- Thoughts for inspired living

April 14, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:32 am

I used to follow a local band during my dancin’, prancin’ and romancin’ years called the Kit Kats. They were an excellent Philadelphia cover band that made a minor splash on the national charts. What I really liked about them was their song versatility.

I remember when they were the entertainment at Christmas time at a club in South Philadelphia and did their version of “My Favorite Things” and the people loved it.

It got me to thinking about favorites.

Facebook is loaded with favorites – favorite movies, favorite athletes, favorite songs, favorite everything. I thought I would list a few of my favorite things and see if you can relate.

CHARACTER – I wrote a blog post on this topic over a year ago that you may enjoy. Character to me is something you cannot buy. It’s something that you develop, or more to the point, release from inside of you. To me it’s the one underlying thing that all people have access to but it remains a rarity in our culture. Possibly that’s why it’s so precious to me because it’s in such short supply. I flock like a moth to a light bulb when I witness character.

PASSION – This is like an addictive drug for me. When I witness passion in someone, it lights a fire within me that’s hard to describe. Passionate people are my idols. When I see them get absorbed in whatever they are passionate about, I recognize their connection to the one creative force we all have access to. It gets one to wonder: What am I passionate about?

BIRTHDAYS – Everyone’s got one but I’m not sure many have a full appreciation for them. To me, a birthday is a day to celebrate the uniqueness that you’ve developed over the years, and to celebrate your unique contribution to life. Everyone is good at something. What is your special gift? Make sure to celebrate it often, and especially on your birthday, because no one else has it to offer but you.

GOOFY DOGS – I will stop and pet a strange dog if it’s goofy. Goofy to me is a tail wagging, not a care in the world creature that gives you its full attention for just a little bit of fussing – a friendly tone of voice, a pat on the head or a scratch on a belly. We can learn a lot from dogs. Reminds me of the cruise ship comedian’s joke about loyalty . . .

If you want to know who’s more loyal, put your spouse and your dog in the trunk of a car for half an hour. Then open the trunk and find out who’s glad to see you.

GOT YOUR BACK – This one is hard to define but immediately recognizable when you experience it. The best example I can offer is a mother hen. There is nothing going to happen to her offspring while she has the ability to cluck. When you have the feeling that someone’s got your back, it is one of the most freeing feelings a human being can experience. If you’re in a relationship, this is the one commodity that will keep you bonded when things become unglued. If you find someone who’s got your back, return the favor and you’ll continue to savor this magic elixir.

KEEPING PROMISESWerner Erhard, the man who pioneered est, made one of my favorite observances when he said, “The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.” It’s hard to find a counter-example to his pronouncement. Just look how life situations break down when you don’t do what you say you will do. It ranges from your agreements with a contractor, your employer, your spouse, your constituents – everyone. Adopt this practice and watch your life work more smoothly. If you tell someone you’re going to do something, make sure that only an act of God or a faulty memory will keep it from happening. I can imagine the late attorney, Johnnie Cochran saying, “Don’t commit until it’s legit.”

I have many others, one of which I wrote about yesterday – CONSISTENCY.

Thank you for allowing me to offer some of my favorite things to you. I trust you have your own favorites. It just may prove valuable to write them down because I believe it will provide you with more insight about what you hold dear.

All the best,


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April 13, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:30 am

Even the most consistent people have inconsistencies. It goes along with being human.

I watched the most consistent golfer, Tiger Woods be inconsistent this past 5 days. There are a number of excuses people have offered for his anomaly, but none that he’ll use. “I just didn’t get it done” will be his mantra until he rediscovers his consistency.

I worship consistency.

I’m not recommending that you join my church because there’s a lot of disappointment involved. The God of consistency doesn’t always show up. Actually, he does, but doesn’t always bring the brand of consistency I’m looking for.

The version I can’t get my arms around is consistent inconsistence.

I prefer it to be spring when it’s springtime. I understand the occasional unpredictable snowstorm in mid April, but by and large, I’m expecting to see flowers bloom, grass grow and some idiot teenager speed loudly down the street. That’s consistent.

I guess what I’m really looking for is something I can count on in a world that’s poor in math. It’s a warm fuzzy for me.

