The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

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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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

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

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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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The Road of My Dreams aka How Dare You Make a Raffle?

road 2 doodle

Keep reading to find a sample from my next book!

Scroll down to Road of My Dreams aka How Dare You Make a Raffle? to find out how you can play along!

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There are these special moments in life when we get to step into our dreams. When we get to look around and say, “Hey! I’ve been dreaming of this, and here it is!” The day I took that flight from Singapore, stopping over in Bangkok for some cashews and a quick internet check, to make my way to India. And again in India, the day I arrived in Varanasi. I’d been dreaming of going to India for about ten years. It was really clear to me that I didn’t want to take on anything else major until I got there. I didn’t know the how of it, but I just knew that was the thing. Then, more recently, the day I completed (including binding by hand) my new book, How Dare You Make a Book? I’d been wanting to make a book or a magazine for so long, I’d been carrying around brown paper bags (to use as the pages) for months. Such a joy. And now the moment has come to step into another many-yeared vision: the meandering road trip.

Some years ago when I was beginning to get really restless at my office social work job, I was feeling into this journey. I even started a blog, Meandering to a Ramble, with the focus on making my way to upstate New York to one of Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles. Then a few things happened: I lost my job and the income I’d been counting on saving for the trip, and that spring, Levon up and died. I noticed at the time of the job loss that, not only did I not have that income I’d been counting on to get my vehicle in shape and take the journey, I also didn’t feel as much of an urge to get moving, now that I wasn’t giving my time and energy over to the job. I was content to rest and keep quiet locally.

Moving through the next several years, another longtime dream, having a Therapy Booth at outdoor music shows, came alive in another one of those good fortune moments. Meanwhile, I’ve been paring down my material goods such that, at first I’d be down to trailer size (my love for the Airstream always alive), and now, I’m down to car size. It occurred to me that I don’t need the trailer to take to the road. The car will do it, and, after going through many major changes and moves: moving out of my apartment after eventually not being able to rent any more following the job loss, gratefully living with friends for a year, and now a year of house sitting (that has been awesome and even better than I could have imagined), I’m feeling more than anything the call to step into this dream. The road – and visions of The Therapy Booth by rivers and country stores – is showing up in doodles and drawings and songs and poems, is inviting me to step on it.

As a writer since birth, and a visual artist emerging in these past few years (much gratitude!), I’m excited about where I am in life. I have always been a creative person, though there have been times in my life where I’ve innocently bought into someone else’s idea of what I should be and what art and writing are all about (they said “competition” and the inspiration shrunk right up). Today I give credit to The Artist’s Way course, Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries and an ever-growing supportive community of creative thinkers and live-ers for helping this expression emerge.

binding book

One of the happiest days I’ve experienced lately is the day I finished my new book. In fact, the day I started it was just as wonderful. And as the title showed itself (How Dare You Make a Book) I felt into that which had seemed to hold me back. Who did I think I was to claim my title as an artist, as a creative person, as a writer of books? And you know what? It turns out it doesn’t matter who I think I am or who I think you are – we can all make books. In fact, the working title of my next book is Now You Make Something, and it goes hand in hand with my passion of encouraging creative expression everywhere.

I’ve been teaching creativity classes since shortly after the aforementioned job loss. This turned into one of those thank-you-for-firing-me moments. My first class was Disco and Doodles and I haven’t stopped (another dream was to host creativity classes on-line: check). I imagine being the Pied Piper of Doodling, roaming around encouraging a non-dominant hand doodle here, a poem there, an improvised song here, a sidewalk chalk love note there . . .

And here I am now, answering the call of the culmination of all that’s important to me: the road, expression, sharing and listening to the passions of the heart. As all of these rolled into one, I was inspired to create a raffle, both to share my new publications with you and to encourage and support this dream of mine.

road 1 doodle

And sometimes you just know certain things: I somehow knew when Paul McCartney was coming to town that I was going to see him play. And as the date of the sold-out shows approached, I still had the feeling that I was going to see him and that I was going to be given a ticket. I even had a friend offer to treat me if I could find one to buy, and I was thankful for her generosity, but I told her to wait. I had the feeling I was going to be given a ticket. And that’s what happened. And now, I have this inspiration around my trip to fund it — at least to get it started, including getting the car to pass a road-worthy physical — by sharing my books and creative tools with you by means of a raffle.

There is only one week left to go on it – Drawing is May 5 (note new date)! – and here’s how it works:

Road of My Dreams aka How Dare You Make a Raffle?

Prizes are varied and awesome:

– 5 limited edition copies of my new book, How Dare You Make a Book
– the ORIGINAL copy of my new book, now with two working titles: Now You Make Something or Narcissist’s Handbook
– a Doodle Booth gathering (a two-hour, no holds barred creative expression class) for you and three friends (on-line or in-person)
– a massage from Quiet Austin’s own Signe Wendt (thank you Signe!) for Austin winners (if you win this and you’re from out of town, we’ll swap out your prize)

Still with me and excited to play?

You can drop $10 per ticket (no limit to number of tickets you can purchase, one prize per winner) into my PayPal using the button below or through the PayPal site (send to carin_channing@yahoo.com. Please use friends and family option to avoid fees) or hand me cash or send a check or use a carrier pigeon or a hot air balloon or hide it in a breakfast taco.

