On fulfilment, integrity & money: An interview with Alan Seid (part 3)


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. Here is part 3 of the interview; for part 1, click here and for part 2, click here How does nonviolent communication affect how you view consume and spend money?

That’s a good question. My 'off the top of my head' answer is that I’ve installed NVC as part of my internal operating system that it’s running in the background unconsciously now so. How I view, earn and spend money- I think I’ve already answered this; I see money as a strategy that contributes to needs or not.

Sometimes after spending on a certain thing, I may say, oh Jeez, was that the most life-serving way of spending that money? I always look at it through the lens of needs. I’m able to feel my feelings, or my own life connected mourning around it and if needed beneficial regret. If I spend money on something that I later regret, I harvest the learning from it. For example, with my children, I’ve given in a couple of times when I’m with them in the car, and they’re just like (makes baby noises). Fine, I give in- we go to the drive through sandwich place. Afterwards, I think why did I get non-organic white bread,  overly packaged food that is polluting.  Then, I slow down, I give myself empathy, then I give them empathy,  and then we do something that I’m not going to regret. That’s also modelling something more life serving for them.

You know the other way that it’s affected me that’s important is about eight or nine years ago I became a business coach. People started approaching me for business advice which was mind blowing to me because I didn’t see myself in that way. I’ve transformed how I see marketing. I see that there is life-disconnected, life-alienated marketing and there is life-serving, life-connected marketing. One of the ways I define marketing is that it’s an attempt to describe to people how their needs are likely to be fulfilled when they interact with whatever it is we are offering.

So regarding earning money, also having an NVC lens helps me connect with my audience at the level of deeper needs so that I can contribute to them

Do you have a particular Aha moment from a money workshop that you’d like to share?

I’m thinking of a close friend; I remember sitting at her kitchen table, and she was sharing in a matter of fact way some very explicit and personal sexual fantasies. I think everyone around the table was like wow! And she was just matter of fact- like, you know, yeah, I prefer almond butter rather than peanut butter on my sandwiches. But then when she started to talk about money she could barely speak, she was quivering and broke down crying.

The Aha moment was realising, wow! Money is such a loaded topic. A lot of people have much more ease talking about sex than talking about money. So yeah I mean I’ve had a lot of people have Aha moments about how they use money - to manipulate their children’s behaviour or how money was used in their lives as a reward or punishment which created a lot of pain around money and so on.

Where do you mainly see the dysfunction of money in our society?

I see it everywhere on every level - individuals, couples, families, absolutely everywhere.  It goes back to this question of who are we as human beings? What constitutes the good life? What is our shared destiny on this planet?  When you look at it at a government level, there are so many things we can change -systems and structures. Taxation is a very simple one where we can be taxing things that pollute, create illness and destroy the environment. We can use taxes to create incentives for things that are more life serving. So, taxation could be a way of stimulating or curtailing different things I can't find anywhere in society where there isn't dysfunction around money.

What are your thoughts on common themes you come across, like scarcity thinking or lack of financial literacy?

Probably the most common theme I come across is 'money is bad'.  Also, its opposite, 'money is good' like 'money is my God.'  I see people spending decades chasing money because they think it will bring them happiness and they have a big house full of things but there's a spiritual emptiness,  a lack of meaning and purpose. I think those are our scarcest resources in this day and age -meaning and purpose.

In some ways, money tends to highlight who we are already. A kind person will probably use money to help others.

If I believe money is the best thing in the world, I end up chasing, chasing, chasing money and missing out on life. If money is bad or evil,  and then I struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle because money wants nothing to do with me, money stays far away from me because I treat it like it's evil. I have a very close friend who used to say to me,' money isn't important so I don't think about it.' And when we checked in with each other, he would share 'oh I'm so stressed out, because I don't know how I'm going to pay rent next month,  I'm thinking of moving to another city because there's more work,'  and he didn't notice that money was running his life.

Yes, because money is a great recipient of all our unconscious projections because it's so complex like you said and it is so deep that it is easy to put all the stuff that we don’t like on to money.


This is the last question Alan, in terms of your money related courses, what would you like people to know?

