What happens when we ask instead of tell? Kyle Mercer began exploring this after his first few years of coaching. He noticed resistance in his clients when he would give them advice and yet a powerful shift into openness as he would ask them questions with neutral curiosity.
In this episode, Kyle shares on his signature “Inquiry Method” as well as his wealth of experience and knowledge from 25 years of being a life-coach and now, coaching coaches! Additionally, we talks somatics, “parenting”, healing the ego and the way emotions and memories are stored in our bodies and can be accessed and released through gentle attention and inquiry.
We also give each other a “review” of each others services after swapping sessions! Kyle Mercer teaches his signature Inquiry Method to coaches and is the author of the books “Life at Altitude” and “Stop Parenting”.
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A: Every day there is a forgetting and every moment there is the possibility of remembering. Remembering who you truly are, awakening to your body, to the inner world and experience of being alive. Here is where you find the beauty, the joy. Today, here is where you free your Soma.
Hello and welcome to Free Your Soma, Stories of Somatic Awakening and How to Live from the Inside Out. I have Kyle Mercer here with me today. He's a philosopher, teacher, coach and author of the book's Life at Altitude and Stop Parenting. He is the co-founder of Life Coaching Academy where he teaches his signature style, the inquiry method. Kyle is here to share with us just the wealth of experience that he's had over the last 25 years, coaching people and now coaching coaches and teaching people how to access their bodies in this particular way to find incredible relief from the different emotions and feelings that get stuck there and prevent us from moving forward in our lives. So welcome, Kyle.
K: Hi Amy, great to be here.
A: Thank you for coming. Would you orient our viewers or listeners to a little bit about you and your background and how you got into something like life coaching?
K: Yeah, I've been coaching and teaching for 25 years. So excuse me. I started doing it before it was cool. And I got started. My father was kind of groundbreaking and looking at yourself and personal development long time ago. And so he and I started working together and I learned some of the fundamentals from him and working with him. So I was about 30 years old when I started really diving deep. But coaching wasn't really an accepted medium back then. People thought it was shameful, kind of like therapy, like that's for weak people or people with problems. So it took a while to help people see that it was an important, valuable activity in life. And so that was the starting point, was spending a lot of time teaching people there is OK to get support and help.
A: Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it. It's OK to get support and help. And especially I think in the United States, we have this very independent, especially a lot of men and you've probably worked with a lot of men that have this, I'm super independent. That's what makes me strong. And I think that as a society, there's a gentle gradual move towards community and cooperation is actually what makes us strong. Being able to be open and vulnerable enough to say I need some support is actually a strength. It's not a weakness.
K: Absolutely. And you and I both do that. I mean, the fact that you're in this investigation and talking to all these people is just really realizing that all the different places that you can reach out to get more bandwidth, to get more experience is just incredibly valuable.
A: Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, that's that's been a turning point for me in my life recently is just branching out and finding resources and people who can support me in the things that I really find important and that I want to do. And that's really what you're doing at the Life Coaching Academy for coaches who are going to be out there helping other people as you're giving them tools that are actually going to work. You know, if you could talk a little bit about how you feel like the coaching industry or maybe your specific styles have shifted over the 25 years, because I'm sure that what you're doing now is quite different than what you were doing when you started.
K: Yeah, you know, there's a real maturity in coaching. And and when I started out, I had a bunch of ideas and really good ideas and thoughts and concepts and all those things. And so I would take my client who was sometimes 20 or 30 years older than me, much more successful than me. And I would try to start telling them things. And what I noticed is when I started telling people things, they would resist or say, I already know that or, you know, push back in some way and that I wasn't getting very far, far with them. So, you know, I was kind of gifted with this experience of of getting humble around it. And in that humility, what I would do is I would just start asking questions. And what I found is when I was truly curious and asking questions, they would go deeper and deeper.
And then when I'd slip up and want to assert something, I would notice that they resist or push back and then it just wasn't effective. So I my clients kind of subconsciously trained me to find the sweet spot. And the sweet spot was really being deeply curious. And as I asked deeper and deeper questions, they would get to deep truths within themselves and deep truths for themselves and get incredible benefit of it. And they'd say, thank you so much. And I was always like, well, I didn't really do anything. I just asked questions. But over the years, I've really refined that kind of innocent curiosity to really an art. It's almost zen like and its simplicity.
A: Yeah. Yeah. That's I remember our session together, you know, you asked a lot of questions and it you said at one point, we're going to get into a rhythm, right? And what you've discovered is that there's a rhythm to somebody's inquiry. There's a rhythm to somebody's consciousness that as they start to access these different layers that you're inviting them into through your openness and through your curiosity, that they just start to access deeper and deeper things. And that that's it's it's part of the the rhythm of our bodies, even, that we have these these layers of knowledge, right?
