life to contemplate mystical union. Instead they saw their ordinary actions and reactions as a kind of laboratory for studying themselves, their thoughts and their reactions.  Through vigilant self-examination, questioning and reflection, they sought to discover how to shift emotions and thought processes.

One key concept was prosoche, an ever-vigilant attention to oneself. Something akin to today's practice of mindfulness, prosoche necessitated an around-the-clock witnessing of one's actions, emotions and thoughts.  Insights gained from this self-observation provided the raw ingredient for discovering how one's psyche functioned. This, in conjunction with other exercises, provided a formula for achieving more expanded states of awareness which created a fertile ground for union with one's divine spark.

 


Donna Woodwell is an instructor at Kepler and has worked with these exercises as part of her own metaphysical training, which has included shamanic healing, Hermetic magic, and the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.

Let’s face it, unless you are independently wealthy, if you want to sustain yourself as a holistic, astrological business owner, you have to earn money. Unfortunately, many holistic business owners shy away from financial discussions. In this article, we’re breaking the taboo.

As you build an astrology business (or an astrology group), there comes a point where just using Facebook or other social media isn't enough and neither is your personal email. Newsletters can help keep your clients informed and provide a way of reaching others. But before you follow down that path, you want to find a solution that is easy to use, provides good entry level options and offers a way to grow as you need it. Donna Woodwell gives a good argument for MailChimp. 

A few months ago I heard a holistic practitioner arguing that a business plan is a waste of time. If you don’t need to make money from your business, that’s probably true. But, if you need to earn a living, business planning is one of the most essential ingredients for your success. A business plan outlines what clients and customers want, and how your business will meet those needs in a way that enables you to earn a living. If you can’t answer those questions for yourself, your business is far more likely to fail.

We live in a wondrous moment in history. We have more information at our fingertips than our ancestors could ever imagine. But limitless information is also a curse. Too much information leads to indecision, inability to focus and mental numbness. We’ve all seen the symptoms of information overload time and again in our clients and in ourselves.

Successful people are those who learn to harness information in a way that propels them toward the fulfillment of their definite chief aim. Last week we discussed the first step in this process: how to clarify your definite chief aim. This week we’ll look at the next step: creating the space in which to manifest your heart’s desire.

I admit it, I was doing a little ego surfing a few weeks ago to see how my own internet marketing efforts were paying off.  A few pages into my search I started finding errors associated with me (Apparently I’m a geneticist – I never knew I served on the National Council for Genome Research!)

Curious, I did some checking and discovered that there’s a business search engine called Zoominfo. Zoominfo’s automated searchbots scour the internet for every scrap of information on professionals and professional organizations then centralize the information into a searchable, publicly accessible online database.

We know there are millions of customers searching in the holistic marketplace for ideas, products and services to make their lives healthier, more meaningful and purposeful.  Now let’s start to explore how we as holistic practitioners can tap into this marketplace to build successful and prosperous businesses.

Who has time to visit dozens of websites every day to check on the latest articles that interest you? Fortunately, with RSS, you don’t have to. RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication. By signing up to receive the RSS feed from a website, when new content from that website is produced, it will be delivered directly to you.

A few weeks ago I attended a social gathering of holistic practitioners. The conversation drifted (as it often does in such groups) to how to “get more clients” and make a sustainable living.

My companions were compassionate souls who truly want to make a difference in the world. But as I listened, I could hear echoes of the shadow projections and fears of the business. Things like:

  • Holistic services are considered too “woo-woo” and people aren’t interested
  • Practitioners feel like there’s a scarcity of clients, and are afraid to work with other practitioners because they might lose business

As we embark on the adventure of building a business, let’s start by scouting the terrain. By looking at the latest demographics and psychographics on the people we seek to serve, maybe we can begin to dispel these myths and begin our journey unafraid.

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