The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

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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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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Free Exactly Like This!

The grass ain’t greener
The wine ain’t sweeter
Either side of the hill
– Robert Hunter

I cannot possibly be any other way than how I am. Thank goodness! More and more I notice when the subtle movement of comparison is arising. I should be more like her. I want to be more like him. Something in me is recognizing the impossibility of that — and again: thank goodness! Even in little ways, there is nothing to change! In fact, best to rest.

As the juice I’m drinking couldn’t be any other color of orange mixed with red mixed with green, and the air being moved by the fan and touching my shoulders couldn’t be moving in any other way.

In Living Inquiries we begin to recognize the comings and goings, and in that, we also see their spontaneous innocence. Empty of meaning, sensations arise and pass away. Empty of inherent meaning, thoughts — like internal sounds — come and go, leaving no trace once they’ve passed. And even the idea that there is an “internal” where the sound is happening is questioned and such barriers relax.

Who would have thought that I could be free to be really scared or disgruntled or even happy? Who would have thought that all emotions, all habits, all thoughts even are so okay that they’re beyond okay?!!?

Even to make an error cannot possibly an error! If we really look, where is the error? Is it in the sound “eh-ror”? Is it in the letters E-R-R-OR? Is the feeling in our gut the error? Is the visual image announcing itself as wrong? What about the thought that says, “But it IS wrong?” If you take those letters and look at them, one at a time, which one is the error?

So even if a thought of envy comes and a feeling comes with it, those can come and go — especially when met directly, like we acknowledge our neighbors as we see them coming and going from the house. I can see a thought I want to be like her and find no meaning in it. If it seems to have meaning, there’s simply a feeling and perhaps an image arising with it. But none of that is me! Or you might even say, the whole entire thing is me. Every single thing I can sense. The shapes and the colors and the sounds and the spaces and all of the sensations and the total emptiness of it all when you drop the words and see what it’s like. Right now.

I have found it impossible to live into being like anyone else — thank goodness — and it makes me so happy.

Free-to-be-girl

* * * * * *

For more on the Living Inquiries, visit http://www.thetherapybooth.com/living-inquiries/.

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The Enlightenment/Awakening/What-that-other-guy-has-that-I-don’t-have-yet Course

For more on looking for enlightenment,
check out Waiting for the Big Bang.
If you can relate to what you read in that article, this class may be for you.

 DanglingCarrot

Do you recognize some of these?

Waiting to wake up.

Searching for truth.

Glimpsing enlightenment but it doesn’t stay.

My teacher has it.

I don’t have it.

I want it.

I have moments of awareness, but I fall back into being unconscious again.

If I were enlightened, I wouldn’t be experiencing _________________.

I must not be awake because I still _________________.

I’m awake, but you’re not.

I can’t seem to stay in awareness.

We’re supposed to be all one, but I don’t really get it.

I’ve been eating the right food, doing this stretch, chanting these prayers, and trying to control my thoughts, but I’m still failing.

If you really knew what goes on in my head, you’d know that I am so far from enlightenment.

* * * * *

Brass Ring

And what about this one: Enlightenment means _______________ .

Let’s have a look together and see if we can actually pinpoint it. Let’s see if we can find this elusive mysterious state where life is total drooling bliss (my favorite definition of enlightenment), total harmony, wealth, good sex (or no sex, if your image of spiritual awakening includes celibacy), pure happiness, lack of any desire, total love and compassion for everyone and everything, and — don’t forget — no thoughts, or at worst, only loving thoughts. Wow, where is this Emerald City?

Do you ever notice that the road there seems painful? That the sense that I-don’t-have-it-yet — or worse still — I-tasted-it-and-now-it’s-gone-again is as brutal as anything else along the path? What if you could just step right off the path? What if you could see it disintegrate, right before your eyes? Does this sound scary?  We can look there too. I assure you, there is nothing safer.

I’m not here to knock your spiritual devotion. I’m offering to look with you to see if we can find this thing that seems just out of reach but that is also more important than anything else. It is, right? Well, if it is, we ought to be able to find it. Let’s look together and see what we can see.

