The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

My Miracle Morning (s)

Hello! In this post I will be telling you about my experiences with exercises from a book called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guarantee to Transform Your Life (Before 8am) by Hal Elrod.

During an extremely challenging period of his life, Hal decided to learn the habits of the most successful people around. He created The Miracle Morning routine by combining the six most commonly used habits he came across. Turns out they are congruent with a lot of things that happen around The Therapy Booth, but I wasn’t doing them all in one sitting.

123 days ago, I started taking Hal’s advice. Here’s a look at Hal Elrod’s six “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” and my first four months of using them:

December 31, 2017, I woke up in the morning sluggish and dragging, but I knew I had to get up and get going. I was about to clean a house where I’d been house sitting and move to a new location.

I went to YouTube looking for a certain book on audio to keep me company while I cleaned up and moved. The book I sought wasn’t available, but in a moment I can only describe as grace, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod popped up in the YouTube suggestions. (* Note: I just checked, and the book is no longer available on YouTube, but my library has both the audio and hard copy available to borrow, and yours probably does too. *)

I’d been struggling in the mornings. Not wanting to wake up. Feeling simultaneously overwhelmed by life’s circumstances and, at the same time, rudderless. I saw the book title and thought it was worth a go. I knew I could use a helpful shift.

Hal’s conversation resonated with me. He laid out the following activities with compelling arguments for doing all of them, first thing, each day. I’ll share with you here how I do my “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” as Hal Elrod calls them.

Before I introduce the S.A.V.E.R.S., a note:

Unlike many in The Miracle Morning on-line community on Facebook (about 150,000 members and highly recommended), I do not set my alarm for 5 a.m. and get up in the dark. I sleep until I wake up. It varies each day. If I do have something specific to be up for, I’ll set my alarm early so I can do my Miracle Morning routine. But as my schedule is my own, I have stayed with my natural rhythms. This is neither advocating for or against that, I just don’t want to misrepresent as an early bird, as that has not happened as of this writing.

Now, here are the steps that Hal lays out in The Miracle Morning that I have been following for 123 days, with great benefit:

S is for SCRIBE
In my Miracle Morning:
I have been a loyal writer of Morning Pages for many years, maybe ten.

Prior to beginning TMM, I was writing Morning Pages most days. For a year or so, I have also been including a “visioning page” in which I write the day as if it’s already happened, enthusiastically imagining how well things went. Then I make a simple doodle of how I’d like the day to go and write a short list of what I’m grateful for in the present moment. That routine takes me about 40 minutes. I’m sure the folks doing TMM aren’t all doing this level of journaling. You could use this time to write your plans for the day, hopes and fears, gratitude, whatever you like.

A is for AFFIRMATIONS
In my Miracle Morning:
I’ve been having a really sweet time with this one since I started doing them while looking in the mirror. I’ve been doing mirror work for a handful of years, and I know from experience that looking myself in the eyes in the mirror and saying kind and genuinely supportive things has a surprisingly infinite return value. It’s hard to explain, but I do recommend it. There are some subtleties to mirror work, and once you work out the kinks, it’s a gorgeous practice.

Nowadays I usually stop and talk with myself in the mirror right after I brush my teeth, kicking of TMM with love and sweetness. Examples: I love you, Carin; life loves me; you’re doing so great; I’m so proud of you; I know you’re feeling concerned about ________; and you’re doing so great, and I’m here with you; you’re doing great; I love you, Carin, so much. This morning I noticed I was feeling tense, and I relaxed and said, There’s always time to breathe. A good note on which to start the day. You can say affirmations however and about whatever you like. The key is just that you believe what you’re saying to yourself. Otherwise, it’s like you’re driving with the breaks on.

This section lasts me 2 – 3 minutes. Or more or less. It’s more just that I do it long enough to feel the benefit.

