GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


April 18, 2017

Steppin’ Out

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:57 am

Dog poopHere’s a past reminder from The Grasshopper that will keep you from stepping in it:

“Taking The Next Step Is Difficult When You Don’t Know The Step You’re On Now.”

Looking to make your next move? Odds are it won’t be fruitful if you step off from a place you’re not.

Most of us have no idea where we currently are. That’s why it’s so difficult to get to where we want to go. We fail to notice or acknowledge our current location.

Our self-assessment is clouded. Have you ever heard a friend or close family member say something like, “I’m a people person”? You choke back your response, which you want to shout from the rooftops: “NO YOU’RE NOT!” But you hold your tongue and the other person remains married to an illusion.

So now that you have an appreciation of people making cases for where they’re not, it’s time for you to open up the file on you.

What location are you arguing for that contains none of your footprints?

My hobby is photography. I read photography blogs, visit photography YouTube channels and take online and in-person classes. If you catch me at a weak moment, I may say something as stupid as, “I’m as good as these guys/gals.” NO I’M NOT!

I may have taken a few great photographs over the years but my consistent output is nowhere near the level of the people whom I follow. I may wonder why I can’t get to the next level if I mistakenly believe “I’m as good as they are.”

The wondering ceases when I recognize where I am on the scale. If I’m at a 5 on a scale of 10 and the people I follow are at a 9 or 10 on the same scale, I have found my location. Now it’s my job to figure out, not how to get to 10, but how to get to 6, then 7, etc.

Moving up the scale requires action, not more thinking. What are these ace photographers doing on a daily basis that I’m not? I found the answer: They’re actually shooting and I’m reading about or thinking about shooting.

So the step I’m actually on is a long distance from the step they’re on. If I fail to recognize that, my next step will be into a big pile of dog poop.

If your progress forward has been halted, it may be time to take stock of where you really are before you venture on to your next step. This noticing will give you better footing on your way forward and your brighter future will have a better chance of developing.

All the best,

John



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April 7, 2017

Now Isn’t Then

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:06 am

SeerHere’s a Grasshopper “Flashback Friday” offering:

“Que Sera, Sera Is A Hands-Off Philosophy.”

The lyrics from the song QUE SERA, SERA assert “whatever will be, will be” without ever considering our input in determining our future.

What Was/What Is/ What Will Be are three stages in all of our lives. “What Was” is history, “What Is” is what determines “What Will Be.” In order to have influence on what will be, you have to be present to what is.

Staying in the past (staying in your head) won’t give you the presence of mind to notice what is. Assigning your future to fate negates your ability to influence it by ignoring the present.

What is going on right now is what determines your future, not some mystical, predestined force. I’m not suggesting that you can predict your future; leave that to those who claim to be seers. I’m suggesting that you can influence your future by being more present to the only time you can be present – that’s NOW!

What you consciously do now has more of an effect on your future than any philosophy you’ve come to believe.

When you take action with the presence of mind of presence, those actions are infused with the building blocks of a desired future. If you leave your future to fate, you can plan on more of what you’ve experienced in the past and call it “God’s Will.”

Noticing where we are now presents a certain clarity as to where we will be headed if we continue on our current path. Becoming present to now opens a portal to the future and lets us consider options rather than being blown about by the myth of fate.

Want a say in your future? Take off the blinders that prevent you from seeing now. If you’re stuck, you’re either stuck in the past or stuck on the idea of predestination. The way forward is taking a hard look at where you actually are now. It brings reality into planning your future and leaves QUE SERA, SERA to those who are destined to repeat their past.

All the best,

John



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April 3, 2017

The Blue Sky Lie

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:56 am

Blue skyHere’s a Grasshopper musing from not too long ago:

“Celebrate even when the skies are cloudy.”

Anyone seeking perpetual blue skies is caught in a marketer’s daydream.

Think of life as a case of clouds forming and clouds dissipating with an occasional period of pure blue sky. Anyone selling blue sky as the norm wants your dollars to keep them warm.

This “temporary blue sky” perspective has nothing to do with glasses being half full or empty. It’s a matter of how reality happens.

Whether you heed the words of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow or spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle, the message is the same. Longfellow notes that “into each life some rain must fall” and Tolle says, “It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long – and so it starts to fall apart again. Forms dissolve; new forms arise. Watch the clouds. They will teach you about the world of form.”

It seems the imbedded message is: don’t wait to celebrate.

“When the kids are older,” “when I retire,” “when I hit the lottery” are all symptoms of waiting for blue skies.

There is something to celebrate in each moment. We just have to take the time to notice regardless of the metaphorical weather.

To my eyes, celebration seems absent in most peoples’ lives, except for scheduled merriments that show up on a calendar: birthdays, holidays etc. If that’s you, you’re living under a self-imposed cloud or you live in Ithaca, NY (one of the more cloudy spots in the USA).

Take time to celebrate every day. It doesn’t have to be a monumental event. It could be as minor as removing a smudge from a mirror. “Damn that looks good!”

One celebration builds on another and before too long you’re in the habit of celebrating.

