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.

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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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In the Quiet with Gentleness

Good morning to each of you. May this day be a quiet one, filled with gentleness.

I really liked the search term, “in the quiet with gentleness.” It took me immediately to a place of serenity, of peace, and I felt my soul washed clean with the gentleness spoken of in the query. I am excited about the term, because it speaks so eloquently, yet simply, of the place where I live today, where you can live also.

When we have been on a journey of peace, searching for it, finding it, then we know quietness like never before. We have learned to see ourselves with gentleness, rather than the harshness of days past. We offer ourselves and others that gentleness, and it feels expansive in our soul. It is a deep knowingness that all is well.

How do we find the quiet with gentleness? We learn peace… peace with ourselves, peace with the world around us. We find forgiveness of others and ourselves; we actively seek this out. Our primary goal is to find that peace-of-mind and to live in grace, in gentleness. Ah, yes, gentleness is living in grace, that place of unearned favor, that quietness of the soul, where everything just flows smoothly.

This is a lovely place in which to live and I enjoy that place every day. But it wasn’t always this way. No, I used to be pretty hyper, very judgmental and critical, both of myself and others. I was angry and bitter, blaming everyone and everything for my woes. Then, after I found sobriety and worked at being sober in my life, I began to find forgiveness… of others and of myself and I began to live in gentleness of spirit, gentleness of soul.

It was a choice I made, to find that place of peace, that place of gentleness. You, too, can find that place. All it takes is willingness, and some work on your part. Let’s spend a couple of days and look at how to find that quiet place where gentleness resides. Over the next few days, I’ll write about the process I underwent in hopes that you, too, can find the place of gentleness, that place of quiet in your mind and spirit, you soul. Join me, won’t you?

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Living with Hope

Good morning! May you have a fruitful day, filled with the hope of living.

Several searches today had to do with hopelessness, and wanting some inspirational quotes about hope. While I do not have quotes, I do have a general way in which I talk about hope, and that is what I wish to share with you today.

Webster defines hope as a desire accompanied by expectation, a feeling that what is wanted will happen. Perhaps hopelessness occurs over the expectations we hold, and when they are not met, we become disappointed. Not knowing how to deal with or even recognize the fact that we are disappointed, we feel hopeless instead.

Let’s look at that a minute. We can have hope that things will turn out a certain way, and that’s where it needs to end. We hope, and then we let go of the outcome, willing to become pleasantly surprised if our hope is met. To add an expectation to the mix only invites disappointment to come when our hope is not met.

So, it seems the trouble lies in our expectations. I think this is so. Often, our expectations have to deal with how another will treat us, or how a situation will turn out. The fact is, we have no control over either – not how another will act nor how a situation will turn out. So, our expectations become unrealistic and we set ourselves up for a shattered hope, and out of that grows hopelessness.

We can avoid that scenario from happening by dropping our expectations. Just let them go. If the thing we hope for does not occur, then we can be disappointed and it does not go into deeper emotions. We do not need to dip into the realm of hopelessness. Instead, we can move forward in our lives to the next situation.

For example, I auditioned on Thursday for a chance to speak on someone’s stage for 20 minutes at a large networking event. This would be a wonderful opportunity for me to get my message of hope out to lots of people. I hope I am one of the six selected out of 35. And I truly hope for this. If it does not occur, I will be disappointed, yet, it will not crush me and I will not believe that life is hopeless, or I am hopeless, because I do not win.

Instead, I will acknowledge my disappointment, talk about it to a couple of people, and move on to the next opportunity when it comes along. In fact, I will create new opportunities to speak by taking action. This is relatively new behavior for me, as I spent most of my life hoping and expecting things to occur that didn’t, and when they didn’t, I became despairing and hopeless, bitter and cynical.

In present day, I realize that sometimes, what I want is not intended to be, that another opportunity will come along, something else that I do not know about currently. And I move forward. This attitude is new in sobriety… I learned to live this way in sobriety. It is a softer and more gentle way to live, believe me.

I can have an expectation and be bitterly disappointed or hopeless when it doesn’t occur, or, I can look forward with hope and when something doesn’t happen as I had hoped, I can look forward to the next opportunity to come along. It is my choice; I choose the latter as a way to live. I choose to live with hope in my life.

How about you? What are the expectations you are placing on your hope? Can you learn to hope and let go of the outcome?

 

 

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Four Keys of Forgiveness: The Pathway to Peace

The Image From the CD cover

Hello, all! Here is my wish for you to have a beautiful day!

Today I want to tell you about a project in which I am involved. It is the creation of a course on forgiveness, titled Four Keys of Forgiveness: The Pathway to PeaceThis course is three hours long, and will be offered as a down-loadable mp3, or as a CD set. A workbook accompanies the course, so you get the complete experience and benefit of working with me to gain forgiveness.

This is an exciting thing for me! I am so thrilled to be offering you the course, which is filled with content and golden nuggets. I believe it will be of great use to those that listen to it.

Last week, I finished the work at the recording studio. The recording engineer, Ben Lienbach, recorded himself giving me the introduction and then I come on and start the talk. We had very few mistakes that needed to be corrected, and I had an awesome experience with Ben. He is amazing!

Now, I am in contact with the company that will duplicate and print on the CD’s themselves and make the copies. Meanwhile, I designed the front and back covers, and sent the design to Greg Daley to duplicate in a graphics program. You’re looking at the photo I used as the base of the cover, which has white printing on it..

All of this has been really fun, and it has been really expensive. I have joined Kickstarter to try to get funding for the project, and now I turn to you, my faithful readers, and ask you to visit my kickstarter page. If you like what you see and if it resonates with you, would you be so kind as to help me out with a pledge? I have until the 30th, Sunday, to get pledges.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carolyncjjones/four-keys-of-forgiveness-the-pathway-to-peace

Thank you so much for your support, and your faithfulness in visiting my site. May peace be in your life and may you find forgiveness for those who have hurt you.

 

 

 

 

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