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.

Giving Self-Away Part II

As introduced last week, this idea of giving yourself away can have negative effects on all types of relationships. Marriages have some of this quality, where two people lean on each other and are seen as co-dependent, rather than as two whole individuals relating to each other. This also often happens between parents and children, and creates a situation where the children are kept small and weak and not taking responsibility for their own lives. This can often happen between employers and employees, when there are games and patters and family like patterns in a business.

As we mentioned last week, you can also give yourself away to materials or large corporations. Surprisingly, this can even happen between someone and their money. One way to know if you have given yourself away to your money is by noticing how you react to certain events. For example, if you put money and the stock market and it goes down, your sadness can reveal that you have tied some of your soul or spirit to your money. The same applies in a business. If you feel like you have to serve the business, or if it owes you something or that it is a burden, you can tell that you have given yourself away to the business.

This is one of the most complex subjects that I teach in the Mountain Experience. I help recognized that they have attached to another person, then help them detach. And I see that when they recognize and take themselves back, they usually feel immediate relief.

One time, I had a coaching session with a woman who had just gotten divorced. We could tell that the event had clearly taken a part of her, and were trying to figure out why. First, I asked her if I had given herself away to her husband. When she said that she hadn’t I then asked her if she had given herself to her marriage. The woman started to cry as she realized that she had given part of her spirit to the concept of marriage, and she released the grief and the loss, she saw that she could be whole in her life despite not being married.

One time I had a young man who was about 30 years old. He came to me and told me that, for the past ten years, he had not been able to keep a girlfriend or a job. He didn’t understand why, because ten years ago he was a successful man with a girlfriend and a great job. He said, “it’s like a part of me died.” I said “interesting,” and asked him to reflect about what may have occurred ten years ago. After reflecting he shared that his grandfather died 10 years ago. I explained that part of him died with his grandfather, and he suddenly started crying. He could clearly feel it in his emotional body that something had died that day. As I worked with him to take his spirit back, as his grandfather did not need that part of his spirit, and he had taken some of his grandfather’s spirit as well. This young man regained his spirit. About two weeks later, he sent an email sharing that he had a great girlfriend and a new job, and attributed it to regaining his life by getting his spirit back.

These stories reveal our capacity to put our spirit in something else. They show that we need our whole spirits to feel whole. It also shows that it is surprisingly easy to fix, since we can actually take ourselves back from other people.

It can be hard to completely stop giving yourself away. Society has told us that it is a loving and caring act, as well as many other things that make it seem like a positive thing . As such, I am simply asking you to try. When I walk through the process, try to give yourself away then take it back, and see what it feels like. Normally, when people do this test drive, people get this on an emotional level. They begin to see that giving yourself away does not create healthy context.

As you go through your process you may want to explore, “who have I given myself away to?” It may seem difficult, but it can actually be easy to determine. If you feel great when they are in a good place, and feel terrible when they are struggling, you will know they have a part of you. If you feel the need to make sure they’re okay, or believe that part of you would die if they died, a part of you is attached to them. You can also tell if you have an ongoing fear about their well-being, need to control them, or a sense of resentment. In each example, you see the person as non-separate from you, and therefore feel what they feel.

Once you learn more about this subject, you can help in two ways. First, you will clearly feel more whole once you have taken your spirit back. But there’s also a second part; if you have this knowledge and know the symptoms, you can give others their spirit back. If you feel them attaching to you, you can learn to detach from it. This is not done by saying something to another person: they can just feel it. That’s because giving yourself away is beyond the level of intellectual understanding. It is not something you can write down, but something you feel.

Give yourself a chance to reflect on all of this through inquiry. What or who have you given yourself away to? What is the price? What is the perceived benefit?

Taking yourself back can be a life-changing experience.

Giving Self-Away

The subject of giving self-away could, and may eventually be, a book in and of itself; it is such a profound and meaningful subject. Giving self-away is a process that we do in our culture, with families and friends, and even with material things such as cars and money, and even concepts. It is a coping mechanism, and it is also a form of an attempt to materialize the self, to extend myself beyond myself into things and concepts around me.

Giving self-away is when I take part of my source or spirit, and invest it in something outside of myself. Meaning that I tie my well-being, happiness, or self-worth to something that is outside of my control or present experience.

When I give myself away, and tie myself to something outside myself, I may identify it as love, dependence, responsibility for, or accountability. It is often done out of extreme goodwill, the desire to help somebody else, a function of neediness or a lack of self-worth; but it is not the positive thing we make it out to be.

Imagine if you could take a part of your soul or spirit, and attach it to another person. Imagine a part of your spirit connecting to them, perhaps you can imagine with a thread or a string attached from your heart to the other person. In this arrangement, everything that happens to them, everything they do, say and experience feels like you are experiencing it with them. Even if you are not there, you may imagine what they are going through, and in this case, there is a hyper awareness and dependency on their experience for your well-being. At times, when things are going well for them, this may feel great. Other times, if they are suffering or challenged, it will likely feel terrible.

Now imagine they reciprocate, where they do the same and give themselves to you. When this happens, I call it entanglement. Entanglement is when I have given myself to someone, and they have done the same for me, meaning our well beings are now tied to the well-being of the other.

