The Big 5 of a Better Life

Awareness
Is simply noticing things, it is what we choose to bring our attention and
consciousness to. You have the power to choose what you become aware of
and what you give your attention to. This is one of your most powerful allies
in how you experience, evolve and construct your life.

Perspective
The filters through which our consciousness sees the world, how you are
interpreting what you are aware of. Perspective limits and can modify your
awareness. Getting new, more expansive perspectives will powerfully
upgrade what you can do with your awareness and how you are able to
participate in your life.

Consciousness
Is the active part of ourselves, what we are present to, what we call agency;
our power to choose and act in alignment with our most authentic self.
Conscious behavior is in contrast to unconscious behavior. As we grow our
consciousness, conscious behavior takes over more of our lives and
unconscious behaviors are diminished, we feel more empowered and alive.

Feedback
Is information that comes in from the outside as a result of our conscious and
unconscious behaviors. By bringing awareness to the feedback we are
receiving we get a mirror to the impact of our behavior and have the
opportunity to change conscious behavior, grow and change our perspective,
and possibly bring unconscious behavior to light.

Inquiry
Is a tool for working with feedback and exploring our own awareness,
perspective, and consciousness. It is also a way to explore relationships and
interactions with others without interference from our own perspective.
Inquiry can be a method for supporting others to become aware of their own
unconscious behaviors, beliefs, and perspectives. Inquiry brings light into
unexplored places.

The Key to Self-Acceptance

The more you uncover yourself, the more you can accept who you are. The act of uncovering yourself is like going through darkness or a shadowy area. On the other side of uncovering who you are is the opportunity to discover approval for yourself. As you identify the parts of yourself that you do not accept, you can find a way of gaining approval for them.

This is a part of what we do at the Freedom Experience; we look into all of those things that we have repressed and judged about ourselves, and we talk about how they are necessary parts of a whole human. For example, judging that we are lazy or slothful is also the part of us that allows us to rest. How much do you honor the part of you that needs rest and nurturing?  Or we may discover that the part of us that gets angry is also the part of ourselves that wants to take care of us.

Love,
Kyle

Seasons

Seasons are a form of rhythm that are undeniable and a powerful influence on our lives. In our culture we have kind of denied those rhythms and often try to just keep on plowing ahead regardless of them, but it’s important to recognize their effect on us.

For example, summer is a time for activity and is not really a time for creation. In summer, we tend to want to play and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Summer is a time to not just enjoy life but also to recognize and realize and harvest what we have created.

Fall for me is always the get-my-act-together and get-things-started kind of time; it is a great time to move into action and make new commitments and get down to things.

Winter is a great time for reflection and turning inward, self-reflection.  Although we like the up of summer there is a turning in and a “down” of winter that we can enjoy and appreciate.

Spring is a time for new exploration, new growth, new romance, and starting new things.  Planting our seeds and the expression of what we mined and discovered in ourselves in the inner explorations of winter.

You may also notice that these same patterns occur in the month, the week, the day, in a conversation, …where else?  We are living in wheels within wheels; awareness allows us to navigate them better.

Look into the patterns that you may have cultivated with these seasons, to discover how to make the most of these cycles for your life.

Love,
Kyle

Want or Fantasy

Before we can manifest the life we want, we have to identify what it is that we really want. Most people’s ideas of what they want originate from their egos or identities or even popular culture. We often want things for the idea of things; we often want things that do not include the cost of having those things.

In my coaching experience, it is rare to have somebody come to me with a really clear idea about what they want. If they say, “I want a great relationship”, then we’ll start talking about what it takes to have a great relationship. Often times, however, people are not willing to do what it takes to have the great relationship. A simple example of this idea is wanting a boat. Lots of us want a boat, but boats are a lot of work and require a lot of maintenance and funding. They require working and being successful to a certain level that we can afford to have them. More often than not, most people who want a boat do not want the responsibilities that go along with it.

A lot of what we call “wanting” in our culture is more like fantasizing; it’s not taking the whole picture into account. When we really get to what we want, a lot of the time these things are seemingly not “A+ material” and require us to look into parts and places of ourselves that traditionally we have not been able to explore. These are things like wanting a great relationship—and wanting to put in the effort to get it—or wanting to be at peace with ourselves, or other thing like this. So, the first stage at getting what we want is by making clear what it is we really want. The second stage is to realize what has to change in you so that you can have what it is you really want.

Authoring Your Life

Most people think of their mind as their controlling mechanism. However I believe that when we examine it more deeply we find that the mind is rarely strong enough to go against our inner desire or when it does it is to our detriment. We think that thinking can or will override what our actual intention is or what we actually want.