* * * * *

Here’s how the class will go:

Using the Living Inquiries (Unfindable, Anxiety and Compulsion Inquiries) as developed by Scott Kiloby and our team of senior facilitators, we will look into all aspects of enlightenment (or awakening or whatever you call the thing that other guy has but you don’t have yet — fill in your own blank) including: enlightenment as a concept; deficiency stories about the self as relates to enlightenment; fear around having, getting, losing or keeping enlightenment; and the compulsion to seek enlightenment or awakening or whatever you call that elusive “it.”

Three Group Calls (on-line, video chat)
– these calls will introduce you to the basics of Living Inquires. They are also a rich opportunity to experience others as they are facilitated in the inquiry process, often deepening your own insights.

Four Individual Sessions (on-line or by phone) with Living Inquiries Senior Facilitators, Carin Channing and Samantha Vickery Gray, and 1 – 2 sessions with additional certified facilitators
– these sessions run between 60 and 90 minutes and will be designed BY YOU. That is, we will look at your unique, personal experience with this topic. This is a tremendous opportunity to delve deeply and thoroughly in a gentle and supportive atmosphere.

A Private Facebook Group for members of this course where you can share experiences, ask questions, get and give support and receive reminders and tips in between sessions.

Other Course Details:

Cost: $425 ($400 if you have already taken a Deepening Course with me)

Dates and Times of Group Sessions:

Tuesday, October 8, 6 – 8 pm CST (same time zone as Chicago — please check your local time)

Tuesday, October 15, 6 – 8 pm CST

Tuesday, October 29, 6 – 8 pm CST

It’s recommended that you begin to schedule your individual sessions as soon as you register for the course.

* Class size is limited to 10 participants. Register early to hold a spot. * If these dates and times don’t work for you but you are interested in receiving notifications about other courses, email me.

Ready to register?

Select your payment option from the drop down menu below.


Enlightenment/Awakening/What-that-other-guy-has-that-I-don’t



What else can we explore in this class?

Whatever else seems just out of reach. What is it that you’re always going for but can’t quite grasp? The perfect relationship, weight, career, purpose, accomplishment, success . . . whatever that sneaky something is. Let’s meet it.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Why am I inspired to offer this class?

For many years, awakening or enlightenment was my goal, and it was the only goal. I had a strong belief that there was something called truth, and that some people knew about this and others didn’t. I felt elite in my taste of it, and I also felt lowly in my lack of it. But it was all I wanted. I can remember moments when I had the thought, “I think this might be it. I think this is what they were talking about.” And yes, there was a subtle grasping – hopefulness – and also a sneaky fear. “How do I keep this? What if it goes away?”

With the advent of the Living Inquiries, I had the opportunity to bring “enlightenment” to the Unfindable Inquiry. Interestingly, I forgot that I even did the UI on this subject. It just seemed to me that seeking enlightenment had become a non-issue, just from being around the inquiries a lot. And it really is a non-issue for me anymore. Sure, other things come up, and I continue to join in the looking. But this promise of whatever-I-imagined-it-to-be has completely relaxed for me. And I’ll tell you, it’s a great and worthwhile relief.

Questions? Write to carin_channing@yahoo.com. If you’re ready to join us, click the Buy Now button above.

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

* * * * *

Artwork from
– http://splinterinthemindseye.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/DanglingCarrot.gif
– http://adelekenny.blogspot.com/2011/07/poetry-pormpt-63-carousel.html
– http://grr9.deviantart.com/art/Just-Out-of-Reach-207970059

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The Money Course – Living Inquiries

* This course is SOLD OUT. If you would like to be on a waiting list
for the next MONEY COURSE, write to thetherapybooth@gmail.com. *

puzzled dollar

Have you ever noticed that we tend to have thoughts that fall into two categories:
I’m okay, and here’s why; and I’m not okay, and here’s why.

