In a world gone mad with money The Body of Money: A Self-Help Guide to Create Sustainable Wealth through Innate Intelligence is a comprehensive guide to building and sustaining wealth by using the incredible intelligence of the human body. The story you've been told about money is all wrong. Spreadsheets, PNL's, money markets, and index funds only touch the surface. The Body of Money provides a completely unique and effective approach to personal finance like nothing you've experienced before. By demystifying money psychology and behavior economics Certified Financial Planner¯® and Master Integral Coach¯(TM) Gayle Colman shows you exactly how to use your innate wisdom to heal old money patterns, tend to wounds created by generational financial trauma and create sustainable wealth that is aligned with your deepest values. Integrating cutting-edge research, laugh-out-loud storytelling and body-centered practices, Gayle puts the power of individual wealth-building squarely back in your own hands. You will learn: * How body practices can have a transformative effect on your money habits. * Where your personal money manager lives in your body and how to access its true wisdom. * Why investing in a way that matches your personal values can actually be better for your health. * How to use your body to gain true financial agency, reduce debt, invest in real estate and make the most important money decisions of your life. The Body of Money is an indispensable approach to personal finance, perfect for any person seeking relief from money struggles and all individuals and families who want to create a robust and healthy money legacy for their lives.
Sie lesen das E-Book in den Legimi-Apps auf:
The Seed of Somatic Finance
Who Is This Book For?
Why, How, What
What's Your Why?
What's Your How?
What's Your What?
Part I: Landscape
Part IA: Introduction
Chapter 1: Diving In
Sam and Sandy (Fear and Anger)
Ellen and Dov (Sadness)
Fred (Doubt and Confusion)
Chapter 2: The Head
The Obsession with Knowledge
Intuition and Knowledge as a Path to Growth
Intuition and Knowledge in Practice
Tapping into Safety, Connection, and Dignity
A Bit More for the Academic about the Triune Brain
Chapter 3: The Belly
Sufficiency in Emotional Turmoil
Chapter 4: The Heart
Discovering the Heart
The Heart Center and Money
Two Stories of Generosity
Chapter 5: The Trilogy of Archetypes: the Academic, the Philanthropist, the Capitalist
The Trilogy of Archetypes Dancing
Chapter 6: The Virtuous Flow
The Vision of the Virtuous Flow
Chapter 6a: Love Letter Invitation
Part IB: Subtleties of the Landscape
Chapter 7: The Trilogy of Nutrients—Safety, Connection, and Dignity
Looking Outside the Self
Chapter 8: Our Heart—We Space
Chapter 9: Greed
What Is Greed?
Greed in Action
Now Let's Change
The Journey Is Up to Us.
Chapter 10: Shame… Subtle, Seductive, and Searing
What Was Revealed to Me
Money Shaming Systems
Part IC: Science of the Landscape
Chapter 11: Basic Body—Body, Emotions, Sensations
Neurosis versus Essence
Chapter 12: More Geeking Out with Somatic Markers
Chapter 13: Our Nervous System
Zoom Out with More Juicy Nervous System Science
Chapter 14: Measurements: Money and Body
Part ID: Skillful Response in the Landscape
Chapter 15: Productive Rest and Productive Action
Chapter 16: Masculine and Feminine, Focused and Spacious
Chapter 17: Wider Masculine and Deeper Feminine
Chapter 18: Money Madness Made Mindful
Chapter 19: Wants, Aspirations, Goals—What Are Mine?
Chapter 20: Trust
Chapter 21: Feedback
Chapter 21a: Transition Points: An Opportunity to Pause or Go Directly to Practice
Learning to Knowing to Embodiment
Part II: Fruition
Part IIA: Fruition in Action
Chapter 22: Money Moving through the Heart
Chapter 23: Humor and Humility on the Virtuous Flow
Chapter 24: Money Mastery
Chapter 25: Integrity Is a Direct Experience
Part IIB: Heads Up
Chapter 26: The Three Toxic Myths
More Is Better: Aggression Poison
There Is Never Enough: Desire Poison
That's Just the Way It Is: Ignorance Poison
Reflect, Wonder, Digest
Chapter 27: Unrealistic Expectations
Chapter 28: There Is No “Right” Number
Chapter 29: Love Your Victim
Chapter 30: The Virtues
Chapter 31: Grief, Loss, Betrayal
Chapter 32: Sometimes We Need to Get Angry
Part IIC: A New World
Chapter 33: Consumption, Generosity, and Generativity
Chapter 34: Justice and Equity
Chapter 35: Generosity: Our Essential Survival Skill
Chapter 36: The Fruition of the Virtuous Flow
Chapter 36a: My Last Love Letter to You
About the Website
About the Author
End User License Agreement
Figure 2.1 Illustration of Human Brain.
