Welcoming Joy Into Your Life

Good morning! Happy Sunday and may it be a day of grace for you each. I am overflowing with emotion today and want to share it. It is deep gratitude, which is coming forth as joy, so wish to discuss this as my topic.

The dictionary defines joy as a very glad feeling, happiness, great pleasure, or delight. For me, joy manifests when I am at peace with myself and the world around me, and I am feeling grateful for everything. That is how I feel this morning. Joy is a place I live in most of the time nowadays. But it wasn’t always like this. Oh, no. Far from it.

I used to be an angry and bitter person, blaming others for my misery. I lived in that space for four decades. Then I got sober and through the course of keeping sober, began to be less angry and bitter, especially after I became able to forgive my parents. I gradually stopped blaming others when I learned that my feelings were my responsibility.

Really?? I had no idea that was the case! I started seeing that I often did the very things for which I was angry at others, so suddenly had less to be angry at them for, and more to be responsible for how I felt about it all. Blaming went away as I learned to do a continual check of my actions and behaviors, correcting bad behavior when it occurred.

At some point in sobriety, I began to be grateful. I think it happened a couple of years after I forgave my parents. It started with being grateful I woke up every morning and grew from there. Today, I find myself being in great gratitude for all my experiences, the easy and the difficult, as it all contains a lesson for my growth. This alone is enough reason to express joy.

Joy is intensified as I observe all the miracles around me… in nature, in others, and in myself. It is the end result of an ongoing celebration of life. It is a wonderful place to live!

How about you? Do you experience joy in your life? If you don’t, what is in your way? Your anger and bitterness… the blaming of others that you do, the looking to another to provide your happiness rather than providing it for yourself? These are all things that will rob you of joy in your life. Learn to do it differently, without the negative emotions and behaviors, and you, too, can experience joy.

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How to Show Gratitude When Life Is Difficult

Good morning to you each and may you have a very happy day, filled with gratitude! That is our topic for today… gratitude. It was one of the search terms and I always can talk about it.

Gratitude is defined by Webster as a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received. So, how does one show gratitude?

It’s all well and good when you are in a joyful mood, when things are going well for you. In those situations, gratitude is easy to demonstrate. It is easy to be grateful when life is going along well. Yu can merely sing the praises of everything around and in you that is joyous. But what about when the chips are down, when things are not so good in your life?

The thing about being grateful when life is difficult is that by showing a little gratitude, it expands into more, and the difficulties you are experiencing seem to minimize themselves.

What you focus on, you manifest. So, if you focus on something positive, positivity has a chance to show up. Gratitude is just that… focusing on something positive in your life. It can exist alongside of the negative that is happening. For example, “xyz” is bad right now, and, I am grateful for “abc.”

In my own life, things are slow in the speaking area. I don’t have any gigs planned and I need some. I am in the process of contacting all the local churches in the area, letting them know of my talk. No one has responded yet with a “yes.” Although somewhat discouraged by this, I am grateful there are so many churches in my area to whom I can reach out. I am grateful I have the time to contact them, grateful I have the time to work on my talk. That’s how gratitude is showing up in my life in relation to my speaking engagements.

How is it showing up for you in your life? What are you grateful for? Is life pretty tough right now and all you can show gratitude for is your sight, your hearing? Be grateful for those; start at that point and it will grow from there.

If you are struggling and can’t seem to get out of a quagmire, the feeling that you’re sinking, I invite you to make use of my coaching services. I have a coaching program that is six weeks long; it’s three sessions designed to jump-start you into positivity. Gratitude is simply one of the many things we discuss.

To access this program, I start with a free, 30-minute discovery phone call. It’s a way for you to verbalize what is happening in your life so you can feel supported in your difficulty. I leave you with one or more ways you can look at or do things differently so you can get relief. I also relay to you how we can continue to work together, if what I say resonates with you.

Simply call me at 415-8838325 to schedule your free discovery session. Or, you can email me at carolyncjjones@yahoo.com. Either way, I would be delighted to work with you so you can find relief.

 

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What Lights You Up?

Good morning after a bit of a break. I have not been able to gain access to the backend of my blog, so have not been able to send it out for the past few days. We’re back in business. Being the non-techno wizard I am, I have no clue what happened, nor how to fix it if it happens again…

Today I want to talk about what lights you up! What in life brings you great joy and happiness, gives you strength and energy to keep going through the difficult patches?

