Liminal Space

I learned a new word today during the virtual meditation class; Liminal. Thankful that these days we do most everything virtual I was able to look up the word while a discussion took place. Liminal is the transforming space between what was and the next. COVID-19 has thrust us into a Liminal Space. In this space the capacity for peace is present.

COVID-19 brings about many unknowns that activates fear. Am I going to be able to open up my business again? I am going to be able to pay the bill? How far behind will my kids get academically? Will my marriage last? Am I going to get sick? Will my loved one get sick? Will the person I know who is sick die? Will they find a cure? What will happen to our health care? How far will Social Distancing go? Will I have to become a Vegan or Vegetarian because of meat contamination? Questions go on and on and if you watch the news daily you notice questions continue to go unanswered and more questions are created.

Before COVID-19 we lived in a world was a place where we experienced life first hand. We felt the touch of another human being, we hung out together and laughed in real-time. We went to sporting events and cheered on our favorite teams. We went to happy hours, yoga classes, went to our places of worship, and met our neighbors.

COVID-19 has brought on a world of fear. Fear is justifiable in light of the pandemic; however, we do not want to allow fear to cast a shadow over our Liminal Space. The emotion of fear awakens the Amygdala (Fight, Flight, or Freeze response ) which triggers the hippocampus (where memory is stored) into activation which impacts the prefrontal cortex (decision making part of the brain). So we can say, A + H+ PC = Assess Threat after which we can understand if our fear response is based on reason or based on emotion.

Fear is a basic emotion such as is joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation. Emotions are subjectively based and a reminder that we humans beings who feel. Notice the fear without a narrative and notice how your liminal space grows. This space allows for your journey to continue. The unknown has a great capacity for just that…to transform. The unknown can become anything. Our propensity is to think the unknown means something bad. The Buddhist saying it that, it is neither bad or good. It is.” That’s Liminal Space, a threshold of potential to continue on building a life of meaning and purpose despite the pandemic.

Martin Seligman, often regarded as the father of positive psychology, describes three paths to happiness: the Pleasant Life (Hollywood’s view of happiness), The Good Life (focused on personal strengths and states of “flow”), and the Meaningful Life. COVID-19 has stripped away the Pleasant life and has given each of us an opportunity to transform our lives into the Good Life and the Meaningful Life. If you have been living the Good and Meaningful life, hats off to you and may this time confirm your journey. For those of us we were getting caught up in the Pleasant life may our perspective be that of relishing in what money can’t buy or the ego can’t feed.

It is important to understand that the Liminal Space does not mean pushing away negative emotions or making as if a crisis is not occurring. The liminal space makes room for the inevitable states. If we learn to wait and allow for the Liminal Space our capacity to live out our best life yet will be materialized because we don’t fight against the inevitable. We approach crisis intentionally and rather than being paralyzed we boldly approach the space confidently being assured that beauty to come forth from the ashes. That life may not look as it did before COVID-19 yet it will be beautiful for beauty will come forth from the ashes.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

Carpe Diem,


How Stress & Financial Literacy Affect Your Life

Stress related to a financial situation often creates or exacerbates chronic medical conditions like digestive issues, back pain and diabetes. Financial stress can increase rates of smoking, alcohol use, overeating, substance abuse, violence and job loss.

COVID19 has forced us to look at our finances as never before. A new survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education finds that nearly 9 in 10 (88%) Americans say the COVID-19 crisis is causing stress on their personal finances.

The need financial literacy training is every so painfully obvious. With 7 out of 10 American workers stating that their  financial problems are their most common stressors and 39% admitting that before COVID 19 they were spending at least 3 hours a week preoccupied or distracted by their financial issues while at work, where can you turn for help to get accurate, practical no-nonsense advice? What do you suppose those numbers look like now?

