- Thoughts for inspired living

April 30, 2009

Change Now

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:38 am

The past/future is a mindset, not a place.

Most of us have both filed in our mind as a place. That notion dams up the flow of life into the present. We’re too busy diverting our life force (energy) into the memories of the past or the projections of the future.

The Grasshopper this morning gave this description of the past: “Holding on to what you don’t have.”

That’s sort of like holding on to stock certificates of a company that went out of business 20 years ago. What they represent does not exist and they have no worth. Check around, there are still people who believe that “Big Bands” are coming back. They live in the past – a place that doesn’t exist.

So what keeps us stuck in a place that doesn’t exist – the past, and keeps us from moving into a place that does – the present?

Answer: Fear of the unknown – the future.

I can count on having the same memories when I stay in the past, but I can’t touch them. How frustrating, yet how widespread.

Moving to the future requires letting go of your past. It all happens through the portal of the present. The fear is letting go. It’s the same fear that keeps children stuck on one bar of the monkey bars. In order to get completely to the next bar in line, you have to let go of the one you are on now. That takes trust.

We don’t trust the future because it’s a place we don’t have experience with. This keeps us stuck in a place filled with experiences – the past. But neither is a place; they are mindsets – projections away from the only place you always are – the present.

The reason most people’s future resembles their past is because they have never let go of the past. They don’t leave home without it. They have convinced themselves that they are holding on to something tangible, when in fact it’s a handful of air – a blast of which keeps them from moving forward.

The future is scary because our past can’t live there. We are afraid of living somewhere that requires us giving up our phantom possessions.

What I’m really addressing here is change. Change is scary because it requires letting go. The letting go has to happen now or the future can never arrive. By hanging on, your future remains the outdated past. You remain the same.

If you are ignoring the present, you are living in your mind and not in the world. Living in your mind keeps you away from the only place that you can touch – this moment. The past or the future are not places, but mental diversions that keep you from living now.

The fear of the future dissipates when you practice living in the moment you are in. You gain confidence that you can respond to the challenges of the future by responding to the challenges of the moment. If you pretend the challenges are not there and go back and hide in the past, you’ll never garner the experience you’ll need to deal with the future. It will always remain fearful and you won’t change.

Managing this moment is the way to let go of the past and pave the way to the future.

What are you dodging right now? Answer that question and you’ll find what keeps you from changing.

All the best,



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April 29, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:03 am

Notice we all have thoughts. What we may not notice is we have the same ones over and over again – the same top 10.

It’s interesting to actually catalogue your mind at work. There are a couple of techniques worth mentioning to do this. One comes from a book called THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron and the other comes from who my friend, Mark Ryan calls a “Spiritual Regular Guy,” Jerry Stocking.

Cameron uses a technique called “Morning pages.” Stocking recommends putting your internal auditory on external speaker. Either way, you get to observe your mind at work, and more.

The purpose is to either write down, in long hand, your thoughts as they come to you or speak them aloud. (I highly recommend if you choose the speaking method that you do it where no one can hear, otherwise men in white coats will come looking for you.)

You do this unloading without editing anything. You just record or recite what comes down the stream of consciousness. If you do this on a regular basis, you will find out two things about your thoughts.

  1. They are the same ones coming back around for visit after visit.
  2. Observation of them produces spaces between them where new thoughts find their way in to you mind.

Both are valuable occurrences.

Noticing that you get the same thoughts time after time puts your mind in a new perspective. You now know for sure that your mind runs you and you don’t run it. You begin to notice what an automatic record and playback device that it is. Translation: Our thoughts, for the most part, have no value and contribute very little to our life, yet we spend most of our life ascribing value to our thoughts. We define our personal identity from our thoughts – one of life’s largest mistakes.

We have assigned our personal worth to a robotic machine that can only crank out the same tired diatribe we’ve been hearing in our head for years. Once you discover the automatic pilot function of your mind, you get a new lease on life. You finally figure out that your mind isn’t you but a mechanism that you happen to have – one that works methodically your entire life.

Observing the thought process by either of the methods described has an interesting byproduct. You get bored writing down or speaking aloud the same thoughts day after day. You may say “what’s the use of writing down or saying aloud the same stuff ad nauseam?” When you have the presence of mind to ask that question, a space shows up. In this space, you make room for you.

The new novel thoughts are you, not a recording device spitting out old messages. You discover you when you observe your mind at work. It’s quite the discovery.

If you think about it for a moment, just about every suicide is a result of people mistaking their thoughts for who they are.

