As part of my healing process when my marriage of twenty years suddenly ended, I set out on long motorcycle rides that provided an excellent way of helping me transition to life as a single man. For me, motorcycling offered a sense of freedom that was truly magical in nature. On one of the first of several such trips, when I was a relative newbie to long rides and many days on the road, I ended up stopping briefly in a small village named Radium Hot Springs, in British Columbia, Canada.
Within about twenty minutes or so, a middle-aged woman who had just exited a nearby post office, stepped toward me and engaged me in conversation. I was scanning an unfolded map at the time, and waiting for the feel of the destination that would next call to me. “Can I help?” she asked, perhaps sensing a lost look on my face. That question was a doorway that I willingly stepped through; and it led to a rich and interesting conversation that lasted for the next half hour.
It turned out that the woman owned and operated a small wellness centre and was very knowledgeable about spirituality and our essential nature. Part of her life “story” had included going through a major health challenge; now healed, she shared what she had learned from the experience with persons who came to stay for one of her programs. At the time, she definitely knew life on a much deeper level than I.
I was about to ready myself and my motorcycle to depart for the next destination when the lady asked if I could wait a few minutes before leaving. I said that I could, and with that she hurried back into the post office and soon returned. It was at that point that she handed me the nickel to which I refer in the title of this article.
As I looked at the nickel, she explained that she had written the number 5 in the center with “whiteout” to serve as reminder of the importance of remaining present, and safely aware in the moment. The number five stood for our five senses. If I found myself mentally drifting as I rode, she offered that I might be wise to run a mental checklist. What was I seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling? In motorcycle riding, which is such a living-in-the-moment experience, there is no shortage of stimuli. This technique, by the fact that I am writing of it ten years later, obviously made quite an impression on me. I hope that the technique will resonate with you, to draw you back into the transcendent beauty of the NOW.
The point of this article is, of course, not just to relate the story of this dear soul who gave so generously of her time and spirit to share with me, a stranger. The point is related to the value of what she taught me, through the illustration of a nickel marked with whiteout. The real value of a nickel, at least when it stands as a reminder to be Present—here and now—is invaluable. When we claim Awareness as That which we truly Are, the quality of our apparent life improves dramatically.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell
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