GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


October 29, 2018

Seize The Day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:26 am

BulldozerI’ve come to the opinion that “Seize The Day” is so “yesterday.”

The concept has always been wrapped in the cloak of control and anyone who is paying attention knows that control is an illusion.

I’m a list maker. Listing, for me, makes goals that are on my mind both visible and actionable. That means I can see what I want and plan a course of action.

Need I remind you of the quote from poet Robert Burns, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Once you’ve made your plan of action, it’s wise to adhere to the sports axiom: Let the game come to you. Instead, we often charge ahead and bulldoze whatever is in our way and call it “Seizing the day.”

Little do we realize that by using that manufactured energy we also destroy the building blocks we need to make our plan a reality.

Seizing the day will lead to a seizure. It’s a directive without a direction – A bumper sticker that doesn’t stick.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many moons ago, I worked with this bartender in a disco. He danced behind the bar to the beat of the music and had a flamboyant style of mixing and serving drinks. There was a lot of show and a lot of visible action but people were delayed in getting their beverages. This backlog caused him to be fired because the plan was to serve all the patrons on time. Instead he seized on the opportunity to show his stuff.

Seizing the day has so much yang energy attached to it. It has the delivery rate of a runaway beer truck.

Certainly have a plan for your day but attempting to grab it by the horns means you’re likely to wind up covered with a lot of bullshit.

Perhaps you’ll get curious about exchanging the ancient Latin phrase “Carpe diem” for a mantra that successful sports teams use: Have a flexible game plan!

All the best,

John



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October 26, 2018

Everyone Is Someone’s Nemesis

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 4:51 am

GossipSeems no matter how “good” you are, there is going to be an opposing viewpoint.

My sense is that Mother Teresa had her detractors, also Mr. Rogers.

What propels this animus? I don’t know for sure but I have a guess.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the accused; It’s more about the accuser.

The words “lazy” and “uninformed” pop up for me.

Just look at some of the things your Facebook friends and family members repost. Did they ever take a moment to check the accuracy of their reiteration? It’s not that hard.

Here are two examples from both sides of the political aisle:

Sarah Palin claimed in an interview that Jesus Christ celebrated Easter during his time on Earth.

All the Congressional Democrats voted against a 2.8 percent Social Security cost of living allowance.

It’s easy for me to appreciate that some people don’t like other people, but to pass on egregious, defamatory claims about them without checking not only shows your bias; it shows how easily you are led.

Before you click the “Send” button, make sure what you are saying is buttoned up, otherwise you appear as a butthead.

Allow me to end this observation with the following quote from Socrates: “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

All the best,

John



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October 23, 2018

Breaking Down Fear

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:12 am

FearFear, when you break it down to its basics, is a feeling. Nothing more.

It’s not a great feeling, but just a feeling nevertheless.

Fear is a warning sign that something is threatening you or troubling you. If it’s a threat, do everything you can to get out of harm’s way. If it’s troubling you, it is in your best interest to acknowledge and address the underlying cause.

But the biggest antidote to fear is to actually feel it, not fear it.

How many of us invite that feeling in for tea? It’s a way to get the tempest out of the teapot.

Sitting with the sensation we label as fear and actually feeling it in our body, rather than combating it in our mind, is the way through fear. You can spend a lifetime attempting to go around fear but you can go through it much quicker.

Feeling the sensation fully without mental commentary is how we transmute fear and find out what’s on the other side.

It seems like a conundrum but what we really fear is the feeling itself. So the most direct route to “unfeeling” fear is to metabolize it, by feeling it.

I’m not suggesting you make fear your friend, just an acquaintance – one you can break bread with once in a while so you can break its hold on you.

All the best,

John



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October 4, 2018

Here, There

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:01 am

0ne concept 2Did you ever notice the high rate of suicide by long-term drug and alcohol abusers?

According to Psychology Today, “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Depression and other mood disorders are the number-one risk factor for suicide, but alcohol and drug abuse – even without depression – are a close second. In fact, research has shown that the strongest predictor of suicide is alcoholism, not a psychiatric diagnosis. People with substance use disorders are about six times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.”

Going beyond the statistics and zeroing in on the causative factors of abuse, I find the following dynamic at work: Alcohol and drug abusers would rather not be “here” (present to their current reality). Their substances take them “there” (away from here).

“There” can change locations after long bouts of abuse. That new location is too often death by their own hand.

Abstinence is certainly a solution but it may not change not wanting to be here. “Here” is the only place you can actually be. “There” is a fictitious place like “Wonderland” was for Alice.

We all, to some degree, have been conditioned to escape “here.” Just about any ad that targets your dissatisfaction is offering “there” as a solution. They just reinforce our conditioning.

One solution is to notice your reaction to “here” and interrupt it by choosing a different response. This is not a one-time fix. It takes consistent application of noticing and interrupting and choosing a new response to our old habit of seeking escape.

You will never escape your thoughts, but you can respond to them differently. It takes some “real time” noticing, interrupting and choosing. With practice, noticing your state of mind will deliver some space between your thoughts. That space is where a new, productive response can take hold and grow into a new mindset – one that makes “here” a much more livable place.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a book I’ve written about this change process. it’s called: INTER RUPTION: The Magic Key To Lasting Change.

My best guess is a November release date. As we used to say in radio, “Stay Tuned.”

All the best,

John



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September 18, 2018

Let’s Pretend

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 4:16 am

Screenshot 2018 09 18 05 04 42One of the most useful phrases I’ve learned is “Let’s pretend.” It is a magical way to engage your or another’s imagination.

It’s very practical when you’re in negotiations. Here’s a real world example. Years ago, I was shopping for a teak outdoor table and chairs set. I went to a vendor who had an assortment of them on display. They all had a marked price.

It was mid-July and I asked the owner of the business if the item I was interested in would be going on sale and how much would it be selling for? He said, “in September at the end of the season and the savings would be 30 percent.” I noticed that I was his only customer at the time. I said, “I’m really interested in buying this set today. Let’s pretend it’s September now and you sell it to me at the reduced price.”

He looked a bit stunned but I could see the wheels turning. He said, “I can’t go the full thirty but I can give you a 20 percent discount.” I bought the set at 20% off.

Here’s another way I use the phrase “Let’s pretend.” When someone I’m helping is stuck in a mindset and I offer them a solution, they may say, “I just can’t do that.” I respond with, “Let’s pretend you could.” The phrase mentally transports them from where they are now to where they want to be and presents more options. “Let’s pretend” is a catalyst to move towards possibility.

Lets pretend that you have a part of you that knows what’s in your best interest. By the way, you won’t be pretending. Ask that part of you on a daily basis to “protect and direct” you in whatever you do. Make it a brief meditation – a daily prayer if you will.

I’m not sure this works, but let’s pretend it does. How valuable would it be to have it in your kit and caboodle?

Need more choices? Let’s pretend they’re available to you. My experience is this presumption will present more options than Door #1 or Door #2.

All the best,

John



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August 30, 2018

Think/Feel

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:05 am

Devil or angelThe Grasshopper has been quite active lately. Here’s one of his latest musings:
“What I think is right and what I feel is right may be two different things.”

It reads like pure logic at first, but logic often has nothing to do with feelings.

Here’s a telltale sign that you’re out of touch with your feelings: You are having an argument in your head about the right way to go.

When you notice that internal conflict, it’s time to check another source – Your body. Your body receives OK or not OK signals before thoughts pop into your mind. It’s like my teacher Dr. Dave Dobson said, “Words are the caboose on the choo-choo of life.” That means the feeling always comes first.

Feelings are our first responders. They’re first on the scene.

Many are so caught up in their mind that they forget they have a body – one that delivers sensations immediately. There is no argument within the body. It registers a feeling of OK or not OK right away.

How many times have you dismissed a “gut reaction” and paid the price? The phrase most often used after the fact is, “I knew that was going to happen.” By that time, your horse is in somebody else’s barn.

The recommendation for all of us is: Check with your body more often. The aforementioned Dave Dobson taught something he called “Other Than Conscious Communication.” One of the tenants of OTCC is this: When you are getting conflicting information between your body and your mind, go with your body.

In order to do that, you have to know you have a body. That means to pay more attention to the sensations that show up within you. They are not willy-nilly; they have a purpose: to alert you that something is OK or not OK.

Confused? Check with your body. It will let your mind know there is a reason to pay attention to the knot in your stomach.

All the best,

John



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August 28, 2018

Light My Fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:28 am

GardeningThe Grasshopper showed his green thumb yesterday when he opined, “You can take all the gardening classes you want, but until you plant something, nothing will grow.”

It reminded me of one of my favorite ancient Chinese sayings: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”

We learned about action verbs in our early school days, but it seems we all could use a booster shot when it comes to actually taking action.

Inertia is not patience. One lacks action; the other is waiting for our action to take root.

How do we light a fire when there is no kindling wood? I think imagination is the answer. Either imagine what would happen if you don’t take action or what would happen if you do.

You will either be spurred to action to avoid the downside or drawn to the upside by activating your ability to imagine.

People either move towards something or move away from something. You can find your preference by engaging your imagination and envisioning both options. The one that feels right for you is the strategy to use to take action.

Moving towards or moving away, which strategy will get you to take action today?

All the best,

John



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August 27, 2018

Stop Attacking Yourself

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:08 am

Isaiah mcclean 412247 unsplashThe Grasshopper woke me up with an old theme in a new suit of clothes: “If you want to go somewhere new, put in the past what happened to you.”

There is a reason we keep telling our same traumatic stories. We are attempting to communicate the pain we’re enduring so you can know how much we’re still hurting.

Others will never feel your pain no matter how descriptive your adjectives. That’s because it’s your pain, not theirs. Not only that, we revisit the emotional pain of the past with each telling.

This is more than saying, “forget about it” or “move on.” Those are directives without directions.

There is a tried and true method of easing the pain of the past. Stop telling your story. I’m reminded of the words of my photography instructor Peter Hurley when he hears one of his students telling the person in front of their camera to smile: “STOP IT NOW!”

Teeth whitening works. You go to the dentist, have a procedure done and leave with follow-up instructions to make sure the transformation happens. You got great advice but you may not follow instructions and remain in a state of pale yellow. If you really want your teeth whiter, you have to do the homework.

Our homework is to interrupt ourselves when we begin to tell our story again. With each interruption, we outgrow the habit of telling our tale of woe. The benefit is we feel less pain than if we tell it again.

It takes practice to do something that’s seems counterintuitive. I’m reminded of taking Aikido instruction years ago. We were instructed to step into the attack rather than retreat from it. That meant that we had to blend with our attacker’s force and use it against them by moving in smaller circles than them. It takes some courage and practice to move towards rather than away to neutralize an attack. Make no mistake, you are retreating with each iteration of your story allowing it to live for another, painful day.

Want to neutralize attacks and smile brighter more often? Stop telling your story!

All the best,

John



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August 7, 2018

Venn Diagrams

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

Venn2I didn’t learn about Venn Diagrams until high school. For whatever reason, they fascinated me then and continue to do so.

The thing I find most intriguing about them is the “melting pot” in the middle where divergent things come together.

To me, that section represents what we have in common. It’s actually very little if we look at it from the angle of being a special club that divides us.

I now switch subjects to Greek syllogisms. They are comprised of 2 assumptions (whether valid or not) that come to a 3rd conclusion.

All Americans have blood.

All Americans have red blood.

Therefore All Americans are red blooded.

You can come to an absurd conclusion if you wind up in the middle section of a Venn Diagram with corrupted data vs. factual information.

So, based on faulty information, you may not really belong in the middle but on the fringe. People on the fringe don’t have much in common with the universe of sampled people.

The following type of “fun house mirror” logic is spewed every day to prop up our fringe opinions and represent them as facts.

Radio host Bob Blowhard is a Bigot.

Joe Public is a family man and applauds and supports Bob’s positions.

Family men are not bigots.

What do we really have in common? That’s worth exploring because it will be the glue that unites us. Passing off our opinions as facts divides us.

I’m reminded of the story of the drunk leaning on a lamppost. Is he using it to support his impaired position or is it shining a light on his condition?

I guess my message is to inspect your opinions before you pass them on as facts.

I’m a parent and a grandparent and one of the most divisive things I can do is pass on my prejudice. It’s productive for me to either inspect my opinions in the light of day or just shut up.

All the best,

John



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August 1, 2018

The Invitation

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 4:55 am

SubmarineLife offers us a standing invitation every day. Most of us ignore the invitation.

What invitation does life offer every hour, every day? – The invitation to go deeper.

Based on my experience, I find that most of us argue for our surface limitations which puts up a barrier to reaching our depth.

Many people begin to notice the invitation when reality delivers a blow. I refer to that moment as “a dark night of the soul.” This is an optimum time to discover who you are past all your surface descriptions.

This is a time to spend time with yourself and avoid the diversions you’ve entertained in the past. It’s scary for some to spend time with themselves. Their mind goes into high gear defending the way they are, even though that way is not working.

If you avoid going deeper, you’ll go back to the limited options your conditioning consistently delivered.

Did you ever wonder why many people gravitate to the same type of people who were problematic to them in the past? When you stay on the surface, your options are limited and as I heard many years ago, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

If you’re going through a dark period, it’s highly recommended to R.S.V.P. to life’s invitation.

Going deeper is going deeper than your thoughts.

The vehicle you use to go deeper is irrelevant. It can be prayer, meditation, reflection, mindfulness or something else. Any of those methods will transport you to enter the depths of you.

I invite you to get curious about going deeper. It’s a life changing experience.

All the best,

John



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