Take a look at some of these phrases that friends shared when asked to talk about money, and notice how they fall into one of those two categories:

I can’t earn enough.
I don’t deserve the money I have.
I’m going to be old and broke.
I must not look greedy.
My income determines my value as a man.
Money scares me.
Money is the destructive force at the center of our social/economic order and until the advancement of the Human condition replaces it the planet and all it’s species are doomed.
I’ll be happy and can relax once I have enough to retire on.
It’s not noble to charge.
It’s wrong to take charity.
I feel rich.
I am capable and worthwhile!
I focus on receiving not needing.
God’s bounty is mine, I am grateful!
I am open to receiving the abundance that is my right.
I’ll always be broke.

With the I’m not okay thoughts, we hope to high heaven they’re not true, but we’re pretty sure they are; and we can usually find a lot of agreement for them. (There is so much agreement that money is a problem. That’s why this class is such a good idea!) We try to stamp out those thoughts, shove them away and hope to replace them with something friendlier. Then, with the I’m okay thoughts, we hope to high heaven that they’re true, and we work to hold them into place whist trying to hold off the others.

money woes

What if we didn’t have to manipulate either kind of thought? What if there’s a whole new way to look at money that doesn’t have anything to do with creating a new belief, tracking every penny you spend, or scolding, shaming or limiting yourself?

What if your relationship with money could be so refreshing it cannot accurately be described but can only be experienced?

Those words might sound flashy, but they’re not meant to be. I am not trying to seduce you into yet another way-to-solve-your-money-problems-once-and-for-all deal. I’m not here to offer you riches or even the promise of financial stability.

I’m offering you a completely fresh experience.  And not only will this concentrated look at all aspects of your personal relationship with money affect your point of view in this area, this experience will surely influence other areas of your life. You will learn a tool that applies to absolutely everything that you would like to see in a fresh way.

What’s possible with this course:

* A refreshing relationship with money.

* Relaxation from the fear and anxiety around money.

* Experiencing peace around money, directly — not by logic or talking yourself into it.

* Gently uncovering deep rooted beliefs and meeting them with full compassion and generosity.

* Creativity, playfulness and full self-expression as we shift from survival/problem-solving mode and open to other channels.

* The end of your typical money conversation. Yes, this really is possible. Would you like to look with me?

me on money

Course Details:

Using the Living Inquiries (Unfindable, Anxiety and Compulsion Inquiries) as developed by Scott Kiloby and our team of senior facilitators, we will look into all aspects of money including: money as a concept; deficiency stories about the self as relates to money; fear around having, getting, losing or keeping money; money and spirituality; and compulsions to make or worry about money.

Three Group Calls (on-line, video chat)
– these calls will introduce you to the basics of Living Inquires. They will also be rich opportunities to experience others going through the inquiry process, often deepening your own insights.

Four Individual Sessions (on-line or by phone) with me and 1 – 2 sessions with additional certified facilitators
– these sessions run between 60 and 90 minutes and will be designed BY YOU. That is, we will look at your unique, personal experience with money. This is a tremendous opportunity to delve deeply in a gentle and supportive atmosphere.

A Private Facebook Group for members of this course where you can share experiences, ask questions, get and give support and receive reminders and tips in between sessions.

Cost: $425 ($400, if you have already taken a Deepening Course with me) SOLD OUT

Dates and Times of Group Sessions:

Wednesday, July 31, 6 – 8 pm CST
Wednesday, August 14, 6 – 8 pm CST
Wednesday, August 28, 6 – 8 pm CST

It’s recommended that you schedule your individual sessions as soon as you register for the course.

* Class size is limited to 5 participants. Register early to hold a spot. * If these dates and times don’t work for you but you are interested in receiving notifications about other courses, email me.

Other questions? Write to me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

Ready to register?

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT.

If you would like to be on an alternates list or a list for future courses, email me at carin_channing@yahoo.com. Thanks!


Welcome to The Living Inquiries Money Course



Freedom with money is very Therapy Booth!

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

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What if I don’t offer you anything?

water hands

What if I don’t offer you anything? Really. What if, when you come to me with a problem, I offer no solutions? What if I meet with you for an hour or so and you pour your heart out to me and tell me every thought, every feeling, every fear, and I give you nothing? Will you still make another appointment? Will you have gained something?

