- Thoughts for inspired living

May 28, 2015

Looking Forward

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:21 am

Swankie snowflakeI’m just about certain that there’s not a formula for happiness, otherwise it would be for sale on cable TV.

Happiness is a state of mind that comes and goes and it doesn’t seem to have permanent roots no matter what state you choose to live in.

That being said, there seems to be a carrot you can hang on a stick to lure happiness back into town, at least for a while.

I’ve found that you can jumpstart happy thoughts with this technique. It’s not a cure-all but it is a remedy that, when used, can attract the healing that happiness brings.

Here’s the tip: Have something to look forward to.

It acts as a magnet for happiness when happiness isn’t around.

I’ve come to realize that living in the moment is the most rewarding way of living but we don’t do it all the time. Perhaps if we did, we’d be happy more often. The next best thing is to have something worth looking forward to.

It’s not something we dwell on; it’s just a thought to bring to mind when we find that happiness has left town.

It doesn’t have to be anything monumental that we look forward to; just something that brings some ease to our mind and a little warmth to our body.

It’s not the escapism of fantasy, which is also fun; it’s something real that you can put your finger on – something that will happen.

I rarely use the word “always,” but in this case I will make an exception. Always have something to look forward to. It’s a force that will pull you forward.

Once you experience the something you were looking forward to, make sure to have another something at the ready. If you’re a woman, think of this technique as having tissues in your purse. (I’m not sure I’ve met a woman who doesn’t carry tissues). They’re there in the event you need them.

Having something to look forward to will be there when you need it. Make sure to have it tucked away in your pocket or your purse.

All the best,


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May 27, 2015

It’s a Dog’s Life

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:13 am

IMG 0035 Edit EditI was reading a photography blog this morning and came across this quote from dog photographer Kaylee Greer: “Their world is not measured in minutes but in moments.”

What a profound statement, not only for our four-legged, furry friends but for all of us.

Just look back on your life and what do you remember most? My guess is you remember the moments.

Our human world is run by time but is also measured in moments.

We would do well to remember that when we get caught up in our fast paced focus on the minutes and forget to pay attention to the moment.

Learn a lesson from a dog: The only moment is the moment you’re in, and the more you’re involved in the moment, the more your tail will wag.

All the best,


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May 21, 2015

Time Outs

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:11 am

Time“Real life doesn’t have time outs.” So said the Grasshopper early this morning.

It sort of reminded me of the old maxim that life is not a dress rehearsal.

Life continues forward even when we want the world to stop or back up so we can get a do over.

The only time out that seems real is the time out we take from time.

It’s a hard intellectual concept to grasp but I’m pretty sure the philosophers and mathematicians agree that time doesn’t exist.

So taking a time out from time leaves you the only place you can ever really be, and that’s where we all are right now – in the present moment.

So if you want the clock to stop ticking, stop paying attention to the clock and start focusing on the moment you’re in right now. It will make time stand still.

You’ll never need a time out when you’re in the present moment because the concept of time will slip away as you give whatever’s in your attention the time of day.

All the best,


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May 19, 2015


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:05 am

Heart“Words can never describe your feelings, only point you towards them.” Those were the words of the Grasshopper early this morning.

As I wrote a few blog posts ago, “I have yet to discover the collection of words that can describe a feeling.” But that doesn’t keep us from trying to find those descriptors.

Think of a doctor’s visit you’ve had in the past where you were vaguely describing a set of feelings attempting to give the physician something to go on so they could make their diagnosis and prescribe a remedy. If you weren’t feeling so poorly, the scene could be comical.

Yet, we’ve all read something that provoked a set of feelings within us that caused us to get emotional. That same collection of words may have pointed another reader, not to overt emotion, but to action.

The point of this is that words point you in a direction, but not necessarily in the same direction.

Advertising attempts to persuade with words as do politicians, preachers and pundits. The ones who are successful find the words that appeal, not to your head, but your heart. Your head is not going to lead you to the ballot box, the promised land or to a new position that’s just been factually outlined, but your heart will.

There’s not a list of magic words that can lead you to your heart but there are words that won’t. These non persuasive words are usually concrete assertions – words that tell people “how things are” according to you. They have little chance of plucking the heart strings.

Factual information rarely makes the sale.

So, I’ve just laid out a bunch of assertions that you may find interesting but are incapable of moving you out of your head into your heart.

Which set of words in this post resonated most with you? My guess is the story of visiting the doctor. Those words pointed you in a direction via a story, and stories lead you to your heart.

I invite us all to offer more stories and less of our storied opinions and we’ll have found a pointed way towards someone’s heart.

All the best,


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May 13, 2015

Paying Respects

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:59 am

TBlood lettinghe Grasshopper offered this last night: “Too much respect is paid to the dead and not enough to the living.”

On first blush, it sounded disrespectful but then the message got clearer. It seems it has more to do with ideas than it does with people.

What are dead ideas? – Ideas that live on that should have died a long time ago.

