Across the “OUR”niverse

DSC_6045While tending to the small vineyard in our backyard, I noticed the grapes growing up and over the garage were not as plentiful as last year.  Thinking it was due to the new Los Angeles water restrictions the city implemented to move towards sustainable water conservation, I accepted the few grapes that had came forth and appreciated them all the more.  But it wasn’t until a few days later that I discovered the real reason for my lighter than usual harvest.

It was late in the night, well past midnight.  Kristy and I were sitting in the back office catching up on each other’s day when all the sudden we heard through the screen door what sounded like someone eating.  Startled, Kristy jumped up from her seat.  Trying to stay calm myself, I got up slowly from my chair, flipped on the back light and cautiously peered out the screen door.  As my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit backyard, I heard the rustling of vines over the garage.  Looking in the direction of the sound, I was pleasantly surprised to find a rather large raccoon sitting up and looking right at us eating our grapes.

Relieved it wasn’t an intruder and taken back by the sheer beauty of this creature, Kristy and I stepped outside to get a closer look.  Unaffected by our presence, he continued to eat while staring back at us as if we were just as interesting to look at.

As we watched him eat, Kristy exclaimed, “But he’s eating our grapes!”

“Yep.”  I said with a grin.

“Can’t you stop him?” She asked.

Not wanting to fight with Mother Nature or even knowing what to do even if I had wanted to, I asked in all sincerity, “What if we made him ours?”

“What do you mean?”  She asked.

“Well, if we made him ours, accepting him as part of our family, he wouldn’t be eating grapes that weren’t his.” I replied.

With a smile and nod, she said  “Yeah.  I like that.  Let’s make him ours.”

Making him ours, we shifted our perspective from wanting him to stop eating something that wasn’t his to hoping he was enjoying his grapes as much as we enjoyed watching him eat them.

After some time, appearing to be satiated, our newfound family member slowly turned and disappeared into the night.  Wishing him a goodnight, we headed to bed, feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend such quality time with our raccoon.

A few days later, just as Kristy was leaving for work, she turned to me and said with a smile, “I think I heard our raccoon eating again last night.”

“I thought I did too.”  I replied.

“He sure is a noisy eater.”  She remarked.

“Yep.  He sure is.  If only we could teach him to eat with his mouth closed.” I replied.

****

Making him part of our family really opened our hearts.  So much so that I can’t help but wonder, “What else in my life could I make ours?”

Rob Gruber

Life Mastery Coach

Copyright 2009

The Frequency of Love

While waiting for a friend in the arrival area of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, I noticed a young Korean woman pulling a large cart of luggage.  As she passed customs, she found an empty seat right across from me.

Just before she was about to sit, she pulled out from one of her bags the most adorable, fluffy, brown poodle that licked her profusely as she lovingly spoke to it in Korean.

As she sat down, she placed her little dog on the ground and opened a magazine.  Completely taken by this magnificent creature, I leaned over, reached out my hand and attempted to call it over to me.  Instead of rushing over, he just cocked his head and looked at me as if I were speaking another language.

Then it dawned on me that I was speaking English and he understood Korean.   Wanting to connect to this little bundle of joy, I dug deep into my memory for the few Korean words I learned years ago living in New York City and asked it to come, but still nothing.

Its owner, hearing me speak Korean, looked up from her magazine, smiled and politely complemented me on my Korean.  She explained that Louis was shy and didn’t usually respond well to strangers.

As we both continued to wait for our respective parties, it occurred to me that perhaps it wasn’t Korean that Louis was responded to.  Perhaps it was the love he felt coming from his owner.  And if that were true, I asked myself,  “Would Louis respond simply to my love?”

To test my hypothesis, I closed my eyes and focused on the most loving thing I could think of.  As I held that thought, I began to feel my love grow.  When I felt I could no longer contain my own love, I imagined sending all that love to Louis.

When I opened my eyes, I no longer felt the need for him to come to me.  I felt only love.   Ironically, it was at that very moment he walked right over to me. I reached down and he began licking my hand like we were the best of friends.

Witnessing this, the young woman exclaimed, “Wow!  How did you do that?”