K: Yeah, that's right. You know, like our mind, I call it majority consciousness. Everything we learned, we believe, we think runs the show a lot of the times. And that's helpful in certain circumstances, but it's really not that helpful when we want to grow or change.
So a lot about this, this method is getting somebody out of their head, out of their thinking, out of their beliefs and into their direct experience. So that rhythm is, you know, you could even say a form of hypnotic trance, you know, where we start to drop in the rhythm and they they can't stay in their head. So then we start to find the things that are happening subconsciously, that subconscious beliefs, emotions, traumas, all those things that are really empowering, you know, the coping mechanisms of the mind.
So, you know, the first thing is just to get somebody out of their head. So if they can drop into a rhythm with me, then I can ask a question that surprises them. Like in your own head, you can't surprise yourself with a question. It's like your system's already preloaded with the answer. So dropping in with a coach or, you know, somebody in inquiry method allows you to get out of your head, like somatically into your body, but also into your beliefs, also into your emotional body. So there's there's much more room to play with to get at the roots of things.
A: Yeah, well, I found it very powerful. It was a lot of fun to discover, you know, the spaces in my body where things were being held and how quickly things shifted, you know, with just my bringing my awareness to it. You know, it's very masterful the way that you led. And, you know, obviously you have a lot of experience. You know, what do you think that, you know, as you're teaching other coaches, what what do you think is some of the things that newer coaches are most challenged by when it comes to working with other people, when they're when it comes to working with people and guiding them through processes? What what comes up for new coaches?
K: You know, I think this is also universally true, but particularly with coaches is there's an idea that I'm a coach and so that I need to give value. I need to show my worth, you know, that when I'm in it to show my value, my worth, my contribution, then I see you as kind of the object that needs to change or shift so I can feel good about myself. Right. So then I start using using force in a way on you. I get frustrated. I'll start calling you resistant or that you're the problem for me looking good or getting a good result. And, you know, that's the hardest thing to untrain because all of us, you know, want to on some level want to show our worth and our value.
So unlearning that process of me being the coach, I'm going to give value rather than handing it over to the client who gets to have this experience where they get to have a discovery within themselves. And I really feel that that's the only thing that ever changes anybody. Like you have to feel it within yourself. It's like a change of heart when I truly see something differently or I get that aha moment or a eureka moment. It's like, oh, that's so true. I've been I've been living in that my whole life. It's so obvious, but I just never noticed it before.
And then they can say, I don't need to do that anymore. But it comes from inside them, their own discovery, not the coach's discovery. And I think it's hard as a coach. I like, oh, it's probably this, you know, I want to I want to ring the bell, you know, but to really give the eureka moment over to the client rather than have the me have the eureka moment. And it's just so seductive and tempting to to jump on my victory rather than the client's victory.
A: Yeah, well, that's a potent way of putting it that. Yeah, it's that it becomes from this place of ego and almost like wanting to achieve for yourself in the moment when actually what you're there to do is support someone else in their process, whatever that looks like. And it may not look like your idea of what success is or what they need. They they're the authority actually on what they need. Yes, you may have an idea, but that's just an idea until they prove it to be real, you know, and often, you know, this makes me think of my own work, like the things that people get from the somatic work that I do, I couldn't come up with that on my own.
That's right. There's so much more unique and individual and creative and the stuff that they tell me they get from our sessions and what's happening in their lives as a result of my work. Like I let I'm at the point where I'm letting my clients inform me of what it is that I'm offering, you know, in these big ways. What might what's the value of what I'm offering? My clients are telling me instead of me telling them, you know, I mean, of course, I share like, you know, what people are saying, you know, and what I have experienced. But at the end of the day, I'm just dropping more and more into letting the process occur and the magic happen and being present for it. Instead of thinking, I've got to like do something about it.
K: That's right. And in that process, you're learning so much more about it. Like just being deeply curious about what your your clients experience is, informs you about this much greater breadth of what it means to be human. Rather than just within my own experience, the curiosity about what it's like to be somebody else is where we really learn the deepest understanding. So, you know, even what I teach has just come out of 25 years of being really curious about what humans are like.
A: Yeah, that's, you know, I do a group program and I'm thinking, do you work mostly in groups with coaches? Like you have a group of people that you're working with at once with this stuff?
K: As far as coaching coaches, but I also, you know, coach, CEOs and individuals and and relationships and, you know, it applies everywhere. But group, like I think of it like when I'm trying to grow within myself, you know, is that it's a pretty closed loop and there's not a lot of room for surprise. And even when I have a victory, there's no kind of affirmation of it. It's kind of insular hidden within myself. And it doesn't have nearly as much power. I mean, sometimes it has incredible power, but like the insights don't have as much power when they're not affirmed, you know, in the experience with somebody else. So doing one on one coaching is more powerful in my experience than just doing it by myself.
