Harness the Power of Your Metaphors!

It is has been said, “there are two things that you can count on in life, death and taxes.”  In my case, there’s one more and that would be visiting Kristy’s grandmother, lovingly called Gnin in Cantonese every weekend in Monterey Park, California, where everything is in Chinese and a tall white guy always seems a bit out of place.

Gnin is going on 90 now, and if that weren’t enough of a reason to see her every week, she’s a real hoot, cute as a dumpling, speaks very little English and is brutally honest. She loves anything sweet and reminds Kristy and I on a continual basis that she’d like to see us pop out a baby soon.  Fortunately for us, Kristy’s brother just had a boy so that should take a little bit of the pressure off for now.

Without fail, as if programmed into our genes like a pair of migrating African Lovebirds, Kristy and I get up early every weekend, regardless of our desperate need for sleep, in an attempt to beat the LA traffic, see Grandma and take advantage of the breakfast specials at one of the thousand Chinese restaurants in Monterey Park.  Last weekend was no exception, but this time something quite remarkable happened.

Jumping on the 101 South from Hollywood, we were pleasantly surprised, if not shocked, to find very little traffic.  But as we turned the bend through the heart of downtown we could see across the divide the 101 North, our usual route back home, was already bumper-to-bumper.

As if Kristy could read my mind, which I think she can at times when she’s not hungry, she uttered,  “Wow! That looks like a parking lot.”

“Yes it does.”  I replied.

“Maybe we’ll have to take the streets back.” She said.

“Maybe.  Hopefully it will clear up by the time we head back.” I replied trying to sound optimistic.

Continuing on our way unimpeded and with a constant view of the opposing traffic, I couldn’t help but notice how easily it was for both of us to see the opposing traffic as a parking lot and something bad.  The mood in the car immediately changed from a joyful “to grandmother’s house we go” to a sobering “Crap!  Look at that traffic.”

Wanting my joy back, I began to wonder if I could perhaps see it another way, choose another metaphor, throw the parking lot out and replace it with something more positive.

Searching for the positive, I began to see the traffic as an opportunity for people to relax, slow down, listen to good music, spend more quality time with each other and do a little sight-seeing.  I began to see each car as an oasis for meditation and personal reflection, a chance to learn a foreign language or finally reset the clock on the dash.  I saw symmetry and cooperation as each car edged ever so slightly forward.  I even saw it as a piece of contemporary art.

Sharing my thoughts aloud as we passed this beautiful still life entitled “Cars on a Highway,” we both began to laugh and the mood once again returned to joy. Gone was the negative metaphor we both shared, replaced by a plethora of positive ones.  Traffic would never look the same way again.

*******

The power of a metaphor, much like a 90-year-old grandmother, should never be underestimated.  A single metaphor, much like a single comment from a loved one, has the power to bring us down and stop us in our tracks or raise us up to a world of unlimited possibilities.  Fortunately, we have power over the metaphors we use.

Whenever I notice myself using a metaphor, I ask myself “Is this a meta-for or a met-against?”  If I feel good and empowered by it, I call it a ‘meta-for’ and make a mental note that it’s a keeper and available for use at any time in the future.  But if I notice any negativity around a metaphor I have just used, I call it a ‘met-against,’ let it go and set an intention to replace it with something positive and empowering.

While this may seem all too simple, I assure you it works and it’s fun, not to mention it keeps me from thinking about those two other things I can inevitably count on, death and taxes.

Copyright 2010 Rob Gruber, M.A. Life Mastery Coach

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

Live by a Greater How!

At the wide-eyed age of twenty, well before the Internet and armed with only a telephone book and rotary phone, I purchased my first airline ticket to fly across the country to begin interviewing for jobs after college.

Never having bought a plane ticket, I wrote down everything I thought I could possibly say or be asked.  Just when I thought I had it all under control, the young lady on the other end of the line asked me the one question I had never thought of.  “How would I like to fly?”

“I’m sorry.” I replied. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“Would you like to fly first class or coach?” She clarified.

“Oh! I didn’t even know I had a choice.  What’s the difference?” I asked.

As she explained the seating options and the price difference for each class, the decision was quite easy for a young college student on a budget.  I chose coach.

As I hung up the phone, pleased with my first ticket buying experience, I couldn’t help but notice that there was a greater unanswered how.  That “Greater How” was the manner, quality, state or way I could choose to be and experience myself as I traveled.

Considering the “Greater How,” I opened my journal and wrote at the top of the page, “How would I like to travel?”  Within seconds, I wrote down the words effortlessly and joyfully, then comfortably and playfully.  Gratitude, appreciation and enthusiasm soon followed, along with wonder and curiosity.  Last but not least, I wrote safely.

