Identity Traps

Hey everyone! Olivia here. This is a clip from our weekly Online Coaching and Teaching Circle. Once a week we get together in sanctuary, bring current issues and questions to the group, and have the opportunity to learn from and get coached by Kyle. Kyle takes questions from the group. Colleen was generous enough to let us use the following video so that we can all learn from her questions on one of these calls. In this clip Kyle explains what he calls “identity traps” and how to move away from labeling ourselves.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

Kyle: What’s the thought or the judgment that you have on yourself from up here (points to head).

Colleen: It’s that I’m not smart.

Kyle: I just came up with a new term for this. I’m going to call it an “identity trap”.

Colleen: It’s an “I am” statement, “I am not smart” so therefore I want to feel smart. How do I get it into the belly and into the Source and out of the head?

Kyle: In Source it’s irrelevant. “Smart” and “not smart” is irrelevant. “Not smart” is perfect for inquiry, a sense of wonder. “Smart” is perfect for figuring things out. When the judgment is gone there is no conversation about “smart” and “not smart”. When you really take “smart” and “not smart” and disappear it there is no contemplation of that… A child doesn’t go “smart”/”not smart”.

“Hey, do you want to play in the sandbox?”

“Well, “I’m not smart”.

It’s not like that. In the pure form “smart” or “not smart” is a useless consideration.

Colleen: With continually working on myself it gets there?

Kyle: The thought “I’m not smart” is laughable. That idea you go, “That’s laughable.” Sometimes I’m smart in this moment and sometimes I’m not. What is it that I want to do? Give me a situation where you would come up with, “I’m not smart”.

Colleen: At work, if there’s somebody and we’re doing something and I don’t feel equal with them I feel “I’m not smart” and they are.

Kyle: Again, it’s irrelevant. So, you and I are working together. Who’s the leader? You or me?

Colleen: We’re equal. Neither of us are in charge. We’re equal.

Kyle: So, we are in a partnership and we are trying to come up with an idea for something and you have a great idea. And I think, “I’m not smart because you had a great idea”. No, I say, “You’re really on this, this sounds AMAZING!” I would be happy, I would say, “Run with it!”… It makes no difference who’s smart…The more you do that the more inspiration comes. We always think we are supposed to be the leader.

There is a great video of a guy at a festival and he’s kind of a kooky dancer…and somebody jumps up and starts dancing just like this guy. Then all of a sudden there is a mass movement and all these people start flocking to dance like this guy and it turns into a mob. The whole premise is the powerful person isn’t the first kooky guy that’s dancing.The powerful person is the first follower. The first follower is the one that recognized the genius in the goofy guy and started dancing like him. They were the one that catalyzed the whole thing… I could throw out ideas all day long and then all of a sudden you say, “That one is AMAZING!” And I think, “It is? Alright, I got a good one!” There is not a right or wrong position in that. Sometimes the first follower is the most important position.

Even in a business I don’t necessarily want to hire for leadership. I may want to hire for consistency… I might hire someone who you point them in a direction and they go after that thing blindly and relentlessly…When we are looking at the “we” space it’s not about who came up with the idea but about what’s needed and wanted next…If we want to do this thing at work what do we need next?…You’re looking for what’s needed in the moment…


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Inworthy

Hey everyone! Olivia here. Kyle and I were discussing how the blogs could better serve this community and we came up with the idea of doing a vlog. The idea behind this new form is that the process of Inquiry Method is done is connection and collaboration so we thought we’d share a blog done in connection and conversation. There is also a transcription of this video below if you prefer to read your content.

TRANSCRIPTION

Olivia:

Hi everybody, we thought we would start this week talking about worth. Kyle in our Members’ Calls has talked to us about the concept of “inworthy” so I was going to have him start by explaining that a bit and then I have some personal questions about worth that have been coming up for me in my life that I’ll ask and we’ll see where it leads.

So, Kyle, in the Members’ Calls you were talking to us about the concept of “inworthy” and how you coined that term and I was hoping that you would share that with everybody.

Kyle:

I realized that we needed to have a different conversation around worth. People confuse worthiness with self-esteem.

Self-esteem is being proud of doing something or getting rewarded for doing something and you can’t ever get enough of that to make you feel worthy. We see that all over the place with people who feel like they have to do more, have more, and be more in order to be worthy.

Worthiness is our human birthright. Just the fact that you are here on the planet means that you’re worthy. You’re worthy of love, worthy of attention, you’re worthy of care, you’re worthy to receive love. None of those things are things that can be earned. And when we try to earn them they don’t nourish us in the way that we really need to be nourished.

