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.

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.

Lightening Up

Part of the process of Inquiry Method, and a big part of Life at Altitude, is lightening up. It’s hard to stay at altitude when we are heavy. For instance, at the Mountain Experience, we find feelings and experiences that we’ve accumulated that are heavy and we let them go, this letting go makes us naturally more buoyant.

We are naturally buoyant. It’s not that we have to climb to altitude; it’s that as we start to throw the rocks out of our canoe, we get more and more buoyant and float up. We naturally want to rise to altitude when we have cleaned out the heaviness.

Heaviness comes in many forms. Internal conditions can create heaviness. There is emotional pain, hurt, anger, and other emotions from the past that create heaviness in our lives. There are also thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that we hold onto that create heaviness in our lives. Voids can create heaviness, as well as drive. As we let go of these, we become more buoyant.

External elements can also create heaviness. Some external elements that we can lighten up on are how we use our time and how we use our money. Review these blogs to learn how to clean those things up. Also review giving yourself away

It is also important to identify what creates heaviness in our physical world. For instance, a lack of a diet and exercise not only metaphorically creates heaviness but also physically creates it.

Then there is our material environment, material clutter in our lives weighs us down with heaviness:

I was working at the house of a friend the other day helping her clean out her house. As I was teaching her to do it, I recommended a practice. I said, “For every item you put your attention on, ask yourself how you feel when you hold it or when you look at it. Do you feel lighter or heavier with this in your life? Everything that has a net value below zero, creates heaviness or a drag, goes out. Everything that inspires, lightens you and raises you up, stays.” It’s a beautiful practice, one I use often.

I like to have all my possessions be things that I love, I purge anything that doesn’t create lightness in my life, anything that isn’t energy positive. I often clean my drawers, my closets, my kitchen, my refrigerator. As I clean, I feel what feels light and what feels heavy, and eliminate everything that burdens my energy. Really make an assessment of your own material life. From time to time take a different area of your life and use the light/heavy test to determine what is burdening your aliveness.

Buoyancy and altitude are created as you bring better attention to yourself and clean up all the heaviness in your life, let’s all get going and float up together, it feels so good.

Love is the best feeling

I’ve talked before about how it’s better to love than be loved. And, what I mean by that is that somebody could love me and me not feel anything, but I can’t love somebody else and not feel anything. So, the feeling of love is the best feeling in the world.

And, it doesn’t just apply to loving people. In fact, I love to find a book that I love because when I read that book or even when I think about that book, I feel the feeling of love. In fact, there’s a list of about a dozen books that I love so passionately that I’ve read them multiple times. I love going back to those books because I feel the same kind of feeling of love again.

We love to find a movie we love. We love to find a mug we love. My mug that I have, I love!  So, every time I have coffee in the morning, I feel love because I love my mug. There is no better feeling in the world than love.

Make a list of things you love.

Start to identify the characteristics and qualities of things you love, so you can enhance the love. Start actively looking for things you love. The more things and people you can find to love, the more love you’ll have in your life.

One of the things I love is the Mountain Experience. And, I know a lot of you love the Mountain Experience. The other day, someone asked me about coming back to the Mountain and I laughed at myself because I came up with a quote: “Coming back to the mountain experience is just like going the first time, but better!” And, it’s true! If you loved the mountain experience we would love to have you back, and truly a second mountain experience opens new doors to more love in your life. Please come.

Love,
Kyle

Read more about the Mountain Experience and register here

Your True Intentions

A client recently asked me, “How do you form an intention from the heart?” The short answer is you can’t; it’s impossible. You can only discover what your intention is. Inspiration is not something we are in charge of, so the best we can do is to uncover and identify it. Like in Inquiry Method with the Mountain Experience, we just uncover intent, not form it. In other words, You cannot do anything that you do not want to do.

This idea is part of surrendering to oneself, surrendering to God, surrendering to life; however you want to say it, you have to just keep discovering. Opinion itself is actually pointless; we are just here to discover the truths about ourselves and you are going to be most powerful when you are most like yourself. You have to work to be in alignment with your authentic intentions rather than some kind of artificially driven intentions. The best you can do is be more like yourself.

We get taught that we are supposed to be different from who we are, but it’s about accepting who we are and discovering that from a place of acceptance. There are three points to this: resistance, which is non-acceptance; acceptance, which is kind of neutrality towards something; and approval, which is enthusiastic engagement towards something. And we can relate to ourselves in any of those three ways. We can relate to ourselves through resistance, or through non-acceptance of ourselves, we can relate to ourselves through acceptance, or through tolerating and being okay with ourselves, or we can work towards approval and approving who we really are.

Love,
Kyle

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.