Steven M. Hughes 0:01
Having different questions that you ask yourself about, you know, how-- checking in with yourself. Like, how am I feeling, energetically? Asking different questions, like, "Am I worried about my survival?" Or, "How would I define money if I had to explain it to a one year old or a two year old?" And as you ask these different questions, or really start working on questions that are learning more about yourself and how you feel about money and other things in your life, these things will help rebalance your energy and bring you back to center with some of your chakras.
T-minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the Journey To Launch Podcast with your host, Jamila Souffrant. As a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave Journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the Journey To Launch to financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.
Jamila Souffrant 1:04
If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned, and so much more. Also, whether you are An OG Journeyer or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a FREE Jumpstart Guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to, stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources, and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Hey, Journeyers! I'm really excited for today's conversation. It has been long overdue, and I'll tell you a little bit more why that was. We'll hop into it. But first, let me introduce our esteemed guest, Steven M. Hughes, who is a financial therapist who blends financial psychology, behavioral finance, and Reiki healing to help people build better relationships with their money. He goes beyond financial literacy basics to help people address the root causes of their money problems. And I'm really excited that Steven and I are actually, like, connecting, because, what I was alluding to before is we've tried right, Steven, to have this conversation. This is our third try, right?
Steven M. Hughes 2:26
No, I think this is our fourth. Fourth time's the charm, as they say.
Jamila Souffrant 2:30
Which is crazy, right? Like, so you know, this is gonna be a good conversation. So I'm excited, because what I love talking about is also beyond the financial basics. The basics are are important. Like ,the budgeting and the numbers, those are all really important, but what I find-- what really motivates and moves us to make sustainable, deep changes with our money, and our relationship, is the psychology and our feelings behind money. And I know you're all about that. So I know it's gonna be good. So welcome to the podcast, Steven.
Unknown Speaker 2:48
Yes, yes, indeed. And I've been a longtime Journeyer and listening to the show. I've loved it. And so, it is, it's kind of surreal and full circle to be sitting here on an interview.
Jamila Souffrant 3:09
It's cool. Just a little background. So we didn't meet, we know each other in person, through FinCon, through the Personal Finance Conference, and just, like, being online in these communities together, which I think is pretty dope. So we met a couple times in person. Plus, you are of Jamaican descent, also, right?
Unknown Speaker 3:24
You already know. gone to other people.
Jamila Souffrant 3:26
Yes. So I-- yeah, this is really cool to finally have you on the show. So, Steven, first, you were-- when I first met you, I believe, kind of doing the basics. Which again, very important, you know, talking about the surface level things. Budgeting, with your content, and then you decided to pivot into this deeper work. Can you talk about that transition and why you decided to make it?
Steven M. Hughes 3:49
Yeah, sure. And as you mentioned, I am Jamaican. Both of my parents from Jamaica. My dad's from Kingston. My mom's from Trelawny. And, you know, growing up in a-- in a Jamaican household, there was always an emphasis on education. But we didn't talk about money often. And so, because we didn't have much of a financial education, starting out and we experienced some different financial challenges. You know, there's eight of us in a three bedroom house, sometimes 10, depending on who is here from Jamaica. We had some financial challenges that we didn't talk about. So when I got to college, I made every money mistake possible. And that's seven maxed out credit cards, overdraft fees, is when they closed all of my damn bank accounts, I had repossessions and eviction, and my credit score was like a 415 or 385, something crazy like that. But since I did all those things, and I started turning my financial life around, I was really setting myself up to help, like, that Steven, who was in college making all these mistakes. And I did start with the basics. I started a nonprofit in 2014 called, "Know Money," spelled k n o w. They're really focused on teaching Black college students how to think and talk and just move differently with their money. And so, after doing that for, for years, and really focusing on financial education for almost the past 10 years, a lot of the adults that I was working with, they knew what to do. Like, they knew they needed to budget, they knew they needed to save, they knew they needed to invest, so they didn't work for money anymore. But it was a barrier to actually do that. Like, to actually make-- take that action and make that step. And their-- you've probably have met a lot of Journeyers, who have budgets, but don't follow them. And I hate the word, "budget," we can get to that later, but I think that once I realized that I wanted sustainable impact, I really turned a lens to focusing on financial psychology and behavioral finance. And so that transition personally, for me, happened about four years ago. But it wasn't until last year, where I started putting the brakes on the things that we were doing for Know Money, with everything that was happening with the pandemic, that I really started to focus on showing people what I cared about in the money space now and what I really want to talk about. And so, I love spreading the financial psychology and financial therapy word just because I think a lot of Black people just haven't heard about that. Even, even as a new topic and industry, as we talk about it in the money world. Just a lot of people who look like us haven't been exposed to those things. So they're still thinking, "Like, damn, I just can't get the basics together." And it's not that. It's that we have to go deeper and start at the root.
