GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


July 21, 2017

Lying Limits Living

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:33 am

Lying noseHere’s a Grasshopper reflection from not too long ago:

“Lying Is A Protective Measure.”

TV doctor Gregory House told us “everybody lies.” What he didn’t tell us was the rest of the story.

We lie to protect ourselves. It serves a grand purpose when a big, muscular man asks us if we were the person who sprayed his dog with a garden hose. “Not me” is the prudent and protective answer.

“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” The proper and prophylactic lie is always to say “No.”

Whether we’re protecting our own person or the feelings of another, we lie. That seems totally acceptable to me.

Where lying deceives us is when we do it to preserve our image. “I would never do such a thing.” Lie!

The result of telling the truth is losing the lie we made up about ourselves – a fate worse than death for many of us.

We will go to great lengths to protect this image – one that is made of wet cardboard.

Lying props up this image, but all the lying takes its toll on our mental well-being. We always have to remember all the lies we’ve told about ourselves before we respond. That takes a lot of computing power, which drains us.

The moment of freedom is the day we stop pretending we’re the image that we attempt to portray every day. The weight of the lie is lifted and we no longer have to be whom we want others to see. We can just be.

We no longer have to protect a false image. When we let it fall by the wayside, we tap into who we are without our image. Who we really are is absent of explanation and it says so much without uttering a word.

Who you are cannot be named. It’s like the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu reminded us in the opening verse of the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be explained with words is not the Tao.” The verse goes on to say, “We desire to understand the world by giving names to the things we see, but these things are the effects of something subtle. When we see beyond the desire to use names, we can sense the nameless cause of these effects.”

I’m reminded of the famous interview Richard Nixon gave to David Frost 3 years after he resigned as President of the United States. There was nothing he could admit to in that interview that would have caused him personal jeopardy because he had an ironclad presidential pardon from President Gerald Ford. But he continued to lie. For what reason? To preserve an image he had of himself that didn’t match up with the abundant facts to the contrary.

You can lie to your grave by living your lie. But I submit you’ll have a much more peaceful life when you let your image die.

All the best,

John



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July 17, 2017

The Grip

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

BaggageThere was a phrase used when I was a child to describe a physical ailment that many people experienced from time to time. It was called “The Grip.”

The grip was just another name for the flu.

Even older than the grip is the penchant to hold on to all the baggage that we’ve accumulated along the way. That’s what I refer to as the modern day grip.

It seems to me that the natural process is to let some of our past burdens go with each decade we live.

That’s not the case with a number of people I encounter seemingly gripped by their past.

If you’re carrying much of your baggage into succeeding decades, you’re a victim of the grip – a self imposed condition.

The soliloquy from these folks is long and detailed but it can be boiled down to one justification: “That’s why I am the way that I am.”

They define themselves by their baggage. Side note: Don’t you find it oddly amusing that handles on luggage are called grips?

Would you define yourself by footprints you left on a carpet? They are no more you than is the luggage you’re lugging around.

We define and justify our current mindset and behavior by our current collection of luggage.

What justification do you need to let go of in order to leave excess baggage behind? It’s a question worth pursuing and acting upon.

What you’ll discover is that you’re less gripped by the heaviness that you’ve carried about and lighter in your approach to life.

Your bout with the grip can be over if you choose, just stop justifying the luggage that you once used.

All the best,

John



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July 12, 2017

Comfortable Blues

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:45 am

HeartburnI was struck with a new definition for “Stuck.” My old one was, “STUCK: When your thoughts tell you the projectionist has gone home, but your heart remains in the theatre.” It’s still apropos but the following one has caught my ear:

“STUCK: When you’re too comfortable with comfort.”

Our comfort zone can become a prison, one that we’re too comfortable to break out of.

If you’re stuck in a ditch in your car, you make some sort of effort to get out. That doesn’t seem to be the case when we’re in a behavioral ditch of our own digging.

Once again, quoting The Grasshopper from years ago: “Change your behavior or stay in your hole.”

I’m reminded of the acid indigestion commercial where the guy has to take a couple of antacid pills so he can have his pizza. That’s stuck! Heaven forbid that he should go to work on the cause of the internal distress. We instead mask it and stay stuck in our comfort zone.

Just about everyone I know knows where they’re stuck. They just won’t admit it out loud and they cover over their condition with the dirt from the rut they’ve dug.

To get lasting comfort, you have to get uncomfortable.

Outgrowing stuck behavior is not comfortable, but it results in a lot more comfort than you had before.

Getting unstuck is a two step process:

1. Recognizing and admitting you’re stuck. That may entail being wrong about something you forever preached being right about.

2. Taking a step in the direction of discomfort.

The discomfort will eventually pass when you start putting one foot in front of the other (Baby Steps). It’s productive to conquer the molehill before you take on the mountain.

Here’s the Sticky Wicket: Getting past the denial that you’re stuck. That’s why Step 1 (above) is so crucial to your progress.

Attempt admitting to yourself that you’re stuck. After you get comfortable with that, admit it to others. Admission is what gets the ball rolling, and stepping towards discomfort completes the circuit.

Want real comfort? Get uncomfortable.

All the best,

John



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July 11, 2017

Testing 1 2 3

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:06 am

I’m sure youTest’ve said or heard someone else say something like this: “God or the universe is testing me.”

I’d like to offer some perspective on that. The universe is always expanding, going forward, never backward and doesn’t stop its progression.

If it were testing you, it would have to stop and see how you did. It doesn’t stop.

Reality, the byproduct of the universe’s expansion, doesn’t stop either. It’s like the old radio saying goes: “The hits just keep on comin’.

Reality isn’t planned. It just happens. If you’re attempting to find out ‘why” something happened to you, it’s an exhausting exercise that takes tons of imagination, churning out countless answers, none of which are satisfying.

So the one-size-fits-all answer we come up with is: God is testing me.

What hubris it takes to think that you’re being offered a test by something that’s too busy creating to stop and give you an exam. The only test question is one you ask yourself: How do I find a solution when reality happens to me?

Then you’ll be tapping into your creativity and thus be more godlike.

You aren’t being tested. You’re encountering reality – something that has no rhyme, reason or agenda.

You’ll do much better in life by responding to your realities rather than sharpening up your number 2 pencil to take a non-existent test.

All the best,

John



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July 10, 2017

Pardon Me

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:34 am

ExcuseFound this “Blast from the Past” that deserves another spin:

When I was a young boy my proper Swedish Grandmother corrected me when I said, “Excuse me” when I wanted to be pardoned.

Her lesson was you say, “Excuse me” when you want to leave the room and “Pardon me” when you want to be pardoned for offensive behavior, like belching loudly as young boys do.

So, fast forward to our teen and adult years . . . we begin using an excuse as a way to get pardoned. It rarely works.

Don’t most of us have the word “Excuse” filed in the non-desirable category? We have to qualify it with the word “legitimate” in order to make it acceptable.

Excuses, by and large, don’t get us pardons but that doesn’t keep us from dropping them like confetti.

I wonder what would happen if we spent the same amount of time that we dedicate to crafting excuses to doing the thing we want to be pardoned for not doing. Novel idea!

Find your excuse and you find your problem.

Are you making excuses for someone else? That’s even deeper do-do!

What do we make excuses for? – Behavior.

Behavior is a measurable action. Excuses ask us not to take a measurement.

“Don’t judge me on my behavior, judge me on my intention” seems to be the plea of the “Excusee.”

The first cousin of an excuse is a justification – another pardon seeker.

If you can envision excuses as roadblocks, you have a general idea why we can’t move forward with them in place.

Here’s our collective assignment for today. Let’s find a long standing excuse that we issue over and over and commit to never using it again.

That doesn’t mean the behavior won’t show up again; it just means that we won’t prop it up with the inaction of an excuse.

When we stop making excuses, we become more focused on the behavior. It’s much easier to go to work on a behavior when it isn’t surrounded by an entourage of excuses.

I hope you’ll pardon me if I’ve offended you with this rather loud belch. I’m now excusing myself from the room.

All the best,

John



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June 26, 2017

“When I was your age . . .”

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:45 am

AdviceNot too long ago, The Grasshopper offered this perception:

“It’s Not Advice, It’s Input.”

I stopped giving advice a number of years ago because it too often seemed to fall on those who couldn’t hear. Then I discovered input.

I found that advice doesn’t give the receiver the sense of choice. Your advice is often perceived by them as “the only way,” and meant for someone else, not them.

Advice has a top down quality to it. It comes from “on high” which frequently translates to low value by the intended beneficiary of your “divine” wisdom.

Input is perceived more as a suggestion, rather than an edict. I often preface any input with the computer axiom of “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, here’s something you can try on for size. Either it fits or it doesn’t. That makes the receiver the chooser, rather than the modern day Moses on Mount Sinai.

It’s my experience that input has more of a chance of getting through, whereas advice runs into built in barriers of resistance.

“If I were you” is advice; “Here’s something that worked for me” is input. This may seem like semantics on the surface but one registers more deeply than the other.

I would advise you to start using input but that would only be me giving you advice. I find it works better if you decide to try it on your own.

All the best,

John



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June 16, 2017

Tell Me a Story

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:33 am

StoryHere’s an old story I found in The Grasshopper archives:

“I Don’t Know More; I’ve Just Experienced More.”

We’ve all given advice, some solicited, most not. I’ve come to learn it’s better to be asked. And when delivering that requested advice, I find it more productive to come from the angle of experience rather than a position of your superior knowledge.

When you come from the position of knowledge, you immediately put the person on the receiving end of your wisdom a rung or two lower than you on the ladder. That distance makes your message harder to hear.

When you come from experience, you’re just telling a personal story about you that another can glean insight from, rather than feeling like they’re attending a lecture on how to live.

Become a better storyteller and you’ll help a lot more people. People like to hear stories; that’s why so many successful traditions use them. Think no further than the teachings of the ancient Chinese to Buddha to Jesus to George Lucas.

Your stories come from your experience. They’re authentic and they teach without preach.

So the next time you’re asked for your advice, rather than telling them what you know, share an experience and watch them grow.

All the best,

John



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June 14, 2017

Steeped in Stupid

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:48 am

DenialHere is a Grasshopper Note from just a few years ago:

“Denial: Doubling Down On Dumb.”

“Denial” and “Defensive” go hand-in-hand and they grab on to the lamest justifications one can imagine.
Reminds me of a story I’ve told before . . .

My boyhood friend who turned into a lifelong drunk was lamenting why he wasn’t as successful as he could be as a musician. He was in his late 30s at the time. The reason he wasn’t successful was because, when he was 18, his father wouldn’t lend him the money to buy the organ he wanted to play in his band.

That’s doubling down on dumb!

When we are focused on our stories of denial, we deny ourselves the opportunity to see a way forward. Our stories trap us in the dark past where light is at a premium. When we defend our stories, we just shine a light on our ignorance.

Sad to report that my friend is now in his 60s and has been in and out of orange jumpsuits for DUI infractions too many times to count. I’m sure he’s still telling the organ story, albeit through slurred words and denying that he has any culpability for his lot in life.

Just examine your excuses and find out how dumb they are. What story have you been telling that keeps you in place? Examine how often you deny the logic that’s been presented to you time and again. If you’re getting the same results (which are no results at all), it’s time to gather up the dumb stuff and put it in a U-Haul.

The truth about denial is you know you’re doing it, but deny you are.

If you want your fortunes to change, it’s time for a trip to the dump to drop off your denial and find out first hand that dumb isn’t forever.

All the best,

John



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June 8, 2017

Belly Laughter

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:48 am

LaughterThe Grasshopper offered up something yesterday that made me smile: “If you’re not laughing everyday, something’s wrong.”

I don’t think his message suggests becoming a “grinning idiot”; it’s more of a nudge to start noticing the lighter side which is available even on cloudy days.

“Laughter is the best medicine” is an interpretation of Proverbs 17:22 which reads: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit drys up the bones.”

I don’t think I’m revealing any secrets here by saying that miserable people are dried up and their brittleness infuses everything they do.

Misery and looking for the lighter side are both mindsets. One takes you down a dark road; the other offers brighter options.

Norman Cousins was a journalist and author of the book Anatomy of an Illness. After suffering a life-threatening disease, he discovered alleviation through laughter. Quoting Cousins, “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.”

It’s in your best interest to regularly find something to laugh about. The soothing result is this: Finding time for mirth makes your existence less painful on earth.

Final thought: If you choose to remain steeped in misery, it’s nothing to laugh about because the joke’s on you.

All the best,

John



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June 6, 2017

Bag Your Baggage

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:36 pm

BaggageCame across this past nugget from The Grasshopper:

“Our Personal Baggage: We’re Over-Packed For The Trip Of Life.”

Over the years I have been fond of labeling someone I couldn’t cozy up to as having too much baggage. That meant they had too many obstacles in the way of me getting closer to them.
The real discovery was it was my own baggage that got in the way of me getting to know someone better.

Let me re-label baggage as our “prejudice, patterns or conditioning.” We accumulate a lot of conditioning along the way and it weighs us down when it comes to warming up to others.

The key to better relating is to discover we’re not better than another – just someone who’s been conditioned differently. When we trace the conditioning path we have traveled, we can see the stops where we picked up a specific piece of luggage.

Oftentimes, we picked up the baggage by osmosis, meaning we learned the new patterns, prejudice or conditioning without knowing we learned it. It just seems to be something we were born with. Tracing our path shows us it was not.

Examining our conditioning, dispassionately, shines a light on our own baggage, allowing inspection to be much easier. What you’ll discover is that you are carrying too much. The key, going forward, is to pack lighter, by leaving the extraneous behind.

This results in you being lighter (translation: less serious) and not taking yourself so seriously. This lightness will open you up to more people, resulting in more ease in relating because there is less baggage to bog you down.

Packing light allows us to see more of the light and exposes our dark side, so we can leave it by the wayside.

All the best,

John



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