Today is April 1st – April Fool’s Day. At first I considered writing a post about the creative potential and ideology of The Fool. After all, Fools are actually quite powerful and revered. However, after giving it some thought, I realized that I already have a handful of topics in queue that I started writing, and figured I should take this opportunity to take an idea I’ve already been working on and complete it. And so, in keeping with the nature of this light-hearted day of foolishness, I’ve decided to write a fun post and share an interesting story about finding coins and change.
Following the Treasure Trail
As of late, nearly every time I’m out and about I seem to find some form of spare change along my way. Sometimes it’s in the form of a penny. Sometimes I’ll find multiple pennies. Sometimes I’ll find a nickel or dime or even a quarter. Just the other day I found multiple quarters!
I like to think of pennies or other coins as markers or indicators that I’m “on the right track” – at the right place at the right time. It’s similar to the idea of following a path or trail of breadcrumbs to keep you from getting lost, but instead it’s a trail of coins and tiny treasures. Besides, finding and picking up a coin is supposedly a sign of good luck. That’s why when I find change on the street, I will inevitably pick it up. Who doesn’t want to follow a treasure trail and get lucky?
I’ve observed that a lot of people don’t bother to pick up pennies. Perhaps these people are thinking, “Why bother putting in the effort of bending over to pick up a mere penny? Why would I want to make a fool of myself and stoop to pick up some dirty penny off the floor or street? It’s just a penny. It’s not like picking up spare change is going to change my life.” …Can it? Perhaps, if you follow the signs and journey down the path.
Cents and Synchronicity
A Tale of Three Cities
Earlier this week, I was journeying back to my hometown. The path of this journey started in Los Angeles and was scheduled with a stop-over in Edmonton before finally arriving at the destination of Winnipeg. A neat series of events happened along the way, and now I will share that story with you.
LAX, Los Angeles
Prior to departing Los Angeles, I was in the LAX airport, looking through some books in a little shop. I noticed Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book on the shelves and decided to flip though it. I contemplated purchasing her new book, but thought it’d probably make more sense for me to first read her previous book Eat, Pray, Love. I was in the midst of wondering if the store had that book for sale as well, since it wasn’t showing on the shelf I was currently looking at, when just then a paying patron at the cash register dropped a penny. I watched him. I observed that this man noticed he had dropped a penny, and yet he didn’t bother to pick it up and walked away when he was done paying at the cash register.
At the risk of looking foolish, I decided to pick up the penny. I mean, “Why not?” The worst that can happen is that someone might think I look silly or foolish for doing so. But why should I care what other people think? After I picked up the penny, another area of the bookstore caught my eye, and there I found Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. For some reason, I’ve felt very drawn to read that book for some time now. With two books and a selection of snacks for the plane ride in hand, I stood in line at the cash register, paid for my items, and left the store.
At that point it was nearly time to board the plane. I contemplated whether or not I should buy an additional plane ride snack of some almonds at Starbucks. Out of curiosity I glanced at the floor by the Starbucks cash register to see if there were any pennies, but didn’t notice any. I decided to go for the additional snack purchase, and took my place in line. After standing in line for a few minutes, I could swear I heard the sound of a fallen penny hit the floor. By the time it was my turn to pay I discovered there was a penny on the floor at the cash register. I thought, “This is weird! Yet, cool!” So, naturally, I picked up the penny.
From there I headed to my appropriate gate number, boarded my flight, and flew from L.A. to Edmonton, from where I would catch my connecting flight to Winnipeg.
Interestingly, during the flight to Edmonton, I didn’t end up reading either of the new books I had just purchased. Instead, I had decided to spend most of that flight in my own little world contemplating such things as the nature of reality. I came up with some pretty neat ways of viewing things. I’ll share that with you another time in a different post.
Anyhow, once I had arrived in the Edmonton airport, things started to get REALLY weird. While I was waiting for my luggage (since I was told I would have to re-check my luggage with the connecting flight), I had the odd idea strike me that I would find some form of change on the luggage carousel. With this idea in mind, I stepped up to the luggage carousel, with the path of its conveyor belt moving towards me. A few mere seconds later, my eye catches the glimpse of something silvery coming my way. A U.S. quarter had just presented itself to me! Wow! Can things get any weirder? … Yep!
When standing and waiting in line to go through airport security (for the second time in the journey – yeesh!), I found a dime! I picked that up. When I walked through the metal detector, it actually went off (not due to the coins, in case you were wondering). This surprised me because it hadn’t gone off when I walked through the metal detector at the L.A. airport. Apparently this detector was more sensitive, as the metal in the buttons of my pants set off the alarm. While I was being searched with a hand-held metal detector, I noticed a penny on the floor! I don’t think I would have noticed that penny had I not set off the alarm. I decided to pick that penny up, too. So far, I had found eleven cents at security, and thirty-eight cents in total.
After getting through the Edmonton airport security check, I noticed a little shop directly ahead of me. I felt a strange pull to the little shop, with the specific hunch that I’d find change there. Well. What do you know… after scanning the store’s floor for a moment, sure enough, I found a bright shiny penny! I picked it up, and continued to wander through the shop a little more. Within another moment I found two more pennies. I picked those up, but felt as though I still might find even more… so I continued scanning, and soon noticed something silver on the floor between a wall and a beverage refrigerator. I bent down to pick it up and discovered I’ve just found another quarter! That totaled twenty-eight cents for that one little store, with a running tally of sixty-six cents. “This is crazy!” I thought.
