The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

Super Quick Note to My Email Subscribers

Hello!

I am also an email subscriber to this blog, and I was surprised today to find that I had a new post in my in-box, because I haven’t written here in a while.

And then I saw that the post delivered was from last April (2014!). I have seen this happen once before, and I think it’s been the same post.

I just wanted to say that I don’t know why that’s happening, and please pardon me. I’m trying to sort out what makes them randomly appear, but so far, I just don’t know.

My intention is never to bombard you with emails, let alone old news. I’d rather share fresh news!

A happy thing: The world of Doodling is taking off Beautifully.

I have a new YouTube Channel, Doodling with Strangers, and I’d love for you to click and subscribe and watch some of the videos! This helps when I’m making the case for book publication (I’ve written over a year’s worth of doodle prompts and the book is coming next!), among other moves.

I’ve been Doodling with Strangers most days since March, and it’s amazing!

I continue to write the Trust Rest blog, too. With all of the other projects, I’m not writing there every single day, but in Trusting Rest, there’s no “should”. The blog is the perfect place to relax and stay true to my heart’s calling. Trusting Rest has worked out for me extremely well, and I’m super thankful and extremely loyal.

Coming up THIS SUNDAY July 12, I’m giving a FREE On-Line Doodle Party in honor of my Birthday (which is Wednesday, July 8, likely the day you’re seeing this!). All of that info is at this link, and you are most welcome to join us!

Doodling is The Therapy Booth on a whole other – yet similar – (and wonderful) level.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your patience with those random old posts. I’m glad you’re here with me.

Come doodle!

Much love,

carina digital

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Don’t Hesitate! Create!

I’ve been thinking about what messages I want to share, like what would I want my people to hear if this was my last day on earth or I’ve already passed on? I imagine some of this will shift and change, but my top three so far are:

1. Have creative outlets. If you need help and I’m not around anymore, buy my books, learn from Doodle Masters I’ve trained, do The Artist’s Way, do a 30 Day Doodle Challenge with Melissa McClain if she’s still doing them, or just get with some friends or do it on your own. Just learn not to hesitate and instead create.

i'm doodlng carin

2. It’s not for everyone, but I suggest giving Living Inquiries a try. Learn to rest fully in the moment and explore your present experience with some compassionate assistance. Get to know it, and if it clicks, you’ll have an awesome tool that is like nothing else, and its well worth it. It helps both allow thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and also relax them. I don’t suggest attempting to inquire everything away. Just get to know it & use it when things are feeling particularly clogged, stuck, scary or solid.

3. Discover and honor your heart’s unique calling and learn to recognize and listen to your inner guidance system. Writing and doodling and meditation and Artist Dates are just a few ways. Learn the benefits of – yes – being selfish. Trust yourself and know yourself well.

Photo Credit: http://s2.favim.com/orig/30/alone-girl-gras-green-silenc-Favim.com-246245.jpg

Photo Credit: http://s2.favim.com/orig/30/alone-girl-gras-green-silenc-Favim.com-246245.jpg

And as long as I’m around, I can point you in these directions if you need/want assistance. This is your one and only life in this particular form. No one else can express like you or has your unique visions and dreams. Liberate them for the benefit of all!

Contact me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

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April 19 (Teleclass) – Self-Loving through Creativity

rest and create

Click here to listen to an interview on New Paradigm Radio where we talk about
all aspects of Creativity & Self Love!

Find this post easily in the sidebar of this page. Look up and to the right!

~ ~ ~

BACKGROUND

For years I’ve heard that I should love myself. I heard that I couldn’t love others until I did. I heard that all my problems stemmed from a lack of self-love. But the concept felt foreign and intangible, and the love connection failed. And guess what else? I felt worse for not being able to connect. “I don’t love myself? I must be even less worthy of love than I already thought!”

I’m laughing with empathy now as I’m typing this.

Self-love is a precious and all-inclusive experience.

At the heart of this love is the acceptance of all of our states, thoughts, dreams, fears, worries, cravings, loves . . .

and one of the most immediate doorways to this acceptance is creativity.