On the day of my flight, with my “Greater How” asked and answered, I packed a few of my favorite snacks, a good book, a neck pillow, sleep mask and a couple compilations tapes for my cassette player.  Settling into my window seat, I knew I was flying in a class all my own.

*****

How would you like to travel through your life?  How would you like to experience yourself as you go about your life?  Could you consider the possibility that you can choose how you wish to experience life?

Copyright 2009 Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach

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

Three of my Favorite Words! “No Assembly Required”

One of my the fondest childhood lessons did not come from a book,teacher or class, but rather from my mother in the toy aisle at Kmart at the age of five.

Being one of five, Mom had little time for nonsense.   So on the rare occasion when we did make it to the store, which was almost always the local Kmart, the superstore of its time, we were expected to stick to her like glue.  Which, we did of course.

Knowing the floor plan of Kmart like the palm of her hand, she had the ability to get in and out of there more often than not without ever passing the toy aisle.  But on the rare occasion that she had a moment to spare, she would surprise us and let us roam the toy aisle for a minute or two.

In those brief moments of exploration, we did what kids do.  We went crazy.  Looking, exploring, playing, dreaming and if we felt Mom was in the mood, presenting her with a toy she could perhaps give “the nod” to take home.

Rarely did we get “the nod.”  But over the years and through trial and error, we did figure out how to increase our odds.  The toy generally had to consist of three things. First and foremost, it had to be reasonable priced (read into this on sale). Second, it had to be creative or promote growth.  And third, it had to contain the words “No Assembly Required.”

We picked up on the first two criteria pretty quickly. “On sale” and “good for you” were part of our family vocabulary.  But the third criteria, “No Assembly Required” took some time to figure out.

I discovered her third rule after giving her a toy for consideration. As I watched her go through the steps: On sale? Check. Good for me? Check, I caught her reading to herself, “No Assembly Required.”  She then turned the box back over, looked at the front again, looked me in the eye, smiled and gave me the Nod.

Excited, I hugged her and thanked her.

Beaming as I held my toy, waiting for my sisters to pick out something for consideration, I asked.  “What does “No Assembly Required” mean?”

Smiling she said, “It means you don’t have to put it together.  You can open it up and play with it right now.  It’s whole. It’s perfect just the way it is.  Just like you.”

“Just like me?” I thought to myself. “Mom just said I was perfect like a really cool toy. Oh my God, I could explode with joy!”

Not knowing how to respond to her affirmation of my worth or even knowing what an affirmation was at the time, I hugged her and thanked her again and then realized I had to tell my sisters what I just discovered.  Running through the toy aisles I whispered to each of them, “It has to say, “No Assembly Required” on it. It has to be whole and perfect just like us!”

And to this day, on the rare occasion that I do go shopping, I often find myself taking a second to walk through the toy aisle and turn over a box or two to read three of my favorite words, “No Assembly Required.”

Unbridled Permission

It was at this very spot!On a cool summer morning, at the impressionable age of six, I joined the swim team at the neighborhood pool. Decked out in my new warm-up suit, Speedo and goggles, I was ready to go.

When Coach Thomas blew his whistle and hollered, “Let’s go guys, let’s get in there and warm up.” I tore off my warm-up suit, put on my goggles and ran across the deck of the pool to dive in. But just as I was about to make my first big dive, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, my fellow teammates had barely even moved.

A bit confused and not wanting to look silly, I slowed down and nonchalantly walked back to my original position, waving my arms back and forth as to make it look like this was all part of my warm-up.

As I stood there swinging my arms with my goggles still on, waiting for what felt like an eternity for my fellow teammates to get moving, Coach Thomas, seeing my excitement, came up from behind, placed his enormous hands on my small shoulders and said with a gentle nudge, “Go get’em Tiger. Show them how it’s done.” Without skipping a beat, I ran across the deck, dove in to the frigid water and swam my heart out.

At the end of practice, while attempting to warm myself up from a mild case of hypothermia, Coach Thomas, walked over to me and said, “You did good kid. Real good.”Before I could say anything, he turned and walked away. But then, all of the sudden, he turned back around and said. “Oh Yeah, and kid? You don’t need my permission to get in that pool and swim. You got that?”

“Yes, Sir.” I answered through shivering teeth.

“Good.” he said, turning and walking away.

From that day on I was the first one in and the last one out of the pool each and every practice. In no time at all, I became and remained one of the best in the league in my age group.

