moleculeLive an ordinary life, extraordinarily.

Please allow me to introduce Bob and Susie, who had a major impact on my development. You could probably call them my first gurus as they deliberately helped shape my mind.

I think they met in high school, maybe earlier. Like two atoms meant for a molecule, they quickly united and have been as one ever since.

They went to UC Berkeley together in the late 60s, and fit the hippy stereotype. At the time, Bob had long hair with beard and their bodies were temples of purity, as they carefully ingested only the freshest and healthiest of natural vegetarian foods. Their purity was so extreme that spiritual experiences were inevitable.

Though I think their college majors focused on Far Eastern temples, they ended up getting two newspaper routes for income. Bob and Susie were fiercely independent spirits never meant to conform to any 9-5 scene and a paper route gave them a lifestyle of freedom and independence that fit.

vwbookProbably what is most important to grasp about them is that they loved their lives. A lot. They derived so much enjoyment out of the simple things – waking up every day and cleaning their windshields so that the view was crystal clear, brushing teeth to perfection, living in an honest, wholesome way. Bob had an extraordinary intellect and a keen interest in understanding how everything worked. He lovingly performed maintenance on their cars, with Susie as assistant. When problems would arise, they were taken as opportunities to develop further in their understanding and mastery over their Volkswagens. They enjoyed the smile their cars would give after being properly cared for.

They soon realized that since they were driving the same routes every day, delivering one newspaper, that if they were able to carry another newspaper, they could deliver two routes simultaneously driving the same course. Together, they were now delivering four routes, and then I think this multiplied to probably six or even eight. What seemed impossible, they were able to manage, and living as humble newspaper deliverers, doing their own car maintenance, they managed to start saving real money.

Eventually, they also realized that most carriers dreaded the other part of their job which was dealing with the billing of their customers. Bob and Susie eventually extracted this part out of whole districts and offered more simplified and easily managed routes for carriers to take on. They now had employees and were making even more money.

Always sweet and always kind, Susie was also a highly efficient work horse who could take on a million things, get them done, and still make an amazing dinner and take the dogs for a long walk.

The newspaper job was not necessarily an enviable one because, for one, their sleep was interrupted every night, as they had to deliver all night long. Secondly, the news comes out 365 days a year. Having taken on so much, they were no longer in a position to find substitutes, and made peace with the idea that in their lives, there would be no vacations, sick days, or breaks of any sort. This was to go on for decades.

dylanblondeWhile this may sound stressful, through it all, they continued to love their lives. Bob was fond of music and Susie loved to cook. They both loved to go for walks with their dogs, read, learn, garden, grow.

As they cherished the meticulous, so grew their appreciation for quality – everything done with great care – and as their wealth began to grow, they became more able to support the very best, obscure artisans, and things made with the highest attention to detail.

When I came to Berkeley and got to know them for the first time, they introduced me to worlds of great consciousness and care. Bob, the audiophile, would show me his extraordinary sound system and play vinyl Dylan albums, where each scratch of a guitar string could be heard with crystal clarity like it was happening right beside you.

Though I wasn’t as intrigued by these material things as they, the utter love and care they showed me was something I would very much take to heart. I understand that in this world there are very many perfectionists and quality junkies out there, but you have to understand, that they took it to a level so high that very few on earth could match it.

The love of quality was their form of spiritual discipline, and in this realm, they were very much spiritual masters.

I feel bad that I haven’t even begun to truly convey the depth, the love, and the consciousness that they have demonstrated in their lives. Bob would tell me that “as you continue to perform every action with great care, the world is incrementally transformed into an extraordinary place.” In his worldview, there must be no areas of neglect, nothing to be left unattended. Two words he left me with once really seemed to capture this life philosophy…

Everything matters.