The Inquiry Method Training represents a new level of altitude for Inquiry Method. We are now able to teach the process of Inquiry Method. As people are clearing up and letting go of the constrictions from levels 1-3 they become more available to connect with others through level 4. In other words, as we let go of the things that keep our attention on ourselves we gain more access to put our attention on others. Why would we want to do that? Because it is more fun and creates greater intimacy and connection, which are exactly the things we really want and that lead to greater happiness and fulfillment.
This is the bonus round of doing the work to heal and let go. In learning this practice we are getting into what I call “freedom to”, the ability to build the life and relationships we really desire rather than purely focusing on the “freedom from” of our emotional pain, shame, judgments, voids and drive. The more “freedom from” work we do opens up a lot of space to experience what it is like to live a Life at Altitude. Just being in the room with the people doing this work feels alive- we laugh and inquire, open up and be seen; the amount of play and happiness is infectious. Feeling blessed.
Hi! This is Olivia and I just recently joined the Inquiry Method team. This week’s blog is my reflection on the amazing Inquiry Method Training that I participated in this past weekend.
The Inquiry Method Training is a four-month course that kicked off with an in-person retreat in Venice Beach, California. Twelve students have committed to diving deeply into Kyle Mercer’s philosophy. I’m new to these teachings, but not to personal development and because of my experience I can recognize Truth. Truth, with a capital T, is what I call the path to being in alignment with Source. As Kyle says, you can feel it when you read a book, listen to a teaching, or watch a video and you can feel there is Truth in it. This weekend was packed full of Truth.
In other programs that I’ve done and other experiences that I’ve had the instructor always spoke of a life of wonderful possibilities but didn’t create a map to the end result. These other teachers spoke of releasing pain in order the create the life you long for but never showed you how. Kyle filled in that gap in knowledge for me beautifully. What’s more, his process is simple, reproducible and has a deep sense of safety built into it.
Kyle starts each event talking about Sanctuary, a promise we make to each other to hold safety as our top priority. While I sometimes like being pushed by teachers or coaches I can’t describe the feeling that washed over me the first night. Kyle started by looking at each one of us in the eye and telling us that he was safe for us. The container that he held wrapped me up, holding me in tender loving care until the last moment of the retreat. I was able to relax in a way that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before. Kyle not only held that space for us but taught us how to bring this model of non-judgment, curiosity, and care back to our communities and lives.
This retreat represents a new phase of growth for the company, a movement forward into creating a Life at Altitude, a realization of one’s deepest desires. Although there was releasing of pain that happened during the course of the weekend that wasn’t the main focus. The real motivation for the retreat was the dissemination of the Inquiry Method to those who would make the greatest impact.
The training was mainly comprised of coaches or aspiring coaches who came to learn inquiry tools to take back to their clients. I am a doula or birth coach and although I will use it in my practice I’m even more excited to see how it impacts the relationships in every facet of my life.
This training helped me to be more selfless than ever before. Tony Robbins says that suffering only occurs when a person is focused on themselves. Turning my attention outward allowed me to get out of my own head and hold space for another’s healing. It was a win-win.
Kyle helped instill in me a level of curiosity and openness that I didn’t know was possible. His method helped me get out of the trap of teaching and advocating and back into a childlike sense of wonder. I cannot wait to see how the process of Inquiry Method shifts my relationships and enhances my life. This is only the third day after the training and I already feel like I’m experiencing more flow than ever before. I’ve had the pleasure of allowing the river of life to have its way with me. I’ve stopped resisting the current, started to open, and I can’t wait to see what is waiting around the bend.
You can’t change another person. That is one of the unfortunate, and yet universal truths. Sometimes, you can inspire another person to change. Being motivated is always impacted by the perception, “what’s in it for me?”.
On the other hand, there is one person who you are 100% empowered to change, and that’s you. In any relationship, whether it’s personal or in business, I like to tell people to take 100% responsibility. Take 100% responsibility for the business or 100% responsibility for the relationship. I am always looking to create a vision for a relationship that is inspired by the other person’s motivations or by adapting myself to what is or what’s true about the other person.
The most potent example of the first is a “want for us”. This is what I work with during a corporate or a relationship renewal. Whenever I’m in a primary romantic relationship with someone, I always like to whether it’s just for a vacation or long-term, come to a shared understanding of the “want for us”. Meaning, what is the want for us, what are we working towards together? When I can get clear about the “want for us” the relationship feels easy. When I can’t get clear about it, it feels hard or difficult. It’s even harder if we’re trying to achieve, experience, or do different things. In a case where we can’t come to a “want for us” or the other person is uninterested or unwilling to participate in a “want for us” in the way I want them to, the only other option is to accept them just the way they are.
That can sometimes be miraculous. Sometimes when I accept someone just the way they are, and get behind who they are, I find things open up and possibilities appear that never would have otherwise.
A relationship is always positive if we are oriented toward the want for us. Practice with your partner. When you wake up, before you go about your morning, discuss the “want for us” for the morning.
