GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


August 28, 2009

Take Your Life Off Pause

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:51 am

I don’t know about you but life seems to get most complicated for me when I discover I’m not living the moment I’m in.

Any method of escape will do – mental flights to the past and future seem to fill the time. The problem is that when we do that as a regular practice, we put our lives on pause, causing us to stagnate.

The fix, like in the game of golf, is simple but not easy. “Keep your head down” is simple instruction to understand but not easy to consistently put into play. Ask any weekend golfer.

“Live the life you have in the moment you’re in” is the simple instruction. Committing to the practice is the only way to un-pause your life and get to a different future.

Practice begins with noticing. Start noticing the moment you’re in. It can begin with a simple practice. For example, I’m having my morning cup of tea. I could just reach over and take a quick swallow and then return to the keyboard. That’s what I usually do. But a moment ago, I reached for the cup, held it with both hands, felt the warmth of the tea and then took a swallow and noticed the warmth in my mouth and the warm feeling it delivered in my body as I swallowed.

It was a wonderful way to appreciate the moment rather than take it for granted.

That’s an example of living in the moment you are in.

Where it gets tricky is embracing the unwanted moment. It’s also a necessary step. We have an aversion feeling the feelings an undesired moment delivers. That’s when we take our flights of fancy to the past and future. This may seem like it’s in our best interest, but its only elongates the time the undesired moment hangs around.

Dr. Dave Dobson used a beach ball analogy. He would get you to notice how much time and effort went in to holding a beach ball under water. The answer to this waste of energy is to let the ball surface and focus on it.

Focusing on the moment you are in is the quickest way to take your life off pause. It’s also the only pathway to a different future. The surefire way to keep the future the same as the past is to not embrace the present.

Warm tea or deep do-do needs the same attention. The practice is to accept the moment. Once you accept what’s right in front of you, you activate a strategy for dealing with the moment. If you escape to the past or future, you miss the options the current moment presents.

When you savor desired moments, you remember to do it again and continually reap the rewards. When you focus on an undesired moment, you come up with a real exit strategy rather than holding the moment in place by going on a mental escape.

Practice being in the moment you’re in and notice how many more options show up.

All the best,

John

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August 27, 2009

Common Ground

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:41 am

I just read on a friend’s Facebook page that he’s been to 38 states. I’ve been to 43 but when it comes to common ground, you can find it even if you’ve never left home.

The opportunity to visit all of these places enriches your sense of culture and geography, but the real gift is recognizing the common thread that runs through all people.

That thread is life.

Life animates all of us in different ways, yet it is the common ground we all share. Just like tomatoes and zucchini coming from the same garden, we share the same nutrient rich environment with others that sustains us and causes us to grow.

What causes one plant to wither while another one grows? Somehow it got blocked from its life force.

There are common traits I see with people in all the places I’ve visited. Those that come alive and thrive have their roots firmly planted in life’s common soil. Those that struggle and wilt have choked off their life force by not recognizing how essential it is.

They have a plan of their own – one that doesn’t need anything but their own resources. Their lives are defined by circumstance and they spend their whole life attempting to corral reality into their tiny corner of the earth.

They forget where they came from and how they got this far. They came from the same source you and I did, but they block that life force when they attempt to create one of their own.

I can’t think of anything with longer odds that setting up a plan that competes with God. Yet that’s the bet we lose every time when we ignore our common ground.

Even some people who are very religious don’t believe in God. They have our common ground confused with some physical deity that religious conditioning has us conjure up. That’s a hard one to swallow for many.

What’s easier to accept is that there is one source of everything – a common ground. It’s what makes the grass green in all 50 states. Once you own that recognition, it’s a lot easier to see that your plan may not be cooperating with the flow of life.

If your garden refuses to blossom, maybe it’s time you invested in common ground.

It only takes two steps to get connected.

  1. Assume that it’s there.
  2. Give up the illusion of control.

Take these two steps today and witness more fruition come your way.

All the best,

John

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August 25, 2009

Roadblocks

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:26 am

I wonder what allows us to easily see the most advantageous routes around roadblocks that others bump into. I wonder even more about our blind spot to these routes when we hit our own personal roadblocks.

Yesterday, I was talking with a young woman on the phone and she began offering me some personal information about her pending life choices. She was genuinely bewildered by them. I asked her what she wanted and she outlined 3 things. I listened very carefully to her answers, not so much to the words, but the “juice” behind them.

She was stuck behind a roadblock and couldn’t decide which route to take. I’m curious if you ever noticed that “Stuck” and “Suck” are interchangeable.

