GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


October 31, 2013

Guilty As Charged

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:03 am

C275705 mI know I’ve written about guilt before and there’s a good chance I may say the exact same thing again now. Chalk it up to a phrase my grandson has become fond of: “Doddering old fool.”

Guilt is easy to induce; just judge a past thought or deed by a current level of awareness and POOF you have guilt.

So it’s the judgement (thinking guilty) that has us feel the emotion known as guilt.

It’s helpful to have a couple of definitions of emotion to make the point. Both come from people who are tapped in to their spiritual side a bit more than the average bear – Eckhart Tolle and Jerry Stocking.

Tolle defines emotion this way: “Emotion: The body’s reaction to your mind.”

Jerry says it this way: “Emotion results when your illusion runs into reality.”

Both are, in effect, supporting the notion that thinking guilty produces feeling guilty. Your body produces emotion when your mind, which is chuck filled with illusionary thoughts, runs into the buzz saw known as reality.

The best example I can give for producing the self destructive emotion known as guilt is this: A parent comes home from a trying day at work and finds the children doing the exact same stuff they did when the day wasn’t so trying. He or she reacts poorly this time and berates the children for behavior that really needs no admonishment. It’s just kids being kids. We’ve all had our version of this reaction.

Fast forward to 15 minutes later when you are less reactionary and you get the gift of awareness that you reacted poorly just minutes ago. You begin to feel guilty – judging a past action by a present level of awareness. How constructive is that?

It’s much more useful for all concerned for you to notice the slippery slope you’re about to go on and skip the guilt by addressing your behavior. “Hey kids, sorry I yelled. It was nothing you did; it was my fault. Sorry if I upset you.”

Guilt is the modern day sack cloth. We wear it as a punishment – one that’s self induced.

Best as I can tell, guilt’s only outcome is to make you feel worse. Now if feeling worse causes you to change your behavior, I’m all in. My experience is that guilt rarely does that; it just produces more guilt.

Here’s my claim: You’ll feel less guilty when you become more responsible for your behavior and own up to it. When you skip the guilt, you can more quickly comfort offended souls rather than rake yourself over the coals.

All the best,

John



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October 29, 2013

Sadness – A Comparison

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:39 am

C625522 mPerhaps it’s different for you but I feel more sadness when I compare what I had to what I don’t have now. It seems like a secret formula for sadness is to revisit a moment and pretend it hasn’t passed.

This comparison can conjure up sadness in so many areas. What is “Empty Nest Syndrome” other than a comparison? How about “Feeling your age?” (I used to think faster, be prettier, have tons of energy). And let’s not forget the universal sadness producer “What if?”

Poetically: Longing for a time that doesn’t exist will have sadness persist.

There is enough sadness that comes out of the blue that we needn’t add to our sorrows by comparing old to new.

A more useful comparison to make is comparing now to now. That will give you a real time assessment of the raw material you have to work with, rather than revisiting stockpiles that have withered.

Reminds me of a story . . .

When I was beginning in the radio business as a DJ I was always looking to be upwardly mobile – bigger city, more money. I sent out more audition tapes (yes, we used tapes back then) than the next 5 radio people I knew, combined. This practice produced lots of rejection letters. The interesting thing was that I kept all the letters in a file and would go through them on a regular basis. Then one day it dawned on me that I was focusing on past rejections that had nothing to do with now. I remember tossing that file away and feeling a lightness enter my body. It focused me on what I had to offer now instead of feeling sad about who didn’t want me then.

Yes, comparison is a wonderful tool to measure your progress, but you’ll never progress past the past if you pretend the “good old days” are still here. That’s a formula for sadness that stands in the way of what you can do now.

All the best,

John



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October 25, 2013

Being Where You’re Not

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:05 am

C500335 mThere’s a distinction that occurred to me recently: There’s a difference between planning and being where you’re not. I will now attempt to flesh it out.

Planning is the easier of the two to explain because it’s something we conceptually know – a blueprint for our goal.

