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).

Ranting-Homer

Photo found at http://plasmanc.blogspot.com/2012/08/and-another-thing.html

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!!!

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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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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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Beyond Trust

trust

(Image from http://millionaireweb.it/blog/innovazione-programmala-in-5-passi/.)

In the fall of 2011, I lost my job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. The day before I found out I was to be fired, I’d made a list of “What I Want from the Airstream Life,” as I felt restless on the job and wanted to contemplate and nurture the qualities of life that resonated with me more than being inside for 9 hours a day in front of a computer, on the phone, counting numbers and debating with insurance company reps. One thing I wrote was that I wanted to be “free of my office at the hospital.” The final two items on the list were:

– complete leap of faith
– peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace

I had been carrying this idea that, spiritually, I was not going all the way. That I was not fully giving over to something, and I wasn’t fully trusting. But I wanted that leap of faith, so I thought.

The next day in the HR director’s office, as I realized I had only four days left of my job, I felt stunned and amazed. I felt the free fall I’d asked for the night before. “Wow,” I said. “That was quick.” I felt scared and excited and dreamy.

Over the following months, I went through the extreme ups and downs of a major life shift. I got really sick and ended up in the hospital with appendicitis. Friends took me home with them for a week after that, and my world was rocked by being in need. I had $8.00 in the bank and none in my pocket. Lots of tears, fears and humiliation – along with lots of creative opportunities – came through. I was guided to ask for help. I was inspired to teach my first doodle classes, and The Therapy Booth itself was born the following spring.

Also during that time, a small group of us began training with Scott Kiloby to be his first team of Living Inquiries Facilitators. Had I still had my job at the hospital, I don’t imagine I would have had the energy or motivation to delve deeply into these projects.

Eventually I had to move out of my beloved apartment where I’d retreated for six years (the longest time I’d ever lived in one dwelling). That was a massive ego blow and was scary, but also in my heart, I had been feeling that it was time to leave that particular place. For one thing, I was having rat issues. The first day the guy who eventually took over my lease came round to see the place, a great big rat walked right across the room. Didn’t scare the renter, and now he lives there. I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, but, once I moved out, I didn’t look back.

I moved in with the two friends who’d taken care of me after my surgery and went through many months of adjustment, as I’m sure they did, too. They took really good care of me, and we shared food and laughs and tears and doodles and the intimacy of family. It was a great gift to have a landing place, regardless of my miniscule bank account. I had the time and space to go deeply into Living Inquiries, both in giving and receiving. Even though I was eager to get my own place again, I felt fear come up when the time came for me to move on from there. But it also seemed natural. As if I had the wherewithal or fortitude to meet whatever fear might come and to stay the course. Trust, or beyond trust?

Here I sit, four months after that departure. I feel as contented and peaceful as ever. I have work that I love and feel passionate about — facilitating inquiry, encouraging doodling, relaxing in The Therapy Booth — which leaves me inspired every time I do any of it. I have enough money that I’ve been able to pay forward the amazing financial support I received during the year + after the job loss. I feel such gratitude to everyone who helped me out during that phase, and I’m so happy to share from my heart today.

I don’t have any illusions that anything will stay as it is. And I don’t worry about it. Not too much, anyway. You see, in my estimation, worry and trust go hand in hand.

Friends look at my life and say, “You must really trust,” or “I know I just have to trust that everything will be okay. Things always work out.”

Recently, I used the Unfindable Inquiry (from Kiloby’s Living Inquiries) to look into this thing called “working out.” Along with innocuous images of hula hooping and memories of my former gym, I could sense a bit of stress or tension around this idea that “things always work out.”

Check it out for yourself and see. If you are hanging onto trust, or if you’re holding tightly to the thought “things always work out,” do you notice any tension or perhaps background worry that this might not be true, or that you are responsible either for assuring that “things work out,” or for generating and holding onto this thing called “trust”? That’s how it was for me.

Using the Unfindable Inquiry, I was able to feel into those concerns and meet the energies behind them directly. In doing so, the concept “working out” relaxed for me. I didn’t feel as responsible or attached to it. I see the same with the concept “trust.”

Taking this into inquiry, we can look right now to see if trust is something that exists on its own, that we’re responsible for doing, and that, if we don’t, things . . . well . . . won’t work out.

Look at these letters, on their own: T-R-U-S-T.

Are those letters themselves this thing called trust? Does that T actually trust something?

Do you feel a feeling in your body when you look at those words? Go there. Feel it. Stay with it. Quietly feel around and see, is that trust? Is that sensation, on its own, identifying itself as trust? Rest here a moment and have a look.

 

What about an image of someone or something you trust? Is that image, appearing like a memory, trust? Can that image itself trust something?

How about this thought, “But if I don’t trust, I’ll just be scared”? Are those words, on their own, trust?