There's more space and then getting affirmed by it with another person is just so powerful. Like I'll coach somebody, you know, and they're kind of in the habit of, you know, kind of. Not not fully integrating for me. And they'll say, oh, I thought about that last week. And I'll say, yeah, and you thought about 10,000 other things last week. The power of us having this conversation is not only do we have this thought? But now we're just anchoring it as a thought that we're actually committed to rather than the 10,000 other thoughts we've had. So there's something about that interaction that anchors it and affirms it. You could say some people call it accountability, but it's just like an acknowledgement, almost an agreement between the two of us that we're gonna operate from this new understanding.
And then when you put it in the context of a group, like when I'm working with a group of people, is there's something about being socially acknowledged for your transformation ceremony, right? We have, humans have always created ceremony to make abstractions real. So when I do my work in front of a group of people that I'm seen in my vulnerability, loved, acknowledged, and in that acknowledgement, just anchors that new understanding on an even deeper level. So if it was a one working by myself, it's like 10X working with somebody else, and it's 100X doing your work within a group of people because of the ceremonial affirmation.
A: Yeah, oh, that's a great way of putting it. It's while you were describing, I had this funny analogy come to mind. You know, like when I was in third grade, I had a terrible experience getting scolded by the teacher in front of everybody in the whole room. And it was mortifying, it was so embarrassing. And it would have been way better if she just pulled me aside and scolded me privately, but she didn't do that, right? And it's the inverse, it's the other way around, to be appreciated and to be acknowledged and to be celebrated in front of a group of people.
You know, it has a tremendous value, just like getting scolded in front of the whole class was extremely embarrassing, like mildly a trauma, you know what I mean? Like, you know, so yeah, what you're saying makes sense. Like a lot of us have our inner child and our inner child's waiting to be heard, waiting to be acknowledged, waiting to be appreciated. And so there's so much healing that can go on when we're given that by, you know, you know, it's interesting because you have this book called Stop Parenting and I would love to hear about it. I think there's a difference between the old style, a old world style of parenting versus a new style of parenting that's probably more in alignment with some of the things we're talking about, about affirming people, you know, and not this like crime and punishment kind of stuff. Would you say a little bit about that book, Stop Parenting?
K: Yeah, you know, there's just this idea of parenting, being a good parent, being a bad parent, you know, all the different aspects that we think about being parenting. And one of the things, I think the most important things is to let the child have their own experience to be affirming. It's not so much even empowering. When we try to empower our kids, it's actually just as damaging as criticizing them. So like if you imagine a child bringing you a drawing that they just made and they say, hey, what do you think about my drawing?
Say, oh, that's amazing, you're such a good artist. Well, now that puts all this importance on being a good artist and it, you know, it creates the polarity of, oh, you can also be a bad artist. So, so many of these things, like you're such a good girl for being generous. Now we've started to create the shame around selfishness. It means you're always, I'm only gonna love you, it's conditional love, I love you when you're generous. So the implication is, is when you're selfish, you're not loved. So we start to learn to not take care of ourselves.
So inquiry method applies here, it's just really wanting to understand the child's experience and through understanding it, have them come into greater awareness around themselves. So it's like being curious. So if the child brings a painting and they say, look, I just made a painting and I say, oh, how do you feel about it? Without any judgment, they say, I think it's terrible. And you say, oh, what's terrible about it? Well, I just sat down for two minutes and I scribbled this out and I said, oh, I see. Is there anything you like about it? No, what is it? Oh, it's a fire truck, I see. Yeah, what would you like to do now? I think I'm gonna go spend more time and draw a better picture, great. I remember that particularly like bringing something I'd made to my parents and I thought it was terrible and they just praise and praise and praise and I say, either they're lying to me or they have terrible taste, this is awful. So it's like this real quality of being authentic and using inquiry just to be really curious about their experience. It has so many implications, but the other side of that is so many people are trying to be a good parent that they're not authentic with their kids.
And so the most important thing for me about parenting is to be our authentic self. If you're a real jerk, be a jerk. Like that doesn't necessarily hurt the children what really hurts is inauthenticity. It creates a separation between our somatic experience, emotional experience and our mind. So I was told by my father how much he loved me, but I never felt loved. So I had to choose between what I was told by my authority figure and what I felt in my body and it created real divide between how I experienced the world and what I thought. And it's taken a lot to feel that experience, to move through.
A: Yeah, cause there feels like a certain level of incongruity and a little bit of deceit and it makes you start questioning everything really. So you start questioning what is really real and whether anybody's ever telling you anything that's true and all that stuff when you have that kind of experience, especially from a parent at a young age where they're saying one thing and but they're doing another.
K: That's right. So, you know, and that's what starts to create this discordance. We start to divide up parts of ourselves and our whole culture is so brain focused that we even when we think of ourselves, most of us think about our thoughts, about what we're thinking. And there's this whole discovery that we're, in fact, not our thinking. The thinking in the same way our body is a tool, our mind is a tool, but none of those things are actually the source of who we really are.