Some of us confuse planning with being where we’re not. Being where we’re not is getting ahead of the plan, whereas planning is a step-by-step tool to get ahead.

From experience we know that the best laid plans can fall apart. Either something was poorly planned or we ran into reality (read: “unforeseen circumstances”).

You can’t cross the river until you get there. You can imagine you’ve crossed the river in advance by rehearsing it in your mind, but you can’t actually be on the other side until you’re there. Being where you’re not has you believe you’re physically there when you’re not.

One version of History tells us that Columbus thought he was in the Indies (a reference at the time that meant south and east Asia) and named the inhabitants “Indians.” That’s a textbook example of being where you’re not.

Our version of being where we’re not has us live under the delusion that we are anywhere other than where we are. That causes a lot of avoidable turmoil.

When you stop and take an unbiased assessment of reality, you may find a giant gap between where you are and where you think you are. This gap is a giant hole that we fall into every time that prevents us from moving forward, even if we have a stellar plan.

Thinking you are where you’re not has the same result of lies catching up to you. There will be a price to pay.

You can certainly continue to daydream that you’re a King or a Queen – that may act as a carrot to move you forward. But if you think you are actually running the kingdom, you’ll get swallowed up by the moat between where you are and where you’re not.

Bottom Line: You’ll be where you are until you’re not. Perhaps an assessment and a plan will actually get you where you want to go.

All the best,

John



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October 24, 2013

Awake – Asleep

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:42 am

C166389 mThe Grasshopper woke me up with this: “You spend most of your waking hours asleep.”

He could have easily said “all” instead of “most” and been just as close to the truth.

We are asleep to our ability to be awake.

I can cite three known times of being fully awake in my life. Two of them came at a Jerry Stocking workshop and the other was years ago outside a store that is now a Target.

What is fully awake? It’s hard to put an experience into words but I’ll give it a go. For me, fully awake was marked by a pin-drop quiet mind that had no agenda and an overall feeling of everything being taken care of.

I get glimpses of fully awake almost everyday and am more awake now than I have ever been. Arriving at awake is often accidental. It just takes some noticing to realize you are there. Has something ever taken your breath away? Perhaps you saw, heard or felt something that just made everything stand still for a moment. That’s awake.

The problem for me is wanting to distill what goes into that moment and by doing so, I go back to sleep. Rather than basking in it, I want to dissect the moment like a biology project. It quickly goes away when I do that, just like the content of a dream quickly disapates.

I suspect that we all have many awake moments, but fail to notice. Noticing is just being aware without comment. Just to show you how commentary is alive and well, attempt to do this exercise: Look around the physical space you are currently in and just notice what you see without comment. If you are anything like me, it takes some practice to just notice and not label the things we see.

There is a part of us that is aware and just notices and there is a part of us that just comments. It seems that when we are commenting, we are asleep to the part of us that is aware and just notices. Doing the exercise above will get you more glimpses of being awake and more of a sense that everything is taken care of.

If you really want expert help in experiencing being fully awake, I recommend that you get to a Jerry Stocking workshop. He will get you beyond words and then it’ll be up to you to continue the practice.

My sense is that awake is our natural state but that we’ve been away from it for so long that we don’t recognize it when it visits. Take time to become aware and in the process, just notice how often you become awake.

All the best,

John



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October 22, 2013

Evil

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:32 am

C610196 mMany people I meet are members of the “Evil is out there” club. These folks also have another label affixed to themselves – “Victim.”

The height of absolving yourself from personal responsibility is claiming “The devil made me do it.” We may not use those words but that’s what we imply when we think of evil as a virus floating through the air.

Evil is a behavior, pure and simple. It doesn’t attack you; you develop it. Evil is a human trait, not something lying in wait.

I can totally appreciate wanting to run away from personal behavior that’s abhorrent, but attempting to attribute it to some mythical force called “Evil” is just evil.

“I didn’t do it” and “It wasn’t me” would benefit you greatly by being left back in childhood. The problem is we haven’t outgrown that mindset. We actually start to believe that “evil” is an outside force that we’re powerless against and we become victims to this notion.