How do they manage to live on? – Because undue reverence is given to them for what they did, rather than what they’re doing now. These ideas belong in a history book, not a modern day manual.

Imagine walking into your physician with a common ailment and them recommending bloodletting as a remedy. As laughable as that may seem, it took awhile for that practice to work its way out of the medical care protocols. It was a dead idea that lived on because it received too much reverence.

What ideas or beliefs are you invested in that aren’t paying any dividends? Are they getting outdated reverence? The real question is: What beliefs do we own that need updating?

The simple answer is this: The ones that aren’t working for us.

Are you giving lip service to a belief that isn’t servicing you? You bet. We all do.

To isolate that outdated idea takes a bit of reflection. Here’s a question worth taking into a meditative moment: What belief do I own that isn’t working for me?

Don’t ponder the answer; just ask the question and let the answer bubble up.

Our outdated beliefs act as anchors, holding us in place or dragging us down. Bringing them to the surface allows us to see all the barnacles that have grown on them, adding to their weight.

Once you have the recognition that an idea has lived on past its expiration date, it’s time for a proper burial. Give it all the respect that it’s due, then move on with your life and welcome in something workable and new.

It’s spring, the season of life – time to prune the dead branches and make room for ideas truly worth your reverence.

All the best,


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May 12, 2015

Seeing the Light

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

Front bushThere are so many possible interpretations to the phrase “seeing the light.”

I’m an amateur photographer, so “seeing the light” is something we are encouraged to do when making a photograph. “Where is the light coming from? What is the angle of the light? What is the quality and color of the light?” All questions we don’t think about when most of us are just taking pictures.

“Seeing the light” has been tied to revelations that have been made to us about something. “Ah, now I see the light.”

But for me, “seeing the light” is seeing someone’s light – the thing that makes them glow.

I’m not referring to their personality or a skill set they may own, I’m referring to the inner light they let out for the world to see.

In most people, you have to look for it.

Back to photography for a moment. Everyone has an expression that captures their light, but you really have to work to get it. We cover over our natural light with so many modifiers that it’s difficult to see it in its purest form, but I’ve come to know it’s there.

People whose light comes out naturally are people you gravitate towards. Most of us have to work at it but there are those who just radiate their light without effort. These are people who have something we want but we just can’t seem to put our finger on what that something is. It’s their light.

They unknowingly provide a sense of a safe haven when you’re in their company and that’s one of the many reasons you want to be around them.

We all have that light; we just have to recognize that it’s available and then go to work on letting it shine. That means that we have to un-board the doors and windows that are keeping it from adding to the light of day.

A good place to start is to let go of pretense. Notice that the person filled with light has none. Dropping our “airs” takes pretense out of the air and let’s more light through.

Also notice that the person with abundant light takes the time to experience you. They may be labeled a “good listener” but what’s really going on is that they are with you when you’re with them. They are not off rehearsing their next thought; they are there for you and it feels good to bask in that type of light.

Make it a practice to seek the light in yourself and others; it’s an illuminating way to approach your day and it’s the closest you’ll ever get to picture perfect.

All the best,


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May 11, 2015

What’s Your Magic?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:43 am

Rabbit in HatWe’re all “good” at something. We may not shout it from the rooftops but in our quiet moments we know that we do something, probably better than most.

It’s more than an opinion about our special skill because it’s been validated by others too many times to be self aggrandizement.

So what do you do with your special brand of magic? Use it for the benefit of others and yourself. That gives your magic a purpose, rather than just being something that you can do.

Early on, I found that my special skill was finding flaws – not a skill that’s easily marketed. I could meet someone and know what their shortfall was in an instant. I found out quickly that people don’t like hearing what’s wrong with them.

It’s still a work in progress for me but I had to find some other magic to balance my natural tendency to spot spots. That skill was helping people find a way out of tough spots.

That meant I had to find a way to have them reconnect with their internal resources to have them find a remedy. That’s when my skill set became marketable.

Like I said, it’s still a work in progress for me because I sometimes find myself to be “heavy handed” on the front end of my approach.

My friends would call it being “direct.” Others who don’t want to protect my feelings that much call it “throwing a hand grenade under the table.” Both are apt descriptions.

There are times that direct works best, but not all the time. That’s what I’ve come to realize over time.

But enough about me. How do you make sure your brand of sorcery isn’t just black magic?

Get curious about what you’re not so good at that would add some balance to your brand of magic.

Are you a great hostess who wants their own restaurant but are uneducated when it comes to business? Bone up on the business end or you’ll be out of business before you begin one.

Are you a gifted musician whose family and friends tell you how talented you are but the only crowds you are playing for are at family picnics? Find an employed musician, with no more skills than you, and find out what they’re doing and start doing that.

There is a push-pull effect when you find the complimentary skill to your magic. It pushes you to do more and it pulls you out of potentially deadly tailspins.

You can certainly defend your brand of magic and not search for its compliment. My personal experience with that approach is that you’ll be pulling less rabbits out of hats and trying to pull a solution out of your ass.

