| The Energy of Money|
A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment
By: Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.
money money, money is an uncomfortable subject for most of us. Many people would rather talk about their sex life than their bank balance.
We love money, and we hate it.
We can’t live with it, and we can’t live without it
Money can be a source of great joy and creativity, or it can bring frustration and misery, depending on our relationship with it.
And we bring all these doubts and fears, hopes, and expectations with us every time we deal with money----not just when we visit a financial planner, tax preparer or loan officer, but, in every area of our lives.
Money touches almost every aspect of living: work, leisure time, creative activities, home, business, family, and spiritual pursuits. Everything we do or dream of doing is affected by our relationship with this powerful form of energy. Whether your dream is to travel around the world, buy and pay for a house, establish a food bank, buy a Corvette, get out from under a mountain of debt, or take a year or two off to write a novel, that vision is intertwined with the possibilities and pitfalls bound up in the energy of money.
This very discomfort is what makes our relationship with money such fertile ground. Whatever is potent for us, whatever elicits strong emotions, whatever seems to “hold on to us” in life has the power to bring forth our greatest strengths and most remarkable qualities. Our relationship with money calls on us to wake up, to see how we are handling all kinds of energy----not only money but time, physical vitality, enjoyment, creativity, and the support of friends----and to use those lessons to enrich every aspect of our lives.
THE HERO’S JOURNEY
In my 25 years as a clinical psychologist and 17 years of leading the “You and Money” course, I have been inspired by how willing people are to learn and apply these lessons in ways that enrich their own lives and contribute to others’. In fact, I have come to see or relationship with money as a hero’s journey. It is a path fraught with trials and tribulations, tribulations and treasure.
The hero’s journey is often thought of as a classic “coming of age” story. We all undergo such a journey, consciously or unconsciously, in our individual lives. And we all go through the same basic stages of this journey as we undertake new pursuits and goals throughout our lives: we depart from our familiar routines, lives, or families; we enter into unknown territory where we encounter fears, mysteries, dragons, and mentors; we are initiated into new understandings, pursuits, or skills; and , finally, we gain mastery over our newfound skills, ourselves, and our particular part of the world.
The hero’s journey calls on us to bring forth the power of “being,” which Webster’s defines as “the complex of spiritual qualities that constitute an individual.” In working with the energy of money we think of our being as that ineffable, indescribable part of us that remains constant and courageous, regardless of what is happening around us.. The power of bing emerges in moments of extraordinary insight or heroism. It is our authentic self, the essence of who we are, apart from our personality traits or the drama that sometimes surrounds our lives. The hero strives to bring the qualities of being to whatever he does, including his relationship with money. Working with money from the source of your true being will give you power and ease and a sense of interconnectedness.
The main goal of the hero’s journey is to make your dreams a physical reality-----and to learn from all the challenges along the way. In doing this, we see and appreciate our own true nature more clearly----which is where our dreams come from–—and we share ourselves and our accomplishments as a contribution to others. I believe that this is the purpose of being human
We will lay out the exact route to a powerful relationship with money. You will see how to bring your goals and dreams into physical reality, and how to ground them in the Life’s Intentions and Standard of who you really are. Ultimately, this book is about the richness and fulfillment of living life as a hero’s journey
In the “You and Money” course, to date, I have coached more than 4,500 people toward breakthrough in their relationship with money. One by one, I’ve held each person’s hand as she or he stood in front of a group, took a deep breath, and began talking about his or her money life and monthly take-home pay. This was desperately uncomfortable for some, as you can imagine, but these people had a vision for themselves. They realized they had achieved certain goals, and some had come a long way from where they began, but they also sensed that something was keeping them from going further. They all had intentions and dreams, and the desire to know that they had made a difference. They had inner Standards of Integrity, even if they had temporarily lost sight of them, and they were willing to experience the momentary discomfort of revealing themselves and their concerns to the group if it might help them experience miracles.
