he year was 2006. I was the Director of Human Resources for a low-income health care clinic in Northern California.
One of my first hires was an amazing young lady by the name of Araceli Collazo. Smart, hardworking, and heart-centered, Araceli proved to be an amazing addition to our patient support team at the center.
Of Mexican-American descent, Araceli grew up in California but was exposed to both cultures. This allowed her to experience the true richness and diversity of her upbringing.
A pivotal point in her life journey was her decision to leave the clinic to pursue a musical career. She became the founder, leader, and voice of “Araceli Collazo and Paloma Negra” World Music Project. This independent endeavor features original work as well as folk and folk and traditional music from Mexico, Latin America and other parts of the world.
A big fan our “Money Monday” podcast episodes, Araceli says she is fascinated by how secretive and taboo it is to even talk about money. Asked about what she’s learned from listening in weekly, Araceli had this to say:
“I believe this podcast provides a way for us to become more aware of our relationship with money and to heal. Each episode is tapping into listeners at a very deep soul level.”
We asked Araceli to share more about her own personal relationship with money and how it has informed the person she is today.
What was your life like growing up?
I belong to an “immediate family” structure of 14 members. I am the 10th child, in chronological order, in a family of 12 children; 8 girls and 4 boys, of which 10 survived (7 girls, 3 boys). I was born into a marriage where my dad was nearly 20 years older than my mother. He was born in 1916 and passed away in 2014.
Tell us more about your dad?
My father lost his own father at a very early age. As one of the oldest children in his family, he had to work from a very early age in sugar cane fields. As a young adult, he worked for my maternal grandfather’s farm where my mother was born. When my dad saw my mom as a young girl, he swore he would marry her when she was old enough to be married. That eventually came to pass due to an odd, family circumstances. They were not in love; it was an arranged sort of marriage.
What were your first memories of money?
In my very early years, from the age of 1 to 5, I was raised and cared for primarily by my older teenage sisters because my dad moved to California with a special permit to work and wanted my mother with him. They were mostly out of town and traveled a lot anyways.
My older sister was 17 and already married and not living in our household. My caretaker was 15. I mostly remember them struggling to stay on budget, to put food on the table and pay bills and fixed expenses, especially towards the end of the “pay period” which is when they received funds from our parents. Funds were mailed or deposited twice, some times once per month.
Sounds like that was a very confusing time?
It was. I remember they would do their grocery shopping and pay some bills when funds became available, with the rest of the money spent on random things, entertainment and leisure shopping. Basically, what I remember from those years was “There is never enough.” I recall going to school having had only tea for breakfast and having a very simple or modest lunch at noon.
So how did all of this impact you?
What I remember was this ebb and flow of my parents’ presence. So, when we were alone, I felt poverty. When they came home for short visits, I felt abundance.
And as your life progressed?
Later on in my life, at the age 7, the family reunited in Los Angeles and later at the age of 11, we moved again up to Sacramento. My older sisters spent about three years taking turns in caring for the younger siblings. Then from the age of 11 to 18, I lived mostly under my parents’ care and even though they still traveled quite a bit, and would constantly repeat worn out and negative sayings about money, I remember feeling mostly abundance and protection.
Yes, I never once worried about there “not being enough” food or funds to pay bills, or to eat out or travel. How did they do it? Who knows! In Los Angeles, my father was an industrial designer and my mother stayed at home to care for us. I felt safe most of the time.
So looking back, how did your upbringing impact your relationship with money?
For some reason, some unconscious fears from those early years hit me hard after the age of 18, at a time when I was expected to be fully independent and self-sufficient, especially in my early adult years. That’s when my fear resurfaced and the resistance and struggle for and with money truly began.
This very strong and subconscious fear and disconnection with money have had a profound effect on my ability to manifest material blessings. Unlike all of my other siblings, who are strong material “manifestors,” the way I experienced and processed life growing up affected me differently.
Can you share more here?
Basically, a very detrimental core belief that “money is not for me” over-shadowed all of my external efforts and endeavors to manifest, to feel protected, safe, secure and grounded. I worked just as hard and diligently as anyone else and yet, money was always an issue.
How have you attempted to resolve this?
It’s taken me years of devoted and focused internal work to become aware of the subconscious and deeply rooted beliefs and programming that operate within me on a daily basis. It also took a great deal of internal work on my part to find, open and “heal” those old aspects of me and realign with a higher sense of wholeness, a different core belief.
So I’m curious as to what scares you about money?
For a long while, it scared me that I would run out of money. That feeling was exhausting. Fortunately, nothing really scares me about money anymore.
As a general rule, I can say that I have no attachments to material things, that is, any excess of material belongings, expensive or fine jewelry or brand name products. I have no addictions to food, travel, etc. Only coffee! ☺ I feel this non-attachment to things is in part why in my past I have not been inspired to “chase” after the money.
And what two things excite you about money?
What excites me the most about money is the ability to invest in creative projects as a way to contribute to the transformation and expansion of this world we live in. This includes my artistic sharing, some of which I’ve partly financed myself over the past several years.
Can you offer some examples here?
Sure. Producing a new video, a single song, a full CD production, a live performance, hiring miscellaneous creative and artistic talent, a photo session and having the ability to actually pay artists for their work. Also, contributing to my partner Saul’s creative projects and endeavors as well. This ideation really makes me thrive and keeps me motivated. The possibility of it all, that is.
Honestly, it’s never been about the money, though I am working mindfully on shifting that as well. This is why I especially love your “What is Money” project. I find it absolutely fascinating! Finding that balance.
What else are you discovering on your money journey?
Because of my detachment and some unhealthy beliefs about abundance and money and not feeling secure, I also never previously believed that I could actually purchase and/or own real estate or any property; a dwelling for that matter and yet, owning a piece of land is by far my biggest inspiration these days. I want to build a custom-made home for a project I envisioned and conceptualized back in 2015 called the La Casa de Ara Project.
In the end, how do you now define money?
I fully understand now and choose to believe that money is indeed a concept, the ways and means. But above all, it is a frequency with which one must be fully aligned in order to tap into it. The shift must occur within to manifest without.
The shift has already occurred internally, I am ready to see it come into fruition in the outer world. As Neville Goddard says in quoting William Blake, “And Earth and all you behold; tho’ it appears Without, it is Within, In your Imagination, of which this World of Mortality is but a Shadow.”
And what is its ultimate significance in your life?
Money is only important not only to sustain and cover the elemental needs for me to exist and function in this world but also to return or share the abundance as service to humanity. Whether that may be through my artistic creations, primarily in music, legally securing my intellectual property, supporting humanitarian causes, and contributing to other people’s projects, for the understanding of what consciousness really is.
Also, it is now especially important for me to offer my two sons a sense of safety and security on this earthly place when I am gone. I know I will not take any of my material belongings when I die, but I am ok now with the idea and ability to enjoy the beautiful things money can buy for as long as I am in this physical body.
Your greatest hope in terms of your financial future?
My greatest hope now is being able to manifest the project I reference above, as it would pretty much summon the concept of “I am”, the full awareness of who I am and what I am here to accomplish as a way to give this existence some sort of meaning. Also, to continue to produce my music freely, without depending on anyone to sponsor my endeavors. My music, my songs, and singing is by far my biggest passion.
Like a new mantra, repeating inside me, I hear “I Am Wealthy and Generous.” It resonates strongly with me now. It feels right. Ah, there’s the balance!
Michael Scott, co-host of the “What Is Money Project” and “Money Monday’s” Podcast series