Is it the simple things you can see all around you in nature… the flowers in their delicacy and glory, the cloud formations that are fascinating, the green rolling hills that gently stretch out in front of you? Is it the time you spend with yourself in quiet solitude, or the time spent with loved ones and cherished friends?

Take a moment and consider what lights you up. Taking this time will benefit you for the rest of your life. Each time you stop to consider what lights you up will bring you to the present moment, where all your joy, happiness, and peace reside.

Each time you consider this, you will start your day over again. It will bring you a freshness that you will find delightful. You will open to more willingness and you will become more teachable.

For me, one of the things that lights me up is being in my home which I have decorated with all the things that feed my soul… plants, pictures, knickknacks… Then there’s my darling, precious kittie, Izzy. She is the light of my heart right now. We are very close. There is my quiet time by myself, and then there is the time I spend with others that are important in my life. It’s all good. It all feeds my soul.

So, what lights you up and feeds your soul? What brings you peace and happiiness? Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know.

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What Does Willingness Look Like?

Good morning, everyone! I has dawned a bright and sunny day here in the north San Francisco Bay Area, and I hope your day is bright and sunny from the inside out. I think someone stuffed the ballot box with the search term “what does willingness look like,” (lol) and I will address that today.

I believe willingness is the key to all change, all improvement, and all feeling better about ourselves and others.

Webster defines willingness as the act of being willing, which is acting or giving readily and cheerfully, gladly or voluntarily. In my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, I say that all it takes to unlock the gates of our heart is a little opening the size of a key hole. Then the door opens wider…

When we practice willingness, we are open to whatever the Universe has to bring our way. We are open to differences in others, open to seeing new things for ourselves. It is a feeling of expansiveness, of expanding light.

Yes, willingness is a lightness of being. There is a mysterious quality about it, as we await new experiences, new feelings, “new” in all areas of our life. There is a deep knowingness when we are practicing willingness, a deep feeling that all is well. We look eagerly to what the Universe has to offer us.

When we are demonstrating willingness, others see an openness about us, experience less judgment from us. They see our lightness, our eagerness for newness. They see a person who is more at peace with themselves, with others. Yes, willingness is the key to happiness and peace.

How do you feel when you are experiencing willingness? Leave a comment and let us know.

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The Side Effects of Sobriety

Good morning, all! I chose “the side effects of sobriety” today because there have been so many for me, that I want to share about them.

The first effect of sobriety is the absence of hangovers. If you’re like me and experienced terrific hangovers every day, keeping you down until about 2 or 3 pm, then you will love this benefit of sobriety. Waking up clear is a true delight.

The second side effect of sobriety is healing of emotional wounds. For me, this took a bit of time, but the effort and wait were very much worth it. By remaining sober, the deep feelings I had numbed for years, had avoided for years, were brought forth for me to examine. At first it was very difficult, but over time, they softened and even got better as I did the emotional work to heal.

What do I mean when I talk about doing the emotional work to heal? I’m referring first to being present for the feelings that arise, allowing them to “be” within, without running, without numbing. Then there is the work with an outside, objective person to help dispel the ill-effects of various feelings gained along the way.

For example, as I grew up, I gained the feeling that I was worthless. This feeling stuck with me in adulthood and shadowed everything I did or tried to do. With external support and encouragement, I was able to realize that the words repeatedly said by my father, “you are worthless,” were a lie, not said about me. I learned that I was a very worthwhile person.

Another side effect of sobriety is the ability to look at the world around me in great detail. Everything is clearer, more noticeable to me.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of sobriety is the improvement I have had in my relations with others. I am able to come at a relationship with true caring and concern for the other, with true respect and tolerance. My vision of what they are saying to me is no longer skewed by the effects of alcohol, and I am not nearly as hostile or argumentative.

I can see others as spirited beings in sobriety, and this is something totally new for me. I delight in my dealings with others.

What are some of the side effects you have experienced in sobriety? Leave a comment and let us know.

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To Move Forward with Purpose

Good morning, all! May this be a day of joy and peace for you each. There was no search term that spoke to me, and today I am going to talk about what is on my mind… I am in the process of trying to move forward with purpose… The moving forward part would be about my up-coming radio show and my nervousness and excitement in anticipation.