A: Yes, you know, in my somatic movement work, which you got to experience some of, when we start to like let go of the tensions that have been building up, what people often come back to you is this feeling of like, oh, this is who I am. All of that stress that I was holding in my body was me, this is who I am. They start kind of coming back to this. And it's similar in your work too, right? Where people are taking off the feelings and the struggles that they've been holding. And when they release that stuff, then they're coming back to who they are. And it's not all those thoughts they were having or all those emotions they were feeling who they are as something else. And that they have more access to that when they're not flooded with all of this other stuff.
K: Yeah, really, you know, like in my work, I address the physical body, the emotional body, and the mental body. And I see those as like the avatar for our consciousness. You know, that this is a vehicle that allows our consciousness to have this experience of life. And I really feel like doing the work, you know, like your work getting the body healed or in alignment, it kind of makes the body invisible. Like the body becomes visible in it, most visible in its trauma, right? And if you have a car that's broken, it just doesn't take you places as well.
And it's the same thing as the body. So the more we can heal the body, the less visible it becomes and the more space for our soul to come into. And it's the same thing with our emotional body. It's not that we're trying to get rid of emotions, but if we heal the emotional body, the emotions happen in just the way they're supposed to, and it becomes much less visible. And this is also true with the mind, our thoughts, our ego and our identity. A lot of people talking about not having an ego or getting rid of the ego. And I really see it much more as healing the ego so that it's invisible. So then, you know, our mind, body, emotional body are just really a vehicle that we've made all this space for our consciousness to come into.
I was, Osho said, you know, we're not entitled to a soul, but if we're willing to do the work to make a space for a soul to come into. So that's really what I see all this work is doing. The more we do this work to heal, you know, the different aspects of this avatar, the more room there is for our soul to come into.
A: Yes, yes. And when we have traumas, or when we have, you know, really intense experiences, it's there's this concept in shamanism about soul retrieval, where a shaman will go into, and it's, you know, it's conceptual in a way like they will grow and go into another realm of this reality. And they will go to find a piece of someone's soul that has left and they will bring it back to their body. You know, and kind of speaking of this is, you know, I don't know, like a, like a story in the form of a story. It's like we have these experiences and our soul gets fragmented, right?
Because of it was not, it was not safe. It was not okay to be in this body that had this level of illness or disease or pain or, you know, or fear and super potent strong emotions that, you know, we shock us and we move away from them. And so part of us got fragmented and there's a lot of ways to bring that back in to actually make our bodies and hospitable and comfortable place for our soul to actually come back together and be part of us again. And that's huge because that's what a lot of people feel like something's missing in their lives.
They don't feel passionate. They don't know what they're here to do. All of those kind of subtle, you know, or not so subtle experience that they're having. It kind of, you know, it blends into their daily lives where they just kind of feel like, you know, they're not really sure what the point of all this is. And they're sort of down and, you know, complacent or a little depressed or something. You know, that to me is a sign that like a piece of me is out there somewhere and I need to call it back home. Right?
K: Yes. Yeah. And then the work is to make room for it to come back in, right? You know, so.
A: Yeah, that's, that's, there's a lot of ways to do that. And I really, you know, maybe we can jump now into kind of giving each other our notes because I've had time to kind of the experience that I had with you. And, you know, what I found so fascinating was just that there was a rhythm that we got into. And I feel like we got into it pretty quickly. Like I dropped in, my eyes were closed, my, my, you know, you were asking me where I was feeling sensations. And as long as I didn't think about it too much, I had the answer like pretty much agree with me. You know, I felt in and, you know, then I could describe it. And it felt really safe to tell you what I felt, like what was the description of this feeling because I didn't think that anything that I was gonna say would be argued with or that would be wrong.
It felt like a very open place for me to just say what the first thing that came into my mind was without there being any kind of judgment. And I think it's that, that sense of curiosity and that openness that you've cultivated in yourself and that you're really good at holding. So that was really, really helpful for me to just kind of go with what was showing up. And going with what's showing up, it's amazing how fast I kind of moved from thing to thing. I didn't seem to get like overly stuck in a certain feeling or certain memory. And I don't know how much like that's like other people's sessions, but that's how it was for me. I felt like we flowed really nicely from thing to thing. And, you know, the experience I had afterwards was, I felt like in this space of being kind of an inspiration and a trance that you took me into and being so connected to these different areas in my body where I was holding these patterns of belief. I remember you finding these words, or maybe I said them, I probably said them and you kept reflecting them back to me about great purpose.
Yes. Yeah, those were the words. And you like, it was like I got like seeds planted in my unconscious mind in my body. I got these seeds planted of grace and purpose. You know, and for a few days afterwards, I was when I would start to have a feeling in my body and a sensation of like some fear or some frustration or something that was showing up, it was like there was almost this like little light that I said grace and purpose. purpose, Grayson purpose, you know? So, it was an element that was like a little bit like hypnosis almost, where you kind of planted a seed and that's probably that trance that you were talking about putting people into.