Figure 3.1 Belly Illustration.
Figure 3.2 Illustration of Learning to Knowing to Embodiment.
Figure 4.1 Illustration of Heart Anatomy.
Figure 5.1 Illustration of Dancing Archetypes.
Figure 6.1 Illustration of Virtuous Flow.
Figure 7.1 Illustration of Nervous System.
Figure 11.1 Illustration Body Map with Emotions.
Figure 11.2 Chart illustration of feeling integration.
Figure 13.1 (Repeat Figure 7.1.) Illustration of the Nervous System.
Figure 16.1 Illustration of Integral Quadrants.
Figure 17.1 Illustration of Flow of Static-Dynamic and Masculine Feminine.
Figure 18.1 Chart of Belief, Movement, Verify.
Figure 21a.1 (Repeat Figure 3.2.) Learning to knowing to embodiment.
Table of Contents
About the Website
About the Author
End User License Agreement
“In our world today, money is the only thing I know of that touches every aspect of what it means to be human. Despite all the writings about the subject of money, incredibly, no one, has spoken to the subject and importance of our physical relationship with money, until now. It's long past due if we are to affect real sustainable change in people's lives.”
—Ted Klontz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Practice Creighton University, Heider College of Business, Founder of the Financial Psychology Institute®, Co-Author of seven psychology of money related books
"Gayle Colman's insightful book brings sanity and depth to the often insane and superficial world of money. In her tapestry of wisdom and practical advice, Gayle skillfully teaches the reader how to integrate our body, mind, and heart into our personal finance. I highly recommend this book to all of those who want to dive deeper into the mysteries of money.”
—Dustin DiPerna, Adjunct Professor Stanford University; Author of Streams of Wisdom
“Gayle Colman is a pioneer in integrating mind, heart, and body to personal finance. She teaches that advisors “can only take clients as far as we've gone ourselves,” and she can take people far. Once again, she is leading the way with this experiential exploration of the connection of our bodies and emotions to our financial behavior. “
—Rick Kahler, MS, CFP, CFT, Co-Author of The Financial Wisdom of Ebeneezer Scrooge.
“Gayle Colman's new book is a breakthrough in an area where many people need a breakthrough. Gayle's special domain is how to integrate mind AND body, so that we come to the subject of money with a whole-person perspective. For those who think a book about money might be dull, Gayle Colman's book is anything but! I urge you to read it and put her breakthrough tools to work for you.”
—Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., Author of The Big Leap
“The Body of Money gives us what we didn't think to ask for but desperately need: A way to break the industrialized, intellectualized shell around finance so that we can integrate money into our actual, real lives. Gayle Colman deftly and lyrically transforms money from something to be ‘smart’ about to a tool for greater insight and wisdom, and in so doing, returns us to our own power and agency.”
—Terri Trespicio, Author of Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You
Copyright © 2023 by Gayle Colman. All rights reserved.
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ISBN 9781394166558 (Hardback)ISBN 9781394166633 (ePDF)ISBN 9781394166640 (epub)
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Toall the explorerswho courageously blazea trail for others to follow,andfor the preciousloves in my life ~Rich, Katelyn, and Knight.You fill my vessel withlove, joy, and magic.
The Body of Money captures our attention to bring us face to face with Somatic Finance®, which we have been avoiding for centuries. Ostensibly two separate human experiences now stand side by side, walk hand in hand, leading you forward through the work of Somatic Finance®.
Somatic Finance. These two words together turn heads and squish foreheads. In over a decade of using these words together in conversation, writing, coaching, and teaching, the response is similar, “What does that mean? I've never heard of that before.”
Somatic is straightforward. From the Greek, it means “relating to the body.”
Finance is many things, but generally it means “relating to money.”
Somatically oriented folks ask, What does finance have to do with the body?
Financially oriented folks don't ask. They state, “The rational intellectual brain is the only place for money.”
When you read the words Somatic Finance, what do you notice in your body?
Do you feel tension in your upper back?
Is there a sudden fluttering in your belly?
Is your head shaking, lips pursing, nah!
Is a knot arising on the side of your neck or a throb in your right temple?