If you are lucky, your employer has already incorporated financial literacy into the workplace. Many corporations and employees have been reaping the many benefits, including increased productivity and retention. Financially literate employees tend to have greater focus and less stress, making them more effective. Lower stress levels, i have been linked to lower health care costs and absenteeism. Literate employees also have a much better understanding of their total benefit package. They understand the value of their 401(k) plans, health and disability benefits, tuition and profit-sharing plans etc.  These workers even have an easier time managing within high-deductible health insurance plans or no company insurance plan. Financial literacy carries through to employees’ everyday jobs, as well, in terms of increased business savvy and loyalty.  During COVID, these employees, although stressed, are in a good position to whether the storm.

Other employees have not been so lucky, they feel defeated, lost, and confused. There are others who have an idea of what to do but just don’t have the time to be an expert at money and do life!  

There are a multitude of resources to help you get started…but don’t get overwhelmed; it may feel like almost too much information.  Be careful not to drown in a sea of information and float from advisor to advisor seeking the latest and greatest shiny thing or get out of jail free card.

Of course, you are the exception, but realistically, many never start.  Over 70% of American say they don’t even have a budget because they claim its too hard to do. If you are ready to find the time to develop the expertise to navigate the waters, here are a few places to get started.  

Although financial literacy cannot predict the end of the COVID crisis or predict when life will get back to normal, it will play a pivotal role in your economic recovery.  Don’t know where to start?  You may want to work with a financial coach. Harmoney Financial Literacy has helped people just like you to build and structure budgets, build financial plans and will hold you accountable throughout the process. We have found that often, clients have deep-seated emotions around money. At Harmoney we have partnered with Salus Vita, LLC to help people identify, understand and work through those emotions.  

For many, working with both a financial coach and a mental health clinician, provides a holistic approach which has resulted in an more efficient, effective, timely increase in overall profitability.  Connect with us at Harmoney Financial Literacy to start your journey to being financial literate or reach us on WhatsApp 808.218.5282 to set an appointment.

Would you rather be managed by your stress or manage your stress?


Grisel Saez,Harmoney Financial Literacy 

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” …


I received a text today which  was surprising. The individual wrote an apology saying they let me down but the reason they let me down is because of the topic I kept bringing to the table. Really? I thought I was putting up with  that individual’s looping. That looping that keeps one stuck in a circular mental processing and challenges meta-cognition.

Meta-cognition is the capacity to think about what one is thinking. The prefrontal cortex is activated and problem solving, planning, awareness, learning and thinking is activated. Automatic thinking pauses ushering intentional thinking. Meta-cognition is similar to the Wise mind of the Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) world.

Individuals, more often than not, use either emotions or logic to dictate behaviors.  Emotions are not necessarily reflective of  the veracity of the situation; yet, they are reality of feeling in that moment. When solely going on emotions, which  are subjective, no regard is given to the reasonable way of understanding. Logic looks at fact without emotive sway keeping things black and white. Logic is objective and void of instinctive or intuitive perspectives. When Emotional thinking is merged with Logic thinking we birth the Wise mind. The Wise mind is the neurological balance of the limbic system (Emotional Mind)  and pre frontal cortex (Reasonable Mind).

Image result for dbt wise mind

As babies we are born with primary emotions of fear, happiness, sadness, and anger. As we grow secondary emotions, emotions that we learn from our primary caregivers are formed. Shame is an example of a secondary emotion which is rooted in one’s belief system. Examples of other secondary emotions are: disgust, guilt, embarrassment, and cynicism.

Just a note that for those of us who have experienced trauma, emotions  tend to get stuck in the psychological reaction of fight (Hyperarousal) or flight (Acute stress) response.

What does this have to do with the text? After calming down my limbic system through deep breaths and activating my Wise mind I was able to see from a different perspective. Yes, I had been ruminating on a specific topic; but, they had been engaging in the topic. My awareness is that they were operating with their emotional mind due to personal stressors.

I kindly responded to the text with empathy. I can’t say they recognized the type of emotion they put into play. I can say, that tonight I can go to sleep knowing that I”m not too much. That I am okay. That people go through stuff and often don’t  integrate the emotional and rational mind. I am more cognizant to use the Wise mind especially when I am texting and to always offer compassion because I have not walked not walked in their shoes.

Carpe Diem,