K: Yeah, I mean, hypnosis is just opening up, you know, the theta brain wave. And you know, one of the things about the parenting thing is in the first six to seven years of life, we're in a theta state, which is a hypnagogic trance, meaning we are open to every suggestion. And that's why those first years of life are so important, because we don't really have the defenses, you know, to edit what people say. So everything, it's like being under hypnosis those first years of our life.
So everything we hear comes in, all the reflections come in. So that's why a lot of work happens in those early years of life. And you're right. I mean, that dropping in the context of safety, the rhythm, all that is essentially hypnosis, meaning we're accessing your subconscious. We're bypassing, you know, the mental constraints into, you know, a deeper aspect of self, which is the subconscious self. And that's where real change happens. You know, just changing our thoughts and ideas, surface ideas don't really help much. I don't know. I mean, at mean, for me, I've got all these thoughts, you know, but if I could do everything I think I would be totally enlightened. So we have to get to a different part to make the change. Otherwise, it just, I call reading philosophy books just more ammo to beat myself up with. So this deeper work is where it really happens.
A: I couldn't agree more. I mean, I tried for many years, you know, I think that some of that stuff has its place, but you have to get to your body first. And then once you have your body on board, when your body is actually cooperating with you and like on board to do all these things, then those affirmations that you say in the mirror might actually plant seeds and do something. But if you are bypassing your body and you're not really experiencing it and you're kind of numb to it, right, or it's such a painful uncomfortable place that all you're focused on is fixing it, right, in some way.
Your body is a project or like a thing that you're trying to improve constantly, right. Some people get caught up in that too. I was for a while for sure. You know, then it's not like you're in, it's not like you and your body are friends doing this thing together. It's like you're almost in competition with your body, right. And so then how are you going to plant those seeds? How are you going to get yourself into that relaxed, call, pure state where these kinds of huge shifts in consciousness are going to take place? You know, you can read all the books you want. You can say all the words in the mirror that you want. And if it's not actually entering you, then what?
K: Yeah. And, you know, my work also, like, so first thing is the physical body that really has to be established as healthy to do any of the other things. It's the baseline. It's the foundation. And then the next thing is the emotional body, the traumas, the pains like we did somatically. And the more you clear that up, it then becomes the mind. So inquiry method also works with thoughts, beliefs, concepts, self-image, shame, drive. So there's a whole another level to the work to then clean up the mind. So that is really an alignment. And the more we do that, just the more space there is to be that authentic self. And that's the same like with your grace and purpose, you know, like that. Then you say, oh, I see that's who I am. And I'm making more and more space to express that into the world. And, you know, so that that's the work is that we just keep cleaning up the avatar, you know, so that more of who we really are can be expressed through it. Right.
A: That I am grace and purpose, not all these other worries and labels and judgments and, you know, fears that I have. Those things aren't me. I might be experiencing them, but who I am is actually at the true nature of it. Grace and purpose in my being. Yeah. That's right. Reorienting to that, like, as all the other stuff swim around me in this group of consciousness that we're all in. Exactly.
K: Yeah, you know, I've really been reflecting on our session and, you know, the thing that's really been interesting to me in standing out, because I, you know, I'm, I'm into fitness and yoga and all those things. And, and it was really struck by the difference in how we, I don't know, I don't know if I'm saying it right, but change the tissues, change the holding in our muscles, because like yoga, you know, there's a lot about stretching and, you know, like the tightness in my body. It's like, oh, stretch it. And, and it's really interesting.
This, this idea of the gentleness, which is similar to my work is this, this gent, gentleness can work. And then it's about a slight contraction and then a relaxation. And it just has such parallels to, you know, the work I do, you know, emotionally, somatically is like, we're just bringing attention to the part that hurts. And then really we're paying attention to it, noticing it, and then relaxing it. So I, you know, ever since our session, I've just been playing with this is bringing in attention to, you know, even, not even just my muscles, but an idea or a concept, you know, I've been applying it to a lot of things is bringing attention to it and then just gently letting it relax and retraining for relaxation.
And that's really, you know, I don't know, I could be wrong, but I, it seems like kind of the baseline of this is bringing attention to the holding in the body and then giving it the message that it's all right to relax. It's all right to go into your natural form rather than trying, trying to hold on to something like it's been told to do, you know, we're giving it a new instruction to relax. So, and I just, you know, it's so poetic and, and I think like my work so simple, it's kind of counterintuitive in a way, at least in the mental space, but it's, it's so intuitive in how the body works. So it's like this deeper intuition. It's gentle. It's, it's zen like in its simplicity and, you know, really at the root of, of how we want to retrain our bodies and minds to work. Yeah.
