Hi, Olivia here.
Inquiry Method hosted a Mountain Experience this past weekend in Rye, New York. This was not my first experience with Kyle as a teacher but it was my first Mountain.
I have been actively making personal development a part of my life for a long time. I’ve read books, listened to talks, watched movies and attended workshops and seminars on topics ranging from psychology to self-help, to spirituality. They all speak of the process of undoing – of cleaning up the filter through which we view the world by letting go of our emotional pain. The problem is that hardly anyone gives you a process by which to achieve this outcome.
What I witnessed at the Mountain Experience is that Kyle gives you a road map to cleaning and clearing emotional pain. I once heard Kyle describe his role as a teacher as being a guide. He said that he too has had to walk through his own pain, every single little piece of it, and it hasn’t been easy. He conjectured that this might have been his path so that he could map the way for others. Kyle said that he was a man with a torch leading people through the darkness and toward the light.
Attending the Mountain Experience this weekend it was clear to me that Kyle has an answer to the often unanswered question, “how do I get rid of my pain?” He showed me and all of the attendants that it is possible to release our sadness, anger, guilt, and shame. This is the first and perhaps most important step of living the life we want and I am profoundly grateful for how this process has begun to heal my self-image and my relationships. I am more confident, curious, and able to put beautiful attention on those I love.
Here are a few other reflections from participants in the weekend:
“Going to the Mountain Experience was an incredibly transformational experience. I arrived with confusion and mixed emotions and left with much more clarity and a better sense of how to make decisions and live life through love of myself and others. The great takeaway this weekend, for me, was realizing the power of self-forgiveness.
Kyle in conjunction with the great support of Peggy and Olivia, allowed me to really connect with myself all throughout this weekend. I’m very grateful for them and for sharing this time surrounded by such amazing people.”
“The Mountain Experience has turned out to be the most precious gift I have ever given myself. My experience was deeply emotional and nothing like I have ever experienced. I was both moved and impacted powerfully and positively. I felt immensely safe, connected and loved all at one time. It was a journey of epic proportions in just four days and I left full of love.
At the end of the experience, I set meaningful intentions to make positive changes in my life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the other participants this weekend and especially for Kyle. After this weekend I feel full of hope and see enormous potential for myself. My life is truly different since I have returned home.”
“Just returned from a truly transformative weekend at the Inquiry Method Mountain Experience! The change that Kyle Mercer and his team facilitated for each of the 15 participants in a span of just 3 days was astounding. I have been doing personal growth work for over 7 years with an array of mentors and organizations and the depth of connection, vulnerability, and transformation that I experienced and witnessed in this group is incomparable.
Personally, I had breakthroughs in areas I’ve been “working on” for years. Apparently, it needn’t be that hard. I feel lighter, more joyful, more present, and the mental chatter is significantly diminished — all without efforting.”
“My first Mountain Experience was in 2001. This one was either my fifth or sixth Mountain Experience. I have found that every time I go I learn something about myself and I get cleaner.
Up until now, I had been feeling a heaviness and burden as a result of my rules and ideas surrounding my role as a mother, grandmother, architect… and more. Kyle helped me release my labels and soften on my roles. As a result, I feel grounded and light and worthy of all the care and attention I want to place on me!”
From all of us at the Inquiry Method team, we hope you join us at the next Mountain in Los Angeles, California, October 10-13. To read more about it or sign up click here.
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?
The more you uncover yourself, the more you can accept who you are. The act of uncovering yourself is like going through darkness or a shadowy area. On the other side of uncovering who you are is the opportunity to discover approval for yourself. As you identify the parts of yourself that you do not accept, you can find a way of gaining approval for them.
This is a part of what we do at the Freedom Experience; we look into all of those things that we have repressed and judged about ourselves, and we talk about how they are necessary parts of a whole human. For example, judging that we are lazy or slothful is also the part of us that allows us to rest. How much do you honor the part of you that needs rest and nurturing? Or we may discover that the part of us that gets angry is also the part of ourselves that wants to take care of us.
A client asked me the other day, “As my children are beginning their lives, how do I take myself back and deal with the loss?” The first step is to recognize that you cannot get around the loss; the first thing you have to do is experience the loss, feel the sadness and mourn the changing reality.
This is something that women in particular need to be attentive to. They commonly ignore their lives and make children their whole focus (which is wonderful) but it is important to maintain a sense of personal identity with things, skills and activities that remind them of who they are. A lot of time when the kids go, many women feel like they are losing their whole identity. It’s not good for kids to be that central to the focus. It makes the children narcissistic and overly self-important little beings when they are the center of all that focus.
Personally, I see ‘mother’ as less of a doing role and more of a resource role, as somewhere the kids can go when they need it. In my view, when we make it such an involved role, it’s damaging to the children and it’s damaging to the mother as well because she does not really see her life as anything but being a servant or even subservient to children.
Honestly, I would compare this “loss and sorrow” to withdrawal from addiction. You are sad when the kids leave because you have not fully developed your own focus. It’s like you know something is no longer healthy for you and no longer part of your world and the only way to really go through recovery is to experience the loss of it. If you try to hang on to it, then you will not be satisfied. So, you really just have to take the loss and ask yourself what you want your life to be about now.
