Money Workshop transformations - Positive changes

One of the most gratifying parts of offering spaces to explore one's relationship with money, towards the closing of a workshop, for me, is seeing the glow and palpable relief on participant's faces and the sense of expansion and new possibilities felt after having shifted some money stories. There is nothing like hearing real life feedback after - this is the icing on the cake! After a recent money workshop specifically facilitated for childless women, organised by me and facilitated by Tim Malnick, here is some feedback about positive changes since the workshop that we received from Ali, published in its entirety with her permission below:

"At the workshop, you asked us to let you know of any changes we'd seen since the money workshop and I've had a few so wanted to let you know...I'm less tight/ anxious at work - still could do with more loosing I'm sure but the tight control/ anxiety about needing money has lessened considerably which is great. I no longer feel I need to hold on so tight which makes it much easier.

I've negotiated 1 day off every fortnight so I have long weekends every other week - ok not a huge massive change (for now) but it's a good first step and my inner manipulator helped me to find the right path through negotiations which was enjoyable!

We bought a camper-van for £15k - it doesn't make economic sense to own one and friends told me I didn't need one and my husband questioned if we'd use it but I felt really definitely it was something I really wanted for freedom and fun as we rented one in NZ and enjoyed it so much. I'm deeply excited about adventures and our first trip in 2 weeks to Devon coast is my first long weekend from work!

The shadow work we did also made me realise that as well as money, babies are magical beings that people can project their hopes and fears onto. They can't talk back either (to begin with) and not having children I realised I was partly guilty of this also. So the workshop also helped me realise that having children (however wonderful) are not the only paths to purpose, meaning, fun, connection, belonging, legacy, nurture etc. And I can create that in a different way too. Again I'm not perfect but great step in a positive direction.

Thanks again for the great workshop,

Ali"

Playing money games with real money

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At a recent workshop, we explored our relationship with money using money games. Everyone was asked to bring a 'meaningful' amount of money to the workshop.

After a round of introductions and exploring what money means to each of us, we set about trying to understand through a shorter version of the game, our feelings and beliefs about money in our lives and in society.

Round 1: we stood up in a circle and shared about why the amount we brought in was meaningful – the amounts brought in ranged from a penny to £200 pounds. While a penny was very meaningful to one person, £20 pounds was meaningful to another - we all had different stories about why an amount was meaningful.

Some participants confessed they had suspicions and fears when they received the workshop instructions about bringing money, which influenced the amount they decided to bring – ex: bringing an amount they could afford to lose if it was taken away from them as part of this game.

Round 2: We took 2 steps to the left, picked up the money in front of us and noticed our reactions to it (some had more than they brought, some less).

Round 3: I won't explain but you can see from the link below, how it can be played in a longer (2 hours) version.

After this, we took some time to write notes in silence about what we discovered. We then shared our insights and reactions in a group which was rich and useful for everyone.

Recreating an artificial environment with money games can still help us learn how we react to money in real life & provides food for thought. A good facilitator will help create a space where you feel comfortable enough to both explore in a group and have enough quiet time to introspect, encouraging you to be curious about your own reactions with as little judgement as possible.

You slow down and notice (as parts of the game are played silently), feel sensations in your body which is important and notice any particular habits or patterns you may not have seen before.

Sometimes it is giving money that is difficult, sometimes receiving. Sometimes saying no is really tough when asked for financial help. At other times, collecting or accumulating money is painful. There is a range of reactions including frozen fear, laughing gleefully, a sense of rebellion or deep sadness and grief.

I found it fascinating to play the money game myself. In one round, we were told to put our money on a pile on the floor with a clear marker near it. We were then instructed to collect money from other money piles if we wanted and place it in our pile. Other people could in turn then also take money from our own pile and put it in their pile. There was some laughter and a sense of mischief in the room; some participants really didn’t like picking up money from another person’s pile. What I noticed is that I really enjoyed picking up money and the process of gathering it – it did not bother me if I lost any if others picked up money from my pile- as long as I could keep going, I really enjoyed the busyness, the activity of it, like a queen bee. Interesting that I do enjoy being productive-busy and the process of working hard; I don't tend to obsess about how much I have gathered. I didn't feel frustrated about money being taken from my pile as long as I knew I could keep gathering.