And what about the feeling that comes with that thought? What about the scared feeling? Let it rip. Feel scared. Like fully. Meet it right here and rest with it.

Now look into that feeling. Where is trust? Note any thoughts that come with the feeling. Are those sets of words or images, on their own, trust?

Also, look and see if that feeling of “scared”, on its own — just the sensation itself — is a threat. Can that sensation hurt you? Let your mind go quiet and have a look.

 

This is what I do almost every day both with client friends and also either on my own or with other facilitators. Delving deeply into these concepts helps me meet the areas where I’m holding on with fear.

What if both trust and not-trust are equally irrelevant? What if even trust can drop away? Then what?

 

I’ve been experiencing a fluidity that doesn’t need my worried mind to try to soothe it. Trying to feel comfort by worrying is like trying to dry off with a soaking wet towel. Get this, though: I’m not saying to squelch any thoughts or any feelings that come through. In fact, I’m recommending the opposite. Express it all. Whether it be in writing, a doodle, or with a friend or in an inquiry session, give it all room to come through. Notice that nothing sticks. Not the letters T-R-U-S-T. Not the sound “truh-sst”. Not even the feelings that come through the body that I associate with worry or even relaxation. It’s all free to come and go, but I don’t have to bank on any of it.

Speaking of banking, it seems ironic in a way, that not long after the years of humbling that I described above, I’m leading a course about money. I’m thrilled about it and am delighted to share this type of looking with friends. We look deeply into “money” as an object. We look directly at our worries about money. We look for the solid substance in all of it. Where is the actual threat that we need to worry about? Where is the self who needs to manage all of this or has to hold onto the concept of trusting that it will all work out?

Going beyond trust leaves a resting in the natural fluidity of life. I don’t know what will be given. I don’t know what inspiration will come. Or not come. All I aim to do, if anything, is to feel, express and relax. Does this leave me unmotivated? Perhaps in some ways, but certainly not in others. As you see, I’m writing this blog post. Tonight I’m bringing The Therapy Booth to a party and will join with friends there. I have plans for travel to see my family this fall. But, even now, I can’t say for sure that anything will come to pass other than just the clicking of these fingers on this keyboard and the hearing of the plane flying overhead. It’s like the same free fall that I felt when sitting in the HR director’s office. Only there’s no falling, no landing. To me, if trust lies anywhere anymore, that’s it. More accurately but never perfectly described, it’s beyond trust.

With much love,

Carina

P.S. If you are interested in knowing more about the Living Inquiries or would like assistance in looking in this way, email me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com. Also join us on Facebook for a community of folks who are looking together. Trust me when I say, there’s nothing at all that compares with actually joining with a facilitator to look. Intellectual understanding won’t cut it. And yeah, I see that I just typed the words “trust me.” Weee! There’s the delight in this! The word can still appear! Empty and perhaps pointing at the same time . . .

P.P.S. Here is the complete list that I made of What I Want from the Airstream Life. I love that this describes my world right now:

freedom
spontaneity
natural sleep cycle
beautiful places
beautiful new friends
new places & locations
creativity
creative inspiration
rest
physical health & wellness
freedom from an office (ALH) [those are the initials of the hospital where I’d been working]
pay, for what I do naturally
complete leap of faith
peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace

Funny, I thought “no bra” was on there, too. Happily that, too, has come true.

4 Comments »

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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Have you met my friend?

broken record

I feel like a broken record sometimes, posting again and again about experiencing and expressing all sorts of emotions. Here I am today, carrying on the conversation.

I have two parents who have been very focused in their work life. They’ve had careers straight out of graduate school that they’ve been thriving in ever since. They’re both innovators and experts and I admire them both for what they bring to their respective fields. And I’ve also envied them their focus. They’ve known what they wanted to engage in and have been doing it for 40+ years.

In some of our classic father/daughter head butting moments, my dad has told me that I don’t stick with anything. That besides my graduate degree, I don’t finish anything. Okay, Dad, to be fair, it’s been about a year since you’ve said that out loud to me (but I remember). And I’ve wondered about how true it is and also whether or not it’s a problem. I could say that I have a short attention span. I dabble in this and dabble in that. I have an English degree, a few semesters of an Anthropology maters, a social work masters, a certification in nutritional counseling and private chef-ing, and about a billion blogs all over the internet, most of them forgotten by now.

But one thing that’s been consistent over the years is this: freedom in feeling and expressing.

Let me introduce you to an old friend who can help me tell this story.

