On a recent morning, I went into the city for a very early client meeting. I rarely make a trip into Manhattan at rush hour, and it was so exciting to be among all the commuters. The crowds everywhere, people hurrying this way and that, the commotion: everything felt so alive (even the people who were sleeping on their way to work).
I absolutely loved it. I might feel different if I did it every day. I was looking at everything with a beginner’s mind, meaning that it all appeared fresh and new.
After I got off of the Long Island Railroad, I had to take the subway. I ran down the subway stairs and saw an open train door, so I jumped in.
Suddenly, I had the feeling that I was on the wrong train.
“Is this the E?” I asked the people next to me. We were squished together so tightly that it was impossible for someone not to hear my question.
“No, this is the C,” a couple of them replied.
“Oh, no!” I said.
But then a few people chimed in: “I’ve been there. I’ve done that, myself.”
Before I knew it, we had started a real conversation inside this crowded subway train.
Deciding to just be myself, I said to them, “Now you’re all going to be my angels. You’re going to tell me how to get where I need to go.”
And they loved it! I mean, who talks about angels on a crowded subway train in the middle of morning rush hour?
They all chipped in and gave me directions, and we had a great conversation. One gentleman who was getting off at the same stop took me to the right platform and showed me which side was the correct one to wait for the E train.
When I got on the E train, I had a different experience. Instead of hearing angelic, helpful voices, I heard yelling. A man and a woman were screaming at each other, with her accusing him of touching her, and him accusing her of potentially being a pickpocket. Then another man joined in, telling the woman to be quiet, and she started arguing with him. The other people on the train were annoyed or trying not to pay attention.
As for me, I just observed the scene. When the train arrived at my stop, I noticed that the woman was getting off, too. I thought to myself, “Do I say something to her, or not?”
Then she and I saw one another. I looked into her eyes and said, “Just breathe, sweetie.”
Looking directly into my eyes, she replied quietly, “Yes, I know. I just need to breathe.”
I stepped outside, and it was raining and a bit dark. As I walked from the train station to Park Avenue I was struck with all its beautiful buildings and expansiveness — and the road dividers were covered in tulips, and the trees were blooming pink.
Even in the gloom, there is so much color. I was thrilled with the richness of life.
What’s colorful in your life today? Tell me on my Facebook page.