Jamila Souffrant 6:26
Yes, yes. And I love how you broke that down, like, the history of, like, kind of where you came from, because that definitely resonates with me, you know, like, having the Jamaican roots being born myself in Jamaica, and coming here and, kind of, having some, a little bit, of instability until my mom, like, you know, was able to get us on solid ground. But, when you say, this is true, most people know what they should do, they just don't know why they're not doing it. And maybe they even know why they're not doing but they cannot stop the patterns and the thinking and the behaviors. So there's so much deep rooted things and, and I really triy to talk about this often. And I weave it into, even when I am talking about the basics of money, because the same thing, like you mentioned about a budget. Some of that stuff, where someone, like, knows they should budget or know, they should invest. And then when they sit down to start doing it or try to follow it, part of it could just be some internal blocks. And then part of it could be, not everything is a one size fits method either, right with personal finance? Like, not everything is gonna work for everybody. And just because I am, right now, at the stage where I can actually do more of, like, an anti-budget. Like, I have a-- I have guidelines, right? But for me, sitting down and budgeting to the penny, does not work anymore for me, but I do recommend it for certain people. And so knowing thyself, which is kind of a knock on your, your organization, is kind of like that's really the key, which is why we got to go inward when it comes to making outward progress with our money.
Steven M. Hughes 7:50
Mm.Mmm. I love that. Going inward to make outward progress. And you said a lot that rock with and really the work that I do, it runs on those rails. Of doing the internal work and really knowing that you may need some help if you've had challenges in the past of sticking to the spending plan or even pushing money to the side for investing in things you want to invest in.
Jamila Souffrant 8:15
Alright, so let's get into, kind of, for people now who are listening, who are like, "Okay, Steven, and Jamila, I can get with this, like, let's go in. Let's discuss what it actually means." So, like, what is it that you-- when you say Reiki, like, how do you merge Reiki? And what is that? So first, like, going back a little bit-- what is that? And then, how do you merge it with personal finance and money?
Steven M. Hughes 8:36
Sure. So Reiki is a healing technique. It removes energetic blockages and rebalances the energy centers in our body. So as you talked about working inward. For people who are new to Reiki, it's a practice that has been around for 1,000s of years, it was preserved in Japan. And as it traveled across the world, a lot of people leaned into it, because they saw the impact it has on reducing stress, pain management, and really just relaxing, across the board. And so, when I started offering money Reiki to my financial therapy clients and working with them in money Reiki. Money Reiki is just the combination of the financial psychology principles that, you know, we talk about, as far as, thinking, talking and behaving differently with your money. To just improve your well being across the board. So not just your financial health, but your health across the board. As I combined that with Reiki, I really focus on helping people not only remove the energetic blockages, like, out of their bodies and out of their lives, but the financial energetic blockages that they may be experiencing, because of some financial trauma that they haven't addressed. Something that happened to them while they were younger, but they were-- it's still impacting the way that they behave with money now. And all of us have seen, like, some type of financial trauma. Whether it was not getting the things that you needed when you were younger, or going through some type of wild financial situation, where maybe you were displaced, like you were homeless, or maybe you're, as I mentioned before, maybe your lights and water were just cut off. And you experienced that. If we don't take care of those, like, root traumatic experiences, or even unpack them, we're going to consistently make decisions from that age that we experienced that financial trauma. And so, money Reiki really goes inside to focus on those energetic and financial blockages so that people can see, like, "Oh, this is the reason why I may be making this decision. Maybe this is why I'm able to follow my budget." And it aligns, not only your mind, but your body and your spirit, to just focus on your well being all the way across the board.
Jamila Souffrant 10:54
Right? Descriptively, right? When-- if you're someone who's going for, like, a Reiki session, like, like, we'll add money later, right? Because I'm just trying to get a description of for someone, is that where you are, like I said, meditating? And there's someone guiding you through, like, feelings within your body? Is it tapping? Like, what actually happens during Reiki session? And then the money Reiki session?
Steven M. Hughes 11:16
Sure. So during a Reiki session, you may work with a Practitioner, or a Master Teacher. I'm a Master Teacher. And, when it comes to in person sessions, usually Reiki sessions happen with people, with the Practitioner, lightly placing their hands on you, or right above your energy centers, or your chakras in your body, and rebalancing those energy centers. If it's a virtual session, what it may look like, when I work with my clients, is that it would feel more-so like a meditative state, like you, I'm asking you to relax, to lay down. And on this end of the computer screen, I'm rebalancing those chakras and energy centers in your body. It's just that we're not in the same room. And one thing about energy is that it's not bound by time or place. So we can work virtually. It's and that's what one thing that I think a lot of people learn this year, as I've grown my, my clients from across the country to other countries like Canada and Germany.
Jamila Souffrant 12:17
Okay, that's good to know. And good to, like, kind of, think about as I am, we're trying to explain this to people who could be totally new to this. I know for me, like, I've heard it, but I've never, like, seen it in practice. And so I have a couple of follow up questions with that. How do you become a Master Teacher? So how did you switch from the basic personal finance stuff and educating yourself to be able to teach people that? Like, what did you do? What training and like, what did that look like this process to pivot to do this?
