I remember the thrill of finding money as a kid: on a sidewalk, in a parking lot, and in that little slice of the Otherworld – between the cushions of the couch. It was a surprise, it was fun, and for a kid whose piggybank (actually, a small red box with a tiny lock) usually held less than $10, finding even a nickel was a financial windfall.

As I got older and got used to handling more money, the thrill got less and less. By the time I was out of college I wouldn’t stop for less than a quarter, and before too long the threshold rose to a dollar. The fun was long gone and found money was never enough to be significant – why bother?

Then one day I was on a business trip when I co-worker and I both spotted a quarter on the sidewalk. I was ready to keep walking, but she insisted on picking it up. She said “you should never pass up found money – you’re telling the Universe you don’t want any more!”

The engineer in me said “silly superstition” at the same time the magic worker said “as above so below – she has a point.” And so I went back to picking up coins. Quarters, dimes, nickels… even pennies. Don’t want to tell the Universe I don’t want any more money.

This past weekend I was walking through the neighborhood when I spotted a nickel on the sidewalk. Out of habit I stopped and picked it up. But as I walked on, my mind went back to part of what I said about success last week: success is having enough and having the wisdom to recognize it.

I’m not rich and I’ll never be rich, but I have enough – and I know it. So why was I sending mixed signals – why was I saying I need more?

Out of an unexamined habit, that’s why.

The next morning, I went into the gym and opened a locker. Whoever had been in that locker before me had left a nickel and a penny in it – one cent more than what I had picked up the previous day. I picked it up out of habit, then put it back.

I have enough. Someone else may need it more than I do.

As for my co-worker, she left the company several years ago. She’s now a Vice President with a large international logistics company. I know she really wanted to be a Vice President.

I hope it’s finally enough.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    I rarely pick up small change, even when I drop it myself. . .

    A: I might put my back out picking it up. ;-)

    B: The dropped change may make someone else's day, especially if they believe in lucky pennies.