Looking back over the years, I often wondered why I didn’t excel in everything I endeavored like I did swimming. And then it occurred to me a few years back, the missing ingredient was unbridled permission. Coach Thomas, perhaps unknowingly, gave me the incredible gift of unbridled permission by making it clear I didn’t need his to swim my heart out.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize his words applied to anything I wanted in my life. But I am glad I finally realized I don’t need anyone else’s permission to live my heart’s desires.

And while I don’t need anyone else’s permission, I do need my own. To remedy that, I crafted a bunch of permission slips I write to myself that say this. I, (I fill in my name), give myself permission to (whatever I wish to be, do, have, create or experience) with all my heart and soul. After I have written my permission slip out, I read it to myself often and carry it with me wherever I go. It has made all the difference in the world.

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

Ease Your Suffering

If you’ve ever wondered why you suffer in a crisis, you don’t have to look too far for the answer. Breaking down the word Crisis, CR – IS – IS, you will find two “ISes.” That’s right. I said “ISes.

The “First IS” represents “your current reality.”

The “Second IS” represents “the reality you wish it were instead.”

Suffering occurs whenever you want “your current reality” to be different than what it is.

*********

The next time you find yourself in the middle of a crisis, consider asking yourself the following questions.

“Is this really a crisis?” This question challenges your old paradigms. Don’t underestimate the power of its simplicity.  You may be surprised how often you will answer no.

“Is this my crisis?” This question is a great way to determine whether you’re being influenced and/or assuming responsibility for someone else’s crisis.  If it’s not yours crisis, you can end your suffering and simply offer compassion or assistance.

“Could I want this in my life?” Taking a moment to consider wanting what you initially didn’t want could open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

“Could I accept my current reality?” Accepting your current reality is by far the quickest way to end your suffering, allowing yourself to move more effectively through this moment and onto the next.

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Socrates, while change can be difficult, the unexamined crisis is not worth suffering.

Copyright 2009

Rob Gruber – Present Life Mastery Coach

If I were Love…Imagine, Ask and Be

Searching for my keys as I was running late for a red-eye flight home to see my mother before her surgery, I did something I had never done before.  Instead of panicking and asking, “Where are my keys?” over and over again until I turned my home upside down,  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and asked, “If I were my keys where would I be?”

As I opened my eyes, I was immediately drawn to a piece of luggage I had already checked twice before.  But this time, without hesitation, I reached into my bag and pulled out my keys as if I actually knew where they were the whole time, just in time to catch my flight.

Settling in for my flight, I couldn’t help but think about the powerful connection I had felt to my keys.  But as the flight progressed, I began to wonder what else I could possibly connect to.  In my wondering, I thought about everything I ever loved.  But to my surprise, the only thing that stuck out in my mind was not a “thing” at all, but rather love itself.

So, in the early morning hours, cruising at about 30,000 feet, surrounded by a sea of slumbering souls, I closed my eyes, imagined and asked, “If I were Love, where would I be?”

With my eyes still closed and my right hand on my chest, I felt my heart burst open and reply, “Here…Here I am…I am Here…I am Love!”

Being Love, I asked and answered.
“How shall I love?  Unconditionally.
When shall I love? Now. The only time that is.
Who would I love?  Myself, everyone and everything that is.
Why would I love? Because Love is all I am and Love is all there is.”

And as the plane made its descent, I opened my eyes to a brand new world.  A world filled with Love.  A world filled with You.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

iwishicouldtellyou

Accept … Love

The phone rang.  It was my sister, 3000 miles away, telling me that our mother was rushed to the hospital.  As she shared with me the news of her condition, I hung on her every word.   But as soon as I hung up, my emotions overtook me.  I wanted it to be different.  I wanted everything to be different, and the more I wanted it to be different, the more I suffered.

Realizing I was the maker of my own suffering, a suffering that was of no service to my mother or myself, I did the one thing I hoped I would never have to do. I accepted the fact that my mother was in need of critical care and I could do nothing to change that fact in this very moment.

As I slowly moved into acceptance, the most remarkable thing happened.  My emotions gently subsided and I became present once again.  In my newly found present state, I was not only able accept what was happening in the moment but was also able to consider what could be in the next.  I did this by asking myself a very simple but powerful question. “Accepting what is, what is the most loving thing I could do now?”

Before I could even finish asking the question, the answer came forth from deep within my heart.  “Go to her! Love her!  Be there for her!  Now!” And within minutes I was booked on the next available flight home.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber

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

Go for the Gold – “Love Yourself”

One of the most remarkable characteristics of gold is its ability to be forged into almost anything without breaking. Applying this same principle to The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want done unto you,” I created a few new rules from the same vein.

