- Thoughts for inspired living

September 30, 2016

Selecting Peace

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:02 am

Open WindowIs it “Flashback Friday” already? Found this old Grasshopper Note in the archives. Hope it brings you some peace.

“Peace Isn’t Selective.”

There is this absurd notion that some people are singled out to get that which can’t be purchased – Peace.

Peace is your birthright, and it’s not for sale and it doesn’t pick someone else instead of you. The same goes for luck, or grace, or forgiveness.

Peace comes to those who are open to it. Being open isn’t a guarantee that it will immediately come, but it is the starting point.

If you are searching for a cool breeze, it helps to open the window. You could sit in a shuttered house and lament that others are getting cool breezes, but that does nothing to give you a fresh breath of air.

Openness and willingness are aphrodisiacs to peace. They smell that aroma in the air and, by hook or crook, they find their way there.

You can’t get that which you resist. We seem to resist getting peace by barring the door to it. You can’t be “right” and peaceful at the same time. You can’t want good will for some, but not for all and find peace. Peace passes you by when you are selective in how it comes. “I want to hold a grudge and be peaceful at the same time” is being selective. The more selective you are, the less peace you will have.

Peace comes to a calm mind. The busier you are in there, the less room there is for peace. Holding on to all the selective criteria makes for a noisy mind.

So the formula for peace is twofold:

1. Be open to its existence. Openness is an invitation.

2. Calm your mind. A quieter mind is the welcome mat.

Mind quieting can be as simple as letting go of some of the selective conditions you currently have for peace. You may not have noticed that peace has never and will never agree to those conditions.

You can’t demand peace. It’s not afraid of your threats because you have no leverage. Peace holds all the cards; all you have to do is fold your selective hand and stand by an open window and wait for your windfall to blow in.

All the best,


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September 27, 2016

You Are Here

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


Here’s a blast from the past about the present from The Grasshopper:

“Seeking Validation For The Way You Are Keeps You The Way You Are.”

If we can find a reason for our shortcoming and get people to agree to it, we have formed a club that forms a wall of defense that keeps us sheltered from progress.

I met a young couple while flying recently. She was a teacher and he was a recruiter – a very sweet couple. I offered that I taught seminars on smoking cessation and weight loss. The woman was intrigued. She asked a lot of questions and then said something like: “I really don’t need to lose weight but I have some negative family issues related to food that keep me from eating more healthy.” She then pointed in her husband’s direction as she looked for validation and said to me, “He knows what I’m talking about.”

I have no doubt that most of us have some negative upbringing regarding food. It’s just our caregivers passing along their preferences and prejudices. The reason that she has issues with eating “healthy” is more interesting than it is important. The way forward is determined by deciding how you get from where you are to where you want to go, not going back to how you got here.

You are already here. There is no need to go back and get here again. The seeking of justification for how you got here is looking through the telescope backwards. It provides distorted perspective. Reminds me of another story . . .

Years ago, a friend was having a problem with her teenage child who had left her home to live with her father. Her child was acting out in too many ways to mention and, according to my friend, her ex-husband was allowing her behavior to continue under his roof. I suggested that she and her ex get together and put aside their differences and look for a way to help their daughter, rather than assigning blame to each other. When their conversation went back in the direction of who was at fault, the conversation became about them and not about the daughter’s well being. It’s so easy to get sidetracked from the issue at hand – how to go forward.

Searching for a scapegoat is wandering in a field that won’t produce crops. Real growth begins in the current moment and is not assisted by assigning blame or justification. The quickest way to curtail or derail progress is to seek validation for your position rather than evaluating the options in front of you.

The past can provide a context but going back over it again and again keeps the focus from going in the most productive direction – forward.

The need to argue for how we got our limitations is the main culprit in keeping limits on our progress. When I look more closely at the justification phenomenon, I find that people are really looking for acknowledgement for their pain, not just validation of their limitation. They want their story acknowledged. WARNING: If that takes longer than five minutes, you are doing them a disservice.

If you truly want to assist them, you can’t stay with the story. You may be considered a good friend but you won’t be helping them. You’ll just enable them to stay unable.

How you got here is a matter for the historians; taking steps forward is an action that allows you to make new history, rather than justifying and re-creating your past.

All the best,


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September 23, 2016

Magical Moments

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:22 am

BeachesWhen we remember wonderful times from places from our past, they qualify as magic moments. Here’s the trick: The magic is in the moment, not in the location.

