- Thoughts for inspired living

April 16, 2008

Birthday Magic

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:38 am

Ever hire a magician for a child’s birthday party? He entertains the party participants with his sleight of hand tricks and an entrancing performance. The Oohs and Aahs are everywhere and it’s fun to watch and wonder.

Somewhere along the line, the underlying notion that the birthday show was all illusion with no real magic enters our awareness. This is truly a birthday gift.

The magician called “conditioning” has us focus on the number of candles on the cake while we miss what he’s really doing – pulling the tablecloth over our eyes.

His sleight of hand is that our life is determined by the number of years the candles indicate. The magic seems real for most.

Side Note: This is not a “you’re as young as you feel” lecture. You can get all of that you need by watching a “Juiceman” commercial.

This is more of a shift in perspective so that you can get a glimpse of the part of you that isn’t limited by the form it inhabits.

When we focus on our form, we are paying attention to the temporary light of the candles, rather than the ever present light that shines through us. This is the light that allows us to participate in life no matter if there is a bonfire on our cake. This light has inexhaustible candle power and will shine brightly our entire lives.

Find that light. Stop paying attention to the magician and the illusion. Find the real birthday magic – the one gift that will keep on giving – the light that shines through you. It will illuminate you and those around you and the warmth it provides will keep you cozy your entire life.

I am beginning a new birthday tradition today – putting one candle on my cake. It will remind me of the one light that shines through us all – the light of life.

Happy Birthday!


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April 15, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:09 am

During an airline flight in November 2002, The Grasshopper whispered this to me:

“Border lines are invisible from the sky.”

The meaning seems obvious at first but it became a deeper discovery once I sat in quiet contemplation with the quote.

When do border lines disappear between you and me? How do we make that happen?

The starting point seems to be that I have to see the me in you and the you in me.

“Namaste” is a greeting used in India, Nepal and other areas in that region. It’s more than “hello” to many. Namaste is many times accompanied by a hands folded gesture and it signifies the recognition of a common divinity within the other person.

To our intellect the border line seems to be the exterior of the other person. Our limited sense perception makes them seem separate and apart from our exterior. The border disappears when we gain a higher perspective and begin to sense that the same life force that imbues them also animates us. This gives us a deeper sense of the essence of another and the invisible connection we have with all.

Connectivity to all is a powerful meditation that delivers peace. It brings that peace into the interactions you have with others. You begin to treat others the way you want to be treated because you recognize that you are really treating yourself in any interaction. The bible verse “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a powerful teaching. It goes beyond doing good works. That’s not enough. It’s giving yourself and another the respect and dignity that you would bestow on the giver of life itself.

We all forget from time to time. So, if you’ve just treated someone poorly, rather than beat yourself up for your shortcoming, go to work on the meditation of connectivity. This will fill you with peace and your overflow will funnel into your communications with all.

“My peace I give to you.” John 14:27

All the best,



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April 14, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:30 am

Every reporter learns the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY model of questioning in the first chapter of their journalism class. The most unproductive question is WHY.

There is no end to the answers you get from asking a WHY question.

Q: Why did you flunk Algebra?

A: Because the teacher doesn’t like me.

A: All the kids are flunking.

A: My textbook has missing pages.

A: 3 million other answers . . .

WHY questions throw you into a thought loop that has no exit ramp. WHY is always followed by BECAUSE and the reasoning machine goes into perpetual mode and never stops until we stop asking WHY.

All of the other question words elicit useful information. Who asked you to do that? What formula did you use to come up with that answer? Where were you standing when car A hit car B? When would be a good time to call? The question HOW is also useful.

You can add the word “specifically” to all the above questions and get even more precise information.

If you have a piece of behavior that you are constantly questioning, you are asking a WHY question and you won’t get any specificity to act on. You will remain stuck. Why do I always do that? is the type of question that always moves you backwards.

Monitor your language and see how often you ask why. Every time that you ask why, you have stalled progress.

Begin the practice of using the other question words and bear witness to a shift in awareness leading to a plan of action.

Why does this work? Because.

All the best,


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April 11, 2008

Rest in Me

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:00 am

Anyone who’s been in a relationship can attest to having “one of those days” and remembering the ability of their partner to pick them up. They can also remember when they provided the same service to their partner, friend, child, parent, coworker, et al.

