- Thoughts for inspired living

June 27, 2016

The End of Laughter

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:18 am

Girls laughing in grass 350I’m no relationships expert – far from it, but I can tell you with assurance that one of the telltale signs of a relationship heading south is the absence of laughter.

“He/She stopped making me laugh” is a harbinger of adios.

If they never made you laugh in the first place, it probably wasn’t a great relationship to begin with.

Laughter in this context is not expecting a Seinfeld routine but, more so, someone knowing where your funny button is and how to naturally push it.

If that action has ceased, your relationship is close to deceased.

Like many things in life, this sign is easier to spot in hindsight. The key is to notice it at the onset.

How do you do that? First, ask yourself the last time you laughed with your partner. If the answer is “just this morning,” you needn’t go to Step 2.

If your answer is “I can’t remember the last time” or “It’s been a while,” Step 2 is to arrange a sit down and explore what’s going on.

Sadly, you may discover that it’s too late to work on it OR you may find the missing piece that causes each other’s lips to turn up at the corners with just a hint of of a smile.

I have a saying I use about business: “Businesses don’t run themselves.” Neither do relationships. They need attention and they need some daily work.

My amateur opinion is this: If laughter has gone out of your relationship, you don’t have one. If you can’t make each other smile, you’re in relationship denial.

It may be time to get out of your head and start paying attention to your partner’s needs – one of which comes from the old adage; “Laughter is the best medicine.”

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 23, 2016


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:26 am

Loose EndsI got this phrase from The Grasshopper yesterday: “A loose end trying to tie a knot.”

It seems it highlights a part of us that doesn’t complete things. I believe that includes most of us, but some of us are world-class at starting quick and fading fast.

You have to admire the upfront passion these humans exude, but scratch your head at how quickly their flame disappears. It’s as though they’re a sparkler.

I will admit that this is a mini rant. I have a phrase that I made up that’s not very complimentary toward this kind of behavior. I say, “He/She’s a walking loose end.”

The little I know about the personality typing system known as the Enneagram, these folks seem to be a stagnant Type 7. They get hot and bothered and then don’t bother.

I’m amused and OK with this behavior when I don’t have to do business with these folks. Socially, they bring a lot to the fun, superficial side of life. But when it gets down to the “nitty-gritty,” it’s a pity.

Here’s a conversation I have with every person I hire to do a job for me: “You don’t have to over deliver; you just have to do what you say you will do.” When I hear hyperbole, I want to throw pies.

My rant is over and I don’t think it will change anything by expressing it but it might get you curious about this: to compete, you have to complete. Otherwise, you’re wearing a disguise that delivers more lows than highs.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 21, 2016

Letting Go of Labels

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:26 am

PeelingI posted the following on Facebook on Father’s Day:

“My personal belief is that the second half of life is about dropping the labels we ascribe to ourselves, one-by-one, to discover the unlabeled core of who we are. I’m not confident I’ll be able to voluntarily let go of the label ‘Dad.'”

It got me curious about labels that stick longer than others. I’ve known for a long time that I’ve bought in lock, stock and barrel to the “Dad” label. As much as I like it, it does keep me one more step away from full discovery of the unvarnished me.

This curiosity causes me to ask: “What labels are you holding on to?”

Those labels will give you some insight into your values, preferences, prejudices and judgements.

Just because we hold on to a label doesn’t make it a “good” thing. It’s just a label (illusion) that we’ve bought into that has no comparable value when compared to what I have labeled our “core.”

Labels are like meaning: they eventually all disappear. Let’s pretend that you think having a lot of money means something. It means nothing when you’re moments from death. Not even the world’s richest or poorest person is thinking about money at that time. No dying person is saying, “I should have stayed at the office an extra hour each night so that I could have made more money.” The meaning is all gone at that point and so are the labels.

The good news is we don’t have to wait until we’re breaths from death to peel off our labels. Many of the labels we carry about really get in the way of us enjoying and experiencing life more fully now. When’s the last time you danced when no one was looking? Perhaps you have a rule (label) that proper people don’t dance about in public or private. There’s lots of meaning attached to that rule (label).