In Living Inquiries, I really have nothing to give you. If anything, I might take away from you, but not really. Whatever I take from you, I don’t keep, though sometimes I might ask you to let me have it so that I may set it down. Let all of those words come through, and let’s just set them down to the side for a moment and stay with the sensation. I might say something like that. But do you even get to keep that sensation? Can you make anything stay?

If I’ve done my job right, we both leave empty handed.

A friend asked me tonight what kind of concrete actions come from inquiring like this, and I replied that I don’t know. It’s different for everyone, just depending on how life unfolds. In inquiry, we sort of get out of our own way. The actions happen — or don’t — but we’re not scrambling and stumbling over thoughts and feelings and memories and anticipations in order to scrape our way there. The actions either happen, or they don’t.

Do I give you power? Do I give you charm? Do I give you a better way of looking at yourself? Do you walk away from inquiry sessions with more insights and explanations?

I hope not.

I really want to leave you empty-handed. Where no way of labeling or categorizing will stick. Where no self, nor compulsive command nor threat can be found. Where all that remains is all that remains. Where even these words don’t make any sense, and they don’t need to.

Looking in this way is not what you think. It’s not even what I think.

I can throw out lots of words to try to explain it, but the fact is, I can’t. Each moment, each experience is unique to the one looking. What’s happened before is irrelevant. What will happen after is too. And, we’ll come to find, even the bits that are coming through right now are not who you are. There’s no one here to hold it together. (On the bright side, there’s no one here to come apart, either.)

Words like gentle, compassionate and safe come up for me when describing these inquiries. But in the end, even those words can only point. Come stand over here beside me, and let’s look, together.

Is there anything there?

* * * * *

Learn more about the Living Inquiries as developed by Scott Kiloby by visiting http://www.thetherapybooth.com/living-inquiries/ . Write to thetherapybooth@gmail.com to schedule a session.

For an upcoming group course, visit http://www.thetherapybooth.com/deepening-courses/.

Visit the Living Inquiries Facebook page for a community of folks looking in this way. Ask questions, hang out and watch for a while, or dive right in. The water’s fine.

2 Comments »

Looking in a Fresh Way: Individualized Deepening Courses

deer

Deer in a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt

We call these courses Deepening, but we could also call them Clearing. Either way you name it, the Living Inquiries are a fresh way of exploring. For now, let’s drop the words inquiry, deepening and clearing, and let’s talk about the freshness.

Most of the time, when we come to address a problem, we’re thinking of solutions. Or we’ve been trying to think of solutions, but none of the thoughts we’re coming up with are working. I like to imagine that thoughts fall into two categories:

1. I’m okay, and here’s why.

2. I’m not okay, and here’s why.

The former often come with a sense of holding on, a movement of I hope this is right and I’m going to hold it in my mind til it proves out. The latter accompany strong sensations and images (and more thoughts) that seem to give irrefutable proof of their validity. Yes, he does hate me. I’m sure of it. And it’s because I’m disgusting.  

Wow, so much to sort out, so much to believe in, manage and hold onto (or shut off and push away). So much to be done.

Enter the freshness of the Living Inquiries: here, you get to rest. With the assistance of a facilitator, you are liberated of the responsibility of managing all of these thoughts and feelings. You’re given the space to feel and experience them all (nothing at all is negated) without having the added responsibility of making sense, explaining, changing or controlling any of it. You’re given the opportunity to rest and see it all coming and going and find out if there’s something there, in fact, that needs to be managed.

You may be thinking right now, “But if I don’t manage this, something awful will happen.” In a session, that thought is both welcomed and given its space, while also being seen directly as a coming and going of words, sounds, images and feelings. Do those words, inherently, carry truth? Let’s find out.

Even having written lots about the inquires and experiencing hundreds of hours of both facilitating and being facilitated, I find them hard to explain in brief. Letting explanations drop, I’m here to invite you to experience them directly, and, thereby, see more directly into your own experience. I’m offering a fresh approach to whatever you’ve been grappling with. Come meet with me and give yourself over to a new way of seeing (and drop any thought that you have about it now, as that, too, will be seen NOT to be it . . .).

