The Money Practice – part 1

written by Bari Tessler March 12, 2011
The Money Practice - part 1

Bari Tessler LindenDear Conscious Bookkeeping Community,

First, I wanted to share with you a little glimpse into my mommy world. After lots of rest and rejuvenation, we finally had our first gorgeous warm day in Boulder and noah and I went out on the town to celebrate our health and have some fun! Here is a photo of us at the pink truck: Comida –– a local eatery on wheels that we love to hang out at. We found their location online (every day its different), brought noah’s bike and had a blast eating gourmet fish tacos with the local community!

Second, my Pre-Launch Doors have officially closed! There are over 150 students in the Home Study Program right now. Thank YOU! And it is just truly thrilling to have finally created a concrete form for my comprehensive body of work. Plus a whole curriculum and process that you can do at your own pace!

Third, on Tuesday, April 19th, I will be officially launching the Home Study Program with a big Free TeleClass – Plus more fun stuff! The final part of the program, the workbook, will be complete at around 150 pages! I have been working hard to complete this workbook and we are sooooo close. Stay tuned for the exciting details….

Fourth, as promised in previous newsletters, more content and excerpts from the fabulous Home Study Program workbook. For you to enjoy via my Featured Article: Money Practice Guidelines, Part 1.

Fifth, I know that all of us have been deeply affected by the events in Japan….and that we are looking for a way to both stay engaged in the global community while also being inspired, responsible & connected as we attend to our personal house. Please use this featured article, ‘Money Practice’, as an exercise to assist you at this time~

With my dearest wishes,

Bari Tessler Linden

Featured Article: The Money Practice, Part 1

Philosophy & Preliminary Steps

**Please use Part 1 as a beginning exercise to get you
excited and inspired to start or fine tune a ‘Money Practice’.**

Use it to help you see what parts you have in place and which parts you do not have in place yet. And use it to assist you in clarifying and taking some new or next steps.

Ok, let’s begin! The Conscious Bookkeeping Method consists of 3 phases or doorways:
Financial Therapy, Values-Based Bookkeeping and Life Vision Planning.

The Money Practice lesson, which we have previously referred to to as the Bookkeeping Practice is taught as part of the Values Based Bookkeeping Doorway. In a nut shell, the Money Practice can be defined as the steps to take on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to help bring more clarity, peace of mind and success to your financial house.

But, first, some philosophy and preliminary steps:

In its basic meaning, a practice is simply a healthy habit-anything we do on a regular basis that, over time, provides a cumulative benefit. Some common practices that fit this definition include regular physical exercise, consistent watering and weeding of a garden, or simply brushing and flossing your teeth daily. The benefits here are, respectively, a healthy body and mood management, a garden that yields food or flowers, and clean and strong teeth and gums that support the health of the whole body. An essential guideline for any practice is to find the right amount-the sweet spot that’s neither too little nor too much. If you do too little, you won’t receive the potential benefit. And if you do too much, you can cause some form of damage or harm.

As a practice, the bookkeeping and money management give you many benefits. It provides ongoing support and deepening of your conscious relationship to money. It helps maintain your money relationship as a central part of your life. It gives you continual feedback about your alignment with your values and intentions. It continues to refine your self-awareness, which enhances the rest of your life as well. As with all new practices, finding your sweet spot here will take some time as you experiment and pay attention to the results.

Some people use the word “practice” in the context of a spiritual (or psycho-spiritual) practice. And while there are many different definitions of “spiritual,” there are several benefits that most spiritual practices have in common. Despite the wide variety of outward forms or activities, they all tend to:

a) bring us into the present moment;

b) deeply connect us to ourselves; and

c) expand our awareness beyond the confines of our thinking minds.

If this type of practice resonates with you, try holding and using your money practice-and each step and process that comprises it-in this way.

It’s often challenging to establish a new practice, especially when our lives are already busy and full. Here are a few ways to support yourself in building some momentum with this new practice.

First, keep reminding yourself why you want to be doing it in the first place, what the benefits are. Consider writing out the benefits I named above, as well as others that are true for you, in a list that you keep somewhere in view. Look at it often when you need some inspiration to engage the practice.

Second, notice if there are times during the day during which you naturally feel more motivated, and plan your practice time around that. Perhaps you consistently feel sharper in the morning or the afternoon or the evening.

Third, see if rewarding yourself can be helpful if you’re feeling stuck. Perhaps you wait to look at email (if that’s something you enjoy) or some other fun activity until you’ve done your practice for that day. Maybe having a buddy or a financial coach who you are accountable to would help you get on track. Finally, keep invoking your patience. It takes time for a new practice to become firmly rooted.

There are 3 levels to the Money Practice.

a) At the physical level, you’ll be saving receipts, tracking the flow of your money using your tracking program, reconciling, and viewing your financial reports (ie: P&L – Income and Expenses).

b) At the psychological level, you’ll continue being mindful with your moment-to-moment experience. Watch what arises for you and when it does so. Do you feel entitlement, anger, guilt, anxiety? Do you get foggy or sleepy at familiar places in the practice? Are there aspects of the practice that you tend to avoid?

c) At the spiritual level, you’ll nurture the whole money practice by creating the right environment for yourself. You’ll continue to articulate and refine your values and adjust your behaviors to better align with them. You’ll track your progress toward your goals with compassion and adjust your intentions as needed. And you’ll explore the idea and experience of your practice being a sacred vessel. As I said earlier, spirituality has various definitions and takes on many different forms. The invitation here is for you to bring your version of spirituality, if this is a part of your life, into the design and experience of your money practice.

