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What the Grasshopper Has to Teach Us About Shame and Rebirth

photo: blackbass on flickr

photo: blackbass on flickr

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever had someone not get you at all? Have you ever been snubbed or judged unfairly?

The grasshopper knows your pain.

While some insects get all the glory (cough**butterflies**cough), others are forever shunned from the Insect Hall of Fame, their little insect noses pressed against the glass while their show-offy cousins soak up the limelight.

It’s time to rectify this situation. The injustice must end!

Grasshoppers are a mighty species and the day has come for them to receive their props!

But first, let’s review the evidence against them, shall we?

It started in Ancient Greece. That’s when a storyteller named Aesop decided to thoroughly diss grasshoppers by portraying them as wild and crazy lowlifes with no work ethic. The ant, on the other hand, was described as a model citizen, hard-working and frugal.

photo: Samantha Henneke on flickr

photo: Samantha Henneke on flickr

The ant? A model citizen?

I don’t know about you, but when was the last time a swarm of grasshoppers invaded your kitchen, nibbling all the food on the counters and building super-highways on the floor?

(If your answer is yesterday, your problem is Biblical and beyond the scope of this blog. I’m sorry I can’t help.)

After Aesop, the dissing continued.

Unfaithful women became known as grasshoppers, “hopping” from man to man. Those with ADHD tendencies were said to have a “grasshopper mind.”

The television show “Kung Fu” equated the grasshopper with one who has a lot to learn. Yes, Master Po used “grasshopper” as a term of endearment, but the message was clear.

Grasshoppers were unworthy, “less than.”

The final blow came with the movie “A Bug’s Life.”

don't be dissin the hopper

Once again, the ants got all the props and the grasshoppers were losers. They even had the lead grasshopper get eaten alive by a bird.

That ain’t right. The violence stops here, people.

So here’s what you need to know.

Yes, grasshoppers have big appetites. Yes, they have been known to consume entire countries and not look back.

But that’s only some species of grasshoppers. Most of them are much better behaved. And they have all kinds of cool traits.

Check it out:

1. Grasshoppers Are Elite Athletes.

photo: Hermitianta Prasetya Putra on flickr

photo: Hermitianta Prasetya Putra on flickr

Some species of grasshopper can jump two hundred times their length in one jump. That’s like you or me jumping over a thousand feet.

Take that, little ant!

2. Grasshoppers Are Meteorologists.

map it

You know the chirping sound grasshoppers make? That’s not just any ordinary noise.

That’s the sound of a super-powered auditory thermostat. If you count the number of chirps that take place over fourteen seconds and add 40, that’s the current temperature in Fahrenheit.

Can you do that? No, you can’t! But grasshoppers can!!

3. Grasshoppers Are Freaky. In A Good Way.

photo: mike goren on flickr

photo: mike goren on flickr

Most of have ears in a regular place. Like near the eyes and mouth.

But grasshoppers are renegades. Maybe it’s all those years of getting dissed. Maybe they wanted to show the world just how creative they can be. Or maybe they just wanted to make a statement, via body art.

Whatever the reason, grasshoppers have ears on their bellies. And they’re not ashamed to flaunt them.

Yes, it might look a little funny to those of us who are used to carting our ears around on our heads, but grasshoppers don’t care. Their cute little belly-ears allow them to hear the songs of their fellow grasshoppers.

And if that’s not a commitment to community spirit, I don’t know what is.

4. Grasshoppers have OCD. In a good way.

photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

If having ears on their bellies wasn’t enough, grasshoppers are super duper neat freaks. They clean themselves all the time.

Like, all the time.

You’re never going to come upon a grungy, smelly grasshopper. It just won’t happen.

The grasshopper’s commitment to cleanliness is so strong, they will even pull their antennae through their mouths to get them as squeaky clean as possible.

You heard that right: Pull their antennae through their mouths.

Even if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t. Am I right?

But the grasshopper does. Because they rock like that.

5. Grasshoppers Are Masters of Metamorphosis.

photo: jay iwasaki on flickr

photo: jay iwasaki on flickr

For years, grasshoppers have had to sit on the sidelines while the butterfly was carted out as the model of metamorphosis and rebirth. (Dragonflies have been on the sidelines too, but that’s another story.)

There’s nothing wrong with the one-shot model of change. Hide away in a cocoon and emerge with wings. Pretty cool.

But the grasshopper presents a different model, one that is actually more realistic and accessible to the masses.

The grasshopper doesn’t just go through one big change. Oh no.

After the tiny little grasshopper hatches from the eggs laid by its mother, it sheds its skin and emerges as a bigger, better version of itself five or six times.

photo: planthealth.info

photo: planthealth.info

Anyone can do that once. But five or six times?

It takes a strong commitment to personal growth and fulfillment. Not to mention an ability to stand up to years of shame and abuse by the mainstream media, all the way back to Aesop.

photo: mike dierken on flickr

photo: mike dierken on flickr

So the next time you feel misunderstood, the next time someone snubs you or makes fun of your ears, just remember the grasshopper.

Remember that a feisty little long-jumping, meteorologist-chirping, freaky-eared bad ass is on your side.

No one knows better than the grasshopper that we never stop changing and growing. That it’s never too late to morph into a newer, better version of yourself.

And if all else fails, you can always pull your antennae through your mouth.

It just might make you feel better.

photo: ben ostrowsky on flickr

photo: ben ostrowsky on flickr

How has your life been like a grasshopper’s? How many times have you experienced rebirth? Share your comments below!

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17 Responses to What the Grasshopper Has to Teach Us About Shame and Rebirth

  1. Diane August 13, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Hi Z!
    Ministry is my 6th incarnation of Spirit showing up as Diane. I like this one the best so far :-)

    • Z Egloff August 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Rev. Diane!