In terms of my money related courses,  I would like people to know, I will be launching the very first version of a brand new program called 'The Compass' later this year.

It will be the most comprehensive program that is based on twenty-five plus years of research into best practices so it's really a form of cross training for change agents, for people who want to leave the world a better place than they found it, and who are also devoted to their personal growth and development. There are eight curriculum areas, the eight directions of the compass and one of those happen to be the South, which is focused on money. Best to also head over to my website and check out the free resources.

Well, thank you so much, Alan. Is there anything that you would have liked me to ask you that I missed?

No. One thing I will add is that people misquote the Christian scriptures when they when they say 'money is the root of all evil. ' It is 'the love of money is the root of all evil.' I'm pretty sure that what it's referring to is an obsession over money. I mean, when I'm infatuated with money, that's the root of all evil. So that's one of the things that I'm pondering these days.

Thank you so much, Alan. I really appreciate your time. Fifty-five minutes and very, very precious.

Yeah, it was a pleasure and an honour. I appreciate it.

PS: I have no arrangements for money in exchange for any recommendations I make on my blog; I really only want to recommend people whom I believe in.


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


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


On fulfilment, integrity & money: An interview with Alan Seid

Alan Seid

Alan Seid works as a breakthrough coach with people who struggle with how to manifest or create their vision. He helps them break their vision down into a step by step process so that they can actually get there. Alan is also a Certified Trainer in Nonviolent Communication. He coached me, gave me a lot of clarity and support with my own vision, in the early months of starting my business. Alan & I chatted for an hour on Zoom, I have transcribed the interview for you to read and edited only for conciseness. You can check out his Blackbelt Money Skills course, get on the waiting list for it if you want to feel more empowered around personal finances.

What got you interested in teaching with the money focus?

Initially what I was interested in was not being stuck in a 9 to 5 till you die reality, not being caught up in what we call the rat race and work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work in order to buy stuff I didn't need with money I didn't necessarily have in order to impress people I didn't necessarily like.

I did not want to fall into that trap of work, spend, consume, work, spend, consume. A few years after this realisation, I ran into the precursor to Your Money or Your Life which was an audio course called ‘Transforming Your relationship with money.’

As I started applying the program to my own life, my life started to transform and blossom in many ways. It turns out that one of the things that come easily to me is to stand up in front of groups and articulate other people's information. So, as I was doing the nine steps in Your Money or Your Life, eventually I moved to the Seattle area and began teaching workshops on Your Money or Your Life because I was invited to do so.

I'd simply just had these opportunities show up to share the material and I was very excited about it so I kind of stumbled into the workshop and seminar business and it happens to be something that I do very well. So, initially, it was a personal interest that then just became enthusiastic sharing.

So, what is the Financial Integrity program all about?

I think what people need to understand about the financial integrity program is that it is not about making money. It is not about how to create a livelihood. It is really about how to have clarity and awareness and have money play a role in your life that is of integrity and in alignment with your values and your life purpose and so that you're maximising your fulfilment in relationship with money.

So you said the nine step program of Your Money or Your Life, led you towards financial integrity, would you share a couple of things that changed in your life?

Well, it happened as a result of just doing the steps in the program because the program is essentially a methodology for investing cautiousness into our relationship with money and when we're defining money in a particular way. When money is a representation of the hours that I spent in order to earn it, then money acquires an intrinsic value rather than simply an extrinsic value. So that twenty on a piece of paper now actually has real meaning because it took so many hours of my time or so many minutes of my time to earn that twenty. So, when I'm spending money, I'm spending my finite life energy, it's no longer this external paper or metal that comes and goes for my life.

Also, there are certain questions that you're asking yourself as part of the program: did this expenditure of my life energy bring me fulfilment in proportion to how much I had to work for it and was it in alignment with my values and life purpose.

I'll give you a specific example in the 1990’s; I was working as a Spanish interpreter in downtown Seattle. Back then I was a serious music collector and had been since about twelve years old; I love all kinds of music and I’m a musician myself. So back then I was buying one CD every week and when I was asking myself the questions 'am I getting proportionate fulfillment and is this in alignment with my values and life purpose', I noticed that automatically I started to spend less on music and this is before the internet, this is before everything was downloadable, this is when people were buying CD's. So my spending more or less organically just naturally started to shift so that I was buying one CD per month instead of one CD per week.

