Recent estimates have suggested that there is $10 million in pennies littering the streets of the U.S. How many times have you stepped on a penny or walked past a penny without picking it up? Or are you a karma yogi and insist on picking it up knowing that it will bring you good fortune more valuable than a penny?
Yoga is a discipline focused on increasing our awareness and the insignificance of the penny is entirely significant based on its story. Have you ever wondered where a particular penny came from, and wondered if perhaps someone you know once owned the penny? Have you ever wondered if someone lost a particular penny and where it was located when it belonged to no one?
So many questions for one little penny.
Years ago, my then 4-year-old daughter found a penny on the sidewalk and excitedly decided that we needed to post signs on street corners to find the owner of the penny. She immediately began formulating a plan to screen would-be penny claimers to assess the validity of their claim – asking them to describe the penny and share the story of how it came to be lost.
While I was never quite certain if she was serious, I was fascinated by her curiosity and wonder at something we all take for granted, never giving a second thought to where individual pennies came from or who they may have belonged to in their past life.
Since the “penny incident” I’ve been asking students in my creativity workshops to imagine the story of a particular penny that I gave them, and indeed I have heard some fascinating tales that have changed lives, shaped history, and transformed societies all contained within the smallest unit of currency.
Focusing on the insignificant can lend significance to everything we see, touch and feel in our daily lives. Noticing the miracles and majesty contained in simple packages that we dismiss everyday is yoga.
So next time you see a penny on the sidewalk, pick it up, feel it, take a moment to breath and give it a story.