How my Food Cleanse INSPIRED a Money Cleanse for my students.

written by Bari Tessler June 25, 2013

My 44th year has been powerful.

And, I have been Daring Greatly like crazy.

Some of my great dares this year have been: 

1. As many of you know, I opened my year-long program, The Art of Money, a global conscious money movement. It’s my favorite teaching model and business model to date and more sustainable and fulfilling than anything I have previously done. It’s an amazing blessing! (Psst… Art of Money 2014 is close on the horizon . . . get on the early updates list here!) And, I’m grateful.

2. I told my mom I wanted to do therapy with her for my 44th birthday. We finally did this a few weeks ago. YES! BRAVE mom and BRAVE daughter. (It’s not for the faint of heart.) It was a 2 hour session. Hard? Yes! But so, so good. I felt the old layers shedding off of me. It was life-alternating. Grateful.

3. Also, I started a food-cleanse! I took myself off grains, coffee, sugar and dairy. Now, if you would have tried to tell me to even attempt this in the past, I would have said something along the lines of, “Those are serious fighting words. I LOVE my mocha with almond milk and I LOVE my sprouted Ezekiel muffins. AND, hey, I eat REALLY healthy and balanced, I exercise often . . . so get off my back!”

But something deep inside was calling and it was finally time.

You see, I was ready to drop the baby-growing weight & exhaustion that I have been carrying around for 5 years.  And, I wanted to see if eliminating certain foods for a while would shift my relationship to my body, health and energy.  Ultimately, 


I was hoping to RE-SET my system and see if I could go back to a paleo diet (with chocolate, of course).

Side note: I have found amazing chocolate with Stevia — my new chocolate love.

So, how did it go?

Here’s a photo of me, (+ my boy at the Sand Dunes), post food-cleanse, leaping in the air. It’s been a hard but good adventure. And, I am feeling RENEWED. 

jumping in the sand dunes


So, why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with your money relationship?

Well, I recently posted all of this Daring Greatly on my FB wall. Soon after, one of my Art of Money students shared that it had inspired her to consider what a Money Cleanse would like like.

“Bari posted about her cleanse on her timeline and her reasons for doing it, and it felt analogous to my desires around completing my debt process with grace and healing. My intention is to clean up this thing that has been a huge emotional drain for a long time, and to re-set. It has me musing, what would a money-cleanse look like?”

I thought it was brilliant!

Beautiful discussions and insights ensued, and I wanted to share this concept and powerful metaphor with you all as well.

So how could this healing, sacred process be translated into our money relationship?

Well, the incredibly community of AOMers jumped in to support each other in this inquiry, generating wonderful ideas for Money Cleansing.

Here are some ideas we came up with:

  • Use cash as much as possible. The green stuff. For one student, this felt like an empowering way to get and stay conscious with the money going in and out. She had been using debit and credit in the past, and will likely return to it, but I loved this strategy for a temporary, life-altering practice of money consciousness.

  • Cancel auto-pay accounts, and rather set up reminders to consciously trigger each bill. I think auto-pay can be a great way to create ease and consistency in your money life — but I love this creative and strong stance towards money consciousness.

  • De-clutter your physical space of things you no longer need. Everything is connected to everything! One AOMer decided to clean out her closet and file cabinets . . . and to sell or consign the physical belongings that she no longer needed, or loved. What a creative way to shift cash flow, and bring more clarity and ease to her life, and thus her money relationship!

  • Scale back to a “Basic Needs” spending plan (aka “Budget” or my personal favorite: Money Map). Just like we might choose to eliminate specific foods that bring us lots of pleasure and can be wonderfully nourishing — there are times when it can be equally (or more) nourishing to take break and experience the benefits.

This last one is the most obvious application of a “Money Cleanse” — simply spending less, from a place of empowerment, clarity, and love.

In my household, Forest calls this “Maximum Lockdown Mode”, which goes into effect during the inevitable seasons of cash-flow as a dual-entrepreneurial family. We use the phrase with humor and fun, even though it does sound a bit harsh. 🙂 Instead of thinking of this as an intense, heavy, time, we know that these times are transitory and we can playfully or just honestly enstate “Maximum Lockdown Mode” for a few weeks or a month or so. For us, this has typically meant eliminating or reducing dinners out and self-care expenses like acupuncture and massage. 

One AOMer offered a beautiful perspective on paring down expenses, “for the experience of enough.” Ah, yes. What would it look like to spend less as a strategy for feeling enoughness?

There are as many versions and protocols for cleansing (with food, money, relationships, or anything else) as there are humans on the planet.

It can be as rigorous or free as you wish.

One week of making coffee at home instead of buying it at a cafe . . .

One year of packing a lunch from home instead of eating out . . .

Three months of taking (free) hikes instead of going to the gym . . .

Note: Cleanses of any kind can present a slippery slope into diet mentality of lack, restriction, and negative willpower — which almost never works (and is not fun at all).

Although there is a place for rigidity, for a particular person at a particular time in their life. I prefer to think of cleansing as a special phase, an experiment, a dance of temporary elimination, and an opportunity to know ourselves better. 

With food, money, or anything else — I believe our bodies tell us what they need. Are you getting a hit that a Money Cleanse would be supportive for you, now, or sometime soon?

What would yours look like?

The possibilities are endless. You choose this. You craft this.


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