All the best,


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May 8, 2015

Running Patterns

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:57 am

Running“Everyone runs patterns but how many of your patterns are running you?” That’s what The Grasshopper asked yesterday.

It immediately reminded me of what the celebrated, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said many moons ago: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Most of our patterned behavior is out of our awareness. You may not be aware but your pattern of walking is unique to you. No one walks exactly like you or talks exactly like you. Most people are unaware of their pattern of walking or their pattern of speech. It just runs in the background without us noticing.

Unless your pattern of walking or talking is getting in your way, it will probably go on unnoticed without any side effects.

But suppose you are a broadcaster in the midwest with a thick New York accent and you’re attempting to blend in with the locals. You may run into some difficulty if you don’t go to work on your pattern of speech.

Our attitudes and beliefs are also patterns, and make no mistake, they run us; we don’t run them, until we take time to notice.

Noticing is the first step toward change, or as Jung said, “making the unconscious conscious.”

Once our pattern is in the light of day, we can begin the work of outgrowing it. Many people, when they have a counterproductive pattern pointed out to them, go into justification mode. They start arguing for their limitations. As long as they continue to argue, the pattern will stay in place. Once the excuses cease, then there is an opportunity for growth.

Noticing is the first step and interrupting is the second and final step. Once you recognize a pattern running, to outgrow it, it’s incumbent upon you to interrupt it in midstream. Once you interrupt, you put a wedge between what was about to be repeated and what’s possible.

It’s in that gap that new patterns begin to form. It’s in that gap that change begins.

So, you won’t begin to solve a problem until you notice you have one and you won’t outgrow it until you employ the wedge of interruption.

The interruption wedge is not a one-time fix. It’s like home teeth whitening. You have to apply the treatment regularly to start seeing the results.

If your life is not running in the direction you want, stop running away from your patterns. Stop and take notice and then consciously apply the wedge of interruption, then you’ll be in the running.

All the best,


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May 6, 2015


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:08 am

Fox  GrapesI recently read the origin of the expression “Sour Grapes.” Some say it came from the Bible and others claim it’s an Aesop fable. Either way, the story goes like this:

A fox sees some grapes on a vine above him. He jumps and jumps attempting to get some but after many leaps, he can’t reach them. He covers over his failure by pretending disdain for what he cannot have by labeling the grapes as “sour” and thus unworthy of his approval.

Are you sour?

What is it that you can’t admit to wanting?

It’s my experience that many people who disparage others for what they have have a desire to have the same thing, but cannot get it.

They hide their envy under the guise of disdain and it often comes out in disparaging or sarcastic refrains:

“He/She has no idea what it’s like to work for a living.”

“Must be nice to be able to have someone else mow your grass.”

“What they spend on vacation could feed hungry children for a year.”

Again, I believe we want some of the same things, but can’t bring ourselves to the point of us being responsible for getting them.

This goes well past material desires. We may be jealous of another’s happiness, physical appearance, social graces etc. The list is extensive.

The first step on the road to sweeter grapes is admission. It doesn’t have to be a public gathering with a soapbox. Just admit to yourself that you want certain things without castigating others for having them.

Years ago, I remember reading that if you want what another has, don’t envy them; emulate them.

But it’s difficult to emulate that which you claim to disdain. That’s why admission is the first step.

Once admission has happened, we can then start emulating. Find out what they do to get what they have. Want to have the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin? Read his autobiography. Want to take photographs like Annie Leibovitz? Study her work. Want the carefree attitude of your neighbor? Invite her to lunch and pick her brain.

Want more fruits from your labor? Start dining on a diet of admission and emulation and you’ll sidestep the grapes of wrath.

All the best,


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May 4, 2015


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:55 am

CF001299Springtime has finally arrived in the northeast US – just in the nick of time.

As I was having my 2nd cup of tea this morning, I gave notice to the “Christmas Cactus” that’s blooming in our front window. The Grasshopper gave me this horticultural handout: “Blooming is the job of the flower.”

It sounded like a line from the old TV show Kung Fu until I let it germinate for a bit.

It seems we can plant seeds, cultivate them, give them water and nutrients but when it comes to blooming, we really have no role or control.

The flower or plant will bloom on its own or not.

Have you planted something, followed all the recommended protocols and still got no bloom for the buck? Stop fretting. You did all you could do – the blooming is not up to you.

I know the Home and Garden Show comes to my area in February, not a time of year for natural blooming. So the growers “force bloom” the flowers under artificial conditions so they’ll be attractive for the show.

Artificially blooming with people is a disservice. It doesn’t allow them to blossom on their own: to have their own trials, failures and successes. This causes them to seek out artificial methods – shortcuts – as the norm rather than the exception.

Shortcuts will cut your successes short. You may look good for the show but you go home and wilt.

If you’re into force blooming, let me borrow a phrase from my photography teacher, Peter Hurley: “Stop it now!”

This is the time of year things bloom on their own. Get out of the way and let it happen or not. You’ve done your job; now let them do theirs.

All the best,


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