Here’s the rub. If you’re poor in math and it’s a necessary skill to get what you want, you have to do whatever is necessary to learn math. Most people won’t make the effort and will blame something else. Here’s the unspoken truth: It’s not worth it to them.

Find an area of your life where you’re inconsistent. You may give tons of lip service to consistency being important to you in this area, but it’s not if you remain inconsistent.

You’re at a crossroads when you discover you’re not willing to make the effort.

I call it the “End of Pretend.”

It’s time to move off your illusory position and tell the truth.

It’s time to look for something else worthy enough of your efforts; otherwise you’ll consistently spin lies and your wheels and stay stuck in the mud.

The truth is: “The truth will set you free.” It opens the door to an area where you can be consistent.

All the best,


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April 10, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:25 am

While out walking Snuffy the black nosed beagle this morning, I heard the sound of a woodpecker going through his morning routine, same as me. It got me to wondering.

Does the woodpecker notice what he does or is it simply a matter of that’s what they do? The answer I got was, “That’s what they do.” They don’t notice.

That makes them much like us – a species that goes around doing what they do, without a lot of noticing.

Automatic pilot is very helpful when doing certain tasks like tying your shoes but doesn’t fill the bill in many other areas of our life.

We seem to walk from one trance to another throughout the day and rarely take the time to observe what we do. This creates a robotic feel to life that we attempt to remedy with a pill or potion or some activity to get our mind off doing what we do.

I’m recommending the opposite.

After musing about the woodpecker, the letters N.B. popped into my mind. I remembered from my elementary school days that it’s an abbreviation that means “take notice.”

It is absolutely freeing to take notice of what you are doing. Rather than writing on Facebook that it’s “hump day” with only two more days after today until the weekend, notice what you are doing. Your current escapism practice insures that this moment is going to suck. Notice that you are sacrificing this moment to get to the next.

That’s what we do. We string together a bunch of unnoticed moments and call it life – a life we’re attempting to escape from.

When you begin to take notice of your waking trance, you create a space for something brand new to pop in. It’s the novelty you’ve been craving. It makes life alive again.

Imagine a 4 year old in a sandbox having this conversation in their head. “God, I was in this same stupid sand box yesterday. Can’t they find a more exciting place to take me? It’s the same thing everyday – shovel, bucket, building stupid sand castles, and I’ve had it with this fresh air and sunshine routine. I’ve just got to find a bigger sandbox with a canopy.”

The 4 year old notices what they’re doing in the moment and it brings them joy.

We can learn a lot from 4 year olds and woodpeckers by simply noticing.

The woodpecker snapped me out of my trance this morning. By becoming present and curious about the sound he was making, it also made me notice the environment I was in. I could now consciously smell the spring air, see the daffodils in bloom, feel the spring in my step, and hear the early morning sounds that surrounded me, rather than the blather that was going on in my head. Thank you woodpecker for making me notice.

It’s this simple: When you’re in your head, you’re dead – you’re dead to the life that’s always present.

The remedy? You just have to “take notice.”

And as we say in Rhode Island, “Happy Eastuh!”

All the best,


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April 9, 2009

Parallel Pals

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:29 am

If you’ve ever seen a movie made, you will notice that shots are filmed out of sequence. There are a variety of reasons it’s done this way – weather, season, actor availability, location, etc. For example if sunny weather is needed for a beach scene and it’s raining, they will film indoors that day making use of the time.

The final edit of the movie is assembled in sequence so that there is a storyline that’s easy to follow.

The movie of our life seems to be shot in sequence. One thing seems to follow another but just maybe, it was edited to look sequential.

Maybe there is no sequence at all. Perhaps it all happens all at once but our logic machine makes it appear as though it moves from left to right along one plane.

I was talking with my friend, Hali about parallel universes the other day. There is a book we both read many years ago called “Seth Speaks.” It suggests we lead simultaneous lives in parallel universes. For example, you may have been engaged to be married to someone and broke it off and married someone else. In Seth’s parallel universe, you went on to marry that first person and had whatever life you had together while also being married to someone else in this universe with a totally separate life.

The parallel “you” may have taken many job offers in other parts of the country while the “you” you’re aware of, stayed home in this universe and spent 45 years working for a local company.