 





THANK YOU! I hope you win something awesome!

Big love and THANKS to the friends who have played so far. I’m happy to be sharing my heart’s work and love with you all. Thank you for supporting this becoming!

Meanwhile, if you’re out there in the world and would like to have a visit with me (The Therapy Booth is always with me!), or if you’re going to be traveling and can use a house sitter (sorry, no cats these days), please let me know! I’m thrilled and curious and happy and can’t wait to make more stuff and see wide open spaces and get off-line and in-person and find out what has been calling me all this time. Deep thanks and hopes that you, too, are moving in the direction of your dreams. Doodling them is a great place to start.

Love,

Carin

* * * * *

I am listening to the yeses
Leaving behind my second guesses
All you friends, send your addresses —
I’ll meet you on the road.

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The Day that Yes Was the Only Answer

When I’m 83 years old and very white haired,
getting out of my car to cross a parking lot,
to walk through a building to play my banjo
on the back porch,
will I remember today and how
the runny-nosed dog walk was long enough to
save me from the edge of depression
and how I felt ashamed in that moment for asking for what I want
and for what is more than what I want but that is
what I am
and then also found the gumption to
keep with it and follow the sparkling rocks
and purple flowers and those
marigold-colored daisies?
I clarified my position for myself while I was out there.
About the time I hit the marina and paused before turning around,
I realized that my mood had shifted and
out of sadness and defense and dejected
verging-depression,
I was now thinking of doodling.
When I’m 83 will I remember how I thought about that
and was eager to get home and
announce it on-line?
What will on-line be
when I’m 83?
And will I recall how I kept on walking,
relieved, and thankful for the doggie,
and smelled the pines and flirted coyly with the sun-loved lake,
and came up around the bend with yet another idea?
No, tonight instead of doodling, I’ll do that other thing,
that thing that will loosen my fears and maybe work magic
and keep moving me ever in that yes direction.
Will I remember even having that thought,
smelling those pines,
and thinking how I should sit on the balcony tonight
and watch the lake?
At 83 will I remember today as the day it turned around,
and the day I gave an unyielding yes to myself
and to life’s inner kisses and outer kisses and support and
celebration?
Or will I simply remember sitting here –
like now –
and hearing three different bird sounds and
cars on the road
and the rattle of the open window,
knocking into its frame while the sun
starts to go down and kisses me now,
and also those trees,
just like it does the lake?

* * * * *

Look for this and other new poems in my forthcoming book, titled some combination of Now You Make Something and Narcissist’s Handbook.

today might be the day

 

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To say ‘I love you’ right out loud . . .

help

Why do we love to read Rumi so much? Because he knew that the crying out for the lover is the lover itself. The oldest of our cats cries a lot. She is blind and mostly deaf and seems like she’s just unsure of where she is a lot of the time. She cries a certain kind of howl and very much wants to be with a person. We can’t always accommodate with a spot on a lap, and she eventually finds a place to lie down and nap, until she comes wandering again.

When I first moved to Austin I worked as a therapist in a nursing home. We had a client named Helen who would sit in the hallway in her wheel chair and call out “Help me, help me, help me, help me, help me.” I’ve been thinking about Helen and Rumi and myself and the little kitty and a friend’s post on Facebook and Patti Smith and Living Inquiries and about telling the truth for you, however that might occur.

It might occur like prostration and supplication.

It might occur like I love you.

It might occur like help me, help me, help me.

It might occur like screaming at a concert.

It might occur like drawing words with your left hand that you wouldn’t otherwise dare say out loud.

It might occur like a text message typed into a phone or a song penned on the back of a napkin or an outpouring whispered to a face, a cheek, a mouth: save me.

Can we actually be alive without a sense of longing?

Maybe not everyone feels these things. Or they have different ways of channeling them. But I think about Helen in her wheel chair in the hall at the nursing home, and I just think she was so sane. Whether it be calling out for help or anything else, I’m in love with the experience of expression. I keep thinking about different lines from Joni Mitchell songs tonight. No wonder. I deeply admire her full on lyrical expression. I’m mystified by it and mentored by it.

To say ‘I love you’ right out loud . . .

There’s something about song-writing that’s mystifying to me. I love to sing and play, thought I haven’t written much yet.  Sometimes I’ll learn a song that just resonates with me so deeply, I love to sing it. I can feel it, as if I had written those words.  I was playing a Patti Smith song tonight, not having picked up my guitar in weeks, but having seen Patti up close [singing this and many others] a few days ago, the guitar fell into my hands. I have hoped to learn from her. To open my throat and my guts and excrete it all

with heart. Complete heart.

I think I must have gathered some ideas along the way that only certain feelings and subjects are kosher, friendly, spiritual, acceptable, successful, ought to be talked about. Funny to consider this if you look at music. If you look at any art. And I think this is why I’m so in love with art, with writing, with music, with full expression.

The calling out and the one called for, one note.

Rumi writes:

Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.

A nursing mother, all she does

is wait to hear her child.

 

Just a little beginning-whimper,

and she’s there.

 

God created the child, that is , your wanting,

so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.

 

Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent

with your pain. Lament! And let the milk

of loving flow into you.

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