Do you find yourself dismissing sensations almost as soon as they arise? Only to be replaced by the thought that money must be figured out, it is not easy; or: I must listen to someone more knowledgeable—my parent, a grandparent, an advisor, or someone; who knows?
Even as your body offers a few clues and sensations, do you cling to a belief that a subject so complicated as money really needs more than the body; it needs knowledge?
You're so right.
My friends, our body and brain have never been separate. Even on the subject of money.
Finance needs our body along with our brain.
Finance in our modern world is limited. We've managed to get by, and some might say create a few messes, with knowledge, concepts, and ideas—driven from fear, uncertainty, and doubt. While some have thrived, many steep in a field of panicked adrenaline. Including the body when working with money offers us opportunities and a new way of being, a new way forward.
Somatic Finance gives access to the best decision-making tools to meet new realities from wholeness—with integrity and keener insights—including love, compassion, generosity, and creativity for the good of all humanity.
Simply stated, Somatic Finance connects the brilliance of our brain, the integrity of our belly, with the generosity of the heart.
Our body is, and always has been, present and alive, but we have severed it from our awareness in deference to limiting stories, ideas, and beliefs about money.
Throughout the early 2000s, I asked my financial planning colleagues when we were going to bring the wisdom of the body into matters of money. Money and the body had been my focus for over three decades, like two streams running side by side. I'd wondered for years when these water flows would merge. Wouldn't it be great to access our body intelligence to improve our money relationship? I'd spoken about it. I'd written about it. I'd trained in it. But nothing moved.
Then the words Somatic Finance flashed into my awareness. Seriously, it was like something pried my skull open and permanently planted a seed.
Once planted in my mind, the Somatic Finance seed nourished herself with tears before sprouting in the heart. Not long after the words arrived, I was flying home to Boston sitting next to my dear friend Anna. She asked me a simple question.
“Gayle, what's your work in the world?”
After my three sentence well-articulated (sort of) elongated elevator speech, she said, with her hands and words, “That's floating everywhere and says nothing.”
I remember her facial expression. It said, bullshit and WTF? I tried again.
“I don't know what this is exactly,” I replied, “but the phrase Somatic Finance swarms my mind. It excites me and terrifies me.” I spoke with my eyes lowered.
I looked up and she blurted, “That's landing! Right here!” pointing to my heart.
I burst into tears. Somatic Finance began to sprout with my tears of recognition that something so vital and important to life was being activated in my being. I did not ask to have this move me. But it did. So much so that I never let go.
The sprouted Somatic Finance seed didn't let go of me either.
Over more than a decade, Somatic Finance and I rooted together, penetrating deep into rich soil, forming invisible connections like trees and fungi beneath the earth. We grew up together reaching toward the sky as a solid trunk, building a vertical foundation for branches and shoots to follow.
As I built my own muscles through training in integral coaching, breath and bodywork, apprenticing for years in conscious living and leadership, somatic meditation, and serving in leadership roles in my profession, I brought those two streams of money and body together, being my first student. On my journey, my confidence and skills evolved, and I started offering Somatic Finance practices for my Integral Wealth Coaching clients and weaving somatic awareness with my financial planning clients. I created MoneyMoves®, a deck of cards and a friendly curriculum to help people engage money with less fear and more trust. Years of workshops, field play, writing, blogging, deep and wide conversations, exploration, and training filled my life and work. This work stirred my passion to write seriously. The book you're holding now is the result.
While the seed of Somatic Finance planted in me as a working adult in my mind, a different seed planted in my heart as a child began to crack as a junior in college reviewing insurance policies in Dr. O'Toole's risk management class at Auburn University.
As my mind drew in the concepts and information about homeowners, liability, automobile, health, and life insurance, I was keenly aware of the practical need for knowledge in regular financial decisions—for everyone! This question churned: what are my friends going to do with their liberal arts degrees? They know nothing about these financial matters.
I was concerned about people who did not receive this basic training until I spoke with my aunt visiting us from the West Coast during a spring break. When I answered her question about my career pursuits and told her that I wanted to help people make wise financial decisions, citing my recent class experience, she said, “Gayle, you want to be a financial planner.” Great! I was delighted to know the name for my career interests.
My quest to land my first job after college was launched. It took me from the west coast of Florida up to Boston. Not knowing a soul, but certain that my destiny lay in a strong financial center, I packed my car and drove north, to my father's chagrin and parting words, “You're going to freeze your fanny off.” I did drive north. And I can assure you my father's fears were unfounded.
