GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


January 15, 2020

It’s Not Adding Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 1:11 am

Crissy jarvis gdL UZfnD3I unsplash“Life doesn’t add up until you learn how to subtract” – so said The Grasshopper late last night.

To me, life is a trip out and a trip back. The trip out is addition; the trip back is subtraction.

So what is there to go back to? The answer is: who you were before you made all your additions. Let’s call it your raw essence.

There are so many things we add to ourselves over time and many of them are culturally induced. “Keeping up with the Joneses” readily comes to mind.

We add so many things: preferences, prejudices, roles, relationships, and beliefs to name but a few. The list is long.

The idea of subtraction, for most, comes along around midlife. Some embark on that path, but many don’t. It’s a choice point, and too many of us ignore the invitation to head back home. Think of subtraction as removing labels from yourself – kinda’ like peeling off bumper stickers.

What to subtract? – That which was once “important” that no longer earns that label. With each subtraction, we gain deeper perspective as to who we are without all the baggage.

If you are working overtime at remaining “relevant,” you are caught up in addition, and the peace of mind that subtraction brings is absent from your equation.

Think of it this way: Addition is chasing the horizon; subtraction is enjoying the sunset.

Who are you without your additions? You can start finding out now. All you have to do is recognize that a minus sign is a plus.

All the best,

John



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January 8, 2020

Right Idea, Wrong Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:47 am

Yucel moran ee333RVA0SU unsplashThere was snow in the forecast in my area for this past Monday. As a precaution, I lifted the wiper blades on my car so they wouldn’t get snowed under and frozen to the windshield. As it turned out, it didn’t snow and I lowered the blades yesterday. This morning I woke up to unexpected snow with my wiper blades covered over.

I had the right idea, just on the wrong day. It got me curious about what other ideas get implemented either too soon or, more importantly, too late.

I remember when I turned 50. My dad was still alive and called me to wish me “Happy Birthday.” I remember asking him this: “Dad, you were 50 once, what would you have done differently knowing what you know now?” His answer was immediate: “Save more money.”

Hindsight in 2020 is no more useful than it was in any previous year. I am reminded about a technique I learned years ago that we could all use a bit more. It’s called “Future Pacing.” In short, thinking or planning ahead but with one addition – putting yourself in the picture.

Picture yourself in a future scenario that will come about if you stay on the errant path you’re on. Actually see, hear, and feel what it will be like. Then do the opposite: see, hear, and feel what it will be like if you shift gears now. The feeling you get from either can serve as the catalyst to move you forward.

English sales trainer Phil M. Jones has three questions he asks a client he is “future pacing”:

1. Do you believe this time next year that you’ll be in a better situation than you are today?

2. How are you going to feel when you get there? (evoke emotion)

3. What are the consequences of this not working out?

The wrong day is always tomorrow. Don’t believe me, consult the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin.

The most opportune time to envision your future is always now. What you envision and act on now increases your odds of arriving there. Vowing to act tomorrow only creates more yesterdays.

The right idea and the right day is today. Are you going to act on it or let it slip away?

All the best,

John



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January 6, 2020

Escape (The Pinã Colada Reaction)

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:12 am

Screenshot 2020 01 05 19 41 23It seems that life is filled with one escape attempt after another.

What’s not immediately apparent is that almost everyone is attempting to escape the same thing.

There are many methods of escape. Here are some of the main ones: alcohol abuse, drug abuse, excessive activity, couch potato-itis, social media preoccupation, (insert yours here).

So what is just about everyone attempting to escape from? – The thoughts in their head.

The activities we choose as a diversion are an attempt to get away from our disturbing thoughts. The Grasshopper weighed in with this over the weekend: “When you pay too much attention to the voice in your head, you have joined the walking dead.”

The best way to quiet your excessive thoughts is to observe them, not argue with them. Get curious about cultivating the habit of observing your mind at work, as a bystander, not as a participant. When you observe your thoughts, you give them the attention they crave. They will dissipate more quickly when you invite them in for observational tea.

Observation is how to get your thoughts to leave town instead of your method of leaving your senses.

When your diversion attempt is over, those thoughts are waiting with the same intensity. Let’s call it a “thought hangover.”

Yes, even observed thoughts can return but not with the same frequency. In fact, with observational practice, they visit less and less.

The side effects of escapism are cumulative, which means you will pay a continual price for your particular vice.

Want your mind to be more kind? Observe your thoughts in action, and you won’t need to escape as a distraction.

