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.

Pushing Problems Up

As most of you know, I do business coaching as well as personal coaching. I want to shift to talking about business coaching today. This blog is based on a session I recently did with a corporate client. The company does construction work and I visited a satellite office to meet with their staff and introduce them to Inquiry Management and Leadership concepts. I did an overview before meeting with everyone individually, and I want to share a section I led about one of the principles we covered in the Inquiry Management section.

Inquiry Management

  1. A technique and practices for the operation of an organization and hierarchical relationships that amplify the growth and success of the individual toward shared goals and objectives.
  2. A way of organizing relationships within an organization around mentoring relationships rather than the traditional authoritarian boss/employee model.
  3. A commitment to creating accountability that requires leaders to be the most open, committed, engaged, members of the organization, who see their role as growing and inspiring people

A key principle of Inquiry Management is what I call “pushing problems up.”

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

Everyone argues with me about this at first. People say “That’s not the way it works. You don’t push problems up; you bring answers to your boss. You come with solutions. You think about it and then you handle it on your own.” But, it works.

When I first started working with this client, the CEO said: Every job has these problems that get buried in them. And, then they come out at the end and they cost us a quarter million dollars. We go from profitable to loss or break even. I just hate it when those things come up.

We’ve been working together for a while now, and we’ve made huge strides on this by building a culture of Inquiry Management that includes the principle of pushing problems up.

Because, IF you can push your problems up, you can get coaching on how to resolve it, you can solve the problem before it becomes a big problem, and the problem can be pushed up to the level at which it can be resolved.

For instance, let’s say I’m working on a building estimate. There is an engineer who doesn’t report to me but who I’m parallel to who I need information from in order to be able to do the estimate. I’m having trouble getting the data out of them. I keep asking them – “Can you get me the data?” I even use inquiry – “When could you get me the data?” And, they still aren’t doing it. They don’t answer to me so I’m powerless in the situation. And, if I keep trying to deal with it on my own, I may end up way behind, and then someone will be upset and frustrated with me.

But, if I go one step up to whoever I report to and say “I’m really having trouble finishing this estimate because I’m not getting what I need from engineering.” My boss may ask if I’ve tried this or that, but when I’ve shown I’ve gone thru the options, they’ll realize this is out of my hands and that they need to do something about it. And, if the engineer doesn’t report to them, they’ll have to have to raise it one more level up and talk to whoever they need to talk to so they can understand that it’s a priority to get you this information.

So, in this process, it gets pushed up to the level where it can be addressed. It might go all the way up; it might go all the way up to the President, or it might go all the way up to the CEO. Because, the problem may be highlighting that we need to hire more engineers, or we need another company to work with, or we need a budget change, or we need to delay the bid on this job.

The problems need to go up to the level where they happen, where they can be solved. And, if the problem goes all the way up then the solution doesn’t go just to you, the solution also gets distributed out to the whole organization.

So, we don’t want to be hesitant about pushing our problems up.

The difference is that if I’m struggling on a job and I’m getting farther and farther behind while I’m trying to handle it myself and then eventually it comes out that it’s a mess. That would be terrible and on me. But, if at the beginning, I just keep reporting up what is happening on the job and what I’m having trouble with, I can solve things before they’re bigger problems.

It also helps takes the pressure off: Let’s say I’m having trouble with the subcontractors and I report it to my boss, and my boss says they don’t know how to handle it either. Now, I’ve transferred the accountability from me to my boss. Because, if my boss can’t tell me how to handle it or fix it, it’s their problem. If they can tell me how to fix it, or can help me figure out how to fix it, it’s my problem. But as long as I can’t fix it (and this is the beauty of being in an organization with hierarchy) I can keep pushing my problems up until they teach me, show me how to solve it, or change the system itself.

Even with our personal struggles, we want to push problems up. It helps you build your skills and helps to get your mentor more invested in you.

For instance, if I report to you and you’re my mentor, and I say I’m having a hard time getting organized. You may have a solution for me to use to improve. So, if I push the problem up to you, it’s not that I’m bad. I am just showing you my weakness I want to fix. And, you’re my mentor, you’ve seen my weaknesses and you want to help me get better. And, as I bring you my problem, you become more invested in me. The more you help me, the more invested you become in me. You’ve put a lot in me, so you want to see me advance and you want to support me. That is part of management. We really have to use the people we report to as mentors and ask them to help us. We have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to share what we are really struggling with.


Click here for my eCourse where you will be taught the fundamentals of Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership, or email us at info@inquirymethod.com if you are interested in learning more about business coaching.

Self Judgment

Hi everyone, this is Peggy. I want to give you a quick summary before we jump into the blog.