I have had the good fortune to work with people in every walk of life, wealthy men and women and those on welfare, as they grappled with their relationship with money . I saw them look at how they had been “shooting themselves in the foot,” at where they had stopped themselves in the past, and what they could do to keep moving forward towards their goals and dreams despite great discomfort.
I saw these various people succeed at bring their dreams into reality with ease and joy----building a business that contributed to the community, getting their pilot;’s license, having an art exhibit or publishing the book they’d always wanted to write, taking their children on a great vacation, being a successful entrepreneur. Finally, I watched them see themselves clearly, sometimes (often) for the first time, and thus experiencing themselves as courageous, wise, loving, powerful and compassionate individuals who had learned to release and use the energy of money.
This journey always began with being willing to look within, and then to bring forth into physical reality that which had heart and meaning. These people have inspired me, and shown me what was important in their own life. They have also pointed me to certain questions, and one of these is: Why is it that we don’t use all the information and resources available to us to achieve what we want in life?
KNOWLEDGE + WISDOM = POWER
Today, as never before, we are surrounded by all manner of information, knowledge, and advice----but something stops us from using it.
Have you ever read a financial magazine or gone to a money-management seminar, but then didn’t put all that good advice to use in your life? As one woman said, “I have some of the world’s best, most famous, greatest money books sitting on my nightstand gathering dust. I wish I could close my eyes and absorb them all through osmosis or something. I never seem to do anything with all that information.
Acquiring information and advice about how to manage or invest all our money is real easy. The trick, however, is to act on the information, to do something that improves your life, and the lives of all those you love. That’s what wielding the energy of money is all about The woman with the stack of budget, investing and assorted money books was not experiencing a powerful relationship with money. Her situation had nothing to do with her skills, ability, talent, or intelligence. It did, however, have everything to do with her own obstacles-----obstacles that she eventually cleared away using the principles in this book.
If you could take all the information available and put it to work in your life-----if you could translate all that knowledge into behavior----would you do it,? Really?
All of my lifetime work as a clinical psychologist and in the “You and Money” course has been aimed at giving people like you the tools both to use all of the information and knowledge available, and to access their own inner wisdom----because I believe that knowledge plus wisdom equals power!
USING THE ENERGY OF MONEY
To use the energy of money successfully, you need to operate in both the physical reality and the metaphysical reality made up of, among other things, dreams, visions and your Life’s Intentions.
Our inner visions inspire us, but we can’t be content merely to “metafizzel” our ideas without taking any action in the real world. I can dream forever about taking my dream trip to Paris, but nothing will happen until I first call my travel agent, then book a ticket, go to the airport at the appointed time, and have gathered all the funds necessary to pay for all this If I don’t do all these things in physical reality, that goal of a Paris trip will languish on my “wish list” forever, the subject of endless talks with friends and perhaps even discussions of how I continually limit myself. Psychological insight, positive thinking, and reading travel brochures may held me clarify what I really want, but only the energy of money will help get me on that plane.
How do I make it happen with ease? And how do I apply the lessons I learn in my relationship with money to all other areas of my life? That is the subject of this book.
I promise that when you learn to work freely and easily with the energy of money, your life will become what psychologists and counselors call “intentionally” satisfying. You will know precisely what you want, what brings you joy and meaning, and you will see how to get it with ease. I promise you, it will not be a hit-or-miss proposition. For example, when you understand your true Life’s Intentions ,apply your personal Standards of Integrity, and learn to release the energy of money within your company, you will do business differently and probably with much greater success. You will make the important decisions in your life consciously, never again abandoning your dreams by default because you “can’t afford them.”
In these pages, I won’t be telling you how to invest your money, or where to put your savings. Instead, I will help you clarify what you really want out of life and then give you the tools to act powerfully when you use money to move towards those dreams.
MY OWN STORY
If you had asked me to talk about my own relationship with money seventeen years ago, I would have been really mortified. That year I gambled and lost. I invested $35,000 on an unsecured promissory note to a man I had known but six months. It wasn’t even my money. I didn’t have it, so I borrowed it from a family member.