In our culture, we often view this as care or love; when my loved one suffers, I suffer. In fact, I have found in my work that the more compassion, or understanding that I can be towards someone, that can be more helpful. However, if it is given in the form of empathy, and the person is going through the emotional ride with them, it tends to diminish the help or support that is given. Because both people are now feeling the struggle and both need help in processing dealing with the struggle. Studies have demonstrated the dramatic difference on the brain between compassionate understanding and empathetic distress.

When I draw this diagram of entanglement during The Mountain Experience, it is clear that these entangled nets of giving self away and interdependence creates substances. When you have this web, you can see that if anyone is in an emotional reaction, it tugs at everyone in the web and makes everyone less present. Again, you often see this in families that when one person is struggling, everyone is in the struggle. In every example, it is clear that it is better to be empathetic than to actually be entangled with someone else’s pain. It is wonderful to be empathetic to understand someone else’s experience but it is not helpful if we are immersed in someone else’s experience.

While it is still viewed as a positive and loving thing, this act can have detrimental effects on both parties. When you give yourself away to another person, you tend to want to control that person. Because your spirit is attached, you have an emotional involvement in what happens with them. When they are not behaving as I wanted, I then tend to resent them or want to manipulate them. When I have given myself away and the person is succeeding, I either feel jealous, or feel that I am succeeding and start to take some of their energy or success from them. When someone else has given themselves away to me, I can often feel fearful or dependent on them. If they leave me, I am at risk, I may lose some of my own strength or capacity, or can become dependent, weak or needy.

Next week we will continue this blog and explore the effects of giving self away on relationships.

Experiencing Your Feelings

Fear, hurt, sadness, anger…none of these feelings are so bad if we are willing to just experience them without judgment. You may find that simply by experiencing your feelings they suddenly have less power or importance. You may also find that they are actually giving you important information that you might miss if you ignore them. Start to become more comfortable with all feelings; you have the capacity to experience them and realize they are not so bad.

Your Choice: Victimhood or Freedom

The worst position you can put yourself in life is victimhood. Victimhood means that how you feel, what is happening in your life, and your results of your endeavors are all outside of your control. Freedom, on the other hand, is the opposite of victimhood. Freedom means that you take 100% responsibility and awareness of your situation and inner reactions to things. Freedom comes from the ability to not only accept the unacceptable but to also approve of everything that is happening in life.

The power of approving everything that is happening in your life creates an entirely different interpretation of life that is profoundly impactful. When I am in approval of everything that happens in my life, when I am looking into why something is happening rather than focusing on simply the fact that it’s happening to me, I start to find a magical, serendipitous flow and I fill the capacity within myself to step into opportunities that I would otherwise be blinded to.

Just this morning, a friend was planning to visit me before heading off to the airport. But, due to traffic, they were unable to come by. However, instead of being disappointed, we can see that if they hadn’t made that appointment with me they would never have made it to the airport on time. So, we can either be bothered by life’s little foibles, or we can look to see how they are supporting us. And the further and deeper we look, the more abundance and support we discover in life.

Choose Freedom!

Tapping Into Your True Nature

I was teaching at the Mountain Experience today, and guiding participants to explore their true nature. There is some  confusion about true nature, and what one’s true nature is. In fact, there is a certain part of some people that believes that there is something wrong with their true nature. There is nothing wrong with who you are: that is either the mind, emotions or the ego trying to solidify you into something other than what you are.

The best way to discover, learn or understand who you are; is to reflect on the certain moments in your life when you were in a condition, place or situation when everything drops away. For some people it is in nature, at a certain place, with their children or a lover, or in a certain situation where they truly feel and tap into their true essence. Each one of us have had a moment where we can truly  relax and our true essence can come out. It  may come out as love, gratitude, appreciation, joy, happiness, lightness or ease. Think of a moment when you feel most yourself, when your truest self came forward; reflect on what came out of you when your real authentic radiated.

I want you to know that your true essence is always there, even when you are in struggle, full of emotion or in difficult situations. Underneath all that angst, the fundamental you is just like the you that comes out in the very best situations. This work we are doing in Inquiry Method is the work to shed everything that is not that, so your true self can naturally come more truly and authentically to the surface.

Giving Yourself Away

I was working with a number of couples today which has inspired me to expand on the understanding around the concept of giving yourself awayGiving yourself away means making unspoken contracts with others, or doing something that includes an expectation of someone else that they have not agreed to.

In the most basic example, cooking dinner with the expectation that people will appreciate it; if your family fails to show up or fails to show appreciation, the result is a feeling of anger or disappointment.  In a much more extreme example, having children or adopting children in the expectation that they will honor, respect, and appreciate you, and resenting them if they do not.

Every time we give ourselves away, we open ourselves up to disappointment, resentment, guilt, embarrassment, anger, etc.  Instead of creating closeness or connection, giving ourselves away tends to create distance and resistance.

In relationships, it is important and critical to work with the level of exchange and establish understandings and agreements that are open and well understood.  Having-exchange level understandings in relationships (professional or personal) is fundamental to healthy relating.  Talking about and renewing these understandings keeps relationships healthy.