Steven M. Hughes 12:44
For sure. So personally, for me, my father, last April, he got into a coma. And they were just, like, a very tumultuous time for my family. Because it's also, like, at the top of the pandemic, where, you know, hospitals weren't letting anybody in, no matter what was going on with anyone. And so, you know, going through that period, I had a therapist that I started working with in 2018. And we still work together now. But during that time, it was like, "Man, this is something that I never saw coming. And I would like some tools to deal with this a little bit better than some of the talk therapy sessions we've had." And so my therapist, who is a Reiki Master, took me through my first Reiki session. And after my Reiki session, I was like, "Whoa, I want to know how to do this for myself. Like how can I do this at home?" And she let me know that she had a class coming up for Reiki one and Reiki two. In those first two classes, you learn all the basics about Reiki. The history, the symbols, the hand placements, all these different things. And so, it's not just that people are waking up and saying like, "Oh, I would like to practice Reiki, let me go to YouTube and figure this out." Like you need to be certified and attuned by someone who is an actual Reiki Practitioner or a Master Teacher. So as I went through that class, I went through Reiki one, Reiki two, I was certified to practice Reiki, after completing Reiki two and being attuned. And then after a year of practice, I decided to get my Master Teacher Certification. And so in October 2021, I worked with a Master Teacher and went through the class the two, it was a two day grueling situation, just because it was-- it's a lot of information, but I was attuned and certified as a Reiki Master Teacher in October 2021. And much like, when you get certified in something, that's when the learning really starts. That's when, like, the the life of it all really starts, because now as a Master Teacher, I'm not only doing my sessions with my clients, but in 2022, I'll be doing classes to help bring more people to Reiki and showing them, you know, what it is and the behind the scenes of it all. So they can do it for themselves and their families and even incorporate it in their practice.
Jamila Souffrant 15:05
Yeah, yeah. So tell me, or if you can, provide an example, you don't have to give any names, but I'm wondering, can you describe an example of what has been a breakthrough for someone going through this? So that someone listening can say, "Oh okay, I get how it works now. Or what could be unblocked for me if I were to think through doing something like this?"
Steven M. Hughes 15:23
Yeah, sure. I have a client that I was working with that, you know, she, she's a doctor. She makes good money, but when we were talking, just in a regular conversation, she was mentioning like, "I don't really care about money, like, it is what it is. It comes and goes," I was like, "Oh okay, that's, that's an interesting attitude to to have, like, how did you arrive at that point?" She's like, "Well, growing up, my dad was just always crazy about money. And I hate it. And I hated it. And so I don't like dealing with money now," I was like, "Okay, well, this is different than what you just said, as far as not caring about money. So let's go a little bit deeper." And as I asked her more questions, and we went through our process, I learned that when she was younger, her dad would weaponize money in the household. So if you were doing the things that he wanted you to do, you got all of your wants and needs taken care of. If you didn't, then the opposite happened. And so, because of that, and that experience, she didn't really care for money. She didn't like how money was used, not only in her family, but she could point to systemic examples of how money is used against Black people, and people of color. And after having that realization, I don't think she ever verbalized that before. And so coming to that realization for her, it was deep rooted. We're talking about when she was a kid, she is now 57 years old, having this conversation on what she's been making money decisions from as a child. And when-- after we had that, that talk, she realized that she was also not growing her business, because she was afraid of money. She was afraid of what would happen if it all came in. She was afraid of what she would do with it as she got more, because she saw what people who had more money did with their money. And really working on those things of, not just the mental blocks of what she experienced as a kid, but now as an adult, how she feels about money, and how she is moving with her money, was really, like, where the work started. And so for her now, like she's taking the steps to grow her business. And she knows, "Hey, these are some hang ups that I have. And these are the places that I need to look when I do get hung up on money." But she's asking herself more questions. And for people who maybe brand new to Money Reiki, or even financial therapy, because I know we haven't talked about that in specifics yet. But really, it's just investigating some of these things that we don't ask ourselves. Like, and I've told people in the past, that I didn't start asking myself these questions until I stopped living paycheck to paycheck. Because if you are living paycheck to paycheck, there is little that you can worry about outside of what the hell happens this month. And, yeah, you're in survival mode. And so, until you move back from that, and/or you work on your money mental to move away from that, where you can give yourself some space to say, like, "Why do I eat all of this money even though I know how to cook and I buy groceries? Like why am I dining out?" "Why don't I put the money towards investments, because I don't want to work for the rest of my life." And so I think that's a quick example, but something that I think a lot of people are experiencing in regards of not having the time or taking the time to start asking themselves those questions.
Jamila Souffrant 18:44
Right. And so with the Money Reiki session, is part-talk and, like, talking through your money trauma and try to discover or uncover it and then part of the energy. So is it that you meditate with her and do the virtual removing of the blocks too?
Steven M. Hughes 18:59
Yea. So before the session starts, we talk about, just, we're learning more about each other, because I've had a lot of new clients this year. And then as we learn more about each other, and I learn more about why they even wanted to look at financial therapy or Money Reiki, I also help them set their goals and intentions for the session that we're in. And then we get into the session, where I'm rebalancing their energy centers, or their chakras and after we do that, we have a debrief, where I'm giving them any messages that I've gotten. They're letting me know anything that they've experienced during the session. And then we also talk about, like, how that relates to their intentions and their money life that they want to see happen after our session. A couple of my clients have described our sessions as, like, intimate meditations. And then there are some that are like, "Oh, you know what, I just laid down and I relaxed and I think I might have fell asleep, but I was aware of everything that was happening," and so it's different for everybody, but I think what everyone feels across the board is relaxation during a Reiki session. And for me, because I'm focused on the money side, we definitely break those things down before and after.
Jamila Souffrant 20:06
Yes. Okay. I love that. Now, talk about money being energy, because it's something that, with your work and just in general, and I also believe it is energy, but sometimes with people, and I get it, right? Like, I think it's such a blanket statement. And then sometimes the way people, I would say, weaponize that statement. Like, money is energy, so if you don't have it-- you know, and it's so many other reasons why, right, people maybe don't have money versus, just, you don't have positive vibes, right or... so explain what it means when we say or when you say, "Money is energy." And then, for someone who's like, "Well, alright. well, I feel like I have great energy, why don't i have more money?" what they can do to start connecting the two.