A: Well, in these micro movements that you were doing sometimes where they were just really tiny little movements, you know, when you're doing that, you're actually, you know, if your muscles have been in some kind of contraction and you do this tiny movement, which you probably experienced, even though you're doing a tiny movement, you can feel like a bunch of muscles working, right? And you let go. And then, and then not to me as like, we are looking at how much effort you've been using just for every tiny little thing.
And what actually inefficient that is when it comes to our energy to be, you know, kind of using a cleaver for the job of a butter knife, you know, and what I like to introduce with my clients is this idea of effortlessness, you know. So when they're doing whatever it is they're doing, they're using just the right amount of effort. They're not overdoing it. They're not using, you know, their whole body to reach up and grab a cup out of the cupboard. They're just using the muscles that need to be, you know, engaged for that moment, and then they're releasing them. So again, kind of what you just said, like engaging it, looking at it, sensing it, being with it, and then letting it go and not getting stuck in that contractive pattern.
K: Yeah. And then just, I think once you have that in your muscles, all the other places you can apply it in your life, because like we have such a cultural idea that it has to be hard to be good. It has to be difficult. You have to commit a hundred percent, you know, you have to give everything. And, and, you know, I think we're finding it's reflected in our bodies, but just in so many places in our lives that just gentle, present, easy, flowing, just the right amount of energy isn't enough. And, and so I just love, you know, not only the physical practice that you're doing, but also the metaphor of it or kind of the mental retraining around it. I think it's just beautiful, elegant, graceful and purposeful.
A: Yeah, I'd love that those words showed up for me. It was, they feel very, yeah, very encouraging, almost kind of divinely guided at this point, you know, and the, the way that people are holding, they don't, they're it's invisible to them. I think we also kind of talked about this, you know, our stress or pain is kind of invisible to us until we start having quote unquote problems. We start having pain or we start having anxiety or we start feeling depressed, you know, but it's going on all the time. This like accumulation of different things that we're going through and it's accumulating and accumulating over the course of our lives.
And if we're not doing things to regularly release it or empty it out, right? And that's a big part, I think, of the benefit of being coached by somebody is that you have an opportunity to kind of let out the stuff you've been holding, whether, you know, like with me, it's the muscular tension that you've been accumulating. That's right. You, you know, there's a body element to it, but a lot of it, I felt like with you, it's very emotional work and shifting these deep beliefs that are not mental, they're physical, right?
K: And life is so, so generous in its ability to point out the places where we're contracted or where we're holding or where we have a wrong belief. So, you know, like after a session, my clients, I'll say, how do you feel? I feel great. Like I feel just ready for everything. And I say, what I really want you to do is after the session, just watch and see if you can catch the moment that you lose that. Cause whatever happens in that moment when you lose it is the entry point for following the thread down to another thing.
And it can be the smallest thing, like just, you know, getting triggered by an angry grocery clerk, you know, that seems like a minor, minor thing that we would just shove aside, but that's, it can be an entry into our deepest pain and hurt because life is, is always going to trigger these little things that we're holding and, and let us know that we're still holding something. So as we're going along, and then we just keep getting triggered and triggered and build up until, but if, if we can start to notice when we're triggered and, you know, get coached or get supported in following the thread down, we can take out a big thing that gets triggered many times during the week, you know, that keeps building things up. So we just keep following those threads every time we get triggered down to the root of it and letting go and things just get clear and clear.
A: That's amazing to have that perspective on it. Cause it really speaks to the, your, you know, our bodies, my body being, it's trying to alert me to something that's actually trying to help me. It's trying to help me heal and help me recover and help me like let go of this stuff that would otherwise fester and maybe, you know, lead to disease or lead to some kind of, you know, blow up or catastrophe, you know, and so much we think like how inconvenient it is to be triggered or how inconvenient it is to be emotional, convenient it is to have muscle pain and tension in our bodies. But it's actually just our bodies communicating with us and they're actually trying to help us. There's great intelligence behind all this discomfort.
K: Yeah, sometimes I think about it as a alarm clock, you know, the alarm clock goes out and you hit the snooze button and it keeps bugging you bugging you and you hit the snooze button over and over again until you finally decide to deal with the situation. So, you know, and physically, you know, I mean, the alarm gets louder and louder each time it goes off. So at first it's just a little discomfort. The next thing is, you know, it builds up to a herniated disc or it builds up to cancer. So if we can start listening to the alarm when it first goes off, it's the same with our emotional triggers, you know, it starts in our relationship.
And, you know, we just, you know, we're about to get married and a little alarm goes off and we don't address it. We just plow on ahead and then we get married. And I work with people 30 years later where their whole relationship was tainted by that thing that happened the day before they got married. You know, because we didn't address that before we made this agreement and got together. So, you know, it's the same thing in a business, you know, that this thing keeps winding out. So if we can really put our attention when the trigger comes up, get to the bottom of it, resolve it, we don't have to, you know, live with the consequences 20 or 30 years down the road. Yeah.