I smiled and said, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Please,” she said. “I’ve never seen him do this before.”

“I imagined something I love with all my heart and when my heart was full, I imagined sending all of that love to him.” I replied.

“I see.  That’s good.”   She replied, “That makes sense.  He’s a rescue dog and he responds best to love.”

“As I imagine we all do.” I replied.

Copyright 2009 Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach

See the Fundamental Similarities in All of Us

While stopped at a traffic light at a busy intersection in the city of Los Angeles on a late Saturday night, a young bearded man wearing a blue flannel shirt walked between the stopped cars holding a sign that read, “Please help me.” Walking up to the right side of my car, I rolled down my window and handed him a few dollars. Thanking me, he turned to the truck to my right. As he turn and looked into the truck, he stopped in his tracks.

For what seemed to be a frozen moment in time, the two men locked eyes and recognized the uncanny resemblance they had to each other, down to the very same blue flannel shirt. The young bearded man in the truck, seeing this young man that could be his twin asking for help, rolled down his window, reached into his wallet and handed him a large wad of cash.

The young homeless man, taken aback by such a generous gift, tried to give the money back, but the young man in the truck insisted he keep it.  As the homeless man finally accepted the generous gift, the light turned green. They quickly shook hands and the young bearded man in the truck drove off into the endless sea of traffic.

The three of us were changed forever.

*******

If you came upon a stranger that looked exactly like you needing assistance, would you help? I imagine you would. I know I would. I would find it hard to turn down a reflection of myself.

But now imagine that a complete stranger that looks nothing like you asks for help.  What would you do? I know you already know your answer. But before you commit to that answer, imagine taking a second to see all the fundamentally similarities you share with this imagined stranger.

From this place of fundamental similarities, would you be more inclined to help?

Now imagine that you practiced this in your everyday life. How would your life be different if you began today to first recognize all your fundamental similarities with everyone you encountered you before you recognized your differences?

I can tell you that if you can master this, seeing the fundamental similarities first, you may never get around to seeing the differences.

With Love,
Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach
Copyright 2009 Rob Gruber

Your life may be fuller than you’ll ever know!

Every summer as a child, my father would take the whole family to my Aunt’s house in the country for an all-day bar-b-que.  I remember those days like they were yesterday, not because of the wonderful times we had there, which we did, but rather because of the stomachaches I always got from eating way too much.

Despite my mother’s ever-watchful eye and her constant reminder not to over do it, I always found a way to sneak back to the buffet table for a yet another little taste of bar-b-que heaven.  As the day progressed and my sneaking continued, I did what I had done so many times before, I ate my way to a stomachache. An ache so painful, I could only ease it by lying face down, motionless on a picnic bench for the rest of the night.

It took me three years of family reunions to learn my lesson, but I learned it well and remained ever mindful of the need for moderation.

While I always wondered how I could be perfectly fine one minute and then all of the sudden painfully full the next.  I found out much later in life that it takes about twenty minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full. More plainly put, it takes twenty minute for me to realize I was full, in which time I continued to stuff my face, resulting in one memorable stomachache.

Realizing the mind is a step behind the stomach I began to wonder.   If it takes twenty minutes to realize I my stomach is full how long does it take to realize that my life is full. Could it be that my life is full now and I have yet to realize it?

Not knowing how to measure this since my mind is a step behind.  I decided to look back at my life, not through memories, but through old photos I had of myself.  It was here I found the proof I was looking for.

In each and every picture, from the perspective of this present moment, I can honestly say my life was fuller than I was consciously aware of at the time.  I was, in a word, full and never fully knew it.

I realize this is a completely subjective test. But it has made me a firm believer that my life is and always will be much fuller than I am able to realize.

Copyright Rob Gruber 2009

Present Life Mastery Coach

Happily Ever ??????

If I were to ask you to finish these three phrases, what would you answer?

“Once upon a __________”

“In a land, _____,__________”

“And they lived happily ever __________”

If you answered time, far, far away, and after, you’re not alone, in fact, you’re part of a large group I like to call everybody.

Now how is that possible?