And so my fulfilment per CD was a lot higher. And it was more in alignment with my values to lower my demand on plastic, cream plastic in the world, and I enjoyed I enjoyed what I was buying that much more so that's an example of my fulfilment and my integrity going up my spending going down. And as a result, I was saving the other three C.D.’s a month that I would have been buying and that money was going into my savings.

Wow, that’s quite a tangible benefit.

So, it's not about cutting back, reducing, depriving yourself, it's about maximising your fulfilment and your integrity and as a result spending tends to level off. Which by the way is very good news for the planet.

True. If someone wanted to have a better relationship with money, where would you suggest they start?

I think by being truthful with them. Just acknowledge & notice what your patterns are with money. One of the toughest things about money is that the tendency to go unconscious with money is so strong; we would much rather just not think about it.

It becomes a very painful place in our lives and then and that tends to reinforce our not wanting to look at it because it's painful. A lot of what I think we don't know how to do very well in our society is grieving and mourning; allowing ourselves to feel the pain, the disappointment, the heartbreak, the stress, the frustration, whatever it is in relation to money and allowing ourselves to go through that process. By doing that, we can come out the other side a little bit more refreshed. Now, certainly, I could recommend Your Money or Your Life or my course Black-Belt money skills which is my articulation of the nine steps.

But that step would probably make sense after being honest, like really being able to look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘wow, my patterns with money are not working for me, I need to do something about this.’

I agree - so being truthful, and then examining unconscious patterns for what you might need help and mourning and grieving.

Yes. I think there are three stories that we really need to question in our society, they are stories about who we are as human beings, what is the ‘good life’, and then what is our shared future together on this little blue ball hurtling through space that we call Planet Earth. We are not just consumers. And the good life is not about more toys or more, more, more, more, more and lying in a pool on a rubber floaty thing with a drink in your hand; I get bored with that in about ten minutes. I think that a lot of the unconscious patterns that happen around money have to do with these stories about who we are and what constitutes the good life and I think we really need to question those.

Say more about who inspired you in your relationship with money

Joe Dominguez, Vicky Robin, Monica Wood, who was sort of like the godmother of the nine-step financial integrity program. Also, Peace Pilgrim; she is a genuine American saint of the twentieth century. In 1953, she abandoned all her material possessions and decided to go on a pilgrimage for peace. Her message was, ‘We are not going to reach peace between nations or between groups of people or between individuals if we don't first attend to our own inner peace.’ She carried only the clothes she had with her, a comb & a tooth brush. She carried no money, accepted no money and she walked until offered shelter and fasted until offered food. There is a video you can find of her teaching to a college class on spiritual growth and at the time of this talk, she had been walking twenty-six years.

I also found the generosity model of S.N Goenka’s ten-day silent meditation courses and the way they run their finances inspiring; when you do one of these ten-day silent meditation courses, everything about the Course is already paid for because previous participants made a donation for somebodies future course.

For part 2, click here

An interview with Peter Koenig on Money Work


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.

An interview with Tim Malnick on Money Work


In this interview, you’ll learn about Tim Malnick's work, specifically with the viewpoint of 'Money Work'.Tim Malnick is director of Different Space, a consultancy supporting the personal and organisational transformations needed to respond to 21st-century challenges. He is also a faculty member of Ashridge Business School, a Buddhist meditation teacher, and author.

Tim and I first met during a great money workshop he led in London. It was my first experience of ‘reclamation work’, based on the groundbreaking work of Peter Koenig.

