Five Ways to Be More Aware of Money

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I’m the first to admit it: I love to shop and I get used to living in the moment. I recently did a questionnaire that tested my financial knowledge and for the question, “What would be considered a long-term financial goal?” I chose three to six months; the correct answer is more than five years. Most of my spending is not exorbitant: second-hand store finds, the occasional Zappos shoulder, too much food away from home, but over time it began to weigh on my wallet and also on my ment.

The first time my partner suggested a budget, I struggled with nails and teeth. To me, spending on numbers seemed stale, controlling, the opposite diameter of spontaneity and freedom. My view of the world is basically reduced to “Life is a vacation,” and everyone knows you don’t look at your expenses when you’re on vacation.

Our attitudes and actions about money can be significant indicators of the emotional and spiritual problems we face, even, or perhaps especially, those we have not yet fully recognized. It’s like a shark fin: if there’s a flock of credit cards growing between the waves, you can be pretty sure there’s something dangerous underwater.

The late Kundalini Yoga teacher and entrepreneur Guru Jagat leaves a lasting legacy here and her teachings continue. He always said that money (like sex) is “final frontier stuff” – it can be a catalyst for deep self-investigation. “Business has been such a powerful place for me to work with my spiritual maturity, realize my enthusiasm and exercise my courage,” he said. He taught that, ultimately, we can choose between two channels: prosperity or poverty.

“We take our stories with us when we deal with money,” says Judith Gruber, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and life, business and career coach who specializes in helping people develop a healthy, balanced approach to money. . “It reveals how we feel about ourselves, what we believe and how we value ourselves.” For example, if you find it difficult to buy things for yourself, you may also neglect your personal care in other ways.

If you’re ready to shed some light on your financial life, and are looking for something more than recommendations for easy-to-use budgeting software, here are five ways to start building a more money-conscious relationship with yourself.

1. Identify what kind of spendthrift you are and how you did it.
Before you can change your behavior around money, you need to examine the feelings and beliefs that underlie that behavior. Gruber suggests writing an “autobiography of money” that traces what you were taught about money as a child and the emotions that come to you about wanting, getting, and spending. His concept of “MoneyMask ™” theorizes that the way we spend reflects the emotional wounds we received earlier in life. We may overdo it to impress others and feel powerful, or we may cling to what we have because we have never felt completely satiated and cared for. Money coach and psychotherapist Olivia Mellan, author with Sherry Christie of Money Harmony: A roadmap for individuals and couples, has identified six main types of monetary personality: the accumulator, the spendthrift, the money monk, the dodger, the collector, and the money worry.

2. Consider when and why you spend money for purely emotional reasons.
Retail therapy is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to recognize it and recognize it, said Guru Jagat. “You always have to wonder, what are you trying to fill?” she says. “How quickly do you feel empty again after consuming? No shame, just keep that in mind. I’m always very aware of when I’m doing retail therapy because I need to get some strength out of it and give myself a budget.” (He also does his retail therapy locally to support fellow entrepreneurs). To help identify patterns and habits, Gruber suggests keeping a financial journal to keep track of your daily actions and reactions around money. Don’t judge yourself, she points out; just observe.

3. Use a budget as a tool to cultivate balance, gratitude, and healthy boundaries.
Budgeting can be “expansive rather than restrictive,” says Gruber. See the glass half full; Instead of focusing on what you can’t afford, look at everything your money does for you. Just as kids are said to want limits, “Spender” types like me work best with a clear demarcation of what is acceptable. As my partner kept pushing for a budget and as our daughter’s college tuition approached, I finally gave in. At first, when we sat down on our respective devices to measure our income and output each month and sort out where everything was going, it seemed like a little torture. But little by little, I began to feel a certain satisfaction in seeing the extent to which we could match reality with the wedges of the pie chart on the screen. And — coincidence or not? —We began to collectively earn more and spend less.

4. Know that you can pursue the spiritual without giving up the material.
The stereotype of the ascetic with a beggar bowl is neither applicable nor desirable for most contemporary Americans, said Guru Jagat. “We are still working on these polarities: people think they have to be poor and give away all their possessions to be spiritual,” he said. His teacher, Yogi Bhajan, who is credited with bringing Kundalini Yoga to the West, taught that financial health reflects one’s state of relationship with the outside world; the definition of true prosperity, he said, was the ability to support 25 families. “He was very clear that we are not sadhus,” Guru Jagat said. “Kundalini is the science of a home. He came to America with 35 cents in his pocket and when he died he was a billionaire. “(Yogi Tea and Peace Cereal are among the products produced by the 17 companies he helped create.) Psychologically, Gruber argues that people who carry the “Spiritual MoneyMask ™” are using a contempt for wealth as a cover for their unwillingness to face deeper money-related issues.

5. Fill the hole with something else.
Whether we accumulate it or spend it, an unbalanced relationship with money is often a way to fill what Guru Jagat called the “open jaws” within us. Experiment with other approaches to finding meaning and pleasure in life: meditation, yoga, service, creativity, time in nature. Guru Jagat’s Kundalini-based “yogic prosperity technology” focuses on training the mind and nervous system “to look for grounded experiences throughout the day, so that the comings and goings and the ups and downs don’t shake you so much.” . She said: “More and more people are realizing that no amount of money or success will make life better unless you have the mind set to experience it properly. If you use your life to serve something greater than your own personal neuroses and limitations, to be of service or to create or whatever [is right for you], that in itself is the biggest step towards prosperity. “

Rest in peace Guru Jagat.

This story was originally published in Sonima by Tresca Weinstein

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