Victims stay in place. Until that mindset starts to break apart, you will remain stuck.

There is one surefire way to dispense with the devil: Take responsibility for your actions. It serves two purposes:

1. It makes you less evil.

2. You’ll only fall victim to the devil when he/she takes two fistfuls of candy on Halloween.

All the best,

John



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October 15, 2013

Godlike

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:24 am

C456522 mI was taught by the good nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School that God was all knowing and everywhere. We were encouraged to be Godlike.

As I grew older, it dawned on me that I couldn’t be everywhere, and much to my dismay, I couldn’t know everything.

Much later in life, I got the gift of awareness of how I could be more Godlike – Perspective.

It seems that if God is everywhere, he/she/it can see from all perspectives. To be Godlike, it helps to see things from a different angle.

Here’s an example I’ve used before to illustrate being Godlike: You are on the corner of a rooftop of a tall building looking down at the traffic at intersecting streets. You see two cars speeding towards the intersection. They don’t see each other because their view is blocked by the building. To make the example more interesting, let’s pretend that one car is in hot pursuit of a terrorist about to bomb the city and the other car is a husband rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital for delivery. You can see from this vantage point that these cars are on a collision course, no matter how noble their goals.

You have perspective.

Often, when we don’t have perspective, our current path is on a collision course with reality. That’s because we have tunnel vision. We don’t stop and take notice of our Godlike ability to engage perspective.

Imagine for a moment that all perspectives are represented by a circle marked with 360 degrees. Engaging perspective only takes shifting a few degrees either way on the circle.

Chances are, if you are not not getting the results that you want, you are stuck on one vantage point. Allow yourself the freedom to shift, ever so slightly, and view your situation from another angle.

From your new vantage point, you’ll be able to see a new perspective – one that’s not caught up in the devilish details of your current view. It’s from this perch that you’ll be able to see the Godlike thing to do.

All the best,

John



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October 11, 2013

Levels of Comfort

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:55 am

C164744 mWhat level of relationship do you have with another? There are many levels to pick from, ranging from casual to canoodle and everything in between.

What differentiates the levels of relationship? I submit it’s a comfort level.

We aren’t as comfortable with the person labeled as casual as we are with the person we’re “serious” with.

There is no absence of the following happening when relationships are coming apart: Many people seek counseling.

Have you ever noticed that people will tell a counselor what they weren’t comfortable telling the person they’re in counseling with?

“He’s a selfish, cotton headed ninny muggin.” “She’s an anal descendant of Whigs.”

Many counselors provide a very valuable service but their services would be less necessary if you were comfortable enough to tell your partner the same exact thing directly.

The erosion of comfort comes in large part from withholding. When you hold back, you dam up the flow of the relationship until the dam bursts, often in the counselor’s office.

Are you comfortable enough to tell a total stranger what you’re withholding from your partner? Your relationship is in trouble.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard complaining, water cooler chatter that people would have with casual friends about the person they lived with. My sense was that the relationship was running out of comfort.

Ask yourself this: If you aren’t comfortable enough to tell the person closest to you what’s on your mind, how soon will it be that you’ll be estranged?

It seems counter-intuitive but the less withholding you do, the more comfortable the relationship becomes. It doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter impasses or problems, it just means that you’ll have a better chance of getting past them by not withholding.

Please don’t confuse not withholding with throwing up on the person you’re in a relationship with. That’s just leads to a stinky mess. Throwing up is coming out with a list of pent up complaints. It’s better to address what’s bothering you the first time it bothers you to the point of discomfort. This prevents a molehill from growing into Mt. McKinley.

Your level of comfort determines your level of relationship. How comfortable do you want to be? One answer is: “Don’t tell them, tell me.”

All the best,

John



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October 8, 2013

Perpetual Light

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

C538686 mLight sources come and go as do people in our lives. When their power source moves on, we can no longer depend on their light to show us their particular way. Their human light, as beautiful as it was, was temporarily housed.