It’s nice to know you have such a cozy cushion when your mind is spinning like a pinwheel and your emotions are on “red alert.”

As comforting as that feels, it’s mostly surface comfort when you get a sympathetic ear or soothing embrace. It can be much deeper and cause a larger shift when you adjust your approach in these situations. Reminds me of a story . . .

Back in the Fall of 2006, I attended an elementary school reunion. It was fun to see the people who were once goofy kids in their adult uniforms. There were lots of “remember when’s” and then some catching up on who we were today. I was talking to my school friend, Joan and her husband Mike. Joan began to tell me the story of how Mike refers to her as Pam. She said that anytime she got in her complaining about life mode for too long, Mike would start calling her Pam. I raised an eyebrow and wondered why. Joanie explained it was an acronym for “Piss & Moan.”

There is a point of complaining past which there is no conscious solution. It’s like repeating the same joke over and over again. It’s tiring and no longer effective.

There is another way. Listen and observe yourself or another in a state of presence. That means to get yourself to a place where your mind is not trying to figure out a solution – a calm mind with no thoughts, only pure attention to what’s happening in the present moment. This state of presence that you provide for another may seem like you are doing nothing, and the results prove otherwise. Your internal silence can turn a babbling brook into a serene lake without any conscious contribution.

You are inviting the other person to rest in you – to rest in the serene place where you are.

There is no conscious invitation necessary. Just offer your resting place by being present for them and they will find their way there. You may want to practice in low risk situation until you begin to get the hang of it. For example, when someone offers a minor complaint, just go to your quiet place and watch them follow without any direction. You are offering them a safe landing at an “other than conscious” level and it will be felt. Reminds me of another story . . .

Six years ago I was attending a 7 day workshop where there were two days off in the middle to process the teachings. One of the off days was to be a day of silence. You were asked not to speak for an entire day. You had to interact with the world and your classmates without speaking for a 24 hour period. One of the women came to our cabin to visit on one of the off days and it was my day for silence. She had her day of silence the day before and was able to speak. She began to chat on about this and that and then began to offer up a painful situation in her life. I listened with curiosity at first and then shifted into a state of presence where I had no internal chatter of my own – just full attention to her and the moment. The results were extraordinary. She had a bout of tears and an emotional release and then came over and gave me a big hug. She said she hadn’t felt this good in 10 years. What did I do? I offered no sage advice. I just provided a space she could rest in.

You can also do this with people you don’t know – on a bus, in an airport, waiting in the deli line. When you observe someone in a state of flux, just go into a state of presence – paying attention to the moment without commenting on it – and notice what happens. Oftentimes you will witness a shift in the person’s demeanor.

This is a more respectful way to let someone dampen your shoulder. It doesn’t presuppose that you have a conscious answer for them and it doesn’t burden you to have to figure it out. When you provide a place of rest, others can rejuvenate themselves in your peace.

If you would like a mantra to remind you of this practice, give this a go:

“When you observe a stormy sea, invite that person to rest in me.”

All the best,


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April 10, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:52 am

I love to take pictures. I don’t do it as much as I used to but I like the whole process. It seems the people who are really good at photography employ a skill that most amateurs like me don’t take into account.

An appealing photograph is usually cropped from the original. That means they focus on an area of the picture that has the most appeal and resize the photo to include only that section. This allows the distracting portion of the picture to go away.

They, in essence, are reframing the picture to showcase a quality that may have gotten overlooked when there was too much detail to experience.

NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) uses Reframing as one of its many tools to get people to reframe situations in their life to focus on an area that may have gotten lost in all the detail.

Reminds me of a story . . . Many years ago I took NLP training and was captivated by this reframing technique for refocusing a client on an area of a situation they had been ignoring. They had the frame around one portion of their picture and you would offer up another scenario which put the frame around another section and help them see their situation in a whole new light and discover something helpful in the process. It dawned on me after studying and practicing this technique, that my wife did it naturally. She didn’t take the NLP class and she was world class at reframing. I pointed it out to her and she was oblivious to how she did what she did. She just did it. It was amazing to watch. She did it with everyone – neighbors, friends, co-workers, family members, total strangers and me. The outcome was she always left you in a better place than she found you. It’s quite a skill.

I was walking yesterday and had this Grasshopper moment. As human beings, we issue a lot of judgements in our head. We judge people and situations all the time. This has its place but for the most part it’s counter-productive and limiting. Then I got the gift of awareness to take a judgement that popped in uninvited and reframe it with just the facts.