If nothing else, it’s fun to think about. But what if it’s true or we pretend it to be true? What if every time we came to a crossroads in life we went in all directions? How could we use it to our best advantage here and now?

Let’s pretend that you are stuck in a certain unpleasant situation. You’ve looked for all the remedies to remove the glue, but you’re still stuck. What to do?

Consult your Parallel Pals.

Who knows you any better than you? One of your parallel pals, that’s who!

If you are living many lives at once, it’s a pretty sure bet that an alternate you has amassed a truckload of experience that you don’t own. It’s time to cash in on their experience.

Here is an exercise you can play with. Call a meeting of all your parallel pals – parts of you that went on to do other things and live other lives. Gather in a room where you present your current dilemma. Ask each of your pals for a solution to your problem. Envision one of them writing down all the brainstormed ideas that are offered. Ask questions and listen to all the answers without judgement. Then, when the meeting is over, just let the offered ideas settle.

Something will pop as a result of this meeting. It may be an hour or two days later, but something will emerge that makes sense to take action on.

The good news is you don’t have to let anyone know you’re crazy. You can privately hold these meetings anytime you want to and no one has to know how you’re beginning to move through life more fluidly, unless you tell them.

Remember the reality of brainstorming: It’s usually the crazy idea that spurs you on to the creative solution.

Here’s my suggestion: Set your beliefs aside for a moment and entertain the crazy notion of parallel pals. It may just open the door to a whole new world.

All the best,


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April 8, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:24 am

If you’ve seen enough cop and lawyer shows, many times you have been treated to the question, “Does the end justify the means?”

The Grasshopper weighed in from out of the blue on that topic yesterday. He said, “It depends on who’s judging the means.”

I think most reasonable people can agree on desired ends but we become totally unreasonable when evaluating the means.

Our arguments have more to do with conditioning than they do truth. Yet we’ll make the bold claim that a working methodology is the work of the devil if it doesn’t match our version of the truth.

Look at the current economic slump. There is a common end we can agree on, but the means to get there gets demonized by all sides because it doesn’t match up with a specific ideology.

The therapy business is replete with ends/means debate. Papers are written, symposiums attended, and patients continue to suffer because their therapist is stuck with an antiquated model.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I worked with a woman who was a stutterer. She was an attractive interior designer who had trouble stringing three sentences together without going into an extremely noticeable stuttering pattern. She had spent $10,000 to go to this renowned clinic that specialized in stuttering. It didn’t help. She had sought help with a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

She attended my weight loss clinic and came up afterwards to speak to me. I remarked that she didn’t look in need for weight loss and asked her purpose in attending. It was obvious when she began to speak. She wanted to know if I could help her with her stuttering. I responded with the phrase I learned from my mentor, Dr. Dave Dobson, “I don’t know what’s not possible.” We set up an appointment.

We had three sessions. After the first session, there was marked improvement. She attended a session with her psychiatrist in between our sessions and he emphatically cautioned her that what I was doing was not going to last and that it was giving her false hope. He called it a “placebo effect.”

Well maybe the good doctor should have gone and heard her address the Chamber of Commerce flawlessly, or read the letter she sent to me months later that cited her new found ability to speak without stuttering for the first time in her life.

If someone is getting results I’m not getting, I want to know their means. It may not match up with my idea of what works, but I am not going to oppose their methodology simply because it doesn’t agree with mine, especially if they’re getting results.

My message is we are too quick to judge things in our head. I may raise an eyebrow when I hear something that seems “whacky,” but if it’s getting results, I want to be able to put my beliefs aside for a moment, and entertain the possibility.

I may ultimately decide that their means aren’t a fit for me, but it won’t be based on my ideology. I’ll take the time to explore new or novel means and then see where I end up.

All the best,


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April 7, 2009


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

Helping people comes down to this: Helping them discover more options. It’s really that basic.

What is being stuck other than a lack of options?

People who are “set in their ways” are stuck – stuck with one option.

People who abuse themselves or others are short on options.

People who make the same mistakes over and over again are blind to options.

How do we find these options that we don’t currently have?

The first step is to know they are there, somewhere.

