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Finance: A Somatic Experience
Have you ever thought about how money and your way of holding money is a somatic experience? As a thirty-year Certified Financial Planner®, co-founder of Colman Knight Advisory Group (a wealth services firm) and an Integral Master Coach™, I am distinctly aware of the need for a new way to experience money. Somatic Finance® is a new way. Our body intelligence shelters unique wisdom and capacity to assist us individually and collectively, to respond to toxic and painful financial disruptions with skillful action and resonant hearts.
Attention to our Interior Space: Sharpening Our Sword with Somatic Finance Presence
When we are relating to another human about any topic there is a vibrant vital energy that holds and contains the moment. It nourishes the connection, and the ability to be of service. But, we can’t get to that energy unless we are awake in our body. Through my training with Integral Coaching Canada, decades of somatic meditation, and development of breath and body awareness, I know that sustained results only happen when the body is included. Of course, all practices include our body; but the question is: how aware are we of our body in our practices? As an Integral Coach™, embodiment is everything. We are trained to develop sustainable outcomes for our clients, and ourselves.
Money is a charged experience, for better or worse. Attention to money typically lives outside our bodies. Automatically, habitually, our attention moves to the exterior, when we focus on our money things: paying bills, buying a car, preparing tax returns, filling out forms, creating a budget, watching the market move up and down... these money things can feel endless. How often do we pay attention to our bodies in these experiences?
When you read the word money, what do you notice? Where do you go to notice? How familiar is what you notice?
Most of us ignore sensations in our bodies in favor of one or more of the following:
- figuring out some concept that requires our logical mind to “fix”,
- tensing into an emotion that stings,
- supercharging the emotion or problem with an old (or new) story that crystalizes our beliefs.
This cycle repeats itself over and over again. It repeats itself even when we recognize the pattern– we cannot think our way out of these embodied experiences.
Our bodies exist in space. Our actions exist in space. Our connection to others exists in space. Space includes the gross level of our physical environment: the body’s presence, facial expressions, clothing, coffee cups; and space includes the cosmic invisible now-ness that has no words. Space also includes the in-between: an energetic felt sense developed when we give attention to it. Space matters, a lot. It is a powerful practice to give attention to the space that holds every experience. Attention to space begins in the body.
Money, too, exists in space. Opportunities to shift our habitual exterior moves around money are present when we give attention to the space inside our body and intentionally bring our money thing there. After opening the connection with our belly and heart, we bring our money thing inside with curiosity. Then we abide in the space with openness.
Noticing the sensations in our bodies, typically felt in terms of movement, pressure, and temperature, is the gateway to evolved perception of bodily wisdom. Without proficiency in recognizing the interior of the body and what our body communicates, we habitually move from the cognitive reasoning mind only. We forego the benefits of the unique and precious wisdom of the belly, heart and head – all working together for you, me, and all.
The first crucial step towards giving attention to space is to strengthen body awareness and get intimate with our body wisdom. Start with the envelope of the skin. Bring your awareness to your skin and visualize all of the pores breathing inside to your bones, to your organs, to your brain, to your lymph system, to every smidgeon of body mass held inside the envelope of your skin.
Notice, without judgment or effort, the movement, pressure, and temperature. Tingling, tightness, warmth, lightness; all kinds of activity is happening and is all yours, for your enjoyment. This practice is available anywhere, at any time. It builds body awareness.
With practice accessing the interior of our bodies, we get even more curious with directed attention. We pay attention to our belly interior by breathing into a point four fingers below the belly button and centered front-to-back. As we breathe in and out, we imagine a balloon expanding and releasing. Again, we notice the pressure, temperature and movement in our belly center. Sometimes we find churning burning movement; sometimes we find stillness, spaciousness, silence. Whatever arises, we receive without evaluation, only pure experience.
Now we bring our attention to the chest interior, specifically the heart region. We imagine a 1000-petal flower opening in the chest center. With each breath, the tight bud opens, one petal at a time. Inhaling, we access the bud; as we exhale, the flower begins to bloom. As the flower opens, we gently observe the pressure, temperature and movement in our heart. Sometimes, we feel tightness and aching; sometimes, we feel tender and vulnerable. Whatever arises, we let go of judgment and simply experience, without filters.
These practices are engaged for varying lengths of time, over years. The body evolves with wisdom and each breath we take. Confidence grows, and we become able to bring our money issues inside. With curiosity and openness, we explore wonder in the form of questions. An open question might look like: how can I meet my debt management skillfully? What does this money situation want to teach me? What does my fear about money really mean? What would you like to tell me about money?
Understanding the concept of this practice with our head center, we let go of the rational mind and engage what is happening. Our body leads in the discovery to fully digest the direct experience. After engaging the body exploration, we co-create with our head center, accessing whole body insight.
How do we know if we have had the “right” experience? Trust is a vital ingredient to benefit from these practices. Training is the only way to access the intelligence of the body, held only inside the space of the body.
Attention to space, in all directions, is a vast lifelong practice. Attention to the space inside our body is a powerful stepping-stone to awareness of space itself. Using money as the object of study helps develops strength in our somatic awareness, while at the same time tending to money as a universal material concept which gives most of us, if not all of us, both problems and growth opportunities.