V is for VISUALIZATION
In my Miracle Morning:
This has been a surprisingly fun section for me. Like affirmations, genuine visualization is a muscle and there are subtleties to it. I’m having a great time daydreaming — something I’ve done since I was a little girl — and lining my body and mind up with what I’m dreaming of. I’ve learned to relax into super simple visions if I’m uptight and can’t get into a complex fantasy. I’ve learned to notice when I’m not really feeling it and shifting over to something that comes more naturally. The longer I visualize, the more wild and fun my fantasies become. I love to open myself up and relax and see what comes. In one of my favorite spontaneous moments, just before my little timer went off, I was dreaming that I was giving meditation sessions (resting sessions) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Patti Smith had come; and when my timer went off, Patti and I were just talking about getting together at a coffee shop to do a little writing. OMG drool. I’m into it. πŸ™‚ I visualize for up to 10 minutes, averaging about seven minutes daily.

E is for EXERCISE
In my Miracle Morning: Oh Hallelujah. I needed this.
A lot of times in my Morning Pages, especially leading up to starting TMM, I’d write that I needed to/should/even wanted to exercise and meditate, but I wouldn’t do it. Thanks now to The Miracle Morning, I’m doing all three! I do any of a vast variety of things for exercise. Today I only did about five minutes, but I did 100 sit ups! Many days, I move along with power walking videos on YouTube, or I put on a Dead and Company show and dance for 10 – 15 minutes.

Lots of times I take a walk. I was sick recently, and on the first few days, I just did legs-up-the-wall yoga pose. It felt great and was good for my immune system and counts as exercise, yes indeed. I’ve learned over the years that consistency beats quantity in establishing and keeping to a habit. Being flexible but consistent on the exercise has been super beneficial. I’ve definitely lost a few pounds and feel more confident, in general.

R is for READING
In my Miracle Morning:
This is a section I can say definitely wouldn’t have been happening without TMM. This s the section in which we read — for a few minutes each morning — something inspiring or in the realm of personal development. It so happened that I’d checked out such a book from the library right before I started TMM

. I can tell you with certainty that I would not have read past the first chapter of that book had I not had time set aside for it each day. I read the whole thing (Ask for It by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever) and have even found it coming in handy already, as, for example, I just sold my car and negotiated for more than I was offered. That was a pretty good win, I’d say, considering I’m still new at this sort of stuff.

I’m currently reading Walking in This World by Julia Cameron, and I feel so grateful each day when I get to read a little and do some of the exercises. Also, reading has led me to listening to more audio books, and I’ve listened to several lately that have been making a difference for me. I’m a stickler for reading with my eyes, so even if I listen to an audiobook, I still do my R section of the S.A.V.E.R.S. on paper (or on occasion, Kindle). Many people listen to audiobooks while doing their exercise. I read for 5 – 20 minutes.

S is for SILENCE
In my Miracle Morning:
I couldn’t be more thankful for a daily assignment than this! Anywhere from a few minutes up to a half hour, or more if I’m doing inquiry, I get this gift every day. And I get to radiate it into the world. There are few things that I feel more confident in than resting the mind. I wrote about it for a year straight and continue to throw that hashtag around on the regular.

Even one or two quiet moments are doorways to infinity. If something’s really picking at me, I take my time and self-facilitate Living Inquiries; a better use of my time, I do not know. Maybe playing music, or maybe it’s a tie. Either way, the gift is in the pause. As with each of these S.A.V.E.R.S. — the gift is the pattern interrupt, indeed a new-pattern-created, that is fully supportive of our individual well-being so that we may show up in the world fully ourselves and bring our gifts.

I could talk lots more about this topic, so if you have questions or would like clarification, make a comment! Also, as above, I recommend The Miracle Morning Community Facebook group! It’s one of the most genuinely positive spaces I’ve seen on Facebook, and I get lots of inspiration there.

Let me know if you decide to give it a try! It’s like creating your own Therapy Booth around you to take with you throughout the day. Awe yeah.

 

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Experiencing Self-Compassion Directly

“I feel jealous!”

(Try just feeling jealous, then.)

“I feel angry.”

(What happens if you just feel angry?)

