Donnaleigh's Lessons



The Money Wall

Posted by Donnaleigh on August 22, 2011 at 8:45 AM

"After a visit to the beach,

it's hard to believe that we live in a material world."

~Pam Shaw

Money. Lots of it. Tucked into nearly every nook and cranny of the store's wall.

And behind the counter sat an elder man of thin build from India. Plain clothes, dark eyes rich with kindness and experience, he toiled carefully and deliberately on an intricate set of copper earrings.

I stared at this endless wall of green...

"Wow....that is a LOT of money," I whispered out loud as I stood back and saw dollars from multiple countries. There were one dollar bills, fives, tens....dollar after dollar lined up. I'd never seen anything like it before.

I was used to seeing a dollar or two commemorating the first sale a business makes. The money is often taped on a wall, or tucked under a glass pane by the register, a dash of good luck for the store's future. But this.....there was a LOT of green there, as well as money having colors I'd never seen before, from countries I'd never visited. It was some sort of....collection?

He'd heard me.

"Thirty-eight years..Those are gifts from people who have bought my wares and gave me gratitude for my work in return. For 38 years now I've been placing the gratitude on my wall."

I was awed, and stood silent for a moment, digesting this.

"But...  you never spent it...." I said to him.

 "Ahhh, but I have a roof over my head, and a floor under my feet. What more should I want?"  And in his deep eyes, I saw a truth that he felt to his bones.

After a pause, I silently wondered, "Why?"

What would be the purpose of saving it like this on a wall?

"What will you do with it?" I asked.

"Ah, well....I have four sons, and one grandson. Someday, when I am no longer, I will leave the money for them, and they can enjoy it."

I was awed by his realization of what was important in life.

"Well then, I must add to the wall," I smiled.

So as I opened my purse, he walked to me with a pen. "All you need to do is write your first name on the front of the dollar, and where you are from."

So I did.

And then he took it, moved aside some bills to make room for the new addition, and placed the dollar into its tidy new slot where it would rest until it was ready for its use as a gift, whenever that might be.

I took a look at his beautiful copper wares, earrings with splashes of color radiating from them, necklaces fit for a queen, bracelets supple enough to drip from a goddess' wrist. Each one labored with great love.

I left the store into the mall to look for my husband to show him the wall and to tell him about this remarkable man. But in the crowd of people I felt a sudden tap on my shoulder, and turned to find the same man behind me. He had left his store unsupervised. I thought perhaps I dropped something and he was returning it to me.

"Please come back, I have something for you."

I was confused, and checked that I still had all my bags. It seemed I had not  lost anything.

As he led me back to his store, he moved his hand in the air in a slow, wide arc. "Pick anything from the store you want. It is yours."

I was not sure I heard him properly.

"What? Oh, no, I can't. That dollar wasn't to pay for anything. It was just a dollar, and perhaps for your grandson someday.

"No, you must pick something, and then we will be even."

"But it was only a dollar..."

"Here..." he said.

And he led me to an array of colorful copper earrings. "Pick one of these."

The earrings were stunning, and I looked at the ovals and circles, and he said, "Ah, this set here. It will match the color of your hair beautifully." And he held it up to my hair. I looked, and the earrings were beautiful. They were $9, so I knew what I would do. I would buy them with a $10 and leave him yet another dollar for his wall.

But he would not have it. As I opened my purse, he held his hand up to stop me, and there he stood, his hand held firmly between me and my purse.

"No, no, no, no. I will not take it. This is not about money. This is about making it even. You did something for me, now I do something for you."

And I stood there, stunned, wondering how on earth this man made a living. Had he given his wares to each of the people who left him money?

He helped me put on the earrings, and gave me a mirror to see them, carefully tucking my old earrings into a tiny bag and returning them carefully to me.

"Thank you," was all I managed to be able to say, numbed, as I gave him a sincere hug and realized how slight his body was. "I hope to see you again next year when we return. And I'll wear my earrings."

"Ahhh," he chuckled, "if I'm still here."

He returned dutifully to his bench and work table and offered me the smile of a man who appreciates every day. Every moment. And every stranger who walks into his shop. And loves what he does, as uncomplicated as it is to be in his copper store each day, meeting new people, he is sincerely happy with his work.

 I left the store in a stupor, having experienced an act of kindness that rattled my day in a way that now I felt I was filled with this good "something" that I needed to pass on. This man did not know me, the earrings were clearly worth more than the dollar I left him, and yet he was so comfortable in leaving this gift.

I looked at his business card.

Niko is his name.

Upon arriving home, I took out The Illuminated Tarot and asked to learn more about this man of wisdom. And a beautiful trio of cards danced for him.

(The Illuminated Tarot, created by Carol Herzer)

This is a man who finds strength in family, and strength in his generosity and gentleness. He is saving this money for a moment of celebration, a graduation of sorts, and the final card, the 6 of Cups, shows the giving of a legacy, from one to the next generation. An older person hands the younger person a coin/money. Niko definitely shows the energy of Strength, and in my own Strength year, I am learning about gentle assertion. A clear lesson was learned through Niko.

Each of these cards shows more than one figure, with an expression of love between them.

I was unable to find his website, but in my search I did find that another woman posted about this man's warm energy as well. Clearly, this is just the way he is, a soul of kindness and gratitude, of simplicity, and of giving.

The Money Wall contains beautiful symbolism for the wealth Niko holds inside. Nothing that can be bought would equal his feeling of goodness and gratitude. He leaves the world better than we found it. Giving is where he finds his true joy. He has more wealth in him than money could ever possibly buy.

And now I have my own job to do.

I received a random act of kindness.

Now I am off to search for a way to "pay it forward."


Here's wishing you a day containing a random act of warmth that supersedes anything that money can buy.

A touching update to the Money Wall story (3/15/14) can be found HERE.



Categories: Life Experiences as Seen through Tarot