From A Banning To A Breakthrough

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From A Banning To A Breakthrough

From A Banning To A Breakthrough
How Getting Banned From A Local Chamber Business Conference
Transformed Into A Breakthrough

Dana - Evolve - May 2017

Dana Stovern, Money Medium – Vending Booth At Evolve Expo, May 2017

Setting The Stage:
At the beginning of July I received a phone call from the director of the local chamber of commerce over the mountain from me. She was calling to tell me that my business, The Magic Of Somatic Money, was being banned from the annual September business conference.

I was so shocked by the news that I could hardly speak. It sounded so ridiculous. My mind raced through how this could have happened . . .

I signed up for membership in January 2017 with one of the distinct reasons for membership being to attend the business conference as a vendor. I did not make this a secret to the director — speaking to her about it at least three to four times over the course of months. So, the news that I was being banned was a surprise.

As I learned the details, the fallout looked like this: The elders at the church where the venue was being held were banning me because quote, “You and your business are psychic and we don’t allow psychics.” The chamber was falling into step with this decision allowing the church elders to determine chamber membership policy.

I hung up the phone from the conversation with my head spinning and my heart hurting, and half in agreement with the director to accept an olive branch of an alternate marketing offer that the chamber was giving me. Yet, even in the shock of the moment, my stomach felt sick from doing so. The director seemed to think that this decision was “okay” given that I have an alternative business and treating alternative businesses like this is acceptable.

Steaming In The Brew
Against my better judgement of writing in the heat of the moment, I threw out a lifeline on Facebook about the situation asking for help and clarity in the middle of the chaotic numbness I felt. For twenty-four hours I watched comments flow, tracked what my body was telling me, and emailed the director once with a set of rational questions for clarity.

Through the triggered muck of the situation, the clarity that rose in me was this:

  • I could not accept the olive branch. It was a sellout that made me feel sick to my stomach.
  • I also knew I could not go quietly. This was an example of the subtle and systematic discrimination that non-traditional businesses ritually experience.
  • It was time for me to create my own set of asks. Several FaceBook suggestions stood out clearly.

Making A Stand
After taking 24 hours from the time the director called me, I decided to reject being pacified and raise my objections. In other words, I decided not to be spiritual PC and roll over and take it, and instead, grow a backbone and speak up.

I wrote to the director explaining that they, the chamber, were allowing another member, the church, to set chamber membership policy when the chamber needed to be backing my membership in the first place. I quoted their very own chamber by-laws to them saying that they were to uphold “holding events for membership in non-sectarian and bi-partisan ways.” This situation with the church was NOT an example of their by-laws.

In light of this, my asks were two-fold. One, I asked that they change future venues so that ALL MEMBERS could participate. I asked for a refund on my membership since The Magic Of Somatic Money was be being banned from an event that I had a right to attend.

Getting Passed Up The Line
The director promptly passed me and my message to a chamber board member who, over-the-phone, tried to smooth over my heated words of “discrimination” and a few too many cuss words on my part. When the conversation came out in the wash, there was agreement that something was wrong and something needed to be voiced, especially since other non-traditional businesses had also been banned from this event in previous years. I was just the first one to call foul. So, my complaint was taken to the chamber board and discussed — very heatedly.

Transformational Leverage
The result? In short, initially, a new venue was set up for the 2018 business conference AND upon a re-request (with some leverage) to allow the presence of me and my business at this year’s venue, the elders decided it would be alright for me and The Magic Of Somatic Money to be there.

I experienced my “wow” moment, realizing what a redemption this was — and all from using my voice. What an opportunity for integrated healing.

So, I’m in. I’m sponsoring a Magic Of Somatic Money table at this year’s local chamber business conference — excited to launch my first wave of business-to-business services, especially in the form of lunch and learns for organizations and businesses and somatic money classes for employees.

Thoughts From The Rear View Mirror
More than anything, this situation brought to light for me a very curious thing that happens for spiritual entrepreneurs: so many of us run our businesses in the subtle shadow of being banished, shamed, criticized, ostracized and made fun of. Running a business is hard enough, but doing it with this element makes it that much more difficult, especially when you’re one of the more sensitive in the continuum of the population.

I cannot tell you the times I’ve been name-called and shunned and ostracized from the viable places and people and situations where I totally had a right to do business; where I could totally provide help and illumination and insight. And I almost fell down that dark hole again . . .

In the middle of this quagmire, I seriously questioned saying anything. The shadow world of doubt and fear crept in like a well-known cousin asking if me and my business were valid in the first place. I felt small. Then, the code in our spiritual community of “not making waves” and “turning another cheek” and “live and let live” and “don’t take it personally” all knocked on the door, encouraging me to keep quiet.

None of these fit. The fear, doubt and the sick feeling in my stomach gave way to a wave of anger that eventually settled into balanced power in my belly letting me know that I had a right to say something. I had a right to speak up.

For some reason, a group of people that I don’t even know on the board of directors, were in enough alignment of the idea that a ban was not a positive way to go for their community, they chose to back me in my voice for change.

Living through this experience, let me know that taking the risk to speak up was worth it in light of hope for the possibility of transformational change in the world.