Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Am Green

(From the Color Schemes exercise in Week 8)

I am green, fresh, new,bright, alive, growing.
I am the life-giving vitamins in your smoothie &
     the sweat-wicking tent flaps of your skirt.
I am the t-shirt and shell-necklace of the
     man behind the counter & the mix-
     matched faded cement floor at
     Cherrywood Coffee House.
I am the emerald in the earrings your 16-
     year-old boyfriend gave you, making your
     Mom sad & I'm the forest of
     the velvet Laura Ashley dress she got you
     for Christmas.
I am the prom dress you designed & left
     in a heap on the floor after the
     black-tie wedding, sneaking into his
     empty house & stirring up fights.
I am the trees pouring their love on
     you & everyone who drives, walks or
     swims beneath them.
I am green. Sometimes the dress of the
     sea, with my cousins, blue, brown &
I am the buds you smoke, covered in
     gold and red hairs.
I am your eyes.
     I am your eyes.
          I am your eyes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 1: Letter to the Editor in My Defense

To Whom it May Concern:

Lay off your harsh criticism of Carin. She isn't and hasn't - and won't - do anything wrong. As with all of God's children, Carin is a character being lived by life. She is open to love and to relaxing and being awake. She wants to rest and needs and deserves rest. She also deserves much higher pay and less work. She deserves to be turning away jobs she doesn't feel interested in, and she deserves to be honored and celebrated for what she creates. She ought to be in high demand. I see it coming down the bend. Carin's beauty is in her willingness to be transparent and to explore life through her own ups and downs - especially her downs. That is, she reaches inside for the beauty within, the pearl inside each shell, the jewel in the lotus. Even in her darkest times she is touching the sweet, tender, and solid core of the space where only true comfort comes alive. Carin is willing to breathe into this, even if she doesn't prefer it. So, give her a break. Quiet her mind and open her heart. Let her relax and know that every move - EVERY single move - is Divine and is none other than that. May all God's children know this. May we all be blessed to relax with our hands off the wheel and ever-angled toward abundance. Restful, peaceful abundance. Let her always know that her heart is pure, her love is pure, and her curiosity and shyness are as well. She's bringing such sweetness, and it's all she wants to do. Infuse her with music, art, speaking, writing and grace. None of us can do wrong.
Very sincerely yours,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I've wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. My gratitude for the whole experience is deep and it's a joy to acknowledge some of the major players.

First, I want to acknowledge Erin and Andy at Central Market who so generously let me grab fries off of their plate and 70% cocoa dark chocolate out of their chocolate box. I fulfilled a long time fantasy of grabbing fries off of people's plates here at CM, and they were as good as I'd imagined. Thank you for your openness and welcoming energy. You inspire me to keep on loving!

This is how the acknowledgments could go . . . thanking everyone I've come across who has opened their heart to me. This is what pulls me into the world and gives me fuel to create and share.

Reaching way back - and if you went to Douglas Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio in the 1970s, you can join me in this - I thank the teachers and principal at Douglas Elementary. You all honored every student in the school with generosity and love. You gave us all the room in the world, if we could handle it, to be creative and self-expressed, and you stayed close if we needed extra care. I give you tons of credit for the creativity and individuality I've been able to express.

Similarly, though this was many years later, I am grateful [no pun intended] to the Grateful Dead and the world that surrounded the band. I learned how to dance with absolute abandon at your shows and I found a place I could be comfortable if I couldn't find it anywhere else. I know that I'm fortunate beyond description to have experienced this unique world that will never exist again. Thank God for the tapes!

Big love and giggly gratitude goes out to my amazing Pen Friends: my loved ones all over the world who honor me and encourage me and with whom I can share absolutely anything. This helps me be a better and more honest writer, which I think makes a difference for us all.

I'm grateful to the great Wallace D. Wattles who wrote a little book in 1910 that has opened my heart and taught me to relax about my path in life. Mr. Wattles infused in me that the creative - rather than the competitive plane - is where everybody wins, and that this is that natural order of things.

Almost a spin-off of Mr. Wattles' book, I'm grateful to Julia Cameron and her masterpiece, The Artist's Way. Ms. Cameron helps us slough off the parts of us that are living other people's dreams and gets us on the path of our own natural creative expression. The birth of my column, Stay Open: Spiritual and Self-Care Space (, came effortlessly out of my first time through Ms. Cameron's course. I'm so grateful and recommend it to everyone.