I intuitively did this exercise before I even knew of its existence during a dark, heavy period in my life. Things were falling apart and my mind was in overdrive. I began writing every morning until I ran out of thoughts to write. I did this for a month. The result was a peacefulness that I cannot describe in words. There was a burden lifted, and the only heavy lifting I did was write down my thoughts.

I highly recommend that you formally dedicate some time to observing your mind. It’s a commitment worth your time and the results are, as they say in the credit card commercials, priceless!

All the best,


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April 28, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:15 am

When I was a teenager, we went to a place to swim called the Swarthmore Quarry. It was a quarry that was filled with water and it was back in the woods and had “Keep Out” signs posted, so that made it ideal for teenage boys.

We would swim in the water and take dives off the protruding rocks on the side. One of them was about 12 to 15 feet above water level and we could all handle jumping and diving from that height. Then we noticed there was another protruding rock way up above us. We determined it was 100 feet. It was more like 80, but it was high. We climbed up there and the dare was to dive from that height.

My friend, Bob went first and I went second. The other two walked back down without diving. They called us brave. As I look back on it with adult eyes, it was stupid. Some would call it adventure, testing your limits, but it was boys being boys.

It got me to wondering about men doing boy like things and it dawned on me that it makes them feel young again. It’s like a Fountain of Youth. The only real difficulty I see is the loss of agility that men have when they contemplate doing boy things. Then The Grasshopper jumped in feet first and said this:

“Men do these things because they are afraid of dying. Women do these things because they’re afraid of not living.”

Holy Cow Wow! I think he’s on to something.

Here is some dialogue from the movie Moonstruck to underscore the male side of The Grasshopper’s observation.

Rose: Why do men chase women?
Johnny: Well, there’s a Bible story… God… God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Now maybe men chase women to get the rib back. When God took the rib, he left a big hole there, where there used to be something. And the women have that. Now maybe, just maybe, a man isn’t complete as a man without a woman.
Rose: [frustrated] But why would a man need more than one woman?
Johnny: I don’t know. Maybe because he fears death.
[Rose looks up, eyes wide, suspicions confirmed]
Rose: That’s it! That’s the reason!
Johnny: I don’t know…
Rose: No! That’s it! Thank you! Thank you for answering my question!

My sense is that many women fear mundane more than they do death. In their minds they more than likely have it equated with death. Now “mundane” is an elastic word meaning different things to different people but in most cases it has the sense of trapped to it and the scent of death.

Following this logic, the adventuresome side of a woman is peaked when they feel they aren’t living. Men may go climb Kilimanjaro to chase away the fear of death, but women will go looking for life – often in all the wrong places.

Both men and women look outside themselves for an answer that’s not there. When you come back from the African Safari, the fear is still there. When you come back from touring the wine fields in Tuscany, you are still feeling unfulfilled.

The life that both men and women are seeking is always available – just not in the cultural form you think it needs to show up in. We have been conditioned to seeking rather than finding. Finding happens when seeking desists. When you put to rest the notion that what you are looking for is outside of yourself, you find the peace that you have been seeking. It’s always the case.

Yes, travel to all the points on the planet you can afford to visit. Have wonderful times and see wonderful things. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking “this is it” because you will be disappointed time after time.

There is a great book written by Russell Conwell called Acres of Diamonds which was based on a speech he gave over 5000 times in the 1920’s. The premise of the message is that there are diamonds present right where you are. You needn’t travel the world to seek them. Conwell was talking about financial treasures but the same message is applicable to the treasure we all seek – peace of mind.

It comes when we do a little soul searching and find our own gem within.

Happy digging!

All the best,


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April 27, 2009

Waiting – Creating

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

How much of our lives do we spend waiting? I’m not addressing the “standing in line at the deli” waiting, but “waiting for something to happen” waiting.

The Grasshopper hopped out of the tall grass with this today:

“If you are waiting for something to happen, you’ll be left at the altar.”

“I can’t wait until the weekend gets here” is sure to cement your current mindset in place because your focus is on waiting. Whatever mindset you focus on, you’ll get more of. Waiting is a global pastime that has no upside.

“When” is the operative word of the person caught up in waiting. “When I have enough money, when the kids are grown, when I get a better job, when I hit the lottery, when the mountain comes to Muhammed” are the tactics we use to ignore the action that’s always going on around us.

When is always now. Now is the only moment that action can take place. Waiting begets waiting as we attempt to push action aside and miss the ride. Watch two passengers travelling in a car. One may be observing all that is available for view and the other is in their head cooking up another mental stew. Which one do you think is waiting?

The remedy for waiting is noticing what’s actually going on. Each moment you are focused on what’s right in front of you is one less moment you will spend waiting. It’s a formula that always works but like all formulas, you have to work at it to get results.