The first two, and my favorite, are The Golden Rules of Self-Honoring (or Self-Love), designed for those souls that always seem to put everyone else before themselves. They are the following.

Love yourself the way you wish to be loved.”

And

“Allow others to love you the way you wished to be loved.”

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these rules, they are powerful.

Some additional Self-Honoring Exercises you may enjoy include:

Breathe in Love

1. Find a comfortable place to relax, Imagining your breath is nothing but love.
2. Inhale, imagine being filled with light and love
3. Exhale, imagine that same light and love going out into the world.
4. Repeat for as long as you wish.

Recite your New Golden Rules as Affirmations

“I love My Self the way I wish to be loved.”

And,

“I allow others to love me the way I wished to be loved.”

Take Time for Self-Honoring Inquiries

“What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?”

and/or,

“How could I be a little more loving to myself right now?”

Create a Self-Honoring To-do List

Write down at least two ways you will love (take care of) yourself today.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

iwishicouldtellyou

Decide and Live Your Dream

“The moment you decide to pursue your dream is the moment you begin to live it.” -gruberism

On a recent trip back to Ohio, while visiting my sister Pat and her family, Eli, the youngest of her three boys ran up to me and asked if I would go fish’n with him. Looking out the window and seeing the sun gently set, I replied, “Not tonight, it’s getting dark. How about we go fishing tomorrow?” Excited by my answer, he ran off to tell his brothers.

As the night progressed, I couldn’t help but notice that Eli seemed a little happier than usual. Curious, I playfully asked, “Hey buddy, what are so happy about?”

He replied with joy, “I’m fish’n.”

“Not tonight. It’s way too late. Tomorrow we’ll go down to the pond and fish.” I replied.

Looking up at me like I just didn’t get it, he lovingly explained, “Fish’n don’t start at the pond, Silly. Fish’n starts when you decide you’re gonna fish. And we decided.”

Humbled by his insight, I smiled and conceded, “You got me there kid.”

In my nephew’s wise little head, he began fish’n the moment it was decided. He continued fish’n, as he went to bed, as he woke up and as walked around the pond to his favorite spot. He was even fish’n as he reeled in a clump of algae. And if you were ask him what he was doing as he walked home from the pond that day, he would tell you he was still fish’n, because he knew that walking back home was just as much a part of fish’n as catching the big one.

An Inquiry

What are your dreams?
Have you decided to experience/pursue/live any of them yet?
If so, are you allowing yourself to enjoy each every step along the way?
If you haven’t yet, can you now begin to see how all those little steps are part of your dream?

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach

i wish i could tell you

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!

Awaken Your Inspiration!

Within all of us lies something quite magical, loving and uniquely our own, we need merely to awaken it!

About five years ago, I picked up a magazine featuring a series of articles on some of the world’s most creative minds. Just as I was finishing the last article, it occurred to me. All of them had one thing in common. They all had their own very unique way of getting their inspirations out of their heads and into the world in a moment’s notice. One designer went so far as to resurface his workspace with a blackboard type material.

Inspired by his genius, I decided to cover the walls of my workspace with artfully hung, clusters of dry erase boards. I cannot begin to describe the sense of freedom and assurance I have felt since the moment I hung my first board. Over the years, I have filled my boards with anything from gibberish and doodles to bouts of inspiration that have profoundly changed the way I look at and love my life.

You too can Awaken Your Inspiration!

1. Open up your journal and write a love letter to your inspiration, inviting it to take a more active part along your path of growth.

2. Develop a way to take notes and record what your inspiration is telling you throughout your day. When I’m not in my workspace, I carry a pen and pad.

3. Schedule a time to meet with your inspiration each day. The morning works best for me. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, relax your breathing and imagine your inspiration coming forth in anyway it feels comfortable. Once you feel it is present, have a conversation with it. When you are finished speaking with it, thank it for coming and invite it to visit or stay with you throughout your day. (I’ve also had a great deal of success working with my inspiration, when I am doing things that require little thought, like washing the dishes or brushing my teeth.)

4. Listen to the many subtle and loving cues you are receiving from your alignment with your inspiration.

“Wisdon that remains in the mind as an idea, rather than being incorporated into the tapestry of who we are, cannot change us.”
– Joan Borysenko, Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Answer

Copyright 2008
Rob Gruber Life Mastery Coach

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

Run Barefoot on the Grass!

If I were to ask you to finish the statement, “The grass is always greener,” you would mostly likely answer “on the other side of the fence.” Am I right?

Now, how did I know that? Could it be that I, like you, have accepted this seemingly harmless idiom as true, made it a part of my belief system, and am now able to rattle it off whenever called to do so? Well, yeah. That’s exactly how I did it.

Unfortunately, this widely accepted idiom is wrong. The grass, a metaphor for life, is not, nor ever will be, greener on the other side. “The grass is always greener under your feet.”

The reason I say this is because the grass you are standing on is where you are now, and where you are now is where you are able to grow, love and experience life.

That grass on the other side can’t offer that. It is but a reflection of light we have been misled to believe is greater that us and that is simply not true. Making it, in my opinion, a lighter shade of green.

So run barefoot on the grass and know that it’s always greener under your feet.

______________________

A Present Moment Exercise – Questioning Beliefs

1. Monitor your thoughts and language throughout the week.
2. Catch yourself when you begin to express beliefs that require little thought or effort to express.
3. Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
Did I create this belief or was it given to me by society?
Is it true or false?
If it’s false, could I create a new, better and more loving belief to replace the old one?

I realize questioning your beliefs may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but I assure “an unexamined idiom is not worth living.” gruberism

You Were Whole All Along!

“You were whole all along
How could you be not?
You are nothing but love.
You just simply forgot.”*

At the moment you arrived into this world, you were whole. So much so, you had to expel fluid from your lungs just to take your first breath.

You were whole. Take a moment and let that sink in.

Here’s a Wholeness Exercise to help you recreate the experience.

1. Close your eyes and relax.
2. Imagine you are taking your very first breath.
3. As you inhale, say to yourself, “I am.”
4. As you the exhale, say to yourself “whole.”
5. Repeat for as long as you wish.

Having recreated your wholeness, let me ask you this. What has changed since your birth to make you think you are anything but whole? I would argue that nothing has changed accept your awareness of your wholeness.

When you came into this world from the safety and warmth of your mother, you were immediately subjected to an abundant source of new stimuli from the external world. Slowly, as your awareness shifted away from your wholeness to this new stimuli, you began to identify with your experiences of this stimuli rather than your wholeness. Over time, you simply forgot all about the wholeness you possessed.

In your forgetting, a myth was born. That myth was the belief that “something in my life is missing, but I just don’t know what it is. So I will search for it and never stop until I find it.” In your searching, you never thought to look in the most obvious spot, within you. Not looking within, you spend the rest of your life searching for something you have possessed all along.

You can end this myth and your endless searching by the doing the following.

1. Stop searching outside yourself. The moment you do, a shift of awareness will occur.
2. Accept the myth as a myth.
3. Practice the Wholeness Exercise.
3. Create a new truth to replace the old myth. I say new, because the idea may be new to you.

Your New Truth could be something like this.

“Nothing is missing in my life.
I am whole and complete.”

Or

“I need not a thing to make me feel whole,
I am nothing but love, mind, body and soul.”*

Or

“I have not a want, not a wish or a need.
I am nothing but love, in thought, world and deed.”*

These are my truths and I use them in meditation and whenever I feel I am going off course. You are free to use them or create a truth all your own.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

*excerpts from my book coming out at the end of the year.

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Contact me at rob@iwishicouldtellyou.com!

Claim your Presence in “The iwicty Registry”

Hello Folks,

Today I would like to announce a new collaborative page called The iwicty Registry.

It is here you will be able to claim your very presence in the here and now!

Simply click on the folder tab above marked “The iwicty Registry” and sign the registry.

Carpe Praesentium!

Sincerely,

Rob Gruber

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber

Present Life Mastery Coach

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Create an Echo in Your Youniverse

Get more out of your affirmations with this powerful technique I call affurmations.

An affurmation is an affirmation that is redirected back to you by replacing the “I am” with a “You are.”

By directing your affirmations back to you, you activate another aspect of your being. In essence, you complete the cycle. It can feel as if you are hearing from an outside source.

To Create an Affurmation

1. Create an affirmation just the way you always have, using “I am” and stating what you wish to experience in a present tense as if you are already experiencing it is you wnat.
I am living a life of love!

2. Now, change the “I am” to “You are.”
You are living a life of love!

To Utilize Your New Affurmation

1. State your affurmation to yourself in the mirror.

2. Write down your “You are” affurmation on a piece of paper and place it wherever you will be able to see it.

3. For those who require a little privacy, encode your affurmations by writing down the first letter of each word on a small piece of paper and placing it wherever you feel the need. Post-its work great at the office.

5. If you have a supportive partner or friend, state your “I am” affirmation to them and allow them to confirm it with a “You are” affurmation.
You: I am beautiful!
Them: You are beautiful!

Do this until you believe you feel you have shifted closer toward the fulfillment of your intention.

Some Benefits

1. You will hear your affirmations in a whole other way.

2. You begin to see that which you are affirming in others.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

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The Next Big Thing in Communication!

Your ability to effectively communicate is paramount, hence the birth of bottom lining, the ability to express yourself succinctly.

While much has been written on bottom lining, little has been written about the ability to express what you have heard succinctly.

I call this ability, Headlining. Much like an editor that reads an article to determine its headline, you can listen to the speaker and express what you have heard in the form of a head line.

Headlining is not only efficient but fulfilling.   You not only listen for the information being conveyed but for the meaning of the communication.

The irony of this technique is that once you begin to master it and truly connect with others words are often no longer needed.

A HeadLining Exercise

1. Carry on a conversation. (Begin practicing this with those you know well, until you’ve got a hang on it.)

2. Listen to them with every fiber of your being.

3. Share with them in as few words as possible what you feel they have shared with you.

4. Listen again for feedback to determine how well you headlined.

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Life Coach

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My Wish is My Command

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

“To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all.” – Anatole France

What did these great thinkers discover about the power of imagination? I have a theory, a simple but profound one. I believe they were able to tap into the hidden and powerful nature of the word, imagine.

Did I say hidden?

Yes! Hidden within the word, imagine, right before your eyes, is an affirming and declarative sentence of your ability to create your world.

Breaking the code

Breaking down the word, first visually and then phonetically, you will find its message.

Visually: I – m – a – gi – ne

Phonetically: Im – ah – gee – nee

The Declaration: I am a Genie!

That’s right. “I am a genie!” I did say simple, but I also said profound. The profound part is found in the definition of the word, genie. A genie, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is “a supernatural creature who does one’s bidding when summoned.”

My argument to you is that you have within you a supernatural being, call it a soul, an authentic self, your higher self or even pure genius that can be summoned to help you create the world you truly desire.

You are a genie! You create your world through your imagination. Your wish is your command.

Awaken the Genie within You!

1. Spend some time each day welcoming your newly found awareness. Say to yourself each day, “I am a Genie. My wish is my command.”

2. As you imagine, call on your Genie to aid you in making powerful and loving wishes.

3. Work with your Genie to determine what wishes are working for you and which aren’t, so that you can wish more wisely next time.

4. Never stop wishing.

A Query

What does your heart truly wish for?

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Life Coach

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Once Upon a Present Moment

Once upon a present moment, an old queen looked into her mirror and asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the fairest of them all?”

The mirror answered back, “I am the fairest, reflecting only what I see.”

Enraged by the mirror’s answer she exclaimed, “That’s not what I meant. Who is the most beautiful?”

“Still it is I,” said the mirror, “reflecting only what I see. What could be more beautiful than that?

The queen, angered by the mirror’s answer, threw it on the ground, breaking it into a thousand pieces screaming, “Now what do you have to say for yourself?

The thousand broken pieces answered back in a thousand tiny voices, “I am still the fairest, reflecting only what I see.”

Refusing to listen to the mirror’s many voices, the queen ordered all the mirrors in her kingdom to be destroyed and buried far, far away.

———————————————————-

I realize that this may seem like a simple play on words, but it’s not. To see things as they truly are is a beautiful thing. And as easy as it seems, it’s not, and we humans rarely do it.

A Mirroring Exercise

1. Go to a busy place you feel comfortable, like a café, and write in your journal everything you see in the most descriptive way you know how. Describe what others are doing around you. What you think they do for a living? How do you feel about them? Describe the environment and setting in great detail. (Do this for about fifteen minutes.)

2. Now I want you to do the exact opposite and write in your journal what is going on in front of you in its purest and most generic sense. Avoid using adjectives and adverbs or anything descriptive. Use only rudimentary nouns and verbs. Simply record what is in front of you without any imagining, discerning, judging or evaluating. To simply describe someone as male or female is too descriptive for this exercise. i.e., person walking, man standing, couple holding hands, machine making noise, wind blowing, door moving, sign flashing. (Do this for about fifteen minutes.)

The second part of this exercise may seem odd or difficult at first, but with some practice, you may find it quite liberating or even peaceful to see things as they simply are.