In this special workshop, we will use a variety of *simple* (no prior experience or skill necessary!) creative exercises to connect with ourselves, exactly as we are, and tap into the natural love of this moment. It is effortless, fun, and unifying, as we recognize our humanity in others as well as in ourselves.

DETAILS

Sunday, April 19, 2015
12 pm – 2 pm Central
On-line (camera and mic required)
Cost: $45
(or gift a friend and save $15 for two/$25 discount for three)

SALE!!!!!
Cost: $20!!!




NOTE: This class is open to therapists, healers, store clerks, dreamers, partners, singles, parents, siblings, artists, executives, plumbers, postal carriers, and humans of all kinds. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE OR SKILL REQUIRED.

This is a hands-on, fun, easy, rich therapeutic experience for all involved.

we love ourselves

TAKEAWAYS

– practical and simple tools to use in everyday life
– activities that translate well to art therapy, journaling, and other mental, emotional and overall health support
– art you make in class
– an increased openness, acceptance and affection for yourself (and others), without having to change a thing

You may also experience a surge in your creative expression.

bluebonnets

That’s me!

A bit about me ~
I’m Carin Channing, LCSW,
Rest and Creativity Encourager at The Therapy Booth,
author of the Trust Rest blog,
facilitator of biweekly REST Room calls,
host of the weekly Doodle Booth,
mother to two homemade sock puppets, director of A Carina Original Puppet Factory and
adorer of myself —
and I can’t wait to create with you!

Contact me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com with questions.

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The Audacity of Rest

letter to carlotta

I’m staying in one of my favorite spots: a beautiful second story garage apartment that’s been as much a home to me as any place in years. It’s not always available (other renters — it’s an Air BnB), but I’m here now, and it’s wonderful. This afternoon I sat on the porch in the trees and wrote a letter to a friend that had long been knocking on my door to come out. In the letter, I wrote about what we did yesterday in Doodle Booth, including the prompt: “What would you like to get away with?” We doodled that with our non-dominant hand.

My picture was of me lying on my back on the beach in the shade on Maui, and I was surrounded by love, wealth, creative expression, and a few other tasty treats. As I sat on the porch writing, leisurely and creatively, this grey and mild Texas winter day, I realized I was doing something that I’d like to get away with, too. Chilling out during the day. Chilling out at all.

I realized the “wanting to get away with it” feeling (soooo subtle, I hadn’t really been present to it!) was like a command not to rest (or relax or enjoy or whatever). It was super sweet and enlightening to see this. It opened up and relaxed upon noticing it, and I began to use the words, “How Dare I” again. It’s no coincidence that earlier today, I found a copy of How Dare You Make a Book that I’d made for a friend but hadn’t had a chance to give him. (Chance now has been had, which is great, too.) I loved feeling into that sense of audacity and how liberating of a lens it is for me.

How dare I make a book? How dare I relax in the middle of the day? How dare I not worry? How dare I give myself over to the loving arms of the Universe and write poems and eat nice clean food and put pajama bottoms back on after sitting on the porch because my legs got cold in my skirt? How dare I do any of these things?

I told a friend about this today and he asked what kind of tone comes through when I hear “How dare you?” He asked if it was funny or confrontational or what? I said it is funny, and it’s also liberating. Because I DID make the book. And I DID make an art show for my birthday. And I DID float out to the porch to write that dreamy letter this afternoon and float back in and write a beautiful poem (that wonders, “How dare I enjoy this simple Heaven? How dare I let this Lover take care of everything, while I write and cook rice and swoon?”).

How dare I lead weekly Doodle Booth calls where I get paid to fall in love?

How dare I write songs and sing about what I feel?

How dare I lean in even more closely to the subtleties of intuition and the MASSIVE endless good love of the Universe? How dare I be so loved???

I don’t know how. And yet I do. And I’m thankful for that. Deeply, deeply thankful.

all right

* * * * *

Follow me on my Trust Rest blog for (mostly) daily musings from the world of rest, intuition, creativity, life, love, authenticity and exploration.

* * * * *

I also host weekly on-line Doodle Booth classes (amazing! Ask me about ’em) and REST Room calls (every other week). Contact me for more info at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

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Experiencing Self-Compassion Directly

“I feel jealous!”