I really didn’t need to hear her choices spelled out, only the energy behind them. When I listened to her first choice, which was the one she was giving the most credence to, it was logically plausible but devoid of oomph. Her second had a bit more vigor behind it. Her third choice had enough power to light a big city. Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I was interviewing for a broadcasting job in radio. I was sitting with the program director in his office when an intern popped in unannounced. The program director said he was in the middle of a meeting and the intern apologized and said he just wanted him to listen to a commercial he had recorded. The program director looked my way and I said it was OK with me.

He put the commercial in a tape player and we listened to a 30 second commercial for Schmidt’s Beer. The intern was looking for feedback on how well he did. The program director then said something profound. “You said all the words right, but I wonder how much better it would sound if you gave a bit more emphasis to the words ‘Cold and Frosty’ when describing enjoying that beer.”

It was eye opening for the intern and for me as well.

The juice you communicate transfers into what you do and can’t help but rub off on the people exposed to your energy.

So when you get held up by some “scratch your head” choices, notice the juice that is attached to each one. You can do this with any one, or all, of your three major senses – sight, hearing and feeling.

Visually, you can draw or cut out a representative picture of each choice and notice which one appeals to you most.

Auditorily, you could record your choices and listen back for the passion.

Kinesthetically, you could notice how receptive your body feels when considering each of these choices.

The lesson is not to get caught up too much in the logic. Logic generally leads you down a path where many choices are automatically considered not possible. When you bypass logic and go with the juice, it’s a much more passion filled existence.

This is not a guarantee that you’ll get what you’re aiming for, it just makes the odds more possible and the ride more fun.

So here’s a recommendation to get around roadblocks: Start each day with some freshly squeezed juice.

All the best,

John

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August 24, 2009

Parallel Universe

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:23 am

Can you entertain, for a moment, the idea of a parallel universe? It’s one where another you exists but with a different set of circumstances. Both lives are going on simultaneously.

It’s an interesting notion that an old book called “Seth Speaks” explores and it engages your curiosity.

My sense is we all live in two places at once – Reality and Illusion.

Reality is easier to describe and only has one rule. Illusion is impossible to explain and the rules change with each circumstance.

The one rule of reality is this: What is, is. It’s a solid foundation on which to build.

The rules for illusion, a parallel universe to reality, get made up on the fly and are as supportive as wet cardboard.

We attempt to insulate ourselves from reality by living in illusion. It never works!

Reality is like an ocean wave. It’s going to happen no matter what. Illusion is pretending that a calm day by the ocean will forever be the norm. When we buy into that, we invest in sandcastles and call it “real” estate. That’s illusion.

How often do we make excuses for our behavior? That’s illusion masquerading as reality. Your behavior is pure reality. It can be measured and quantified. The explanation lives in a parallel universe.

I’m reminded of the exercise Werner Erhard would use at his est trainings. He would ask a person in front of the group to pick a flavor of ice cream – either chocolate or vanilla. When they picked, let’s say vanilla, he would ask them why they picked vanilla. They would then give a reason – an explanation. He would tell them that was the wrong answer and ask the question again. They would come up with another reason and he would again tell them it was the wrong answer. This question and answer routine went on and on until he finally asked, “Would you like to know the real reason?”

The exasperated person would say “Yes.” Erhard then said, “The reason you picked vanilla is because you picked vanilla.”

Notice that there is one behavior, picking ice cream, and a thousand explanations.

If you find that you’re constantly explaining yourself, you live in a parallel universe called illusion where behavior is explained away.

It’s time to get a piece of the rock – reality.

Reality doesn’t change because we come up with an explanation for it. It remains in place. No explanation will make it go away. That’s an illusion.

What behavior (reality) are you explaining away? It’s time to deal with the real thing, not the explanation. It’s the only way to escape from that parallel universe.

I’m fond of saying that mirrors don’t lie. You can’t explain away the reality you see in the mirror. So ask the following when standing before a mirror:

Mirror, mirror on the wall
What’s the grandest illusion of them all?

The answer is always the same – explaining away reality.

All the best,

John

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August 21, 2009

Energy

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:37 am

Are you positive or negative?

It doesn’t matter – both work.

I’m not referring to the half empty or half full mental concept of positive or negative. This is more about the energy you use to accomplish things – more like yin and yang.

Yin has been described as feminine energy and yang as masculine. We have both and use both.

Instead of arguing about which energy is superior, it’s better to notice the combination we use, and find out if it’s working to our best advantage.

There is no best side of a battery terminal. There is positive and negative, and one doesn’t work without the other. The same can be said of yin and yang energy.