The light that continues to shine is perpetual. It shines through every living thing and is still here after they’re gone. It was the light that powered them and it’s the light that powers us. This light doesn’t die; it just moves on.

We are not the housing; we are the light. I believe it’s the only mystery we have to solve.

On the surface, it seems like all we are is flesh and blood. That’s where the physical evidence points. No surgeon can cut us open and find our light, but they can, without hesitation, see it shine through us, and not see it when it leaves.

When we discover that we are actually the light with temporary housing, we shine a lot brighter. The people and living creatures we miss the most knew, at base level, that they were light. That’s what we liked most about them – their light.

We do so many things to occlude our light in this lifetime. Each one of these distracting things moves us away from solving the mystery and moves us further away from basking in our light. These distractions are unenlightening. They have us chase the horizon when all we have to do is stop and notice our light.

The light lives on; the only thing you have to figure out, while you’re here, is how to let it shine through the temporary housing known as you.

It’s a work in progress for me, but I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Are you?

All the best,

John



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October 3, 2013

Sans Story

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:28 am

C442636 mThe Grasshopper asked this yesterday: “Who are you without your story? It’s not the first time I’ve been asked that question but it’s worth my reflection again.

We all have a story – one we’ve told thousands of times. One purpose of the story, best as I can tell, is to not make us responsible for our current lot in life.

“I’m the daughter of left-handed, abusive clowns” you may say. That’s to absolve you of any responsibility for where you are. Your story may also be used to justify a counter-productive behavior. “If you had the kind of day I had, you would be drowning your sorrows too.”

Those are some of the reasons we keep telling our story but the question remains: “Who are we without our story?”

A story has a beginning, a middle and an end – just like our human existence. Who you are without your story is the animating force of creation that has no beginning, no middle or no end. The animating force keeps on ticking long after we and our story have been forgotten.

You, without your story, are the infuser, not the infused. Your story imposes limits; without it, you know no boundaries.

Freeing yourself from your story is the freedom we all seek. When we realize this freedom, we are not corralled by our circumstances, just creatively responsive to them.

Continuing to tell our story imposes the limits we seek to escape. The road to freedom begins with retiring our story and all the labels we’ve affixed to ourselves. Labels are mini-stories that keep us stuck.

You, without your story, are the creative force that animates everything. It’s a discovery we all desire to make but most of us are unwilling to pay the price. The price for this priceless gift is to leave our story behind.

“Who are you without your story?” Finding out is one less story away.

All the best,

John



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October 2, 2013

Second Chances

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

Do Don tMost of us believe in the old axiom: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” so we rarely have a plan in place if we do get a second chance.

Sometimes second chances do come along but we approach them from the wrong angle and go about making the old axiom a self fulfilling prophesy.

The angle we approach from is the “Don’t” angle. We list all the things we don’t want to do with this second chance. These would be all the things we messed up the first time around. This puts the focus on “Don’t” which is a backwards strategy.

The “Do” angle has a much better chance of making your second chance more impressionable.

The question you want to ask is: “What DO I want to do with this second chance?”

“Do” is a move forward strategy. It focuses you on what you do want to do. “Don’t” drags you backwards and has you think twice about every action you take – what not to do and what to do. It’s a cumbersome strategy that scatters focus and waters down results. Reminds me of a common occurrence on the golf course . . .

Even if you don’t play golf, you’ll be able to appreciate this scenario. The last time the golfer played this particular hole he/she put the ball in the water. They now have a second chance to play this hole. Imagine what it would be like if your entire focus was on what you didn’t want to do again. Ask any golfer with that mindset where the second ball went. The one word answer is “Splash.”

Just do this exercise in your mind right now: Think of something you don’t want to do and notice the feelings it generates in your body. I get a sluggish feeling when I imagine “Don’t.” Now think of something you “Do” want to do. What feelings are attached to that? For me, I feel an energy that makes me want to act.

“Do” and “Don’t” may seem like semantics to you until you put them into action. When you do that, you’ll personally experience the feelings that go along with each approach.

When you focus on what you do want, your second impression is so strong that it makes your first one come in second.

All the best,

John



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