Shedding Our Shells

The following is an edited transcription of a talk Kyle gave at the Freedom Experience that we just had this past month in North Carolina. This experience was all about discovering our roles, noticing our public and private identities, and letting go of our limiting stories to be able to move into a new phase of life. This passage is a metaphor that Kyle uses to illustrate the necessity of shedding our old lives in order to move into our new ones.


A crab eventually outgrows its shell. Because they can’t grow their shells they have to shed them in order to become a bigger crab. The crabs that haven’t shed in a while will sometimes have barnacles growing on their shells, and their shells are really thick and hard. These crabs have filled up all the spaces in their shell so they are jam-packed with meat. When you go to cook them, they are heavy and dense.

When crabs shed their shell they have to go underground as they start to form a new one. If you catch one at this phase they are light and fluffy, their shell is fresh and clean, and their shell is squishy and not hard yet. They are vulnerable. If you cook them and eat them they only have little strands of meat and little strands of muscle because it hasn’t filled all the way out into this new stage, this new shell.

That’s what it’s like when we shed our ego or our identity. Sometimes we come out of our old shell and we notice, “Oh I’m feeling really tender here and feeling a little exposed.”

I promise that a new image and a new identity will form and a new ego will form around this new space. And, even though there is more space to move into in your new form, there is going to be another point where even that new shell will need to be shed to make more space.

I think we should be doing this ego shedding annually or every two years because when you fill up all the space you just don’t fit in the same shell anymore. There will come a time when your shell limits you in pursuing the life you want.

At the Freedom Experience, we lead you through a process to shed your shell and free you up to have more ability to grow, to gain altitude, and more options in life.

Templating your life

Once your heart is committed to something it’s easier to do it.

Here is a tool to help you commit to practices you want to incorporate into your life: Put it in your schedule and then just never argue with your schedule.

A study showed that you only have x number of willpower points per day. It’s why it’s easy to follow your diet first thing in the morning, but then after work you’ve expended them all, so at that point, it feels like pizza or beer is a really good idea. We only have a few points per day, so we expend them throughout the day, and then we run out of them towards the end of the day. So, the end of the day is not a good time to make a decision or make efforts.

Some of the guys who are into hacking life say they decide ahead of time what they are going to eat all day long so they don’t waste any willpower points on deciding what to eat. They say – I go to work at the same time, I wake up at the same time, I use the same toothbrush, etc. They save their willpower points for later in the day. They eliminate all these decisions so that they save their willpower points for things that are significant.

This is kind of like that. If you want to do yoga, put yoga in your calendar, and just do what your schedule says. Surrender to your schedule so it doesn’t take any willpower to go to yoga because it is in there the same as if you had scheduled a client. And you treat it like it is the same. I call it templating your life. Template your year. Template your life. Template a month. Template a week. Even template a day. You are pre-creating it so that you can just flow into it.

You don’t have to be in negotiation around things because you’ve created a structure. And it’s fine to change it, but change the structure, don’t just say “I’m not doing that thing today”. Meaning, if you don’t want to do yoga today, you either have to change the structure and quit saying that you go to yoga every day, or you go to yoga.  This makes it a container you can flow into and find your rhythm.

You don’t question your decision. You create a container and then you stick to it.

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

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

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.

Kyle’s Process for Surrender to Life’s Challenges

Inquiry Method’s fundamental three step process for surrender to life’s challenges:

1. Change it. Go ahead. Change your circumstances.

… If you cannot change it or you decide not to:

2. Resist it & be unhappy.

Or,

3. Accept it & be at peace.

Stagnant Energy, An Introduction

What creates life, vitality, and productivity in any system, individual or group is the movement of energy.  When energy is moving, things happen. Through leadership, we direct this energy toward objectives that we deem beneficial.  Thus, through leadership, as long as energy is moving, positive outcomes are taking place.

Whether I work with a person, a company, a family, or a couple, there are elements in each situation that are very similar.  In the same way a person has an identity, companies, families, and couples can have an identity that is more than the mere sum of the individuals.  This synergistic aspect of groups can work greatly in our favor but can also work against us.

The biggest problems occur when stagnant energy is present; think of a logjam in a river.  In systems, like a person (people are systems), companies, families, and couples, stagnant energy creates a backup of energy that can be identified in the forms of stress, anxiety, frustration, depression, suppressionand worry.  These are all markers for stagnant energy.

When I work with an individual that is experiencing one of these markers, we use the tool of Inquiry Method to identify and release these blockages and get the energy moving again.  The result is the feeling of excitement, flow, peace, and freedom.  Just like a logjam breaking up, there is a surge of energy, productivity, movement and then a return to balance and flow.

Next week I will share a case study of how stagnant energy can be identified to improve productivity in businesses. 

A Word on Wanting…

In order to talk about wanting, we must first talk about having.

There is nothing wrong with having. Having is fun; we have so much, so let’s enjoy it.

Wanting, however, is a huge problem. As soon as we want, we experience lack. Lack is a hollow feeling, an anxious feeling. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to want to have. They are in fact opposites.

Over 90% of our suffering is from wanting. Even if I “have” a pain in my back, 90% of that suffering is “wanting” it to end. In the moment itself the pain is not so bad; however, the fear it will never end is what causes the majority of the suffering.

Here’s an example. You are fine, content… then you pick up a magazine and see someone wearing a Cartier with a beautiful man/woman on his/her arm. All of a sudden you have a hollow feeling and some anxiety and now you are wanting, something is wrong, you need to fix it, you need money, how will you get it, no time to relax, get to work… Now, you are stuck with anxiety and a job you don’t love; consequently, you lose your freedom yet are still wanting…

There is nothing wrong with having; it is wanting that is the problem.

What wants are you willing to surrender so that you can have your life?