Steven M. Hughes 20:47
Sure. And I love that we've gotten to the point that we can acknowledge that money is energy. And just so we're all on the same page, when I say that, "Money is energy," I really am talking about the basics of money. The why we use it, and how we use it. So we use money to make exchanges for, like, goods and services with each other, or with companies right? At the base of that, before we started putting numbers and dollars and everything else into this equation, we really were focused on how we can trade, like, something that we made, or something that we do for a good or service that we need. And I think that a lot of people, since we've moved away from that, then we, you know, define ourselves by net worths and all types of other foolishness. I think that we got away from seeing the type of energy that is put into place for us to receive these things. And so when I talk about money being energy, I want to get away from the people who are keeping score with the dollars and cents, and really talk about how the money that we receive, or the money that we have, is a direct, like, visual interpretation of how we are, you know, sitting with our energy, because for people who may say like, "Oh, I feel like my energies right, why don't I have more money?" It's not-- it's just not that simple. Just like energy, money is supposed to flow. So you have some people who are cutting the flow off, because, you know how some people say like, "Hey, if you have your hand closed, nothing can get out, but nothing also can't get in." And so, you have people who've experienced some type of financial trauma, and they are hoarding money, like, because they are scared of what could happen. Or they're spending all their money, because they're scared of keeping it around them, right? And so they're messing up that flow of how money supposed to flow, or how energy is supposed to flow. And until people, like, have that realization to, kind of, come back to themselves, we don't get a chance to fix that. And so I think that, when we know that, "Hey, it's not just about having a million dollars in the bank account, because my energy is right." It's about letting things flow the way that they should, with our financial lives, not just saying, like, "Oh, I'm going to save a whole bunch of money," but also exchanging the money that you have for the life that you want, or the place that you want to live, or the experiences that you want to see for you and your family, or the investments that will take care of you down the road. There's so many things and I don't want to get too far off of what we're talking about. So...
Jamila Souffrant 23:31
No, this is exactly what we should be talking about. And I'm just taking notes, because I wanted to say that when, you know, a lot of the Journeyers and people who listen to this podcast, and when I first started, I was heavily into financial independence and the retire early movement. I was saving and investing majority of my income. Very aggressive with that. And then as I started to get more on my path, even now, right? I hired a financial advisor, I'm going to have, like, a whole episode on that, if it has not come out already on the podcast. And why I did that. Becayse I started to change a couple years ago, like, what I wanted, like, out of my life. Like I realized I didn't want to save and invest as much as possible for this far off date, to like push it to be retired early. But I still want to be able to have the option to walk away or quit or just chill if I want to, right? What does that look? Like that balance. And as I've been discovering that more, I share that on podcast, I'm going to share it in my future book, like how to create that balance. But I'm curious for someone who is right now, it's all about saving and investing as much as possible, but that feels good to them. How do they know that feels good to them versus they're forcing that and not actually living the life and living in balance that when they want to? Because I realized that actually was shrinking my life and things I wanted to be able to fit, kind of, like this saving and investing goal. And so I was like, "Oh, I won't do that. I won't get these things." But then also not to swing to the other side. Where it's like, "Eff it! I'm just gonna spend it all now because I just want to live!" and it's, like, you know, it's like for you, how do you find that balance? And how does someone know they're in balanced between the saving and investing, versus the spending and the joy?
Steven M. Hughes 25:07
Yeah, I think the the imbalance, you can feel the imbalance when you are spending your money or doing things with your money, and you don't feel good about it. So like, you know, some people will say, like, "Ah, this is retail therapy. I'm going to go shopping," but then they shop. And they feel bad about spending the money. Like they, they have buyer's remorse, they want to take things back, all types of a. And so, your core, like, doesn't feel good, because you're operating from things that are not, like, aligned with how you actually want to live. And so, same thing with even saving a bunch of money. If you're saving. I know some people who have 10s of 1,000s of dollars saved. And I'm sitting there, like, "What the hell are y'all doing?" Because they don't-- they're not investing the money. It's just sitting in a savings account, getting a disrespectful interest rate from a bank. Like point zero 1%, or something like that. But I think that when you feel that, and you know that, "Okay, well, this isn't really rockin' with me like I thought it would. I'm saving all the money, but I still don't feel better," then you're gonna know like, "Oh, there's something up. Like, this isn't what I thought I was going to feel." It's the same thing that you said, like, "I'm on this financial independence journey. I want to retire early, or even have the option to, but it didn't feel in the way I thought it was gonna feel." And so when you have that experience, or another way to know that, you know, things are out of whack. If you stress about money decisions that are popping up, or if you get anxious when you're hearing about money from somebody else, whether it's good or bad, like, whether they say, "Hey, I made $30,000 in cryptocurrency this year," or they say, "Damn, I lost my job right around Christmas. I need to do something," You feel anxious for yourself, not for their situation. But for yourself. like, "Damn, how am I increasing my money?" Or, you know, "Am I secure my my employment." And so I think that's when people decide, like, I need to do something different. Or they know they need to do something different. And hopefully they decide that they're going to do some-- make some changes. But personally, for me, the same thing. When I-- when I'm feeling