“All of life is within a stone’s throw.” gruberism

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Life Coach

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Awaken Your Very Essence from the Outside In

On a recent trip to the theater, I had the pleasure to see a production called The Rat Pack. The show transported me back in time to a night at the Sands Hotel in Vegas with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. at their very best.

Watching the confidence of Frank, the charm of Dean and the poise of Sammy filled my very being. In their presence I began to assume their essence. I was profoundly changed, not only during the show, but for many days after.

Over the next week, I noticed that my profound change was starting to wane, and I wanted it back, but how? And as sure as I asked the question, the answer arrived, in the form of a question? “What would Frank do? Or Dean? Or Sammy? And as I asked these questions, I began to experience once again the essence I attributed to each of them.

Frank, Dean and Sammy didn’t give me anything I didn’t already have, but awoke in me, an essence I attributed to each of them. And when I asked the question, “What would ______do in this situation?” I was able to re-awake the very essence I attributed to them.

As I ask the question, What would Frank do? I begin to smile, walk taller, and know that “I have the world on a string…What a world, what a life – I’m in love.”

An Awakening Essence Exercise for Determining Action

1. Choose someone or something in your life that you attribute a certain essence, quality or characteristic you wish to experience more of. This can be a hero, an actor, a religious figure or a natural wonder. It really doesn’t matter what it is as long as you attribute a quality or essence to it that you wish to possess.

2. Ask the question.
What would ____________ do (in this situation)?

3. Allow the answer to flow from your sense of the essence you have given that person or thing.

4. Experience the fullness of the answer and determine if it is the right course of action. If it is not, enlist another hero, person or thing into the process and ask again?

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Life Coach

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Listen and You Shall Hear

While waiting in line at a local coffee shop, I overheard the young woman in front of me order “a medium coffee with room for cream.” The barista, not listening, quickly handed her a medium coffee filled to the rim.

Seeing the full cup, she replied, “Excuse me, but I asked for room for cream. Could you…”

The barista, annoyed at her request, replied back. “Just pour what you don’t want in the garbage can behind you. Can I help the next person?”

Despirited, the young woman attempted to pour out the excess coffee only to spill a good deal of it on herself and the floor.

I ran over to her with a pile of napkins and asked if she was OK. Attempting to keep her composure, she simply nodded in appreciation as she confessed, “All I wanted was a little room for cream.”

I sincerely replied. “I know…I heard you.”

Realizing she had been heard, her whole demeanor changed as she replied gratefully, “Thank you. Its nice to be heard.”

————————————————————-

To speak and be heard, to listen and truly hear, those are truly precious, present moments.

A Present Moment Listening Exercise

Throughout your day today, allow yourself to realize that every conversation or exchange you have with another human being is a request to be heard and connect, and a wonderful gift and opportunity for you to connect and be present.

Or you can turn it into a mantra

Every conversation or exchange I have with another human being is a request to be heard and connect, and a wonderful gift and opportunity for me to connect and be present.

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber  Life Coach

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Seize the Present!

The expression Carpe Diem, “seize the day”, has always held wonderful connotations for me. I love the intention. Just saying it aloud makes my heart beat a bit faster. But more often than not, the idea of seizing a whole day leaves me a bit overwhelmed.

So, to remedy this situation, I did what most of us would do when presented with a task that appears too large. I broke it down.

My first inclination was to seize the moment, “Carpe Momentum.” Then I realized I wasn’t being specific enough, because I found myself on many occasions dwelling on a past moment or getting caught up in a future thought.

Then it dawned on me that what I really wanted to seize was the present, or Carpe Praesentium. The moment I set my intention to “Carpe Praesentium,” I immediately woke up, as if from a dream. Everything around me became clear. My feeling of overwhelm was replaced by a sense of peace and wholeness with everything around me. It is here, and only here, I wish to reside.

Carpe Praesentium!

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber  Life Coach

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Assistapants Unite! – We First Technology

At the end of a workshop I recently attended, one of the instructors expressed her sincerest thanks to the assistants that were occasionally asked to participate in some of the lessons, by whimsically saying, “I would also like to thank our lovely assistapants for all their wonderful assistance and participation. Thank you.”

While I realize this in not a word, I think it should be. So here’s a humble definition.

Assistapant – someone that assists another’s growth through active participation.

This is so much more that just showing up, instructing, leading or telling others what to think or do as students listen and try to imagine the implications. This is experiential learning, where teachers, assistants and students work as one to co-create an environment where everyone grows, students developing awareness and teachers and assistants developing mastery.

An Inquiry

What if you became an assistapant to those you love? What if you took a more active part in their growth and grew in the process? How would your world change? What could be possible?