If you’re blue, find something to celebrate. It will bring a patch of blue sky to a gray day.

All the best,

John



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March 28, 2017

Puzzling

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:34 am

PuzzledI was talking with one of my sons last night when The Grasshopper interrupted our conversations with this:

“You’re a puzzle solver but you want to be a puzzle maker.”

Are you constantly solving problems? If so, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for creativity – a force that makes you feel alive.

In order for creativity to come in, we have to get out of our heads. If our heads are constantly filled with problems, we stay trapped inside the border, and creativity is just past the edge of our puzzle.

When our troubles and woes take up most of our mental real estate, there’s not much room for creativity to visit. After all, there’s only so much room inside.

If you’re puzzled how to get outside of your head, notice what’s going inside it. That means to catch yourself thinking. Then observe, not judge, your thoughts.

Observation of your mind at work separates you from the notion that you are your thoughts. You’re not. Prove it to yourself by watching your mind work. After just a bit of noticing, you’ll notice that your mind has a mind of it’s own and doesn’t need your participation. It will prattle on and challenge you to fight with it.

Observing your thoughts rather than doing battle with them, creates space. It’s in that space that you make room for creativity.

We’re all creative, we just have to get out of our head long enough for creativity to make an entrance.

Puzzled? Begin the habit of noticing your mind at work. It’s a guaranteed way to find the missing piece – Creativity.

All the best,

John



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March 21, 2017

Low Passion Alert

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:01 am

TonerThe Grasshopper asked this question a few moons ago: “Is Your Toner Running Low?”

Anyone who’s operated a copy machine can attest to being there when the toner cartridge was low. Their prints were not as sharp and defined as they were with the proper amount of toner.

Is the toner in your life in low supply? I know mine has been at times. I call it the “nobody loves me” mode. My passion (toner) is at a low ebb and nothing seems to be in crisp, clear focus. Life is hard to read.

Even things that have brought me joy in the past fade in passion when my toner runs low. Low passion is a warning sign that you’re about to run out of toner. And if that happens, life just fades away.

It’s valuable to notice when you’re at a low point. It’s the noticing that gives you the opportunity to do something about it. Not noticing makes it seem like a self-fulfilling prophecy that you have a date with destiny.

Let’s take a look at my low point warning: “Nobody loves me.” That is my red flag to start to take notice of all the examples to the contrary. Even if I can’t seem to find any, I’m still left with the option of “I love me.”

When you find a counter-example to your assertion, it opens the door to possibility. When the possibility door is open, creativity is not too far behind. Creativity is passion by another name.

Passion resurfaces when possibilities are explored.

If you’ve slipped into the gray area of life where passion seems absent, take the time to consider possibilities. “What if?” questions are a great start. Start to explore possibilities even if they seem remotely possible. Think of the Norman Vincent Peale quote: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

If you notice your passion is running low, the remedy is to explore possibilities. When you consider what’s possible, the engine of creativity is engaged. When that happens, a clear print is not far behind.

All the best,

John



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March 9, 2017

Magical Thinking

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:46 am

MagicHere’s a “Blast from the Past” from The Grasshopper:

“Leave Magical Thinking At The Children’s Birthday Party.”

Magical thinking is the brand of pap that suggests all you have to do is “Conceive it and Believe it” to make it happen.
Seems no one got the abacus out and did the arithmetic on the rate of failure that belief system delivers.

I have no quarrel with conceiving and believing. They are great catalysts to start the ball rolling. The problem I have with “magical thinkers” is that’s all they think they have to do. Action is absent from their “abracadabra” ideas.

There are many who believe if you say it often enough or believe it fervently enough that will make it happen. The harsh reality is that’s never enough. I’m reminded of an old blonde joke . . .

God Loves Blondes

A blonde finds herself in serious trouble.
Her business has gone bust and she’s in dire financial straits.
She’s desperate so she decides to ask God for help.
She begins to pray . . . “God, please help me. I’ve lost my business and if I don’t get some money, I’m going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lottery.”

Lottery night comes, and somebody else wins.

She again prays . . .”God, please let me win the lottery! I’ve lost my business, my house and I’m going to lose my car as well.”

Lottery night comes and she still has no luck.

Once again, she prays . . . “My God, why have you forsaken me? I’ve lost my business, my house, and my car. My children are starving.

I don’t often ask You for help, and I’ve always been a good servant to You. PLEASE let me win the lottery just this one time so I can get my life back in order.”

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open.

The blonde is overwhelmed by the Voice of God, Himself . . .
“Sweetheart, work with Me on this…. Buy a ticket.”

Magical Thinking is not gender specific nor isolated to a specific culture. It’s a worldwide epidemic and there is only one cure – Action!

Conceive and believe ‘till your heart’s content but don’t expect any results until you put your magic wand away and go out there and seize the day. That’s the magic formula for making hay.

All the best,

John



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March 8, 2017

Breathless

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:42 am

Out of breathDuring a recent hospital visit I had time to reflect on some past Grasshopper Notes. This one hopped out at me:

“You’ll Run Out Of Breath Before You Run Out Of Excuses.”