(Try just feeling jealous, then.)

“I feel angry.”

(What happens if you just feel angry?)

“I feel so sad!”

(Go ahead and feel so sad.)

“I am elated!”

(Experience elated directly. Feel it from within!)

“I don’t feel anything.”

(How does that feel? Take a moment to experience it as it is.)

“I feel in love and it scares me.”

(Feel it all. Tell it out loud, too.)

“But I feel so ashamed.”

(What does ashamed feel like? What if you turn right toward it instead of away?)

“Mmmmm, I feel compassion for myself.”

(Rest there, dear heart. Rest there.)

Image source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/importance-of-self-compassion.html

Image source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/importance-of-self-compassion.html

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Trusting Rest

Since May or June this year, I’ve been writing a blog called Trust Rest. I wanted to document and also commit to exploring what is the most trustworthy path: Is it following thoughts, fears, others’ opinions and advice, or is it resting, allowing the mind and body to quiet (without denying any of it either) and seeing how life unfolds? If we sit still long enough, the body, eventually, gets up and goes to the bathroom or the kitchen or the store or for a walk or writes something. At least this is true in my experience so far.

On this blog I’ve been more or less keeping a diary of my experiences, sometimes meandering away from the core question, and coming around again in my time. Sometimes I post poems. When I am most trustful of rest, I am a prolific writer and artist. It is my natural state.

I was inspired yesterday to create a book from what I am studying and what I’ve been practicing. Sharing the good news with myself and everyone else. Sharing the tools I’m using in the exploration. Giving a little good cheer and encouragement (Rest and Creativity Encouragement, as my job title suggests).

I so strongly see that this exploration, trusting rest, cannot be done half-heartedly. That is, there comes a time when the rubber really does have to meet the road. I’m not only simply trusting rest but also really tuning into where my heart is guided and what is inspiring and resonant for me. If there’s anything I can encourage others in, it’s the same thing. What is your specific joy? Are you free to declare it and ask for it and have it in your life?

I experience openness, magic, confidence and delight that I never knew I would. I also see places where I have doubts, fears, old thought patterns. What I’m suggesting is a major shift from how I was raised in this world. Some around me know that this makes total sense and that it is cutting edge. Others will not be able to make sense of me, though they’ll often still feel like there’s something benevolent here, something vital. They might even feel a longing for it, even if they can’t quite name it for themselves.

I have found out again and again too — also under the trusting rest umbrella — that I cannot fit myself into any box or action that doesn’t feel natural in the moment. This doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t have to do things I don’t particularly want to do or that I don’t have to put some effort toward, because even in those times, there’s a rightness to it. I can’t explain it. It’s a feeling in my body, my finely tuned internal compass. And that’s what I’m here to write about. And if I can share and encourage it, then that is really great. It’s wonderful to live from the soul.

I’ve been wanting to come to The Therapy Booth page to share the other blog with you, so here it is:

Trust Rest.

The most recent blog post shares my inspiration for the book about turning to the genius within, unique and wonderful in each of us. The post also contains an opportunity to contribute to the project. “If you feel inspired to support this project, I gratefully and happily accept donations. It’s super helpful not to have to put my energies toward other things and to be able to focus deeply on this — where my focus already is. <3

I have a donation button (“Pay Now”) on the right column of this blog, if you feel something in your heart for this project.

In any case, I hope you’ll follow the Trust Rest blog as well. I have the vision at some point that someone will take my various projects and create a clearing house site that covers all the different things I’m up to (inquiry, art, writing, resting, classes, etc.). But I’m trusting my instinct that I’m not the one to do that particular project just at the moment, though I want to share with you all what I’m up to. I have also been leading guided rest calls every two weeks that are an absolute joy. Email me (thetherapybooth@gmail.com) if you would like a sample recording of a call.

I guess that’s about it for now! I’m happy to be sharing this part of my world here and am really thrilled to be diving even more deeply into my own integrity. Let me know if I can be of use and stay tuned. Love to you all. x

#trustrest

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Love Sign Date

Hello dearest ones!