Now let’s move to creating.

Are you a consumer or a creator? We are actually both. If you are an exclusive consumer, you’ll always wait to be fulfilled, entertained or dazzled by someone or something out there. This usually leads to overindulgence, being unfulfilled, and the constant need to be entertained. You have ceded your creativity. You become, as Julia Cameron describes in her book The Artist’s Way, a “shadow artist.” That means you sit in the shadow of someone else’s creativity believing you have none of your own and you pay a price.

We are all co-creators. When we let the animating force of life do its job, we cannot help but create. What stops us? – getting stuck in our head with the thought that creativity is for people more talented than us. That’s hogwash to the highest power.

There will always be people with more talent than we have but that is no excuse to keep your creativity bottled up. It’s dying to pop that cork and you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve to do it.

When you give up your creativity, you are waiting to die. Everyone is creative at every age. There is no age bias for creativity. It’s available at all time, we just have to know it’s there and use it.

Creativity gets your life force flowing again. It gets stuck behind a dam when we only consume and need to be entertained.

The game of Monopoly best sums up today’s blog post. The game of life, as well as Monopoly, is always won by the person who takes action and creates. The loser is always waiting for something good to happen.

All the best,


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April 23, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:20 am

Are you strumming or are you being strummed?

Best I can tell, we are being played, but we think we are doing the playing. We are creatures of learned patterns. They control us; we don’t control them.

Once we recognize that, it brings us to one of life’s biggest missions – that it’s our destiny to notice the illusion of control in this lifetime.

The only “control” we have over anything is our ability to notice. Once we lock in on that skill, the illusion of control begins to melt and fade away. This experience is scarier and more fun than your favorite thrill ride.

It’s my new favorite source of amusement – noticing that I think I have any control. I have trained myself to laugh at such a notion when I get caught up thinking that I run the universe. There are so many examples to witness in yourself and others that you’ll never run out of amusement.

Back to patterns . . .

We have learned so many automated routines in our lifetime and we just don’t notice that we’re on automatic pilot. The biggest clues of the automaticity we operate with are the justifications we use to defend our actions. “I did that because . . .” has to become “I did that” before we have any chance of noticing our patterns.

Start to notice what you do and put an end to justifying why. It sucks the gray out of black and white and helps you to become clear on how your patterns operate.

Once you notice that you just do, the patterns of thinking and behavior behind the doing begin to show themselves. You begin to see your conditioning and you quickly learn that you’ve been living your life in reaction mode with absolutely no control.

Noticing is the magic elixir to outgrow patterns and rid ourselves of the notion that we control anything.

Each time we notice a pattern in action, it’s an invitation and an opportunity to learn something new. We broaden our choices when we recognize patterns. Before, we only had one choice. Now we have untold options.

We don’t have any more control, but we become less controlled and controlling just by noticing.

Noticing is the key to finding out about you. Who doesn’t want to know more about themselves?

The real discovery is that you notice that control is a pattern – one that’s been running you. By noticing, you find something more real than control – the option of choice.

All the best,


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April 22, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:31 am

I used to say “I’m an amateur, frustrated graphic designer. I know what looks good; I just don’t know how to get it to look that way.”

My justification for my statement was that I picked up the instruction books and made efforts to self teach myself, but the results kept me wanting and making mediocre designs.

The good news is I discovered a tool called layers in the process. What are layers?

Let’s say that you want to make some adjustments to a photo you are contemplating using in your design. You could work directly on the photo or you could use layers. A layer is like a clear piece of plastic you put over the picture. You make the adjustments on the layer rather than directly on the picture. This gives you an opportunity to keep the original picture intact while making your additions, subtractions and enhancements on the layer. If you don’t get the results you’re after, you can remove the layer and begin with another until you do.

The ultimate result is a better looking picture.

It got me to thinking about the work that I do with people. I discovered that I rarely work on the surface anymore. In the past, when I worked on their original photo, my results were too hit and miss. Working on the original constitutes giving advice.

Giving advice may be “spot on” or it may be spotty. Once you get spots on the original, it proves more difficult to correct. Working on the original rarely has any beneficial effect. Giving your opinion may prove temporarily helpful but the benefits are not usually lasting. Think of it this way: Opinions are like websites – every asshole has one.

Working on layers with people is a way of working on the original without doing any harm. It’s sort of like the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take.

I find that people have parts of them – layers if you will. I like to work with the part of them that has the difficulty. I find there is rarely any difficulty with the original. The problem sits on a layer somewhere. My job is to find that layer and make the corrections there, improving the overall picture.

So how does this translate to you? My suggestion is to use the words that you describe yourself with judiciously. Those words are “I am.”

