Friday, October 26, 2012

Deepening into the Living Inquiries Intensive

I am pleased to be offering a small group intensive, Deepening into the Living Inquiries, for those interested in the direct experience of gently unraveling the seemingly knotted roots of suffering.

The Living Inquiries, developed and taught by Scott Kiloby, are a magnificent gift to the world of healing, self-help and therapies. And they are like nothing else I’ve ever experienced in any therapy in the past. Whereas I once believed that I was the problem – thoughts, feelings, and just all-around me – I’ve come to see directly that this problem was not, in fact, as I’d always believed.

We all have stories about ourselves. Often they are some version of a deficiency — a way of saying “not good enough” — ranging from unlikeable or unlovable to not attractive or impressive enough to total failure and everything in between. Then there are the stories we have about ourselves to keep ourselves boosted: I am good enough, I am worthy, I am rich and abundant forevermore. We notice, when we look more closely at these stories, that they are usually sitting on top of the deficiency stories. In telling the latter, we’re hoping to deny or replace the former, when, deep down, it’s the deficiency story that rings the most true for us.

In the Living Inquiries, we slowly, gently and powerfully look into each aspect of these ways we see ourselves and find out, directly, where the substance is. We look in the present experience to find the self who is unlovable, unattractive, failing, lost, lonely, etc. This method leaves no stone unturned and no stone rejected. Every piece of our experience is honored, from the sweetest to the darkest, and we gently as the question, Is that me?

As a facilitator of the Living Inquiries, I often meet people who say, “Well, that’s obvious,” when, deepdown, the beliefs are still running the show. This is not a mental nor logical exercise. It is not about gaining new insights or explaining why I think how I do, feel how I do, live how I do. This is experiencing openness and freedom in ways that cannot be told nor analyzed. Without going to the mind and analysis, we look, directly. In fact, we let the mind and all its conclusions rest. This is actually freedom from drawing conclusions. This is freedom to live.

But you know what? I’ve already said way too much.

I’m not a fan of dangling carrots and promises.

I’m a fan of looking — simply, directly, thoroughly and gently — into our unique experience and seeing what happens from there.

In addition to my regular individual sessions in the Living Inquiries, Deepening into the Living Inquiries is an eight-week on-line course. Note: this course is a required prerequisite to any future facilitator training. The dates and times are as follows:

Group Sessions
Tuesday, November 6, 6:30 – 8:30 pm CST
Tuesday, November 20, 6:30 – 8:30 pm CST
Tuesday, December 4, 6:30 – 8:30 pm CST

Also included in the course:
- four individual inquiry sessions (60 – 90 minutes each)
- a copy of Scott Kiloby’s Living Relationship ebook
- a private Facebook group for participants of this course to share experiences, ask questions and receive support

Total course cost is $400.

The course will cover the Unfindable Inquiry and the new and highly effective Compulsion Inquiry, which we’ve seen work on anything from compulsive eating to internet addiction to compulsively seeking enlightenment.

If you are interested in this or future trainings, please contact me at to register and get your questions answered. As soon as you register, you will receive Scott’s Living Relationship ebook and you can start digging in right away.

If the dates and times for this course don’t work for you, you can find other course schedules on the Relationship and the Unfindable Self page on Facebook at Here you will also find testimonials of folks who have been working directly with the inquiries. Take a look and see if something resonates for you!

And write to me! There are just a few spaces left in this class, and I’d love to have you as one of them.

Looking forward to looking with you.

Much love,

P.S. Read some posts in the spirit of the inquiries at

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Paradox of Freedom

This post was originally published at

 Innocent, by Alexei Harlamov (1842-1923)

Innocence. It’s not what I once thought it was.

My name, Carin, is a Swedish variation on the English name Katherine, whose deep etymological roots are open for debate, but whose more modern (like a few thousand years ago, modern) meaning comes from the Greek kathaors, or pure. One of the possible roots of kathaors, also from Greek, is aikia, meaning torture.

And here we meet the paradox of freedom, the innocence in the darkness, purity in the torture.

When engaging in Living Inquiries with another person, the lines of separation blur. There is a melding of the facilitator and the one being facilitated, often in simple recognition. Every time I talk with someone, I hear something of myself in what they’re sharing, what they’re suffering, what they’re loving. I met with a man today who touched right into the heart of loneliness, just met it straight on and openly. Having been there, I smiled. What a great joy to touch that, with someone else there to relax with you. Not to add anything onto it. Not to take it away. The river flowing, unencumbered.