The suggestion is that how one reacts with money in the games is perhaps how one habitually responds in real life. The other suggestion is to experiment with doing the opposite of your habitual patterns – if you never pay for dinner with friends, be magnanimous and do it and see what happens for you. Alternatively, if you are always the one paying for a round of drinks or food, resist and notice what happens.

If you are intrigued by money games and how to play them, here is a resource you can download.

On fulfilment, integrity & money: An interview with Alan Seid (part 2)

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In this part of the interview, you’ll find out how Alan maximises fulfilment & integrity in his relationship with money; also, using the lens of Nonviolent Communication. This is part 2 of the interview; for part 1, click here I was pretty blown away when I went on my first Vipassana course and there really wasn’t a ‘suggested donation.’

And everyone is a volunteer. The teachers, the centre managers, everybody is a volunteer and besides the technique, of course, the way that they run their finances just blew my mind.

Bill Mollison, who is one of the people who coined the term permaculture also inspired me with money. Bill Mollison says that money is to social systems what water is to natural systems. It is the transporter of goods, nutrients and information and the purpose is not more, more, more. Rather, the purpose is how do you maximise effective use between when this energy enters a system and when it leaves the system. If it is just more, more, more then you end up with a flood, where a flood is not natural.

That’s really a lovely analogy of nature actually; an apple tree doesn’t ever take more water than it needs. I read that the only really aggressive form of growth in nature is cancer.

How has nonviolent communication (NVC) influenced your work?

There's a beautiful overlap between the nine steps in the financial integrity program and NVC. Essentially what Joe Dominguez was getting at is, how do you develop a relationship with money that contributes to the deeper needs rather than simply to exteriors strategies or our story about what will be fulfilling?

So, what NVC has helped me to do is be a lot more connected to myself and to what's motivating me. As a result, when I look at money through that lens I realise that money is simply a tool. It's not a universal human need. It's a strategy that we use to fulfil lots of needs. But it's helped me get clear; what are the deeper needs or values that I'm trying to meet with this particular purchase or with this particular strategy around money.

For example, I might think that I need a Ferrari. I can look at why do I need a Ferrari or if I had a Ferrari then what would that give me.  Status and if I had that? Acceptance, and if I have acceptance then, what do I have? Well, then I have belonging, and if I have belonging and acceptance, then what does that give me? Well, then I feel OK about myself.

So, underneath acceptance and belonging is self-acceptance. I guarantee you that if we get clear on our motivation for a Ferrari, we can find a lot less expensive ways to meet our needs for self-acceptance, self-esteem and belonging than a Ferrari. So it's helped me separate the strategies from the deeper needs and find other strategies that meet my needs more effectively.

I love that, and you also demonstrated peeling the layers of the onion, to get to deeper needs. What are your thoughts on money as a request, do you think it is doable as a system in the world?

The short answer is yes. However, I'm not sure if our consciousness is there yet. When Marshall talks about jackal and giraffe, he defines jackal as life-disconnected or life-alienating thinking and language; giraffe or nonviolent communication is life-connected or life-serving thinking and language.

I think of jackal as pre-conscious or pre NVC. When you start to develop feelings and needs consciousness, you start to get more empowered and connected to your core motivators. You start to have clarity about what you want in particular situations and can make requests. You can get to a point where you transcend the form of NVC and we get to what people call informal NVC.

So, what Marshall talks about is that a life-connected, life-serving way of dealing with money would be expressing requests rather than demands. I find that very beautiful, but ultimately, my understanding is it didn't work for him. When he first did his workshops, he was travelling across the United States, and he offered his workshops on this mutual exchange model.

But first of all, people weren't used to that, it kind of fried their circuits and they didn't know what to do with it. Second of all, it brought up a lot of pain for them and so then he ended up having to give them empathy for how much pain they were in about their anxiousness or their fear of giving out of guilt or issues like this.  It ended up taking so much time and energy for him to do his workshops on this request model that he simply just started putting a price. However, even if his intention was to put a price on there as a request rather than a demand, people would still hear demands.

So, I think our consciousness is not quite there yet to trust that a request is truly a request. If you go to an event and it says 'suggested donation ten pounds', people still hear this is the price and believe ' if I don't pay, I can't enter'. We still interpret a demand even if the person says:' it's a request,  your needs matter, let's have a dialogue, let's see what works for you,'  people will still interpret a demand; money has an incredible depth and complexity at the psychological level.

