How Honest Are You?

As you can see, this gate’s image is Welds of Honesty. It was named this because when we are honest with ourselves about who and what we are, we become as strong as the weld on the gate. 

What do I mean when I say “… honest about who and what we are?” We frequently shy away from looking at our own behavior as the start of a feud or disagreement, etc, because we’re so busy blaming the other person. Right at that point is when we need to stop and do some serious self-investigation. 

Take a look at anything you might have said or done such that another is offended. Did they then do something to hurt you back as retaliation against your action, and you resent them for what they did? Take a look at this and determine if it fits your situation. If so, claim responsibility for what you said or did. Be humbled… not ashamed, not embarrassed. Rather, speak to the person and relay what you discovered upon your self-reflection. Then apologize as you would do any time you know you have hurt another. 

The key in honesty and in forging your strength and empowerment is to look at yourself first. Always. Look for ways you were hurtful, unkind, unloving, and maybe even mean. When you can own up to this behavior, you are free of self-judgment, as you realize this is you being a human being. The key is to learn from it and not repeat it, yet, if you do, you can catch it again. 

I end this piece with the statement that we set ourselves free and become highly empowered when we are honest as I described above. This is because we have seen ourselves at our worst and we know how to correct it. There is great power in knowing this. We know how to be a more kind and loving person.

I wish you well on your journey to be like the weld on the gate of honesty.  

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Giving Yourself Credit

This is a picture of the sacred home I created in a 1982 Dodge van/RV in 2001. I lived in this beautiful sanctuary with my cherished kitty, Maynard, for three years while I traveled and worked on my sobriety.

This is what I discovered while working on the van, defined as gutting all but the refrig, stove/oven, and cabinets, and then replacing the interior with cherry wood paneling and cherry trim boards. I wonder how many of the difficulties I had then still apply today…

  • I was much more able to do things than I gave myself credit for.
  • I had difficulty receiving praise and compliments about the job I did. 
  • It was after I sold the van that I really appreciated its sacredness. 

Today, there are times when I do not give myself enough credit, so this is a great reminder to do so. Where do you fall on the scale of 1 to 10, if 10 is giving yourself the most credit you possibly could? Aim for 10!

How are you on receiving praise and compliments? Do you talk down the praise? Or do you receive the love and take it in? Do you recognize it as love? You can use another’s praise of your endeavors to lead you to see what you do from a different perspective.  

We often have something in our lives, sometimes something beautiful. At times, we don’t fully appreciate it while we have it. I have come to really cherish the interior of the van and the job I did, especially the brightly varnished trim boards. Thankfully, I have close up pictures of these pieces of wood.

Today, when I think of that wood, so stunning in its mirror-like reflection from 9 coats of varnish, I am reverent. I am so grateful I had the skill and knowledge to produce what I did, and the awareness to appreciate it’s simple beauty. Where in your life are you reverent over your creations? 

If you have difficulty seeing your goodness and accepting praise, you can learn to focus on the things you appreciate about yourself. See it as a Divine skill you were given to develop and grow it in beauty. Learn to say “thank you” to people who praise you and bite your tongue after you utter those words. Soak it in! 

And finally, appreciate everything you have each day, as it may not be here tomorrow. Be focused on gratitude. Be reverent. Enjoy the peace that can come to you. 

To your peace, cj

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The Promise of Peace

Is your life filled with stress or frustration, or even resentment?

Are you at odds with yourself or others? 

What if you could discover a way to lessen your stress, resolve your resentment, and improve your relationships? 

It is possible to do all of these things. How so, you might ask? Here’s the scoop… When we are stressed, frustrated, resentful, and at odds with others and/or ourselves, we start telling our story about it. We tell our spouse or friend, someone we trust. We tell our sad story again and again and again… Frankly, we wear the listener out by repeating it over and over.  

We’ve all done it. I did it for 30 years as an adult. I had several tales of woe. Is this something you do, tell your tale of woe, your sad story, to others? If so, you can make the choice to look at your story differently.

Here is a technique to use. Ask and answer three questions: 1) What is the lesson from my experience? 2) What positive thing(s) did I learn? and 3) What can I be grateful for?

Promise of Peace

When you ask and answer these questions, you become empowered and empowering! You give permission to those who are telling their tale of woe to instead sing the song of a s/hero! And, you begin to see things from a fresh perspective. You discover peace.

If you choose to try this technique on your story, you can experience the promise of peace. That is the above image’s name. It appears as the final photograph in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, because when you go through the process portrayed in the book, you gain peace.

I invite you to sing the song of a s/hero! I’d love to hear how this method worked for you. Please leave a comment and share with us what happened when you answered the three questions. 

To your peace, cj   

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How Committed Are You to Your Journey?

As you view the image below, titled Commitment of Journeynotice the path. It moves upward, each step covered in leaves… obstacles to the climb. At the top, the path curves and then, disappears.

We can imagine that the path has ended in nirvana, in another life after death or in eternal life. 

Each stair represents the stages of our lives, each stage scattered with leaves, debris that would stop us if it could. 

