The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

I Want to Know YOU

I’ve noticed a trend in Facebook posts in my feed lately where the author writes a general statement:

“Hey people! The right thing to do is to text BACK when someone texts you a question!”

“Wake up, people! You are NOT supposed to look at your phone during an entire meeting. Get some manners!”

“You would think people would know by now, but I guess some people just don’t know how to behave.”

but the author doesn’t say what happened to inspired the expression, or, what I’m more interested in, how are they feeling now? What is behind those introductory and vague words? A few times recently, I’ve asked the authors if they wanted to elaborate. “Do you want to say what happened that inspired this?”

I am curious, and I’m also interested in how we can all become more present, more embodied, more able to feel our feelings and express ourselves directly. Have you ever asked someone how they feel and they tell you what happened instead, or something about the other person? “How do you feel?” “Well she is such a bitch! She said that to me and I just can’t believe her.” I’m sure I’ve done that.

But is it so unusual for us to bypass our feelings with general indignation? Lord knows I’m not always the most accurate communicator, but eventually, I have to tend to my feelings. Maybe it’s a first step . . .

There is a growing movement toward more authentic relating, and maybe because I’m surrounded by such things (including being a Living Inquiries facilitator and client, years of writing Morning Pages, the Tell it! page on FB where we are free to say anything without being coddled or advised in return), I’m surprised when communication isn’t embodied and pretty clear. Like a dork, I expect everybody to be like me and the people around me (ha, or like I imagine we are).


Photo found at

But how can I encourage it, I wonder? Do I keep on checking in, asking to hear more, validating responses when I hear those generalities? It seems like the writer is wanting to be heard when those rants are typed out. But I also want to know them more. What happened that had you say that, and how does it actually feel?

What does it feel like in your body?
What images are flashing through your mind?
What are the emotions like?
How do you feel about yourself?
What do you want?
What other thoughts are there?
What other feelings?
What do you really want to yell, specifically?
(Hey, this is starting to sound like one of my doodling classes . . . )

I feel fortunate to have practices that make room for all of this stuff to come out without negating or contradicting it, while also not adding further meaning on to it.

Maybe that’s why people are vague on Facebook — because it might be too heady to get into all of those details, and if we’re vague and general like that, maybe there’s more agreement/validation. “Yeah! People should text back and answer questions. That’s right!” It’s just not as interesting to me. Tell me more! It might feel better.

I was not sure about writing this because I don’t want to make my friends wrong. My experience when I see those posts is always wanting to know more. Or almost feeling shut out. I feel like there’s this barrier to intimacy, and I really like intimacy. I’m curious about my own contributions to the vague mindset — I know I am a good communicator in some spaces and horrible in others. I’m paying attention to all of this right now.

It’s my interest to keep on growing in this way, to continue to open to my own states and feelings such that I can bring them forth with the people around me as well and not ever feel like I have to hide out. A lofty goal, perhaps. But seems worthwhile.

And for the sake of transparency, I feel a little awkward writing this because I do feel some judgment. I want my friends to say what they mean and how they feel below the neck.  Ah there. I said so and I didn’t explode. Huh.

Stop teasing me and let me in! There! I said that too!!!

No Comments »

Come Doodle Over Here!

doodle outreach

Hi friends! How are things in the realm of your own Therapy Booths? Things with me are super doodlerific. Always adventuring in multiple streams of inspiration, the main one over the last year has been the wild world of doodling! Since I last wrote here, I published a book and am about 3/4 finished with its successor. (Stay tuned for Doodle Book Junior, this summer!)

I continue to offer classes in-person and on-line, and I’m inspired to share simple creativity with anyone who is open to it and desiring of it. There is no such thing as being “not creative,” and if I can help others connect with that truth in themselves, I am grateful.

I’ve been distinguishing that my style of doodling — of course — has its own flavor, and — of course! — it has a specific therapeutic taste. That is, the prompts I offer and the ways I suggest to use them give us all a sense of personal connection and an opportunity to connect with others in really fresh ways.

Please visit the Doodle Outreach website to find out about all of the cool things happening, including some upcoming events. I have yet to doodle an assistant into being, so I update things as I get to them, and I owe The Therapy Booth site some attention!

Just know that it’s all related. Whether I’m guiding resting exercises or facilitating inquiry or making messes with finger paints and glitter, it’s all here for relaxation, opening, connection with our deepest hearts’ callings, and overall well being!

Here’s a little gift for you from my book, 365 Days of Doodling (Discovering the Joys of Being Creative Every Day):


I can’t wait to see what you make, and I hope you will share your doodles with your friends and family! #startanyday

Let me know if I can be of use, and stay tuned for lots more fun stuff to come.

Much love from my Therapy Booth to yours!
~ Carin

for author page

No Comments »

Super Quick Note to My Email Subscribers


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

No Comments »

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:

Photo Credit:

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

No Comments »

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!

~ ~ ~


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.


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)

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


– 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.


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 with questions.

No Comments »

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


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:

Image source:

No Comments »

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 ( 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


No Comments »

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 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.


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

No Comments »