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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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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