I am now offering individualized deepening courses tailored to whatever’s on your mind. We can look from multiple angles, and, if this is something you’ve been stuck with for a while, I promise we can find something fresh here. A relief, perhaps, that hasn’t been experienced before.

Here are some possible topics for these four-session courses:

– a particular relationship
– work/career
– money
– decision making
– creativity
– your life’s purpose or passion
– physical health
– questions around awakening/enlightenment
– a specific compulsion (anything from substances to people to Facebook)
– fears and anxieties
– “negative” emotions
– women’s health (PMS, menopause, etc.)
– family/parents/children
– procrastination

The topics are endless, as there’s nothing that can’t be brought to inquiry, as you’ll see. If something on this list resonates for you, or if there’s something else that’s been on your mind that you just haven’t been able to sort out with other approaches, consider meeting with me and looking afresh.

Details of the Individual Deepening Courses:

If you’re new to the inquiries, you will receive a thorough introduction and get all of your questions answered. Each participant gets four individual inquiry sessions (held by Skype, phone or in person). I am in Central time zone (CST). Sessions last about an hour (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more). They can be spread out over a few weeks or a few months, as scheduling and desire permits.

You will receive a copy of Scott Kiloby’s ebook, Living Relationship, that outlines and gives many examples of the inquiries and how they work.

Between sessions, we will stay in touch through email.

Course cost is $445.

Please note that either an individual or group Deepening Course is a required prerequisite to any future facilitator training.

Read up on these inquiries, developed by Scott Kiloby, at http://www.thetherapybooth.com/living-inquiries/.

Contact me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com with questions or to set up a course. Payments can be made through the PayPal button on this site or by check.

For more on Scott Kiloby and Living Inquiries, also see:

www.kiloby.com
www.livingrelationship.org
www.livingrealization.org

I very much look forward to meeting with you and to looking, inquiring, deepening and clearing together.

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Waiting for the Big Bang

This morning I was listening to a recording of a spiritual seeker talking with a teacher, saying that he still hadn’t gotten it. He shared that he was waiting for a great and magnificent unveiling of the eyes, a Big Bang of an experience, proving that he had – at last – reached the final goal.

This final goal is fondly called by many names: enlightenment, awakening, merging with the Beloved, infinite awareness, peace, bliss, love, light . . .

The imagined experiences of it also wear many titles and costumes: rolling on the floor laughing, the earth and sky cracking open and light pouring from the body, or – my favorite – total drooling bliss.

And then there are the imagined “after” pictures: never experiencing pain, no sadness or anger or jealousy, beauty, affection, riches, never being bothered ever again by anything, ultimate kindness and compassion, the living embodiment of beatification.

So, what does all this say about you, me, or anyone who experiences pain or judgmental thoughts, who feels desire or longing or weariness, who is certain this can’t be it?

What we often miss is turning and looking right at what this it is, the one that this isn’t. What is it that we have or haven’t achieved? Is a moment of sitting in front of our teacher laughing and laughing and laughing it? Is a day when language doesn’t come and silence is all that’s needed or desired it? Is having people come to you as a teacher it? If material abundance is appearing as if miraculously, is that it? How about talking in non-dual buzzwords or commenting or a posting on Facebook? How about a YouTube video?

In a way, this is like watching lots of romantic comedy movies and holding out for the perfect Hollywood romance. And, not only holding out for that, but also being convinced that there’s something very wrong if that’s not how our relationships look. So now we have the added not-it of stewing in our wrongness about not having or being it.

Wow, no wonder we’re seeking something different.