It could be, “Well I have a lot going on so let’s do our own thing and go our own way, but I want 5 minutes to have coffee with you and kiss you good-bye.”
The other person can say, “Actually there are some important things we need to get done. I would like help figuring out dinner so that I can go shopping for it and I’m also missing your attention. I’d like you to put your attention on me. I’d like for you to rub my neck and take some time for me.”
Then the other person may say, “I can get into that”, or not, but the goal is to get aligned.
So the want for us could be an overarching desire for your life together or it can be broken down into the want for the morning, the evening, or any of your time together.
Another example could be making decisions like buying a new refrigerator. Imagine this dialogue:
One person might say, “I want to buy the coolest refrigerator ever!”
And the other person might say, “I want to save some money. I’d like to spend under $300. I guess we better get aligned with what we are shooting for. Can we find a cool fridge for under $300?”
“Oh, I guess I hadn’t really thought about that. Are we running out of money?”
“Yeah, we don’t really have a lot of money this month, but we do need a fridge.”
“Oh, well maybe we could find a used one.”
Anytime we can get in alignment the smoother things will be. For example, you can decide on a “want for us” on vacation. If one person wants to relax and the other wants to go on adventures you should probably get clear on the “want for us”. Here is dialogue that could happen around that:
It can get really powerful when you go deeper, like, “I just really want this to amplify our connection to each other.”
The other person might say, “Oh I guess I hadn’t really even thought about that. I just thought we were going on vacation.”
“On the flight there let’s imagine different things we could do or different ways we could approach this trip so that it would amplify our connection to each other.”
Then, throughout the trip, when you go to do things, check in. “Should we go parasailing? Would that amplify our connection?”
“I guess not. It seems like the jungle hike would really achieve that.”
Anytime you can catalyze something around a “want for us” it’s really powerful. Anytime you step into any of these conversations it helps you clarify the relationship more and more.
The alternative to coming to a “want for us” is the choice to accept the other person the way they are.
In the same way sexual consent is important, in Inquiry Method there is a range of intimacy and the depth of that intimacy should also be consensual.
If the intimacy reached through Inquiry Method is nonconsensual, it can sometimes feel like a violation. That is why we like to set up containers or an environment or sanctuary in which to practice Inquiry Method.
Obviously, inquiry on a casual basis does not necessarily need to be overtly consensual but you want to watch very carefully as you are practicing asking deeper and more intimate questions to notice if your inquiry partner is responding as if they are being violated. Some people are harder tells and it is better to practice caution.
Consent in Inquiry Method is very simple. It can be as simple as, with a casual acquaintance, asking if they mind if you ask them a question: “Would you mind if I asked you a question?” In more formal Inquiry Method, we want to set up safe containers. We may ask someone if they would like to practice Inquiry Method together. Within that container, there are different levels of formally declaring sanctuary- from simply saying it’s my intention to be safe for you, to even repeating the sanctuary context from the Mountain Experience overtly. Even within a formal Inquiry Method container that is fully consensual, we may still find ourselves asking questions like – “Do you mind if I ask about your childhood?” or “Would you like me to ask questions to go deeper?”
You may find consensual based Inquiry Method to be particularly useful and poignant with children and partners. Watch your children when you ask them penetrating questions, and notice when you have pushed into a non-consensual boundary. Try it out this week, watch for any violation, ask for permission and see if you don’t actually get deeper connection and deeper opening when you practice safety and permission in this way.
Today I want to focus on an aspect of Inquiry Method and the distinction of Inquiry Method as a practice between two people.
You can use this practice in any situation, from informal to formal.
The formal form includes setting up sanctuary, having one person hold the space of inquiry, and having one person hold the space of self-reflection.
In both positions, we start from a position of not knowing. It is the same willingness to not know that occurs in both positions. The person in the inquiry position doesn’t know about the person who is being inquired upon. And the person in the self-reflection position starts from not knowing about themselves. Everyone is equally curious. The principle of inquiry method is to understand together, to co-learn, to co-reveal.
When I’m in the place of inquiry, I’m revealing my ignorance about what it is like to be the other person. When I’m in the position of self-reflection, I’m willing to reveal my ignorance about myself.
The better we can do this together with an open nonjudgmental sense of wonder and curiosity, the more will be revealed. The more we develop our capacity toward this practice, the more it starts to seem like magic.
As an added bonus, this practice will develop an intuitive, empathetic quality that will give you information about yourself and others, even outside the practice. It’s a powerful muscle that will develop as you exercise it.
Most of you have never heard me define what Inquiry Method is, but you have seen me practice it. Inquiry Method is actually a partnered practice that can be done by anyone who understands and has learned the context. We’ll go more into that later – in upcoming posts, online courses, or in Inquiry Method Training.
The beauty and power of inquiry method, almost like and potentially even more powerfully than meditation, is that it teaches you to disidentify with your ego. Besides the direct benefit of what is discovered, there is a powerful and profound transformation in how you identify with who you really are.
One of the unique aspects of this practice, that at the beginning may not seem self-evident, is that the practice is the same whether you are the one asking the questions or you are the one responding to the questions.