What if you decided to just start dancing? Two things would happen:

1. You’d experience the indescribable movement of your life force.

2. The label of “dance avoider” would disappear along with its meaning.

This is an invitation to look at your labels and start noticing how many of them are interfering with your ability to experience life more fully. I think you’ll find life more appealing when you start peeling.

Let’s dance!

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 20, 2016

Look Around

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:20 am

Japanese Tree 2

Underside of a Japanese Maple Leaf


I got this piece of advice from a photographer: When you are scoping out a scene and it’s just not looking good enough to photograph, turn around and look the other way and chances are you’ll discover something quite worthwhile.

Seems this piece of input goes well past photography. How often do we mistakenly judge a book by its cover?

That’s the time to take a breath, exhale slowly and look in another direction. My experience is you will find something there that dismissal will never discover.

There is more to others than your judgements about them.

I find that I use judgements as a protection mechanism. If I’ve had a lousy experience with someone and come in contact with another who seems to have the same qualities as that person, I look past them. I miss a lot by doing that.

When I explore people past my prejudice, I often find that there is a lot more there. Connections are made when we push past our judgements.
Reminds me of a story I’ve told before . . .

I used to go to this dry cleaner because they did a wonderful job of pressing shirts – the best I had ever experienced. But my experience there was not pleasant. There was this irascible woman behind the counter who could turn “up” into “down” in an eye blink. I always left with well pressed shirts but with wrinkly feelings.

Then one day I had it with her snarly attitude and was about to give it to her with both barrels. Just as I was about to explode, this question came out instead: “You seem to be so unhappy.” That’s all it took. This woman burst into tears and told me the story of her and her brother. They were put in separate orphanages as children. They found each other years later and developed an extremely close bond. He was now dying of cancer and that inseparable bond was about to be broken. This hardened woman softened before my eyes and I got a hug along with my shirts that day. Every visit thereafter was with the person I took another look at.

When you feel an instant judgement come up, “look around.” You will make connections that heretofore went straight to the “Lost and Found.”

All the best,


Lost  Found

Be Sociable, Share!

June 16, 2016

Is Better Best?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:41 am


Here’s a Throwback Thursday quote from The Grasshopper from many Thursdays ago:

“Good, Better, Best” Are Words That Cause Unrest – Grasshopper

Who was the best boxer, ice skater, swimmer, artist, singer, actor, guitarist, photographer, philosopher . . . ? Who’s better at (fill in the blank)? What’s a good place to go to eat? All of these questions have multiple answers and they often provide fuel for countless fires.

“Good, Better, Best” can start discussions that often end up as arguments. That’s because they elicit opinions, and opinions are often considered facts by the people offering them.

Just monitor your own conversations and notice how often you offer a “Good, Better, Best” opinion and then notice how the conversation becomes a competition.

There is a workaround. Eliminate “Good, Better, Best” from your questions and responses and replace them with preferences and report on your personal experience.

“The ribs I enjoyed the most were from a place called JR’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana” is less likely to start a fire than “The absolute best ribs are from JR’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”

Can you see the difference?

When you report on your experience without “Good, Better, Best” you are less likely to stir up unrest.

If you really want someone’s opinion, there is no problem with a “Good, Better, Best” question. But it’s a useful practice to notice how often “Good, Better, Best” leads you down a path of escalation.

I think this is a good way to lead your life for better results and the best possible outcomes. “Them is fightin’ words.”

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 9, 2016

Music to Your Ears

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:33 am


Here’s a Throwback Thursday Jukebox selection from The Grasshopper:

“Turning Up The Volume Reduces Our Ability To Listen.” – Grasshopper

Increasing the volume may work with music, but with human thought it only produces distortion.

There are musical nuances we may miss at lower volumes, but the delivery of cacophony into our mind is in direct proportion to how much we crank up our internal volume.

The louder the volume, the less of an opportunity there is to hear anything but our own thoughts. We become incapable of listening. It’s time for an agreement.

Make an agreement with your mind that when you are only hearing your own thoughts that you turn down the volume. Install a triggering mechanism into your mind that notices when your mind is totally occupied with your own thoughts. Just the fact that you notice, automatically turns down the volume. Reminds me of a story . . .

