by Jonette Crowley, copyright 2011
Walking on a white sand Florida beach this week, I smiled at other walkers…adults, every one… stopping mid-stride to pick up sea shells glinting in the sun. A black haired woman with a beach bag comes over to ask earnestly: “Have you found any starfish yet?” Another woman cradles a fragile but remarkably whole sand dollar in her palm. As she hands the treasure to her husband, her excitement at the find imbues the shell with value. It becomes a precious gift because it is appreciated. Their shared joy creates an exchange of positive energy, escalating the sand dollar’s worth.
A paper dollar–you know, the one that will buy you a third of a cup of coffee– might not be as positively valued as the sand dollar made of shell. When we hand it over in payment– in any denomination, we might feel begrudging, angry or victimized, rather than the emotion of joy. I ponder how the exchange might be improved if both the giving and receiving of the money were acts of gratitude?
One of my favorite sayings from White Eagle is, “ What you use to get there is what you get once you’re there.” In other words: the currency of the journey is the currency of the outcome. I read this to mean that if I make my way to my goal with anxiety and overwork, once I “make it,” I’ll still have anxiety and overwork. If I constantly have the feeling of lack as I travel along life’s path, the outcome…no matter how much money I have…will continue the feeling of lack. Conversely, if joy kindness and generosity are the qualities of my journey, the outcome will surely contain joy, kindness and generosity.
So next time you hand over a dollar bill, feel that it’s a treasure you are sharing. Sand dollar or paper dollar. You choose.