Love Without Reason

IMG_1535One of my earliest memories of unconditional love occurred in the spring of 1975. I was six. My four sisters and I were huddled around the television in the family room watching Saturday morning cartoons when my father poked his head in and said with a big smile on his face, “Turn the TV off and come into the living room. Your mom’s got a surprise for you.”

Hearing the word surprise, we all jumped up and ran into the living room. But as we turned the corner, we were stopped in our tracks by the sight of our mother sitting in a chair at the other end of the room with a stack of beautifully wrapped presents at her feet.

Frozen and fixed on our mother’s every move, we waited in anticipation for what would come next. Without any delay or explanation, she proceeded to call out all our names, oldest to youngest, and presented us each with a gift.

When my name was called, I ran to my mother’s side, thanked her for the gift and plopped down on the floor right in front of her. To my delight, I found something I had always wanted, a collection of plastic dinosaurs, caves and cavemen.

Consumed by my gift, I was a bit oblivious to what my sisters received. But what I wasn’t oblivious to was the fact that it wasn’t a holiday, someone’s birthday or special occasion. It was just an ordinary day. Curious to the reason for our gifts, I went to my mother and asked, “Mom, I really like my present. I really do, more than anything, but I was wondering. Why did I get a present today? It’s not like it’s my birthday or anything like that?”

She smiled a smile only a loving mother could smile and playfully replied, “Just because.”

My curiosity not satisfied, I asked, “Because of what?”

“No reason. No reason at all. Just because.” She said with that same smile.

“You mean you gave us all presents just because, for no reason at all?” I asked.

“That’s right.” She replied with joy. “Now go and play with your dinosaurs.”

And play I did well into the night.

As I laid in bed that night with a dinosaur in each hand, thinking about this extraordinary day, I couldn’t help but come to the realization that it was possible for me, a six-year old boy, to love and be loved “just because,” for “no reason at all.”

Now as a man, deeply and positively affected by my early childhood revelation, I have come to the conclusion through much trial and error that it is not only possible to love without reason, but it is, in fact, the only way to love.

Rob Gruber

Life Mastery Coach

Copyright 2009

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.

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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

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

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.

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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

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