Yet, when we commit to the journey, we gain stamina and courage to get through the difficult things encountered in life’s stages. 

As you climb the stairway of life, may you develop your Commitment of Journey, and may it become a beautiful life for you.

When you become committed, you see everything with gratitude, with great awe and wonder, beauty. 

You live in grace.

If now is not the time to commit to your journey, when will it be…?

Happy travels. 

cj

 

Commitment of Journey from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. Copyright (c) 2010. Carolyn CJ Jones.

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Join me in a Gratitude Challenge!

Visions of Gratitude

Good morning!
 
In the wee hours of the morning, it is often possible to be still and listen to the quiet. When we take the time to receive from the Universe while in that space of stillness, we can come up with some amazing revelations. For example, as I sit here, I marvel at all that has occurred in my life to get me to the place I am today, to the person I have become. I think about one major thing that has gotten me to this point, and smile when I realize it is simply, gratitude. 
 
Being grateful, taking the time to be appreciative, can change your entire frame-of-mind. Let’s say you are feeling sad, maybe even devastated, because of a situation that has occurred. As you embark upon dealing with the issue, you can move yourself along the healing continuum more quickly when you express gratitude for all that is, just as it has happened. 
 
If you consider that everything in your life happens for a reason, for your highest good, then it is possible to look at an experience and ask yourself, “What is one good thing that has come from this?” It took me years to discover if I ask and answer this question when in a bad space, it gets me though my pain more quickly.

[Read more…]

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Let’s Talk About Forgiveness!

Hello! Welcome to my blog! Today we’re going to talk about the free call I just attempted to conduct. It was Let’s Talk About Forgiveness Free Call. I was looking forward to sharing about forgiveness, dispelling myths, relaying how to find it, etc. Since there was no one on the call, I decided to blog about what I was going to discuss on the call. So…

Tiers of Forgiveness

Tiers of Forgiveness

For me, this image represents forgiveness. I took the photo, and named it Tiers of Forgiveness because forgiveness happens in tiers, in waves, or steps. It is not a linear process. The second reason I named it Tiers of Forgiveness is a play on words. You see, the ground cover in the photo is called baby tears. Often times, forgiveness includes the shedding of tears. It is a way of cleansing the heart and soul…

I was going to start the free call by discussing three myths. Here they are. First, you may refuse to forgive because that means you’re condoning what happened, condoning the offender’s actions or words. This is false. You forgive only to heal and mend your heart, your soul. It has nothing to do with the offender and they remain responsible and accountable for their behavior.

Second, you must forgive and forget. This is not a truth. In fact, it is also false. I have found in my own experience and the experience of many others that you won’t forget the incident, yet, you will remember it with a softer, more gentle heart. It will tug at your heart less, cause you less stress. And third, you must reconcile with the offender. This is not the case. You reconcile and continue to see and speak to them only if you choose. It is all up to you. This is why it is possible to forgive someone who has died and passed on.

Here are the three major myths that may be keeping you from considering forgiving. Come back to read about a powerful story of how one person reached forgiveness and changed their life forever…

 

 

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Experience A Burst of Joy In Your Life

Burst of Joy

Burst of Joy

I look upon this photo I took with great awe and wonder, as it so aptly demonstrates the burst of joy that I feel in my life today. Every day, I awaken and feel joy throughout the day, coming in waves to me as I experience one thing after another.

It wasn’t always this way, not even close. For those who know my story, you know I spent 40 years very angry and very bitter for my abusive upbringing. I blamed my parents for all my troubles, and I played the victim very well, thank you very much.

Through most of that 40 years, I drank and did drugs, numbing the pain the best way I knew how until one day, things blew up in my face and I hit my emotional bottom. Devastated and shattered, I finally found my way to sobriety. It has been the single-most thing in my life that has led to my sanity, to my joy.

When I first became sober and for the first year-and-a-half of sobriety, my feelings were excruciatingly painful, as all the incidents that led to my shame, worthlessness, and hopelessness were suddenly there, right in my face. I had to deal with them and in that process, I began to heal from old wounds.

Over time, with healing, I began to experience joy over things like a sunrise or sunset, an elderly couple holding hands, and my pet sleeping – at great peace. Each incident of joy was fleeting, and it wasn’t until I had more fully healed that I began to have joy throughout my day.

In my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, which is where this photo appears in print, I have titled the photo Burst of Joy and I say of my healing, my soothed soul, “I never thought this could happen! My heart bursts with joy!!!”

Perhaps you can see yourself in the way I was, and perhaps you are wanting to change that and to experience joy. The thing is, your heart can burst with joy also. In order for this to happen, start to see each experience in your life with gratitude, thankfulness, for these experiences have been brought to you as a means for you to look at painful issues and to heal from them. Doing this requires you be in the present moment as you go through your day. It involves seeing the world and your experiences with the eyes of innocence, like a child.