Also today I met with a woman who said that her emotions are all over the place. She said it’s likely pre-menstrual, but she wasn’t focused on that aspect of it. Just yesterday I wrote a post to our Living Inquiry Facebook group talking about my intense irritability – that was likely hormonal, but that even the description PMS wasn’t sticking to. It was just straight-on feelings.

So here I am, joining with these friends, even coming off of a morning of feeling pretty irritable and grumpy myself, resting together and mutually witnessing the minutiae of direct experience, straight-on feelings. And as I look, together, with them, I see the pure heart of innocence, even amidst what may feel like at times like torture.

Not calling the grief by name, not labeling the buzzing physical experience, we come to see that we are not culpable in the way we’ve always suspected or believed we are.

The very first time I ever met Scott Kiloby, my teacher and the author of the Living Inquiries, I was upset about the way I was clinging to my boyfriend, no matter how distant or withdrawn he was from me. I wasn’t feeling or behaving in a way that I thought I should, and I felt morally and mortally awful about it. Scott said to me, “I remember having relationships like that. The more they pulled away, the more I went toward them.” He paused and said, “I never did figure out why I did that.” And, right there, I recognized something radical. This guy wasn’t going to tell me to fix myself or get out of my relationship or look into my parents’ relationship history to diagnose and better me. All he did was point me to my own direct experience. As he talked with me that day, all he saw was innocence. Even amidst the torture.

Sitting with these folks today, it is this familiarity, this recognition, that breeds such empty compassion. By empty I don’t mean lacking or devoid of anything. In fact, it is all-inclusive. In that way, there is an emptiness. A lack of any particular structure, organization or list. There is no registry stating which feelings, thoughts or emotions are acceptable and which are not. That book has been thrown overboard miles back.

And it’s not just facilitating these sessions that has me plainly see this equanimity; it’s experiencing the inquiries first hand. I’ve had many hours of sessions with my fellow facilitators, as well as experiencing the inquiries infiltrating my day to day life. This is the direct route to true compassion: finding out — right in the fiery intense heat of emotion, of grief, of longing, of jealousy, of smoldering rage — if there is anything there that isn’t pure innocence.

When I was younger and looked up the meaning of my name and found out that it was derived from a word meaning the pure one, I just thought, “Yeah, right.” I may not have been the wildest child on the block, but I certainly wasn’t the most farm fresh either. I could imagine all sorts of sins that I’d committed by a pretty young age, many of them simply in thoughts or fantasies, that I’m pretty sure canceled out my name’s worth of virtue. Add on another 20+ years with mad forays hither and yon, and I just wouldn’t relate to my name’s origins at all. At least not the “pure” side. And the “torture” side, although I have experienced my moments in life, I wouldn’t fully relate to that one either. And anyway, who wants a name that means severe pain?

But now, as I put them together, as I inquire, as I watch others inquire, they all meld into an intimacy with life, a joyful reunion of the purity of the pain, the freshness of each moment, no matter what.

I would have thought that innocence meant untouched by drugs, sex, or dramas, unexposed to life’s suffering. And, in a way, it is untouched. As the woman said to me today, in the midst of her stormy weather, there was a thread that ran through it all, a restful space, even as the maelstrom blew roofs off houses and flooded the roadways. We notice and rest in that which is untouched and see that it is all innocent.  Innocence unencumbered by changing moods, thoughts, physical responses or rivers of tears. Purity and torture, seen to be inseparable, and, upon close examination, seen also to be unfindable.

If you have any doubt about this, and you’d like to find out for directly, contact me or another Living Inquiries facilitator and we’ll look together.

* * * * *

If you’d like to go further with the Living Inquiries, visit to make an appointment,

or find us on Facebook at: to meet other facilitators and join the community conversation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

April Creative Freedom Classes - April 28 & 29

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. ~ George Lois

Register now for April 2012 Creative Freedom classes!

"I loved the exercises and it's been a healing time -- the time went to fast! I so enjoyed being open and genuine!" A.C., Austin, TX

Next class is April 28 & 29.

You, too, can doodle pictures of your teacher (that’s me!) like one student did in the last class:

Here’s more feedback from the March class:

* Scrumptious! Sooo much fun!

* Very rewarding! So much more than CEUs.

* Excited to use these techniques with my clients in session or on my own to help center myself between appointments.

Join us for the next sessions of Creative Freedom
(in life and in therapy).

This class is open to everyone, and we provide
6 hours of CEUs to Social Workers and LPCs

About the class:

Through direct experience, I have come to know the benefits of using writing and visual arts in therapeutic ways. Whether you want to access your creative muse or whether you want to give freedom to all of your feelings, I encourage therapeutic creative exercises, 100%.