“I am an awful mother. I am a dreadful spouse. I am the laziest person I know. I am a blah, blah, blah.”

When you make disparaging declarations using “I am,” you are working on the original photo and doing harm.

What if you said, “There is a part of me causing me to be lazy”? That immediately takes the onus off of the whole and ascribes it to a part. It’s much easier to work on a part than it is to work on the whole.

If you only have a faulty carburetor, how accurate is the statement, “This is a lousy car”?

We are in the habit of making those type statements about ourselves and the result is damage to the original, with little hope of getting to the specific part and making repairs.

Begin to notice your disapproving “I am” statements and take them apart. Make it your mission to find the part of you that needs work rather than ascribing your flaw to the whole of you.

Just this subtle shift in awareness is oftentimes all that is necessary to go to work on the layer that needs attention. It makes life much more manageable by not having to eat a whole cow at once.

All the best,


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April 21, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:27 am

The other day I noticed that the words “Scared” and “Sacred” have the exact same letters. It got me to wondering.

My thought process went something like this . . . the ego is always scared and runs from anything that suggests its demise. When we find a sacred place within, there is no room in there for our ego and it will do anything to keep us from going where it doesn’t exist.

It’s like the story Jerry Stocking tells of the manager who won’t hire the efficiency expert because he fears if there are no problems to manage, there is no need for a manager.

There is a sacred place we can all visit. Everyone has a membership card. You just have to use it.

Your ego will tell you that sacred is too touchy-feely for you because it’s scared you will leave its sphere of influence. This is certain death for the ego and it will wage a holy war to keep you on the battlefield. The last thing ego wants is for you to find a bunker of solace. It’s scared that you will find that the war it wages everyday is not necessary and it will be harder to get you to fight all those nasty others.

When you find your sacred place, you find the communal well that we all drink from and you find the commonality that we all share – life.

The ego is scared that you will find out that the other is you, just inside another skin. It’s hard to convince you to wage war against yourself, but that is what the ego attempts – every day!

When you discover your sacred place, the ego’s war is not an option. There are no words in your sacred place, so there is no war of words in there either. It’s a safe haven where you can’t be bullied and you fell no need to strike out at others.

The best news is this sacred feeling follows you back into the scary world and you’re not as frightened as you once were. Each visit leaves you less scared and able to live life without looking over your shoulder.

The more often you visit your sacred place, the less scared you feel.

If you don’t think this sacred place exists, you have been dutifully scared by your ego. Just one sip from the sacred well will keep you coming back for more.

How do you find your sacred place? The first step is to know it’s there. Then, as if by magic, your personal pathway becomes clear, to the sacred place of no fear.

I wonder how soon you’ll take the time to rearrange “Scared” into “Sacred.”

All the best,


PS If you haven’t done so already, I request that you listen to the interview I was part of on

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April 20, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:14 am

New learning takes time to integrate. Sometimes it’s a short interval and other times it takes longer. You can affect the integration process by doing something between learning opportunities that’s easy and effective. I call it “Cerebral Sorbet.” More on this technique in a bit.

There is a practice in fine dining which has you cleanse your palate before going on to the next course. You take a taste of sherbet or sorbet to freshen your taste buds for the new course so you can take full advantage of the new taste without mixing it with the taste of the course before.

We move from one task to another in our busy lives that leaves no time for integration. We seem to be doing a lot but getting little accomplished. Enter “Cerebral Sorbet.”

Let’s pretend that you are cleaning the house. The living room, kitchen and bathroom are on your agenda. After cleaning each room, take a mini pause and allow that experience to register fully before moving on to the next room. If you are going from meeting to meeting at work, take a moment between meetings to let the experience integrate.

This pause can be applied between the activities of any to-do list and you will find that you will get more done with better results.

If you just had a heated debate with someone and are now going to interview a candidate for a new position, take a pause and cleanse your mental palate. You don’t want to take the energy of the previous encounter into the new situation. Reminds me of something I made up . . .

The 4 signs of Immaturity:

Polarity response – They say “Black” and you say “White.”

Failure to take responsibility – It’s never your fault.

Failure to apologize – You don’t think you need to.

Being upset with everyone – tarring everyone with your upset.

It’s the last one that pertains to cleansing your mental palate. If you find that you are upset, there is no value in spraying a new encounter with the leftover venom you are carrying around. It taints the communication and little gets accomplished.

This is not a recommendation to “stuff it down.” That just assures that it will pop up at the most inappropriate time. This is the time to recalibrate and move on.

Here’s one way that’s quite effective. I learned this exercise from Dr. Dave Dobson and have used it as “Cerebral Sorbet” quite often.