I found my first real job with a small boutique financial planning firm. Two years with this firm in the early 80s, when limited partnerships and tax write-offs were the rage, was sufficient time to learn the foundation of financial planning, earn my CFP® designation, and the limitations of “eating what you kill.”
We can do better.
Leaving this firm, I worked for another two years in corporate management in downtown Boston in the tax and financial planning division. Soon I realized our work was educating brokers with sufficient facts for them to appear competent to their clients when their primary motivation was selling the investment flavor of the day. After these forays into financial planning, developing relationship skills serving both the client and the broker with competing goals, and running a department, I said, we can do better. My partner and I started our own firm; that was 35 years ago.
Now, the seeds of Somatic Finance have matured within me, growing roots formed and deepened from a clear motivation to do better. And you bring your seeds with you. How do we want to grow together?
Let me declare my motivation now.
My motivation is a heart offering that fosters more roots and shoots cascading and circling and nurturing mycelium connections between and among forest dwellers. You, as a seedling, sprouting your own roots and shoots are reading and practicing and embodying with a collective force to survive, thrive, and prosper with a thing called money, which ostensibly makes the world go round.
I welcome you with open arms, Heart, Head, and Belly.
Two sections comprise the book, along with a special companion site with practice resources and guides for your experience. Access these extra treasures as fuel for your progress. In this book, the “Landscape” section defines the territory of Somatic Finance and will feed your brain with information and tease your body with Tiny Practices.
The “Fruition” section weaves the landscape section and your engaged practices together as nutrients—sun and rain—for your integration and deeper motivation.
Between Landscape and Fruition is a gentle pause, a few transition pages that offer calm abiding, a place for you to rest, digest, and be with your experience.
The book includes my stories and the stories of the thousands of people I've worked with who share similar money stories. In the companion site you'll find resources, references, and lots of goodies I've gathered and created along the way meant to support you. I speak from my direct experiences having engaged in these activities myself and with others over the past three decades. Some material will resonate, and some of it will not. Follow your gut, literally, when you engage in the practices. As a precious teacher reminded me often, “You are your own boss,” which means, you choose your actions, and we cocreate together.
Now, let's get going.
What sensations do you notice in your body?
Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure….. Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?
The depth of the ocean has long been a wild mystery to us on land. Black and cold, a place where Western imagination conjures ravaging terrors, Melville's “dreaded creatures,” a treacherous unknown that is utterly separate from the “gentle, green, and most docile earth.”
Money produces a similar view. Terrifying and uncontainable, a source of evil, a corruptor of people's souls, an untamable force making the world go round. We must hunt it and control it with our precious intellect. It may destroy us. It is not human. Worse yet, it can make us feel less than human, regardless of how much we have, or have not.
But Melville, writing Moby-Dick, did not understand the real life of whales, or the sea. On the sides of these saltwater giants he captured a horrifying portrait of our most savage fears, cleaving the ocean and the land, sea creature and man, into adversaries.
We know better now. Whales are not monsters. They are majestic stewards of the ocean's health, feeding the phytoplankton that sequester carbon and make our oxygen. Their massive bodies are inseparable from our own. The sea and the land aren't warring but interdependent, in a constant conversation of weather and animals, electromagnetism and gravity.
Now is the time to know the mysteries of money, too. Our experienced and inherited fearful, greedy, multigenerational stories about it have sustained suffering far too long. It's time to strip away money veils and reveal a new way. Money is not a monster. So let's stop assigning it godlike power. Money is not separate from our humanity. It can, in fact, boost our human potential.
Our gateway is the other “dreaded creature” of our lives, the other thing we fear, control, battle, misunderstand, and sometimes hate with the intensity of Ahab:
Somatic Finance® is the practical, whole-body method for integrating body intelligence with the mind in all matters of finance, reclaiming a world gone mad over money. Whatever money situation you face—debt management, wedding planning, auto insurance renewal, business investment, salary negotiation, a date to retire, or even choosing vegetables for your next meal—Somatic Finance® pairs the knowledge sourced from your brain with viscerally felt senses of your body, supercharging your ability to create and navigate a life with money.
No modern-day society has applied the intelligence of the body to matters of modern finance. To the contrary, we seek to manage money—some might say control—with rigorous thinking, robust research, highly iterated plans, complicated tools, and books upon books of judgment and advice. Money remains the exclusive domain of the brain.
The brain is not sufficient. The very best thinking and research and tools have not dented our culture's destructive money patterns, from individual debt to global climate-destroying corporate profit.