This is my beloved Sleepy Zombie Monster. He came to me on my birthday, 2007 (funny, it’s the same day another long-term love showed up in my life, but that’s another book in and of itself . . . ). I had been feeling sad that the fella I was into at the time wasn’t contacting me in the way I wanted him to on that day. This was years before the Unfindable and Boomerang Inquiries showed up, so I didn’t really know how to look into what that meant for me without taking on more self-shaming. All I knew was that he wasn’t calling me and I felt bad about that. But what made it so much worse was that I also believed something was wrong with me for having that response. I spent the whole day in this fog, unable to accept the warmth and generosity that my friends were giving and feeling really really fucked up for not being able to.

That afternoon I went home and took a nap and when I woke up, I saw that the fog was clearing. And I thought, “Wow, what a zombie mood I’ve been in.” And then, the image of this big purple furry creature with long eyelashes showed up and the words Sleepy Zombie Monster came, too. I saw, in that moment, that there was something benevolent about this creature. He was not harmful, but he was more a representation of the first line of thoughts and feelings that were naturally coming through but that were being (failingly and awkwardly) repressed by the second line of thoughts and feelings of shame, embarrassment, “what’s wrong with me, even after all these years of therapy?”, etc. Have you been there?

So I developed this relationship (and, following that, a workshop) with this imaginary friend. I learned that there were cues that I could notice that indicated that he was hanging around. The clearest one for me was the sense that there was a veil between me and everything I was looking at. It was almost as if I couldn’t see, even though my eyes were open, because there was so much heaviness hanging over me. I learned to look for the Sleepy Zombie Monster when I recognized the cues, and I’d just turn and ask him what he wanted or needed in that moment. Sometimes he wanted to dance. Sometimes he wanted to leave where we were and wanted to go do something else. Other times he just wanted me to sit down with him and rest, breathe, relax.

He popped up on a 10-day meditation course I was on where there was no talking and nothing particularly fun to do. When I interacted with him there (and, let me tell you, it was a good place to have a friend!), I told him that we were doing this so we could be nicer to each other. He said, “I definitely want you to be nicer to me!” and so I told him we were staying for a few more day, and we held hands and took a walk together. The next time I did a 10-day course, he really wanted to comfort a gal who was in the woods crying, but we aren’t allowed to interact with other people, so we just hoped she had her own Sleepy Zombie Monster and we went on about our way. (The gal ended up leaving the course the next day.)

I’m pretty sure he put in an appearance around here these past few days. I’ve been experiencing some deep feelings, both “good” and “bad” (that distinction, perhaps, lies at the heart of the issue, but that, too, is another post), and realized I was holding off some of both sides. The greatest freedom that came to me in this stretch was in seeing that I thought there was something wrong with feeling and thinking whatever was coming through.

In Living Inquiries, we look to see if we can actually find a separate self who is the generator and experiencer of these comings and goings. It’s a beautiful process. It’s especially great in this context, for one who has thought again and again that hiding out so as not to expose this natural weather of emotion was how life should be. Ugh. How miserable is that! I don’t know if this is true, but it seems like I picked up some ideas in my childhood about how anger and sadness were not okay and that being cheerful and pleasant and kind and successful and smart were the only roads to love and safety and security. But I’ve found that to be bullshit, if you don’t mind my saying so.

Actually, I don’t care if you do mind. I’m saying so anyway. That’s bullshit.

We are creatures with a full range of emotions and innocent thoughts. It’s funny, too, how I don’t analyze a thought like “I love this song,” but I will analyze the heck out of “I love this man.” And if my foot itches, I don’t analyze or blame myself for that, but if I’m experiencing energies in the body that I might label anxiety, I am more likely to follow all sorts of thoughts about what it means about me. It’s pretty classic.

In my experience so far, looking deeply into all of this begins with the allowing of it all. Including the allowing and meeting of the repression or holding-back feelings. I usually find that, once those holding-back feelings and thoughts are met, the underlying thoughts and feelings have more space to come through.

In the end, nothing sticks. I’m a fan of knowing that, too. Which is where this all ties in with expression and creativity, for me. I read something in a Natalie Goldberg book about a poem she’d written that was really sad. She reads it at public readings and she said that people often come up to her with such gloom and doom responses, asking her, “Isn’t it awful to go through this again?” while she reads it. But she said no. She said that once it was written and fully expressed, it lost its charge, its own doom and gloom, and she feels quite good now, thank you very much.

So to use a word from a chat with a friend today, the ephemeral nature of everything is its own paradox. When we express fully, no holds barred, nothing but nothing can stick. It seems like it’s the holding back of expressing that, in some way, keeps stuff around and makes it seem personal.

As always, I could say so much on this topic, I’ll go ahead and wrap up for now. Perhaps one day this will all turn into a book. But what would it be like if I completed a book? Dad and I would have to have a new conversation.

I love you soooo much, and wish you all freedom in feeling, down to the dirtiest, up to the highest, and everything in between. Stay in touch. Love, Carina

xx

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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.

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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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