Let’s pretend you are walking along and you notice a dog run into the street and almost get hit by a passing car. A judgement that may pop in is: “What careless owners, they should keep their pet under control and keep it out of harm’s way. Don’t they know any better? What an uncaring lot they are.”

What if, after the judgement pops in, you catch yourself in judgement mode and reframe the situation to exactly what the reality is and no more. “The dog ran into the street and the car missed hitting her.” The reframe doesn’t carry all the emotional baggage and self-righteousness with it and doesn’t occupy your mind with an interpretation that has no upside.

Imagine for a moment that you choose to approach the dog owner about this incident in a judgemental frame of mind. You would be bringing an aura of superiority with you that has a deafening effect on peoples’ hearing. Taking time to reframe the judgement into the facts would allow you to present your evidence without the smell of sanctimony.

The benefit of a judgemental reframe is twofold:

1. You get to clear your head of clutter quicker.

2. You spare yourself from having a fruitless conversation with another.

Don’t bother beating yourself up for judging. That’s just more judgement. Humans have judgement as part of the software package. It has its uses. One of those uses is not a pointless conversation with yourself about your or someone else’s shortcomings. They’re going to be there whether you judge them or not.

Take this judgement reframe for a test spin and measure your own results. How you know you are successfully doing it is measured by the number of more peaceful moments that you receive.

Leave yourself in a better place than you found you.

All the best,


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April 9, 2008

Noah’s Ark

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:08 am

Imagine that the story of Noah’s Ark contained a different message for all of us. The story goes that Noah built a vessel to preserve a portion of all the known creatures on the earth in anticipation of a giant flood. He boarded two of each species. These creatures would be the only ones left to populate the world after the flood waters subsided.

Pretend for a moment that Noah built our personal vessel as well and stocked it with two of these living things. He left it for us to discover that the interaction between these two will determine how smooth our sail will be.

Noah guides us through this journey but he won’t be a hands-on tour director. He will let us find our own way and be there in the background should we need his guidance.

It’s really up to the two of us to find the level of cooperation that determines our direction and speed toward desired ports of call.

Like all extended sailings, this one has storms and on board emergencies to deal with as the tides of life toss us to and fro with all the attendant pitch and roll. Not many escape getting seasick from time to time.

As in many relationships, it seems that one participant has to have it be their way all of the time. This puts undue strain on the vessel. Balance is lost and our ship leans to one side and begins to take on water.

There is some frantic bailing activity that takes place each time the boat gets out of balance. Repeated acts of unbalance drain our energy subjecting us to drowning by our own doing.

Sometimes we have to get more than a mouthful of seawater to convince us that cooperation and balance is in our best interest.

The two creatures that Noah gave us have names – Human and Being.

Being can survive without Human, but Human cannot make it on his own. He needs the support of Being, but oftentimes doesn’t know this until his antics almost sink the ship.

Consult with Being everyday and, together, plot the course that has you sail in calmer waters. This gives you more time to appreciate the cruise with its varied ports of call, rather than being on constant bucket brigade.

Here’s a question you may want to ask yourself each day before you head out to sea:

“Is my vessel shipshape?”

All the best,


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April 8, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:00 am

Seems we are always sending out signals whether we know it or not. The amazing thing is that everyone receives the signals we are sending out whether we want them to or not.

The traffic light is a wonderful metaphor for the signals that are sent and received. Let’s look at them from top to bottom and see if we can see which ones we are sending.

RED: In the world of traffic it means STOP. Are you sending out a STOP signal to the universe and all its inhabitants? Look at your life up to this point. Have people stopped loving you, stopped caring about you, moved away from you? Has the abundance of the universe stopped showing its face to you? Are you stuck at the stop light? You can’t figure it out. You’re a nice person. You do lots of nice things for people but it’s not reciprocated. Seems like you’re always the better friend and you give more than you ask for. After having these thoughts, we get caught up in the mind game called “Fair.” As The Grasshopper said,

“Fair is for Fairy Tales”

The real question is, “What signal are you sending out that trumps all of your conscious good works? One place to look for your secret signal (it’s only a secret and unknown to you) is in your language. Language reflects what’s going on at the subliminal level. It bubbles up from that other than conscious part of you and is a telltale sign of what’s going on below decks. You may think that you are piloting the ship beautifully from the wheelhouse but unknown to you the crew is planning a mutiny in the galley.