The man to whom I loaned this money promised I would get a 30% return on my investment. The money was supposed to be used to make short term loans to buyers who needed to close real estate deals already in escrow. There were no escrows, and within a few months the investors lost everything. It was a fraud.
Like many of you, I read investment books and attended money seminars. I had a financially sound private practice as a clinical psychologist. But in the case of this $35,000 investment, what I knew didn’t influence my behavior
When I lost this money, I felt terrible. I have since repaid my relatives, but at the time I still felt really stupid. It was bad enough to have lost the money, and equally humiliating not to have listened to my friends, who told me to reconsider, but the deal sounded too good to be true. And, worst of all was a haunting memory: just as I was about to sign my name to that #35,000 check, I distinctly heard a small voice------my internal voice of reason----say, ”Don’t do it!” Did I listen? No!
I hoped; I prayed that no one else would ever find out what had happened to me. I thought that for the next several months. Maybe, if I could just hide in my office, make lots of money, and hope my friends would just forget to ask me about any new investments. However, fate had other plans for me. Two weeks after I discovered my money was gone–gone!, I got an unexpected phone call from a local newswoman.
“Dr. Nemeth.” she began, “the university gave us your name because you’re an associate clinical professor there. We know you’re a psychotherapist, and I need your help with an article I’ writing for the Sacramento Bee.”
Now, as many of us would, I found her inquiry a great boost to my shaken state of mind. Here, at last, was an opportunity to recoup some of my lost esteem. After all, I was still a competent psychologist! “Yes, I’d be most happy to help in any way I can,” I said with my most dignified, yet humble, professional voice.
“Well, you may not be aware of this, but Sacramento has been having as run of investment frauds lately. I’m doing an article on it. We need to know if there is any type personality or character flaw that allows people to be taken in these type schemes. You must see lots of these type people in your practice. What exactly must be wrong with their thinking process?”
OH!, my God! I was caught! At first, I wanted to say that I was way too busy to talk. I wanted to hang up the phone before she asked another question. I saw my professional reputation going down the drain, real fast. But, the worst was yet to come.
I’m an extrovert. In order to know what I’m thinking, I have to hear myself say it. So, before I knew it, I heard myself say the following words, (slipping from my very own mouth:) “ I was one of those people! I lost $35,000 on that scheme!”
I stared into the receiver, feeling my heart going right down through those little black holes in it, I was horrified.
After a long, long pause, the reporter asked kindly, “Are you sure you want to tell me this? Do you really want me to print this in my article?
As I regained my breath, I considered her question. She might as well, I thought. Maybe others can learn from my mistakes.
At one point the reporter tried to find excuses for my action. “He played upon your trust and relationship with your friends who were also investing.” She said. “Well,.maybe. But do you want to know the real reason I investing with him without reading the fine print?” By now, the relief from telling the truth was masking me feel a little heady. “Yes. Tell me,” she gasped. “It was greed.”
The instant the words were out of my mouth, I knew it was true. Greed - Greed!
Wanting to beat the system and make a quick profit. I hadn’t listened to anyone who tried to warn me about how risky the investment was. I had been blinded by the prospect of a fabulous outcome. I had not wanted to bother with the finer details, such as knowing the long-term track record of the company. I had not even asked to see the escrow papers of the deal I was supposed to be financing!
The reporter’s interview was very lengthy. The article she wrote detailed how people from all walks of life can experience moments of money madness. Greed was the form this madness took with me.
Soon after the publication of the interview, my friends and colleagues started calling to reveal their own financial nightmares. They had stories of scams, bankruptcies, and unexpected losses. People told me about their spending binges, or how they hid money from their spouses. I heard stories of families being torn apart because some were left more money than others when their parents or loved ones died.
People told me about goals they had abandoned. They spoke about dreams delayed or unachieved because of fear of taking even the slightest chance with their money. A bank Vice-President told me about a couple who kept more than $250,000 in a low-interest simple savings account because they were too afraid to invest in money-market certificates.
