The Power of Leisure: Part 2

During a leisurely evening stroll last May in search of the beguiling Super-moon, its bright fullness peaked out from behind the roofs and at that breath-taking moment, I also noticed a folded $20 bill on the sidewalk (read the story about it in The Power of Leisure Part 1). In that mysterious moment of moon and money, I felt a special energy about this moneyed paper and its significance. I saw it as an opportunity to relate to money in a different way, thinking about how and where I would spend it with much more consciousness that I usually give it. What would I exchange this bill for? How would I pass it forward? Or would I give it away?

What would you do? How would you spend $20 of found money? Would you spend it at all?

My awareness was aroused— and a week later it happened. I had my answer.

The following week I was walking through Yorkville, a neighbourhood in Toronto that had been a bohemian cultural centre in the 1960s with coffee houses alive with musical and literary events. Since then it has transformed into an upscale shopping district. On this clear sunny day, I was walking on my way to an appointment when a woman carrying a stack of books approached me. She told me she was sharing her stories about creating and selling her art for the past 30 years in this neighbourhood.

As I listened to her, I felt a wave of energy surge through me and the hairs on my arms become electrified.

I asked her, “Did you sell your art down near the Ontario College of Art in 1982?”

She paused for a moment and then replied, “Yes, I did. It was before I started my business and moved up to this area.”

I exclaimed, “Wow! I purchased art from you during the summer of 1982 and I love it to this day! I’ve been looking for you! I’ve wanted to thank you!”

I think we were both dumb-founded. I know I was.

As I described the pieces of artwork I’d purchased, she remembered them, exactly. I suppose it’s like birthing a child and letting it go into the world — you remember everything about it, its creation, its birth, and how it launched.

This accidental re-connection felt like a gift. It was an opportunity to let someone know how their work and their purpose had made a difference in my life.  And I believe there was a gift in it for her in learning how her creativity and work impacts the world.

We chatted for a while and she told me what it was like to write about her experiences in her book.

I asked her, “How much did the book cost?”

She replied, “Twenty dollars.”

Oh my.

We’ve stayed in touch since — I’ve visited her again and we’ve been talking on the phone. I hope to purchase another of her works of art soon — for my next 30 years!