When you complete something or want to let go of something, do this:

  1. Take a nice, comfortable breath and then just sigh it out – In through your nose and out through your mouth with a bit of a sigh on the release.
  2. Wonder what you could be doing next that would be most appropriate for the upcoming situation.
  3. Roll your eyes in a circle – s-l-o-w-l-y.

I could make an attempt to explain why this is so effective but the magic is in the doing, not the explanation.

I highly recommend that you put this exercise in your bag of tricks. It helps integrate and diffuse experiences so you don’t have to carry your past into the future.

I wonder if you’ll discover the magic of “Cerebral Sorbet” today.

All the best,


PS I have done an interview with Justin Sachs of Motivational Minds Radio. I believe you will enjoy it. You can hear that interview by going to

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April 17, 2009

No Splinters

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:09 am

There is one deterrent that keeps us from reaching the top of the totem pole – splinters. My personal and professional experience is that we are looking for an elevator ride to the top – a splinterless shimmy, if you will. It’s the one piece of fantasy that makes lazy, lazier.

This is not to say there isn’t an easier way, there usually is but we don’t find it because we spend the bulk of our time looking for ways to get around the necessary work. We divert ourselves with the grandeur of magic that keeps us focused on the hocus pocus rather than what’s behind the curtain.

I’ve told the story before about the head of our computer department taking 20 minutes to tell me why he didn’t have time to complete a 10 minute job. Fear of splinters.

Spending all your time avoiding splinters may keep you sticker free but you’ll continue looking at the top of the pole from the bottom. It makes your neck ache with more pain than any splinter will contain.

I’m not suggesting you become a glutton for pain. That’s someone who’s filled with guilt and looking for forgiveness in an area where it can’t be found. My nudge is to have you recognize the pattern that has you focused on splinters rather than on what you want.

There is a martial arts philosophy that if you get to choose the weapon for the battle with your opponent, you will choose the weapon that scares you the most. The savvy martial artist will allow his opponent to choose the weapon and use their fear to his advantage.

We focus on the fear rather than what we want which always leaves us with a continually pregnant to-do list.

I’m all for making life easier but for many that quest is a diversionary way of life.

A wish list will remain a wish until we recognize the fear than stands in the way of success. Fear is a pattern of thinking that produces some pretty scary feelings in our body. I’m wondering if you’ve ever taken the time to feel fear fully. Have you ever invited it in for a pow-wow? We rarely stare fear in the face and find out what’s on its mind. We keep it in the shadows where we can’t get a clear glimpse. That practice keeps our imagined image of fear scarier than fear itself.

Splinters are fears. We want to go through life without encountering either. We dwell on life being splinter free and fair, and as The Grasshopper reminds us, “Fair is a fairy tale.”

This myopic focus keeps more splinters than necessary coming our way.

How many ways can I divert myself? Let me count the ways. Rather than counting, notice. Notice when you divert your attention away from fear. Just by noticing, you begin to keep your eyes open more often, only to find that the scary parts of life’s movie aren’t so scary. This gets your focus on your goal and off the pitfalls.

If you’re afraid of heights, your downfall is looking down. Stay focused on the step you are on and the next step up will present itself at the opportune time.

Not noticing our diversions keeps us looking down and in lock step with unexamined fear.

Doing diffuses fear. The key to doing is to notice the diversions. Once you recognize their many costumes, they can’t fool you anymore. You recognize them for what they are – splinter producing side roads.

There isn’t a splinter free path. Fear preys upon that reality and exaggerates the odds keeping us from starting our climb. Noticing diversions and allowing yourself to face and feel your fears will keep self induced splinters to a minimum.

Which of these questions will get you into action quicker?

“How do I get to the next step?” OR “Who’s got the tweezers?”

If it’s the second one, your life won’t have many fun banister rides.

All the best,


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April 16, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:23 am

How little we celebrate. How shortsighted!

It occurs to me that celebration is a lot like gratitude. We can always find a reason to engage in either.

But it’s not necessary to have a reason. Here’s a wild suggestion: Just go out on a limb today and celebrate for no good reason. The trick is to remember to do it again tomorrow as well.

You can tie the two mindsets together. Think of something you are grateful for, then celebrate it. It’s sort of like the Steve Martin comment that you can’t be sad while playing the banjo. It’s difficult to hang on to heavy thoughts when you are celebrating and grateful.

Sadness has its place, but not at the head of the table.

How easy is it to find something right now that you are grateful for? It’s that easy, every time you remember to remember. Celebration is the natural extension of gratitude. They’re symbiotic.

I have lots to be grateful for and so do you. So let’s celebrate!

All the best,


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