How to be clear about money

A new workshop with Charles Davies and Cleona Lira

Learn how to have a more satisfying relationship with money, bringing clarity to what it means to you and how it serves who you are and what you want to do.

On 2nd and 3rd March, 2019, Cleona and I would like to invite you to the Jamyang Buddhist Centre for a special two-day money workshop. It’s going to be the first time we’ve taught together — and the first time I’ve taught a money workshop in the UK for three years. This one will be a bit different to those I’ve taught in the past. On my side, it will bring together my work on clarity and my experiences with Peter Koenig’s money work. On Cleona’s side it will be combining her expertise as an Independent Financial Advisor in the City of London and her passion for studying and teaching the principles of Non-Violent Communication.

When we first talked about the workshop, Cleona said her intention was “to bring together a community around a common purpose of inner freedom and clarity”. And — more specifically — to have fun talking about money. “Everyone always gets so serious around money… I’d like us to have some fun with it.”


Jamyang Centre, the venue for our workshop, is tucked down a side street in Elephant & Castle. Round the corner from a cinema museum and the workhouse where Charlie Chaplin grew up. If you know that part of town, it’s gone through an insane transformation in the past few years. Vertiginous would be the best way to describe the rise of shiny new towers dotting round the Elephant roundabout. Old blocks being torn down. Dim sum bars opening in shipping containers. As if someone literally just realised that this traffic interchange / shopping centre / neighbourhood is really close to the City of London. Ten minutes cycle ride from Poundland to the Bank of England. An edgeland between two financial worlds.

Throughout this financial revolution, Jamyang Centre has endured as a resolutely peaceful spot. Previously a Victorian courthouse, it was nearly turned into luxury flats in 1995. But, instead, it’s a chunk of prime real estate dedicated to “integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility and service”. The Dalai Lama visited in 1999. And it’s one of the few places in England where you can walk in off the street and be taught by a fully-qualified ‘Geshe’ — a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism who has completed a minimum of seventeen years of study.

There must be few places better suited to this work of bringing clarity to our relationships with money and its role in our lives. A very conducive environment. And only six minutes walk from the Northern Line.


I first met Cleona at Ashridge Business School in Hertfordshire. We were both attending a kind of summit on money and consciousness convened by my friend and teacher Peter Koenig. I’ve been working with Peter — and leading money workshops based on his work — since 2005.

My interest in that work has always started from a longing to do beautiful work — and a frustration that money somehow seemed to be standing in the way.

For Cleona, this work has been a way to better serve her clients. Not only advising people on investments, but also guiding them through the ethics of how they deal with their money — and supporting them in finding a fulfilling relationship with money that is aligned with their values and life’s goals.

And all of this in service of a larger vision of showing people that they have the power to engage with the wider world – expanding beyond any personal, limited perspectives “to seeing interdependence and how we can involve ourselves in things that would benefit others”. And have fun. And not be too serious about any of it.

(You can sign up to her monthly Conscious Money newsletter to find out more about her approach.)


At the end of 2017, Cleona took part in the first of my online courses on ‘how to be clear’ — and it is this approach that I will be bringing to our two days at Jamyang.

I have come to understand that the best way to improve our relationship with money is first to get clear on what we want. Using my Clear Ideas approach, we will use the first part of the workshop to focus in on what we long for (and that money may or may not be standing in the way of).

Then we will look at ways of uncovering the stories we have about money and seeing how they affect the choices we make. All of us have different stories of money — accumulated through our early experiences, our parent’s attitudes, our habits — and those stories infuse all of our dealings with money with a degree of superstition and prejudice. Everyone. No one is totally free from ‘financial superstitions’. But, by knowing what our biases are, we become more free to make clearer decisions about how we work with money. And we’re less and less likely to suffer the unintended consequences of an unexamined relationship with our cash…

Over the years, I have worked with so many people where, for years — or decades — they have lived with unfulfilled ambitions because money appeared to be getting in the way. But it’s not necessary. Together we’ll practice a set of simple skills that let us engage with our money stories in a creative way so that they serve and enhance – rather than detract from – our wishes and dreams.

We will most likely also engage in a few financial ‘experiments’ over the course of the two days. So we’d also like you to bring a meaningful amount of money with you in cash.


The workshop will cost £300. You’ll get a deck of Very Clear Ideas cards to take home – and we’ll provide lunch and tea and coffee and everything. If you need help paying for the workshop, get in touch with Cleona (cleonalira@gmail.com) and we will work something out.

We’ll start at 10am (feel free to turn up any time from 9.30am) and we’ll be done by 5pm.

If you decide to book a room in the centre, you’ll be installed in one of the old police cells. We’ll eat our lunch in the cobbled courtyard, watched over by a golden reclining Buddha sculpture.

There are only sixteen places on the workshop. Bookings are open now.

Any questions – don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cleona. And otherwise – sign up here and we’ll see you in the Spring.