A lot of this has to do with our capacity to receive from others or to receive from life. The best practice for that is gratitude or acknowledgment. That’s why gratitude practices are such a big thing. Because when we are really grateful it has a quality of worthiness to receive. When we talk about worthy as a question, “am I worthy?” it already sets up the conditions for not being worthy.

That’s why I like to elevate the understanding and say “inworthy”. When we can’t put a price on something we say it’s “invaluable”. This means precious and I can’t put a price on it. So, we are all “inworthy”. Meaning, our worthiness is priceless and extraordinary. When we start to understand that it really changes our relationship with life and receptivity.

It is one of the big challenges I see in relationship. We run into our limit to receive because we don’t believe we are worthy of it. We shut down what the other person or the community is offering and it really blocks the flow of energy and love in connection.

Olivia:

So, is that like the “upper limits” we were talking about last week? The idea that we hit a level of happiness, joy or abundance that we are uncomfortable with and then we have to reset ourselves and come back to our normal.

Kyle:

That’s right. A lot of times in relationship we are giving to get. So, if you are making a contract with me, “I’m going to give you more than you are worthy of, so now you owe me!” If I don’t view you as inworthy than my gifts to you come with a price and you may not want to incur that debt. I may want to retreat so that I’m not getting more than other people think I’m worth because otherwise, I’m going to owe them.

Olivia:

My process this week has been going back to my earliest memories and remembering that I used to have that innate worth. I didn’t used to think about if I deserved something or if I was good enough, or pretty enough, or nice enough. Now, I’m looking at my life today and realizing that somewhere along the way I lost that feeling. I’ve been saying, up until now, I really haven’t felt worthy. My big question to you would be, how do we rekindle or recalibrate ourselves to inworthiness?

Kyle:

As soon as you feel worthy then someone else owes it to you. The ego grabs onto it and I can get mad at the other person for not showing up for how worthy I am. That’s why there is a problem in even having that scale. That’s why gratitude is the way to receive something. If we’re hanging out and say, “I really appreciate being in your space with you,” it completes the loop. You don’t have to give me a housewarming gift or do something extra. Just the receptivity and the acknowledgment is enough.

Olivia:

How do we practice inworthiness outside of relationships, by ourselves? Is it still with gratitude?

Kyle:

Yes, you can do gratitudes with yourself. “What a beautiful life you’ve created” or “look at what you’ve brought into your life”. We were talking about the house plants here the other day and that was you expressing your gratitude for the environment you’re in or what you’re receiving. It’s not for me when you say, “wow I love your plants”. You are just putting your appreciation on what’s here for you.

Kyle and Olivia:

Thanks for joining us!

We want your comments and feedback. We are going to be doing live vlogs more in the future and would love to discuss topics that you are curious about. Please, email or contact us with your questions at info@inquirymethod.com

Skillful Collaboration

I have a new dentist.  About halfway through the cleaning, I asked her “how am I doing?”, she looked a little confused and said “you are doing fine” and then after a pause, she asked what I meant.  I asked if I was being a skillful patient. At first surprised, she then became engaged; she said that she had never thought of it that way.  I said that we were on the same team and working toward the same objective, clean teeth, speed, ease, accuracy, and connection.  She said she wished all her patients saw it that way and suggested maybe I could train them.

This is a great example of a moment of level 4 altitude; we were working at a task where we were both focused on the task together and putting our attention on that rather than on ourselves.  I was ignoring any inherent personal discomfort or concerns and putting as much attention on the task and flow as she was.  In fact, my main job was to make her job easier and to be in flow together to get the best outcome.  It is a much more satisfying way of being in the chair.  Every collaborative task can have this feeling and engagement, this is how we behave when we are in a collaborative level of consciousness, it is such a satisfying and productive way to be with others.

I love to coach people who are interested in this same level of collaboration.  In Inquiry Method, the skills of coaching and being coached can be equally skillful activities.  Some of my most satisfying moments in life come from the moments of deep collaboration in coaching, both being coached and coaching.  This is the essence of the upcoming Inquiry Method Training in July.

The other aspect of this insight is to look at the things you do with the perspective of doing them skillfully.  Doing things skillfully does two things:

  1. It is almost like meditation, all your thoughts can be focused on the task or activity. There is true joy in being that engaged in your activity. Instead of being subject to your thoughts you are actually using them for what they are meant for.
  2. Anything you focus on from the perspective of doing them skillfully you get better at, your body and mind learn to be more nimble and focused and you often have insights that develop your capacity.

The whole purpose of Life at Altitude is to experience a more fulfilling and joyful life.  Any place you can combine collaboration and skill: work, play, games, housework, dancing, cooking, sex, communication, growth…, creates more satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy.  Opportunities are all around us.