Today’s blog centers around a conversation and teaching that happened on one of our recent membership calls and is presented here with permission from the participant. It starts when Kyle asks participants to share one thing they’d like the group to know about them.

It’s about how when we hold judgments on ourselves, we often also take the egoic position of the opposite side of that judgment. And, consequently, we are pulled in two directions: one of judging ourselves for not being x and one that is proudly asserting that we are x. In this blog, we explore that tension and what we can do to free ourselves from it.

We invite you to read the dialogue and teaching below, or you can listen to the audio recording. The audio is a neat way to experience what the membership calls can be like and why coaching is helpful. We also find that often some of your own growth comes from experiencing the new awareness and growth of others.

To learn more about our membership calls, click here

Listen to the audio here, or scroll down to read the conversation and teaching.

Client: One thing I’d like you to know about me is that… I’m shy.

Kyle: How does that show up?

C: I don’t speak up sometimes. Sometimes I just hold back.

K: What’s behind you holding back?

C: Fear of judgment.

K: What’s the judgment you most fear?

C: I don’t know what I’m talking about.

K: Ah, you fear the judgment that you don’t know what you are talking about.

When did you first learn that one? How old were you?

[After the client feels into the original place/people this judgment came from, Kyle switches to some teaching]

K: When we have an existing judgment, i.e. “I don’t know what I’m talking about, “ our psyche puts on the opposite idea as a defense, in this case: “I do know what I’m talking about” or “I want to know what I’m talking about”. It’s not a defense in the moment, but it’s this idea that I’m supposed to do that other thing instead i.e. I’m supposed to know what I’m talking about. And, I start to hold that egoic position of: “I do know what I’m talking about”. And, I get attached to that idea.

And, it pulls us in two directions – we have this judgment on ourselves, and at the same time, we find ourselves attached to that opposite egoic position.

But, we don’t have to live in that tension.

I don’t know if you notice but when I’m teaching there is both a quality that I do know what I’m talking about and there is also a quality that I don’t know what I’m talking about. The heart of inquiry is open curiosity- a total willingness to be informed differently, it’s kind of like: Hey this is kind of my best shot at it.

There is so much freedom in having no position on knowing what I’m talking about, not that I do or don’t. Sometimes I do know what I’m talking about and sometimes I don’t.

At the Freedom Experience, we sometimes put these opposing ideas metaphorically in each hand. In this example, “I know what I’m talking about” would be in one hand and “I don’t know what I’m talking about” in the other. And we can see visually, that we get stuck in this duality.  I’m trying to repress that I don’t know what I’m talking about and simultaneously, I’m trying to amplify that I do know what I’m talking about. So, the hands/our psyche gets pulled apart. But, when we let go of the energy between them, the dualities come together (visually the hands come together). And, in this place where the dualities come together, it becomes a non-question- the whole issue of knowing or not knowing what I’m talking about disappears. It’s a non-duality, a non-question. I have the freedom to sometimes know what I’m talking about and sometimes not know what I’m talking about.

So, there are all these things like this. And, this is part of what we do at the Freedom Experience. We identify all these places of duality

  • “I’m not pretty enough” and “I’m trying to be pretty”. It has this duality and tension rather than just being.
  • I may be trying to be smart but that means I also repress or shutdown not being smart. I hold this open question/judgment: Am I smart or am I not smart?

So, there are all these dualities in these thoughts and beliefs that we hold about ourselves. And when it goes away there is this freedom from the struggle in between these dualities (and that’s why we call it the Freedom Experience).

Another judgment could be that “I’m too scared”. If you take the energy out of it, it collapses to “I can be scared or not scared.” And, then in any given moment it may be: “I can be scared or not scared, but I’m feeling scared right now. And, the whole resistance to it changes, it becomes “oh I wonder why I’m scared now, maybe I should pay attention.”

So, the more that we can identify these dualities and let all the energy out of them, there is more freedom to just be.

In the original example, once I let the energy out, knowing what I’m talking about or not knowing what I’m talking about isn’t even a consideration. It just doesn’t occur. It’s more “maybe I do and maybe I don’t.” Self-trust comes in. There is a deeper truth that comes in when I don’t have to know or not know. The more we get out of needing to know, the more we get into source.

Every time we can collapse one of those dualities, the more we are connected to source.


To read more about our members calls, click here 

To read more blogs on self-identity and ego, click here 

When is it about me?

We’re trying something new! We’re recording the blogs on audio in case you would rather listen to them. Click the play button to listen or scroll down to read the blog instead.

We’d love to know what you think of listening instead of reading. Email us if you feel like sharing.


