guest blog: Grandmother, What Big Teeth You Have – The Dark Side of New Age Prosperity Marketing

by Rachael Pruitt

Where was my street-wise inner child when I needed her?

Perhaps you’re a little like me: a dreamer, not particularly great with money.  A little insecure about the big-wide-world, no matter that your hair has started to turn grey. Perhaps you too are determined to live the dream of the new life that calls to you.  A life that matters, that allows you to succeed both financially & spiritually.  A life that allows you to be of service, yet to be creative, joyful, and rich—all at the same time.

Heady stuff for an old hippie, a social service type who writes novels until midnight & slurps coffee on a blurry-eyed 6 am commute.

Sound a little like you?

This year is it, I decided. No more spiritual starvation.  The stars were whispering at me to go for it, the planets were in alignment.  I knew if I didn’t at least try to “manifest” my own consulting & teaching business now–this very moment–a crucial chance would have passed me by. A chance that might never come again.

So, primed, ready-to-take-action, I plunged into the thundering waters of New Age telesummits like a deranged surfer.  I knew I needed help—I’d never run my own business before.

Where better to look than among those who shared my idealistic, change-the-world-for-the-better values?

Suddenly my surfer persona morphed into a small town girl in a 1940s musical seeing the lights of Broadway for the first time.  Pushing sign-up button after sign-up button, I encountered marques after marques. Lights flashing, glitzy and marvelous, the various telesummit promotors all but puddled neon in a romantic flashing puddle at my feet.

“You too can turn your dreams into a SIX FIGURE BUSINESS, BECOME A SEX GODDESS, AND SERVE THE WORLD AT THE SAME TIME!!!!”   they shouted.

“DON’T LET FEAR & TREMBLING BLOCK YOUR SUCCES.”  they warned.

“WHY YOUR CLIENTS WILL THANK YOU FOR  OVERCHARGING THEM:

PUT THE  NEW ABUNDANCE PARADYM TO WORK FOR YOUR SUCCESS” ,   they chortled, winking as if we shared a private joke.

Now, six months later & several hundred dollars lighter, I wince when I look back over old emails and witness what a trusting little starry-eyed duckling I was.

I am writing this blog first as a cautionary tale to others like me—and this includes anyone who has ever dreamed big and turned to someone else to help them make the fairy dust sparkle at noon as well as in the depths of a private oh-so-silent night.

Secondly, I’m also writing to acknowledge the true visionaries among us. Yes, they do exist: those rare wisdom-keepers whose calm, non-hysterical voices are currently all but drowned-out in the influx of high-ticket life coaches and frenetic so-called miracle-workers who essentially prey on our human vulnerabilities, yearnings, and fears to make lots—and lots and lots–of money delivering New Age clichés and not much else.

I do not perceive myself as a victim, but I am legitimately angry at opportunists who masquerade as healers and have pirated the terminology of idealistic thinkers and visionaries strictly for their own gain.  I also believe it is our responsibility as seekers, to be more skeptical about whom we give our money to.  Yet, for some reason–and I suspect I am not alone in this—the fact that an individual appears under the guise of a New Age telesummit/Spiritual Entrepreneur heading, makes me more likely to trust them.

Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I spent more time and energy investigating the ingredients of my groceries than I did on the qualifications and references of someone I was entrusting my life’s dreams to.  Even after I thought I had learned my lesson, and investigated a second individual more thoroughly, it still took an email foul-up and a potential coach’s short temper to expose a particularly nasty shadow lurking just beneath a polished oh-so-radiant surface.  Fortunately, no contracts had yet been signed.

If It’s Glitzy but Smells Fishy, Don’t Go There

So, here are some guidelines I’ve developed to help separate sincere and talented healers (yes, indeed, they do exist!) from the predators:

•     Everybody needs to make a living—legitimate coaches and teachers as well. This is a given.  Yet is the coach or teacher you are considering seemingly incapable of giving you a straight answer when you request a bottom line financial quote?

Do you hear statements like:

A) “Your decision to work with me shouldn’t be based on the money it will cost.  That’s your old ‘scarcity-thinking’ talking.” (I almost fell for that one.  But isn’t it just a little deceptive to be preaching abundance-consciousness on one hand and not be proudly trumpeting your fees on the other?!)  Or the classic:

B) “Think about what it’s costing you to not sign up for my program.”

These are both ancient sales techniques—reel the fish in with lots of promises before you sock it to them with the actual cost.  And—of course—the actual cost is astronomical.

•    Is there an implied “threat”? For example: “If you don’t work with me, you will continue to be a total screw-up.” or “If you can’t get past your “blocks to abundance” now, you never will.

All these responses imply that this individual is the only one who can help you, that you, yourself are clueless—and—of course–that time is of the essence, it is ticking away as we speak.

Again, these are old sales chestnuts: 1) the indispensible item 2) limited time offers 3) appealing to someone’s sense of need or desperation.

Every one of these are also fear-based strategies, that should, by rights, have no place on a New Age telesummit.  But, of course, in reality they are more prevalent than hornets in August.