For many years on the spiritual path, I had a vague idea of this thing called enlightenment (see total drooling bliss, above). I wanted to go off to India and meet a guru who would bop me on the head and all would be love and rainbows and fireworks and sunshine and . . . well, actually, even that may be more fully formed than what I’d actually imagined I wanted. But I wanted it (whatever it was), and I thought I was supposed to have it — or, at least, I was supposed to be going for it. Eventually I concluded this was never going to happen for me in this lifetime, even though there was still a longing. I thought that it would take twenty years of meditating in a cave, like a glowing baba I met once, to have the shift happen — yonder Big Bang. And so, I sat in longing, still looking at others who seemed to have it, and still thinking there was something wrong with these little comings and goings that signified I hadn’t made it.

big bang

Some years ago,  I came across Eckhart Tolle. I was greatly influenced by reading A New Earth and listening to Eckhart reading The Power of Now on my mp3 player. I could definitely feel something shifting and a recognition of what he seemed to be pointing seemed to happen sometimes, but I still had this sense of I got it/I lost it, or as Scott Kiloby aptly calls it, oscillation. And, I couldn’t call Eckhart on the phone to get pointers when I was going through this and that. I wanted to be like him, and didn’t believe I could, but I got these glimpses . . .

Then I met Scott, and that meeting was a game changer. Not the event of physically coming in contact with Scott but what was being pointed. Scott pointed me directly into seeing that any idea I had of how something was supposed to be was nothing but that, an idea. More specifically: words, images and sensations in the body. And sometimes tucked away thoughts – again, just words – that assign meaning to the moment, like that it means something about me that I’m experiencing X, Y, or Z. Whatever you think is being pointed in non-dual or spiritual awakening conversation is not what you think it is. It can’t be. Trust me, but don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself.

What is it that you don’t have yet? What is it you haven’t done or felt or seen? What is it about this moment right now that indicates awake or asleep? And what is awake and what is asleep?

These are all things we look into in the Living Inquiries, developed by Scott Kiloby, out of his direct experience with the clearing and falling away of ideas about achieving a spiritual goal. We aren’t fighting our ideas, we’re simply turning and looking directly into what we think is going on — usually the thing that seems to be fueling suffering. There is a good amount of suffering from the I got it/I lost it thing. I’ve experienced it and I meet with people all the time who also suffer under the weight of what they think they should be but they aren’t. Of not yet having that Big Bang experience. Or, God forbid, having had it and it didn’t stay.

What if the thing you’re waiting for is already happening, right now, no matter what?

Don’t think about that question. Let the mind rest, and let’s look.

 

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Messy Morning Bed Hair

It’s important to me to write honestly. As you know, one of my greatest passions is creative freedom and freedom of expression. Starting with the Morning Pages, coloring through the doodles, and all of the areas I haven’t yet touched on in the Free Expression series . . . for me, life is all-inclusive. And that really means all. Nothing can be left out in this sort of freedom.

After I posted a few days ago from my fever bed, my mind churning with upheaval and concern, I worried that I shouldn’t have shared that openly, that I shouldn’t have left my post to be read. What would people think of me? How would my words be interpreted? Would I be seen as a poor representative of the Living Inquiries?

I saw, though, that these fearful thoughts were also just part of life and they didn’t need to be followed or believed, any more than anything else. And, what is The Therapy Booth, if not a place for everyone to have all freedom of expression? What kind of Therapy Booth host would I be if I pretended that I’m only feeling well, happy and inspired? And, what if bearing my heart – however it looks – is inspired?

As a creative person – and I assert we all are – this is something I’ve watched and admired in other artists. It’s what gives me such awe for Joni Mitchell and her song writing. Her utter honesty and clarity of description is what has others relate so deeply with her, and it’s what has me wonder, how can she be knowing my experience so directly that she’s singing about it? It is in the details that we find the universals. We are not as alone as we may think we are with our tender hearts, moving minds and oceanic passions.

I find with all of these courses of expression that unencumbered articulation and declaration leaves me feeling more alert, clear and relaxed. To be able to pour it out on the page or on a phone call with a trusted friend or in my doodle notebook or during an inquiry session is to take the chains off of life and let it run free. And then, the direct experience of anicca (a Pali word meaning impermanence) is known. I’m as awe struck by this as I am by Joni Mitchell’s honest lyrics: that something that feels heavy, true and deep – once expressed – goes on about its way as each wave goes back into the ocean and disappears without a trace.