I am happy to share a bit with you about a magical day I had today.

I woke up this morning with the instinct to take the Love Sign to the mall. I don’t hang out much at the mall, but I knew I wanted to look for a nightgown (I’ve been feeling to treat myself to something lovely and loose and pink, like I wore as a little girl), and I knew that, with temperatures getting up around 102 F this afternoon, I wasn’t going to be holding the sign outside anywhere.

Well, don’t you know, it turned out to be a lovely time.

When I first got to the mall, I spent almost an hour audio Skype-ing with my good friend in England, supporting and encouraging one another. I loved having her “in the mall” with me, thank you Nordstrom wifi. It was a nice bridge, getting me comfortable sitting in my chair and having people smile and wave as they were going by, my hands free (ear buds in) to hold the sign and wave back.

Then, after our call, the interactions started pouring in.

First there was the pimply teenaged boy in a black t-shirt who looked back and earnestly said, “I love you.”

Then, shyly but surely crossing the path of people to come see me, was gentle Mary Beth. She was wearing an orange button down shirt with white stripes and said, “I’m usually not very brave,” but she wanted to come say hi to me. She was amazing and we hugged and connected. She said that she and her husband are going on vacation to France on Wednesday, and she’s really excited. I asked her to think of me when she sees a painting that takes her breath away. Sweet, sweet Mary Beth.

Then came a guy who warmly squeezed my hand and said that he and his people were waiting for me to get off of my call so they could come tell me that they loved me too. We took pictures with his friends.

Then came Angela:

angela

Angela waited patiently to talk with me and then said, “Is there anything you need that we can do for you?” What a wonderful question to be asked! In fact, I did need a pee break, and I asked her to stay with my sign while I ran off to do that. She works for Nordstrom HR and thought maybe I was putting on an event that she could help with. So very cool. Thanks for the pee break!

Then I saw a woman across the way (I was facing an open-sided coffee shop, near the entrance to Nordstrom) see me and jump up and down. I had to go toward her, and upon approach she told me that she’s just been in Austin one month and that she doesn’t really know anybody here. She said the gestures that she’s been seeing around town, like mine, “make a difference.” So great! Welcome!

What else is there to tell? I’ve been working through the beloved Artist’s Way course (for my fourth time), and I’ve been painfully aware at my lack of intentional Artist Dates. Well, no longer. I intended that I’d take one today, and the instincts I got this morning were good! I had a great time at the mall. And although I didn’t end up with a new nightgown (still on the lookout for that one!), I made a new friend named Grace (of course) in the lingerie department, and, on my way out, I found and bought this t-shirt.

don't quit your daydream

Your instincts are good too! Follow ’em.

I love you.

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Following My Bliss & Sharing a Piece of Myself

how dare you

Last spring I had the gumption and guts to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages: make a book. I had been carrying around brown paper bags from grocery stores to use for the pages since December. I was fortunate to have a month’s respite from traveling and moving and allergizing at Austin’s The Writing Barn, which, of course, was a very appropriate place to make a book. And I did.

The first several hand-made copies of the book went out to winners of the How Dare You Make a Raffle contest, and now I get to share the books with the rest of the world. I’m excited!

The reviews are in:

“HOW DARE YOU touch me to the core? Really……Unexpected, weepy, appreciation for your vision and talent, gumption and vulnerability.”

“I love what you wrote, the expression, the realness of experience that touches us in our bones.”

“5 stars! No . . . make that 10 stars!”

“I love everything about it.”

I have a few limited edition copies available for sale. (If you want multiple copies, talk to me.)

Price, including shipping and handling, is $25 ($26.06 with PayPal fees) (outside of US, check with me — may be a few more bucks to mail).

 Buy Now at $26.06





I’m thrilled to be sharing these and love it that this is happening. But be careful if you order one: you may be inspired to make something!

binding book

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Practical Use of Living Inquiries: What is the thing you’re battling (or going for)?

