Remarkable Day

10 05 2016

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 May 5th was a remarkable day.

I wrote this at 5:04 PM, after what seemed to be a race with unpredictable ending, sitting on the exact train I was supposed to be on to get from NYC to my daughter’s Jr. National Honor Society induction.

In a hurry to get to a meeting downtown and after already being late due to ridiculous traffic, I decided to exit the taxi in a hurry and just walk the remaining 10 minutes or so to where I needed to be. Since I tend to get car sick in the back of taxis, I had decided to meditate to the best of my ability and simply have my credit card ready once we arrived so as to save those precious 10 seconds it would take for me to pull out my wallet and pay the fare.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it may turn out), I left said wallet in the back of the cab and realized it too late. After calling 3-1-1, taxi cab receipt in hand, being provided the cab drivers’ number from the dispatcher and trading phone calls, it turned out that the wallet had been taken and was gone. While definitely starting to panic, weirdly, my initial reaction was how relatively easy and helpful it was in reaching out to and getting help from both the taxi dispatch and the driver.

As someone who has been reading a lot lately about one’s “Buddah nature”, I breathed deeply (several times) while still engaging in the meeting and as time allowed, started to cancel various credit card accounts online, to the best of my ability. I had given in to the fact that the wallet was gone and that my attachment to this outcome was of no help to me. I had to “speak” to myself the way in which I would to a friend. And this is where things started getting interesting.

As anyone close to me can tell you, I have a hard time- a real hard time – holding on to things when I travel – wallets, glasses, books, license, credit cards – you get the picture. No matter how much it seems I try to organize, remind myself etc, I lose things more times that I am comfortable admitting. My inner dialogue always goes something like this: “I am such a loser. Why do these things always happen to me? Oh, yeah – it’s because I’m a loser.”

What I realized this day though was that I have been framing all of these incidents – not just losing things – but everything, good and bad, in the wrong way. It’s not “why do these things always happen to me.” It’s “why do these things always happen for me.”

There are no coincidences. As I have written about before, I personally don’t subscribe to the notion that everything happens for a reason but I do believe that things happen for a lesson, which is more graspable.

Here is what happened next:

  1. I am at lunch with work colleagues when one of them has to ask to have her salad “to go” because she has to go to Fordham University to see final presentations from the senior class, which leads to a conversation about Fordham and the campus.
  2. During this conversation, I feel a vibration on my cell phone, which is in my pocket, but do not immediately look at it as to not appear rude during the discussion.
  3. Once the topic changes and there is a natural pause, I look at my phone and it is a Facebook message that says “found your wallet in a cab. Please call ….”
  4. I call the number provided and a guy tells me where he is located and I arrange to pick up my wallet at his office building later in the day. (I profusely thank him, like too much.)
  5. I look up his profile (or what I thought was his profile) on Facebook and it says his name is Tom and he is a graduate of…wait for it….Fordham University.
  6. Then, there is a mildly boring period of getting back to the business of work meetings and I head to the subway to make my way to pick up the wallet, (after canceling a drink with someone I was supposed to meet up with – more due to the meeting going over than the lost wallet).
  7. I get on the right train, wrong direction – end up in Brooklyn.
  8. Get on the train going back but now unsure of myself ask a woman sitting next to me (we were on a train stuck on the tracks for a while) about my route which convinced me to get off, though it turned out to be right all along.
  9. I then get back on the next train going in the right direction and make my way to the office.
  10. Turns out it was not Tom who found my wallet, but his friend, Travis, who was using his phone.
  11. I get my wallet back and rush to the subway with 35 minutes to get from downtown to Penn Station and here I am.

While on the subway, I pulled out “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown which I am reading. I turn the page and she is talking about her vulnerability during a visit to a special place in Texas, Lake Travis. What? She then talks about a scientist (on the same page) with the same last name of someone who just happened to email me recently out of the blue.

What is going on here?

I am not looking to make something out of nothing but c’mon. The universe is telling me something. I think the universe actually has a wicked sense of humor. Maybe by finally “letting go” of this idea of control, it’s the most straightforward way of knowing that the universe really does have our backs. That day could have gone in so many different directions but every single interaction – from the taxi driver through dispatch, was leading to something bigger than the sum of it’s parts.

I boarded the train in the morning and the evening as planned. However, what happened in between was anything but. Isn’t this the best metaphor for life? We are born and then we exit but what really matters are the unexpected, wonderful, tragic, elaborate, simple, mind-boggling, boring things that happen in-between and what we take from them. That is truly remarkable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Face (reality) book

6 01 2015

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Someone posted a great video vignette on Facebook the other day that got right to the point – Facebook is great at creating an alternate reality based on perception where every relationship is an amazing night out on the town, every other night is an incredible conglomerate of friends old and new and every post is #blessed (and every comedian is “killing it” – though I just threw that one in myself).

It is called Facebook for a reason – it’s like a Yearbook. No one is going to see any of my angst filled nights, posts and frustrations that made up most of my Class of 19…(well, never mind – you get the point). No! It’s just a bevy of photos and fond farewells commemorating “all the good times we had”. Yes, there were good times but you couldn’t pay me to go back to high school.

What I’d like to invent is my own version of Facebook called Realitybook. Each post would establish the user as he/she really is and instead of “Likes” there would be “Amen” buttons or “MICR” (“Man, I Can Relate”) buttons for those who may be atheist or agnostic.

I could have used a Realitybook tonight. I had amazing hopes for today. i had “new year, new you” type of hopes for today. I should have known better.

I had my work list from 7AM to 6PM, which I just completed by the way (it is now 10:26 PM), my personal list and I even meditated this morning. I found my inner core beam of light. I watched it grow inside me and then engulf me to extend to the outer universe so I could establish my connectiveness. I counted backwards. I breathed. I stretched. And then around 4 PM, I lost it.

In Oprah terms, I was definitely not the “best you that you can be”. I wasn’t even the “the presentable you”. As a parent, I did just about everything wrong a parent could do. I carried my work day into my personal day. I was impatient. I showed my frustration for petty things (do I let them leave their drawers open all the time because, thank God, they still have their health or do I continue to bang my head against the wall to instill some standards in the house?) and I became a stress monster once again. How could this have been? I mean, this was my 3rd day of meditating after all? Shouldn’t it be a habit by now?

I also did not exercise and gave into a glass (ok, two) of wine at dinner around 7 PM. I am not sure but I am pretty confident that I saw both kids look at each other with relief when they saw me bring the wine glass to the table.

I did have a conversation with them and told them that while I am not sorry for what I was frustrated about, I did apologize for how I communicated it. This parenting thing is tough. I just don’t know if I should stop the college savings plan and go right for a therapy savings plan, instead. With a dad like me, it may be the better bet.

If Oprah is reading this (that’s a good one), I will work on being a better me tomorrow. I’m doing the 20 minute meditation instead of the 6 minute one so those extra 14 minutes should do the trick.

Until later,

Marc








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