That’s right. I was asked to host a radio talk show, and I accepted.  I am both nervous and excited…

My show is called Transform Into Forgiveness. It will air for an hour every Monday at 3 pm PST at www.w4cy.com. It will be a call-in format, so people who are struggling with resentment in their lives can call in and we can talk about it on the air. My desire is to be of service to all who call in.

What I mean by that is, I hope each caller will walk away from the call with more peace in their heart. I have experienced the great seething energy that is behind a resentment. For 38 years I did. You see, I resented my parents for my upbringing all those years and was very bitter and angry about it. But I turned it inside rather than showing what I was feeling. I drank and drugged to numb my feelings. That worked for 26 years and then it no longer worked.

I became so distraught and debilitated from my drinking in the end that I finally sought sobriety. After about four years of sobriety, I discovered how to forgive my parents. The result of that has been a great freedom and a huge peace… more than I ever imagined possible.

So, back to the show… I wish for others to be able to get past resentment to that great peace and freedom, but I cannot approach the show with an agenda such as that. I can only approach it from the standpoint of trying to be of service, of trying to share my experience in hopes that it will benefit another.

My excitement is because of the newness of it all, the chance to be on the air and put forth my message of forgiveness, of peace. I am very excited about that. My nervousness starts with the technical aspects, first of all. Will I be able to skype in and technically do everything I’m supposed to do? I have been prepped, so that question remains to be seen.

The nervousness goes on to the content of the show, and my hope that I do not steer anyone in the wrong direction with what I say. I resolve to approach the show from the standpoint of “this is what I did and it worked.” I am so hopeful that my experience can be of use to others. Again, that remains to be seen.

That is all I have to say about my nervousness and excitement. I shall move forward with purpose from here-on-in. Feel free to join me on Monday the 4th, and every Monday at 3 pm PST, for Transform Into Forgiveness. Until then, may you have peace and joy as you journey. : )

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Finding Joy in the Simple Things

Good morning! I have been having difficulty with my computer for the last few days. It keeps freezing and crashing on me… before I can type in the blog. Let’s see how far I can get today. I liked the query about joy… finding joy in the simple things, so let’s move forward and discuss this.

Burst of Joy

Joy is an emotion of elation and, more quietly, of extreme contentment. When we experience joy, we are in the present moment, noticing that which is around us with gentle and appreciative eyes and heart. When experiencing joy, we are fulfilled with the most basic and simple things.

Even in the midst of my computer trying to die on me through its crashing and freezing, I have experienced joy. How in the world did that happen and why in the world would I even be thinking about joy, you might ask? Well, every time it crashed and I had to wait for it to restart, I was able to look around me at my surroundings, which brought me great joy and contentment. The way I have my home decorated brings peace to my soul.

There are other ways to experience joy in the midst of difficult times. You see, joy is expressing delight, or rejoicing in what we have. Even in the midst of a difficult time, we can turn our attention to the little things around us that delight us, in which we can rejoice. It may be as simple as a little flower in all its wonder, or it may be something as profound as watching another human being, especially a child, as they navigate their day.

Joy is found in the little things that are occurring constantly around us, every day, all day. All we need to do is make the decision to look for joy in our world. This takes willingness to turn our attention from our strife and trouble, and focus on something else for a moment. In that moment, we become refreshed, making it easier to cope with our troubles.

Where do you find joy in the simple things of your life? What brings you delight, even when you are stressed? We’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment and let us know how joy manifests in your life.

 

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How Sobriety Leads to Joy and Peace

Good morning! I hope this is a gentle and fulfilling day for each of you. I wish for you a sobriety that is filled with joy and peace. That’s the search term for the day about which I will blog today… the relationship of sobriety to joy and peace.

All my life I looked for joy and peace, peace-of-miind. I looked to alcohol and drugs to supply these for me, and I thought I had them when I was drunk and high. It was not until I started and lived a life of sobriety that I discovered I had no clue what joy and peace could really be.

Burst of Joy

In sobriety, I learned it was possible to heal my wounds from early life and this brought me great joy to be free of chains that bound me. My heart burst with joy when I discovered that I even COULD heal.

At first, life was quite painful in sobriety, as I was feeling my feelings without anything to numb them, to quiet them. Ah, and it was extremely difficult to stay sober, but with lots of prayer and attending support group meetings (4-5 a day), I was given the gift of continued sobriety.

