There is one topic that nearly all of my students wish to avoid, money. For some reason, many of us want to avoid money like the plague. Unfortunately, I was one of those people.
I grew up in an environment where you heard things like, “Money is the root of all evil”, “People who have money must have done something dishonest to get it” and “There’s two things you don’t mess with in this life – God and the IRS”. Fears around money were implanted into my mind and for many years I struggled with having enough money.
Money scared me so much that I always did everything I could to avoid it. I had piles of undone paperwork in boxes. I didn’t pay taxes for years at a time. I just kept unnecessarily digging these financial holes for myself. It was foolish but I was just scared. It was just my conditioning.
The last thing I wanted to do was face it. Face the holes I had dug and be responsible for them. I can remember handing my accountant (who is a good friend of mine for many years) a box of crumbled up papers and saying, “Fix this for me!” I simply dished the problem off to someone else and made it their problem. Nonetheless, the problems were always recreated because nothing changed regarding my thoughts and conditioning around money. I would go through the cycle all over again.
It wasn’t until I took a big and courageous leap of faith. I left the Delray Center – a psychiatric medical facility where I was the Wellness Director – to start The Peaceful Minds Center. I knew in my heart what I wanted to manifest in the world but i was not clear how exactly to do that in my mind. I knew it would be rocky road but I was truly inspired to do this. So, I took the leap and on August 4, 2008 (My Birthday) I started the Peaceful Minds Center.
6 months later I tore my ACL and needed surgery. I don’t know if you are familiar with that surgery but it is a rough one. I could not work. I had already been struggling without my income from the Delray Center and this was the straw that broke the camels back. I was in big trouble and I knew it. I remember saying to myself, “Tommy, if you don’t get it together right now you will be living under a bridge”. That was an important turning point in my life. I was no longer willing to live that way.
I enrolled my accountant buddy as a coach to teach me quickbooks. This all came about in June of ’09. I went back 6 months and started my books from January 1, ’09. My living room was covered in papers for a week. Nothing was organized. Little by little, one piece of paper at a time, I began to build the financial foundation for my life and The Peaceful Minds Center.
I became a top notch bookkeeper and went from being one of my accountant’s worst clients to being one of his best. We looked at my books and agreed that I was a good candidate for Chapter 13 restructuring. It was a blessing. I cleaned up my debt and got on the right track. I can tell you every dime I spent and where I spent it from January 1, 2009 through today. I let go of my conditioning and habituation around money and it has served me and The Peaceful Minds Center profoundly. Had I not, there would not be a Peaceful Minds Center today.
Money has gone from being a source of anxiety to a source of great peace and joy. When you consciously manage your money and don’t avoid these matters, money begins to serve you. This is not about lack or not getting what you desire. You find creative ways to have what you desire within the limits of your means. You begin to clip coupons (free money) and return items that you purchased but don’t need. You realize how little you actually need and stop wasting money. You become prosperous and its such a wonderful feeling!
The Dalai Lama once said, “A simple life is of paramount importance to a peaceful mind”. For seven years now I have been simplifying and organizing and simplifying and organizing and so on. I must say that I agree whole heartedly with the Dalai Lama. As I make my life and my finances more and more simple a great sense of peace has come over me.
When we are not consciously engaging in matters of money in our lives and even avoiding it, it creates a constant pressure that we learn to live with. We even become used to the pressure and sometimes feel weird without it. It becomes our way of being but, it doesn’t have to be like that. It does take work. It does take effort. It does take time. Most good things do. I promise that if you learn to become your own bookkeeper and begin to consciously have a relationship with money, it will bring you a deep, deep sense of peace and joy, and profoundly simplify your life. It is a cornerstone in the foundation of your meditation/spiritual practice.
Tom Notarianni Jr.
Founder of The Peaceful Minds Center