Freedom From The Future

In Inquiry Method work we have often talked about and worked with letting go of the past and the liberation we experience when we learn how to do that.

We have also talked about and practiced freeing up our ego and how to lighten up on projecting and defending self-image.

We have also explored how to lose our drive and rediscover our flexibility and creativity.

I’ve been exploring a new frontier, letting go of the future.  Once I discovered it in myself I was shocked because it now seems so obvious, none of my future attachments, fears, ambitions were here now and none of the ones I have had in the past ever materialized the way I anticipated them good or bad.

Your future can be as much a trap as the past; in fact many people are more future oriented than past oriented.

For example, lets say you were interested in starting a business or growing your business; you might get attached to the future success of that business or project the future failure of that business, or both at the same time.  What does that do to your present expression and engagement, what does that do to your creativity and your objectivity…etc?

Try the same thing with meeting a new person and projecting the future of the relationship.

Take a look; what are your future attachments and how much do they take you out of the present?  See if you can discover in yourself the capacity to let go of the future.

You might say that I need the attachment to the future to be able to operate, but think about how you may have thought that same way about holding onto the past until you learned the skill of letting go. Remember how dramatically that affected your life?

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reducing Drama in Your Life

I recently started watching a little TV again, and discovered sitcoms. It has been interesting to watch that there is one basic premise that makes a sitcom work. Changing one dynamic of the sitcom would make it fall apart. Every piece of humor on a sitcom comes back to lack of communication; typically, it has to do with somebody not telling somebody else the truth, hiding, lying, or being unauthentic. A lot of that laughter is recognition of the ridiculousness of life. The reason we laugh is because we can recognize the feeling or difficulty ourselves.

I suspect if you look into most of the drama and difficulty in your life that it is created by the same dynamic. Where is the drama in your life? What communication would have helped to solve it? If you do not want your life to be a sitcom, what do you want it to be like? What kind of communication would support that?

Much love,

Kyle

Lessons from Driving in Traffic

I recently decided to exercise my freedom and sense of adventure to explore living in Venice, California. Moving from Ashland it is quite a different cultural experience and I started to experience that as I got closer and closer to Los Angeles. On the highway, I noticed an elevated sense of competitive driving and aggressiveness. It was interesting to me, because I began to drive more aggressively, I started to get competitive and zoom in and out, picking up the energy and molding myself to the energy of the other drivers around me.

At first, I did not really see it as a problem, enjoying the aggressive, competitive interactions that I was experiencing. But over time I started to notice how that aggressive interaction started to affect my body and my mind. I was dropping into this more aggressive, competitive mindset, I was thinking ‘wow, I’m moving to LA and is this going to be what my new experience will be like. Is this what it’s going to be like when I’m driving?’ I got clear that it wasn’t what I wanted my experience moving forward to be within myself, and wondered and questioned whether it was possible to drop out of it. I had so much history of enjoying driving quickly and even aggressively, I realized I had to change my consciousness and change my approach if I wanted to get a different experience within myself.

I formed the intention within myself to have a different attitude, the attitude of acceptance and peace. I realized I could just be in the flow without the attachment to getting anywhere.

There is a map app that many people use in LA and other urban areas called WAZE, and one of the things I really like about it is that it calculates the shortest and most efficient path, gives you your time of arrival and redirects you from a crowd sourcing perspective. Part of what I found is that if I just totally accepted what it was saying without trying to get anywhere any faster than I could, it allowed me to relax into the experience. I was driving, you know with the top down, looking around and enjoying the sights and energy. I could enjoy the music I was listening to because I adopted a surrender and faith in WAZE and that I could not do more than I could do to move myself forward.

I can profoundly see the implications of this for life. The more we develop a faith or a surrender to life, the more we can come from a perspective of being held and supported, the less we have to feel like we have to drive and push, compete, accelerate, and be aggressive in trying to accomplish what we are looking for. Internally, on some level we have charted a path and all is unfolding at the pace and rhythm that is possible for us.

Consider what it would be like, or even try it for a day, assuming that you cannot be any further ahead or behind in your journey, just showing up, staying alert, and moving forward at the pace that is offered to you. You can maybe even try to recognize all the extra energy that you are putting in to trying to get ahead, trying to get it done faster, and trying to get it done sooner.

This faith and acceptance of life and self will give you a peacefulness, groundedness, ease and competency that will support you in every aspect of your life.

Love,

Kyle

The Curse of Entitlement

Everything you believe you are entitled to causes you pain and robs you of joy. Lets inquire into this:

Become aware of everything you feel entitled to that you don’t have…this would be anything you are angry about, feel sad about, regret, resent, lack, or need. The only way you would have these feelings is that you feel like you deserve (are entitled to) these things, relationships, and experiences. How do you behave when you feel you need these things? How does your belief in your entitlement affect your happiness?

