The Blog

Agent of Change: Kyle Cease On Being In The Moment And Boldly Evolving Out Loud

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


Picking spiritual lint out of your navel is so 2012. Welcome to the latter half of the decade, a time rife with political curiosities and, to be sure, provocative personal transformations. Or, perhaps just realizing how damn brilliant you already are.

Cue: Kyle Cease. (And just in the knick of time.)

The energetic, transformative speaker, whose become a hit with his personal shares on YouTube and packed theaters with his fiery "Evolving Out Loud" events, is one of the more innovative trailblazers to emerge from a bloated "Self-Help" era filled with too many of the same servings. Why? Plenty of reasons--watch him and you'll see--but here's the big one: The guy marries comedy with personal transformation. The result tends to leave his audiences able to tap into something powerful within themselves, and perhaps recall their own genius.

It's an art to be able to hold a space for people to realize such things and Cease has become a remarkable ringmaster. Humor, of course, plays a big part. His road to becoming a transformative speaker was paved with a lot of laughs actually. Cease headlined as a top comedian for 25 years and sired a couple of No. 1 Comedy Central specials. By 2009, he nabbed a No. 1 ranking on the cable net's fiery "Standup Showdown." Television and movie appearances happened--more than 100 in fact, including "10 Things I Hate About You," "Not Another Teen Movie," and memorable turns on "The Jimmy Kimmel Show," "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Chelsea Lately," and other portals. A book chronicling various parts of his journey is on the horizon.

Think of him as an embraceable if not hip equal alongside the likes of Eckhart Tolle, Jim Carrey, Michael Beckwith and Tony Robbins, all of whom he's shared personal connections. Here, in my ongoing series spotlighting Agents of Change, Cease speaks from the heart about, well, matters of the heart ... and the rich, juicy possibilities that arrive "in the moment."

Greg Archer: I had this list of questions for you, however I thought I would take a cue from you and just "be in the moment" with you.

Kyle Cease: It's so funny. That's how we do everything else--in the moment.

Right. So here we are. So let me ask you this: What are you loving most about what you are doing with your work and your life?

One thing that has been amazing is knowing that--I don't know if you want to call it "you're never there" or "you're always there"--but being in a constant state of discovery; that we are on this scavenger hunt of what possibilities really could be happening here, and what's trying to unfold. And as time goes on, seeing that everything really is perfect. It sounds weird to say but you really can see the purpose behind almost everything, and see the world as a whole. It's been really really fun to be in constant state of discovery, and the revelation of "I don't know" and I love that ...

That feels true to me. So ... "being in the moment," which you speak about in front of people quite a bit. Can you talk about that? That can be tricky for some people, no?

We never really could be in the moment as much as we can understanding that we "are the moment." The moment isn't a place you get into. There are people who say, "You know, I got to get into the moment, more." Or say, "I gotta love myself more." Well, you just made the moment the future and just made love something that you need to achieve versus understanding you are love, and you are the moment. Everything that feels like past or future, is just a movie in our heads. We just forget that we are watching the movie in our heads.

An analogy I used the other day was that if an actor was playing a character, sometimes they can get lost in the character. And if that actor was playing that character since they were 3 years old, then that actor would think that they are that character. Gene Wilder would play Willie Wonka but could you imagine, if Gene Wilder at some point believed that Willy Wonka's problems were the same as his to take care of; that he had to worry about the Oompa Loompas? And we're like, "What are you talking about? You're Gene Wilder." And then when he hears that, Gene Wilder goes, "You know, I have to start practicing becoming Gene Wilder." And it's like, "Wait. You are Gene Wilder. So there is nowhere to get to." And he's like, "No. For 200 days, everyday, I am going to find Gene Wilder." And it's like, "You are that."


We are often caught in a simulator that is run in our heads. One thing I will say, is that people can forget this stuff a lot. But the things I am saying to you makes sense, right?

They do.

