The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

No Pushing Necessary

beatles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

relax pool

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What Feels Good to You Right Now?

pause

What feels good right now?

I had lots of thoughts of what I could do — busy work type stuff that I haven’t had a chance to get to. Marketing some classes, promoting some others. Moving to another location sometime today. Strategizing. Seems like there are things to think about, manipulate, have a hand in, such that life will occur as safe and supportive.

Sometimes the push toward this comes from a sense of fear. And sometimes that sense is super subtle, perhaps because it’s so familiar it isn’t noticed. Like when the fan’s been running and it suddenly shuts off, there’s an awareness of the absence of that sound, when the sound hadn’t been in my consciousness before.

Hindsightedly, the sneaky sense of I-have-to-manage-this becomes apparent. Nice also to catch it in action, when that happens, and pause then, too. Check in: what feels good?

A moment ago, I paused and asked myself, “What sounds fun? What are you inspired by? And how would you like to share it?”

I saw quickly that I want to share an on-line doodle class (cuz my doodle classes are always of massive benefit to me, as well as to the other participants, so it’s a super win all-around), and I saw something about how I was feeling to charge for it.

I was somewhat scrambling to get a new course up because I was thinking that I need to get some money in — and soon. I had that sense that I had to manage this, but I wasn’t really aware of that. I felt some strain, and I was trying to relieve it by spinning my wheels and something wasn’t feeling quite right. When I paused to feel into what I would get into now, I saw that I’m much more interested in sharing from the heart because this stuff lights me up and because I know it’s a benefit to those who participate. And I didn’t feel to be hung up on making sure a certain amount of money comes in. Right this minute, that even feels irrelevant.

I’ve been more and more inspired to move away from a tit-for-tat mentality. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore. There’s something about keeping score and making even trades that has seemed inefficient and contrived. TheFreeDictionary.com defines contrived as not spontaneous or natural, and that makes a lot of sense to me. Don’t get me wrong: I am not eschewing the giving or receiving of money or other objects and opportunities in trade. I love to receive money, and I love to give it. I am also happy to be able to receive some services that I might not have the cash to pay for because I do have other valuable skills that are worthy of a trade. But if we’re always trying to match up dollar for dollar, hour for hour, where is the freedom in that? Where are we inspired in heart to give?

If you’d like to learn about someone who is very conscientiously and intentionally living this way, check out my friend Michael Skye’s Indegogo Campaign,
VISIONARY HEART: Bringing Down My Walls, Standing For My People.

What drives my doodle class inspiration is my desire to share what I know and love. I’ll get into the joys of doodling in its own post, but, for now, I’ll say that I know that turning toward my passions is what feels right. Not scrambling to figure out how I’ll get paid next. Seeing how my body relaxed with that shift gave me even more pause. So much so that I came here to write about it a bit.

Nice also to see that I do come to write on this blog, eventually. I have the occasional thought that I should be writing or posting something here more often. Add that to my list of things-I-believe-I-have-to-manage. It’s welcome to hang out there, but, ultimately, the writing — and the pausing — come when they do.

If you take a pause right now, what feels good to you?

P.S. Here’s the link to the Doodle Gathering Invite!

resting

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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.

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Things Deep in Your Own Heart

moon_girl38

It’s a pity, a gentleman in refined retirement composing poetry:
He models his work on the classic verse of China.
And his poems are elegant, full of fine phrases.
But if you don’t write of things deep in your own heart,
What’s the use of churning out so many words?

– Ryokan (Japan, 1758–1831)

I came across this beautiful passage today from a Zen poet living nearly two hundred years ago in Japan. I’d first come across a different passage from him that touched on the quiet of this day, the laziness of a rainy morning, the comfort in stillness.

I’d woken with a mixture of restlessness and heaviness. A strange combination. The head, foggy, as if I hadn’t had enough sleep or I’d been trying to unplug my nose with a Benadryl (which I hadn’t). Emotions warm and watery, feeling like I could use a good cry — you know the kind. Talking with my housemates last night and setting a date for me to vacate this place where I’ve been harbored for almost a year now. It can lead the mind to tales of aloneness: words like lonely, scared, on my own can come through. A feeling of heaviness across the forehead. A feeling of fatigue.

And still, at the heart of it all, a stillness, a settled quiet, a sense of resting in the midst of it all.

This phase I’m in — sometimes fondly called my mid-life crisis — is woven with ups and downs, joys and fears, departures and arrivals.

And when the river seems to be dammed up, clogged with swirling thoughts and attempts to manage one feeling or another, few things soothe like the flow of expression. Weaving stories from the heart of woe or fear or love or longing or delight or bliss or any other avenue that feels alive in the moment: what joy, what natural relief, what undivided love of life coming through.

This little post on my other blog came out of that warmth (and those beautiful Ryokan lines) today: http://whatamidoingup.tumblr.com/post/44873964742.

Few things comfort me than the true showing of my heart.

I made a little video recently about a few of the things I love about facilitating and practicing Scott Kiloby‘s Living Inquiries. This seems like a good time to share it, since I talk about relaxing (always a favorite topic) and creative expression. And as I leave you with the video, I also leave you with an invitation to do a little expressing yourself today. Throw a little poem to the wind, giving of your heart and its deepest loves and longings. Free to tell, free to let the river flow, free to relax back into the great movement of life, letting the unique expression of the seven billion fingers on the hand of God come through.

Please feel free to share here or write to thethearpybooth@gmail.com.

P.S. In the evening yesterday, I wrote the following note to a friend. I felt to add it here.

It’s been a sweet evening here. The passing of states never fails to amaze me. This morning was so foggy and rainy in my head and heart. I kept getting these glimpses through it, like a door opened a crack, where there was no trace of the emotion at all. I just looked after myself and did what felt good at the time. Fascinated, later in the day, to find no trace of it at all. I love that. To marry the feelings and cuddle up with them somehow has them go on their way. Quiet continues. Love you xxxxx

I love you. And now, here’s the little video:

 

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