In this two session class, we will practice techniques to put words to that which we have been reluctant yet eager to express, and we will use visual arts to paint a picture of life that’s fully allowed and welcomed.

Practical and fresh skills to use in therapy and in life.

Sat. April 28, 1 – 4 pm
Sun. April 29, 1 – 4 pm

$75 (6 hours of CEUs)

3355 Bee Caves, Suite 510, Austin 78746

Please register in advance by clicking the “Buy Now” button on this page or email

A few additional supplies are required. Complete list given upon registration.

Registration is limited to 8 participants per 2 session class.
Call Carin at 847-732-0932 with questions.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peace Now

(Originally published in the Stay Open Newsletter, Feb. 2010)

Greetings, friends. It's always good to be here to share with you.

It's more and more obvious to me that solutions do not arise from thinking about some imagined future . . .

I've had something on my mind for days, mentally toying with me, showing up as thoughts that ask me about how I'm going to manipulate the future. As if I could know anything like that!

Today I realized a sweet and subtle distinction. I felt the sensation of waiting. I felt the mentally un-relaxed state of waiting. As if I couldn't relax now, but in some imagined future, when I tackled the supposed problem, then I could relax -- maybe. Of course the thoughts aren't sure about the future either. So in the moment, I was neither relaxed, nor was I convinced that relaxation was possible in the future, yet I was projecting myself ahead to a moment when relaxation might be possible.

Then, I simply relaxed. I let my thoughts come to rest and noticed what remained.

Peace is available now. There's no other time that you'll ever find it. In fact, it's not something that can be found. It is naturally here - right now - no matter what is arising on the surface.

If you notice that you're casting yourself mentally into some unknown and non-existent future, please don't scold yourself. Don't cause yourself more suffering by making that wrong. Nothing is a problem. Instead, you can just take that moment of noticing to rest. That's it. And then, for that moment, peace.

The restful moment may be fleeting, as all moments, thoughts, emotions, and sensations are, but you have given yourself the opportunity to recognize what is always available no matter what is arising on the surface.

Thoughts and emotions are not problems. The mind that wants to sort things out and plan for unknown variables is not a problem. In fact, they can all be gifts, pointing us home to what is always present, unchanging, stable and peaceful.

The more we can recognize these moments of waiting for peace, and take the opportunity to rest now, the more mellow things become. We find that - in this moment - there is no problem. There may be something that you need to tend to presently, and if so, you do. And if there isn't, you get to have a real slice of life. You are actually living now. Life is spontaneously taking care of all that needs to be cared for.

As I write this I have my front door open and can see the once gray and now chalky white sky and evening approaching this February day in Texas. Across the street I can see just the hint of green fuzz on a tree, mixed with the spidery branches of winter limbs. The rocking chair on the porch is still, yet somehow vibrant, in its effortless existence.

Nothing has changed in the supposed situation that my mind was trying to solve. Nothing is needed. Life is totally managing itself. And when the moment arises that something needs to be done, I can rest assured, it will be. It cannot be any other way.

Peace is now.

But don't take my word for it. Verify for yourself by taking brief moments of rest when you notice this problem-solving tendency in yourself.

* * * * *

If questions arise from this writing, please email

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Class: Creative Freedom in Therapy & Life

*** please note: new dates! ***

From the Creative Expression Series . . .

Creative Freedom in

presented by Carin Channing, LCSW

This class is open to everyone, and we provide
6 hours of CEUs to Social Workers and LPCs.

Through direct experience, I have come to know the benefits of using writing and visual arts in therapeutic ways. Whether you want to access your creative muse or whether you want to unleash feelings that aren't satisfied with just talking about or sitting with them, I stand by therapeutic creative exercises, 100%.

The more we allow our complete and natural experience to be expressed, the more we can experience freedom in all emotional states.

In this two session class, we will practice techniques to put words to that which we have been reluctant yet eager to express, and we will use visual arts to paint a picture of life that's fully allowed and welcomed.

Practical and fresh skills to use in therapy.

Saturday, January, 14 – 4 p.m.
Saturday, January 15, 1 – 4 p.m. (6 Hours of CEUs)

3355 Bee Caves, Suite 510, Austin 78746

Please register in advance by emailing or by
clicking the “Buy Now” button on this page.

A few additional supplies are required. Complete list given upon registration.

Registration is limited to 8 participants.
Call Carin at 847-732-0932 with questions.