8:35 a.m.

8:35 a.m.

In the waiting room at New York-Presbyterian hospital time moves like molasses. I sit down on a hard fake leather chair to wait. Though there are nine other people who share this space with me, quiet moves through the room like a cloud. My mother is having a major surgery right now.

Value is realized through the threat of loss.

Every morning, like an alarm clock, the phone rings at 8:35 a.m. and I know it’s my mother. I’m in the middle of putting on my mascara, running around trying to find a matching sock, and looking for my car keys all at the same time as I answer the phone. “Hello, Dana? What’s cooking? “Asks my mother as she tries to start a relaxed conversation with me. Because I feel hectic energy running through my body like an electric current, I make my comments brief and cut the calls short. Now, as I am sitting on this uncomfortable chair in the hospital waiting room, somewhere in between knowing if my mother will be all right or not, I realize how much those 8:35 a.m. calls mean to me. I will never rush through another call from my mom again.

We realize how much we miss something only after it’s gone.

Sunday I was riding Emanon, my horse, in the outdoor arena. Everyone had gone home and I was the only one around. As I was passing by the woods on the far side of the arena, the air was scented with magnificent sweet flowers. The aroma hit me so hard that it brought me into the present moment. And I realized how blessed I was to be gently cantering on my special horse with a quiet breeze while the sky over my head was butterfly wing blue.

The secret to realizing how much value is in our lives is by being aware. We don’t have to suffer a loss to appreciate what we have if we can be fully here in the present moment. Take stock of your lives. Look around and see the people who surround you. These are the jewels and treasures. Don’t worry about the future. Don’t obsess about the past. Let it go. Be thankful for everything you have in this moment and your joy will increase as your happiness soars.

It’s the little things that matter. Like a phone call at 8:35 a.m. every morning.

by Dana Mase


Dana Mase is the founder and executive director of Ride Kind Therapeutic Riding, and equestrian director for The Ranch at Bethel, a therapeutic boarding school for girls. Dana’s column, called “Horse Time,” teaches inspirational life lessons learned from working with horses and people.“ Horse Time” is featured in numerous worldwide publications. Dana can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 845-356-1464.