Image from http://www.mrwallpaper.com/woman-flower-petals-dress-wallpaper/

Image from http://www.mrwallpaper.com/woman-flower-petals-dress-wallpaper/

 

I walked what we might all call the spiritual path for many years, starting when I discovered meditation as a way possibly to help me slow down my racing mind and get some sleep. In the early years, I was reading stories of Indian saints and had a hope that I, too, would go to India and have a guru bop me on the head and all would be sparkly and happy and total drooling bliss.

Eventually — and I’m glad to say — that specific desire relaxed (just in time for me to go to India — whew), but as I continued my studies and followed what resonated for me, I continued to carry some ideas that were sticker.

I listened to recordings of teachers and read books and meditated and hoped that I might just reach “the final goal,” as Goenka of the Vipassana world called it.

I found much of what I heard and read to be comforting, relaxing even. I found support in beginning to see that life wasn’t necessarily the way the world I’d grown up in had agreed it was. But there was a new agreement forming, and I didn’t catch it right away.

Amidst the context of restfulness, emptiness, and burgeoning quiet, there was also division, shame, separation, elitism, judgment, fear, etc.

I was hung up on concepts that I didn’t realize I was hung up on: awakening, ego, enlightenment, trust, resistance, even love.

Enter Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries and their utter usefulness. As my friend Deena described them recently, the inquiries are practical. They are not another spiritual aphorism meant to point to something that cannot really be described. They are a simple and direct tool to find out if the bits and pieces that we’re holding to as our touchstones and anchors and heels-dug-in strongholds are actually existing in the way we imagine them to be.

As I’m writing this, I’m imagining folks leaving the page at this point, as looking into these strongholds might not be for everyone. I mean, who am I if I’m not someone trying to overcome my ego, for example? Who am I if there’s not really any such thing as this “mind” that I’ve been fighting to deny all this time?

If you’re still with me, I encourage you to have a look. And believe me, I’m writing from my direct experience. I wouldn’t care about it otherwise, I’m sure, and I certainly wouldn’t be trying to get anyone else to get into it. Though back in the day, I used to throw around words like, “That’s not who you REALLY are,” as if I knew what they meant, as if there was such a thing as who you really are as well as such a thing as who you’re not. I was hypnotized by language that I’d heard before, and I was using it as if I knew what it meant, when actually, I was dividing up my experience and drawing lines of separation between myself and others and even amongst aspects of myself.

I have received much comfort from the restful confidence of teachers and the context that’s created by certain points of view and certain communities. I go for what resonates for me, and I know that it’s not the same for everyone. I wouldn’t want it to be. One of the most fun parts about life is that what I’m uniquely interested in shows up. I wouldn’t want others to follow what resonated for me if it is not what really stirs their hearts. And I would suggest that my own looking with Living Inquiries, along with some other tools that I love and fun bits that beautifully compliment LI, has contributed deeply and practically, to this freedom of being me. But I wasn’t free as long as I thought that I still needed to fight my ego.

I am deeply thankful for the efficient and effective use of inquiry to find out: what am I clinging to as a point of view? What am I holding tightly to that’s actually causing me more pain and suffering, rather than contributing to my freedom?

Take a moment and look for yourself at what may have been unexamined up until this point. Listen to the phrases that you’re convinced are real and serve as anchors in your life.

Are you fighting the ego?

What if you applied a simple and straightforward style of inquiry to find out if the ego exists in the way you’ve been imagining?

Trust me, I’m not here to lay on another concept now called “there’s no ego.” I am inviting you to have a direct look. It goes something like this (and you can insert any concept, and, in fact anything that you can name, into this game):

Look at this word: e g o.

Really look at those letters and tell me, is that the ego you’ve been fighting?

If you get an automatic logical, “Well, of course those letters aren’t it,” look a bit closer. Feel into your body and find out if there’s something there giving you the indication that these letters might not be it, but it might still be there somewhere.

Take some time with that sense in your body. Rest with it and get to know it quietly and intimately.

Now look: is that sensation this things we call “ego”?

Rest and feel into it. Is that sensation somehow announcing itself as “ego”?

Maybe you get a no at this point. So rest a moment, and then we’ll look a little further.