      I like this one best in you too. You make a wonderful Rev. Grasshopper! :)


  2. sherry vierra August 13, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Loved this!! I’m forwarding to my grandchildren. We had a talk about dragonflies yesterday. I explained to them I was wearing earrings that are cute little dragonflies. The are to remind me that I have quit propelling myself through life by the seat of my pants, most of the time. We talked about the advantage of moving from the gas of passion to the power of thought. To take it a step further, I told them that to develop wings of faith one must burst through the head and the need for all the answers. Just do it…trust in the process.

    • Z Egloff August 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      How awesome that you have such discussions with your grandchildren. They are lucky to have such a wise and wonderful grandmother. I like that you use your earrings to remind you to let go of the propelling motion. And trusting the process – always a good thing! :)


  3. Karen August 13, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    LOL — love this post. Thanks to you, Z, the grasshopper will no longer “not get no respect.”

    With regard to world views/belief systems, I’ve rebirthed myself 4 times (well, 5, counting my rebirth from despising country music to adoring it). After each rebirthing, I slept like a baby (woke up throughout the night and cried). :)

    I’ve come to know that when what I’m currently believing is no longer making total sense to me, I just better get ready to make the plunge. If there’s a “next time,” I’ll plan to “shed my skin” (facelift, anyone?) and gnaw on my antennae for comfort.

    • Z Egloff August 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      I too have moved from someone who didn’t get country music to someone who now truly enjoys it. Especially Vince Gill (Melissa and I have tix to see him in October!).

      Congrats on your multiple rebirths! Glad you have emerged a better and stronger incarnation each time. And I’m glad you like the antennae cleaning piece. Talk about tidy!! :)


  4. Tracy Stewart August 13, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Loved this post Z. I’m a fan of the dragonfly. I have dragonfly everything in my treatment room. It’s a metamorphosizingly friendly place.

    But has anyone considered the maggot/fly? Its life cycle is exactly like the butterfly, just not as pretty. It reminds me that I tend to see some things as good, beautiful, desirable and other things as bad, ugly and disgusting.

    But like Rumi says, the Divine is beyond ideas of right and wrong. The maggot reminds me that there is a reason for everything including being on the clean-up team. We’re talking about recycling carbon here, the element that defines Life as we know it. The maggot’s job is simply this, to turn death into life, to transform garbage into gold.

    I try to remember this when I’m in some really messy place.

    • Z Egloff August 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Hi Tracy,

      Ahhhh – the maggot/fly. I will put this on my list of possible future blog posts. The animal kingdom has much to teach us about growth and rebirth. And true beauty. Buzzards are also on the list, for the same reason. :)


    • Tracy Stewart August 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      Yep. The buzzard would be on that list for sure and hyenas and worms too and maybe some of the creepy crawlies you need to keep your fish tank clean. You could call them the “Alchemists” or how ’bout “Transformers”?

      Why should butterflies and dragonflies get all the glory? Keep up the good work, Grasshopper.

      • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

        Love the suggestions! :-)

    • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Many, many thanks for this website. Am new to it & grateful to have been synchronistically led to it!

      While I loved & enjoyed Z’s article, the analogy & the beautiful photos of the grasshoppers, I also related to the maggot… (And, I haven’t counted the # of shifts, as perhaps outwardly the expressions aren’t as dramatic. Or maybe I just have a long way to go… Seems that it’s easier to remember deeper truths for others.) Nevertheless, each morphing has led to progress, into more ‘being-ness’, more joy, creativity, faith & living more intuitively in the moment… for which I am grateful.

      Just before a molting, I go through a ‘maggot’ period… Quite messy, uncomfortable, & easy to get into self-judgment… Yet I have come to see it always leads to another shift.

      Thank you for the maggot clean-up team analogy. Helps me be more compassionate with myself & shift more into Rumi’s description of the Divine world, rather than the polarity of 3D thinking.

      Thank you both! Fun & inspiring!

      • Aloha Lani November 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        And thanks again for the article!
        Perhaps I am just a grasshopper with lots of jumps in me 😉
        (Type 1 Energy Type).

      • Z Egloff November 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

        Aloha Lani!!

        Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments! :)

        I love that you are able to find the story and metaphor that works for you. The Mighty Maggot!! I also appreciate that you are able to love yourself and hold the space of moving through a messy and uncomfortable period of self-growth. Yay you!!


  5. Janet August 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Z, I got a huge laugh out of this one–the bit about the grasshoppers in the kitchen being a Biblical problem. I startled the cat, I laughed so hard.

    And yes, that whole morphing into someone new 5 or 6 times sounds very familiar. A lot of those times could have happened as a kid, since every time we moved I had the perfect opportunity to become someone I was not…each time I have reinvented myself has been an improvement, despite some bad press. Just like the grasshopper!

    • Z Egloff August 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Janet,

      Oh this makes me so happy. Anytime one of my blog posts can frighten a cat, I feel that I’ve done my job.

      I like that you had the opportunity to morph often as a kid – that’s a new take on the “frequent moves as a child” theme. And I’m happy that you’ve overcome any bad press! :)


  6. Rumah August 19, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    My name is Rumah and enjoyed your grasshopper blog. It is refreshing to see so many of our youth awaking, all at the same time. POP went the universe!, and they flowed upon us like wonderous grass hoppers, hungry for knowledge and peace. Growing and changing over and over, until we were ONE. Thank you for all you do in and for Love. Much Respect, Rumahji

    • Z Egloff August 19, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Rumahji,

      Thank you for your comment and for visiting the blog. I like the vision of the grasshoppers invading the world for peace. What a great way to envision it.

      Blessings to you. Come back again anytime! :)


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