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“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”  Albert Einstein

It is Saturday and I am on my way to work.  The office is being painted and guess who is in charge of  making sure that everything gets done correctly.  Yes, you guessed, me!

Yesterday one of the painters stopped by and told me they will start working at 10 am.  I thought it was late to start, specially since they wanted to do it all in one day.  I gave him my business card and said to call me if he wanted to come in earlier.

Today at 8:50 am as I am walking to the train station, the painter calls me and says: We cannot paint today.  I said: What? Are you canceling? Part of me was happy with the idea of returning to my cozy apartment instead of braving the cold in NYC.

No, we are here but we cannot paint because the office is closed, he said.  I said: of course it is, you said you would be there at 10, and that is when I was planning to be there.  He said they had to leave the building by 5 pm so they decided to start earlier.

 “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein

He just didn’t bother to tell me that the plans had changed.  I  told him to wait and I would be there in 40 minutes.

As I get to train station the announcement on the loudspeaker is that the train is 10 to 15 minutes late.

Standing in the cold air of an almost empty train station I can feel my normal good mood starting to shift to anger.  I am thinking about the painter’s lack of communication.  I am thinking how the train seems to always be late on the coldest day, and specially on days that I have to be on time. I am thinking it is Saturday and I should be enjoying my weekend.

I get annoyed, angry when things don’t go according to plan.  I remind myself that this is just a minor inconvenience and nothing to get stressed about it.

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”  – Albert Einstein

I decided that there was no point in thinking about things that were in the past (the painter’s lack of communication) and things that I have no control of (late train).

Anger, as well as happiness, is a choice; it is not a given.  I am going to choose not to be angry and not feel powerless.  I am going to choose to welcome these mishaps and use them as a learning tool.

I am so used to routine, I am so used to the fast paced NY lifestyle that I never stop and pay attention to anything.  Even my reactions have become routine.  Routines are comforting and safe but routine also kills miracles and hide blessings.  Routine turns us into robots.

I look around me, at the trees and the train tracks.  I look at everything as if for the first time.  I started looking at them as if I have just gained vision and I marveled at that gift.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  – Albert Einstein

I decided to face everything, events, situations and people with new eyes and new actions.  I really need to see things and not just assume all is the same.

How would people, places and situations surprise us if we gave them a chance and looked at them with brand new eyes?  With eyes of understanding and compassion.  Would people pleasantly surprise us if we give them a chance and not just assume we know all about them?

I look at the number 8 marking the platform.  Just between you and I, I think that number has been put there for my benefit.  It feels comforting to have this daily hello from the Universe.  You see the Universe knows I love the number 8 so it placed it there so I can see it every morning and smile.

The number 8 means infinity.  It is never ending, as love, as hope, as faith.  It ends and begins in itself. At school I always insisted on being number 8 when playing volleyball and handball.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein

As my eyes move from that number 8, I see 8s I had never seen before.  I smile, surprised and grateful. It is a sign and a gift.  It shows me that when we decide to look at everything with new eyes we see new things.  We get gifts and discover miracles.

I took pictures of all the number 8s I saw at the train station this morning.  The first picture is the 8 that greets me every morning.  The others I am noticing it for the first time today.

I know it is just a number but to me it is a meaning.  It is also a symptom of how I live a lot of my life on auto-pilot. I am so used to a routine, of getting from point A to point B, of getting things done.  I often miss the details, the beauty around me.  I have been missing 8s, and possibly miracles and blessings because I am not paying attention.

A song came to mind:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  – Albert Einstein

No past thoughts or thoughts of the past