Bring up all the images that come to mind when you think of ego. People you imagine are ego-ful. Yourself in moments when you feel you’re driven by your ego. Certain words that come up that seem to be coming from the ego. What about images of people who seem to have overcome it. Are those ego? Are those whatever you call the lack of ego?

Rest with each of these and take them, one by one, and find out if, inherently, any one of them is actually this demon we’ve been trying to fight and overcome and that we’ve been shaming ourselves that we can’t get beyond. What is it, literally, that we’re trying to get beyond?

You can insert the word “mind” instead of ego. You can insert “enlightenment” in the same way, and look and feel into all of your ideas of what enlightenment is, who has it, who doesn’t, what it means about you that you either do or don’t have it. What about the word “teacher” or “guru”? Have you looked into those?

For me, the context that’s created by teachers can be so incredibly helpful and supportive, but without taking a direct look into the strongholds — that often we don’t even realize are concepts/words/ideas/memories/information we’re parroting from someone else and someone else before him — we can remain stuck in this cycle of separation and division within ourselves.

I tried to fight the ego for a long time and felt shame that I couldn’t. Until I took a direct look and realized it wasn’t there as I’d thought it had been. And the house of cards came tumbling down.

* * * * *

If you’re interested in connecting with a community who is looking in this way, join us on Facebook, or contact me directly at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

For more information about Scott Kiloby and the Living Inquiries, please visit www.kiloby.com and www.livinginquirires.com.

 

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No Pushing Necessary

beatles

As some wise fellas once sang, Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream . . .  the perfect line for this inspired post.

I have been chatting with a fellow traveler and artist friend about how we’re called — we’re just called — to do what we do, whether our minds or conventional wisdom agree or not. And one thing that keeps us inspired is seeing others on the same path, doing their thing. A few friends immediately come to mind when I think of those who inspire me. They model for me that the life we feel inspired to live into is more than possible. In fact, it is supportive and generous.

But we don’t have to push to get on it.

Some years ago I was hanging out with a friend while he packed up and either sold or gave away everything in his house, until all he had left was his backpack, laptop and guitar. I imagined him as sort of ahead of the curve from me, but on a similar journey. And then I would compare myself to him, imagining that I was supposed, eventually, to do the same. I was living in an apartment at the time, and I knew that I wanted to get down to trailer sized belongings, should an Airstream show up in my life. And I pared way down. Still, I had a comparison running in my mind, a nagging sense that maybe I was supposed to get rid of more stuff, be like my friend. But I wasn’t feeling inspired. Or, I could say, it simply wasn’t happening.

It was helpful to realize that 1) I’m not that guy, I’m me, and 2) there is no need to push. Life is happening as it is, and there’s no rush. I haven’t given or sold all of my belongings, though I’m down to a few boxes and a few files, stored with easy access at a friend’s house. Although I haven’t touch some of the items since storing them (bed linens, dishes), I often to go the stuff, looking for and finding the specific item I wanted. I’m not looking to be a traveling minstrel with my backpack and my laptop and my guitar. I’m just being me, with a car load of hula hoops and a Therapy Booth and one suitcase of clothes, a basket of art supplies and a few stuffed animals.

All good things in all good time, I heard another wise person sing.

Inspiration comes when it does. Movement is the same. There may come a moment when I take major steps in a direction of my dreams. There may also be long stretches where nothing gets accomplished beyond resting (which IS an accomplishment!), doodling here and there, going outside, coming back in. And still the path flows.

So when I think about the conversation with my friend about having these deep pulls within us, and the images and feelings and thoughts that go with them, I see so clearly that one of the thoughts that we need not listen to is the one that says, “I’m supposed to be more like that guy,” or the one that suggests I ought to push when it’s not flowing.

I told my friend today that I realized recently I have no idea how things work. I have so much good in my life, and so much is given with such vast generosity. Sometimes I directly ask. Other times it’s spontaneously offered. What I do know is that I can trust rest. I can trust taking a pause and waiting to see which way I’m moved. For surely, this body will stand up from this couch, once this blog post is complete or maybe before, and wander to the bathroom or out the back door to visit the neighbors or off to something else that I haven’t imagined yet. And isn’t leaving room for that last possiblity one of the most interesting things?

relax pool

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