Soon, I had a big file of personal stories that showed how upset we can get in our relationship with money. Some of the people who told the truth about their worries and difficult money experiences were bankers, real estate brokers, certified financial planners, lawyers, and stock brokers .These were all individuals you would expect to know better. The truth was, they did know better. Their knowledge was simply not getting translated into Authentic Action!
A well- known .financial consultant confided, “When it comes to other people’s money, I know just what to do. But, I can’t follow my own financial advice. I’m like the child of a shoemaker going without shoes
I have since found that this is not an unusual experience, and it’s especially difficult for those who are experts in financial fields. If their relationship with money is less-than-powerful, they worry that they are frauds. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Interacting with the energy of money is an opportunity for all of us to learn lessons----no mater how much information we have. The trick is to identify and learn those lessons before they get bigger and more demanding.
I spoke with other people who, rather than having a disastrous relationship with money, were simply bored with the tedious predictability of their money lives. They mad enough to pay the bills and make necessary purchases. Their credit`card debt was too high, but they felt they would get around to paying it off—some day. Many of their goals and dreams had been delayed until their lives settled down—one day. This “ someday/oneday” mantra had captured their attention and was draining their creative energy..
THE YOU AND MONEY COURSE BEGINS
Prompted by everything I was hearing about people and money, I decided to start an informal workshop on money, scarcity, and abundance. Friends joined me. We set aside time when we could get together and focus on looking at our relationship with money. Eventually, these first efforts to bring clarity into our own lives evolved into the You and Money Course.
I first question we looked at was how to confront our unconscious beliefs and feeling about money. That’s a paradox, because if it’s unconscious, how do you know what to confront? Anyway, we plunged right in and began by asking.”What don’t I want to look at regarding me and money?
Old fears, unfulfilled dreams, and financial mistakes took shape before us. Repeatedly, we faced the hard choice of telling the truth—or trying to look good. We found that relief and change came with telling the truth.
A competent administrator of a multimillion-dollar program confided, “It would be easier for me to fly to the moon than to balance my personal checkbook to the penney.” Even as she said this, she began to notice other areas of her life that were out of balance and hadn’t been “reconciled”----like her low energy because of chronic headaches and the fact that she kept putting off seeing her doctor. For another participant, balancing the checkbook was a piece of cake, but the thought of actually having fun with money while reaching satisfying goals seemed like a bad joke. And this lack of enjoyment seemed to be echoed in his personal relationships as well.
We discover that money is so central to our lives that, whether we are rich or poor, we have a relationship with it as soon as we are old enough to count. Money provides us with security, stability, a way to take care of our families, make a contribution, and have fun. These are some of the same reasons we seek relationships with other people. As in our relationships with loved ones, se often get mired in anxieties.
One woman laughed and said, “My relationship with money is like a one-night stand----here today, gone tomorrow, and it doesn’t even know my name.”
“I don’t have enough money” was a common thread running through most of our discussions. Money was frequently name as the number one cause of stress. (In 1996, a Louis Harris and Associate survey for the Lutheran Brotherhood found that one-third of the adults who responded said that they had trouble sleeping or relaxing because of financial anxieties. Decisions they had delayed because of financial obligations included: buying a house, changing careers, having children, taking a vacation, and getting married.
Almost everyone’s solution to the money problems they were having was simple: “Just give me more money, then things will get better for me.”
I even talked to people who questioned whether they had the right to continue living if they couldn’t afford to meet their basic needs. Others believed that winning the lottery could solve all their problems. Some worried that their desire for money conflicted with their spiritual beliefs. Many felt victimized or helpless, as though money were an outside force controlling their lives. They felt they would never be free of its tyranny.
