GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


October 20, 2017

Keeping up Appearances

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:44 am

EnvyThe Grasshopper had this to say yesterday: “My life is more important to me than my lifestyle.”

What a revelation!

Do you remember the mindset known as “Keeping up with the Joneses?” That meant you had to match your neighbor’s lifestyle to be considered worthy. Judging your worth by what you have is an American mainstay that needs to go away.

What about the breadwinners who slaved extra hours to be able to provide what the Joneses had, only to impair their health and well-being in the process? Where’s the win there – an earlier grave with a fancier coffin?

There is sacrifice and there is madness. Keeping your nose to the grindstone for the sake of lifestyle is lunacy.

Working hard to attain worthwhile goals is fulfilling. Doing so to increase your perceived worth is worthless.

I’m not sure how many years or minutes any of us have left but I know this: Living my life without having to superficially manufacture worth is purposeful and priceless.

This is not a rant on what money can’t buy. It’s more to shine a spotlight on our purpose in life. I don’t think anyone’s purpose is to be a showboat. If it is, they’ll surely sink with the sun.

I don’t often ask “Why” questions but here’s one that works for me: Why are you here? What’s your purpose?

Let your purpose flow into everything you do and let the Joneses keep up with you.

All the best,

John



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October 19, 2017

Tired of Being Angry?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:40 am

AngerHow do you stop being angry? For that to happen, I believe you have to be tired of being angry.

For some people, anger fuels them; for most, it depletes us. Those fueled by anger eventually burn out earlier than the rest. That means they die sooner.

Becoming tired of being angry takes some recognition – the recognition that anger isn’t working for you. You begin to recognize that it’s taking its toll and it’s wearing you out.

Recognizing your anger doesn’t mean you won’t get angry again. It just means that you’ll let it go sooner.

Reminds me of something Jerry Stocking said some years ago: “Judge quickly.” I took that to mean that we all judge in some form or another. The key is to have your judgement, then let it go. Because if you let the judgment continue, it turns into drama and if the drama wears on, your judgement becomes a fact of life rather than an opinion. The same applies to anger.

Let your angry moment have its moment. Then let it go.

Are you tired of being worn out? Try giving anger a sleeping pill. Justifying your anger just keeps it awake.

To stop being angry, you have to recognize that you are. Then you can give anger its say and then send it on its way.

Let me close with one of my favorite quotes from The Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

All the best,

John



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October 12, 2017

Frustration/Dissatisfaction

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:58 am

FrustrationHere’s one of the longest blog posts I’ve ever written from a long time ago. Don’t pay too careful attention to it unless you’re a man or woman.

There is one major difference that separates men from women – the way they display fear.

I’m not referencing the fear that comes upon you when you are under deadly assault. This is more about the fear that permeates your life in general.

By and large, men lead their lives frustrated and women go through life dissatisfied. I’m sure there are elegant examples to the contrary but if you just said “this doesn’t apply to me,” you are most likely in denial.

Dr. Dave Dobson, whom I cite often, says that we come out of the birthing canal with one sensation – fear. The way we display it and the degree to which we act it out takes on a vocabulary of its own – apprehension, cautiousness, anger, nervousness, annoyed, hurt, fight or flight, paranoia, etc. These words are all subsets of the thing we first learn – fear.

Frustration and Dissatisfaction are forms of fears that have been culturally conditioned within men and women. Think of little boys being admonished for crying, while there is a level of expectation for crying in little girls. It’s all part of the early conditioning that affects most men and women their entire lives.

Did you ever see a group of 5 year old girls playing King of the Mountain? “Young ladies don’t engage in that behavior” is a conditioning phrase as is, “Little boys don’t play with dolls” – (unless, of course, they have weapons and are called “action figures”).

Men have been conditioned since a very early age that they “must know and know right now.” It’s an expectation. Frankly, it’s the reason there are more stuttering boys than girls. The speed with which they are to answer pressures them to say something before the response is formed. The impatient parent causes them to have a halting response which becomes a pattern. Stutterers aren’t born but formed.