The description of the workshop read: 'Explore the deep and usually unconscious dynamics that shape individual and collective (e.g. organisational) relationships to money. This work helps us to see the unconscious projections we make on to money ((The idea of projection is that we unconsciously come to believe that Money represents qualities which in fact are simply aspects of ourselves that we do not consciously recognise. Thus if I see money as ‘the root of all evil’ or as ‘power and status’ then paradoxical or strange as it at first appears, I need to recognise that the qualities of ‘power’ ‘evil’ or ‘status’ do not reside in a piece of paper in my wallet! Rather they are aspects of my full humanity. The more I connect with this the more I can handle these aspects of myself, and money itself, with skill, creativity and freedom rather than a sense of constraint.)) and thus radically and powerfully enables people to make the steps they need in careers or professional decisions.' With those two sentences and a quick glance at Tim's website, I rushed to book the workshop. I am very glad I did!

Tim is a busy man. I managed to pin him down for an interview via e-mail. Here it is!

What got you into money work?

A friend Charlie O’ Malley recommended it. I don’t recall precisely what he said, but he was so impressed by the process and by Peter - so it was his sense of interest rather than any particular money concerns I had that led me to it. Indeed in the first money work workshop I attended, my experience wasn’t that deep - yet I could see that others were having transformational experiences and was fascinated. At subsequent workshops, and in the trainer training, I did go deeper.

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

The thing I love about money work is that it is both uniquely individual and completely universal. In other words, everyone seems to have their unique constellation of concepts and emotions that tie them in knots. That is individual, although certainly, one does tend to see patterns. At the same time the process of projection - how we project disconnected or disowned aspects of our psyches onto money - seems to be universal. Exactly what we project is individual, but the process is universal.

Beyond that, perhaps at an intermediate level are the three significant gestures with money.  These consist of pushing away (if our projections onto money are negative), grasping and pulling towards (if our projections onto money are positive) or doing both in a somewhat confused way (if we have both positive and negative projections onto money). As a Buddhist for over 20 years, I can see those three gestures as examples of the basic patterns of greed, hate, and confusion which are traditionally said to be the three thought patterns that take us away from experiencing reality. So I guess the repetitive patterns for me are at that level - unconscious projection which leads to or reinforces tendencies toward, grasping, aversion or confusion.

What is your vision behind doing this work? You have stated you would like to get more involved in running workshops. Why is this important to you?

That’s an excellent question. What I like about this work is it is both deeply personal - some would say spiritual or at least profoundly transformational, and it is also very systemic in that it quickly leads us to consider wider social, economic, organisational systems of which we are a part. That connection appeals to me personally - the relationship between what we might call the micro and the macro, or the intra-personal and the systemic seem important.

I couldn’t honestly say I have a vision behind this work. I think Peter does, and I certainly sign up to that. His view is that without change of consciousness around money we cannot hope to transform the obviously dysfunctional monetary systems we now have. I think that is probably true, and I do have a longstanding interest in new economics. I certainly notice that many activists working for political and economic change seem to lack deeper self-awareness, lack awareness of how they are fighting - to some degree at least - their projections and shadows. I think change work and activism is all the more powerful as one becomes a whole person.

But regarding my personal vision, I think what has always inspired me most deeply is personal transformation. There is something one comes to see in this work about how we all trap ourselves, how we all limit our sense of and experience of freedom. That is inherently tragic and also very human. I love the way that this work can quickly and powerfully free people up. You see it in their faces and bodies when it starts to happen. The wider social and economic change comes from that energetic, embodied freeing up - and I guess it is that intensely personal, unique moment of shift and discovery that is the primary driver for me. (And as I write I hear Peter’s voice and see his smile as he encourage us always to reclaim the opposite - so in my search for freedom and to offer freedom to others, to reclaim ‘I am trapped or in prison’.

What is your relationship with money and how conscious would you say it is now. How unconscious do you think you were…in other words, could you offer us a comparison in terms of some daily habits of spending or earning to see the shift possible?

I find this question hard to answer. Since beginning the money work I have bought a house, married, had children. So very many things in my context with money have changed, and I am a lot older, so it is not easy to say.

I would say that I notice some ingrained habits still very much at play. I am certainly more conscious of my tendencies now, but they are still there. So I guess that consciousness has changed, awareness has changed - but patterns remain. I am more forgiving of my tendencies now, and also certainly much more able and willing to see them as choices or constructs rather than reality. In other words, I can see the truth that we all have our funny ways of playing out our money story - and my way is just one story.