For example, do you feel resentment around your chores and housekeeping?  If so, there could be value in clarifying and redefining agreements until it works for everyone.  Using inquiry is critical to this process.   Are your agreements around housekeeping,spoken or unspoken?  How are they working?  What are possible new ways to look at them?  How can you set it up so you will not be resentful.

Other critical conversations may be around: money, sex, parenting, vacations, extended family, free time…  These topics can have a lot of charge around them’ can you clean up your charge so you can have an adult conversation around these things?

It is just as important to find areas where there is imbalance (or perceived imbalance) at work.  Nothing is harder on a company than when someone feels that they have given themselves away, that there is some unfairness.  We need to constantly work to renew and have clear, clean agreements and consistently be honoring the agreements we have made or changing them overtly.

Giving self away creates resentment and dysfunction through unilateral or covert agreements.  Healthy exchange means having clear, open and universally recognized understandings, these understandings can even be unilateral, but they have to be open, understood and enforceable.

 

The Distance from Love

Recently, I have started doing yoga again. I have found an amazing weekend class with an exceptional teacher in LA. Just like the Mountain Experience, he creates an environment full of sanctuary and care with peaceful music and his calming presence. I was recently doing my practice when I started to become aware of a quality of love within myself and love for life. At the same time, I also recognized that I had a barrier from life; a separation that held me back from fully engaging with that strong love for life.

I started to become aware that the biggest aspect of this disengagement or distancing with life had to do with fear. I felt that I could not fully or would not fully engage with life because of my fear of losing love. I was scared that, if I truly let myself love life, that the inevitable loss of this love would be too much to bare. My whole life, I have been completely aware that loving is intimately tied with loss. In the past when I experienced love, I would always dread the ultimate loss that I knew would ensue. Furthermore, I started to realize that such a loss didn’t have to do just with life, but with everything: appreciation, connection with others and myself, self-acceptance, a particular experience, etc.

And, I became aware, and am now aware, of this idea that loving is also intimately tied with loss. As soon as we experience the loving, we also experience the ultimate loss, as we know that this experience is transitory and will end. Such a threat creates a hesitancy around and a distancing from loving and enjoying and engaging with the present. We as humans do not want to bear, fear or recognize the knowledge of imminent loss.

For the same reasons, some spiritual teachers encourage us not to focus on the high points of life. They explain that every peak experience will ultimately lead to an even larger loss. They say it is better to have a completely even relationship, and that the consistency will lead to you uncovering a deeper love. I have begun to understand that there is a continuity of love past death. That there is a quality of life and living that is separate from my personality and my identity. That is what these spiritual teachers are talking about. They are talking about participating in something that is more than just the “I”.

I speak about this when we talk about levels of participation. When we cross the “I/We barrier,” we start to participate in something larger than ourselves. There’s a certain quality of tapping into this universal field. The more that I identify with it, the less concerned I am about this transitory nature of love. More immature loving, which is below the “I/We barrier”, is beautiful, pleasant, exciting, and inspirational. However, the more we move into the “We,” the more we participate in and love the world.

We explore this in the Mountain Experience. We share an experience where we are not so self-conscious, where we have collective wins or losses, and where we are engaging in this larger field of love. The same thing happens when we create vulnerability during coaching sessions.

This awareness of a universal love or connection is what actually creates our loneliness. It creates awareness that there is a deeper love and experience out there that needs to be accessed. On some level, we all know it subconsciously. Despite our personal wins or successes, or our communion with friends, there is still nagging awareness that there is something more. I am starting to see that that awareness is actually positive, because it draws us forward into our consciousness.

It is innately human to believe there is something more in life. In all of us, it creates a delicate and potent suffering. However, it hopefully encourages us forward to a deeper experience of life. It is like a light in the distance that continuously pulls us towards what is possible. It engages, helps, supports, and develops a capacity and connection with what is possible and the fullness of this life experience.

We are all sharing that suffering, that love, and that path together.

Death Bed Exercise

Whether it is within your business, relationship, family, or yourself, a wonderful exercise to discover your values (not just your immediate gratification, but your true values) is to imagine that you are lying on your deathbed and you have one hour left to live. In this visualization, imagine that you are lying there and with this sense of love and peace in your heart. When you reflect on your life in this scenario, whether in terms of business, family, a relationship, or yourself, what would have to be true in that area of your life for your heart to be filled with love and satisfaction?

Once you determine what would make you feel totally satisfied with that aspect of your life, write these details down carefully and clearly. For example, imagine your business: what kind of legacy would you have had to leave in this business to leave your heart filled with love and satisfaction as you lie dying? Imagine the same for your relationship with your spouse, your child, a friend, or even yourself: what would have to be true about this relationship for you to be totally satisfied and fulfilled on your deathbed?

It is a wonderful way to make this clear. Then use last week’s exercise on Planning, and use vision, strategy and tactics to create the intention to make this true. By doing this exercise, you may find that this feeling of fulfillment and contentment may occur way before your deathbed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to sleep at night with that feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction that you manifested something that was meaningful to you?

Go ahead, give it a try- what do you have to lose?

Love,

Kyle