I’m always growing and putting myself into situations to grow. Within that context, I was at an event last weekend and was struck with a new awareness. I was thinking about all the ways I’m hard on myself and there was a way that I understood it differently: I realized that I tend to take on other people’s view of me.

So, if I’m talking to Peggy and she says something critical or something that I take personally, I would think, “oh there is something wrong with me.” And I’d take it on. But what I realized, is that if you take everyone you know and if they all feel differently about you, what they each feel about you is not about you, it’s about them. If some people love you and some people hate you, the loving and the hating is about them.

Now, if everyone loves you and everyone hates you, you can take that personally. If all the people you know sit you down in an intervention and they say “Hey, I think you are making a big mistake here,” you should listen to that. If you are getting a universal reflection or broad reflection, or if you keep getting into the same relationships over and over again, or if you keep responding over and over again in the same way, that’s about you. But, if it’s isolated, if there is only one person who doesn’t like you, that’s not about you, that’s about them. And if there is only one person who loves you, that’s not about you either, that’s about them. That’s about their capacity to love.

So, the new awareness is, that an outlier’s views of you has to do with those individual people, not you. If you notice trends and universalities about how people view you, that you should take personally, these are all amazing things to bring to online group calls, coaching calls or events so we can coach about them.

That’s my thought for this week and that’s the blog. I hope you enjoyed it.

Love,
Kyle


Reminder: Only a few days left to get Early Bird Pricing for the Mountain Experience. Read more and register here

Cleaning up your messes

I’m a bit of a clean freak. Not in the way we traditionally think about it, but in keeping my life sanitary, or you could even say sane-itary.

There is a quality of having backlogs and things undone that can take you out of the moment and burden your present. I notice the more sane-itarty I am, the more I’m able to appreciate and be in the present, and be present with whoever I’m with.

One example of being sane-itary is not having a pile of unread trade journals on your desk, another example is that I, for the most part, keep my email inbox hovering around zero. Sometimes there are 10 things that are kind of bookmarks or reminders, but I regularly process all my emails. Being up to date with things like wills, insurance, home repairs, appliance repairs, car care, bills paid, letters sent, communication made, plans updated. For some reason, these kinds of things hover around you all the time as long as they remain undone in your mind. They clutter your mind. They clutter your energy field. They clutter you emotionally and mentally. Even a disorganized closet, unwashed clothes, or unmade bed can trigger the feeling that there is always more to do. Sometimes it takes an effort to sanitize these things, but it is great to get on top of them or to have some maintenance program to stay sane-itary.

Suggested Self-Inquiry: Make a list of all the things that you would have to do to get sanitary and start cleaning them up. Even just making the list is a step in the right direction, it gets it out of your head and into a context where you can address them.


To go a little farther on this topic: read this blog about shifting your life from doing to being and read this blog about blocking time.

3 States

It has been so helpful to recognize I have a choice every moment.

Not about what is happening right now, but about my relationship to it.

My 3 choices are:

  1. Resistance
  2. Acceptance
  3. Approval

I choose.

If I resist, I create struggle in me and around me.

In acceptance, I become neutral, but neutrality is a form of death.

In approval, I decide to lean in to what is happening.

I get behind it.

This is when the magic happens.

 

Approval is a powerful life practice available to you every moment.

I use the word practice to indicate it takes practice and you are never done getting better at it.

Try it right now, take something you are resisting either inside or outside you and get in approval of it, get behind it, get into it and see what happens.  Let me know.

Reducing Your Shoulder

A good friend of mine dislocated his shoulder at a retreat I attended last week.  A dislocated shoulder is very painful and scary; my friend had amazing composure and presence in his discomfort.  However you cannot, like in the movies, put it back in yourself, you need help.

I have been trained how to “reduce” (the term for putting it back in the socket) a dislocated shoulder but I have never done it, two very different things. We made a call and got additional professional instruction, which involved my friend laying face down on a massage table, supporting my friend to relax and let go, and then gently pulling down and rotating his arm back into place.  It happened easier than we could imagine. It dropped back in almost effortlessly, painlessly, to tears of relief and gratitude.

Inquiry Method is the same.  Inquiry Method works because we receive loving, skilled support.  It works because we are in connection. It works because we are held.  It works because we can deeply relax. It works because we can allow ourselves to return to our natural state.  Our being wants to return to wholeness.

We are never broken, but we may have some things dislocated.  If you want to reduce your dislocation, get skilled loving support. Put yourself in the position and location where you can resolve your dislocation and allow yourself to receive support.  When you resolve your dislocation you will experience tears of relief and joy as you return to your natural state of wholeness.

 

 

 


Looking for a place like this? Come to an event or schedule a call to talk through how we can support you