As each of us looked at our particular brands of money madness, telling the truth to ourselves and one another, an unusual phenomenon occurred. We all felt that, suddenly, we had more breathing room in our lives. What we genuinely wanted in life became more clear to us. We also gained the fortitude to pursue goals that had seemed impossible. This happened no matter how old or young we were, or what shape our finances were in at the moment.
Let’s talk about breathing room for a moment, since you’ll be hearing that term frequently in this book. When we talk about money, and we surely will, many of us feel jammed up against life, as if our face is being pressed against a pane of glass. We feel pressured or blocked, and wish we could just get away from this particular subject. It is as if we had a weight on our chest that kept us from breathing easily.
If you want to test this on yourself, think for a moment about this question: “Do I have enough money?” Ask the question aloud to yourself three or four times. Where does your body register a reaction? Maybe in your stomach? In your chest region? At your throat? Not much breathing room, right?
Breathing room occurs the moment you get into what I call the observational position. From this vantage point, you feel space between yourself and what you are experiencing. It happens when you tell the truth about something that’s been bothering you. If you pay attention the next time you do it, you may find yourself automatically taking a deep breath. You calm down. You are not upset. In that moment, you might even see options for action where previously there seemed to be none. The program you’re about to follow in this book is specifically designed to give you this kind of freedom. Breathing room brings clarity and creativity to your relationship with money.
Breasting room occurred for Dorothy, who took the You and Money Course a few years ago. She was in her seventies, a retired librarian who had given up her cherished dream to join the Peace Corps. and teach English in a faraway place because she thought she was “too old.” In addition, she was worried about leaving her grown son, who had special needs and required care.
Dorothy mad appropriate financial arrangements for her son, applied to the Peace Corp, and was accepted. Not long after the last meeting of her group, I received a postcard from Sri Lanka, where she was organizing libraries and teaching English as a Second Language.
Another woman, Jane, had a successful restaurant business in California. She wanted to expand, but never seemed to have the impetus or wherewithall to do so----and it was becoming a problem for her. In the You and Money Course, she saw that one of her practices was to pay some of her servers “under the table”, not declaring them as employees for state workers’ compensation. She wasn’t paying them and more or less than she paid other servers, but she was trying to escape paying withholding taxes. Jane saw during the course what a drain this practice was on her energy. Not only was it not a sound business practice, but it also went against what she knew naturally was right.
In the course, she told the truth about it and got some breathing room. She didn’t like telling the truth about it, but she did. She then took action and made the situation right. She put all her employees on the payroll officially. That gave her a clean slate to see what it really took to run her business, and the restaurant prospered even more and she expanded. This simple shift to telling the truth was very powerful for Jane, and her business.
I am not the ethics police, and I don’t tell people what the rules are. The purpose of this work is for you to discover your own rules, the rules that you have always had, the rules that are reflective of your being. When you don’t operate in accordance with those rules, you don’t have any breathing room. Jane found that bringing her business practices into alignment with her own rules not only made her feel better and more whole, but her business could prosper.
Doris also experienced the benefits of breathing room. She was the East Coast representative for a major manufacturing firm that had a very popular product.
The company wanted to get information on it out very quickly—and in the rush, Doris dropped some details and a fancy brochure was sent out with erroneous information on it. Reprinting the brochure would cost a fortune, but because of the nature of the information, the company could. and would, face legal problems if the brochure was not corrected.
Doris’s breathing room came when she saw that she’d been so driven that she hadn’t attended to the details. Ordinarily, she would have rushed to do another brochure immediately, but she realized that in that panicky state, she might have gotten other information wrong.
When she was able to just sit and observe the situation and her reaction to it, instead of rushing ahead to do the same thing she’d done before, she had some breathing room to develop a better strategy, and it worked.
Graduates of the You and Money Course have freed themselves from crippling debt, built successful businesses, purchased dream homes, traveled abroad and even written screen plays. They have located and accomplished their hearts desires, and so can you.