In the Living Inquiries, we look closely and gently at this movement and find out if any of these comings and goings actually equal “us”. Are any of those words I typed during my flu “me”? Are any of the words your friend says to you on the phone “her”? This is done from a restful position, as opposed to a mental one, and it leaves us in a space where all of the comings and goings are totally free to come and go. Life is going to happen. Happiness, delight, fear, anger, sadness, frustration, love, lust, apathy . . . all of them are so welcome to come and go here in The Therapy Booth. Express yourself! I’m gonna.

Recovering! Writing with messy morning bed hair.

Recovering! Writing with messy morning bed hair.

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Free Expression, Part 1: Morning Pages

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

― Franz Kafka

I facilitated an inquiry session today with a friend who was looking for what she named the misogynistic control paradigm. It was unfindable, as it turned out, but the topic remains of interest to me. My friend was talking about this subtle self-defeating language that we use, culturally, to make excuses or apologies for our present state, our loves, our longings, our snackings . . . She said, “[It’s like] we’re obliged to deny ourselves certain things.”

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about my passion for telling things exactly as they are – or exactly as they occur, right now, fully, one hundred percent, and completely unapologetically.

Then I realized I have so much to say on this topic and so many different ways that I celebrate as paths to full expression, that this would have to come as a series. Here’s the first entry.

I read the Kafka quote above on Facebook today and swooned. I have already loved his quotes for this reason and that, and, as a writer and a budding artist, these words are like sweet, sweet balm. They are the opposite of that self-defeating language my friend was pointing to today.

In the following posts, I’ll be sharing about the different venues I have – THANK GOD – for pouring out my natural, unapologetic unedited expression.

Let’s start now with the beloved Morning Pages.

Made famous by Julia Cameron in her creativity guide, The Artist’s Way, Morning Pages are simple: three handwritten pages of anything. They are uncensored, and, in fact, are a training against self-censorship. Julia writes that we usually start telling the truth around the page-and-a-half mark. I’ve been writing MPs for several years, and I’d say I’ve learned to jump right into that unleashed honesty, at least there on the sacred page. These pages are not shown to anyone ever, and, Julia recommends that we don’t read the Morning Pages, at least for two months after they’re written.

This writing is not meant to be good. It’s not meant to be something that you’ll publish. But, if you are a writer, you can enjoy the practice of flexing the muscle. Natalie Goldberg, in recommending at least twenty minutes of timed writing daily, suggests that this practice keeps us warm and healthy, so that when some official writing (whatever that is) is ready to come through, we’ve stretched and limbered up.

But Morning Pages and other timed writing exercises are NOT just for writers. In fact, Julia Cameron says that sometimes they’re harder for writers since we try to write well. Lucky for me, I don’t have that problem with my MPs. And you should see the madness that hits those pages!

Which brings me back home to the Kafka quote (“don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical”). Is it, in fact, madness, when it’s simply pouring through my heart, out my fingers, onto the page?

The first time I wrote Morning Pages, I started them with the hopes that they would affect my writing in a positive way. I got a huge surprise: I found my singing and music-playing transformed. As if through hypnosis or sneaking in through the back door, somehow I was singing in a voice I didn’t recognize. It was clearer, more honest, more warmly toned. I was like a sponge learning new songs and couldn’t wait to play them for friends who came to visit. I gave full credit to the MPs. This shift started about three months of writing them every day.

I don’t always do them first thing in the morning. Before bed is a nice time to do the clearing as well. Either way, or sometime in the middle of the day, I almost always experience a sense of relief and gratitude for the movement of the pen on the page. I’ve found the perfect kind of notebook and perfect style of pen for me, and I invite you to do the same. And, on those days when there isn’t relief, I’m still grateful to the pages for receiving my longing, my fears, my delight, my swooning love, my begging for mercy and relief, my dreamy contemplations and prayers for comfort, support and help.

Morning Pages have given me a jumping off point for this whole world of Telling It, and we’ll get to more venues soon.

Meanwhile, I invite you into your own private space where nothing but nothing is rejected. Be angry, be lustful, be dreamy, bored, desirous, delirious. Just get it out on the page.

And then see what happens.

Love,

Carin

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