When the boss asks a man for an answer, there is no time for quiet reflection. An instant answer is expected and given – often the wrong answer. Women are puzzled when they tell their man their problems as to why he goes into solution mode. It’s his conditioning. She may just want a sounding board but men are conditioned to have to know. It’s also why many men won’t stop and ask for directions.

Men live under a double bind where an impossible demand is put upon them that they are expected to fulfill. Philosopher, Alan Watts said it this way:

“Anybody who lives under the dominance of a double bind is living in a state of chronic frustration. He is devoting his life to solving a problem that is meaningless and nonsensical precisely because it has no solution.”

This cultural expectation of men has them constantly seeking control, which doesn’t exist, that just adds to the frustration and often leads to anger. Who attends more anger management classes, men or women? You now have an appreciation how it got to be that way.

Women live in a stew of dissatisfaction. They can never seem to get where they want to go because something always seems to be standing in their way or holding them back. Conditioning is the culprit. Think of the attitudes that have been displayed in the past towards women. “Why does she want to go to college? We’ll just spend all that money and she’ll wind up married and pregnant.” There is not a lot of expectation for girls in many cultures and that attitude gets passed on. Women as a result do a lot of settling. They settle for this and they settle for that until it blossoms into full blown dissatisfaction.

There comes a point in most women’s lives where they ask some form of the question, “Is this all there is?” it’s when women begin to fall apart. It means their patterns are coming unglued and things that had meaning for them in the past no longer contain the same meaning. Any superficiality they have begins to come unraveled.

Warning: It gets tricky here.

When the old patterns begin to fall apart, they dig their heels in for one last stand (like Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan). Women actually become more superficial during this time. They do so many things out of character. They’ll get into therapy, take dangerous prescription drugs like Prozac and the like, they’ll get a tattoo on their butt, get a wild new hairdo, or institute a major wardrobe change, have an affair, get a divorce, start smoking pot, yadda, yadda.

The good news is most women figure it out, well before men, that nothing on the outside is going to change their life. That’s when the superficiality ends and they put their lives back together and find satisfaction in discovering themselves vs. their role. They had been searching for satisfaction in a cultural role that was denied them. That’s the sad irony. The satisfaction isn’t in the role; it’s in discovering that who you really are is much deeper than anything that culture has to offer.

Sorry to report that most men stay superficial until about 10 minutes before they die. It’s conditioning. The illusion of control has them hang on, for almost their entire life, to the idea that the answer is out there.

I can tell you from experience that one of the most peaceful experiences you’ll witness is a dying man giving up control. The peacefulness that they enjoy in those fleeting moments could have been with them 50 years sooner by discovering, as Eckhart Tolle calls it, “the life beneath your life’s situation.”

If you find yourself in a perpetual state of frustration or dissatisfaction, you need to fall apart. I can tell you from personal experience it’s not a pleasant, yet a necessary step to find the deeper you. Trust that there is a more fulfilling answer than the one you’re looking for by chasing the horizon. You’re going to find that satisfying answer. The only question is: How soon can you let go of the façade that you call you?

All the best,

John



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October 9, 2017

Assessments

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:53 pm

Screenshot 2017 10 10 00 41 45Look what I found on “Too Lazy to Write Something New Tuesday.” This is from a decade ago.

When we assess something, we evaluate its worth. It could be an item on eBay, what a political candidate has to say, a business venture, or a potential dancing partner.

We make assessments every day of our life. It’s part of the human software package.

Assessments are interpretations of reality. Sometimes we do a terrific job and oftentimes we don’t.

The real difficulty begins when we label our assessments as the truth. It may true for us but it may not pass the sniff test of truth for others. That’s when the wicket becomes like a cinnamon bun. Life gums up and we begin debating the truth.

The only real truth is reality. It’s true every time. Reality doesn’t debate and it never gets stuck. Reality is life. Look out your window. What do you see? Reality! Look at your financial situation. What do you see? Reality! Look at your personal relationships. Reality! Reality is like dog poop – it’s everywhere and everyone eventually steps in it.