As children, we were all introduced to the wonderful world of Fairy Tales. Tales so wondrous in nature, they were told to us over and over again without ever getting old.

While each tale was uniquely different, we began to notice a pattern.  Most of the Tales began, “Once upon a time, in a land far, far away land.”  Then, usually something bad happened to someone good and something needed to be done to fix it. After, and only after, something was done could they then live then “Happily Ever After.”

Over time and through repetition of this pattern, we all began to form a similar paradigm or mental model of “The Classic Fairy Tale.”  The more we experienced this pattern the more powerful our paradigm became. So powerful, in fact, we all answered, “time,” “far, far away,” and “after” without any other reference to The Classic Fairy Tale.

It as if we all have a similar program running in our heads that says, whenever asked, “What comes after “Once upon a…?” We will answer “time,” without thinking.

On an unconscious level, through the mere act of living, observing our world and noticing patterns, we form paradigms that affect how we respond to events in the future.

If the simple structure of the Classic Fairy Tale can find a permanent place in our minds, affecting how we respond, imagine how many more paradigms we have running through our minds and influencing our everyday lives.

Copyright Rob Gruber @ 2009

Present Life Mastery Coach

Imagine Love

“If I were to imagine only one thing today, it would be love.”

Imagine Love Exercise

1. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably and not be disturbed. Close your eyes and relax.

2. Imagine you are standing in front of someone you love with all your heart.

3. Now imagine you have the ability to express your love by giving them a gift, something they have always wanted. *

4. Imagine what you would love to give them. *

5. Choose how you would love to give them that gift. *

6. Give your gift exactly the way you imagined giving it. *

7. When you feel your giving is complete, focus once again on your breathing, gently opening your eyes when you are ready.

*Take your time with this step. You’re only limited by your imagination. The more you do this exercise the more loving and fun it will become.

Imagine Self-Love Exercise

After you feel you have mastered the Imagine Love Exercise, modify the exercise by replacing “someone you love with all your heart” in step 2 with “yourself.” Follow the remaining steps with you as the giver and receiver of your loving gift.

In essence, you are imagining yourself loving yourself with all your heart while giving yourself something you have always wanted.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

Live by a More Golden Rule

While having tea with a friend on her garden patio, her playful and loving orange and black tabby cat, Tig, jumped up onto the table, gently placed a lifeless little field mouse in front of me and jumped back off.

Shocked, I gasped.

My friend’s reaction was quite the opposite. She simply smiled and commented, “Awe, look. He likes you.”

“Really? He sure has a funny way of showing it.” I replied motionless.

“It’s just his way of showing you how much he loves you.” She said.

With Tig long gone, that little field mouse suddenly opened his eyes, got back on his feet and ran straight off the table, landing not so gently on the ground and scurrying into the dense foliage of the garden, never to be seen again – at least not by me.

********

In a way, Tig was following the golden rule, “Do unto other as you would have done unto you.” And while I was grateful for his expression of love, I was, unfortunately, not able to fully appreciate his gift at the time.

All too often we are much like Tig, giving to others what we would want for ourselves. I call this the 14 Karat Rule, acting from our own limited preferences. While thoughtful and often appreciated, it occasionally falls short of its intended result.

A more golden rule, which I call the 18 Karat Rule, is this. “Do unto others as you would imagine they would want done unto them. In Tig’s case, with a little imagining, he may have chosen to simply climb up onto my lap, allow me to pet him and purr like there was no tomorrow.

While cats like Tig don’t have the capacity to imagine what others would want done unto them, we humans do. Possessing this capacity, we have an opportunity in each and every moment to live this rule in a more loving way.

If we were to all live by this 18 Karat Rule long enough, imagining and doing unto others what we imagine others would want done unto them, I believe we would all eventually come to the conclusion that we all want the same thing – love.

Realizing love is the answer to all our wants, an Even More Golden Rule, the 24 Karat Rule, might go like this. “Love others as you imagine they would want to be Loved.” Or simply, “Love others.”

Looking back at Tig’s gift, now, I can’t help but love him for loving me the only way he knew how.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach

Interested in being coached toward a Life of Self-Mastery?
Email me at rob@iwishicouldtellyou.com!