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber  Life Coach

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Become a Modern Day Alchemist

An Alchemist, in ancient times, was a philosopher and metaphysical chemist that sought to transform common metals into gold or create the elusive elixir of life.

While I have yet to transmute any common metals into actual gold or brew the elixir of life, I do consider myself a modern day alchemist and am becoming quite competent in transforming my world.

Here’s a simplified version of The Principles of Modern Day Alchemy.

1. Every thing in the universe contains its opposite, e.g., light and dark or love and hate.

2. The essence of Everything is contained in every Thing, as the poet Blake described seeing “a world in a grain of sand.”

3. You have the ability to choose what you wish to focus on.

4. What you choose to focus on, in your mind, will expand.

5. Once your level of internal focus reaches a critical mass, you will begin to look for and see evidence of it in your outer world.

6. Knowing every thing contains the essence of everything, you will now be able to see that which you are looking for in that which you are looking at.

“The modern day alchemist does not change anything into gold, but rather, sees the gold which is contained in all things.” – gruberism

May you harness these principles to transform your life!

Sincerely,
Rob Gruber

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber Life Coach

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Create an Affirmational Commitment!

This is an excerpt from a children’s book I am writing.

“We all have a path, a path all our own.
And when it is time, it makes itself known.
If I had just told you, you would not have heard.
You would have just laughed, and then thought me absurd.”

I am sharing this with you as part of a process I have been working on with my coach to create what I call an Affirmational Commitment to complete a book I am writing.

An Affirmational Commitment is a statement that is set in the present that declares an intention to complete or experience a desired goal in an affirmative way.

The Process
1. State what you wish to experience in the future.
2. Declare that you will experience it.
3. Set a time by which you will experience it.
4. Bring your declaration into the present by shifting from “I will _______” to “I am _______ing”
5. Now, describe the nature of how you wish to experience the process using powerful adverbs. This is not a step-by-step “how to” approach but a description of the overall action or experience along the way.

My Affirmational Commitment

1. I wish to write and complete a book. (Imagining in detail what it feels like to complete a book)
2. I will complete the writing of my book.
3. I will complete the writing of my book by December 31st, 2007.
4. I am effortlessly and enthusiastically completing the writing of my book by December 31st, 2007.

Once the affirmational commitment is created, refer to it as often as possible. Let it become a part of you. Let it sink into you very being.

You will notice that I don’t get lost in the step-by-step details of how I am going to complete the writing of my book.

A Confession
I don’t know exactly how I am going to do this.

The Truth
I don’t need to know exactly how. The how will reveal itself along the way, that’s how “hows” work.

An Inquiry
What if a commitment is not met?

An Answer
There is learning and growth in everything. If I don’t meet my commitment, then there is something very valuable to experience, learn and grow from.

“Remember it’s the journey not the destination. Without destinations we will never begin our journeys. There is nothing wrong with changing course. Sometimes that is the wisest and most courageous thing to do.” – Gruberism

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber Co-Active Coach

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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

I was having a wonderful conversation with a colleague over coffee about coffee, something we both dearly love and attempt to give up from time to time, when she shared with me something quite profound. With sincerity and joy, she looked me in the eye and said, “I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life playing around with my coffee, only to find I like it best black.”

I chuckled and replied. “Congratulations.” We raised our cups to each other, sipped our selective brews and then I respectfully inquired. “Why’d it take so long?”

She sincerely replied. “Social Conditioning. I was taught from a very early age to always want more and never be satisfied, that the status quo was “a status no.” On my quest for the perfect cup, I have ordered every drink on every menu and modified them whenever I could, priding myself on being high maintenance. When I couldn’t get them to modify it, I added sugar, cinnamon, or nutmeg. You name it. I did it. I was never satisfied, until last week, when a coworker of mine went on a coffee run for the office and mistakenly handed me the wrong cup. I took a sip of what I thought was my coffee and, to my surprise, found exactly what I was looking for all those years, a simple cup of hot, black coffee.”

“All that from a cup of coffee?” I asked.

“All that and more,” she proclaimed. “Realizing my quest for the perfect cup was just the tip of the iceberg. I took a personal inventory of all my predominant thoughts and discovered that many of my resistant thoughts were given to me by society. Wanting to live my own life and have my own unique thoughts, I now make a conscious effort to stay present, listen to my heart and see things for what they truly are instead of how others have led me to see them, recreating myself in each and every moment. I thought it would be hard, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop. Now, I can’t imagine living any other way.

Copyright 2007 Rob Gruber Co-Active Life and Wisdom Coach
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