When our boys were young, my wife and I took them on vacation to the beaches in New Jersey that both of us visited every summer of our youth. Ask any of our now adult children where the “best” beaches are, they will all say New Jersey.

They’ve been to many other celebrated beaches around the world, but Jersey beaches are deemed the best. Are they? Not really. I love them too but the source of this love is the magic moments spent at the location, not the location itself.

The reminder here is to pay more attention to the moment we’re in. That’s the secret to making moments magical.

When we’re immersed in the moment, the amount of ease and comfort we experience acts as a calming and warming influence. When we attempt to escape from the moment, the amount of unease we feel is turbulently palpable.

Here’s my experience: Creativity and calm come out of magical moments. Confusion and chaos come from moments we’re attempting to escape.

Even moments that are unpleasant need to be experienced. It’s the immersion in the moment that will help metabolize the waves of angst and morph them into calmer seas.

There really is magic. It’s found in a moment. I wonder how soon you’ll take a moment to experience the magic.

All the best,


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September 21, 2016

Believe It or Not

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:17 am


Look what I found in the attic on Throwback Thursday: (oops, I mean Wayback Wednesday).

Beliefs Are Paintings In Your MindGrasshopper

If you want to show someone the contents of your mind, put your beliefs on display. It’s kinda’ like your personal art show.

We attempt to make our beliefs into solid things. That’s like pretending that the mountain in our painting is a real thing instead of a representation. Beliefs are representations of repeated experiences that made their way onto our internal canvas.

Beliefs are no more real than an artist’s rustic rendition being a real log cabin in a pine forest.

We operate in accordance with our beliefs so they must be real, right? Acupuncturists bring people relief by putting small needles into points on the body called meridians that they believe are really inside the body, yet no autopsy has found a meridian or a belief.

That proves that beliefs can be real useful and helpful, but it does not make them real.

People argue for their beliefs everyday, some go to war over them. This is when our beliefs go amok.

The real part of beliefs is that we live in accordance with the ones we have painted or were painted for us. That means our behavior will follow our beliefs.

We act as though we live in the solid house we have painted on a canvas. When we grasp the concept that what we have painted is not real, we are a step closer to examining our beliefs and finding the ones that are working for us, and the ones that aren’t.

Look at the issue of gay marriage. You either believe in it or you don’t. The belief is a not a real thing but we treat it as though it is. Observe the number of people whose beliefs are changing on the topic. They have noticed that their beliefs aren’t solid things, just representations on a canvas. You can change the shape, size or color of your belief with a brush stroke or two.

Are you having a hard time selling your painting? It may be time to examine it a bit more closely and see what refinements it could use. If you believe it’s a real masterpiece the way it is, it will only hang in your museum and few, if any, will come to see it.

You can use your beliefs to paint the town red or paint yourself into a corner. If you find yourself doing the latter more often, your beliefs aren’t working for you and could use a fresh coat of paint.

All the best,


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September 15, 2016

Peace of Mind

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:56 am

Peace of mindI saw one of my sons had posted a sign on his Facebook page that read “Peace of Mind.” The Grasshopper immediately appeared out of the tall grass and said, “Hard to find peace of mind when you’re giving someone a piece of yours.”

How often have we opened our mouth and closed off communication by telling someone “how it is”?

Offering unsolicited input or engaging in any form of arguing are worldwide diseases that we all have a touch of. We fail to notice that after offering our “piece,” we don’t experience peace – just a stirred up sense of being right that just doesn’t feel right.

I have yet to figure out how to argue my way to peace. I’ll bet you’ve been in the same boat looking for a peaceful place to land. It’s a perpetual “three hour tour.”

That doesn’t mean you can’t offer an opinion, just make sure it doesn’t come out as an edict or, God forbid, the only way.

The older I get the less I seem to argue. I find that very peaceful. I used to be a pretty good arguer but that skill only served up unsettled feelings within me, so I’ve chosen to argue less and enjoy life more.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it on for size. If you like it, buy it and wear it in good health. If it doesn’t fit, then as they say in the sports world, “No harm, no foul.”

In the old Greek usage of the word, my “argument” is this: The more you choose not to argue or expound, unsettled feelings are lost and peace of mind is more easily found.

All the best,


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September 14, 2016

Perfecting Excellence

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:10 am

Shoot in FootHere’s an old message from The Grasshopper to all my friends who think they have to be perfect. You know who you are.

“Excellence: Getting Better At What You’re Good At.”

No need to get into an argument about who is the best at something; it results in an exercise of opposing opinions. Excellence is more easily agreed upon and more achievable.

