PenniesThe penny thing is happening again.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the webinar I’m preparing on “moving from frustration to abundance” – or if it’s just life. But the pennies are back.

It was last spring when I began to notice that everywhere I went, I found a penny on the ground.

A single penny. Not a dime, not a quarter – but whether on my morning walk, in my driveway, at the market, on my evening walk, there it would be, a single penny.

The first few times, I figured it was just a coincidence. “What a hoot! I found one of these yesterday, too!”

But after several weeks of finding pennies nearly every day – and after one long walk in which I found six of them, one after another – I began to mention it to others. Some of them remarked that yeah, they find stuff all the time, too. Most of them, though, replied with almost the identical retort: “Gee it’s too bad you’re not finding $20 bills.”

But I knew this wasn’t about the value of the penny, or about finding stuff in general. There was something going on, even if it was only going on in my own mind – in the fact that I was noticing, that I was meaning-making out of the sheer coincidence that pennies were appearing, some shiny and new, some crushed by cars, old and barely legible.

Shiny pennyIt was also last spring that I finally got to meet Zach Braiker face to face. Zach and I have known each other on line and on skype for several years, but finally, Dimitri and I got to spend a whole day with Zach and his lovely-in-every-way partner, Purnima.

We talked about everything and anything, mostly just life and fun. We went to Cosanti, the mystical place where I have a bad habit of falling in love. We went to lunch and investigated the Musical Instrument Museum. We talked about everything but work, a fact that was magical all on its own.

And then, at the end of the day, Zach did ask about work. We talked about feeling overwhelmed, as we are in start-up and that is always overwhelming. Zach told us, “There are so many people like me, who love what you’re doing – we want to be part of this! Find ways for us to help. And then find others who also think it would be an honor to be part of this.” And then we went back to just enjoying the day and each other.

The next day, sitting in my corner at Crave, I thought about Zach’s advice. I thought about the fact that sometimes it is hard to remember that there are resources all around us, just waiting to be tapped.

I thought about the book series Lizzie and I loved when she was a kid – the Dragon series by Patricia Wrede. I thought about the king who had the ability to see strands of magic everywhere he went, so that when he needed that magic, all he had to do was reach up and take hold of the strands that were already all around him. It’s not that the strands were only there for him – they were always there, all the time. It’s just that he was able to see them.

PennyAnd that’s when it hit me. The pennies! The pennies were a reminder that an abundance of resources is all around us, if only we would see it. The pennies were those strands of magic!

That was a year ago.

Shortly after that realization, the pennies disappeared as quickly as they came. I guess whether they were really “suddenly appearing” or I just happened to have been noticing them, it was the lesson that mattered – a lesson we are continually reminded of as we work to get Creating the Future off the ground. We already have everything we need to do this work; we just need to see it.

That lesson, reinforced time and again, is what led to our deciding we need to teach this. We need to show that this is not magic or a matter of faith. It is a simple matter of practical fact. We all already have what we need to move from frustration to abundance.

And all of that is back story.

Because last week, we taught a workshop here at home in Tucson. A longer version of the 30 minute webinar we’re about to do next week, we taught about finding the abundant resources that are already all around us, waiting for us to reach up and grab them like the king grabbing strands of magic in the forest.

The message resonated. People had aha after aha, which they shared with each other, embedding what they learned so they could be sure to immediately put it into practice.

But at the end of the workshop, packing up our easels and flip charts and supplies to get it all to the car in one trip, my mind wasn’t on the great thing we had just done. Instead my mind was racing, listing the 9 million things we still had to get done that day. The wind picked up, almost carrying me away on the sail of the flip chart I was wrestling across the parking lot. With each step, I felt myself getting more tense, feeling overwhelmed, and then…

PenniesThere it was.

Beat up, yet shining against the gravel parking lot.

A penny.

I took a deep breath. I smiled. And I bent down to thank that shiny little orb for the reminder.

3 Responses to Pennies

  1. Hi Hildy — Thank you for this beautiful missive. When I was in college, I worked at a sauna hot tub place. An amazing beautiful place that, in addition to offering hot tubs and saunas had massage. I was lucky that I got to have freebies. But the best part was being with massage people all day. One woman, a mystic of sorts, helped carry me through a difficult time. Her name was Shrikala Gori. One day we were walking along and she practically leapt to the sidewalk picking up a single shiny penny. I said — wow. Penny. Cool. She said to me, no Drey (which was what she called me). It’s a reminder of the preciousness of consciousness. So…reading your story…about yet another of my mentors in life finding inspiration from a penny on the ground, I am filled with a sense of the magic in what you shared. The idea of the king (or in my case, the queen) being able to grab a strand of magic at any moment because I can see it…that makes me think about how I see, and how I think, and how, even in spite of myself, as with you and the pennies, I get little messages, little nudges of encouragement.

  2. Thanks Hildy, for this reminder of the abundance all around us. Knowing how close you are to “crafting the words and language” that best describe CTF, I want to tell you that the timing of your blog about pennies borders on prescient…we recently lost the penny here in Canada (no further production). Many stores are now “rounding” their prices to deal with the ever-dwindling supply of pennies, and charities have been the beneficiaries of countless jars full of now-defunct pennies. So the chance of spotting a penny on the ground, at least here, is fast disappearing. I’ll miss looking down and finding those magical reminders, but I’d like to think the demise of the penny tells us the resource/abundance shift IS happening…that you are about to have that “eureka” moment that signals the arrival of the perfect message to engage the world in the work of CTF…that values will be enacted in all we do…that there IS abundance. Penny reminders no longer necessary. Gives me goosies just thinking about it.

  3. Dear Hildy
    You are such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for so generously sharing your insights. Sometimes when the going gets tough, we forget to look for the gems that are in front of us, because we are so busy trying to deal with the problem, we miss them.

    My experience of this came most profoundly to me when I was trying to parent my son, who at the age of 5 would go from one melt down to the next – leaving me completely flattened. Then someone suggested that I positively acknowledge to him what he was doing right, and ignore what he was doing wrong (and if he was doing something completely unacceptable, get him away to a quite place where he could calm down). Well it wasn’t instantaneous, but he became calmer and happier, and the melt downs started to happen less frequently. It took all the negative energy out of that downward spiral, and replaced it with, what I had been trying to do (but getting it so dreadfully wrong), love and understanding. Adam had to understand things before he could do them – it was me the adult, who wasn’t meeting his needs. Once I understood that, I could back right off. He wasn’t trying to defy me, he just needed a very different parenting approach than most kids. Now at 14, he is one of the most empathetic, insightful beautiful people I know. He was eventually diagnosed with learning differences (ADD & dyslexia/dysgraphia). What I learned was that by focussing on the positive, you affirm – & people rise to the fact that they are believed in. Judgement and condemnation only diminishes us. Knowing that what is good in us is seen, even if it is just a sliver, is not only affirming, it makes the whole world light. This is the treasure that is right in front of us – we just have to recognize it.