The first courses, gatherings with friends who were willing to share their experiences with money, represented a turning point in my life. I proceeded to clarify some of my own beliefs about money and got in touch with some hidden feelings about it. But there was more, much more! When I saw my own life changing for the better, and others’ lives were changing for the better, I felt that I had been given a life’s purpose to fulfill. It was just like being handed an invaluable gift. I could give my own life expanded meaning and purpose, and at the same time create a setting and the necessary tools that others could use to gain clarity and power with money. I wasn’t the only one to be given such a gift. Others in these early groups found that they, too, were uncovering a deeper sense of purpose for their lives.
I offered the seminar outside my small circle of friends, and it caught on fast.
Within a short time there was a great demand for this work. Soon, I was getting requests from other parts of the country, and within a few years I found myself traveling to many other states. Today, I am happy to say, I am teaching these principles internationally
The You and Money Course continues to evolve as courageous people step forward to unleash the energy of money in their lives. Each and every time we present the course, I am still moved by how willing they are to be present to their lessons, and to contribute to the process and to those who come after them. Over time we have developed twelve guiding principles for this work.
THE 12 PRINCIPLES
The Energy of Money presents 12 principles for personal fulfillment. Through them you will begin to develop mastery with the energy of money. You will uncover the hidden landscape of beliefs, behavior patterns. And habits that underlie and sometimes subvert how you use money and other forms of energy.
You learn to unleash and focus the energy of money, how to express your Life’s Intentions through meaningful goals, how to handle the difficulties that inevitably arise as you approach the border between dreams and physical realty, and how to live in forgiveness, support, and abundance.
Webster’s Third International Dictionary tells us that a principle is a “general or fundamental truth; a basic or primary source of material or energy.” A principle is not an action step that you do once, and then it’s over. A principle is an ongoing guide for living. Each of these 12 Principles is designed to help you access your own inner wisdom, so that you move with ease and clarity towards your goals and dreams. The 12 Principles may surprise you, and some may seem counterintuitive. But, if you work with them, I promise you clarity and ease beyond your wildest dreams.
You may notice that these are universal principles for successful living, and you may be tempted to use them in areas of your life other than money. That’s fine, but
I strongly suggest that you focus on your relationship with money, because doing so will give you the most measurable, immediate, and potent results..
The 12 Principles are presented in four parts.
Part 1. “The hero’s Purpose,” invites you to see just how willing you are and have always been, define, define your Life’s Intentions and Standard of Integrity, and develop goals that express who you are in your hero’s heart.
Part 2. “Identifying the Inner Blocks to Progress.” you will learn about Monkey Mind chatter, what scarcity really means, and how we waste the energy of money with driven behavior.
Part 3. “Clearing the Path,” is about releasing old beliefs, unleashing the energy of money through forgiveness, and making and keeping promises that move you along the path you’ve chosen.
Part 4. “Staying the Course.” You will learn how to deal with external obstacles to your goals, use the support of others to increase your ability to handle money energy, and embrace gratitude as the gateway to abundance.
A FINAL WORD
In coaching people along their paths, I have found that money is neither spiritual nor nonspiritual. It’s simply energy. It is here to be used wisely, consciously, and with great enjoyment. In our culture, there is much discussion on whether you can be on a spiritual path and still have money. Of course you can! The real question is: What are you using the money for? Does it further your Life’s Intentions? Are you contributing to the lives of others? Does it bring lasting satisfaction, or are you using it for instant gratification because your life is off-kilter? These are the questions that bring clarity to your hero’s journey, and they are the questions we will explore in the book.
ONE MORE THING before we begin the first chapter.
To get the most from this book;
please be sure to a notebook or journal to take notes as we go along and to do exercises. Keep a daily record of the journey you are about to commence. Your notes can become your own private seminar. You may also decide to read them with friends, and to support one another as you engage in our exercises. If you do either of these things, you will be following in the footsteps of the You and Money graduates who have successfully turned their dreams into realities.
Congratulations! In reading this boob, you are taking a giant first step. I applaud how willing you are to embark consciously on the hero’s journey, and I wish you well along the way.
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