out of whack, I start returning to the one question that, kind of, guides all of my friends decision-- my financial decisions now. And that one question is: Is this bring you closer to your wellness? If I'm spending this money on dining out, because I'm a foodie, I eat a whole lot of my money. But if I'm spending this money on dining out, is this bringing me closer to the wellness that I want? Not only for my finances, but physically, mentally, spiritually, all the way across the board? Is the answer yes, every single time? No, it's not. But when I have the answer being, "Yes," I'm closer to spending the money the way that I want to spend it. I'm making the decisions that are aligning with the-- with what I want to see. And there's-- Ramit, Ramit Sethi, he wrote a book called, "I Will Teach You To Be Rich," when I was first getting my financial shit together, like, I guess 10 or 11 years ago, like I read the book, the first edition. And he talks about really spending money on the things that you care about, or you love and mercilessly cutting everything else. And the way that I help people do that, is I help them identify their non- negotiables. What are the things that are going to continue, no matter if you've $10 in the bank, $10,000 in the bank, or $10 million in the bank? And for me, that's spending money, I mean, spending time with, like, my family, and my lady, and traveling, or supporting Black owned businesses. Those things are non-negotiables for me. And then when I know these non-negotiables, I can get a little bit clearer on my sacrifices. The things that I do not care about. Like for me, I don't care much about clothes, like, I will rock a crewneck to a keynote speech, a meeting, a workout, it don't matter. And so, I think that once you know these things about yourself, and you start answering these questions, it gets a whole lot clearer to say like, "You know what? I'm going to focus on this, or I need to change this specific thing." And I think in the personal finance community, we do a great job of confusing the hell out of people on who they should talk to when they need some help. Like we have names for everything. And it's not clear on what people do. Like financial advisors, financial planners, financial coaches, financial, whatever. And because we confuse, like, the general public, who are not personal finance nerds, like you and I. I think that when people do need help, they are worried to say like, "Who am I supposed to turn to?" And so, I would love to just continue to provide, like, the tools and resources so people can turn inward to themselves, to learn a little bit more about, like, how they're feeling and thinking, before they go out and say like, "Oh, I need a financial-- I need someone who's going to help me make a-- create a plan with my money. I definitely don't need to hire a financial advisor, they talkin' about assets. We talking about getting a plan together." And so, I think all of that stuff is connected. But that how I stay on track and then help people, kind of, get on track too.
Yeah, no, that's great. And the thing about energy too, is that it doesn't stay stagnant or still in that, with that your mind can change, your priorities can change at the point that I was saving and investing. I loved that feeling of seeing my account grow. It was like an exhilarating feeling. And then my priorities on my life changed. And so, some of the things I wanted to do changed, and I'm doing those things now. So I think it's important for people to also realize that what you prioritize today doesn't mean that it will always be that. And you can change your mind and that is flowing with life. And that is also being comfortable-- being basically comfortable with the fact that things may not say the same. And if they don't, that it's okay, and you can adjust accordingly.
Yes, yes, indeed. I'm over here muting my microphone so I don't hit you with too many amens.
Jamila Souffrant 30:57
So you-- there's so many other things, Steven, that I want to, like, touch upon with you. The other stuff is, you talk about chakras, and I know a little bit about them.
Steven M. Hughes 31:06
Jamila Souffrant 31:07
Can you just go through the chakras? And then, are there specific ones related to our decisions with money? Or do they all have specific connection points with our money decisions?
Steven M. Hughes 31:17
Yes, I'll definitely go through them. But, short answer for the second thing you asked me, "Do they have-- are they all related to our money decisions, or are there specific ones that really help or relate to money decisions?" There are chakras that are going to be, let's just say, more active when it comes to the money decisions that we're making. But they are-- they all are connected. Every single one of them. All seven major chakras are connected when it comes to thinking and doing different think, thinking and doing different things with our money, but really quick, so
The first chakra is the Root Chakra. It's at the base of your spine, and really connected to your sense of survival, your sense of groundedness.
And your next chakra, is your Sacral Chakra. It's connected to your emotions and how you feel about things.
Your Solar Plexus Chakra is connected to your self esteem and your personal power. That's a place that a lot of people, when it comes to their money decisions, those three chakras that I talked about your Root, your Sacral and your Solar Plexus, if you're not aligned with your, or, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, odds are your Root Chakra might be out of whack, because you're still thinking about this thing of survival. And so, if that's not strengthened and rebalanced, that's going to impact you in different areas. And you mentioned earlier that energy doesn't stay, it doesn't stop, or stagnant, right? It does in some of the chakras. So if you don't, or-- it could show up in other places of your body. Like, if you're stressed about money, you may have, like, a feeling, a tightness in your back, or at the bottom of your neck. Or maybe it shows up in other ways. And so, I just want to mention that those first three chakras, I think a lot of people relate to, like, how they're managing their money.
The fourth chakra is your Heart Chakra. And it's responsible for, not only the love and compassion that you have for yourself, but for others. And the Heart Chakra is also important, because it's connected to your energetic body and your physical body and passes energy between the two.
The next one is your Throat Chakra, found in the hollow of your collarbone, and that's responsible for, or connected directly to, your communication.
The next one is your Third Eye Chakra, which is-- or also known as your Brow Chakra, because it's found between your eyebrows, that's connected directly to your intuition.
