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Money in Hand by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Using Money Issues as a Gateway to Self Love and Enlightenment

I’m going to share my story and how I use my money issues as a gateway to self love and enlightenment. I talk about how growing up poor instilled limiting beliefs about money and was the foundation for a scarcity mindset. But I chose to feel into the fear, guilt, and shame around money and this is what I learned.

A couple years ago I wrote a post about the fear of making money. I discussed how we hold conflicting beliefs of wanting money, but then looking down upon those who seem to have an abundance of it. We do this with anything… demonizing the people who seem to have what we struggle to get. In that post, I talk about how our disdain for wealthy people gets in the way of our own ability to attract more wealth into our life.

One of my readers resonated with that post and asked me to go into more detail on my personal relationship the almighty dollar. Aside from the crazy “conversation” I had with money, I surprisingly haven’t written much about it. So let’s do it.

Growing Up Poor

Growing up, my family struggled with being poor. We never had enough money. My Dad was a mechanic and my Mom was staying home trying to raise three kids. We were often on food stamps and moved around a lot. We lived in government sponsored housing projects and spent a lot of time living with my Grandma (Dad’s mom). We were even homeless for a short time during my junior and senior year of high school. My family bounced around to different friends’ houses and took the kids and the dogs with them. We even stayed at a campground for awhile. I moved in with one of my friends for half of my senior year until my parents finally got a new place. When I went to college, they finally were able to get a decent place out in the country with lots of land and still live there today. When they got the place, they were doing lots of praying and felt so lucky to have found it.

When I was a kid, I didn’t even realize I was poor. But other kids in my school seemed to know. They teased me or made comments about my clothes or said I was too poor to afford a yearbook. How did they know? I guess if you’re from a middle to upper class home, you can just tell. I was also on the free or reduced lunch program which made my lunches cost only $0.40, which I distinctly remember my mom scraping together coins in her purse to give us kids before the bus came.

The prevailing sentiment in our family was that money was hard to get. My mom would say “the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.” Neither of my parents finished high school and I remember my Dad was hardly ever home because he was working so much trying to put food on the table.

My parents tell the story of so much sacrifice. So much hard work and dedication. But it was one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes mom would get a job bartending or painting tools at home to bring in some extra income. We were overjoyed when we could afford to eat McDonald’s or rent a video game from time to time. There was never any shopping for cool clothes… we all wore hand-me-downs.

I remember one time crying to my mom because she wouldn’t stop at the store and get me a video game. She said the words “we can’t afford it” about a million times. I just didn’t understand… I literally felt like she was being so mean to withold any sense of fun or enjoyment from us kids. But the truth was she really couldn’t afford it. It’s not easy living paycheck to paycheck supporting a family of five on a single income.

My First Job

When I was 14, my friends starting getting jobs and making their own money. It was insane seeing my friend earn $200 in one week. It felt like a million bucks to me. They told me I should get a job, so I got hired at the local McDonald’s where my best friend worked. It was so cool feeling like I was now making my own money to do whatever I wanted with it. I loved going to work and earning money. It was minimum wage, which was $5.15 at the time, but it felt like a lot to me!

I would put in 40-50 hours per week as soon as I was legally allowed to do so. I loved it and I took pride in being a good worker. I became a crew trainer and crew leader within a couple years. And when I was 17, I participated in the All American Crew competition and won several local and state competitions for the “fried products” station. I eventually went on to the finals in Chicago and was part of the Midwest team. I think it’s funny looking back on it, but I was proud of myself.

Making my own money was awesome. But I spent most of it on Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, and Magic: The Gathering cards! Yep, circa 2000 or 2001, I bought a Beta edition Black Lotus for half my trade binder plus $216. I should have never traded it because that card is worth anywhere from $4,500 to $12,000 depending on the condition now. I went to the mall and could finally afford to buy cool clothes. I remember my first trip to the mall and brought the entire display rack from American Eagle to the counter. She said “do you want this whole thing?” I said, yep! “Even the ball chain choker?” Um… sure. I walked out with some “worn in” faded button down shirts and some fresh cargo pants.

