Discussing money can be a touchy subject, especially for those who have chosen a career emphasizing human wellness. Often driven by their own spiritual guidance, massage therapists are especially prone to conflicting perceptions of financial gain. While those in the healing field commonly spend years seeking the answers to some of life’s most troubling questions, very few apply these powerful practices to money. However, the yogic principles of self-observation and the cultivation of balance can transform anybody’s financial stress and worries into feelings of monetary freedom.
Too often, people confuse a spiritual practice with a religious practice. While religion is defined as an organized group of people with similar beliefs, each individual practicing a religion may or may not have a personal spiritual practice. A spiritual practice is anything done on a daily basis that acts to quiet one’s thoughts. This quieting allows seekers to abandon the rhetoric surrounding them so they can connect with their own souls. Most believe that this connection to oneself is the only way for an individual to identify their inner needs. This awareness of one’s needs is crucial for massage therapists to avoid feeling drained and burned out.
Encompassing many different types of applications, the most common spiritual practice is meditation. Quieting the mind allows a person to be fully present. For massage therapists, learning to be present is essential when working with clients. When focusing on helping and healing others, it is easy to neglect oneself. This neglect often deteriorates the practitioner’s health and mental composure, which can then lead to burnout.
As professionals who put great importance on the well-being of their clients, many massage therapists fit into the caretaker archetype. Believed to be a pitfall created by placing others’ needs before our own, the caretaker syndrome leads to burnout or illness when allowed to continue. Capable of stopping the downward spiral of a caretaker’s self-neglect, a spiritual practice can help a massage therapist connect with their inner needs, saving them from deserting this important profession.
When it comes to money, the caretaker archetype is known to give and lend money to express their compassion and generosity. As we know, an overly caretaking orientation can lead to enabling or even self-abandoning behaviors. According to top financial adviser, Brent Kessel CFP, “caretakers spend more than 20 percent of their income on others in need – family members, friends or charities – but they are not financially generous with themselves and usually don’t feel a sense of ease about their generosity.”
Steve Capellini, massage school instructor and author of Make the Switch to Being Rich describes this pattern:
“I’ve spent my career working as a massage therapist in the health spa industry. If there is an entire group of people who are almost all inside the moneyless bubble, it’s massage therapists. We want to help people and heal them. We want to ease their aching muscles and soothe their unquiet souls. We want meaningful interactions with our clients. We do not, for the most part, want to focus on the monetary aspects of our jobs.”
In addition, caretakers often have financial dependents which may result in them having less than six months’ expenses in the bank and significant credit card debt. Ironically, the toll this type of financial worry can create is exactly the kind of stress that most bodyworkers work with their clients to relieve. However, with recognition and deliberate attention, caretakers can apply the spiritual practice of yoga to transform their attitude toward, and thus their relationship with, money.
Self-Observation and Cultivation of Balance
While many people regard yoga merely as a set of physical exercises, studying yoga is a type of spiritual practice. Referred to by its followers as a scientific method, the principles of yoga clarify the vastness of human potential, including our physical, mental and spiritual selves. While there are many values entwined with yoga, self-observation and cultivation of balance are two important concepts with the potential to shape one’s view of money:
- Self-observation – Self-observation is an honest view of your daily life, as it is. Once you see the truth and document it, then you can take action to alter it. While being content and happy with what you have, this principle teaches us that anyone has the ability to make changes.
- Cultivating balance – While a beginner may be under the impression that yoga is about perfecting their motion and mastering complicated breathing rhythms, those who practice the yogic way of life know otherwise. In general, practicing yoga is about cultivating balance in your body, your actions and your life.
Apply the Principles
Once familiar with the principles of self-observation and the cultivation of balance, you can begin applying them to feelings that could be hindering your prosperity. The following 20 statements about one’s potential feelings about money is posted on Massage Today’s website. By honestly agreeing with a statement and then consciously working to adjust your feelings about what may be holding you back, you can begin transforming your financial future:
- I don’t deserve to earn more money.
- Rich people are greedy.
- Earning a lot of money isn’t spiritual.
- Money is the root of all evil.
- If I have a lot of money, people will want something from me.
- If I have a lot of money, I will lose important relationships.
- Money is power and power corrupts.
- It’s better to give than to receive.
- I’m not good at marketing myself or my business.
- Wanting to have a lot of money is selfish.
- There’s never enough money.
- To make a lot of money, you have to be willing to walk all over people.
- People who have a lot of money are generally dishonest.
- People with lots of money are unhappy.
- It’s greedy to have more money than you absolutely need to live.
- In order to earn a lot of money, I would need to give up other things in my life that are important to me.
- If you’re really a good massage therapist, clients will just come to you from the beginning through word of mouth without other promotion.
- It’s trashy to promote yourself as a healthcare practitioner.
- If I’m not getting enough massage clients, I must just not be cut out to be a massage therapist.
- People who succeed in their massage practices have some skill or personal quality that I’m just missing.
While there is nothing wrong with being a caretaker, a person wishing for health and success must find an integrated, balanced approach to their financial situation. The key is identifying any unconscious negative tendencies you have towards money so you can emphasize the thoughts and behaviors in order to create more balance, fulfillment and freedom. By practicing self-observation and the cultivation of balance to adjust your perception of money, you can give it the power to be a profound spiritual teacher.
http://massagepracticebuilder.com, Make the Switch to being Rich for Massage Therapists, Julie Onofrio, LMP, The Wealthy Massage Therapist, Massage and Bodywork Blog, 2008.
Kessel, Brent, The Yoga of Money, Kripalu, February-May 2008.
www.ezinearticles.com, Yoga Teacher Chronicles, Paul Jerard and Aura Publications, 2008.
www.massagemag.com, Explore your Money Beliefs, c.T. Harv Eker, 2006.
www.thebodyworker.com, Spiritual Practice, Julie Onofrio, LMP, thebodyworker.com, 2008.
www.worldproutassembly.org, Meditation and Yoga for those who love humanity, Ac. Madhuvidyananda Avt., World Prout Assembly, 2008.
www.yogajournal.com, Turn the Volume Up or Down to Tune In Your Practice, Claudia Cummins, Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., 2008.