In general terms - I do feel I still have a long way to go in being consciously free of the projections around responsibility that seem to come with parenthood. But again I can see that happening. In some ways I exist currently in a state of tension - I hope a creative tension, between what Peter calls the 'Normal' and 'Natural' ((Peter Koenig’s Money work invites us to consider the differences between ‘Normal’ and ‘Natural’ approaches to life and money. The Normal approach (not particularly healthy, but normal) is based on what some psychotherapists term a ‘survival strategy’. We are driven to secure money/livelihood as a way to survive, feel safe or earn a living – but this may not be connected to what truly brings us alive, to our passion or vocation. The Natural cycle is to follow the path of life’s calling and passion and to develop greater trust that one will be supported to continue to do this, with and without money.)) cycles. I can see how and when I operate from each. And step-by-step as consciousness develops it seems easier and more natural to live from the latter.

An example is how I have changed the way I contract with my consulting clients now. The whole process is very much more fluid, collaborative and relational.

What are your favourite books on money?

I like the Big Short by Michael Lewis. Very readable and human account of the origins of the 2008 crash in the US - made into an excellent film.

More post conventionally I like Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics, which is a great mix of economic analysis and a new consciousness.

If someone did want to have a better relationship with money, where would you suggest they start?

Come on a workshop!

Seriously there still seems to be a lot of stuff out there about changing your relationship to money and get more - there still appears to be subtle, or not so subtle, grabbing projection. So I think many of those books don’t go nearly as deep as Peter’s work. On the other hand, as Peter often points out, many people have done lots of other personal development, and the Money Work still uncovers unconscious material - it seems to be because Money is such a universal, early, and pervasive thing it becomes a recipient for very early projections. So that is why I love the Money work.

What are the shifts possible when people transform this? Could you share a couple of stories to inspire others?

One of my slight frustrations with the work is that because it takes place over a two day period, I don’t tend to stay in close contact in the months and years afterwards. I do get feedback from people saying it is still having a significant effect a year or later - which is good to hear.

I think when we get very deep, money is the channel to recover the projection, but not the issue.

For example, on one workshop there was a woman in her 30s who had no obvious money issues. Her life was good; she had enough, she was in a good relationship and a good job. As we talked, we sensed that somehow things were good and that she wasn’t able to fully enjoy this because she felt she didn’t deserve such good luck!

That went very deep, it led to a deep connection with her, first acknowledging her lack of self-worth, her experience of and belief in her worthlessness, and then, which I experienced as particularly beautiful and touching, her reclamation of her intrinsic value, preciousness, and perfection. My experience with her when she did that was that she physically transformed in a very powerful way. As she reclaimed that aspect of herself, the truth of her perfection, to me at least, she appeared sacred and divine at that moment – which was a gift to me certainly. She seemed to have a very powerful and unexpected experience from her side. I don’t know how the others in the group saw it, but for me, it was quite profound. And as I say, not arising from an apparent money worry, more an exploration of her relationship to money.

What were some of your dis-empowering money stories that you have moved past? Do you still work with some deeply held patterns or would you say you are now somewhat conscious (or whatever the term may be that you prefer?).

As I say above, I feel that I am often conscious or aware -yet, still held by old patterns. Perhaps this is a transitional phase. I notice very clearly my tendencies to relate money to security - which I can now see relates to my insecurity rather than anything externally real.

A big area for me around money has been relating it to masculine ideas of success - so if I have lots of money that make me a proper man and success. The echoes of this idea are something that I can still sense but has freed up a great deal. It is interesting in that intellectually I would have been able to argue with clarity and confidence for years that money is not at all what makes a man a man, or what makes a success a success - my life has not followed those sorts of conventional beliefs. And yet I see that I have still been quite trapped by that view unconsciously. I am a great deal freer these days to experience both my success and my failure graciously, and to locate my sense of achievement and manhood in other ways that do not involve money or status. Consequently, I can do more of the work I want to do and be more of the person I want to be - with and without money.

Read more about Tim and his work here. Tim can occasionally be found tweeting @differentspace1