Just like certain projects call for certain tools, certain situations are best served by certain energy. You are best served to have the flexibility to craft the energy combination that works best in those circumstances.

When we get stuck in one energy pattern, we stay stuck. That means we become inflexible and snap easily.

The trick is to notice our conditioned pattern isn’t working, and then summon the combination that gives us the best charge for the moment.

Now don’t get caught up in the “that’s not me” argument. That’s the argument that keeps you stuck. It’s better to notice you are all the combinations of yin and yang, not just the one you have been conditioned to prefer.

A great question to begin asking yourself is, “I wonder what energy would work best in this situation?” Don’t think your way to an answer. Just ask the question and let the energy that shows up answer it.

I realize that the first few times you attempt this practice, it will feel like working without a net. The giant upside is that you will begin to trust yourself to bring the appropriate energy to any situation.

Let your energy answer your question – not your intellect.

Letting your intellect answer is like letting the guy at hardware store pick the color to paint your bathroom. You have a master designer at your disposal; all you have to do is summon them with a question.

Practice letting your energy answer your questions, and find that you’ll need far fewer jumpstarts in life.

All the best,

John

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August 20, 2009

Bad Hypnosis

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:35 am

My step father, rest in peace, would say that, Americans were the most contentious people on the earth. I rarely agreed with him but am beginning to see more of his point of view.

Have you watched any of the “discussions” on health care at the town hall meetings? Yes, there are people there with legitimate and differing points of view, but you would never know we were a “civil” society by the actions we see.

Before this turns political, let’s admit that shills for all sides of the debate are in and outside the room with the sole purpose of disruption. They’re interested in heat rather than light.

Once you identify and isolate the ringers, only genuine people are left – people who are easily led, not by their intellect, but by their emotions.

Thank God, I was introduced to something called “Bad Hypnosis” by the late Dr. Dave Dobson. He knew how easily we as humans are manipulated to another’s point of view when they pushed the proper emotional buttons.

He asked us to close our eyes and led us through an exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to have the part of us that knows we’re being surreptitiously manipulated (by the way, we all have this part of us) to alert us that we’re being exposed to “Bad Hypnosis.”

It is one of the best experiences you can own. It calms you down when you’re getting caught up in another’s one-way agenda. It allows you to recalibrate to a neutral spot, where you can recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing so much easier.

Jerry Spence, the famed cowboy attorney calls this part of us our “Bullshit Detector.”

The name is irrelevant; the fact that we own this sensing device is the message here.

So here’s a little exercise you can practice in seconds that will attune you to “Bad Hypnosis” and calibrate you to a spot where you can make an informed choice.

Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, close your eyes and ask yourself “Where does this sensing device live in my body?” Just pay attention to any signal you get from your body. You may feel warmness or coolness, a tingling, pulsation, or something else in a certain part of your body. It may not be overt, but it will be an unmistakable sensation that’s associated with your question.

Catalog that signal. It’s your own personal BS detector. You may have to practice this exercise a few times before you begin to trust that there’s a part of you that knows “what’s what.”

Begin to notice this signal when it just shows up on its own. You, more often than not, are being alerted to pay attention to the fact that you are being led down a trail that leads to someone else’s destination – not yours.

Activate your detector today and start to see through others’ plans to lead you astray.

All the best,

John

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August 19, 2009

Today’s Question?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:49 am

Here’s something to wonder about:

Is it age or pure hubris that has us deem our own mistakes not as egregious as the same exact mistakes made by others?

If you do get an answer, wonder if it applies to you.

All the best,

John

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August 17, 2009

Nuts

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog,Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:38 am

The Grasshopper reminded us years ago that we are all mentally ill by someone else’s standards.

What idiosyncratic behavior do we own, that when viewed from another angle, doesn’t look nuts?

The real difficulty we run into is not taking another’s vantage point to evaluate such behavior.

We justify what we do as perfectly normal without ever taking the advantage of an opposing perspective.

“What does it look like standing in their shoes?” is a question we rarely ask as we continue along our righteous path.

Chances are if you’ve denied or justified something long enough, it’s a pretty sure bet that’s what others identify as your “wacky” behavior.

Because you got used to a certain behavior may make it acceptable to you, but it doesn’t play well in the theater of other peoples’ minds.

What to do? Nothing, if you think this doesn’t apply to you.

Hint: This applies to everyone.

We become blind to our own bizarre behavior that’s in plain view for others to witness.

If you do begin to recognize that your behavior is getting in your way, you are no longer crazy because a crazy person wouldn’t take the time to select another angle of view.