Another place to look is in your personal history. Life leaves clues. Do you think all of these similar, repetitive events are chance misfortune? You are sending out a signal and it says, STOP! – Stop loving me, stop caring about me, stop doing things for me, stop sending the natural flow of the abundance of life to me. It’s not necessary to know the triggering event that has you send this signal. It’s enough to know that it is YOU sending the signal, not everyone else misunderstanding you. This realization, alone, is often enough of a catalyst for you to start sending out another signal.

YELLOW: This means caution and the inability to act. Yellow is fear. Do you send out the fear signal? It communicates to all that you sit on the fence and only seem to act when pushed or guilted into something. It’s hard to include someone who is so cautious because you are not sure they can be counted on. They seemingly forget what is important to others, not so much out of selfishness but out of being stuck in the middle. The person sending the caution signal is in a constant tug-of-war with themselves about which way to go and weighing all the possibilities which has a way of weighing them down and keeping them in place.

This person sending this signal wants it all but doesn’t realize that all cannot be handled even if acquired. The conscious answer for this signal sender is to prioritize. This has a directive effect on their energy and doesn’t have it be so scattered. The deeper answer is recognizing that you cause all the tug-of wars you constantly see around you by carrying around your caution signal with you. You project your yellow light on every situation and color it to fit your subliminal expectation. Notice that the ground is the only place to live and then pick a side of the fence. If it’s not to your liking, there are always moving vans available.

GREEN: It’s the GO signal. It’s the color of abundance and the color of growth. Green signals optimism and possibility. Green gives you permission to act, permission to recognize and correct. Green gives other people the signal that it’s OK to proceed in your direction, it’s OK to trust in you, and it’s OK to trust yourself. Green is the signal of openness – open to what life has to offer.

RED & YELLOW halt the flow of life.

Think GREEN!

All the best,


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April 7, 2008

What If

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:37 am

There is an out of print book called The Philosophy of “As if” by Hans Vaihinger written in 1911 that is probably the world’s first introduction to thinking outside the box. In short, Vaihinger encouraged you to postulate an idea that needed no empirical evidence to back it up. That way, your thinking wasn’t bound by the rules of evidence and you could create concepts that didn’t need to be defended.

NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) uses the “As if” frame as a way to get you to tap resources deeper than show up on the surface. Let’s pretend that we have a frustrated worker who states, “I don’t know anyone who could do this job to my boss’s satisfaction.” Rather than get into the validity of the statement with all the supporting data, a person using the “As if” frame may respond, “But if they could, how do you think they might go about it?” They present the implied position that there is a possible way and are asking you to muster internal resources to explore a new angle of approach.

“What if” is the twin sister of “As if.” There is the great question from the book A Whack On The Side Of The Head
by Roger von Oech that asks: “What if your knees bent in the other direction, what would chairs look like?” It certainly gets the gears going.

Here’s my “What if” question to ponder:

“What if you really weren’t the thoughts in your head, what would life be like?”

Consider the question and see what comes up for you. It may be the springboard to a strategy that you’ve never considered because of the sticky nature of conditioned thoughts. It’s a bypass of the conscious filters to reach the part of you where all the potential answers lie. Another version of the question is:

“What if you aren’t who you think you are, what could you accomplish?”

An application of this is in the book Trance-Formations by Bandler
and Grinder and is cited on the Wikipedia site It states:

NLP practitioner: “The question isn’t why do you drink. The real question is, what would you do if you didn’t? (p.164)”.

The lady, an alcoholic, contacted the speaker some time later saying I think that is the most beautiful question in the world, later admitting she had in fact been intending suicide beforehand due to her alcoholism but instead now had not been able to stop thinking about this question.

So, I’ll pose the question to you one more time.

“What if you really weren’t the thoughts in your head, what would life be like?”

Take that question to your quiet place today and see “what if” anything you come up with.

All the best,



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April 4, 2008

3 Magic Words

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

I’m sure someone keeps track of the number of words that are in each language and I’m sure you would need a solar powered abacus to count them all. The focus today will be on just 3 of these words, and they are magical.

You rarely, if ever, hear these words. It seems as if you were a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, you would have to pay too dearly for the letters, so they aren’t used there either.