The only difference in the positions is where we are putting our attention. In one position, I’m putting my attention on you. And in the other position, you are putting your attention on yourself, but we are both holding the same consciousness and a sense of curiosity and wonder. This is the true goal of the heart of the practice: to develop that view and be able to carry that view into our lives.
If you are interested in learning Inquiry Method and how to hold attention on yourself or others, you may want to check out our upcoming Inquiry Method Training
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.
Okay, I know this sounds like a tease, because the title is called “the second most powerful change”. So, before we begin, I will tell you the first most powerful change in my life. The first is the change resulting from a combination of awareness and intent. The moment that I become aware that I would like to grow a specific aspect of my life, a great power is achieved when I combine that awareness with the intent to take action.
I realized that when I first become aware of a perceived shortcoming, there tends to be a phase of discouragement, hopelessness, or despair. This awareness can be viewed as a place where we can get stuck in the short, medium, or even long term. When we create intent, we create the capacity and ability to grow. With the use of intent and awareness, we can this a problem by developing a larger capacity of ourselves. This can mean finding more love, being more engaged and appreciative, or having more gratitude. Thus, this combination of intent and awareness is undoubtedly the most powerful change in my life.
Now, we will move on to the second most powerful change in my life (and it may be self-serving). The second: getting support (after I have found that combination of awareness and intent). This can be done in so many different ways, through so many different avenues. Personally, I get support in the form of coaching; in fact, I have between three and five coaches at a given time. I also just found an incredible yoga teacher, and he is becoming my aliveness coach. His coaching has put me in a profound state, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No matter who you’re getting help from, finding someone to help you is incredibly powerful.
As we grow, help becomes more and more accessible. For example, when I started coaching, there were very few coaches out there. In fact, we thought we created personal or executive coaching. Now, there is a plethora of extremely powerful coaches available. That’s another thing that makes reaching out for help so great: the more people want it, the more accessible it becomes.
And this isn’t a self-promotion: it doesn’t matter if you choose me or someone else, though I do have specific skills to awaken people and help them make monumental shifts in their lives. No matter who, you can find a coach for anything: aliveness or consciousness, relationships, business, dating, physical fitness, or diet, among many others. There are an infinite variety of people that have experience and are available for you to utilize for your self-improvement.
If you look at my previous blog of dysfunctional independence, I express that we are a culture who think we have to do it all our selves. It is not what we used to do historically or aboriginally; we used to have teachers, guides, shamans, people that would teach us their great knowledge and skill.
I theorize that coaching works because of the unique and close connection between two people as wisdom and knowledge is being passed on. There is a transference, an energetic engagement that allows us to go to a much higher level than we can on our own. In addition, when we engage with a coach, there is a sense of accountability: we know that we will follow-through on what we said we were going to do.
The numerous benefits of coaching are immense, but minimally recognized. While we have made great progress, we are still only starting to understand all of its beneficial impacts. Whatever you want to develop within yourself, you simply need to first combine awareness and intent, and then find someone to help you. You do not have to stay in despair and frustration, and you can truly manifest and bring all you want into your life.
Wishing you great awareness, intent, and connection. May you have all that you wish for.
In all aspects of our lives, planning is an integral part. Planning exercises are important in group settings, such as a couple, family, or for a business, and are equally crucial, individually. The objective of this blog is to help you recognize the power and meaning that can be created through the intention of planning.
The first element of planning is creating your vision. To create your vision, project a period into the future; for example, imagine yourself in one, five, or ten years. What do you want your future to look like? One beautiful application of this step is as a couple. Let’s say you are fifty, jointly creating a vision of what life will be in twenty years, when you are seventy. It is such a powerful process because as you create this beautiful vision together, you both become bonded and equally participating towards fulfilling this joint vision, which in turn creates beauty in the relationship. This visioning process can also be conducted in the context of a business. Or, you can create your own personal vision to motivate and inspire yourself to shape your dreams.
In support of vision, the next level of consideration is strategy. Strategy is the creation of the larger picture- specifically, what are some of the broad topics we would need to accomplish our vision? In the example of planning for when we turn seventy, we may intend to retire to Costa Rica and live in a beach house. In order to achieve this goal, we must make sure that our finances are in a certain shape, define how we would like to be with respect to our health, and describe what we need to do in our relationship to develop wonderful communication and intimacy. Just as we often do in a business or individually, we would define strategic objectives and goals to help us achieve our future vision.
The third level is tactics. Tactics are the day-to-day things that I need to start developing and acting on to fulfill my strategy. For example, planning a meeting to develop a financial plan with my financial advisor, creating a benchmark for required salary, scheduling couples counseling to develop our communication, or learning Spanish. Whatever we need to do to manifest our desired outcome.
In summary, there are three levels:
Vision: where we are, or I am, going.
Strategy: what major things have to get accomplished to get the results.
Tactics: what day-to-day activities are needed to fulfill our strategy.
Create a document with your vision, strategy and tactics and lay out a plan for yourself.
The next blog will talk about how to go deeper with creating that vision, and in view of creating your legacy.
Talk to you next week.