The more sobriety I accumulated, the more I healed from emotional scars and pain, the more joy I felt. It was a wonderful feeling, and still is in present day. You see, every day I feel joy… joy about the life around me, joy about my peace-of-miind.

Yes, with the joy I had found, I began to experience peace. I think the biggest thing that led me to peace was learning to conduct a self-appraisal, and conducting one on a on-going basis.

At first, it was difficult to do an appraisal, as I felt shame over my behavior, my actions. Every time I thought of what I had done, or who I was, I felt shame. This was one of the negative effects of an abusive past.

Promise of Peace

After a while of doing an appraisal, however, I began to gain peace when I completed one. It began to feel really good iinside to identify my poor behavior and thoughts, and to right them. It felt good to “confess” them to another person, as part of the appraisal process involves telling another person what I had discovered.

I think that when one commits to doing an ongoing self-appraisal, one is offered the promise of peace. But the real thing that brought me to peace was when I discovered how to forgive my parents. The act of forgiveness really undid the chains that bound me emotionally.

At the end of each day, if I had done an appraisal and forgiven myself and others, I experienced the promise of peace. To this day, that is true for me, and so I gladly and without reservation perform an appraisal and look toward forgiveness.

All of this is possible because of my continued sobriety. And how about you? Do you experience joy and peace as a result of your sobriety? How does that look for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Living with Grace

Sweep of Grace

Good morning! I liked the search term “living with grace” as a topic to continue with in the new year. I like Webster’s definition that grace is beauty and charm of form, movement, composition, or expression.

In my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, I speak of grace. “Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.” I say this because, for me, grace is a gentle and quiet gift I receive when I live with love in my heart.

I found grace in sobriety. It just happened one day after a few years of staying sober and working through my issues. I noticed a calm and quietness, a gentleness, which pervaded my being. Ah, I thought. This is grace. It is a lovely and comforting feeling that I experience frequently these days.

When I am in grace, kindness, gentleness, tolerance, and kindness just come naturally and quietly, gracefully, with no effort. It’s a gift from the Universe, from the powers-that-be, and I am grateful to have it in my life.

I found the following quote in my papers. I don’t know where it came from, but it is grace in action. “When the voices of self-destruction scream and slowly alienate any sense of self-worth, the healing perspective of soul dialogue will prevail.” That’s grace in action.

You will know you are experiencing grace when things just fall into place gently and quietly. You will feel a deep knowingness in your being. You will be at peace.

For 2013, I wish for you grace.

 

 

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Rewards of Sobriety

Good morning on this foggy morning in the Bay Area. I was sitting on the front enclosed porch with my coffee, watching the day awaken, and the sky got a pink glow to it as the sun rose. Pretty soon, I was surrounded in pink. It was beautiful.

That is one of the biggest rewards of sobriety – being able to enjoy a sunrise without being hung over. I love not having hangovers. Used to be that I awoke and was badly hung over for about 6 hours, so much so that I couldn’t function, had to eat hot burritos from Taco Bell or a greasy thigh from Kentucky Fried Chicken. After I felt better, I functioned until 5 pm, when I started drinking and did it all over again.

What a miserable existence that was. I was missing out on experiencing things like sunrises. But in sobriety, I enjoy them and so much more. In sobriety, I find I am able to open my heart in a very genuine way to others and to myself. The feeling of really caring about another, seeing them with gentleness and kindness, is so soothing to my spirit.

Compassion is another emotion I am able to feel in sobriety and that allows me to connect with others in a very intimate way. My soul is fed when that happens. It has led me to forgiveness.

Perhaps the biggest reward of sobriety is my ability to look at myself – my actions, words, behaviors – and be responsible for them, fully responsible. It is humbling at times as I realize how I’ve treated another poorly, or treated myself poorly, had negative thoughts about myself, beat myself up. Being responsible for myself and my behavior has led me to inner peace, as I can settle the score with myself and others as I go through the day.

The reward of sobriety for me also includes being able to care for others in a deep and meaningful way. It’s hard to describe the feeling that evokes, but it feels great! I also have much more patience, and I allow others to be themselves, accepting them as they are.

So, a lack of hangovers, feeling more kindness, gentleness and compassion toward others, being self-responsible, and generally being more aware of my physical surroundings are my rewards of sobriety.

What are the rewards of sobriety that you experience? Leave a comment and let us know.

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