The mind is not enough, yet body intelligence has barely been perceived as a source of any kind of wisdom, much less invaluable money wisdom. Even the widespread, mainstream popularity of mindfulness, which sometimes includes body awareness, and money psychology or behavioral finance find acceptance because they give us an advantage in managing our minds.
These mind-based territories are not enough.
Our bodies possess potent, reliable, and proven intelligence to change our monstrous lives with money. Our body calms the shores so we can know better, do better, and be better regarding money.
You probably don't know me, but I know you—or at least a little about you. I've been working in the field of finance with clients like you for just shy of 40 years. Here's what I know about you.
You have a body. By body I mean you have a human form that keeps you alive as you move, breathe, sleep, eat, bathe. In this body you inhabit you have a head that houses a brain. Your brain forms lots of concepts and ideas into thoughts, stories, beliefs, and conclusions. Some of these concepts and ideas focus on money.
How am I doing so far?
Regularly, meaning at least once a week but more likely daily, you think about money and maybe take action with money. Sometimes dealing with money is positive. Sometimes dealing with money is negative.
You have lots of feelings about money.
You have lots of beliefs about money.
You wonder how money is used by others, organizations, governments, society, cultures.
You likely question our money systems, economics, global trade, capitalism, consumerism, all of the “isms.”
You may have favorable experiences with financial professionals, or you may have experienced a colossal disaster. You may lack trust and doubt the integrity of all financial institutions and the people who run them.
Money has probably made you uncomfortable (at the very least) or given you great challenges (or even dire hardship) at some point in your life. Your family of origin perpetuated unhealthy ancestral money habits.
Are some of these statements true for you? If so, this is normal, not a problem, and thus workable.
You believe we can do better, you can do better with money, and you have tried, made some great progress—but we can still do better. And you may not know how or where to begin. You may have worked with many tools and optimized them. Strategies, seminars, self-help programs have supported your struggles. You may have hired different kinds of professionals—coaches, financial planners, therapists, teachers—to assist you on your journey. Well done!
You know that money doesn't buy happiness, you know that you have limiting beliefs and behaviors that cause you harm, doubt, and confusion and less-than-helpful money decisions. The feelings you experience around money range from contentment to joy to despair to shame, anger, fear, terror, and a bit more anxiety. These emotions recycle, and as the world changes, money seems to produce more complexity and more intensity—life with money is not getting easier.
You might hold more than one PhD or have dropped out of college. But you have engaged in some personal development over the years formally and informally. You may be a part of several communities (spiritual, vocational, philanthropic), and you may engage in practices such as meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, running, tai chi. You read. You write. You dialogue. You think, deeply and often.
Are you still with me?
You are a gorgeous, worthy, bright human being with a generous heart, creative ideas, and gifts to share with others. With a little clarity, a little insight, a few tools, and a warm embrace, you know your capacity to fully claim your gifts; to do good, heal the past, and serve others is possible. You believe others want this and can do this too.
You believe we all have a right to be here, to work, love, explore, and create, just by being human. You value sufficient financial rewards for what you generate in this world. You recognize we are all different in our capacity to generate, but our different capacities do not translate to inequality.
All humans want safety, connection, and dignity.
All humans deserve these basic human nutrients.
You want the world to be a better place—for you, for your family, for others—to live, to create, to sustain life, for the planet to heal, for our species to survive.
If only money wasn't so hard.
You probably have not considered how money and our bodies can cocreate toward this reality of a better world. This book, the teachings, practices, and stories will assist you on your journey for a healthier relationship with money and a better world.
My motivation for writing this book is a heart offering to:
Illuminate new ways of integrating money with our life;
Demonstrate the possibility of friendly and meaningful money habits;
Share a living and vibrant landscape for growing up, waking up, and cleaning up money ways—ours, others, and all;
Open your awareness—including body, mind, and heart;
Encourage body practices enabling all of the above to happen; and
Be a catalyst for shape-shifting the polluted and outdated financial systems, processes, and institutions, which no longer work for us in the modern world.
If you are willing to explore with openness, curiosity and a blurt, “Well, goodness, I never considered,” please continue to read and claim your openness to learning. Being open will serve you and supercharge the offerings in this book and your life.
If you are skeptical, not so sure, very doubtful, well, you can explore too—but recognize your doubt. Doubt is an extra burden, like a heavy backpack and prickly barnacles, pointing to the opportunity to build new muscles. Eventually, your doubt will shed and pristine clarity and discernment will take its place. You won't need the backpack or barnacles anymore.