The main difficulty is that so many of us have convinced ourselves that options are not available that we stop looking. Imagine if you took that approach every time you lost your car keys.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I wanted to take my family to Disney World on a vacation. I couldn’t afford it, or so I was convinced. I was resigned to spending the week at home doing day trips to the beach and other local attractions. That was certainly family oriented and affordable, but it wasn’t Disney. I roughly knew what the day trips would cost and it fit in with our budget. I don’t know what possessed me to take this next step but I just dropped in on a local travel agent and asked about pricing for a trip to Disney World. I knew I would leave her office disappointed.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the vacation to Disney World would cost me the same amount that I would be spending on my local family vacation. 1984’s Disney visit is a grand family memory that lives on with each of us ’til this day. It came about because I explored options.

Options open doors.

The deeper discovery is finding that we have internal options. There are parts of us that know how to do things that we cannot consciously figure out. How do we get access to those options? The same way we do with external ones – know they are there, somewhere.

It may take some pretending to kick start the options machine but bear in mind the memorable aphorism that Wayne Dyer offers –”Imagination is the force of creation.”

The key is to act “as if” there are options. Just this small adjustment in your angle of approach presents doorknobs that heretofore were invisible.

Try on these two phrases and notice what feelings they produce in your body.

“There’s nothing I can do.”

“I wonder if there is a way to accomplish this?”

One will cause constriction; the other openness.

Constriction will keep you stuck; Openness will present options.

Make time today to open up to options and discover possibilities that you thought were impossible.

All the best,


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April 6, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:25 am

My grandson downloaded a Frank Sinatra Album from iTunes yesterday. It seemed a bit out of character for someone so young, but while he was having lunch at a restaurant in our version of “Little Italy,” Sinatra was playing in the background and it enhanced his experience and he wanted to re-create it.

He has large speakers at home and was playing Sinatra through them. I began to hear “My Way,” A Song Paul Anka had written for Sinatra. Parts of the lyrics contain this phrase: “Regrets, I’ve had a few; but then again, too few to mention.”

It got me to musing about regrets.

Who wouldn’t, given the opportunity, do something differently that didn’t turn out so well? If your hand didn’t go up, you must be Mr. Spock.

We all entertain regrets.

Regrets can have a more noble purpose than walking down memory lane and beating yourself up. There can be an upside to regrets.

Seeing as we all have them, we may as well start having them work for us.

What if, every time you notice personal regret, you have that experience serve as a springboard to launch you into behavior that automatically moves you to a more creative place?

It’s an opportunity to take something that comes to you so naturally (regret) and transform it into personal growth. There is no growth attached to sitting around repeatedly running your regrets through your mind. That’s a downward spiral towards stuck.

When you notice yourself regretting something, allow your mind to throw a creative switch that triggers new ways of outgrowing stuck behavior. All you have to do is rehearse a little bit.

Here is a very powerful exercise: Think about a time that you were exceptionally creative. Make it a time when creativity was flowing through you like water through a fire hose. Make up the experience if you have to. The objective is to get a sense of what creativity feels like in your body. After some rehearsal, you’ll be able to produce that feeling on command. Now, think of something you regret. Start with a small one. The minute you feel the regretful feelings, throw the switch and bring the creative feeling into your body. Do this over and over again until regret begins to trigger creativity automatically.

Then move up to a bigger regret and repeat the process. With just a little bit of concentrated practice, you can train your mind to have your natural regrets trigger creative solutions – ones that bring enough joy to make your regrets too few to mention.

All the best,


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April 3, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:51 am

Can you imagine the sound of many voices singing off key at once? That would be my definition of hubbub. The dictionary describes “Hubbub” as a confused noise of many voices. Such was the case for my four hour visit to New York City – Hubbub.

The city moves at a frenetic, disjointed pace. I’m sure there are some foreign cities that could match or outdo New York’s patchwork quilt of cacophonous sounds but I haven’t experienced them yet.

I took some video footage of the Empire State Building and didn’t notice until I played it back at a video store that under the din of the streets was the silence that’s always present. You just have to listen for it.

Even in the midst of a noisy, plate clattering restaurant at midday in Manhattan, you can find the silence. You just have to pursue it.

You can define your life by the noise that surrounds you or you can dig a bit deeper and find the soothing silence.

I’ll admit that New York is a challenge but even amidst its hubbub, there is a quiet spot that each of us can find.