When you watch a court room drama on TV or in the movies, typically you will see a set of facts laid out by the prosecution and then the defense will refute, ignore or complicate those facts. There is an old lawyer axiom with a new twist that comes from former Vice-President, Al Gore:

“When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler.”

There is a lot of unnecessary hollering going on. The loud noises come from those resisting reality.

The Grasshopper had this to say about assessments:

“Life flows when reality and your assessment of reality are the same.”

Byron Katie gives us an amazing appreciation for reality in her book, “Loving What Is.” I recommend it to anyone who is raging against reality. Reminds me of a story . . .

When my boys were younger and living at home, we would rent a cottage at the Jersey shore for a couple of weeks each summer. We went to the beach everyday and a good portion of that time was spent in the water riding the surf. I remember starting a ritual with them that we did at least once a vacation. We would stand almost waist deep in the water facing the oncoming waves. We formed a human chain by holding hands and puffed up our chests and resisted the approaching wave. We all got knocked back or under by the sheer force of the ocean and when we collected ourselves we said the following in unison:

“Man versus ocean; ocean wins again.”

Then we would all laugh. When you oppose the flow of reality, you get knocked on your tushie every time.

There is reality and an assessment of reality. When there is a disconnect between the two, we suffer.

Here’s my assessment: You can shorten the hold that suffering has on you when you get in the practice of accepting reality.

All the best,

John



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October 4, 2017

Dancing

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:57 am

DancingLook what I found in the archives from just about 10 years ago. It made me tap my toe again.

I have never been considered a great dancer. I’ve had my moments but, by and large, a majority of the population does it better than me. But before you try and rescue me, let me tell the truth. I don’t like to dance – never have.

I’ve had instruction. I have made the effort. I have had world class dancing partners – all to no avail. Before you send me your secret method or a Dance Fever video, let me come clean. This ain’t the kind of dancing I’m referring to.

The purposeful avoidance of the facts is the dance that I choose to observe from afar. For example, I had the opportunity to watch some of the presidential debates on Saturday night and got to see an amazing array of dance steps. It’s entertaining and uncomfortable at the same time to see human beings knowingly dance around questions.

What is the biggest fear of answering a specific question with a specific answer? Is it being found out? You bet!

The truth is everyone already knows at some level what you are hiding. We are too polite as a society to probe past the dodge and we pay the price for our avoidance of the uncomfortable. The price for not asking is lifelong discomfort for not being willing to be temporarily prickly. This avoidance has us walk around with a wound that never heals.

I also got to see baseball great, Roger Clemens interviewed on 60 Minutes last night. Roger gave a fairly direct interview and then came a question about taking a lie detector test that revealed his discomfort. His answers then became less direct and you witnessed his two-step. On the same show, they interviewed a man who had murdered 20 people. You may have been discomforted by his acts or his rationale for committing them, but your BS radar didn’t activate when you heard his answers.

So hiding the obvious is like putting a cork in a leaking dam or wearing a bad toupee. Everyone knows what’s happening but we pretend that we don’t.

This is not a directive to challenge every dance step you encounter. In many cases, you may have probed in an area that’s none of your business. This is more of a suggestion to get curious about what you are hiding. In most cases, whatever it is, the evasive actions you employ are to protect your ego.

Who you think you are is someone you made up and got comfortable with. When people question this make believe you, you go into protective mode. You cover up a myth with a fairy tale. No one is fooled.

You can start your striptease slowly. Begin with a little lie that you have you been telling that you can stop telling today. Once you remove the veil of secrecy from that one, you can progressively move up the food chain until you get to the Double Whopper.

The benefit is you become more comfortable with who you really are and are not afraid to show it to the world.

If you need a little logic to jumpstart your convincer strategy, ask yourself this: How come one can be more trusting and comfortable with the answers of a confessed, multiple, murderer than with the answers provided by the next President of the United States?

All the best,

John



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