•    Piggy-backing on this category is the specific implication that you are not capable of doing any of this by yourself.  Thus, you must hire and work with this individual or you will continue to waste away in a self-imposed prison of befuddlement and poverty.

Ironic again, as healthy self-esteem is supposed to be a cornerstone of the new potential movement.  One would think—naively–that personal disempowerment is not an optimum condition.  But it does help sales.

Additional Note: A final component of this disempowering “you really need me or you will continue to be a miserable life form barely existing on the planet” approach is the patronizing sigh.  Even if you cannot hear it, it exists in the tenor of emails or the tone of a telephone voice: “Well, if you really think you can do it on your own—“
(Translation: “I’m here for you if you are willing to cough up a few more thousand dollars. Otherwise you’ll be a total failure.  What a shame….”)

•    Last, but not least: Carefully investigate websites and references. This is still no guarantee that your potential spiritual mentor is totally legitimate—but if references and website links (especially online article links and personal contact information for references) are non-existent or inaccessible, proceed with extreme care.  No matter how nice or charming an individual is, if they can’t cough up legitimate references or if their website harbors only fluff and non-existent background links, be wary.

Also, be skeptical of anyone who asks you for an immediate down payment, before you have even had time to think about their “package”—let alone process your decision based on real information.

The Good Stuff

All this said, it has been my pleasure to connect with some 1) amazing visionaries 2) coaches who truly do make your life richer 3) money and spiritual experts who really do offer unique, practical, and inspiring insights.  These women and men have enriched my life and inspired my heart.

But, as with all things, don’t just take my word for it.  Investigate for yourself.

Nor is this list exhaustive.  There are lots of good folks out there–the trick is finding them amidst the “prosperity hysteria”.

One key thing the leaders mentioned below share is that they do not charge an arm, leg, head, and/or reproductive organs to connect with them.  A few of the following coaches are expensive, however, they continually offer freebies, books, CDs, video presentations and other low-cost materials available from their websites that allow you to utilize their techniques without spending thousands of dollars.

A second common thread I’ve found true with all of the following people is that they do not believe you are a nitwit. Far from implying or insisting that you are useless without them, these leaders simply offer techniques which allow you to trust yourself & to explore Spirit in a straightforward, non-frenzied way.

Visionaries and Life Coaches:

•    Michael Beckwith and the Agape Community.  Dr. Beckwith’s online community is based in real-world California.  He not only is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard, his community is actively making a lot of people’s lives better.  Check it out.

•    Mary A. Hall’s Abundance Alive website.  For a small monthly fee, Mary offers fantastic coaching & counseling opportunities.  Her goodies are too numerous to list.  See for yourself.

•    Cheryl Richardson.  A personal coach with true integrity and pizazz, Cheryl deserves all the accolades she receives as one of the best international coaches available.  She appears regularly on Hay House radio and is a prolific author with a great website & free newsletter.

•    Lisa Michaels.  Lisa’s coaching process, “Natural Rhythms”, is wonderful; a spiritually unique approach.  She combines it with Shamanic Astrology, giving the people she coaches even more bang for their buck. Her website is chockful of goodies and a wonderful newsletter.

Spiritual & Prosperity Divas

All three of the following women stand out to me as creative groundbreakers, thinkers, and writers who are not just following a sales script.  They also know how to make this spiritual growth stuff “fun” through humor, dance, mythic work, and engaging personalities.  Any time I have ever spent with them either in person or with their materials has been priceless.

•    Morgana Rae.  Morgana is very open about charging big bucks if you can afford her as a personal coach.  However, she is very gracious about deliberately offering much of what she has put together in a low-cost workbook and/or CDs.  This lady is clever, committed, sweet, and down-to-earth with a unique approach to breaking through money issues.

•    Colette Baron-Reid. Colette is an intuitive counselor and coach, a prolific author, and has designed two beautiful decks of oracle cards.  Although her individual readings are indeed pricey, many of her workshops are comparatively inexpensive and her new book The Map is brilliant.

•    Sonia Choquette. Sonia is also an intuitive counselor who describes herself as a “catalyst”.  Again, her individual readings are expensive, but she offers several low-cost workshops a year and her books and CDs—especially Your Heart’s Desire and Ask Your Guides– are wonderful resources.

Woo Woo and Proud

•    Patrica Cota Robles:  This lady makes me see angels.

•    Doreen Virtue: This lady invites me to tea parties with them—and she even knows a few fairies to invite as well.

•    Kelly Hampton: This lady channels Archangel Michael—and I am convinced that it is him indeed. (Did you know he has a sense of humor?) Readings and healings with this dynamic duo are also very reasonably priced given the quality of what they offer.

•    Jennifer McLean’s telesummits.  Even though I personally don’t “resonate” with everyone Jennifer invites, the vast majority of her interviewees are truly the cream of the New Age crop and not to be missed.

And, of course, uncategorized—free and fun—our host, Tad Hargrave!

Conclusion

Namaste, reader.  Like me, perhaps you are sometimes weary of seeking and building a life of meaning in a chaotic and seemingly superficial world. I wish you all a truly healing, abundant, generous, and transformative life. Your happiness is well-worth the effort: as is mine.  May all your dreams come true—with or without telesummits!

 

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