The best way to end sleepwalking is to wake up. Most people need an alarm to end this trancelike behavior. It needn’t come to that. Just entertain for a moment what it’s like to be another and view yourself from that perspective.

My sense is you’ll discover your sanity by recognizing we are all mentally ill by someone else’s standards. Then, and only then, will you address your wacky ways.

Since I used to be in radio, let me leave you with the lyrics of a song written and performed by Joe South:

WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES

If I could be you and you could be me for just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside each other’s mind
If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego
I believe you’d be surprised to see that you’d been blind

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

Well, your whole world you see around you is just a reflection
And the law of common says you’re gonna reap just what you sow

So unless you’ve lived a life of total perfection
Mm-mm, you’d better be careful of every stone that you should throw

Yet we spend the day throwin’ stones at one another
’cause I don’t think or wear my hair same way you do
Well, I may be common people but I’m your brother
And when you strike out and try to hurt me it’s a ‘hurtin you,

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

There are people on reservations and out in the ghettos
And brother, there, but for the grace of God, go you and I

If I only had the wings of little angels don’tcha you know I’d fly
To the top of the mountain and then I’d cry?

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Better walk a mile in my shoes

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Oh, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes,

Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

All the best,

John

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August 14, 2009

Surprise Party

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:36 am

In the past, I was never a big fan of surprise parties. They were deemed out of my control. “OMG,” he yelped, “not that.”

In addition, I didn’t like someone else being in charge of the people I spent my birthday with – another cry for control.

Then it dawned on me a couple of weeks ago, when I sent my friend, Jerry Stocking a birthday email, that every day, birthday or not, is a surprise.

Every day is an adventure into the land of the unknown – a virtual surprise party.

We state that we fear the unknown, yet we have so much experience with it every day.

The biggest waste of energy for me was attempting to control the unknown. I had a daily plan to capture it in a box and bend it to my whims. The only person who got bent was me.

It didn’t come as an “Ah-Ha” moment but snuck up on me over time, that I have control over nothing or no one.

You would think that discovery was scary. It wasn’t. It was freeing and worth celebrating.

It’s what’s out of your view (Reality) that has the most control over you.

For example, every quarterback in football has a blind side when they pivot to pass the ball. If they pivot to the right to throw, they can’t see who may be charging at them from the left. Most rookie quarterbacks are worried about being hit from their blind side when attempting to throw the ball. This keeps their full attention away from passing, causing them to throw incomplete passes and interceptions.

A veteran quarterback learns to trust his linemen to protect his blind side so he can focus his full attention on throwing complete passes and touchdowns.

If you keep looking for or worrying about a blind side hit every day, you’re not going to function even close to your capacity.

There are surprises every day – ones that can knock you over or lift you up. If you’re running continually scared, you need to find something to put your trust in, and here’s what I’m suggesting – your response.

When life says, “Surprise” there is not a pat answer that works. It’s at this point that you have to trust your response.

A response always comes from a deeper place than a reaction and oftentimes presents more options.

A reaction gets you to re-act the same scene over and over again – one of you frozen by fear.

Trusting that there is a part of you that knows how to respond will laser your focus on the moment you’re in, causing your completion percentage to go up.

Every day is a surprise party. Make sure the first gift you open is marked “Response.”

All the best,

John

P.S. Who wants to be the next person to:

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August 13, 2009

Shrinking

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:06 am

I just got the title for my new self help book that I’ll never write. It’s called SHRINK AND GROW RICH.

No, it’s not about weight loss, nor is it about becoming a wallflower.

It’s about reducing the clutter in our mind, so that the productive, profitable ideas can poke through.

Did you ever notice how many thoughts fight for real estate in your mind. It’s a crowded landscape that could use major pruning.

Like all daunting tasks, it’s always a question of where to begin.

And like all journeys, the answer is to begin where you are. Just notice that your head is crammed to the gills. Noticing is the first step away from being a participant in a process that isn’t working.

We keep our thoughts in place by engaging them in conversation, oftentimes with heated debate. That always results in more time spent on something that will never blossom.

Arguing with yourself is dumber than cheating at solitaire. There is no real win.

The bear fruit strategy is to welcome all thoughts without prejudice. Offer no resistance to these loud intruders. Let them have their say and watch how quickly they go away.

It takes some practice because we have been conditioned to fight with our “negative” thoughts. If you set a place for them at the table, and offer no resistance, they will pass through faster than an afternoon thunderstorm in Florida.

The process for making thoughts go away is by inviting them to stay. It only seems like backwards logic until you apply it.

If you need a reminder as to why it pays to be hospitable to these thoughts, remember the mantra – SHRINK AND GROW RICH.

All the best,

John

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