There's a part of you that intellectually understands some of the things. That would be the same as a 500-pound person, knowing that one part of themselves could be 200 pounds if they wanted to. And the reason I give that example, is that once you understand that intellectually, you still have to go to the "gym" and do the inner work to make yourself experientially know what you know intellectually.

That's right.

You know, every day, I sit and I close my eyes for two hours a day. And it's like going to the gym for my soul. You still have to work out. You still have to eat right. You still have to do the things that match what you know. I think one of the reasons why we feel a lot of pain is because we know something on some intuitive level and don't do the work to match what we are aware of; and that gap between what we are aware we could be, and what we are, is really where our pain is.

I love the way that sounds.

What our actions are--do they match what our awareness is, or are we aware of something and all day, still doing the actions that support the fear-based child "you" and don't support what your soul is saying. And so, part of the reason that is now a more embodied reality for me is because choosing to wake up and sit in silence, and sit there for a couple of hours every morning ... and eventually, you being to see that this is some sort of matrix, or lie, because the thoughts keep changing, and the beliefs keep changing. And I am still there through all of it.

We're still there.

When I feel a belief change, and I still exist on both sides -- having the belief; and having the old belief-- I start to prove to myself experientially that I am not my beliefs. I am the space that is watching this giant movie.

That takes practice--doing that, though.

Yes. But I also think there's a belief that we have inside of us that when something happens, I will be happy. And everyone reading this ... we all have inside of us this thing that goes: "When something happens ..." I mean, right now you are thinking, "If I can just get into or out of that relationship; if I could just get that promotion, if I just stop having that addiction; if I just lose weight--whatever--I will be happy." And, even if I get in the moment more, "I will be happy."

Yeah. I've been doing that all day.

After being able to achieve many of the things I thought I wanted ... if that is my source of happiness, I can't lose it, because that is my happiness. I would become more addicted. You keep thinking, "What's next, what's next?" You book a movie role, "and then I will be happy." And then you think, "if it does well, I will be happy." And your always thinking: "When that will happen, I will be happy." And it's always later. I think through a lot of different things, that this thing I was chasing, was a lie. It's allusive. The real thing is: When I am happy, things will happen. Connecting to all of my emotions, accepting all of my frustrations, and loving all of that. When I accept all of me, things will happen.

Makes sense to me, and then I think, well ... I love where my mind goes, which is, "Well, Greg, you should go work on that now. It's so funny.

You know, Byron Katie would say, "Is that true?"

Love Byron Katie.

She asks that question: Is that true? Are you sure you have something to fix? It's a crazy irony that the part you that you want to fix is going to be "fixed" by the same part of you. The ego can't get rid of itself. The only way to truly transition, is by accepting all the parts--and our power. Our power is not based on how much we can avoid our darkness and just be this ball of light/Stepford wife/husband type of person. The more of our darkness that we accept, truly accept, and allow to be there, the more light we are going to be allowed to shine.

So, basically, accept the messy parts.

Yeah. That to me is really the key. If you are dealing with an anxiety attack and your solution is to go achieve more, you still have this anxiety and the root cause is not looked at; and the root cause is you're not loved or you're trying to get love from an outside source. A lot of times, anxiety comes from doing what you think you should do, because you were programmed that way during your childhood, versus what your soul wants to do. Our mind is like the child "us," doing everything it can to not be abandoned ... You know, I like that part of you that just said, "Oh I got fix that. What would your heart say?

Probably, oh Greg, no. There's nothing to fix.

Right. That is because your heart is run by something that isn't you. You don't have control over your heart like you do your mind. Something is beating your heart. I don't know what it is ... but I love not knowing. But there is something that you release control over on your heart. Like, you don't release control over your mind. The child in you is trying to control your mind, but the thing that is beating your heart, that is you in this moment. That's the truth of what you are. The longer you do this work, the more you start to identify as the heart.

What do you think is one of the bigger misconceptions people have about creating change in their lives?