Then I went and got my hair highlighted at a real hair salon. No more “mom cuts” anymore! I bought concert tickets to go see The Offspring and Blink-182 and bought the new Cranberries and Alanis Morissette CDs to play in my new aftermarket CD player inside my 1988 Mazda. My friends put their money into big subwoofers to bump “money, cash, hoes, what!” on repeat.  I still remember that silly whistle sound in Jay-Z’s song “Big Pimpin.” Oh the 90s.

Being Responsible

But aside from that, I was pretty responsible with my money. Putting it into savings accounts and paying my bills on time (like a good boy). I took pride in being responsible. In fact, it felt like the poor upbringing and watching my parents sacrifice themselves for little in return made me that much more driven to make something of myself. I told my Dad “my hands will never look like yours. When I’m grown up I’m going to pay someone to do all that hard work for me.”

I studied hard and went off to college, which was a big deal on our family. Until me, nobody had ever gone to college. I was the first. I chose to go the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and get a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Animation because I wanted to eventually do special effects for movies and video games.

College was alright. I didn’t party like other people because I worked 20-30 hours a week at McDonald’s to pay for it. I took out student loans to cover the rest and had a few small scholoarships. My total debt was about $40,000 which I am still paying off 17 years later. I ended up working at McD’s for six years because the owner paid for my books and supplies as long as I got good grades. I thought it was a sweet deal.

By the time I quit McDonald’s I was making $6.39/hour and ready to get a real job. Which was tough to find honestly. All the cool jobs were in California and I struggled to find any animation jobs locally in Ohio. After a couple depressing interviews with local shops, I stumbled upon the work of Rob Dobi, Derek Hess, and Justin Kamerer. They were able to make a living designing posters and merch for punk rock and metal bands. It was like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. So I started freelancing under the alias “Mylkhead” and doing $20 shirt designs and $200 websites for bands. A year or so later I met two guys in Cleveland who ran their own design studio called Go Media. They offered me a $10/hour part time job at first which wasn’t quite enough to support myself. But a year later they offered me a partnership and we ended up working together for the next 9 years.

Financial Success

Bill and Wilson at Go Media told stories of struggle and dire straights trying to make ends meet up until 2006 when they brought me on. Shortly after I came aboard, we launched a new line of products that ended up making us insane amounts of cash. It was crazy. I’m talking like $40,000+ per month. None of us had seen that kind of cash before. We ended up earning over a million dollars in revenue in 2007 and had us all hyped!

As responsible grown adults, we used that cash to get us a new office building and hire staff to fulfill this new demand that was growing. We put extra money into our retirement accounts and were able to add perks like health care and vacation time to our employees. We were proud to be frugal with our earnings and invest it back into the company. I remember boasting that we were “rich” but we didn’t buy fancy cars like those “other” business guys do. We celebrated some, but as humble servants, we kept working. Anotha day, anotha dolla.

But in 2009, the recession hit us pretty badly and we had to lay off some staff. And for the next several years, money was always a struggle. We were basically breaking even and no matter what we did, we only ever seemed to earn as much as we spent. Even if we had 12 employees and a beautiful office space and worked with A-list clients, we were usually underselling ourselves or struggling financially in some aspect.

Me personally, I never enjoyed dealing with the money. I loved making money, but I never liked dealing with the accounting. That was Bill’s area of expertise. I loved him for it. But he was pretty frugal and held the purse strings tight.

While we tried to create a workplace that felt free and inspiring, many of us felt like we carried the burden of the world on our shoulders. We worked long hours and sacrificed time with our families and friends. We took pride in our blue collar, rust-belt, Midwestern work ethic. But our staff would quietly complain that they were underpaid and not getting industry standard wages. As owners, we felt like we wanted to but we just “couldn’t afford it.” Hmm now doesn’t that sound familiar? Personally, I felt like I wasn’t sacrificing as much as the other partners and it made me question if I was doing enough, despite my successes.

It seemed no matter how much money we made, we were always lacking in some way. And when I started up WMC Fest and ran three successful Kickstarter campaigns year after year, we only made enough money to break even on costs. It’s like we could only ever break even and never felt like we had a surplus. Even when we did, there was always a fear that it could just slip away. Or there would be some mild catastrophe (like our new windows getting vandalized) or equipment failure… another set back.

We would constantly wrestle with this idea that we were accepting this struggle because we were fortunate enough to work on projects we loved. Instead of selling out and doing brochures and logos for boring corporate companies, we were making badass illustrations for bands we loved. Music would be blasting throughout the office and we were all able to grow as artists. We were lucky to be getting paid anything to do this work, right?

Divorce, Depression, and Guilt

In 2015, I left Go Media after two years of trudging through depression and trying to stay enthusiastic about my work. But inside I was changing a lot spiritually. Money wasn’t ever my goal, and I think my idealistic “do what you love” mentality held us back from being a really profitable company. We often debating giving up the “cool” work to follow the money, but none of us really wanted to go there. Doing work we loved was more important.

But personally I needed something more authentic and felt like I had to follow my inner calling. I’ve told this story many times, but it led to ending my marriage, and a spiritual awakening. It was so hard to be motivated by money or fame or ego anymore. I knew there were things I could do to help us make more money but I just couldn’t force myself to do them.

After I left Go Media, I was owed a sum of money for my shares in the company. And this was really difficult for me. I felt tremendously guilty like I was disappointing and burdening my partners by doing something for myself. I felt like I was responsible for putting them in a hard financial spot because not only was I quitting, they had to pay me. Which in legal sense, this was all correct and I was rightfully owed my share of the company. But internally, I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I felt selfish for following my own inner calling and like I had failed them in some way.

Some part of me was just willing to walk away with nothing out of guilt. But another part of me was saying I wasn’t being fair to myself. I had some family members in my ear trying to tell me to get a lawyer so I wouldn’t get ripped off and to maximize the money I would get upon my exit. But I just didn’t feel right about that. I valued harmony between my partners more than I valued the money.

Fortunately, us three partners were able to sit down together with our company lawyer and work it out with minimal emotional turmoil and no burned bridges. But I couldn’t help but think they were holding back resentment of me for leaving them “stranded” and owing me money. I could hardly sleep at night. Feeling like I deserved the money, but feeling so guilty at the same time. We worked out a payment schedule over the next several years and it seemed we all were able to walk away on good terms.

This feeling of being bad, selfish, or unworthy was something that I struggled with a lot. Who am I to receive this cash? People around me told me I could have gotten more. That I was underselling myself and undervaluing my contribution. I was humble and self deprecating. I would see lots of my faults and had a hard time seeing my virtues. Yeah yeah, so I joined the company and was part of the reason why we took off and became “rich” very quickly. It was my idealism and commitment to authenticity that kept us creating work we loved. It was my passionate desire for community or and even a bit of fame that motivated me to shamelessly self promote and help make Go Media a household name. I could make a big list of all my accomplishments but still somehow I would feel not good enough.

The guilt would stay with me for years after I left. But it is lessening. I often wonder if they resent having to pay me every month. I try not to think about it, but I have a hunch there is some more healing work to be done there. More on that later.

When I left Go Media, I had a high degree of confidence in my ability to make money. That was never an issue. I knew I had skills, charisma, and work ethic to hustle and find ways to bring in cash. I felt like if I could just do for myself what I did for my company, then I’d have no issue making six figures a year on my own.

Boy was I wrong.

Struggling on My Own

I really struggled my first year on my own after leaving Go Media. I wrote my second book Wake Up and really thought it was going to do well like my last book had. I did everything I could to create the perfect landing page with upsells and package deals and even coaching upgrades. But nope, it turned out to barely make enough money to cover my bills.

Isn’t that familiar…

I had my share of freelance clients and inspired creations, but nothing seemed to change. I was still struggling to stay afloat.

But one thing that I didn’t account for was my own personal exhaustion with the hustle. My ego couldn’t keep up anymore. I felt a growing urge to leave ALL work behind and go travel, be in nature, and meditate and journal everyday. But how could I justify that with having to earn a living? Trying to write the sales copy for my book while feeling like none of it fucking mattered anymore was really hard.

My wife and I separated and eventually divorced. I moved back in with my parents and then I left on my first cross-country road trip. This was the beginning of the REAL self-love journey and I had no idea what was to come.

After a few months on the road, I was able to reevaluate my life and appreciate everything I had done up until this point. Moneywise I was doing ok and had enough passive income that I could travel and work from the road when I needed to.  I fell in love with Austin, Texas and ended up moving there in early 2016. That’s when I got a crash course in reality.

Hitting Rock Bottom

When I was living on my own for the first time in Austin, I had to face so many of my beliefs about money. It was around that time I had started getting into Law of Attraction and the metaphysical aspects of “abundance.” I read a lot of books on manifesting money… I didn’t have much and I needed more. But I didn’t want to get a “regular” job because my heart just wasn’t in it. I started up Starseed Supply Co and released my third book Maker/Mistaker. I hustled as much as I could, but again, I only had so much hustle energy left. I just couldn’t do it like I used to. I was getting burned out way too fast.

There were many months were I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to pay rent. I over-drafted my bank account and didn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from. I cried in my bed and did all sorts of money manifestation rituals… I collapsed into despair and fear that I was just going to get evicted and be homeless on the street.

I realized my parents set the example for how to relate to money. Money was elusive, hard to get, hard to keep, a corrupting influence in large amounts, a deadly vice, an addiction, a necessary evil, etc. It was almost like being poor helped you stay virtuous and pious.

This girl I was dating at the time told me to ask my parents for help. What? Seriously? My parents have always been broke, how could they afford to help me? Well, it turns out they had recently won a seven year legal battle over a workman’s comp case. They received a lump sum of cash that was dwindling away just as fast as it came in. My Dad complained that people he hadn’t spoken to in years somehow were calling him up and asking for financial favors. I remember he really resented that he never felt appreciated for all the hard work he had put in over the years and people only want to be his friend so he can fix their car, give them weed, or let them “borrow” money that they’ll never pay back.

How could I possibly ask my Dad for money when he was already overwhelmed? I was feeling guilty and I hadn’t even asked yet. I avoided this for quite some time until I literally couldn’t hold it any longer. I missed a rent payment and got a eviction warning. Wow, it was too real. So I swallowed my pride and asked my Dad for help.

He already knew by the tone of my voice what I was going to ask him. I felt ashamed that I needed help. I felt like a failure. That I couldnt’ support myself like a responsible man should be able to. I tried so hard. I was an overachiever and had a reputation for having the Midas touch, but none of it mattered in that phone call. No longer was I the golden child who left his poor family’s home only to overshadow his father’s success and do what he never could. But now I was a small boy asking his father for help.

He surprised me when he happily agreed to help me. I knew he didn’t have much, but he was going to help me anyway. He was happy that I asked him. I think it made him feel good to be provider and to help his first-born son. He said he knew I’d pay him back.

That girl I was dating continued her sage advice,

“You don’t have to be your parents’ parent. Be their child. Let them take care of you.”

That was a light bulb moment. I had been trying so hard to be responsible my entire life. I was impressing teachers, managers, clients, and twitter followers for years with my work. But in these moments I felt like I had lost it all. I was collapsing into another ego death.

Seeing the Truth About My Money Issues

Fortunately, all of the spiritual and self love work I was doing helped get me through. Not only did I end up surviving just fine, I was fully present for all the painful emotions that arose during this time. I had to confront my biggest fears of going broke, losing my ability to work, losing my reputation, being a nobody, asking for help, and even getting a day job at Starbucks.

I only lasted three weeks at Starbucks. I want to say I quit, but they stopped putting me on the schedule after three weeks and wouldn’t return my texts. It was hard finding a “regular” job actually. I honestly thought I could walk in and get any job I wanted. I was that confident. But I was turned down because I was “too entrepreneurial” hah! They could just tell that I wasn’t going to be loyal to their company or their priorities for too long before I’d eventually leave to do my own thing. I guess that’s just my personality. I am very independent. I love working for myself. My time at Starbucks really reminded me of that!

After a few hard months, I finally got back on my feet. But my expensive apartment lease was ending and I felt done with Austin for the time being. I had a massive calling inside to travel abroad and explore Europe on my own for the first time. This was a story in and of itself, but I finally found the courage to overcome my money blocks and just do it.

But first I moved back in with my parents again so I can finish paying my Dad back and pay off some debt. I sold almost all of my belongings and felt so good getting rid of dead weight. Three months later I flew off to Europe to see how long I could survive out there on my own.

At this point, I had been getting a lot better about my beliefs about money. My former business partner Bill would tell me that money is like a river, it is always flowing. And you can just go scoop some out when you need it. That rang true for me deep down.

Money is like a river, it is always flowing. And you can just go scoop some out when you need it. – Bill Beachy

I really began to feel supported by some higher power during this time. It’s like most of the suffering was all in my head and never actually “real.” I always had enough to be honest, I was just scared of it running out and not knowing if it would ever come back.

I sold my stuff and went backpacking in Europe for three months. So many people would love to do that but can’t because they think you need to be rich or have a job that allows you to travel. But I found a way to do it somehow, some way. Honestly, I felt like I was called to do it and being almost broke was part of the challenge. I was also a bit naive and innocently excited, so that helped a lot!

Transforming Fear into Joy

The money beliefs in my head were evolving rapidly. When I would spend money, I would feel joy and a sense of synchronicity and trust. Even if I had to put something on my credit card, there was a sense of assurance that I could afford it. Instead of rent and utilities, I spent my money on AirBnb’s and hostels and plane tickets.

It didn’t really matter what I did, I always somehow had enough. Even the times when I thought it was crazy, like spending $1,000+ on airfare to Australia, ended up not being a big deal after it was all said and done. I surprised myself at how a dramatic fear dissolved into an experiential knowing by allowing myself to proceed toward my desires, even though it felt scary.

In the meantime, sales of my books and patches were flowing in. And I was doing nothing to promote them! I was traveling and following my heart’s calling, fearing that by not working, I would lose money. But that’s not what happened.

Despite the uncertainty, there was always a next step. So I just took it one step at a time and focused on the feeling of being supported and loved. All the hardships and circumstances I experienced, just kept bringing me back to my self and my soul’s guidance. Which I grew to trust more and more each time.

Now I can approach $0 in my bank account and hardly feel any fear at all. Money flows in and out of my life just like it always does but I hardly feel the same crippling fear of losing it.

When shopping, I still tend to look for the best deals, but I focus more on how joyful or purposeful I feel when buying it. If it feels good, do it. If it feels off, I don’t. If I’m feeling scarce or in “lack” mentality, I will rest and feel deeply into those feelings. I try to take my mind out of it and let my body do the work. Read my post on my self-love practice for more about that. After I feel aligned, after the fear or emotional pain has been processed, I will usually feel lighter and better. And making my purchase no longer feels threatening, but just part of the next step.

I get a lot of joy of paying down debt and spending money on things that feel good to me. When I pay my credit card bill, it actually feels kinda fun!

I have allowed myself to dream bigger and stop holding myself back with phrases like “I can’t afford that” or “I don’t deserve that.” I have my sights set on my dream home which will cost me upwards of $350,000. Which normally would freak me out and I would never think could get that. My mind would flood with limiting beliefs like “Only rich people who sell their souls and hate their life can afford that kind of house.” It’s no wonder with beliefs like that I stay stuck living in a roach infested apartment sleeping on a yoga mat.

The Metaphysical Aspects of Money

My friend Jana Walters is a big help regarding money manifestation stuff. On numerous occasions she’s helped me reframe my limiting belief into one that is more in alignment with truth and joy. Somehow she helps me believe anything is possible. Seriously, if you need someone to shake up your worldview and hold you accountable to manifesting your dreams, I believe she is taking on coaching clients.

She would remind me to focus on the feeling state of my desires rather than the practical steps. She’d help me question my motivations to make sure they were coming from my truth rather than out of fear.

There were a few times lately I had some roadblocks with money. Opportunities came up that offered me money, but didn’t feel good. I felt like I had to sell out just a little bit to earn this money. I took them anyway and ended up not enjoying the process. Jana reminded me to focus on how it feels. Why am I settling for jobs or gigs that I don’t like just because they are paying me money? Where else am I giving up my authenticity or setting aside my ideals because I believe it’s necessary to make money?

Where did I get the belief that in order to make money I have to sacrifice? Or work harder than I have the physical capacity for? Or where did I get the idea that I couldn’t just be myself and get paid, but had to transform into something better? Or to write my sales copy in a way that is persuasive and most definitely manipulative instead of authentic?

It seems there are tried and true paths to making money, but I don’t want to take any of them. Because they don’t feel authentic to me. They feel “gross” instead. This is a sign that it’s out of alignment with my soul. With my Truth. And at this point, Truth is more important than anything else. I am still somewhat confused on what I need to do to live a prosperous life or to make enough money to afford the home that I feel so called to build, but I trust that I’ll be guided toward it one step at a time.

Law of Attraction teacher Esther “Abraham” Hicks says that just by asking, I am already drawing toward me my dreams. That simply the desire for my dream home is already setting in motion the circumstances that will lead me to it. But why am I desiring that house in the first place? Is it to prove something? Is it to boost my own ego? Or is it coming from a deeper place?

In this case, I am careful to notice the feelings that inspire my desires. It feels like something I want to create just for the sheer joy of creating it. And because I deserve to live in a home that is my own creation. That is authentic to ME and isn’t me settling for something less because I feel like I have to. I want to do it because I just want to do it. It feels FUN and JOYFUL to me. And when I focus on those feelings, MORE ideas that match that vibration come into my reality. Like I start to have visions of the living room, the textures, the colors, the outdoor scenery, etc. I feel the mood and the feelings of what it’s like to live there and my body fills up with feelings of safety, warmth, love, freedom, and accomplishment. My heart is singing!

And this is the key. It’s not about the money. It’s about your heart singing.

I have learned so many lessons on not sacrificing your heart just for the sake of money. Many people say it isn’t possible. But I am still alive and money still flows into my bank accounts every month. I’m still supported. And I’m doing so much less of the work I don’t like, and so much more of the work I do like. And I have drastically reduced my unnecessary “hustle” and sacrificing tendencies. I “work” so much less than I used to and I basically make the same amount. My bills are still paid and I’m almost debt free completely.

It’s scary as hell to try to do the work you love and then make a living from it. It feels like you can’t. That you have to tolerate work that you don’t enjoy in order to do the work you do enjoy. Or that if you are an artist, musician, spiritual healer, etc, that you just shouldn’t make money at it because it somehow makes it inauthentic. In fact, I’m seeing people in the truth community getting criticized for having a Patreon, or selling merch, or selling their books… people tell them they should only do spiritual type work for free. Or if they do ask for money, be humble about it.

But I’ve been there and done that. Being humble about your desire to make money just makes people resent you for making money. My guilt of making money for doing the work I loved only seemed to create more guilt the more money I made. I couldn’t keep it because I somehow felt like a sell out. But then I realize that so much of this is all in my head and I’m partly responsible for creating this reality for myself.

I have almost NO ISSUE making money with Starseed Supply Co. It feels SO EASY and clean… someone sees my product, they want it, they buy it, and I ship it to them. There’s no moralizing or wishy-washy hand wringing over my intentions for my business. It’s clear that I have a product and that it costs money. So asking for money doesn’t feel like an issue.

But why do I seem to have an issue asking for money for other stuff? I’ve been doing professional design for 12+ years and I still find myeslf feeling guilty for charging as much as I do… yet at the same time I feel deep down that I’m still not charging enough. This conflict of intentions is part of what blocks me. Other conflicting beliefs would be writing a book because I know it would sell versus it not being what my heart wants. Another conflict is feeling like I need to sacrifice and work long hours to make money, but my body and soul doesn’t want to be sacrificed!

Money Issues and the Self

My money issues were not just money issues, but deep-seated beliefs about my Self. Deep down I didn’t feel worthy of love, money, or attention unless I was GOOD and earned it. And if I was doing something authentic, or just for ME, then I certainly didn’t deserve to be paid for it. That was a luxury! I had to first spend time making sure everyone was pleased around me and the coast was clear, then I could go do stuff that I loved. Or I could sneak around and have an affair with my passion project and do it when nobody was watching. This would amplify the guilt if I ever got caught wasting time on making music instead of doing yard work or putting in a solid 8 hours at the office. Even as an adult, I felt like I would get in trouble if I was caught having fun.

Sometimes these beliefs about money would cross over into other aspects of my life. For example, in my love relationships. I’d somehow find a way to feel guilty all the time for stuff that I had no control over. If my ex-wife was unhappy, I felt guilty like it was my fault. Or if I was receiving too much attention during sex, I would feel guilty and couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted.  I’d project this inner guilt and shame onto my partners as the CAUSE of this and end up avoiding or resenting her for not appreciating all that I have to give. I would unintentionally sacrifice myself and my needs to please my partner because part of me believed it was the right thing to do. Or passively meet these needs in private where I didn’t have to feel guilty for having them.

Ok, hold up. Let me just take a minute from all this observation about my “flaws” and just appreciate that I’m awesome in so many other epic ways!! Yes Jeff, you are a badass and total stud, and your emotional presence is second to none. How’s that? Feel good? Ok, now carry on breaking down your aformentioned “issues.” (Seriously though, I LOVE discovering my patterns and loving myself through them).

Anyway, where were we?

Oh yeah, guilt! My old friend.

Pathological Guilt

Feeling guilty for having needs of my own was a massive realization for me. It goes all the way back to being a child in a poor family. Just by my mere existence, I was a burden on my parents. I was another mouth to feed. My parents struggled, and I took on a lot of personal responsibility to take the burden off of them. I became very self sufficient and had a difficult time asking for help.

In my Quantum Sphere Healing experience, my healer had visions of me as a child feeling embarrassed for having needs, crying, or drawing attention to myself. My parents were stressed out and I didn’t want to add to it. My Dad was an alcoholic and had anger issues, so I was often walking on eggshells when he was upset.

I learned how to cope by making myself invisible, hiding in my room playing video games and drawing… Not trying to make a fuss or be seen… I didn’t want to be a burden or make things worse, so I just made myself small. I think I learned pretty quickly that I could get by with less drama if I just kept my nose clean and didn’t ask for much.

Underneath my Dad’s raging temper was a very tender, loving, father figure that would sacrifice himself for his family. My mom would put herself through hell to keep us safe. My parents both struggled with depression and addiction to cope with their own pain… mostly hiding it from us kids. But we sensed it. For me, I wanted to heal them or make them feel better in my own way.

