As promised, here is an exercise taken from Maria Nemeth’s book, The Energy of Money. I invite you to explore this exercise in a calm and non-judgmental place, and give yourself some time just to free-associate. I’ve shortened it a bit, for space’s sake.

Your Structure of Knowing Money

On a poster-sized piece of paper, write the word “money” in the middle of the page. From there, start writing down your associations with this word. Do this by drawing lines moving outward from the word “money.” An association is any word or phrase that pops into your mind when you think of money. (This mind-mapping technique was developed by a writer named Gabriele Rico).

You may find that these new words have associations or connections with other words, as well. Write those down, too, allowing one idea to flow freely into the next. When you run out of associations, return to your base word, “money.” See if anything else comes up. Do this quickly. This is no time for analyzing or editing. If you run dry, see if the following phrases stimulate any more material:

1. What it will take to have all the money I want.
2. What I know I am right about regarding money.
3. Why I want money.
4. What I must give up to have money.
5. What I think and feel about others who have a lot of money.
6. How having more money will change my life or the lives of loved ones.
7. What I will be able to do with more money that I cannot do now.

You can include poems, song lyrics, or sayings that remind you of money. Book or movie titles may come to mind, or passages from religious texts. Put them on this structure of knowing map.

At the end, you will have something that looks like a web or a net. Using a colored pen, circle all the words that get repeated or are similar in tone or mood. Repeat this with other colored pens until each theme’s words are circled in a different color. I imagine you’ll have some themes that bring you great peace and joy, and others that make you cringe.

This picture, with all of its associations and colors, is a graphic representation of your current structure of knowing about money. This structure affects you every time you read an article on money, listen to a lecture on prosperity, or converse with friends and family about money.

As you look at your map over the coming days, notice what feelings, thoughts, and sensations come to you. Are there patterns on your map that limit your options? Are there items about which you feel righteous and defensive? What would it be like to consider letting go of some of these beliefs? Is there any hope, joy, or enthusiasm peeking out at you? Just see what you can notice.

Lastly, you can always repeat this exercise with other base words, such as “Marriage,” “My Body,” “Men,” “Women,” “Career,” etc. based on what’s calling to you.