In Inquiry Method we’re looking to derail the mindset that thought has authority over ourselves; in Inquiry Method the only real authority is our inner source, where our intention already exists even before we think about it. Sometimes our minds try to override our true desires and intentions with intellectual or mental intentions or actions. If we can identify these thoughts and set them aside, and look deeper, we can find out what it is that we really want on the deepest level and live our lives from that.

The Mountain Experience ultimately helps you liberate yourself to connect with your source. The focus of the Mountain Experience is on the emotional things that obscure and overlay the ability to sense into what we really want, our source.

It’s important to talk about what we mean by feelings when we discuss source. There are two kinds of feelings: emotional feelings and inner-knowing feelings. When we’re talking about inner-knowing feeling, this is about uncovering our true intentions and true desires and embracing them. Desire and intentions are intimately tied together.

In our culture, women, much more so than men, have not been allowed to have or express their desires; consequently, women in particular really need to learn to develop their own approval for their desires. Desire is the key to intention and is what we mean by authoring our life, a life built on our actual desire. When we’re really in touch with our authentic desires, not just the intellectual ones or the emotionally reactive ones we become powerful and manifest the lives we want.

Sometimes we confuse other people too, because we tell others that our desire is this when what we actually want is that. People often say one thing and then do something totally different when they are not fully in touch with their authentic desires. I encourage you to connect with your inner knowing and to become in alignment with your true desires. I invite you to use me as a guide to help filter through the noise to help you connect with your true self.

Love,

Kyle

Transitions: Child to Adult—Mother to Person

A client asked me the other day, “As my children are beginning their lives, how do I take myself back and deal with the loss?” The first step is to recognize that you cannot get around the loss; the first thing you have to do is experience the loss, feel the sadness and mourn the changing reality.

This is something that women in particular need to be attentive to. They commonly ignore their lives and make children their whole focus (which is wonderful) but it is important to maintain a sense of personal identity with things, skills and activities that remind them of who they are. A lot of time when the kids go, many women feel like they are losing their whole identity. It’s not good for kids to be that central to the focus. It makes the children narcissistic and overly self-important little beings when they are the center of all that focus.

Personally, I see ‘mother’ as less of a doing role and more of a resource role, as somewhere the kids can go when they need it. In my view, when we make it such an involved role, it’s damaging to the children and it’s damaging to the mother as well because she does not really see her life as anything but being a servant or even subservient to children.

Honestly, I would compare this “loss and sorrow” to withdrawal from addiction. You are sad when the kids leave because you have not fully developed your own focus. It’s like you know something is no longer healthy for you and no longer part of your world and the only way to really go through recovery is to experience the loss of it. If you try to hang on to it, then you will not be satisfied. So, you really just have to take the loss and ask yourself what you want your life to be about now.

I recommend to every mother that in the first years they are everything to the child, and the ultimate practice of motherhood is to skillfully, gradually and artfully extract yourself over time. Let your children have more and more of their own lives so at the transition to their autonomy it is like there is no transition for them or for you.

Love,

Kyle

Be

Be
Ready to be humbled
If you wish to grow
The capacity for love
And a heart that will be
Of service to life

Be
Ready to be humbled
If you wish to have
Friends who are true
And see you for who you are

Be
Ready to be humbled
If you wish to learn
More than you know

Be
Ready to be humbled
If you wish to know truth

Be
Ready to be humbled

Be

Poem by Kyle Mercer

Is it Mine?

One thing that we do not often talk about, although it is important to notice or be aware of, is the idea that we are not living in isolation. The more we grow and the more sensitive we become, although we can become more resilient, we still become more aware of and more connected to all that is going on around us. However, we hardly recognize the impacts of the interactions and the interdependency that we have with everything around us. Not only the people that we directly interact with every day, but also happenings in our community, or even the news cycle. One way or another, everybody is affected either emotionally or energetically by these things.

I do not mean energetically like some vague mystical ideal; I mean that we are actually exposed to being connected and experiencing the energy of other people and things around us on a massive scale. This is in the same way the moon’s gravity affects the tides in the ocean; we are affected by changes in the environment and emotional atmosphere around us.

Often times, as you continue along your path of growth, you may start to recognize that what you are experiencing is not always yours, and that waves of moods and feelings may go through you, or even experiences that are not directly yours to deal with. It is helpful to recognize, declare, admit, that sometimes what you are experiencing is not actually yours. It is extremely beneficial to develop the ability to recognize the dichotomy between what is yours and what is not.

