- Thoughts for inspired living

November 26, 2008

Go Deep

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:47 am

When I was a kid we used to play 3-on-3 touch football in the street. That meant that if you were playing offense you had one guy hike the ball, one guy be the quarterback, and the other kid to be the receiver. The other 3 guys played defense and tried to not let you advance the ball. In just about every huddle the words “Go deep” were used.

We never defined “Go deep.” Did that mean run to MacNamera’s station wagon, or to Mr. King’s trash can, or something else? “Deep” was always kind of fluffy. It had a different meaning to whomever heard it. When the play didn’t work, lots of finger pointing ensued because we didn’t have a specific appreciation for what “Deep” was.

In every relationship, in every conversation, we are offered the opportunity to “Go deep” and score. We rarely go there even though we think we did, and the arguments continue.

It seems we need a common definition for “Go deep.” I’m sure there are others, but this is the one I’m proposing for universal adoption:

GO DEEP: To go past the automaticity of stimulus/response.

Reminds me of a typical feuding couple . . . Let’s call them “The Surfacedwellers.” They’ve been at odds. They’ve been to relationship counseling. They’ve separated. They hook-up from time to time. They talk. There are never any resolutions. They never take the opportunity to “Go deep.”

Every time one of them has something to offer, the other goes into their unlimited bag of responses and comes back with the same one every time. When the same response is offered, the person who made the proposal goes into their bag and comes back with their same response to the response they’ve been given. This pond is frozen. You’ll never get below the surface with this strategy. You’ll continue to skate figure 8’s around each other.

Each person walks away from this frequent encounter mystified that they can’t reach the other person. “He’s too bullheaded,” “She’s too flighty” may be the rationalizations. Never did they consider going past their surface selves and meet each other on a deeper level. They are addicted to reaction and caught up in the right and wrong world of stimulus/response.

When they do have more pleasurable interactions, they do so because they are each choking back their patterned reactions. That can only last so long before the familiar fracas takes place again.

There is no guarantee that going deeper will fix this relationship. The guarantee is it will get it off the surface sticking point.

(I invite you to read my blog from November 30, 2007 if you want a more detailed exploration of patterned answers and presence.)

Back to “The Surfacedwellers” . . . Any decision they come to will be rife with recriminations and constant questioning if they don’t take the opportunity to “Go deep.”

It is an opportunity that’s always knocking but we too often employ what my grandmother called “selective deafness.” We hear what we want to hear.

It takes courage to open the door to a deeper response. It’s there, you just have to abandon your laziness to accept the familiar and dig deeper. Any resolution arrived at from this place will be more peaceful and unquestioned.


All the best,



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