My late teacher Dr. Dave Dobson introduced us to the concept of “Bad Hypnosis” – Something I’m threatening to write a book on. Bad hypnosis is something we are exposed to every day. If we don’t notice it as being such, we will reinforce the unproductive suggestions being offered.

These suggestions start in childhood and continue throughout our life if they go unchecked. For example, take the proverbial “Money doesn’t grow on trees” maxim as one of your early experiences with bad hypnosis. Every time it gets reinforced, you experience a mindset of lack.

What Dave had us do was take a nice deep breath, exhale slowly and close our eyes. He then suggested as we were in this less stimulated frame of mind to ask the part of our mind that recognizes bad hypnosis to alert us every time we experience it. The exercise took less than a minute and 22 years later I see and hear bad hypnosis everywhere.

The agreement I’m requesting that you make is to ask the part of you that notices full volume to automatically turn it down. After requesting this a few times, something magical begins to happen. You start to notice the process happening on its own without any conscious request on your part. It becomes an automatic response.

When the volume of your internal dialogue is lowered, you have the ability to hear something besides your own thoughts. It’s this ability to hear something new that has us dance off in new directions rather than retracing our steps again.

Take the time to make an agreement with your mind to notice and turn down the noise. It only takes a minute of quiet time and with a little practice, what you hear will be music to your ears.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 8, 2016

Mind Your Own Business

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:19 am

Bed of nailsThe Grasshopper gave me this alive observation last night: “The more mindful you are, the more life you’ll feel course through your veins.”

The amount of life we live without noticing is staggering and life stunting. Mindfulness is recognizing and feeling what you are doing while you are doing it. We just don’t do that often enough and each time we go on mindless autopilot, we miss experiencing our life.

I’m not sure that perpetual mindfulness is attainable. Perhaps someone lying on a bed of nails in some remote corner of the globe has achieved it but I don’t think it will happen for you and me. It’s the pursuit of mindfulness more often that will pay us dividends.

To become more mindful is to become more aware of what we do. That can be as simple as noticing the temperature of the water on your hands when you wash them. Mindful eating is an effective digestion and weight management technique as well.

When we’re in conversation with someone, mindfulness is giving your whole attention to what they are saying. Going into your head and rehearsing what you want to say when they take a breath is about as unmindful as we can be, and it’s an insured way to let our life flee.

Note: If you are “multi-tasking,” your attention will be scattered and your aliveness will be on vacation.

I could be making all this up, so you’ll have to prove it to yourself: that more life is available to you just by paying attention to what you do.

Feeling life is more rewarding than ignoring it. It just takes a bit of mindfulness. Paying no heed to life will cost you; Mindfulness is priceless.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 4, 2016

Butterflies and Bees

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:05 am


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was lying on my bed with my Emerson transistor radio (which was about the size of a John Grisham hardback novel) listening through the static to a far off radio station broadcasting the Cassius Clay/Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight.

I wanted to know how my new boyhood hero would fare against the “big ugly bear.”

Also that night, I was introduced to a broadcaster I had never heard of before: Howard Cosell. He unknowingly entertained the pants off me with his post fight interview with former heavyweight champion Joe Louis by using his multi-syllabic words with a man who had obviously taken too many punches. It was pure theatre.

Back to the bout: Imagine my elation when my idol knocked out his opponent in the first round.

It was the beginning of a man crush I had for years for the one they call “The Greatest.”

I was sad to see his skills erode in the ring towards the end of his career, but was even more saddened that he would suffer from a debilitating, neurological disease from his early 40s until his death yesterday at age 74.

Like many people of my generation, I served in the Armed Forces but many of us were not in favor of the war. That’s another way Muhammad Ali captured my attention: standing up for what he fervently believed in regardless of the consequences. He truly was a hero to me.

But like all idols and heroes, he had feet of clay (no pun intended).

No one can stand the scrutiny of a perpetual pedestal. He was human and had his human frailties, but his overarching impression to me was that of an iconoclast who just wouldn’t settle for “the way it was.”

He broke all sorts of barriers and paved the way for other people of color to have an easier time than he did.