A: Oh man, you know, two really great things came up in me while you were talking about that. One is that for both of our work, for the level of like coaching and I guess support and transformation that both you and I are after for people, it requires people to start taking responsibility for the discomfort and the pain and the difficulty that they're having in their own bodies. And I think that really reflects this idea of the inquiry method where you're not over there being daddy and telling them what the answer is. You're actually inviting them to experience it in their bodies, you know, and like I will, I've been thinking about this more and more with, you know, who am I selling my work to?
Who is going to sign up to work with me to really make this big transformation in their bodies? It's someone who's like recognizing that they're ready to, ready to step into greater responsibility for their body so that they can have more of the life, you know, for longer that they want to have. They can, you know, you know, a lot of the clients will be like kind of at that turning point where they're like, you know, into their 40s and 50s, they're starting to really feel that muscular accumulation. They have multiple injuries, right? And maybe they know there are certain things that they're doing that might not be helping their bodies, right?
But the thing that needs to shift in them in order to be able to say yes to working with me is to say, I'm ready to shift this and take responsibility for how I may have created this and that I'm the one who's going to be able to solve it because I'm not there to tell them what to do.
K: That's right. It's much easier when the alarm clock gets, or the alarm gets loud. Isn't it? I'm really hurting. You know, most of my clients finally make the leap to sign up when something's really not working in their life. And that's great too. I mean, we can have huge transformation, but there's also this quality of maintenance and just giving attention, you know, on a regular basis to these things. Yes.
A: Oh, that's the other thing that came up is that, you know, we do this in my work where what I actually want all my clients to get to the point, and this is maybe similar for you, like we want them to get to the point where they're taking care of themselves in these little ways that they've learned through the experience they're having with us. You know, so like one of my clients, he does these little movements. He's learned to do it. His nervous system knows how to do this. And so anytime that he's like out in his garden, like bending over and he starts to feel that little warning in his back, right? It's not actual pain yet. It's just a little ache, right?
He will do a little arch and slowly release it and turn it off. Festers and turns into anything, you know, and that when you're talking about maintenance, when you're talking about addressing these triggers and addressing these issues before they start turning into something, right? And that takes a lot of awareness and some training. You know, we don't just figure out how to do that overnight, but it's so, so incredibly powerful when we were able to do that. Yeah.
K: And there's another aspect. I mean, we kind of touched on it as this idea of community. So like I have this weekly group call, I call membership 2.0, because it's this. I did it, you know, before COVID and through COVID. And it was just a group of people that are interested in this work and we come together and, you know, maybe one or two people, you know, out of the group will do their work while we're talking. But everybody gets the benefit of seeing somebody else go through their work. And then we have this weekly reminder about the kind of worldview that we have, like who we surround ourselves with profoundly affects our worldview. And, you know, this is why people go to church every week is like, Oh, that's the worldview I want to have whatever group you choose is affirming your worldview and how you see it and how you process it.
So, you know, I, you know, like I think your, your group event is really powerful. Like on a weekly basis to affirm that this is my practice. For many years, I was in a yoga and, and philosophical yoga group and we would meet a couple of times a week, affirmed meditation, firm to movement practice, and it affirmed a worldview that really stabilizes us. So as you're picking, you know, who you want to be around, you should, you know, whatever philosophy or approach to life surrounding yourself with other people that have that life view is just incredibly valuable. So, you know, yoga class or, you know, and the somatic group is, you know, if this feels really meaningful to you, there's nothing more powerful you can do than surround yourself with other people that see it the same way. Just how we're built as human beings is to orient socially.
A: Yeah, that's a great macro view of kind of seeing how this is a, you know, collective experience. It's always really a collective experience. We're not alone and we don't really develop or do anything in our lives on our own, despite this, you know, mentality of independence that we kind of imagine that we have.
K: Yes. It's very illusory.
A: I love that idea. You know, I'm actually coming up with a membership right now for somatics that's, that's going to also make it more accessible for people who aren't quite ready to do the program, you know, but it's kind of rough because I got to figure out how to make the timing work for everybody, you know.
K: That's always a challenge. Yeah, living in Bali, you know, I've got this calendar to see what time it is everywhere in the world, but I can't be everywhere in the world. Yeah. Yeah.
A: Well, this is amazing. I think what you're up to is really phenomenal and I'm so glad that we connected to, you know, talk more about this. And would you kind of tell people if they want to know more about the inquiry method, if they're interested in learning this, where can they go and what kind of offerings do you have throughout the year?
K: Oh, great. So lifecoachingacademy.com is my training program. It's a six month program to take new and existing coaches. I teach the inquiry method part and my business partner is my business coach for coaching. So he helped somebody build a successful coaching practice. So it's over six months, you know, really developing somebody into a masterful coach, but also a successful business person. So that's what that's about.
A: Yeah, that's important. Sorry, go ahead. I was just going to say, I love that. I love that you actually have a business coach teaching people how to do business because sometimes we're really good at our modality, but we're not necessarily good at being an entrepreneur.
