3 Doorways: Which one needs your attention today?

written by Bari Tessler August 2, 2012

Once upon a time, I was asked to give my first public talk on money. I had no idea how to synthesize all of the work I had done, or grasp what was mine to teach.

So I went into the woods, clueless and open. I walked out of those woods with my method. What a gift that was!

After years and years of exploring, refining, redefining . . . in a little cabin in the woods, with flip charts and markers everywhere – the 3 Doorways of the Conscious Bookkeeping Method were born.

Here they are:

Doorway #1: Financial Therapy, or “Money Healing”
Doorway #2: Values Based Bookkeeping or “Money Practices”
Doorway #3: Life Vision Planning or “Money Maps”

Let’s hash this out just a bit more – as you read through, feel your body and listen for the pieces that are asking to be attended to.

What’s inside Doorway #1?

This is the first, enormous, important, and potent body of work in the financial forest.

Financial Therapy, or what I sometimes refer to as “Money Healing”, is so often skipped over, under-rated, and unacknowledged in traditional money work. Meanwhile, so many of us do very deep work in almost every area of our life except money (I managed to complete my Masters in Somatic Psychology without ever really taking a deep look at my money relationship)!

And it breaks my heart to see that, because there is so much to be gained here!  Without entering this doorway and exploring everything inside, few of the techniques and practices to follow will actually serve you.

Financial Therapy is about delving deep into the emotional and psychological territory of your money relationship.

We begin by taking stock of the nuance and complexity of current relationship with money. We also travel back through your entire money story, exploring money dynamics in your family of origin, defining moments for you, and all of your patterns around money.

A huge range of feelings come up during this process. Everyone has strengths, challenges, wounds, desires, and places that want and need to heal.

We bring massive doses of listening, forgiveness, and love.

Doorway number one is about deep Healing, and a space to un-shame around money so that we can grow and move forward.

What’s inside Doorway #2?

You’ve journeyed to the depths. The tools and insights you gained there are your companions on the rest of this journey, and the emotional work with continue throughout your money story.

Doorway number two is about engaging in a clear, empowered and direct relationship with your finances.

Just as the deeper healing is often missing in traditional money work, the nuts-and-bolts number-crunching can be left out of much of our soul work. Both-and, yin-yang, dark-light: we need it all.

Doorway #2 is called Values-Based Bookkeeping, or “Money Practices”. It’s about the numbers, the practical, the technique . . . and so much more.

In this second doorway, we take the mystery out of finances by digging in and learning the language of money + bookkeeping. We can translate it in a way that resonates with our deeper selves, and supports all of who we are.

It’s also a time to start, or refine, your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly money practices. Your money practices are designed to bring you more clarity, empowerment, and joy around the money going in and out of your life.

While exploring the terrain, we find the right financial tracking system (e.g. Mint.com, Quicken, Quickbooks, etc)  and we use it!

We align our spending with our most cherished values by renaming our expenses to reflect the deeper meaning and intention behind them. For example, “Mortgage” (blech) could become “Sanctuary” (ahhh). This can be fun, playful, and absolutely essential.

We transform an often dry, oppressive, and dreaded subject of “bookkeeping” into something alive and infused with intention and playfulness. We create an environment that serves us and connects us with ourselves.

Oh, and YES, we bring chocolate. We light candles. We make amazing playlists. We allow our money practice to serve us!

What’s inside Doorway #3?

Heal in doorway #1.
Take inspired and embodied action in doorway #2.

As we enter the final doorway, Life Vision Planning, or “Money Maps”, we take all of that work and apply it to the bigger context of our life.

Here, you’re invited to connect deeply with your path, your dreams, your goals, and your gifts.

You’re asking questions like: “What life phase am I in, and how does that affect my money relationship in this chapter of my life?”, “Where do my gifts intersect with what the world needs?”, “What are my financial priorities and goals for this moment in my money story? How will I get there?”

Here, we create what I call our “Map of Intention”, a re-framing of the often dreaded “budget”. More specifically, we hash out a “3 Tiers Plan” based on your Basic Needs Lifestyle, Comfortable Lifestyle, Ultimate Lifestyle. This helps us know where we stand and where we’re going.

This final doorway is about visioning, reviewing, adjusting, understanding context, experimenting, visioning some more and setting goals + intentions for this one precious life.

We enter this doorway on a monthly or yearly basis throughout our lives, using our numbers to take stock of where we are, and where we can further step into our growth. We take a break from the daily grind and really ask ourselves the big questions.

Where are you in all this?

Remember, we go in and out of all of these doorways throughout our life. They integrate, they dance, they complement one another like different threads in one tapestry.

So, dear money voyager: What feels sticky? What’s been neglected? What’s humming along? What is calling your name?

Which doorway is asking you to walk through it in this moment, this day, this week, this month, this year of your money story??

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