Inviting Others to the Mountain Experience

Many of you have been deeply impacted in one way or another by the Mountain Experience. For the majority of you it has been a life-changing event that, as I hear from many of you, you think about every day. Even if you have not attended the mountain experience, I encourage you to learn more about it and share it with your friends. In fact, we as human beings often want to share such a beneficial experience with other people that seem struggling or limited in some way as they could really use the insight that is provided by the Mountain Experience.

Encouraging or inviting someone to come can be a real challenge because we do not always have the tools or the perspective to share the Mountain Experience with another person. The opportunity most often occurs when somebody is suffering or challenged. Our typical habit when somebody else is suffering or challenged is to drop into telling, to advising, to comforting, to all sorts of different modes that do not really offer the support that someone else is needing. The most powerful way to interact with someone is through inquiry because they just want to be understood or heard.

If you find someone that seems to be struggling in some way, then you can apply inquiry with a desire to not fix them but to truly understand what is going on for them. When you do this, you will see them open up; you will see them go deeper into their awareness about what is happening to them. In that openness, if you can simply recognize the shared humanity, the shared underpinnings that we all have, and recognize what they have that you have, you will form a compassionate connection. Once you feel that connection, once you have recognized the shared humanities and struggles around life, then you can say “You know, I have felt that way personally and I still feel that way sometimes, and I did something, the Mountain Experience, that really made a big difference in how I see things and it really made it easier for me.”

Once you have shared that, you can stop, and just see if something lights up in the person with whom you are speaking. And if something does light up in them, they will usually ask you a question like, “Do you think that would help me?” At that point it is really important to only answer the question at the level at which they ask it. So, for example, if someone asks, “Do you think that could help me?”, the very best response is “I don’t know, it helped me, so maybe you should check it out- would you like me to send you a link or have someone call you?” And then it is essentially off your plate, as we here at Inquiry Method will take care of the rest.

The main thing to remember here is you should not try to fix them or say they need the Mountain Experience; it is much better to present it as an opportunity or invitation. You should convey that the mountain experience worked for you when you were dealing with similar issues, and say you hope it will do the same for them. The very best outcome is to get their permission for someone to call them, and then let us know, and we will be happy to follow up and have an initial conversation with them to see if attending the Mountain Experience would be a beneficial endeavor.

The Power of the Talking Stick

Following up on the last blog about the power of being real, I wanted to share an exercise that I give as an assignment to couples that I work with. You may have heard of it before. It’s called the talking stick exercise. The talking stick exercise is one of the most basic and fundamental and profound tools that we can use in relationships. And it goes like this: something comes up in our relationships, something we need to talk to about, and we tend to get into an argument or fight about. In other words, the situation usually tends to escalate in some way. Instead of allowing it to escalate, we should turn to the talking stick exercise. And this simply means that someone is going to be the speaker and someone is going to be the listener.

We give the speaker something to hold and this represents the fact that we are putting all of our attention on them and none on ourselves. In this exercise, whatever the subject is, we can fully hear someone out without formulating or generating our own response. And we can really understand what is going on in their insides; what they’re experiencing. So, we say to ourselves, “Alright, I’m ready to listen to this issue, whether it’s with money, with kids, whatever it is, I really want listen.” And then we have the speaker tell us anything they can possibly imagine about the issue and let them totally empty their tank about it. And then we pay close attention to what they are saying, without pushing back, without judging, without anything else, so that they get to fully get out whatever it is that is going on with them.

A great question the listener can ask at the end of the exercise is “Is there anything else you are feeling about this?” The listener can ask this multiple times to make sure the speaker has nothing left to say. Moreover, depending on our skill level, if we do not understand something, we can ask about it without pushing back. For example, this is like, “You mentioned this, and I don’t really understand what your concern is about it; can you help me understand what your concern is about that?” and go a little bit deeper. The idea is if we can allow somebody to be fully heard with no feedback, then solutions and answers and feelings of closeness and compassion will undoubtedly follow.

Once we are all completely done with this, once somebody feels like they have completely been heard and we feel like we completely understand them, we can either take a break and wait for an hour to let the conversation digest, or we might be ready to switch turns and hand the talking stick to the other person and essentially switch roles. Remember, this is not a solve-each-other’s-problems’ situation and it takes discipline to do this.

Finally, once both people have shared, it’s really helpful to give the issue some space. For instance, let the conversation sit until the next day and then continue with another talking stick conversation. You will be amazed at how the energy has shifted or at how differently you view the idea after hearing from your partner.

It’s very hard to listen to someone fully without completely understanding them. This is because we all have good will, we all have the best interest at heart, and want to ask questions. And it’s also very hard to not be moved after you yourself have been heard, because it can often be difficult to have to hear yourself out fully.

While it may be hard, once you have mastered the art of the using the talking stick, it is an incredibly profound, powerful, life-changing exercise.