K: Yeah, we want people to really leave as successful coaches with the, you know, with the tools to be a great coach and a business person. So yeah, we really feel good about the combination. And our students are just so thrilled about, you know, what they're experiencing because it's also such a process of personal development, you know, around their business or financial activities, but also you can't learn inquiry method without, you know, a tremendous amount of personal growth. So it all goes together in one big package.
Yeah. I also have Kyle Mercer.com, which is my, where I have my personal coaching, you know, practice and the things that are offered there, including my weekly membership group, which, you know, people would be invited to here in Bali and in Ula-Latua. I have a weekly group at the SOAR, the space. And, you know, so anybody in Bali is welcome to come on Fridays at noon and we just, we gather and do some work. Life at Altitude is my book on Amazon or Stop Parenting, if you want to learn more about those things.
A: Oh, it was the process of life at Altitude because you kind of told us about Stop Parenting, but I'm curious, what's life at Altitude about?
K: Well, inquiry method is the process by how I coach people and life at Altitude is the framework I call levels of consciousness and the yoga of consciousness. And life at Altitude is where I put down and kind of explain this different view of self that, that goes through the different levels of consciousness, where we put our attention, the freedom to put our attention different places and how to heal at all, at all the different levels of consciousness. So that model has just been so powerful as a way to see self, not as kind of a linear fixed thing, but as almost like a waveform that, that has different levels of consciousness that, that draws into something.
So if I'm in emotional pain, that means my consciousness is being drawn into my emotional body and I'm stuck there. So how do I release that so that I can move up into my mental body and how do I clear up my mental body so I can move up in, into, you know, what I call the want for us or the participating in life without being self conscious. So these levels are each at each higher level, there's just a more beautiful, more meaningful experience of life. That's beautiful.
A: Think of like the metaphor of a mountain. Is that sort of the idea of a mountain? Yeah.
K: A mountain or, you know, a tower. I actually don't think we have to work to be at higher level of consciousness. I think we're naturally buoyant, like a hot air balloon, but like emotional pain is like a sandbag and we can throw out the sand bank. We just naturally raise to higher levels of consciousness. So I don't really see learning more gets me to higher levels of consciousness. It's more like letting go and unlearning. So just throwing out the sandbags.
A: I would agree. That's very much, you know, even though I teach a reeducation method, it's not. It's it's a reeducation measure that I'm reminding your body that it can relax. I'm reminding your body that it's not something new. It's actually just reminding your body that that's that's what it actually is. That's what normal, a normal human body can experience being calm and relaxed and aligned and, you know, supple rather than hard and tight and constricted. Right.
K: You like a cat. I've been watching the cats. That's my greatest ambition is to be able to play around like a cat. Totally relaxed.
A: Yeah. Well, that's, you know, that's the same nervous system function that I teach is that cat stretch or the, you know, the dogs and the cats and the animals. It's part of our functioning, our nervous system functioning. We just haven't been accessing it, you know, and that's part of the big message that I have for humanity really is that how would things shift if we started being more like the cat and the dog? And, you know, what do they do when they, you know, get up after laying down for a while, they do this funny little movement. Right. Right.
The funny little movements that I teach, those are totally what they are, except we do it as human beings on a voluntary conscious level, which is really powerful, you know, because the cats doing it because the cat is natural. But here's one thing I learned recently I found very fascinating is that in the wild, when, you know, animals get injured, or if you ever have a dog or a cat that's gone through some kind of trauma or high continuous ongoing stress, they stop doing that. They stop doing funny little movements to re-adjust.
A lot of human beings are caught up in so much stress, you know, and trying to relieve, you know, that they forget to take care of their bodies and they haven't learned, they haven't learned how to take care of their bodies, you know, but babies, babies do these kinds of movements in the womb, you know, until they get traumatized. And maybe some babies get traumatized in the womb and they don't do it. Absolutely. Come out already, you know, on that path of constriction, you know. Yeah. Yeah.
K: I love that. Yeah. We're both in the business of losing the contraction, the constriction. Yes.
A: Well, it's been an absolute joy to talk with you and share some really potent ideas. You know, I can definitely see like, you know, you have a lot of knowledge and experience and just a tremendous amount of heart that you're sharing with people, you know, and such is a wonderful thing that you stuck with it and you didn't give up on coaching all those years ago when it was considered like a weird thing to do.
K: Thank you so much. Yeah, this has been really, really beautiful. Yeah.
A: Thank you. And, you know, you can check the show notes for the, you know, website and the links and catch up with Kyle there at his Academy. If you're interested, if you're a coach that's watching and you want to know about more about this method, I recommend it. It was, it was a lot of fascinating, you know, in-depth work for just an hour. I was, I was pretty amazed.
K: Thank you so much, my dear.
A: You're welcome. Thankyou.