The idea certainly crossed my mind that, surely, I must have seemed quite foolish to some passerby if they had been witnessing my actions. It would’ve seemed that I kept going out of my way to pick up all these coins I kept finding on the floor. Doing so might’ve made me look really cheap and desperate for spare change. But really, why should I have cared what others might think of me? And besides, maybe I wasn’t actually going “out of my way” in the first place. Conversely, maybe I was headed towards the way, or path, where I was meant to be all along.
After finding the twenty-eight cents in that little shop, I decided to continue on my way through the airport in the direction of my gate number. As I was walking along and looking about I soon noticed something shiny on the floor underneath a seat. I approached the seat, crouched down, and reached under the seat to retrieve the coin. Another penny! Huh! After I picked it up, I returned to standing position and continued along my way.
A few steps later along my path, I found yet another penny! I picked it up. Now my total was at sixty-eight cents.
And it didn’t stop there!
Soon I arrived at my gate number. There were two vending machines at the gate waiting area – a snack machine and a drink machine. I noticed a woman put money into the drink vending machine in order to purchase a Coke. I heard the machine dispense coins as her change, and I took notice of her taking the change from the machine… and yet… I had a sneaking suspicion that there was still change left in the machine that she missed. After a moment, I decided to go take a look. I didn’t even have to put my fingers into the change dispenser because I was able to see it plainly with my own two eyes – I’ve found yet another quarter! Of course I picked it up and added it to my collection of coins, which now totaled ninety-three cents.
I heard an announcement that there would be a delay in my flight, and thus, boarding time would be delayed as well. Oh well. As a result, I decide to keep wandering around the airport to other gate waiting areas, since I had extra time to kill. … I continued walking, with no particular destination in mind. Within mere moments, I came upon a nickel directly in my path! Curiouser and curiouser! Of course I picked that up too. I was now at ninety-eight cents. “I bet you I can make it at least a dollar’s worth,” I told myself. Wouldn’t that be neat?
I continued wandering for a little bit. I found a neat little trinket, but no more coins, so I soon decided to return to my gate area and took a seat. While seated, I decided I’d stretch out my back with a back twist. Interestingly, while I was in the middle of doing so, another shiny-something caught my eye. Have I just noticed yet another coin? I finished my stretch, stood up, went over to check… and yep! Sure enough, I had found another dime! I picked it up.
I returned to my seat and counted up all the change that I’ve found so far that day. My total came to 108 cents. Wild!
Once on the plane to Winnipeg, I decided to start reading Eat, Pray, Love, one of the books I had bought at the very start of this journey back in the Los Angeles International Airport. As I looked at the front cover, I suddenly felt this strong wave of emotion come over me out of nowhere, almost as if I were about to cry. Hmm, that was odd! I began reading the introduction, which was also titled, “How This Book Works”, or, “The 109th Bead”.
The Introduction described that the book was divided into three parts or sections, and each section took place in one of three different countries. It also described how an Indian prayer necklace, called a japa mala, was made up of 108 strung beads. The author decided to follow a similar structure and wrote her story into 108 tales. The Introduction also pointed out that a japa mala includes a 109th bead that stands apart from the other beads, sort of like a pendant.
“Whoa. That’s freaky,” I thought. “I just found 108 cents today. And it all started when I contemplated buying this book, which is divided up into 108 tales based on a japa mala being comprised of 108 beads… and I’ve just found 108 cents today. The book is also divided up into three different sections, or locations, and here I am with my own flight journey that’s divided up and comprised of three different locations!” I was definitely a little weirded out by the string of synchronicies.
“Hmm. But what about the 109th bead, or cent?” I was confident that I’d find yet another penny at the Winnipeg airport, my third location of the day, so that my final total would thus equate to 109 cents.
And. Well. What do you know? I found another penny after arriving at the Winnipeg Airport, on the floor right by the luggage carousel.
109 cents. Over 3 locations. Bizarre. But definitely awesome, too!
Find a Penny, Pick it Up
Be creative in your attitude towards finding loose change. From a creative standpoint, it’s my intuition I’ll discover some of the story and themes expressed in Eat, Pray, Love to synch up and complement some of the themes and ideas I’m currently working on expressing in my next play. If I had never followed the treasure trail and picked up all those coins, I may have never made such a connection.
The Journey of the Fool
Interestingly, if I were to tie this back to April Fool’s Day, I’d point out that the journey described in the Major Arcana of the Tarot Deck starts with The Fool card. The Fool card symbolizes the start of a journey, as well as sheer creative potential, the first small step in the journey of creativity and manifestation. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to read my first post about Embarking on A Creative Journey.
When you take a moment to pick up spare change that you’ve found on the street, don’t be afraid to look like a fool. Go ahead and pick it up! See it as a way of acknowledging your willingness to welcome and receive change and potential into your life. It’s like opening a doorway, where the sighting of the coin or coins is like acknowledging that doorway, and then picking up the coins is akin to opening the doorway. Opening the doorway and picking up the change is symbolic of allowing potential, whatever form it might take, to enter your life and to morph into a new path rooted from the present moment.
It’s possible that change might only take the simple form of a few cents. Or maybe that change might lead to transforming your life on a whole other level. Who knows? Either way, I enjoy accepting the gift of change into my life, and I hope my little story will influence you to do the same as well.
Welcome change into your life. After all, it’s through change that we grow.