Now become aware of everything you have that you feel entitled to, possessions, relationships, experiences, money, abundance, food…etc. How does your entitlement affect your experience of these things?

Now imagine you are poor, alone, on the street, you have nothing, you are hungry and cold and you receive one thing out of your home, anything, even just a piece of food from the drawer or clothing from your closet. What do you experience? Lack and need? Joy and gratitude?

When did you become entitled to anything? Who taught you? What is the benefit of your entitlement? How does it serve you?

What would happen to you right now if you lost all of your entitlement to anything and the reality of your life remained unchanged, the only change being you lost all of your entitlement? How would you feel? What would come into your life?

It seems to me losing every bit of my entitlement would a great blessing, the lifting of a curse that stands between me and gratitude and joy. I would not stop doing what I do or working or being with my family or anything but I would do it in a totally different spirit.

Meditation/Contemplation

Meditation is getting a lot of press lately.  I have a meditation practice and feel that I get a lot of benefit from it.

In a recent Scientific American article they reported the findings that through different meditations we can create changes in our mind depending on how we practice.

The type of meditation I practice helps change one’s relationship to thinking and the capacity to disconnect from thoughts and be more present.  This has been a very helpful skill.  Much like lifting weights or working out, we can strengthen any aspect of our brains that we practice.

It is the same with the practice of Inquiry Method, we can retrain our brains to be curious and engage life and people with a sense of wonder.  We can develop the capacity to open ourselves and others.

In the current interest around meditation another important daily practice may get obscured or lost: contemplation.

Contemplation differs from meditation in that, instead of quieting thought, we examine and engage with thought.  By giving time in our day that is unfilled by stimulation and activity we can tap into the useful contemplative and reflective mind.

The practice of contemplation is also clearing the mind.  Your mind has a job to do.  It is to make you aware of important activities, events, actions, and perceptions; it is there to help you work through problems and plan future actions, to remember people in your life and warn of potential issues.  It is there to create personal vision and intention.  It is there to help you.

If it does not get its say, a good hearing, it will impose this unaddressed thinking at inappropriate times, interrupt sleep, relationships, even feel like a nagging awareness in the background.  This background sensation may create a feeling of anxiety, stress, or the sense of things undone.

Take some time for contemplation daily.  Today I took a pad of paper to my favorite coffee shop (Mix), I got quiet and gave my mind some free reign, I let it go where it wanted, I wrote notes, allowed it to solve problems, gave it a listen.  I left feeling clearer, refreshed, inspired; I took some actions, made some choices, my path seemed clearer, I knew myself better.

Just like a child that is ignored, your mind will be incessant in its interruptions until you take the time to listen.  It is on your side, it may have some funny ideas but you may find it more peaceful if you give it a listen.

Give your mind a hearing and see what it has to say.

Inquiry Leadership: Esprit de Corps

I was writing an information sheet for speaking to business groups and I wanted to share some of what I wrote:

The first question I ask of a business client is:  If you pull up to the parking lot of your business and sit in your car and wait, do you feel any resistance to walking in the door?  What do you resist?  How would you have to set up your work and your business so that you were looking forward to walking in the door?

In this talk I support you in clarifying and manifesting your values throughout your organization.

“Our work becomes more meaningful and impactful on those we come in contact with as we connect with and create environments that express our deepest values.  Through this process we amplify a sense of esprit de corps, a sense of shared purpose and meaning which creates great companies.  Esprit de corps inspires customers and employees; companies that have it experience brand loyalty, employee retention, heroic efforts and contribution”.

This program is an interactive inquiry into your deepest motivations and inspiration; great for a renewal of excitement and engagement in your business.

Value:

You will walk away with clarity and written values, you will have inquiry tools and a better understanding of other group members to enhance future meetings and specific and practical esprit de corps enhancing actions to implement immediately.

How do you inspire and feel inspired?  What is the nature of great leadership?  How can you feel like what you do matters?  Why does success follow authentic leadership?

  • We will look into what motivates and inspires commitment and loyalty to a cause, company, or organization.
  • A unique concept called “Levels of Participation” will be unforgettable as a guide to inspiring your organization and customers.  From this you will understand how each person contributes and meet them at their level and inspire individuals to “level up”.
  • You will be able to specifically identify the nature of the esprit de corps of your organization and walk away with a new awareness and specific intentions toward what will inspire you and those you lead.

Inquiry Leadership inspires brand loyalty, perception of value and a sense of partnership in customers.  Employees not only feel more connected with the organization but because they clearly understand the intent of leadership can act in greater alignment with corporate objectives with less management.  Most important however is how our work as leaders becomes more fulfilling and meaningful.  Success follows effective leadership.

Kyle Mercer works with leaders who have discovered that they want a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.  Through connecting with deeper values his clients experience greater success and meaning that overflows into personal lives, health and well-being.