“I feel so sad!”

(Go ahead and feel so sad.)

“I am elated!”

(Experience elated directly. Feel it from within!)

“I don’t feel anything.”

(How does that feel? Take a moment to experience it as it is.)

“I feel in love and it scares me.”

(Feel it all. Tell it out loud, too.)

“But I feel so ashamed.”

(What does ashamed feel like? What if you turn right toward it instead of away?)

“Mmmmm, I feel compassion for myself.”

(Rest there, dear heart. Rest there.)

Image source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/importance-of-self-compassion.html

Image source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/importance-of-self-compassion.html

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Trusting Rest

Since May or June this year, I’ve been writing a blog called Trust Rest. I wanted to document and also commit to exploring what is the most trustworthy path: Is it following thoughts, fears, others’ opinions and advice, or is it resting, allowing the mind and body to quiet (without denying any of it either) and seeing how life unfolds? If we sit still long enough, the body, eventually, gets up and goes to the bathroom or the kitchen or the store or for a walk or writes something. At least this is true in my experience so far.

On this blog I’ve been more or less keeping a diary of my experiences, sometimes meandering away from the core question, and coming around again in my time. Sometimes I post poems. When I am most trustful of rest, I am a prolific writer and artist. It is my natural state.

I was inspired yesterday to create a book from what I am studying and what I’ve been practicing. Sharing the good news with myself and everyone else. Sharing the tools I’m using in the exploration. Giving a little good cheer and encouragement (Rest and Creativity Encouragement, as my job title suggests).

I so strongly see that this exploration, trusting rest, cannot be done half-heartedly. That is, there comes a time when the rubber really does have to meet the road. I’m not only simply trusting rest but also really tuning into where my heart is guided and what is inspiring and resonant for me. If there’s anything I can encourage others in, it’s the same thing. What is your specific joy? Are you free to declare it and ask for it and have it in your life?

I experience openness, magic, confidence and delight that I never knew I would. I also see places where I have doubts, fears, old thought patterns. What I’m suggesting is a major shift from how I was raised in this world. Some around me know that this makes total sense and that it is cutting edge. Others will not be able to make sense of me, though they’ll often still feel like there’s something benevolent here, something vital. They might even feel a longing for it, even if they can’t quite name it for themselves.

I have found out again and again too — also under the trusting rest umbrella — that I cannot fit myself into any box or action that doesn’t feel natural in the moment. This doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t have to do things I don’t particularly want to do or that I don’t have to put some effort toward, because even in those times, there’s a rightness to it. I can’t explain it. It’s a feeling in my body, my finely tuned internal compass. And that’s what I’m here to write about. And if I can share and encourage it, then that is really great. It’s wonderful to live from the soul.

I’ve been wanting to come to The Therapy Booth page to share the other blog with you, so here it is:

Trust Rest.

The most recent blog post shares my inspiration for the book about turning to the genius within, unique and wonderful in each of us. The post also contains an opportunity to contribute to the project. “If you feel inspired to support this project, I gratefully and happily accept donations. It’s super helpful not to have to put my energies toward other things and to be able to focus deeply on this β€” where my focus already is. <3

I have a donation button (“Pay Now”) on the right column of this blog, if you feel something in your heart for this project.

In any case, I hope you’ll follow the Trust Rest blog as well. I have the vision at some point that someone will take my various projects and create a clearing house site that covers all the different things I’m up to (inquiry, art, writing, resting, classes, etc.). But I’m trusting my instinct that I’m not the one to do that particular project just at the moment, though I want to share with you all what I’m up to. I have also been leading guided rest calls every two weeks that are an absolute joy. Email me (thetherapybooth@gmail.com) if you would like a sample recording of a call.

I guess that’s about it for now! I’m happy to be sharing this part of my world here and am really thrilled to be diving even more deeply into my own integrity. Let me know if I can be of use and stay tuned. Love to you all. x

#trustrest

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No Pushing Necessary

beatles

As some wise fellas once sang, Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream . . .Β  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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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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