When motivation is present, clear, and determined, right action follows.
Let's keep going.
As a reader of this book and the leader of your money life, I offer you these three simple words to ignite potent reading. Simon Sinek coined these as a “golden circle”—a model for inspirational leadership. Customizing for you, consider these your first practice.1
Asking why you are reading sets a beautiful tone and foundation for your reading experience.
Asking how you are reading energizes your action with vitality.
Asking what you are reading focuses your attention on importance and priority.
Why gives our life motivation that precedes action. When we know what the meaning of our lives are, we feel motivated. When we have purpose, we want to act.
Why answers the deepest longing we are able to hold for ourselves.
Why is an eternal flame that never burns out.
Why is sourced from the heart.
Why wants your attention.
In Somatic Finance, our why gives us genuine resourceful fuel for how we engage our money and what we do with our money.
Here is a Tiny Practice to use your soma, or body, to support your discovery of why you are reading this book. I will remind you of this centering practice throughout this book. Please engage any time you're prompted or spontaneously inspired.
Breathe and bring your attention into your body. Watch your breath move in and out of your body. Don't try to change it, just follow it.
Open your heart while feeling your connection to the ground under your feet and under your seat. Relax and release any felt tension through your feet and seat.
Now ask, “What is my heart's longing?”
Drop your attention down to your heart center.
Feel your heart space. (Place your hand over your heart if access is difficult.)
Allow your heart to speak.
This question accesses your why. The answer may be your why right now or for your life.
For example, if I asked what my heart is longing for, and stories arose that emotionally move me on issues around wildlife abuse, my heart might ache. (In fact, it does ache.) How I engage money and what I do with money would be affected by the very real somatic message my heart delivers. My why around money would be tethered to the health of wildlife, and my money actions would follow with clarity. I might establish a monthly donation to a wildlife cause.
In short, our why is the juice that sources our authentic joy. (Joy juice! Can't you see it on the shelf of the local grocery store?)
Now answer your why below, in writing. A word, a short phrase, or one sentence will do.
Now ask, “What is my heart's longing?”
My why is: ___________________
Awesome. Well done. You rock. Thank you!
Now let's explore your how.
In Somatic Finance we claim our why and we choose our how, over and over and over.
How will you be in this book?
How will you read?
How will you engage this material?
In “the how” is where you experience the world, life, others, reading a book.
Choose your how each time you pick up this book.
You can go slow. You can go fast. You can skip around. You can stay linear. You can schedule. You can be spontaneous. How you choose to engage this material is totally up to you, with one strong suggestion: of every choice possible, choose to be open to learning—regardless of how the content lands.
Openness to learning is a powerful how steeped in authentic embodied curiosity. True curiosity is open to receiving whatever arises, which means we might feel delight in the good times and we might feel scared in the bad times, in the wobbles, and in the trenches. But we remain open. We will review learning this way in more detail. For now, just get more curious.
What is your how, right now?
Are you open and curious?
Are you closed and skeptical?
Now let's explore your what.
What is the object of your affection, your attention, your focus.
What is the organizing question that allows you to prioritize importance, right now.
Lots of issues and possibilities are important.
But what is important now?
Where do you focus your attention, held in your deeper motivation (why) and with a way of engaging (how) that will be most beneficial? What reveals itself naturally from a clear why and how. What always presents itself in the here and now.
What has your attention?
Now, let's get going, for real.
. Source: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” (2010). TEDxPuget Sound talk by Simon Sinek. Fair use.
The kindest and most effective way to learn is in a state of openness and well-being where we feel relaxed in our body.
And along with being relaxed in our body, our mind wants relaxation too! This is why we begin to explore the landscape of Somatic Finance through the head center—anxious minds settle when they have information. Somatic Finance focuses on three body centers: the Head, the Heart, and the Belly. We start with our head center because cognition (reading, thinking, analyzing) is our most familiar way of settling in. Once we understand something, we relax. Our body settles, and we are able to receive something new.
Next we move down to the belly center, which tends to our comfort and ability to feel safe. Then we move upward into the heart center. Here we learn how the heart expands us outward, making connections.