Well, I think that what you are already is naturally more positive. Like when people say, I gotta do that and be more positive. That implies that I have to only sit under a tree and can't watch anything with darkness in it. I can just only be this person--in the positive. What you are underneath all of this stuff is so infinite and so powerful. Instead of trying to be the most positive caterpillar in the world, you can embrace your butterfly-ness... And what does a caterpillar need to do to become a butterfly?

Nothing. Right?

If we actually just decided, you know, I am going to take a month, and sit on my couch with my eyes closed, ego kicks in and says, "Oh my, I would never get anything done." But you would get more done in that month than you would in your entire life. Because you would start shedding all the things that support your unworthy story. When you listen to your heart, and you do the things your heart says, you end up fulfilled, you don't need 50 cars, or ... it's ok if you do, but you don't need it as some source of identity. You realize that what you are is infinite growth and possibility. And the byproduct is ... I always think of money because that is the thing that holds everyone back. We've learned to worship money more than our soul. In a weird way, we don't understand that our soul brings in more money anyway, and you can circulate it. You can put it back into your creativity. You can give it to charity, you can circulate it. And you realize you are the apple tree and not the apples. It's weird how much stuff is trying to happen...

You talk a lot about identifying as one's "past story."

If you think who you are is your past story, then you will sabotage opportunities that are coming in now that are bigger than the story that you think you are. If you think you are somebody who makes $40,000 a year and somebody gives you a million dollars, that is death to who you think you are. You might sabotage it. When you start to love that story about yourself and you accept it, it leaves. The only thing that keeps that story alive is your resistance to it. So the more you accept that story, the more you become this moment, and if you are just this moment, then you, me, Obama, Oprah, Arianna, and a homeless person are all the same infinite potential. We are all hearts and lungs and just this space. And in this space, you can create and receive on a much higher level. And you won't sabotage your greatness. That's what we are doing. We are spending our lives sabotaging our greatness.

How about a little word association?


Eckhart Tolle.

The word that came up was "truth."

Jim Carrey.


Michael Beckwith.


Tony Robbins.


Deepak Chopra

It's silly but the word that came up is ... "silly."


Love. Just amazing.



Donald Trump. Sorry. Had to ask.

OK. I feel like this needs a bigger explanation, but the word I got for him was "mirror."

Yeah. I get it. And I agree.

A mirror for our world. At first, I thought, if Bernie gets in office, things are going to move the fastest. And then it really dawned on me, how could we have full progressive country, if half the country is still buried in their old issues? And we don't want to keep pulling forward and ignore the pain that half the country is dealing with. Donald Trump is this giant megaphone mirror screaming things that half the country--and in all of us in some ways--feels to some degree. All of us are a little narcissistic. All of us could be more giving. Whether we are obsessed with Donald Trump or despise Donald Trump, it's bringing up a things within us that we don't like about ourselves. Or, we have been repressing in ourselves. People are either in a repressed state and moving up to anger, Or whatever. We are only ever passionate about--whether it is love or hate--things that remind us of ourselves.

So Trump--the mirror.

So, the universe has moved far faster than I would have thought because Donald Trump has helped people see their ridiculousness while simultaneously calling out the corruption of Hillary, while Bernie Sanders is filling stadiums and giving people permission to see that they can lead themselves. And Obama has set the high bar, and they can see the contrast--to Trump. If trump was following Bush, it might not be so obvious, But Trump following Obama, people are like, "Wow. Look at that! We are clearing out everything!" We are going to clear out our anxieties, our racism, our fear ..." That revelation came to be so big.

Wild. OK. One last question for you. What's the most interesting thing you have learned about yourself lately?

That there is nothing wrong. Everything is OK. Because every "problem" means you are about to meet yourself even deeper, because that problem can only effect a false identity So, every time I have a "problem," I go: "What part of me is trying to come through?" I actually learned that from Michael Beckwith. So every problem is only triggering a character I am playing and never the real me. So I get to learn what is the real me on the other side of that.

Learn more about Kyle Cease here. Soak up the 411 on his "Evolving Out Loud" event (Aug 20 and 21) here or dive into the video below. (Type in the code "grandma" for discounted tickets.)