District attorneys are amazed that a convicted criminal would take a longer prison sentence rather than say these words in open court.

Deathbeds are devoid of these words as well.

It seems that the mouth freezes when these words come to mind.

The hidden secret is that these 3 magic words easily open doors that have been nailed shut and bolted. The speaking or writing of these words allows forgiveness an opening to flow through. The heart mending that’s felt when hearing these 3 words is indescribable.

So why are these words so hard to speak? It’s because your ego knows if you utter them, it’s given a death sentence. The conditioned you, the ego, keeps these words unspoken in an attempt to lengthen its life and continue the strangle hold it has on you. The ego knows that once you discover the magic power of these words, it becomes yesterday’s news that you put down for the dog to pee on.

The conditioned you, with all its patterned behaviors, will do anything to survive and keep up appearances. It knows that its façade of impenetrability that it presents to the world will be shattered by these 3 words, and it will be found out to be the giant pretender that it is.

WARNING: When you say these words to someone, you have to do it without an agenda otherwise they lose their magic.

So what 3 magic words open the door to forgiveness, mend fences and hearts, and grease the skids for the ego’s demise?

You may not believe me when I tell you because I could have made this up. This is one theory that will remain a theory until you, as the British say, “give it a go.” You will never own the magical experience that I promise until you put these 3 magic words to use. Once you own the experience, it will no longer be theory and the benefits you receive will be ongoing.

I didn’t say it would be easy, just rewarding. Even practicing these words in a mirror is difficult because the ego is more afraid of them than the Wicked Witch of the West is afraid of taking baths.

You may not be ready to use these words yet because it may take some time for this message to sink in. Don’t put it off too long though because the longer you wait, the less likely you are to say them.

So if you’re ready to take an adventure ride that there is no going back from, and if you’re ready to put the past behind you, and if you’re ready to open the door to forgiveness, take a deep breath and say these 3 magic words.


All the best,


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April 3, 2008

Who’s Responding?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:31 am

Chances are you’ll run into a challenge today. We all do. It can run the gamut from insignificant to meaningful. The question is how will you respond? More to the point, who will respond?

We react to a certain stimuli with a certain behavior and once in a blue lunar cycle we throw in the clutch and take the time to choose a response – a more useful one than we first came up with. This is a wonderful practice that keeps you from being more than a stimulus/response robot.

The question you need to ask yourself when responding to one of life’s challenges is: “Who is responding, me or my ego?”

Chances are it’s the conditioned you, the ego, that’s responding with some pretty predictable behavior. If you are in a relationship, prove this predictability to yourself. Consider this: There is something that your partner, child, sister, brother, mother, father, friend or foe can say or do that has you respond in a certain way, every time. The converse is true as well. There is something you can say or do that will elicit the exact same response from them every time.

When you get this recognition, you’ll know it’s your ego responding. There is something to the old schoolyard ditty, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Who’s hurt, you or your ego?

The conditioned you has built a set of patterns that run your life. Imagine for a moment, that an alien ship has landed in your backyard. You go out to greet the pilot and she speaks to you in a language you don’t understand. Unbeknown to you, she has just called you the vilest name you can think of. How hurt are you by that comment? You aren’t because you are not conditioned to it.

Your first, conditioned response to something sets off the machine in you and in the person you are interacting with. No longer is it a person to person conversation – it’s an ego to ego conversation – your conditioned patterns talking to theirs. You already know how this movie is going to turn out, so you would be served well to select another film in the giant Cineplex of your mind.

There are myriad responses after your first predictable one. When you recognize that you’re in such a situation again, throw in the clutch and select a response further down the line. This is the only time you will exercise free will in your life. Where’s the free will in an automated response?

I learned this exercise from Jerry Stocking and have written about it before but it’s always valuable to remind ourselves that we do have choices.

When you select a response that is further down the line, you have removed the ego from the equation and you offer something new to another. This will confuse them and also interrupt the machine to machine conversation you were about to have. You’ll get a different response from them by offering a different response and therefore have a real conversation – not one that’s been scripted.

By doing this, you also become the stimulus rather than the response and there is so much more aliveness in the conversation and it has a chance to go somewhere rather than the dead end it always winds up in.

I’m curious if you’ll begin the practice today of asking yourself, “Who’s responding?”

All the best,


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