We will explore how each center relates to finance individually and as a culture. We'll look at the neuroscience research that underpins somatic finance. And we'll cover essential ideas about how to approach the practice of somatic finance. I will share stories from my lifelong practice of personal development and from my 30 years practicing as a Certified Financial Planner®, working with thousands of clients. (Names have been changed to protect privacy.) Along the way, “Tiny Practices” will help you practice being in and with your body sensations as you learn. Don't be alarmed if you feel like you don't get these immediately. They are like a handshake; we're just getting to know each other with a gentle hello.
When I express the kindest and most effective way to learn is in a state of openness and relaxation, you might want to understand more about that. A relaxed body may be very clear. But are there other ways to be open. Yes. Being open, curious, free of analysis, and releasing thoughts such as, “I need to get this right” assists you in receiving new ideas and enjoying the process of learning. Including the body in the web of intelligence, particularly around finance, can rattle us. Many people become distressed and close down, and learning slows if not stops.
So what does it feel like to be open? To relax into learning?
To me, openness feels fun, vibrant, alive, and the meaning of possibilities. When I know there is no possible way to “do it wrong” or urgent need to “get it right,” my body automatically relaxes and my exploration holds that view. My body jumps in with joy—a full-bodied relaxed-ready experience. I learned about openness to learning in my first training with Kathlyn Hendricks, world-renowned author and speaker in the field of body intelligence and conscious loving. A full day into the training, she stated that we learn best when we are having fun. I did a whaaaaat?
Up until that point I was not having a lot of fun. I was trying hard to get it right, figure it out, and “help” my partner to get it right too. When I tasted the play of fun in this learning environment, I knew the richness in her words, which came alive in my experience, and they would go on to support me for decades as I continued my personal and professional development. Can you imagine or have you consistently experienced fun with money? Another whaaaaaat? I offer them to you for your reading and practice journey as you learn, play, and grow.
On the flip side, learning anything is hard when you're in a rigid closed state. It becomes difficult, if not impossible, to be aware of the emotions, sensations, thoughts, and energy coursing through our body. Without somatic awareness, we cannot learn new ways. In fact, this is when we typically close further and pull our body in tight.
Learning anything new and innovative around money is even harder. A lot of us exist in closed states around money. They take shape physically, mentally, and emotionally, looking like:
—fighting, fleeing, freezing, fainting;
—a mind of stories, beliefs, confusion, doubt-circling 24/7;
—a constant hit of adrenaline, sourced from fear.
Let me share a few client stories with you. They may help you identify your own closed states identified above—and what they feel like in the body. Let this knowledge settle you a bit. And if it's hard to take a step forward, just stand in one place feeling your feet firmly on the ground, your head reaching tall, your spine elongated, and chest lifted. Breathe. You will learn that sometimes before we can open we need to locate ourselves first.
Sam and his spouse were clients for many years before they embarked on a six-digit home renovation project. They hired all the qualified building professionals to ensure there would be no money surprises. The cost of the project escalated to three times the budget. Sam was angry, and Sandy was terrified. They argued. He blamed her for not paying attention to the cost overruns. She sat paralyzed with fear. In this meeting, my partner noted the costs and where capital could be sourced to fund the overrun. He pointed to the fact that their finances would be fine. He skillfully scrambled to put it all together using financial reports, spreadsheets, and account statements.
In this tense dynamic, I turned to my partner and asked him what was going on for him. What did he notice in his body? He said he felt agitated, and he noticed nausea in his belly. He went on to say, “Their arguing triggered my fear response.” He wanted to stop their arguing and believed the way to stop the arguing was to fix the problem.
“What do you notice in your body?” I asked Sandy. She responded that she felt sick to her stomach and was very scared about the cost overruns. She did not know what to do and how to discuss the matter with Sam.
When I asked Sam what he noticed in his body, he replied, “I feel nothing.” He said he was terrified about their finances and their lifestyle and long-term retirement. He was steeped in fear and constricted.
In those closed fearful and angry states, nothing new was going to happen.
Ellen and Dov, another couple we enjoyed working with for many years, remained in a stuck, somber place when we discussed money, saving, and how to allocate their resources. Their earnings were sufficient to pay their bills and make partial contributions to their retirement plans. Some years they were able to save more than others. Dov did not pay close attention to their savings. So in times when his earnings were higher than normal, he was unaware that his wife would give away any “extra earnings” to family and friends.
Ellen held an unconscious belief that if you were well-off financially, meaning if you had a surplus of funds, it was best to give that money away. Because rich people became sick and died. The somberness masking her fear of her spouse's death if he became too successful caused her to give away their surpluses that could have supported them in their future retirement.
In this fearful, sad state nothing new was going to happen.