I am sad that Muhammad Ali is gone but he will always be remembered by me as the brash young man who said, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 3, 2016

How Right Can Be So Wrong

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

Tug of war

Woke up with this Grasshopper tidbit: “‘I’m right’ is an invitation to fight.”

When we display the attitude or position of being right, we invariably make the person(s) on the other end wrong.

Wrong is an experience that none of us wants for ourselves. It’s too painful.

But when we attempt to assign wrong to someone else, they don’t want it either and war breaks out.

A long time ago I was introduced to substitute words for right and wrong. They are “accurate and inaccurate.”

Try these assertions on for size and assess for yourself if one feels better or worse.

“You are wrong.”

“Your information is inaccurate.”

My guess is one lands more softly than the other and promotes further conversation, where the other one draws a line in the sand.

Reminds me of a phone call I was on yesterday . . . I was going over a bill I received and I was clearly overcharged. I was “right.” I could have easily come from the position of right but I knew from experience it had the high potential to set up a fight.

I took another angle instead. I asked the person who sent the bill to “help me figure it out.” I told him I was confused about the charges and needed some clarification. As we talked over the items in the bill, it became clear to him that I was overcharged.

It was a quick and pleasant conversation without either of us having to claim the higher, superior ground and the issue was solved.

Begin to notice how the words and mindset of “right and wrong” are alarms that send you and others to your battle stations.

I won’t claim to be right about this – just accurate. Take this new idea out for a spin and discover for yourself that you don’t always have to go to war to win.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

June 2, 2016

Coincidental Happiness

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:43 am

Broken hummel Edit

Here’s a Throwback Thursday reminder from The Grasshopper from 5 years ago:

Happy Accidents Are Realities That Are Labeled As Coincidences – Grasshopper

The best definition I ever heard for coincidences came from Wayne Dyer in his book, “The Power of Intention.” He wrote, “The word coincidence does not describe luck or mistakes. It describes that which fits together perfectly.”

I’m not yet an aficionado of Astrology but I do like one of their phrases: “The planets are aligned.” When reality lines up in our favor, it’s a happy accident – all things fit together perfectly.

If we go a bit deeper than the surface, we find that all things fit together perfectly at all times. Life is one big happy accident below the surface. It’s when we filter life through our conditioning that we only get to see the “perfection connection” from time to time.

The Grasshopper reminded us long ago that “Reality is Perfect.” Even Ivory Soap doesn’t measure up.

Who would deliberately arrange to break a treasured, family heirloom so that it had even more intrinsic value after the break? We could never assemble that logic. Reminds me of a happy accident . . .

About 15 years ago my grandson, who was 4 at the time, was secretly playing with a figurine that my wife’s deceased mother had left her. It had more sentimental value than worth, but he dropped it and it broke. My wife burst into tears. It was one of the few, tangible things she had to remind her of her mother. We assured her we could glue it back together but nothing could console her until . . .

My grandson, who had recently seen “The Lion King” went over to his sobbing grandmother and said, “Grammy, hakuna matata, no worries.” More tears ensued but these were tears of joy that came from the words of comfort offered by a little boy.

The figurine took on new stature and had more value than it ever enjoyed before because of one of life’s happy accidents.

There is a connection to everything below the surface. We just don’t have the intellectual apparatus to be able to see it at all times. We get glimpses but not much more. It’s only when we bypass our critical consciousness that we’re able to make connections that are consciously invisible.

Our intellect, no matter how developed, can only take us so far. It’s when we temporarily suspend its mighty computing power that we get to visit the land of coincidences where things fit together perfectly. It’s here that we get to see that all things are connected. Nothing is separate and apart.

Just knowing that the “Land of Coincidence” exists makes it possible for more happy accidents to show up in our everyday world.

Any mind calming practice will take you to the place where all things are connected because mind calming is the gift that keeps on giving. We collect more evidence with each visit that connection is everywhere at all times. Just knowing that connection is present breeds confidence – confidence that you’ll be guided to more “coincidental” connections.

Reality happens in every moment. It’s truly the only thing we can count on. We can continue to rail against it, or we can decide to explore the connections it offers. It’s exploring the connections that have us bump into coincidences that turn into happy accidents.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!