My relationship with money sucks. Or at least, it used to. Thanks to help from my Guides, that suckiness has faded dramatically over the past few months, and there’s one Suckiness Removal Strategy in particular that I want to share with you here.

Through a number of meditation sessions, my Guides helped me to see how impossibly abstract the concept of money had become to me. I rarely paid for anything in cash, and money felt like this little number on a screen (emphasis on little). They also clued me in to some pretty toxic attitudes about money that I was carrying around by introducing me to my Money Monster and using an episode of Downton Abbey as a teaching moment.

And then, my Guides took things up a notch.

At the end of every meditation session, they would give me anywhere from one to three action steps that I needed to take, and they wouldn’t give me more until those had been completed. These weren’t journaling prompts or meditation assignments–no, they were tangible, physical actions. In other words, shit was about to get real.

For example, after one session, I was asked to set up a page on my website offering a particular service and sit down and finish my taxes by the end of the weekend. What’s interesting is that completing these tasks felt dramatically different from crossing things off of my own to-do list. I felt more purposeful, like I wasn’t wasting time on any busy work or fluff–I was cutting straight to the heart of what needed to be done.

Money Management 101, Courtesy of My Spirit Guides

After one such meditation, I was shown an image of a board that I was being asked to create and hang on my wall. I made it out of a piece of poster board to which I attached rows of little envelopes, forming pockets for cash.

I had a bunch of blank cards laminated, and I paper clipped one of these cards to each of the envelopes. On these cards, I used a dry erase marker to write an expense (rent, food, etc.), the amount, and the due date. I did this for all of my fixed expenses, down to magazine subscriptions and Netflix. Depending on the month, I might also have a one-off expense such as “dentist appointment” or “car repair.”

My Guides were asking me to take this abstract flow of money in and money out, to which I felt totally disconnected, and make it physical. I was pretty skeptical at first, and I threw up all kinds of resistance to the idea of having to fill each of these pockets with money. I’m pretty sure I eloquently expressed my concerns thusly, “Oh, hell no! I am not paying for everything in cash. Not gonna happen.”

My Guides gently yet firmly removed that “obstacle” by showing me that I didn’t have to, I could fill the pockets with Monopoly money, which I already had. Oh.

I also felt resistance around how basic this exercise felt. I had thoughts like, “I know how to budget. I’ve been budgeting for years! I don’t need to do this.” To which my Guides responded, “Do it anyway.” Well, hell.

Day one of this experiment began with me counting out, in Monopoly cash, the amount of money I had in my checking account (minus any impending direct debits). Standing in front of the board with this cash in hand, I had a marching band of fear-based thoughts banging away in my mind: “I don’t have enough. This will never work. I’m so broke. Lack, lack, lack…”

I heard one of my Guides say, “Just start filling the pockets.”

And so I did. Wouldn’t you know, within five minutes all of the pockets were filled, which translated into all of my fixed monthly expenses being taken care of, and it was only the first of the month with thirty days of earning potential remaining. Um…so where were all of these panicked feelings of lack coming from again?

Bye Bye, Money Anxiety

I was shocked by how different I felt about my finances in a mere five minutes. And things only got better as the month progressed and I continued adding and removing money from the pockets.

Here, in my hands and right before my eyes, I could see and feel the flow of money in my life on a daily basis. Each day, I added whatever money I earned (I’m self-employed) to the pockets. And I established a couple of symbols to denote whether a pocket had been filled and whether a bill had been paid, which I marked on the pocket’s card with the dry erase marker.

As a result of using this system for only a couple of months, I have completely cut out any needless spending without feeling deprived (I now feel purposeful when I say no to impulse buys, because I can clearly see where that money comes from), I have increased my savings and retirement funds, and I no longer feel chronic anxiety around my money.

It’s also helped me approach work very differently. If all of my pockets for the month are full and my must-do tasks are done, I don’t feel guilty about ending work an hour early so I can fit in a hike. This has had the unexpected side effect of really streamlining my work hours. Previously, I had a very set schedule (8 to 5), and I would find things to do to fill that time. Here I was, self-employed, repeating the same patterns I hated when I had a boss by filling my time with crap just to look like I was doing something!

To boil this down to a few key points, here’s what this process has taught me so far:

  • If money feels super abstract, find a way to ground it in the physical. Don’t underestimate the power of this process to change your financial life!
  • Even if something feels basic, that doesn’t mean it lacks power. Tell your ego to go out for lunch and give yourself permission to try something, even if it feels “below you.” Allow yourself to be surprised.
  • Confront worries and fears with purposeful action, no matter how small. Stewing in your thoughts only feeds the flames, but often the simplest of actions has immense power.
  • Ask for guidance. How you do so will depend on your personal spiritual approach, but developing a way to access information from beyond the confines of your own skull is a game changer.
  • When you get guidance, take action! It’s like a muscle: The more you use the guidance, the stronger it gets.
  • Trust that you will never be asked to do something you’re not capable of doing. You might be asked to step outside of your comfort zone, yes, but trust that you’re being asked to do these things because you are more than capable.
  • Give thanks. When I add cash to the pockets, I spend time experiencing gratitude. I don’t just think it, I feel it in my body and experience it in my heart. Giving gratitude time to wash over you and to really savor what it feels like is the soul’s equivalent to a Spa Day. Treat yourself.

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