All the best,

John



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December 30, 2019

Values vs. What You Value

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:10 am

Matthew henry OpF2pdcCKdw unsplashIt seems to me that “Values” are universal and “What you value” is personal.

Values seem to be the unbendable law, and “what we value” bends toward our beliefs.

“Love thy neighbor” is universal; “Get off my lawn” is a reversal.

You have to be sightless not to see the tribal anger that is permeating our culture. That’s due in part to resistance to change. Society is always evolving but we don’t notice the change while it’s happening. It’s only after, when we read historic accounts, that we notice the building blocks that led to the change.

If you say, “This isn’t right,” you may want to ask yourself a question right after. That question is: “Is it not right because it violates values or is it not right because it violates what I value?”

Many of us value our preferences, predilections, and prejudices. If they don’t morph with the evolution of change, we’ll erect walls in order to stay the same. We will live in isolation with our tribe and be at war with anyone on the other side.

Values don’t change but what we value is adaptable. If we refuse to adjust, we’ll just continue to kick up dust and cloud the horizon so we can’t see the future.

Living in the past is the hallmark of “what I value.” The key to a more harmonious future is to start focusing on values now instead of corralling your sacred cow.

Look to nature for a clue. The rigid branch of a tree is the one that snaps. It’s the bendable branch shapes its future.

All the best,

John



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December 12, 2019

Letter To Santa

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:49 am

Screenshot 2019 12 12 09 43 49Dear Santa,

It’s been a year since I’ve written. Hope you, Mrs. Claus, and the elves are enjoying the holiday season.

As always, I know you won’t be able to bring me everything on my list, but every effort will be appreciated.

These are the things I want the most:

🎄 Congress people who ask questions rather than pontificate during congressional hearings.

🎄 Bombas socks. They’re my favorite.

🎄 Less Christmas songs from artists I’ve never heard of.

🎄 No more vampire movies or ones with car chase scenes. Hasn’t that been done, Santa?

🎄 Proper use of the reflexive pronoun “Myself,” especially by athletes.

🎄 And finally, Santa, is it possible for me to never meet anyone who likes “Flo” in the Progressive Insurance commercials?

Thank you for all your consideration. I know there are some big “asks” in my letter this year and I perfectly understand if you can’t fill them.

Thank you and Merry Christmas,

(LJ) Little Johnny

P.S. Do you think you’ll be set up for texts by next Christmas?



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December 2, 2019

How To Stay Unhappy

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:10 am

Christopher ryan cFDgleArETA unsplashAs we come upon the happy holiday season, we can easily glue ourselves to unhappiness. Here’s how: Justify your unhappiness.

There is no better way to stay unhappy than to list a stocking-full of reasons why you are that way.

Here’s a Christmas tip: Don’t put justifications in your letter to Santa. It’s a surefire way to get him to divert his sleigh from your chimney or doorway.

The removal of one word from your vocabulary will take your justifications down to a bare minimum: “Because.”

The minute you say I’m unhappy because . . . you are stickier than a dog slobbered candy cane.

“Because” is the gateway to justifications, and justifications will keep whatever is being justified in place.

So the formula for keeping the holidays unhappy is to defend your unhappiness.

I love the way Eckhart Tolle acknowledges unhappiness. He recommends saying the following to yourself: “I have unhappiness within me.” That gives the unhappy feeling the recognition it seeks. Once you recognize and just sit with the feeling, you begin the process of unjustified healing.

Why should you leave your justifications off your list? When you do, you weaken their glue and help prevent a “Christmas of Blue.”

All the best,

John



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November 12, 2019

The Release

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

Mitch lensink Ismnr6WSHCU unsplashIt seems so “obvie” to say you have to release your grip in order to let something go.

Our grip is often so unconscious that we don’t realize that an invisible force is actually gripping us.

Something has a hold on us that keeps us holding on.

The release begins with a request. It’s sort of like a parole hearing. You have to ask the parole board to let you go.

You don’t have to know what’s gripping you. There is a part of you that knows. You just have to ask.

I learned that a well-formed request takes this form:

“I request that you do X by time Y.” For example: “I request that you release your grip on me right now.”

You may have to make the request multiple times over multiple days. And just like with repeated exercise, you will feel a difference. The grip will lessen with each request and the walls that seemed ever present in the past won’t confine you.

You are making the request to the part of you that has you in its grasp. It’s an unconscious pattern of behavior. What you may not realize is that patterns are purposeful. They served a purpose when they were formed. You may have consciously outgrown the need for that pattern of behavior, but the subconscious pattern will run forever unless you request a release.