And then at the top of your head is your Crown Chakra, which is directed, which is connected directly to your spirituality. And so, all seven major chakras that we're talking about, they do have some type of impact and effect on the way that you think, feel and act with your money. But for, like, the first three that we talked about your Root, your Sacral and your Solar Plexus, you can, I think a lot of people can clearly see how those things are working with their money. But even the higher ones, that are more spiritual, like your Crown, your Third Eye, and even your Throat chakra. Some people don't say the things that they mean, or ask the questions that they want. And so their Throat Chakra may be out of whack. It may have some blockages there. And that's directly connected to your money, because you're not asking for what you want at work. Are you going to get this raise? If you're not getting clarification on how your job aligns with the growth of the company? Is this a place that you want to stay in? And so, the more that people understand, like, the-- the more that we understand, like our bodies, not just our physical bodies, but our energetic bodies, we can use that information to make better decisions for ourselves.
Jamila Souffrant 34:57
So for someone who wants to strengthen, or at least start the process, like, they realize that they have blockages, and maybe it's manifesting in physically, like, they feel it in their body or they're seeing a pattern in their life. Whether it's with their partner, their boss, their friend, you know, money or not. How could they start to center themselves and strengthen, work through some of these blocks, in their, like, chakras themselves?
Steven M. Hughes 35:24
For sure. So things that people can do themselves, they can practice yoga. Like yoga is a great tool to either rebalance your chakras, or strengthen your chakras in some places and aeras. Another thing that people can do is meditate. And I think that a lot of people, or at least when I started meditating, I thought the goal, the goal was to quiet your mind, and to just eliminate all of the random thoughts that you could have. But as I grew, and had more experience of meditating, I realized that it's not to quiet your mind, it's-- the goal is to know how to come back to center as all of these thoughts are flying, because they're always gonna fly. Like your mind is always going to be moving and having your thoughts. And so as people meditate, and kind of get clarity for themselves, like, that's helpful with their chakras as well. Another thing you can do that's like an activity that you can do, is like journaling, like a hot pen journaling situation where you ask yourself a question at the top of the page, like, "What was my earliest money memory?" And just letting yourself write. Just not stopping. And until you get to the end of the page, or until you fill two pages and having different questions that you ask yourself about-- you know, how-- checking in with yourself, like, "how am I feeling energetically?" asking different questions like, "Am I worried about my survival?" Or, "How would I define money if I had to explain it to a one year old or a two year old?" And as you ask these different questions, or really start working on questions that are learning more about yourself and how you feel about money and other things in your life, these things will help rebalance your energy and bring you back to center with some of your chakras. And there's a -- I'll mentioned a good book that I think is good for this. There's a book called...I want to say it's called, "Chakra Healing," by Margarita. I wan't to say her last name is Alcantara. I might be messing that up. But okay, I know her first name is Margarita, and it's a super colorful book on outside. She has a lot of exercises in there. Which you can do like for rebalancing your chakras and doing chakra work in therapy. And if you feel like, "You know what, these are things that I want to learn, but I want to work with somebody who can help me get things back on track now." Then maybe you want to look and find a Reiki practitioner. And when you're looking for one, just make sure that you feel good about working with that person. Like, let your intuition also be a part of that decision when you're finding one. But those are some things you can do. Like yoga, meditating, journaling. There are a bunch of things-- a bunch of other things that we could talk about. But, uh, one thing that I'll mention, that I don't think a lot of people focus on is eating right, and drinking water. Because if you're eating, like, a lot of these fried, greasy outta control foods, that's not making your body feel good, that's not fueling your body. You're gonna have to deal with some physical challenges that you have in your body. So you can't even focus on the energetic stuff. And if you fuel your body with some things that you know, that you need, and things that are good for your body, then you will have the energy to focus on the things that are more aligned with wellness. I tell people all the time, like, I make the best money decisions when I'm on my morning routine. I meditate, I pray, I work out and I don't intermittent fast and eat things that I know are live and that are helping me and we can get into like my food journey later. But when I-- when I really started focusing and seeing that everything is connected, it's a game changer. And I'll keep letting people know that. If you don't remember anything else from this interview, like, just make sure you understand that everything's connected and start working on the inner.
It is. It so is connected and there's so many-- Alright, so I found the book, Margarita Alcantara. I'm know I'm probably saying her name wrong but, I'll put that in the shownotes.
I messed up her last name too. But that's the book for sure.
Jamila Souffrant 39:27
Okay, but I want to just go back to the everything is connected part and the focusing and being able to make clear decisions and why the system, in a way, is set up for if you're behind already or and it's it's harder for you to get ahead because sometimes the options in front of you, the immediate convienent, like, just convenient options for someone living in a food desert or in the hood that doesn't have the greatest options, like, they're not getting the best nutrients and I know a lot of things and initiatives are being done to help change that. And so there are other options, but it can, if you're stuck in that situation, and you are not able to see the other options, because you're energetically just drained and you're getting messages that, you know, you're stuck, then I felt like then it helps prevent you from moving forward. And so we talk about, like, systematic things and like, people in poverty and Black people and minorities in this country who maybe are, are not getting ahead the way they should. It's not just like, "Oh, make better money decisions." It's like the other things that impact them and impact us, right? Our education, I think about, like, these kids that are going to school, and they don't have the proper nutrients, when they're sitting in class to try to learn and get the ground foundation of like, you know, I know, a lot of people think in school in general, it may not be the best the way they were taught in the US. But even that, like getting the basics of education, how is the child supposed to focus? And then when you think about adults, when we're not putting the best things in our body? How are we supposed to focus and do the things that we're supposed to do in adulting, that are gonna bring us forward to the life of our goals?