Also, people may value things less if they experience that they're not paying for them. There is the psychological aspect that if somebody is paying a lot for something, somehow they experience themselves as more invested, more committed, so it is tricky. So I love it in theory that we could make financial requests and be able to find a win-win with money. In practice, I find it's relatively hard, and I think it has to do with where human consciousness is right now.  We are just simply unable to trust that it's truly a request and not a demand.

 I feel people that work in caring professions; even some NVC trainers struggle with asking for enough money. I'm wondering if you have anything to say about that.

Yes, I think that's quite common. I have a lot of compassion for that.  It's probably different for different people in different circumstances; we need to look at the stories we're telling ourselves. One of my favourite methodologies is Byron Katie’s enquiry process which consists of four questions, and there's something she calls a turnaround.

So, we examine those stories because whether it's out of guilt, shame, consideration for the other person, it's just a minefield filled with all kinds of psychological landmines. I have a lot of thoughts on it and part of transforming our relationship with money involves realising that money is not evil, money is just a tool. Like fire - I can light many candles & read an excellent book, or I can use fire to burn somebody's home down. And the same money can be utilised for very positive purposes or very destructive purposes.

As a professional who depends on a flow of money to put food on the table for my children, I need to realise a few things.  I need the revenue to sustain the message., to continue sharing NVC. That is an important axiom to keep in mind. Again, asking for money doesn't mean I'm greedy. We have many associations we need to look at and question. It will be different for different people; it's another level of valuing ourselves and standing up for our needs is to ask for enough money.

For part 3, click here

 

An interview with Peter Koenig on Money Work

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In this interview, you’ll learn about Peter Koenig, specifically with the viewpoint of 'Money Work'.Peter Koenig, has been researching money and teaching seminars on a system he calls ‘Money Work’ for over 30 years. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Peter is also the author of the book ‘30 Lies About Money’. Reading the book had many ‘Aha’ moments for me, and I highly recommend reading it - specifically if you are open to gentle challenges about your assumptions around money. The book certainly helped bust my long-held & unquestioned assumption that 'Money is Freedom'. Luckily for me, Peter agreed to be interviewed and here is the interview below:

What got you into money work?

Three things:

  1. In my mid-thirties, I was working with top executive teams, on vision, values, communication and organisational transformation processes in 2-day off sites of the kind that are common today but at that time, the mid. The 1980s was a pioneering time for this work. My American partners and I almost always felt happy with the deep process work we introduced, but after two or three years I saw few concrete results regarding these processes taking root. I began to suspect that this might have something to do with the relation to money because I'd noticed so often that when we brought the subject of money into the exchanges, through the door as it were, it would seem as if visions and values would fly out through the window! The energy in the discussions would instantly change. Today I can say that my early suspicions were entirely confirmed.

  1. In the consultancy, I was part of (but not the founder of) there seemed to be a chronic shortage of money, which I didn't understand. It didn't affect me directly as I had enough personal wealth from previous savings, but despite my MBA background, I felt I lacked a framework to investigate what was happening properly.

  2. I was curious to investigate deeper my patterns with money.

What are the repetitive patterns of thinking that you see in your money work with individuals that you would most like to see transformed?

Let me just choose one.  It is the conditioning that work must involve some kind of sacrifice, suffering or damage to oneself, for which money is then the compensation.  In my world, I'd like to see those that suffer in their work get no money at all, and those who have the most pleasure and inspiration get paid the most!

What is your vision behind doing this work? You have stated you would like it to spread across the world. Why is this important to you?

The vision as a young businessman, who through serendipity awoke to a particular consciousness, was to 'create love in business'. This has remained stable as a vision and purpose for more than 30 years. The transformation of the relation to money is central to the realisation of this. Early on, I foresaw that business would at a certain point likely call the shots over politics. But top executives are generally speaking, not free people and business is unable to transform and live out its proper purpose unless and until the relation to money is consciously put into the same pot with purpose, vision, values, ethics, and everything else that is popularly given focus by evolutionists today.

Love finds solutions where they may otherwise seem impossible. Business and money are global, the US dollar understood in the same way the world over. 'Love in business' represents for me a very concrete and universal application of principles to respond in an inspiring way to challenges we face today.

If you ask me why this is important, I must answer it's a very personal thing and beyond words.