I recommend to every mother that in the first years they are everything to the child, and the ultimate practice of motherhood is to skillfully, gradually and artfully extract yourself over time. Let your children have more and more of their own lives so at the transition to their autonomy it is like there is no transition for them or for you.
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.
I have been aware lately, through listening to my clients and even just watching our culture, how we have been taught to protect and hide what is going on inside of us. There is this egoic aspect of ourselves that wants to project out a certain image, or face, to the world. We have been taught and think that doing this is going to give us the most control or power over life, but this is not entirely true. We end up relating to each other’s external shells, and because they do not match the inner situation, it ends up creating a lot of problems and miscommunications and misunderstandings.
I have watched a few TV shows lately, and I have just noticed how all of the problems, whether in a sitcom or a drama, do not come from people being bad or evil at heart; they come from miscommunication. Almost every show is about how things are miscommunicated and then go wrong. I have noticed this even in myself- I am very careful and precise about how I say things, but others may not be able to accurately hear and understand what I am trying to say due to their own personal filter’s and interpretations. And that’s why in Inquiry Method™ the focus is on paying particular attention to what somebody is saying—and even the energy behind it—and truly just listening to them. It is also even about getting curious about what is underneath the shell that we present to the outside world. This idea is about showing the inside on the outside.
I was just speaking with a client about her relationship with her daughter and with her mother, and every time we came back to my client’s desire to take care of one of her family members in some way, we realized her issue around this would be solved so much easier by her expressing her own inner struggle around it. So, this would be like instead of trying to fix her daughter’s problem, she could say “You know, as a mother, I am having a challenge right now because I would really like to support you right now and I do not know how, but do you have any ideas?” That is showing inner vulnerability, and it seems so simple and obvious, but it is not the thing that we say. Instead we give advice, and try to fix, and try to push our agenda on someone else, which usually just makes things more complicated.
It is just amazing how just the most obvious vulnerable thing that is going on inside of us can allows the situation to move forward. It is the same thing when I am working with couples; if we can just say the thing that is going on inside of ourselves—not so much the emotion, just whatever is happening—not only does that help someone else understand us better, but then we can also put our finger on our own problem too.
In a big-picture view, Inquiry Method™ seems so simple, yet at the same time ‘simple’ is so not what we do. Sometimes I feel bad about the fact that my work in and of itself seems so simple, yet the results are always extremely profound, which is how I know I am doing things right.
Essentially, to improve all of our relationships and interactions in life, the best thing we can do is to get our insides on the outside.
The worst position you can put yourself in life is victimhood. Victimhood means that how you feel, what is happening in your life, and your results of your endeavors are all outside of your control. Freedom, on the other hand, is the opposite of victimhood. Freedom means that you take 100% responsibility and awareness of your situation and inner reactions to things. Freedom comes from the ability to not only accept the unacceptable but to also approve of everything that is happening in life.
The power of approving everything that is happening in your life creates an entirely different interpretation of life that is profoundly impactful. When I am in approval of everything that happens in my life, when I am looking into why something is happening rather than focusing on simply the fact that it’s happening to me, I start to find a magical, serendipitous flow and I fill the capacity within myself to step into opportunities that I would otherwise be blinded to.
Just this morning, a friend was planning to visit me before heading off to the airport. But, due to traffic, they were unable to come by. However, instead of being disappointed, we can see that if they hadn’t made that appointment with me they would never have made it to the airport on time. So, we can either be bothered by life’s little foibles, or we can look to see how they are supporting us. And the further and deeper we look, the more abundance and support we discover in life.
Inquiry Method’s fundamental three step process for surrender to life’s challenges:
1. Change it. Go ahead. Change your circumstances.
… If you cannot change it or you decide not to:
2. Resist it & be unhappy.
3. Accept it & be at peace.
I was teaching at the Mountain Experience today, and guiding participants to explore their true nature. There is some confusion about true nature, and what one’s true nature is. In fact, there is a certain part of some people that believes that there is something wrong with their true nature. There is nothing wrong with who you are: that is either the mind, emotions or the ego trying to solidify you into something other than what you are.
The best way to discover, learn or understand who you are; is to reflect on the certain moments in your life when you were in a condition, place or situation when everything drops away. For some people it is in nature, at a certain place, with their children or a lover, or in a certain situation where they truly feel and tap into their true essence. Each one of us have had a moment where we can truly relax and our true essence can come out. It may come out as love, gratitude, appreciation, joy, happiness, lightness or ease. Think of a moment when you feel most yourself, when your truest self came forward; reflect on what came out of you when your real authentic radiated.
I want you to know that your true essence is always there, even when you are in struggle, full of emotion or in difficult situations. Underneath all that angst, the fundamental you is just like the you that comes out in the very best situations. This work we are doing in Inquiry Method is the work to shed everything that is not that, so your true self can naturally come more truly and authentically to the surface.