Using the Money Practice Guide:

This guide to the money practice is like a road map for the preliminary, daily, weekly, monthly, and annual steps of how to have an ongoing conscious relationship with money and all that it links to.

To some of you it may seem very simple. If so, you’re right! Once you get it, it’s simple. But be patient because simple doesn’t mean easy, at least not at first. Remember that we’re all way overdue in terms of knowing these money-management skills. I dearly hope that at some point our schools will be teaching this material in incremental steps to kids and teens.

After each section of steps, you’ll see a line that says “Notes – Ideas – Any Additional Steps:” This is your opportunity to respond to what you’ve just read, an encouragement for some in-the-moment interaction, and a chance to customize your process.

Preliminary Practice Steps

These are all the steps you need to get everything in place and ready to go for the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual steps in the practice.

1. Clear Clutter

Decide where you will create a space for your bookkeeping practice. Many of you have a home office with a desk. Some of you may not have an office available in your home, and you will have to be a bit more creative in setting up your space. Once you have your location, clear the clutter! Throw out, recycle, or remove whatever is not needed. Sort and organize. You’re making room for a very important new practice and relationship in your life.

2. Customize & Energize

Once your space is clear and clean, take some time to name what you want to experience here. What type of mood or energy will support you in your practice? A few examples: relaxation, focus, commitment, comfort, enjoyment, nurturance, levity, clarity, organization. Write them out if you like. Next, think of how you want to arrange or decorate your space in order to cultivate these energies. Some common possibilities include music, candles, pictures, an altar space, baskets, flowers, rocks, a white board, or a bulletin board. Keep experimenting with your space over time. This is a great way to honor and celebrate both you and your practice.

3. Create Your Chart of Accounts

If you still haven’t completed your Chart of Accounts, take as much time as you need to do so. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can keep revising it over time. And for you business owners: either create a separate Chart for your business, or at least hold the intention to do so at some point soon. It may feel like a hassle at first, but it really is the best set up, both for your own clarity and tracking ease, as well as for tax purposes.

4. Select Your Sacred Tracking System

If you haven’t yet chosen your tracking tool, now is the time! Review the information presented in Chapter 6 about Mint, Quicken, and QuickBooks if you need to. And then go for it!

5. Get the Right Training Support for You

Some of you will be able to learn to use these tools on your own. You may be able to go right into the system, start playing around, and learn as you go. Or you might want to go online and find free tutorials. You can also purchase books that walk you through the learning process. If you prefer additional support, there are courses offered at community colleges. You could work with a financial professional who offers training in your chosen system. My colleague, Eva, who will be joining us on audio #8, is a great option if you’re feeling particularly challenged, as she knows how to show up (metaphorically) with two great Conscious Bookkeeping tools-chocolate and a box of tissues.

6. Files Are Your Friends

Saving your receipts for business expenses is a necessity in case you ever attract the interest of the IRS. Some of your personal receipts are also needed to verify deductions if you’re going to itemize them on your personal tax return. It’s great to set up a filing system to keep these receipts safe and well-organized. Simply label your physical files with the names of your various values-based expense accounts from your Chart of Accounts. Bring some playfulness into this if you’d like. Color coding the files or attaching cut-out images to them can spice them up and enrich your experience.

7. Acquire Your Stylish Accoutrement

An accoutrement is an accessory item like a wallet, a small case, or an empty tin that mints often come in. Choose something that appeals to your sense of style, something that you can enjoy and appreciate in some way. This will be your companion as you go out into the world and interact with money. It will lovingly receive and hold your receipts. Make sure that it’s small enough that you will have to empty it out frequently, which supports you in proceeding to the next steps.

8. Choose Your Start Date

In order to begin tracking your financial transactions, you need to pick day to start doing it. Some of you may want to backtrack and start with the first of the year. That my feel empowering and orderly to do it that way. Others of you will feel totally overwhelmed at the thought of that-if so, don’t do it! Instead, pick the first of the current month, or even today. In truth, it’s a very minor decision compared to the much more significant action of tracking your money at all. Do what feels good and easy to you.

9. Get Clear & Honest about Additional Support

Consider what you need to put in place to help you stay on track with the practice while you’re in the early stages of establishing it. Some good options include finding an accountability partner (perhaps in the online forum), discussing your experiences in the online forum, or hiring a financial coach.

10. Notes – Ideas – Any Additional Steps?

Please sit and take some time to reflect. Take a moment to do a Body Check and notice your feelings, sensations and thoughts. Nibble on a little chocolate if you want to. And as ready, start creating some next steps for your Money Practice. One step at a time…

Excerpt from the Conscious Bookkeeping Home Study Program-
Copyright © 2011 Bari Tessler Linden

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