Question & Answer: How to Begin Your Personal Development Journey

We are starting to do a series of blogs based on questions that have been sent in. The blogs will be created based on dialogue between Olivia and Kyle as he considers the questions.

If you have a question you want to be answered, please email us at info@inquirymethod.com

How do we begin our personal development journey? How do we begin to address those deep childhood wounds?

Consciousness, Letting Go and Altitude

The biggest challenge in the transformational process or the raising of consciousness within the context of Life at Altitude is the ability to recognize what is “I” and what is not “I”. It’s impossible to let go of something that you’re identified with. When someone I work with is identified with their emotional pain they can’t let it go because from the ego’s point of view, it would be suicide.

If I’m identified with my anger, “I am angry”, then I identify as that thing and my consciousness and my awareness are so focused on the anger that I can’t see anything else. In colloquial terms, it’s called “seeing red”. If I am looking at life through anger, as anger, there is no way to let it go. In Inquiry Method, when we’re working with something like anger or sadness, grief, loss or fear, we have to raise up the level of consciousness to, “I feel angry”. If I can get to the place where I recognize “I feel angry” then I am no longer identified with the anger and have, with a little bit of training or re-training, the capacity to let it go. That is the same for any pain or emotional trigger that you have. If you can get separate from it then you can let it go.

Beyond identification with emotions, we can also identify with a belief, idea, or self-image. Whatever self-image we are identified with is difficult to let go of or dis-identify with because we think we are that. Somebody who thinks they are a victim or believes in their victimhood rarely can get out of that mindset until they realize they are just playing the role of a victim. The same goes for when someone believes in their power, their authority, or their importance. It’s hard for people who have been very successful, such as CEOs or presidents of organizations, to let go of their identification with the importance of their station. However, each one of these titles can be a trap. Once we identify with some egoic position, like importance or lack of importance, it’s very hard to let go of – until we can raise our consciousness to the level where we recognize we are just playing a role or a game and that it is not us.

It’s the same with drive. We can identify with whatever drive we have. It is really hard to see myself or see things accurately when I am driven toward anything. It could be a drive toward relationships, toward love, toward money, etc.

The whole key of transformation is to recognize that A) you are not your emotions, B) you are not your thoughts, C) you are not your drives. By developing the skill and capacity to recognize the difference, we become more flexible and more able to transform our lives. We can lift our experience of life into realms that are beyond our current experience.

Question & Answer: Emotional Trauma Stemming from Childhood

We are starting to do a series of blogs based on questions that have been sent in. The blogs will be created based on dialogue between Olivia and Kyle as he considers the questions.

If you have a question you want to be answered, please email us at info@inquirymethod.com

Why does it seem that most of our emotional trauma stems from childhood?

There are a number of reasons, the most significant being, brain development. For the first 8-9 years of life, we are in the theta state. This brainwave pattern is the same as a hypnagogic state, meaning, under hypnosis. As successive brainwave patterns develop, we start to think abstractly which allows us to armor ourselves a bit to incoming thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. However, in our early brain development, especially before age 7, it’s like the child is under hypnosis. Young children have no defense for anything that they see, hear, feel, or experience. There’s no conscious capacity for defending or protecting themselves. Everything in that state is truth. Everything a child sees, hears, understands, or experiences goes in as direct experience of the world. Relationship patterns, who they are in the world, their importance, their relationship to other people, their value, their worth, their beauty, and the foundation for how they see themselves is developed during this time.

If you think about it, to a 4-5-year-old, parents are like these huge living Gods that can dispense pain, pleasure, approval, and disapproval. They are the source of love and the source of anger. They can predict the future. They can tell, seemingly by magic, that you’ve eaten chocolate. You have a little bit on your nose, but you don’t know that, so it seems like magic.

Our parents seem to be all-powerful beings, so when something scary happens or we get hurt, as a protection mechanism, we store the pain and begin to create coping mechanisms so that the gods won’t be angry. That little child tries to adapt itself to be in a relationship with these much more powerful beings without the protection of knowledge or understanding. To a child, the family is its whole world and as such, the child is profoundly affected by it.

That’s why I say that at the Mountain Experience, we are deprogramming people from the cult of family. Adults have abstract gods but children have living all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing gods.

Most of us also had parents who weren’t fully developed adult human beings. What I mean by adult, in the context of Life at Altitude, means fully developed human beings that no longer need anyone else to fulfill them. They are just totally available to the child. Most of us had parents that were coming from their childlike patterns as well, still trying to fix and repair their childhood issues. There was no way for them not to pass on those same misunderstandings and misbeliefs.

None of this work is about damning or putting down your parents. I’ve never met a parent that wasn’t doing their best given what they had and what they knew. If we get into damning our parents then we have totally missed the point. In the end, all the wounds and struggles we endured in childhood, if we can work through them, they can become our power, our gifts, our insight, and our love.