Steven M. Hughes 41:06
Yeah, you said a lot there that, you know, I rock with. As a kid who was on free and reduced lunch, I know what time it is, when it comes to, you know, all the reports that you're trying to sit in the classroom and learn and you hungry. Like there are only two times that I'm not myself. When I don't have the money that I want. And when I'm hungry. And, like, if you-- you know me, so you know, like, you know, if you meet me out, I'm gonna kick it, I'm gonna laugh, I'm gonna joke with you. But if I'm hungry, it's none of that. My mouth is closed. I'm not talking to you about much. And, like, a serious note, as far as I fueling yourself, and getting the right things into your body, I think as-- as adults, if you're in the position where you don't have access to, like, the foods that you want, or the foods that you, you need to fuel your-- fuel your body in a healthy way, I know that's already a challenge. And I don't have many resources or things that people can do, if they're in that situation, or in a food desert. I will say that, one thing that I've learned is that I do a better job of fueling myself, when I'm the person who's taking care of the food. So instead of, like, dining out and stuff like that, like I would-- and I still remember in college, like, I would just make sure that I had a vegetable, a starch and a meat on the plate. Like a can of green beans, rice and chicken on the plate. And so, as I grew older, like now, since I don't eat meat, I think about just having something green with every single meal. And, you know, that was my mindset for a while. And then I got to the point where I started eating so many vegetables and fruit that I was like, "You know what, I just want a color full plate every time I eat," so I get multiple things. And so it was a progression for me. Like, I was the person who was about them Zaxby's chicken sandwiches and fries or than wings and things no celery or carrots give me extra fries type situation. But, you know, I got-- I think as I got out of that. And as I changed things, and it didn't all happen in one time like, this is 10 years later. I stopped eating pork in 2010. I stopped eating beef in 2011. I stopped eating chicken in 2013. I was a vegan for three years and really learned a lot about my body and about, like, fueling it. And after losing like 100 pounds on that process. I think that, and keeping it, off to this point, I really can see how my journey with food has impacted all the other things that I do. Not only just how I feel myself, but now I've sliced this weight off. And I've also, I just make better decisions, because I'm not cloudy. You know what I mean? Like when, when I eat some heavy food, like my ass is laying down. I'm trying to take a nap. I'm not charged up for or looking for that the next best investment or whatever it is. Like, I'm knocked the hell out. And so, those are things that I think about, like in my experience, but I wish I had more resources for Black people who are in food deserts or who are experiencing that. I love that a lot of us, that I'll say that a lot of us are returning to the land. Like we're putting our hands in the soil and growing our own food. One thing that I'll never forget that my mother used to tell me when we were younger is that we need to eat food that looks like us or comes from the ground that looks like us. So, you know, we were heavy on veggies when we were younger and even hearing that and that being burned into my mind. Like, I still think about that when I'm eating. So I just make sure that I eat something green at least every single day, no matter when I'm dining out or buying when I'm out of out of bounds
Jamila Souffrant 44:42
Yeah. And again these are not changes, like, when you were talking about that you don't eat all the things. I'm like oh, blasphemy, like, because I eat all that still. Which is fine, but, like, I think too about, like, the progression. Like for me and my fitness-- my fitness journey has always been a big part of, like, my, just, life journey. And I'm getting back to that, you know, now that the youngest is three. And so I feel like, "All right, like, I'm getting back to the next version of whatever this body is going to be." And I feel energetically how different I feel showing up in all areas of my life. So not just when I'm walking outside, but in my business, in the way I sit, like, I feel it. I know how I feel after I work out. And so, it's like one of those things where you can-- when you find whatever it is, and and take the small steps, it doesn't have to be everything at once. You'd be surprised, just like with everything in life, like, what that compounds to. How it does grow over time into these big, remarkable changes that you, may, you're not gonna see right away, but it does, it does help.