Have you ever noticed that excuses are never ending? The antithesis of personal culpability comes in the form of an excuse, the constant issuance of which will leave you breathless.

Need validation? Ask just about any high school student who’s failing a subject the reason why. You will get a never-ending bevy of responses like: “ALL the kids are failing” to “The teacher doesn’t like me” and everything in between.

The biggest and most lame excuse we offer is, “I tried.” I remember my hypnosis teacher Dr. Dave Dobson asking us to “try” and pick up a pen from the table. He was quick to go “Yoda” on us and point out that we were either picking it up or we weren’t.

“Try,” according to Dave, was a word we learned in toilet training. When we didn’t make it to the bathroom for whatever the reason, we found out very quickly that exclaiming, “I tried” absolved us of any responsibility. We carried that learning forward and became excuse-making machines.

The difficulty is that excuses are like bad checks; they can’t be cashed. We keep writing them but there is no capital to back them up.

I find the ultimate catchall excuse to be: “That’s just the way I am.” When we can’t justify our actions, we encompass every known excuse into this empty, six-word declaration. You know you’ve run into a world-class excuser when you hear this phrase.

Excuses will always delay our progress. If you are offering a steady stream of them, your forward progress will be dammed up and you’ll be held in place by your own excuses. There’s no excuse for that.

A life of justifying is a life of lying. When you start to retire your excuses one-by-one, you begin to breathe easier and the dam begins to break apart without any huffing and puffing on your part.

If you just found an excuse for why you can’t begin this retiring process, plan on staying where you are until you run out of breath.

All the best,

John



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March 7, 2017

Escape the Past

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:19 am

The pastI was going over some past writings and came across this: a timely reminder we can all use.

“The Escape Hatch From Your Life’s Story Is Presence” – Grasshopper

What is presence and how does it help you escape?
Presence is noticing what’s going on right now. Your story is about what has happened or what could happen. By being present to only what’s here now, you escape the past masquerading as the present, and eliminate the shade being thrown your way by an imagined future.

Presence can easily be discovered by just stopping and noticing your breathing. It was going on before you stopped to notice, but now it’s in your awareness and you are present to it.

When you are present to something, you are laser focused on something. If you’re focused on something in your present, your past and future, and your life story go out of focus. Presence is your escape hatch from a fable that’s defining your life.

You can become present to anything in your environment – sights, sounds, sensations. It just takes a conscious act of focus.

When focused, you become present to your present – which has no resemblance to the life story you’ve been living and telling.

The more often you become present to what’s actually going on, the more distance you create between you and your story.

Presence presents possibilities that the blinders of stories keep you from seeing.

If you’re looking for a gift to move you forward, treat yourself to some presence in the present.

All the best,

John



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February 28, 2017

Pipe Dreams

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:47 am

In the cloudsA friend of mine posted this the other day: “Surround yourself with people who support your dream.”

My initial, unspoken addendum was this: “And with people brave enough to tell you your dream is a pipe dream.”

We all have dreams. The trick is to take appropriate action to give them a chance to come true.

I’m pollyanna enough that I still “wish upon a star.” I don’t mistake that ritual with the necessity of taking action to realize a dream.

There has to be something of substance in the pipeline besides a wing and a prayer, otherwise you only have a handful of air.

I think dreaming is a valuable and useful asset. Dreaming is fun. Dreams can get us past what we think is impossible, but they are not a standalone tool of change.

Dreams and action are a powerful partnership.

What couch potato do you know who’s not a dreamer? You’ll see more lime seeds in your lifetime than you’ll see these folks take action.

There’s an old expression about a person having both feet in the clouds. It pejoratively suggests that nothing will come from that practice. For me, there’s nothing wrong with having one foot in the clouds and one foot on the ground. it strikes me as a productive balance.

Final thought: If you’re not taking consistent action towards your dream, sorry to report, it’s only a pipe dream.

All the best,

John



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February 22, 2017

Truth to Power

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:45 am

HornetThere is a new media buzzphrase that has me reacting as though I’ve been stung by a wasp: “Truth to Power.”

My 1st reaction when I hear the term is “Buzz off!”

First of all, the people who use it wouldn’t recognize truth if it stung them in the ass.

Real truth has no opposite. What most people offer as the truth is “their truth.” That’s better known as an opinion. When someone offers opinion as truth, my internal beehive stops making honey and I want to send out the air force with stinger missiles.

To calm myself down, I automatically translate the phrase “Truth to Power” to “Facts to Power.” When someone is speaking “Facts to Power,” it removes opinion from the information being delivered.

I’m defining facts as does my dictionary: “A thing that is indisputably the case.”

Side note: There is nothing alternate about a fact. “The gun fired” is a fact that’s verifiable and undeniable and has no opposite.

“Your truth” only works for someone who is immune to the facts. I request that we all label our opinions as opinions and let the facts stand on their own. Then we will be more powerful and “truthful” worker bees rather than a hive of jive.

All the best,

John



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