Consider this scenario. A spouse dies in the prime of their life. Their surviving mate is left to move on without them. After a time, they meet someone new and start dating and begin a relationship. Something holds them back from committing to this new partnership. What is the pattern that prevents this twosome from moving forward? It may be that the surviving spouse may have never released their grip on his or her deceased partner and that pattern has a death grip on them.

“The Release” is yours for the asking. The key is to request and request often.

All the best,

John



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October 31, 2019

Arguing

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 5:36 am

Sarah kilian vf0lyNg41lk unsplashI heard a commentator offer a profound observation the other night and his message is universally applicable: “The only reason to make a bad argument is because you don’t have a good one.”

It got me to thinking what we argue for most: our limitations! That’s a bad argument – one that doesn’t have a forward strategy, only a defense for staying stuck.

What are we defending that’s indefensible? It’s easy to find out. Just examine any argument you make without evidence and you’ll find your limitation.

The biggest defensive and most limiting argument I’ve ever heard is this: “That’s just the way I am.” Talk about stuck. That’s truly the worst argument you can make.

A more accurate recognition is, “That’s the way I’ve been conditioned.” That observation opens the door to reconditioning vs. the mired in the muck argument that keeps you stuck.

Bad arguments not only make you look foolish but also keep you fooling yourself.

It’s worthwhile to reflect on an argument you are making that isn’t working. Continuing to make that argument only increases your limitations.

A “mirror moment” worth our reflection is this: Ask yourself, “What am I never-ending defending that continually leads to unhappy endings?”

Your answer to that question will produce a much better thing to argue for.

All the best,

John



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October 22, 2019

Your Heart’s Desire

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:03 am

Snoopy Heart s DesireI wrote about one of my favorite songs recently: WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR.

I first heard it as a child when watching the movie Pinocchio.”

Two lines from the song impressed me deeply:

1. “If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.”

2. “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.”

It wasn’t until much later in life that I discovered the magic behind these lyrics.

As a child, I thought they were about “wishing.” And like any child, I had my fair share of wishes that didn’t come true. (I’m specifically remembering one about a pony).

That led to a lot of disappointment, to the point that I gave up on wishing altogether.

It dawned on me that wishing is just talking to yourself – something that has never resulted in making a dream come true.

In order to achieve your heart’s desire, you have to get past the talking stage. That means you have to take your dream to heart, which is a fancy way of saying that you already have the internal resources (heart) to get what you want. You just have to get your mental critic out of the way for your heart to have its say.

All creativity comes from this quiet place of the heart. The more often you get there, the less often you’ll be a puppet to your thinking.

We’ve been conditioned to think that only certain, fortunate people get to achieve their dreams. The song preaches from a different hymn book: “Makes no difference who you are.”

If I could change one phrase in the lyrics, I would change the words “come to you” to “come through you.”

Your dream isn’t out there somewhere; its raw materials are already in you, ready to be assembled in the quiet recesses of your heart.

If you continue wishing, your nose will continue to grow. You already have your heart’s desire. You just have to get quiet more often to make it so.

All the best,

John



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October 10, 2019

Let’s Argue

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:56 am

Cloudvisual co uk DCtwjzQ9uVE unsplashWant to start an argument? Use comparatives or superlatives!

“Better” or “Best” are good places to start. “My idea is better.” “Inky Octopus has the best calamari in the city.”

Notice that comparatives and superlatives bring up instant counter-arguments.

Who’s the greatest quarterback of all time? “Of course, it’s Tom Brady.” Notice that if you live outside of New England, you may have a different player you want to make an argument for.

To avoid counterproductive arguments, use verifiable language. “Tom Brady has won 6 Super Bowls. No other quarterback in the history of the NFL has done that.”

Use softeners when using comparatives. “There may be a better way to go.”

It’s always productive and less argumentative to put the accent on the information rather than the opinion. This is especially apt when using the words “right” and “wrong.” If you have the right way, notice the only option you have given anyone with a different opinion is to be wrong. No one wants to be wrong.

Putting the accent on the information sounds like this: “According to the Office of Management and Budget, that information is not accurate.” Notice you didn’t say the person was wrong; you just stated the information was inaccurate. It’s much softer on the psyche and leads to a discussion rather than an argument.

I’ll admit there are people, when faced with irrefutable facts, will continue to argue. That’s why they invented the word “moron.” Move on from that person or you will witness never-ending moving of goalposts.

Some people like to argue. If that’s you, continue using comparatives and superlatives and right and wrong and you’ll find someone to spar with all day long.

All the best,

John



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