Gratitude is one of the two keys to finding joy, and as Ralph H. Blum says, “There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude… a quiet joy.” The other key is forgiveness and I will blog about that next Tuesday.

to your healing, cj

 

 

 

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The Journey to Gentleness

Hello and welcome back as we go through the journey to find gentleness. I hope the negative appraisal went well for you, that you discovered things about yourself upon which to improve…

Today, I am going to talk about compassion and forgiveness, and how they contribute to your gentleness. Compassion is defined as the ability to have sympathy or sorrow for another’s plight, usually accompanied with a desire to help the other person.

Compassion is a great strength to have because it softens your heart, it brings you to gentleness. As you consider those who have hurt you in some way, see them as wounded people. Once you see their wounds, apply compassion just as you would for any sick person.

Keep revisiting and revisiting that recognition of the other person’s wounds. Offer compassion and before you know it, forgiveness will gently fall upon you one day when you least expect it. Just as you would for anyone else, have compassion for your wounds; hold yourself in compassion and allow forgiveness for yourself to flow in.

Doing a self-appraisal, both negative and positive, and then identifying the wounds that exist, is a powerful way to bring yourself to gentleness. The act of forgiveness is icing on the cake… Once you forgive, you will know gentleness like never before, along with great peace, happiness, and freedom.

I wish you well on your search for gentleness.

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Completing a Negative Self-Appraisal Gets Us to Gentleness

Ah, geez. I am a week late on the continuation of a self-appraisal. Please forgive me for my tardiness. Last week was a week from hell and it just got away from me. Luckily, you were left hanging in the positive self-appraisal points, and not the negative ones.

Today’s task is looking at your negative points, your areas for improvement. Grab your writing stuff and make a list of all the negative things you do, say, and think about others AND yourself. Try to be detached when you do this. The point is not to beat yourself up, but rather, to identify the things which you can improve.

Look at the things you have done which were unkind or hateful. Own your behavior… be honest about it. You may owe an apology to others, or to yourself, for that matter. Follow through with this task with humility. Just be humble. There is no need to grovel while asking for forgiveness. Just be matter-of-fact, and sincerely apologetic.

Look at this list and determine if you are willing to change the things you do that are mean and hateful. Ask the Universe or God to show you the way.

After you have established your willingness to change and what to change, it is time to look at the past 3 days and to write down everything you did during that time period that was unkind, impatient, and generally mean to others or yourself.

Be sure to include yourself as you look at how you acted negatively. Once you have made this list, look at it to determine your level of willingness to make a change in negative behavior. Own your stuff, the bad behavior you displayed. This may mean apologizing to someone for what you have done.

Remember, we are each human, and in being human, we have both positive and negative qualities. Look at this exercise in a detached manner. Learn to say things like, “Oh. I see how I was mean to Suzi when I x,y,z.”  Rather than beat yourself up or have remorse and guilt, make plans to apologize to her; vow to change your behavior on an on-going basis.

There is nothing quite as freeing on the pathway to gentleness as doing a self-appraisal. You will find you do one continually throughout the day, keeping a check on your behaviors and actions. A self-appraisal will become second nature to you and you will gain tremendous peace as you keep continual watch over yourself.

How was this process for you? Was it enlightening and did you make apologies to those you harmed, both physically, verbally, and spiritually? Consider carefully before you apologize; sometimes to do so would hurt the person more and in those cases, we often do it to feel better ourselves. Remember, this is about the other person, not about you.

Go forth and complete the appraisal, and may you find it fruitful. Join me later this week as I continue the discussion about how to find gentleness.

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In Search of Quiet Gentleness

Good morning to each of you! Thank you for your steadfast following of my blog! I hope you find it of use to you. As I promised in my last post, I’m going to spend a couple of days talking about the quietness found in gentleness.

The first step in the search for that gentleness is to envision it. See in your mind’s eye what gentleness would look like for you… a soft and quiet place in which to rest. See a less harried mind and heart than what you currently have today. Take the time to see it before you start…

Once you have a vision of what you want your gentleness to look like, then you can start on the process to get to that point. The first thing to do is to develop willingness… willingness to see the world from a new perspective, with new eyes. Develop willingness to have a one degree shift in your thinking. When you do this, you open the way for major things to shift inside of you.

The next step we’re going to undertake is that of performing a self-appraisal. This will yield you great information about yourself. The point of doing this is to locate yourself in the world, to determine the ways that you are so you can alter your behavior, actions, and thoughts to become who you want to be… that gentle and peaceful person you envisioned.

Start your self-appraisal by becoming willing to look honestly at yourself. Next, get writing stuff ready. Then, make a list of all your positive traits. List out what you see as those traits, as well as things others have told you. Include your skills and talents in this list. If you are having trouble identifying your positive traits, google positive character traits and use what comes up as a guide to possible traits.

Once you have this list completed, spend a day reveling in it, being in awe of who you are in your essence, at your core. Then, take the past three-day period and list out every kind and considerate thing you did for others and for yourself during that time period.

Now I’d like you to just “be” with those lists, soaking in deeply the goodness of your soul. Do this for a couple of days. Then, we will continue… Join me again on Monday, and we will go further into the self-appraisal… We’ll continue with our search for gentleness…

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