A penny here. A penny there.
For the longest time I rarely noticed them. Our society mostly views them as worthless annoyances.
But about 10 years ago while embarking on a spiritual journey, trying to figure out what to do after a layoff and feeling disconnected from the gifts at my core, I read a bit about abundance. More importantly, the abundance mindset vs. the one that keeps us in a place of lack. It was about seeing value, appreciating all that makes us rich.
Something at that time prompted me to start picking up pennies. If I could see their value, my thinking went, I could see the intrinsic value in most things. I was surprised by how many coins – not just pennies – I found once I started opening my eyes to them and treating them like they had worth.
I even began to find bills here and there. Who finds a $20 bill on the ground along the pier? This girl. Who finds a $20 bill on a department store floor in Union Square in New York City? This girl. They came in pretty handy back then when I struggled to make the rent.
Recently while doing a purge of things in my apartment I found some of my penny “stashes” overflowing from containers. I laughed at how it all began as memories came flooding back. Then I wondered what to do with the pennies.
I live riveted to meaningful, conscious acts. Hmmmmm. Meaningful and conscious, yes, but maybe not something that requires overthinking?
I put five pennies in my wallet with the other change already there. I didn’t know why, but I just followed an instinct. Later in the day I was paying for my coffee at a local café and while the cashier did her thing I spotted the five pennies in my wallet and took them out. Then I discreetly lined them up along the edge of the counter and left with my coffee. A small gesture, not unlike leaving them in a little bowl by the register.
The next day I put five more pennies in my bag. They wound up in a neat row on the drugstore counter. Each day I take the little copper coins out and leave my mark somewhere. Of course the hope is that the person picking them up feels their abundance in some way and maybe even breaks into a smile.
The feeling of passing them on (as opposed to “getting rid” of them) makes all the difference for me. It’s a form of giving, a kind of currency that means way more than one cent or five cents. There’s a release in the act. No attachment to who benefits or appreciates or doesn’t. It’s giving without condition. Knowing what that feels like, I have found, leads to giving more selflessly in a myriad of ways.
The spiritual journey continues. Pennies flow from my heart. There is magic in the not knowing, the releasing, the giving.
It all has value.
By Nancy Colasurdo