While working through these childhood imprints is crucial to living a Life at Altitude, it is far from the only work. It is, however, the first step to waking up to the altitude that we can all achieve.

Inquiry as an Approach to Life

Inquiry Method™ is not just a technique for interacting with people or addressing deeper personal issues, but also an approach to life in general.

A while ago, I spoke with some teachers who had talked about our minds as ego and emotions. They referred to how our minds are constantly wanting to put things into the categories of good and bad, positive and negative. So, when we are in our minds, we are always interpreting everything around us from this quality of good and bad. When I heard that, I thought to myself that if I dropped the discernment between good and bad and stopped putting things into those categories, then my life would be neutral.

I thought I would test it, so I imagined that I would drop all good and bad and see if life would be neutral. I was very surprised to find that life was far from neutral. When I looked at it from that perspective of the elimination of good and bad, I was aware of just the miracle of life and even the miracle of existence.

The idea that, out of nothingness, all this appeared, that I even exist, the world exists, this planet exists, the universe exists is truly just an incredible miracle.

I began to understand the deeper, maybe religious or spiritual understanding, or even the practical understanding of the true appreciation, gratitude, and experience of life. This is what was so shocking from breaking the habit of putting things into categories of good and bad; I switched into having wonder, awe, and amazement for just being here.

Any time I remember and bring myself to that place again, I am stunned by the existence of my consciousness, the existence of life, the planet, plants and animals, things that happen, things that come into my life. Cars and cell phones, raindrops, everything starts to take on a quality of wonder.

Innocence and wonder are at the heart of the inquiry approach to life. We are so used to focusing on our wantiness and drives and feeling like there should be something more to life; Inquiry Method TM instead guides us to finding a quality of deep appreciation and acknowledgment in life. Because, when I am out of wantiness, neediness, and exchange, I can be present for my day without needing it to be different. And from that place, I can just be curious and engage in life with a sense of wonder.

Wonder is such a beautiful word that combines a sense of curiosity with a sense of awe; awe implying awareness of beauty, awareness of serendipity, awareness of magic, and even awareness of surprise about 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.

Is Depression Self-Created?

Last week, we asked people on our facebook page what topic they would like to us to do a blog or talk on. We’re going to be answering one of their questions today and look forward to answering more as we go forward.

If you have a question you’d like to ask Kyle or a topic you’d like to see him do a blog or talk on, please send us a message on Facebook

The question we are going to answer today is: “Is depression self-created?

You can listen to the recorded version here, or scroll down to read the blog

This is such a good question. I think it’s so poignant for the times.

There are multi-levels to that question. I think that it has become really clear lately that there is a disease process called “depression” that is actually a condition. It’s been largely overlooked and there’s a lot of shame and repression around it.

In general, we tend to project mental health conditions on people as personal, whereas physical health conditions we project as just accidental. So, we tend to have a lot more sympathy and understanding and compassion for people with physical illness more than mental illness. And, I would say that depression is clearly at this point a medical condition. And, one where there are people who are in a state of chronic or cyclical depression, where there is a medical condition.

There are really beautiful examples of this out there. There’s a Netflix show called 3 Mics with Neal Brennan. He does a really beautiful talk about his experience with it. Wil Wheaton from the Star Trek series has written about his experience with it. And, I really think it’s time for us to look at it differently.

Now, if we aren’t talking about clinical depression or depression as an illness, there is another level. We all go through different times of depression and depression is part of the natural cycle. We should all be going through a series of depression (nonmedical depressions). Depression is really our time of pulling back, of getting grounding in oneself, of getting perspective, and even a time for gaining energy. And, if we don’t have the judgment around depression, we can actually go down into that spot and find rest and recovery. If we can be patient in that spot, then we can know it will come around again, that we’ll come onto the upswing and we’ll find our next inspiration.

In fact, as a culture, we way overdo it. Depression in a cyclical manner can also be a reflection of our drive. We get in that downswing when we when we overpressure, overtax, or overdrive ourselves.

It’s great to take the top and the bottom off the swing and become more even. But, if you do find yourself in a down place, notice it’s a time to self-reflect. People rarely call me and ask for personal growth when they are in the upswing (although they should). When they are in the downswing, they do call, and connect, and are ready to grow. So, we really want to honor those downswings and honor those times of self-reflection. We want to honor them as moments where we can expand our vision, grow ourselves, excavate ideas, beliefs, and thoughts, and any emotional pain we are carrying. So that on the next upswing, we don’t have to carry those along with us. Let’s honor the depression and use it as a time for rest and renewal.