About

About Picture 2

I use mindful practices rooted in Chan/Zen to help clients reinvent a healthier relationship with finances.

I’ve had an accounting practice for 18 years, which has provided me with a clear understanding of how people manage their finances. I’ve listened to my clients reveal their underlying fears about their businesses and the financial difficulties they’ve encountered. I’ve learned the importance of focusing on the individual as a whole rather than just managing their books.

I’ve also been actively meditating daily for the past 16 years.  Five of those years, I practiced and volunteered regularly at Dharma Drum Retreat Center, a Buddhist Chan Center founded by Chan Master Sheng Yen. Through attending numerous intensive, silent retreats led by Master Sheng Yen’s lineage successors or monastic teachers, I learned the art of deep listening. In doing so, I am able to allow clients to discover for themselves how they have contributed to their circumstances and how to correct their reactions and responses to help themselves.

Additionally, I attended a weekend workshop dedicated to learning how to assist in facilitating retreats. This training was further enhanced by continuously attending retreats including a 21 day, silent retreat in Europe. During my volunteering,  I was assigned the mediation hall frequently which facilitated in broadening my understanding of mediation from the perspective of an observer.

My experience continues to grow as I provide workshops, classes, or volunteer at other centers co-facilitating Chan/Zen retreats.

I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

My year-long internship was in East Harlem, Manhattan. The center provided programs for poor African or Latina women on parole or as an alternative to incarceration. Many had a history of substance use, mental health, sexual or physical abuse, and limited education and work experience. The center focused on reuniting them with their families and rebuilding their lives.

I was a vocational intern and my responsibilities included vocational counseling and facilitating vocational groups including career building, mindfulness and meditation, and financial literacy.

I’m currently employed as a vocational counselor at an outpatient treatment facility which provides individual, group and family treatment for those struggling with a substance use disorder.

I’ve combined my life experiences with money, work, and meditation practice to bring you Wise Finances.

I welcome you to my site and a new way of relating to finances.

Here’s my personal journey through finances:

My earliest experience with finances is waiting on line outside the welfare office waiting for the doors to open at nineteen. I was pregnant, the father had left, and I could not support myself let alone a child. The only solution I saw at the time was to get help from the state. I remember feeling trapped in my situation because I could not see past it. I stayed on welfare for three years while I went to a trade school and college. I graduated from the trade school and was able to find a job that could support us with the help of my parents. I was elated to have a job and not depend on the state. I can’t describe how I felt when I received my first check.

As the years went on, I noticed I was acquiring more and more debt. I started having difficulty paying my bills. I became very depressed and anxious about my financial situation. By the age of twenty-six, debt overwhelmed me and I filed for bankruptcy. Eliminating my debt took a lot of the stress away and it relieved me from the financial burden.

Then, at thirty-five, I found myself in the same position. I had accumulated $28,000 of debt that I again could not pay off. Only this time, I had an accounting degree and a successful accounting practice. How could this be? I questioned everything I knew about finances and my relationship with money. How could a bankruptcy not teach me anything?

My husband at the time was listening to Dave Ramsey and was insisting on us following his regime. We picked up his book, The Total Money Make Over, and I read it in one night. The next day, I implemented the regimen and getting out of debt seemed to be promising. However, I knew from past experiences there was more to finances than just the numbers; therefore, I started analyzing my situation and understanding the importance of my emotions in relation to my spending habits. Getting out of debt the first time through a bankruptcy had not taught me anything. It had erased the debt but had not healed the emotional side of my finances and that’s why I believe nine years later, I was in the same position.

I continued my journey by paying close attention to what drove me to spend money and how I felt when I did. I realized that every purchase had an emotional attachment to it. I didn’t spend money because I needed to. I spent money irresponsibly because there was something inside of me I was trying to ignore or stifle. I recognized how much my ego was involved in every purchase. I wrapped my identity around my possessions and my status in society. This new way of looking at my finances began the transformation. I began to look inside every time I spent money and it made all the difference. I began to heal myself and my relationship with money. It became friendly. I no longer hated my finances and blamed all the credit card companies. I began to accept how I had contributed to my financial downfall and let go of blaming everyone else for my situation.

Now if unexpected circumstances arise, I implement my method and I am able to handle my finances with ease.

I welcome you to my site and look forward to taking this journey with you.

Silvia