There's another thing I wanted to quickly talk to you about. And again, then we might have to do a part two on this at some point, but you're doing something pretty cool that I think people will be interested in. You are essentially traveling the country as a digital nomad. And I want you to talk a little bit more about that. I know Travel Noire did an article about you, 'Journey Black Home,' which I actually really love that title. That, of course, it has the name of journey in it, you know, Journey To Launch too, but talk a little bit about what you're doing. And because I know that this this kind of stuff is what my audience, what Journeyers are just like, "You know what, I want to do that too!" So talk about it a bit more
Steven M. Hughes 46:17
Word. So me and my lady, my partner, we decided that we were going to move. Like, so we met each other in Columbia, South Carolina, in high school, our senior year. And we've been back in Colombia for about the past 10 years. And we were like, "You know what? We want to bounce up out of here. We want to put roots in somewhere else and try to figure out where we're going to live next." And so when we first started that process, we made a list of, like, 21 cities that we would consider. And then as we got clearer on the things that we wanted in the new city that we want to see, we chopped that list down to, like, maybe three cities. And we decided, we were like, "Alright, well, we could spend, like, a weekend, or a week or something, some type of time in the cities and figure out if we want to stay here." And then everything happened last March. And so shut everything down. We set our asses down. And I think that as we picked that conversation back up this year, with some of the things settling down, we're trying to-- we're, all of us, kind of, figuring out together. Like what life was going to look like. We decided that we weren't really tied to any place in Colombia. And so it would be cool to visit the places that we were considering. And then also, like, throw in some cities that we're just interested in. And so, we sold all of our stuff. Like 90% of it. And in July, we left. We packed up our 2015 Nissan Altima, because a lot of people ask us like, "Damn, do y'all drive SUV? Y'all got a truck? Y'all got an RV?" And when we first started the journey, a lot of people asked us questions like, "Where are y'all gonna use the bathroom?" or, "How are y'all going to work?" But because Jess is also an entrepreneur, she's a digital illustrator and a brand strategist. And me being a financial therapist, and a speaker and doing these different things on the road, we can make it happen on the road. And so in July, we left Colombia with our packed up damn car. And we spent-- we spent a month long stays in Austin, Texas, in Washington, DC, and then Atlanta. And through those month long stays, in between those, we've been able to visit some cities that we were interested in. Like New Orleans, Memphis, of course, we popped back into Columbia. But we've got a bunch of other cities on the list. And really, like Journey Black Home is our, for people who are following us on Instagram. We wanted to take people along the road with us. To just show them our road trip across Black America. And because, wherever we go, we focus on experiencing the Black restaurants, doing some of the Black cultural experiences in the city, meeting the Black entrepreneurs and creators and creatives in that city, and really sharing their stories on what people can expect if they pop into DC, or they-- if they live in Atlanta, because that's the feedback that we're getting often too. Like people who live in the cities that we may be popping up in. They're like, "Damn, I didn't even know that was there. Like, where'd ya'll-- where's that restaurant at?" Or, "Where'd y'all I'll take that graffiti class?" or just these different things we got going on. And so now, it's grown just from our journey to find a new place to put our roots down, which I think that we will, but it's grown to sharing the stories of the Black businesses and creatives that we meet along the road. And there are a ton of opportunities and media opportunities that are just coming our way, that we didn't expect, because we just wanted a way for our people back at home to keep track of what we had going on. And so since we're-- since we've been doing this since July, it's definitely been a journey. We've gotten way more out of it than we could have imagined. Both connecting and reconnecting with family, growing businesses and just ye, it's uh, I can't say enough. It's been a wild journey. I'm looking forward to seeing what else happens and stopping in more cities.
Jamila Souffrant 50:10
Yeah. See, that's what I'm saying we have to do. everyone, we have to do like a part two or three with Steven, because I'm actually so curious. Like, we can literally just do an episode on this, because I think, for a lot of people, who feel stuck for many reasons. Some valid, like they have a mortgage and or kids or a partner who is not about that life and does not want to travel in that way, right? And/or maybe they are just keeping themselves stuck, because they don't know that this is possible that, you know, you're not a tree. You can get up and move and do these different things, especially if you have a job that's remote, or you're an entrepreneur. Like you can actually create the lifestyle you want. Who says it has to be the way the system told you it has to be? So I hope that that small nugget, guys, encouraged you to, like, really realize that there is so much more to life than, maybe, what you've been living. With that, Steven, oh my gosh, please tell people where they can find more about your work. And then also to follow your just digital nomad journey, Black home progress.
Steven M. Hughes 51:06
Sure! No, I love it. And I appreciate you. And I think that you hit the nail on the head as far as what our goal is now. Just showing more-- showing the Black community that you can design your life and that we can also design this life together, because we're supporting Black businesses all across the country as we move around.
For people who are interested in more Financial Therapy stuff and Money Reiki, they can find me on mh website: It's StevenMHughes.com. Or they can follow me on Instagram or Clubhouse. I'm most active on those two platforms. We've tons of conversations about Reiki and Financial Therapy on Clubhouse, so definitely find me over there. But if you want to follow our Journey Black Home journey, find us on Instagram, we're @journeyblackhome. We'd love to take y'all on the road with this. So yeah, jump in. And one thing I'll mention, real quick, and I'm still laughing about it. When you talked about me not eating meat. I feel like all the Jamaicans who are listening to this, kind of, suck their teeth. And like, "What? No curry goat? No oxtail." No...
Jamila Souffrant 52:17
No oxtails? Like, I have to have the oxtails now.
Steven M. Hughes 52:21
I've thought about, like, oxtail gravy, even though I don't eat oxtail anymore. But you know, one of them things.
Jamila Souffrant 52:27
First of all, I have a friend who claims she doesn't eat beef, but she still has oxtail gravy, which I'm just like, "You know, you're getting some beef on your rice when you do that, right" Like, who says you can't mix it up and do it the way you want, right?
Steven M. Hughes 52:42
Yes, yes, indeed. I love this!
Jamila Souffrant 52:44
Yeah, I loved this conversation. It was well worth the few tries we've had. Um, I wish you much success. Thank you so much. And I know this is gonna be a hit with the Journeyers when they hear this. So thank you again.
Steven M. Hughes 52:55
Awesome. Appreciate you, Jamila. And congrats on all the things you got poppin off. I'm going to become a journey runner one of these days. But yeah, keep the party going.
Jamila Souffrant 53:08
Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your Jumpstart Guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart. If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show: One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple Podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple Podcasts, rate, review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two, follow me on my social media accounts. I'm @journeytolaunch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I love, love, love, interacting with Journeyers there. Three, support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you. Sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So, show them some love for supporting your girl. Four, and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker, so that we can spread the message of Journey to Launch. Alright, that's it until next week. Keep on journeying Journeyers.
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