The word “Universe” literally means one song. There is only one song on the subterranean juke box and it’s by Simon & Garfunkel. It’s Sounds of Silence.”

Everyone is singing that one song at a deeper level. Sometimes it’s difficult to notice when we’re surrounded by hubbub.

Everyone has their own version of mental noise. You don’t have to travel to New York City to find it. You also don’t have to travel anywhere to find the same stillness that sits deep beneath the turbulent surface waters of an angry ocean.

You can attempt to soundproof your life. Based on my experience, that project will fail. The alternative is to take the noise of life as it comes and seek the quiet spot that’s always present. It’s from here that you’ll find that quiet confidence to bring to the surface to manage the hubbub of life.

The quiet we all seek is between our thoughts. Take a moment today to notice the spaces that show up between your thoughts. Those spaces, when noticed, expand into even more silence. Notice how the noise on the outside becomes less of a burden when the noise on the inside disappears.

Become your own experiment today. Find the silence beneath your hubbub and notice how quickly your life quiets down.

All the best,


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April 2, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:30 am

I am often amused by people who give advice on parenting. I am equally amused when they tell you they have the right way to parent.

My late mentor, Dr. Dave Dobson said it best: “We are all amateur parents.”

There are no degrees offered in parenting. If there are, please show me the children of the teachers before I sign up.

Every parent has a different formula whether they realize it or not.

The reason I’m amused by the parenting “experts” is that they either give advice or start spouting doctrine before the full evidence has been presented.

The full evidence is an adult that’s functioning well in society.

The parceling out of unsolicited parenting advice is as silly as bragging how great your cake is going to taste after putting a bunch of unknown ingredients into your mix.

It may very well be a successful recipe but I wouldn’t try it until I tasted the final product.

Brag all you want about your kids but save your parenting advice to others until your children are grown.

Reminds me of a story . . .

We had a neighbor many years ago who was politely suggesting that what we were doing with our child was not the best way to go. She offered, in a non direct way, that the method that she was using with her child was better. My wife politely nodded and when she was out of earshot said, “Check with me in 20 years.”

There is no winning a parenting argument. Parenting practice is a belief that we got like many other of our beliefs – we don’t know how we got it. We absorbed some of it from our own amateur parents and the rest we made up.

People who offer parenting advice, by and large, are well meaning individuals but they lack evidence.

If you’re looking for a parenting model other than the one you have, look a generation ahead of you and look at the young adults you would like your children to have the traits of. Then find their parents and explore their recipe.

My parenting days are over and I would never offer anyone a prescription unless asked. I would offer this: Do the best you can and trust what your gut is telling you.

Just don’t announce that you have the secret formula until your evidence matures.

All the best,


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April 1, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:41 am

It’s tough leading your whole life by a dictionary definition – a role, a label, a mindset. Yet that’s precisely what we do, until we don’t.

Are you a mother? Father? Perhaps you’re a cabinet maker or strong willed.

Did you ever notice that when you define yourself, your options of being something else disappear?

The old axiom is accurate: “When you label it, you limit it.”

You take so many options off the table for yourself when you define yourself. The definition locks you in to a mental fairy tale. Yes, you may be the mother to a child, but you needn’t be locked in to the label that “Mother” connotes in your head. If you do that, you won’t be able to do or be what a mother “shouldn’t” do or be.

My favorite response to the question “What do you do?” is “I’m a house wife.” I usually ask the person if they are married to a house. This usually is enough of a pattern interrupt to show them their labeling system and its limitations.

If you examine your labels of yourself, you will find your limitations. The label self imposes them.

What label is mischaracterizing you?

Here’s my suggestion: Drop a label from your life and find out what happens.

Look through your list of labels and “downsize” one of them. Give it a pink slip. Notice the freedom that goes along with not having to be that anymore. You may still do all the functions associated with that label but you won’t be it anymore. By letting go of the label, you open yourself up to options. These options remain invisible as long as we have a label covering them over.

People may not appreciate you until you appreciate yourself. Part of that appreciation is recognizing there is more to you than a definition can ever communicate.

Losing your label is a step towards self discovery. When you are free of labels, you free yourself from the limitations they imply.

Define is the opposite of divine.

One doorway to your divinity is to remove the label that says “Do not enter.”

All the best,


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