What is your relationship with money and how conscious would you say it is now. In other words, could you offer us a comparison regarding some daily habits of spending or earning to see the shift possible?

Researching the relationship to money for over 30 years and giving seminars on the subject for over 20 I think my relationship with money is now relatively conscious and healthy - thanks to all the people who've taken part in my seminars during this time and the thousands of personal stories I've been privileged to hear. Each time someone in a seminar has come with a situation or a question which I've noticed would be difficult for me to handle I've always recognised I can't respond until I've first done some inner work on myself, to free myself - the system I now call 'the moneywork'. So I've personally worked with hundreds of themes.  Nowadays few new ones crop up, but you never know - because what you are unconscious of, you are unconscious of!

Before getting into this work, my pattern was to work hard, save a lot and spend next to nothing. In fact, spending was virtually impossible, even painful. Nowadays: I've still no problem in being frugal where it's called for, I'm well trained there from childhood, but can now spend easily too, with pleasure.  This is just one example.

You knew Marshall for 19 years. Could you explain more about the influence of NVC in your work, if at all? Also, what are your thoughts on Marshall’s views on money as a request? Do you think it is do-able as a system in the world?

I initially took a one-day seminar with Marshall in Basel and understood it so deeply that I felt it was all I needed.  I organised a weekend seminar for my business network with him at a hotel in nature not far away, which perchance became his home and global training centre for 19 years. And which my partner Barbara later came to run and we co-owned. The ‘moneywork’ was not built upon the NVC method, rather researched and developed empirically with small groups from scratch.  However, it turns out to have a universality such that people working with different developmental models, spiritual or religious disciplines seem to have easy access to it. So also therefore with those who work with NVC?  For NVC trainers and practitioners knowledge of the process at the heart of the moneywork often seems to help them accelerate their processes, by offering a short-circuit system to recognise and resolve the needs beneath the feelings.

The 'money as a request' method ala Marshall Rosenberg?  I'm for trying everything, but not getting stuck in a particular rote with just one method. This cannot and will not eventually work well.  The more conscious you become, the more competent you become to adapt to a variety of responses to the specifics of each situation.

What is your favourite book on money?

One of my first major influences: Jacob Needleman's 'Money and Meaning of Life.'

I'd also like to mention another significant influence, English accountant Lionel Fifield, who founded The Relaxation Centre in Brisbane, Australia in the late 1970s and still runs it.  In the 1980s Lionel was giving hilarious talks, internationally, on money and prosperity, living 'by donation'.  I tried living by donation too, and my savings ran out! - Not what I imagined or wanted to happen, but one of the most valuable experiences of my life.  (Lionel has written a couple of books but on more general subjects).

If someone did want to have a better relationship with money, what would you tell them to do?

The starting point is always to look at the question "What is money for you?" and check the deeper truth of your answer.

However, the hereditary conditioning passed down over generations is so deeply ingrained in the cells of most peoples' bodies that intellectual understanding alone is usually insufficient to dislodge behaviour patterns.  I therefore often recommend a 'seminar' from one of our practitioners where bodywork reintegration plays a central role. Or a coaching, though I find a seminar more efficient.

What are the shifts possible when people uncover these unconscious thoughts with ‘money work’? Could you share a couple of stories without names to inspire others?

The ‘moneywork’ was developed empirically step by step over many years.  I've never claimed it to be a panacea, nor myself to be a psychologist, therapist, wisdom teacher or anything similar. I am just a simple businessman practicing trial and error - but from feedback from therapist experts, coaches and the like it seems that I stumbled by chance to the deepest universal point where change happens - a cellular, bodywork change related to the development of individual identity.  One could call it 'identity work', whereby nothing is taken away from an individual. He or she simply reintegrates and reconnects with parts of him- or herself, one part after the other that had been previously denied/disconnected and projected externally. In so doing becoming a 'bigger person', with the ability to peacefully and competently handle a wider and wider range of circumstances in everyday life. Personal growth is pure.

The work happens at a level below belief. We do not seek to change any beliefs but deal directly with who the person sees they are in the sense of self-referential statements of 'I am...' (Rather than 'I believe I am'). However, it's entirely possible that the person with the extended identity ('I feel like a new person' - which always happens when a coach or therapist has been successful) will automatically alter their beliefs.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you are curious and want to learn more about 'money work' seminars, click here.