Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Take a Penny, Leave a Penney

I was recently “gifted” with our Spiritual Center’s Women’s Retreat by a dear friend. It was an amazing experience for my mind, body & soul while “awake” and “asleep.”

On rising after the first night’s sleep, I told my 10 other cabin mates,” There was a lot of activity in here last night”  - and I wasn’t talking about the squeaking beds or the snoring or trips up and down the ladders of the top bunks for “restoring one’s personal comfort” (ie: peeing!) No, I was referring to the seeming endless stream of “visitors” that I felt moving through the cabin. This was even stranger for me because I don’t refer to nighttime events like this. I call them DREAMS!  But these felt different from dreams. 
One event in particular really grabbed my attention and hasn’t let go since.  It involved Penny.
I was sleeping on the lone bed without a bunk above it, pushed up lengthwise under a window.  All of the bunks were lined up along the other side of the room, with a big open space separating us.
I felt a hand pressing against the middle of my back, pushing me, gently at first, then with more force, toward the center of the room – and coincidentally, OFF the bed! At the same time I heard a whisper, then louder:   ((Penny)) ….Penny….PENNY!
With the last “PENNY” came a hard, forceful shove by the hand in my back and in my mind I screamed, “WHO’S PENNY?” Just as I caught myself falling to the floor!  I put my hand out to catch myself and looked around.  9 peaceful dreamers and one snorer…all in their beds, unaware.

The next day one of my cabin mates tracked down another retreat attendee named Penny and pointed her out to me.  I felt very strongly that somewhere, there was someone named Penny with a message for me.  I approached her, introduced myself and, since she already had heard the story, asked her rather bluntly, “What do you have to tell me?”  Obviously caught off guard (and maybe a little freaked out!) she had nothing.  That was OK….the right “penny” would turn up, of this I was certain.
Flash forward 2 weeks and I am sitting with the group of retreat women during Sunday service.  During the usual weekly announcements there is a “coming attraction” of who is being interviewed during Rev. Michael’s weekly radio program, The Sound Of Transformation.  “This week’s guest is Penney Peirce.” I looked to my cabin mates sitting on my right and could barely hold back my excitement!!! Was THIS my “PENNY”?  And yet, I wouldn’t know until Friday! Still, the synchronicities leading to this moment were many, far too many to share here. So…I waited…knowing something amazing was waiting for me at the end of the week!
On the day I was to listen to the replay (not being available for the original airplay time), 2 dear friends of mine who had just met each other were both in my home.  The one I’ve known the shorter time asked something of me and I gave her a sarcastic (but I thought FUNNY) answer.  She looked to the friend of 15+ years and asked if I was this mean to her when she first met me.  (MEAN? ME???)  The longtime friend confirmed how I used to endlessly tease her about things she didn’t know.  She sweetly laughed it off back then, as does this friend now.  Hmmm…Was I really that horrible to the people I love? It certainly wasn’t intended that way.
[I know this is long but, seriously, the revelations I have discovered are worth every word, and then some! It's my story and I've got to tell it!]
The newer friend went on about her day, leaving the longtime friend and I to listen to the archived radio program.

Much of it was very similar to the sermon we’d just heard in church that morning, at least for me.  This Penney did say something profound for me that wasn’t discussed in church.  She is an intuitive teacher who teaches us how to work with our own personal “home” vibration and is the author of “Frequency The Power of Personal Vibration.”  She mentioned how important it is to speak kindly to one another, specifically avoiding…..wait for it……SARCASM!!!
Initially I brushed it off. OH! I knew that was what I was waiting for but still, I tried to look the other way. I realized how much hurt I have caused over my incarnation, being sarcastic to, not only my friends, but to ME!  Each self-deprecating comment to myself, and each belittlement to others is a tiny little barb that, even in its seeming-innocent humorous way, has the power to chip away at someone, if that someone gives it the power.
This NOW moment also took me back to a classmate I had at the beginning of study at UTSLA.  For some reason I was DRAWN to be overly sarcastic with each and every comment I exchanged with this beautiful soul. Mostly, the comments were directed at me.  At one point she looked me square in the eye and with ultimate knowing said:
“I know why I am in your life right now. It’s to show you how to love yourself.”
From then on, she called me on my sarcasm and how I used it to avoid accepting compliments or to make fun of myself before someone else did and eventually it invited me to take a look at how I was talking to myself.  It wasn’t with love. It was tiny barbs of judgment and ridicule delivered in a pretty sheath of humor that made people notice me.  I was looking outside of myself for the love and attention I wasn’t able to give myself!  Deep? Yes!  Huge? ABSOLUTELY!!!
With work, gentleness and patience I gave up being sarcastic with myself and started working on loving me like I love my friends.  But, apparently, I still have a way to go on that area too!  Being aware is the first step in the journey, right?
As I shared this story with another friend the other day, I was able to do that whole “Take a penny/leave a penny” thing some stores do at their checkout counters.  As I told the story, she lit up, having her OWN sarcasm story with an old friend that happened just the day before.  For the first time in their friendship, she, too, was called out on her sarcastic ways of communicating! Take a penny/leave a penny! 
As I move forward on this journey, I am aware of the power of words and, especially now, how important it is to speak with love and compassion with each other; to truly see the God in each person; friend, stranger, and ME.
I am so grateful to all the “Penny’s” in my life that have been dropped along The Journey To Be(th)



  1. Beth,
    I loved the way you immediately recognized the "Penny" sign and waited for the synchronicity to eventually reveal itself. Patience is certainly key in understanding the synchronicities along one's path.

  2. I've been working on the use of 'words‘ myself. Our daughter is now 28 years old but while she was growing up, there certain words that were not allowed in our home. I remember the damage it caused me when I was younger- still does! Word like: stupid, shut-up, fat, retarded, worthless- etc. We still don't use those words or others.

    I don't recall the exact scripture, but there is a verse that states: the power of the tongue can give impart life- or death. Words are very powerful! Good lesson, Beth. Great discussion topic!!