We worked with Fred, a man in his mid-thirties intent on understanding finances using his brilliant mind solely by reading books. He explained he was mired in confusion about money and was convinced that there was something he was missing. Teaching him the fundamentals of finance still perplexed him even though his intelligence was never in question. To satisfy Fred's thirst for knowledge, we offered him many books to read coming from different perspectives; he remained fixed on a view that he needed to know more and his confusion was unmovable.
We suspected his doubt and confusion was a mask for his fear and his unwillingness to get curious and open to learning about money in new ways. Sometimes we hold on to beliefs, family stories, and well-worn patterns because they are familiar; being familiar is more comfortable than the unknown.
In the closed, confused, and constrained state, nothing new was going to happen.
Get willing to be open. Choose to be open to learning. Write in the margins of this book, “I choose to relax and open to learning.” Dog-ear the page so you can find it again. It's allowed. It's your book. If not, grab your notebook or journal and write your intentions.
When you feel closed, because there are times you will feel scared and closed, acknowledge you are closed and recommit to open. Then open again, one breath at a time.
The head is the first of three areas of the body that contribute to the development of Somatic Finance. Even though the head is the last physical development of the human embryo, we begin with our head center because the most familiar and comforting way of settling into new information is through our intellect.
To start, please orient yourself with the picture of the human brain, this intricate system that lives below the top of our skull, behind our eyes, above our throat. The visual gives us a strong reference point to deepen our understanding of how the head contributes to our experience of money.
Our brains are made of three major parts, together called the triune brain:
The primitive brain, our brainstem—its main function: surviving;
The emotional brain, our limbic system—its main function: feeling;
The rational brain, our neocortex—its main function: thinking.
These three areas are the source of two ways we learn about and interpret our world: intuition and knowledge.
Figure 2.1 Illustration of Human Brain.
Intuition is connected to the brainstem and limbic system, in the primitive and emotional brain, while knowledge is sourced in our neocortex, our rational brain. Intuition allows us to pay attention to and interpret emotional and physical sensation as valuable information about our money-related experience. Knowledge, on the other hand, covers measurements, metrics, and numbers. Knowledge includes the facts and figures related to money and finance. It is knowledge that permeates economics and calculates facts and demands answers.
Together, the triune brain helps us operate from a place of wisdom—the unity of knowledge and intuition. Wisdom allows us to see clearly what is possible or what is unlikely in regard to our money. It helps us make decisions based in reality. Our brains are built for both intuition and knowledge; we are made for wisdom.
As we move forward, it may be helpful to think of knowledge as the “right brain” and intuition as the “left brain.” If you're familiar with this shorthand, and it helps for understanding, please use it.
Despite the fact that the emotional brain and the primitive brain are essential components of our understanding, 99.9% of the financial world operates exclusively on knowledge, the specialty of the neocortex. We review our options and make decisions based upon AOP, AP, BEP, CAGR, CFCT, DSO, EAR, EPS, FV, GFCF, IRR, LTV, MWC, NOI, OCF, P & L, P/E, PPP, RER, WC, FYF … to name a few acronyms of knowledge measurements in money business.
Relying on knowledge alone excludes intuition. Without intuition, knowledge about money puts us at risk for fear, doubt, confusion, and greed. As you wrap your head around the letters and what they might mean, what's happening inside you? How do you feel in your belly and in your chest? Does your feeling point to confusion? Or maybe excitement?
Over the past several decades, finance researchers have recognized and tried to rectify this dysfunctional, lopsided, painful relationship many of us have with money. Behavioral finance and the psychology of money emerged as important new fields of study in the mid-1990s, and both try to understand the emotional side of money. How do our feelings affect our money decisions?
But, and this troubles me, both fields exclusively use the application of cognitive intelligence to try to understand why money is so fraught and painful. These fields use the capacity for knowledge to solve the problem of relying on knowledge alone to understand money. Talk about irony! You cannot reconcile behavioral and psychological issues with knowledge alone. These practices don't simplify, clarify, or resolve problems of greed, fear, helplessness, or confusion around money; they create the emotional equivalent of more dust bunnies. Cognitive fields of study do not make people freer.
Repeating use of the neocortex, or knowledge brain, for information, interpretation, and answers around money means that we simply rehash and reconfigure the same old and painful territory. More knowledge about knowledge goes nowhere. We need intuition to get somewhere new.
Intuition can be a troubling word in finance. Who wants to trust their money to something as weird and unmeasured as intuition?
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