You are good at something. You may not brag about it, but you know it. You may not consider yourself able to be the best, and that limiting notion may be what’s keeping you from getting better.

We keep ourselves from excellence by chasing the horizon of perfection. It does challenge and stretch your abilities to shoot for the moon, but as a regular practice, you wind up shooting yourself in the foot.

Perfection is elusive; excellence is incremental.

You may consider yourself to be a 7 on a scale of 10 in what you’re good at. The secret to excellence is to figure out how to get to a 7 ½ or an 8. That’s in the realm of possibility. Perfection isn’t possible; it’s arbitrary. Arbitrary means you’ll do a lot of arguing with yourself in your head, instead working on and then celebrating any step towards excellence.

The tunnel vision idea of perfection keeps us from getting better. The goal of perfection suggests that we’re flawed. How many excellent parents have you witnessed beating themselves up about not being the best parents? Not noticing their excellence keeps them from progressing.

Here’s an old axiom to remember when you are berating yourself for not being perfect: No matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides. That means the one goal of perfection is unachievable; excellence is always within reach. You just have to take steps towards it rather than reaching for the brass ring, which, after all, is brass.

Go for the gold of excellence. You’re not settling; you’re settling in on the recipe for excellence, which progressively gets you better at what you’re good at.

All the best,


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September 7, 2016

Do, Do Again

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:37 am

TryIs it “Way Back Wednesday” already? Below is something worth “trying” from the archives of The Grasshopper.

Notice: Resumes Are Not Filled With Things You Tried To Do.”

You may not have put together a thumbnail sketch of your life yet, but when you do, what you tried will be on the cutting room floor.
If I want to annoy myself, it’s easy. All I have to do is react to hearing myself or someone else say: “I tried that.” In my experience, in 99% of the cases that phrase translates to, “I didn’t stick with that.”

The notable exception that doesn’t upset me is: “I tried New Tide.”

In the overwhelming majority of the cases, if you had stuck with the thing you tried, you would have gotten the results you were after.

Just listen to the everyday examples we all use. “I tried to save money.” “I tried Weight Watchers.” “I tried to stop (fill in your trying verb).”

We are not a culture of stickers. Stick-to-itiveness is a habit we don’t stick with and we always get stuck with the bill. We pay for our lack of sustained effort and we attempt to assuage that pain by assuring ourselves that we tried.

Here’s a secret no one else will tell you: When you offer up your list of tries, no one is listening, not even your therapist.

I’m not going to “Go Yoda” on you here; I just want to point out that trying has to be removed from your list of accomplishments because that list doesn’t impress anyone.

The next time you catch yourself about to say or write, “I tried that,” have the courage to say, “I didn’t stick with that.” Saying that instantly accomplishes two things:

•It establishes your honesty.

•It brings responsibility for your success, or lack of it, where it belongs – back to you.

We have to participate in our own success. That requires sustained effort on our part. If you continue to ignore this universal truth, you will have a trying existence.

All the best,


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September 1, 2016

I’m Baffled

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:04 pm

BaffledI always thought the definition of baffled was “perplexed” or some other synonym that meant perplexed.

It can also mean a dampening of sound or a diffusion of light or a diminishment of anything else that’s attempting to get through in stronger measure.

A long time ago my late teacher Dr. Dave Dobson stated that we are our own best therapist. Part of what he meant by that was that we had a part of us that “knew” what the answer to our dilemma was. Problem is, we don’t know we have that part of us or we are cut off from it. Being cut off is what I’m calling “baffled.”

The noise in our head is the most baffling substance we’ll ever encounter. It’s thicker than mountain fog. It baffles our innate wisdom from coming through. What to do?

The first step is to stop doing what we normally do: going into think mode and staying there until we exhaust ourselves looking for an answer that remains elusive.

Did you ever notice that when you stop thinking about something, answers have a tendency to come through more often? Notice that your “ah-ha” moments don’t arrive as a result of your thinking. It’s the absence of thought that allows the “unthought of” answer to cut through the fog.

The next step is to find something that interrupts your train of thought. Any form of meditation is helpful but not necessary. Just the noticing of your thought machine in action is enough to stop the train. Think of it as a big cow on the tracks.

When we notice that we’re thinking, we go from being a participant in our thoughts to becoming an observer of our thoughts. It’s from the point of observation that our thoughts have spaces show up between them and that makes room for wisdom to fill the void.

If you’re talking to yourself inside your head about your problem, you’re baffled – cut off from your creativity. Could it be that the answer you’re looking for is just an observation away?

All the best,


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