Milwaukee Edition

Enlightening Ideas about Money

Think Independence, Intimacy, Integrity

turgaygundogdu/Shutterstock.com

Money influences our choice of job or home, and sense of security, worth and power; it can also make life more or less convenient. Yet, despite its essential importance, money is often a forbidden topic among family members.

Money Talk Taboo

“We are not taught how to have a relationship with money on a psychological or spiritual level; it isn’t part of our culture,” explains Bari Tessler, a Boulder, Colorado, financial therapist and author of The Art of Money. “The majority of our parents and grandparents didn’t receive a financial education, so they don’t understand emotions that relate to money or how to talk about it.”

Tessler works with individuals, couples and creative entrepreneurs to help them “claim their worth in the world and bring their skills and values into the marketplace,” she says. Money is a frequent source of tension among couples, but Tessler notes it wasn’t even talked about in her graduate-level psychology training. “Money is emotional territory for people. You can’t just go to a financial planner, plot a budget and be on your merry way,” she observes.

Shifting Our Perceptions

To change our relationship with money, Tessler says we need to understand our “money stories” that include the ways in which our personal experiences, together with subconsciously inherited familial and cultural attitudes, shape how we think about money.

“The first step to changing our money habits is being willing to deal with the tough issues,” says Mayuri Onerheim, author of Money Spirituality Consciousness, a retired accountant and spiritual teacher of the Diamond Approach of selfrealization, in Larkspur, California. “There is no change without some discomfort. It’s part of the spiritual journey.”

Self-care, forgiveness and acceptance are important throughout this process, advises Tessler, because many people bring feelings of guilt and shame to their relationship with money. She recommends doing a “body check-in” to become aware of our physical reaction to related issues, whether it’s going on a reckless spending spree or bracing to ask for a raise. This stage paves the way for the practical work of learning to manage our money in alignment with our values, goals and dreams. It begins with developing practices to track, review and reflect upon spending and earning patterns.

Tactical Tools

Tessler recommends utilizing one of many free financial tracking tools like Mint.com, ynab.com or MoneyMinderOnline.com. She also suggests we rename their preloaded budget categories to reflect our personal relationships to the areas of spending (e.g., “sanctuary” rather than mortgage; “my dream vacation” for savings targeted for time off; or “life happens” for late fees).

We have ups and downs in life, and the same is true of our finances.
~Bari Tessler

For an enlightened view of cash flows, Onerheim suggests translating what was spent on something into the hours it took to earn the money. “This perspective can transform how we allocate resources and what we’re willing to spend money on,” she says.

Vicki Robin, co-author of the bestseller Your Money or Your Life, espouses a similar approach: thinking of money in terms of hours of life energy. “Continually asking yourself whether you actually got fulfillment in proportion to life energy spent in each subcategory awakens the natural sense of knowing when enough is enough,” she writes.

Tessler and Onerheim both encourage rethinking the idea that all earning is good and all spending is bad: “It’s about balancing needs and wants, and we need joy in life. It’s not about saving every penny and not enjoying yourself,” says Onerheim.

A Rewarding Journey

Becoming financially conscious ultimately helps us fulfill our responsibility to be a good steward of the planet’s resources, according to Onerheim. “Money is a representation of myself in the world, so I want to take responsibility for where my money goes.”

“Financial integrity is achieved by learning the true impact of your earning and spending, both on your immediate family and on the planet,” agrees Robin. “It is knowing what is enough money and material goods to keep you at the peak of fulfillment—and what is just excess and clutter.”

All call for celebrating progress on the journey to financial well-being and know-how. “Take baby steps and reward yourself along the way,” counsels Tessler. “This is a lifelong journey.”


Connect with freelance writer April Thompson, in Washington, D.C., at AprilWrites.com.


This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

City Homesteading

Across the country, people in communities of all sizes are crafting ways to grow food, build eco-homes and live in harmony with the environment and each other.

Make a Date with Yoga This Valentine’s Weekend

Rosie Rain is hosting a special event, Kundalini Yoga for Lovers and Friends, on February 10 from noon to 2 p.m. at Yama Yoga, in the Historic Third Ward.

Milwaukee Hypnosis & Wellness Center 
Expands Hypnosis Training

The MidAmerica Hypnosis & Mindset Training Center, a division of the Milwaukee Hypnosis & Wellness Center, is currently offering certification and mindfulness training through in-person and online classes in a new, larger location.

The Green Team Adds Winter Services

The Green Team, a natural and sustainable landscaping company, is offering new winter services that include junk hauling, light moving, logistics and other related projects utilizing their fleet of trucks.

Body Mind Spirit Expo Returns 
to Milwaukee

The Body Mind Spirit Expo will share a weekend of insights and life-affirming wisdom from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 10, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 11, at the Grand Stay Hotel & Suites Milwaukee Airport.

Top-Ranked Women’s Herbal Conference

The seventh annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference will be held on June 1, 2 and 3 in Almond, Wisconsin, and registration is now open.

1212 Bodyworks Moves to 
New Location

Emily Yenor, physical therapist and owner of 1212 Bodyworks, has moved to a bigger space near Goerke’s Corners: 20720 West Watertown Road, Suite 100, in Brookfield.

Parenting and Education Conference Addresses 
Goodness, Beauty and Truth

The Great Lakes Waldorf Institute and Lifeways of North America, along with Prairie Hill, Tamarack and Madison Waldorf Schools, is hosting their sixth community education conference.

Midwest College of Oriental Medicine

Natural Awakenings caught up with Dr. William Dunbar, Ph.D. and president of Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, to learn how acupuncture can be a solution to today’s opioid crisis, and how the school is poised to prepare students for the integration of acupuncture into Western medicine.

Letter from Publisher

We may expand and grow by giving, practicing gratitude and forgiveness, taking responsibility for our own lives, creating strong social networks, and having a sense of purpose.

Big Breakfast, Lower Body Mass

People that make breakfast their largest meal of the day have lower body mass, while those that make dinner the biggest meal are likely to weigh more, a recent study concluded.

Zinc Inhibits Throat Cancer

University of Texas researchers have found that zinc supplements can inhibit or slow the growth of esophageal cancer cells.

Add your comment: