Money Aware

Finding Financial Balance and Harmony

By Jennie Hastings
[Mindful Money]

As massage therapists and bodyworkers, we are generally quite good at working on the body. Coming into contact with bodies is comfortable for us. We know how to touch them and how to listen to them so we can decide how to help them feel better. When someone has a challenge with their body, we do not tend to be overwhelmed. We know how to slow down and be with the challenge. We trust that with kind and skilled touch, and well-intentioned awareness, the body will respond in a positive way.
We also, you might say, have a financial body. It is not a body made of muscle, blood, and bone, but a body made of energy, value, and numbers. As practitioners, what makes the body of our finances so different and so challenging for us to be with?
What if we were to apply similar techniques to the body of our finances as we do to a physical body?

Shifting Into Balance
When we come into contact with a physical body in a challenged state, we do not turn away in fear; we are not overwhelmed or without hope. On the contrary, we look at the challenge as an opportunity to shift that which is out of balance into that which is healthy and stable. How do we do this? It begins by not placing judgment on the challenge. We never say, “This is a very bad shoulder; it is contracting in all the wrong places and barely getting any blood flow. It is a mess, and I just can’t deal with it.”
No. Instead we get in touch with the shoulder. We focus our awareness on it. We begin to discover where the problem is coming from, and we gently, with kindness and love, begin to slowly move what needs to be moved and soothe what needs to be soothed. What if we could treat our finances in such a manner?

Full Financial Awareness
If we were to focus nonjudgmental awareness on our money, a variety of things would become apparent. We might notice stagnation in an income stream or become aware of something that is costing us more than we thought. We might notice that too much money is being spent on something we really do not value, while something that is important is not being funded. Instead of being critical and passing judgment, as we pay attention and come into awareness with what is really going on, we will automatically begin to shift things into better balance, just as we do with the physical body.
I say all this in prelude to asking you to do something specific that will forever change your mindfulness about money: track what you earn, and track what you spend.
It sounds simple enough. Financial advisors are always asking us to do this. They want us to know where every penny is coming from and where it is going. As simple as it seems, it can take a lot of courage and willpower to begin doing this, and not because it is technically hard. There are plenty of things that can make this task quick and easy. It is getting to the mental and emotional place where we are willing to look at it that is usually the biggest challenge. Most of us prefer to live in a degree of ignorance when it comes to finances. Stepping into full awareness of what is going on with our money can feel downright scary.
I was never able to engage in tracking my money until I learned to really track everything. Not just expenses going out, but income too. Noticing everything as it came to me gave me the courage to notice everything as it went out again.

Some Software Assistance
I started with pen and paper. I would write down the money I received that day. Then, I would open my bank account online and notice what I spent that day. After a while, I learned about a free online software called Mint ( I connected my bank accounts to Mint, and this really made it easy to see the bigger picture and the connections. I made categories for things I spent money on, and Mint automatically categorized items into lists like groceries, gas, or entertainment, based on where I used my debit card.  
For a long time, I used accounting software for my business that required me to do the data entry for every business expense and deposit I made. Eventually, I learned about another free service called Wave Accounting ( By keeping a separate business checking account, Wave picks up all my transactions and places them in a database for me. I only have to go through and assign them to the correct categories and can quickly see financial reports.

Removing Money as an Obstacle
Becoming aware of the details of what is going on in my financial life has been healthy for my finances. I make informed decisions instead of guessing and hoping that there is enough to cover what I’m putting on my credit card. Sometimes it helps me with a splurge because I see that I’ve saved money somewhere this month and can afford to treat myself to something. It has definitely helped with peace of mind. For the most part, I can say that what I spend money on is in line with my values.
In our work as healers, we remove obstacles to the flow of life and vitality. We do this by coming into nonjudgmental awareness of what is present in the bodies of our clients, and then doing our best to apply techniques to bring balance and harmony to their system. We can apply this same technique with our financial body. Release judgment, allow your financial body to be a work in progress, and find the courage to pay attention.  
Jennie Hastings, LMT, BCTMB, has studied money in the therapeutic process from every angle: as a client, patient, and practitioner. She is the author of The Inspired Massage Therapist (Massage Blossom Books, 2012). Hastings believes having a career in massage and bodywork means having infinite possibilities, and she is always exploring new ways to evolve her practice. You can find more from her at