That desire to heal or fix my parents would manifest in my adult relationships. It wasn’t until several years post-awakening that I’d realize how I had learned the familiar patterns of people pleasing, passive aggressive behavior, anxious and avoidant attachment issues, etc. In a way, they were unconscious attempts at trying to make my parent’s happy so they would love me like I wanted them to. But… that’s another post!

Impressing or pleasing my parents was one of the ways I was able to make it through childhood. I would show them my drawings and boast about my successes in school and that would brighten their spirits. It made me happy to impress them. It motivated me to keep being better and to follow my dreams. My parents tell me how proud they are of us kids all the time. They imply that they want us to go live the life they never could. In a way, unintentionally making us feel responsible to live out their unlived life.

Practical Things You Can Do

So alright then, you’ve identified some core beliefs about the self that cause these ripple effects all throughout your life. What do you DO about it? How do you heal them or get rid of integrate them?

Well, for starters I can tell you I’ve read dozens of books about this very topic. I’ll share a few here, but I wouldn’t say they are required, they just helped me. They’re kind of woo-woo, but that’s what resonated with me the most. Some examples are Busting Loose from the Money Game, A Happy Pocket Full of Money, Get Rich Lucky Bitch, Money and the Law of Attraction, Ask and it is Given, and The Vortex.

At the core, all these teachings will tell a few things:

It’s all about feeling, soul alignment, inspired action, joyful creation and loving appreciation. 

You gotta FEEL all the feelings that arise around money. This means radically surrendering to the TRUTH and the REALITY of where you are. It’s more of a body thing than a mental thing. Most of the core beliefs you have around money are subconscious and stored in the nervous system of your body. That’s why you might feel a tightening in the solar plexus area when you’re in scarcity or lack mentality.

But I tell you, no amount of self-help books and vision boards and manifestation rituals are going to help you unless you feel your fucking feelings all the way through with loving awareness. Seriously, there isn’t much else that you have to do. That was the biggest take away for me.

I’d just be going about my day and something would pop into my reality – an “egg” as the Busting Loose book would call it. The “egg” was a trigger. I’d get triggered emotionally with something having to do with money – or love, or sex, or my feeling of security, etc. Same stuff.

I’d stop what I was doing (sometimes after trying to avoid, fix, or distract myself from the feeling) and go lay down to meditate. (The self love practice I was talking about earlier.) After an intense session that may involve feeling like I might die or get consumed by my fear, I’d feel a peace and a calm. And I’ll never be triggered in the same way again. At least not as much!

It’s certainly a process. Every time I felt triggered, I’d eventually do this. And I can tell you first hand that I am not nearly as triggered by the stuff I used to be.  I’ve really come a long way. Stuff just doesn’t bother me as much as it did before.

Get to the Truth of your Money Issues

The point of all of it though isn’t to manifest a lot of money or to fix, change, or get rid of annoying feelings. It’s to come further and further into alignment with Truth and your Soul. Each time you do this you are growing and allowing more of your true self into your body and releasing self-limiting or self-sabotaging beliefs that no longer serve your highest good. At least that’s what works for me.

What might end up happening for you is that you end up doing more authentic work and feeling more fulfilled in the process. And realizing that they money was always going to be there. And you’ll find that you had the easiest time when you were aligned and feeling like you were “in your element” rather than trying to force yourself to do things that you don’t like just so you can survive.

So with that, I hope that my story has helped you see yourself and your own patterns about money. I hope it inspires you to take whatever life throws at you and transmute it into gold with no other tools other than your own self love and awareness.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer them.

Jeff Finley
Jeff Finley

Jeff is a graphic artist, designer, musician, writer, and mystic with a passion for truth and personal growth. He's the author of Wake Up, Maker/Mistaker, and Thread's Not Dead, as well as the creator of Starseed Supply Co. Learn more about him here.

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