I'm grateful to Ryan Adams whose honest blogging pulled the writer in me out of its cave and got me writing again and whose music became the soundtrack to my life. You are amazing. Please tour again soon.

I'm thankful for my beloved man, Andrew, who is a source of groundedness when I start to fly off into the ether. He helps me be in the world all the while opening my heart to the present. Our story is miraculous and wonderful, honey, and I couldn't have made it up any better.

To Eckhart Tolle, my great teacher. I really thank the good Lord who created you and allowed you to be such a clear communication for truth. None of what I'm up to now would be happening without my learning from you. I believe when you speak, you are speaking from true presence, allowing all who can hear to know our own true nature, that same presence.

I thank all of the men I've loved and cried over. You all have helped me learn love songs to sing in my devotion and heartbreak and have given me a place out of which true compassion grows. I love you all and bow to you.

And to my sister, Rachel, I have ultimate gratitude. I mean, where would I be today without my Poodle Boucle? Nothing would be possible without having grown up with you. You bring humor and love into my world like no one else.

And finally to my parents . . . you created me with intelligence and curiosity and always fostered the writer in me. I can't imagine life without such brilliant folks leading the way. I know I've driven you both crazy and mystified you, and I thank you for not kicking me out of the family, even when you were tempted to! I love you both and am thrilled to dedicate this, my first book, to you.

I could go on and on and on here. I want to thank Austin, Texas for being the greatest town to be a person of individual expression and the cast of The Office for getting me through shingles. Tony, my acupuncturist. My Giraffe and me Meowmee. Debbie Phillips, my champion and Love Bug Sister. Baba Neem Karoli and the NKB satsang all over the world. You are my family.

See? On and on and on.

And if I missed you here, rest assured, I love you and am grateful for you.

Finally, I thank the One Formless Substance out of which all things arise, and out of which we all create. We are all fingers on the hand of the Divine dreaming ourselves into mind-blowingly generous and magical existence. I'm humbled and thrilled to experience it in this form.

Big love from Austin, Texas! I hope you love the book.

Carin Channing

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Would I Change if I knew?

Had an Artist's Date the day after Chris Feinstein died. Went to Guitar Center and played electric guitars. Here's the one I loved:

Right now I'm sitting down to organize my checkbook and pay some bills. And I'm hearing Tracy Chapman wondering "would you change" if you knew . . .

and I am mystified by that question. Would I? Is The Artist's Way helping me get clearer on that? It seems multi-layered.

The primary level being that of being-ness. Of softening into the Divine within and all around. "That permeates, penetrates and fills the interspaces of the Universe," as Wallace Wattles says. That being that is everything and nothing. The space inside of the spinning atoms that make us up and everything around us. Emptiness. And what is more primary than to rest in that and to know that? For me, nothing.

The secondary level being doing-ness. So, yes, I'll balance my checkbook and pay some bills because that's part of the secondary world, the world of form, that we live in. I don't have to, nobody's forcing me, but it seems like a good thing to do. Keep things on this level more comfortable.

And then what? Will I go take care of my passport photos and go to the gym? I love working out and enjoy being at the gym. I'm glad I distinguished that just then because I have been wondering where things like going to the gym fit in with our unknown lifespan. I see that loving exercise makes it a worthwhile thing to do. Don't we want to be doing things we love if we don't know how long we'll live? And we don't.

See, I'm hopeful AW is helping me clarify that conversation. The one for what to do in the world of form.

I just want to live 100% on guidance. And my mind's been talking to me a lot. Pushing me a little bit and I go the other direction when it does.

This week we're told that when we're blocked a great thing to do is just one thing. Just one thing. Julia says we don't want to hear it (and I didn't) but then I did a little something, and I liked it.

We've been looking, also and again, at what we're not allowed to do.

I have much to reconcile in that department. (Wow, I just saw the judgment in that word, reconcile. Whew!) And it's right here for me to look at. (How about, I have much to surrender to in that department?)


Would I change if I knew?

Nope. Here's Joni Mitchell singing one of my favorite of her songs. I'm in.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One of my favorite and least performed things to do: visual arts

I'm finally making my poster from Week 7. I'm grateful for the tasks to give me something creative to do when otherwise I'd be sitting around lamenting what isn't instead of being here with what is. Tearing up magazines, Joni Mitchell Pandora station, chamomile tea, heater, pajamas, and Scotch tape.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Across the Universe

Seems I keep coming back to the music.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Long Black Veil

This week (Week 7) we're looking at what we would try if it didn't have to be perfect. Well, here's something: