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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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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How to Offer Support for Substance Abuse

Good morning after a period of silence. I needed some down time, I guess. I am back, wishing you a beautiful Sunday!

Today and tomorrow, I am offering the writing of Eve Pearce, who speaks to the issue of substance/drug abuse. She offers a heart-felt way to approach people who are addicted, and so our topic for the day is “support for substance abuse.” Here’s Eve…

Living a Life Free of Substance Abuse

Good morning to you all and welcome to another day on this wonderful journey of life. I have been blessed in the last few days with a real insight into some of life’s trials and tribulations. I would like to share with you today my thoughts about addiction after talking to a dear friend in Boston earlier this week.

Substance abuse is a terrible thing to have to cope with; it takes an addict into a world that most of us, thank goodness, know nothing of. Before we judge someone and condemn them for having fallen into this trap, it is good to take a step back and put ourselves in their situation. We don’t know how or why they arrived at the point they did or whether we would have done the same if we were walking their path.

Someone who becomes an addict has often travelled a lonely road; a road of sorrow, loss or despair which takes them from what we think of as a normal life into one that has no hope and little joy. How can we, as heart-full people, be angered or judgmental about this? Rather we should feel their pain and see their injury; understand that they are very alone and deserve our understanding and forgiveness, especially when it is someone close to us, perhaps a member of our family or a friend.

Finding Help and Support

We should look for ways that we can show love to that person; can we help them, support them in finding an exit from their troubles. Sometimes caring can make enough difference to that person for them to look for the door out of their situation. We can throw out a lifeline of love and acceptance which can quite literally save that person’s life; we can help them to turn their life around and find hope and happiness again – a future. Of course caring by itself may not be enough. Sometimes professional help is needed: counseling; drug rehabilitation, spending some time in a center which specializes in helping people back to a normal drug-free life. Although it is sad that we have a need for these places in the world, it is good to know that there is help available when we need it. Massachusetts drug rehabilitation center listings give details of all the centers across state which offer support to people who have an addiction, either as an outpatient or as an inpatient on a residential abuse treatment program. I was so glad to be able to support my friend in their hour of need and truly hope that their family member will recover fully.

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Eve is a freelance writer, mother of two and has a passion for hiking.

Join Eve tomorrow when she talks about offering forgiveness to the person with a substance abuse problem.

 

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The Benefits of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you. I neglected to post yesterday; it was another day that got off and running and I was running all day. These types of days are becoming more and more prevalent. That’s a good thing…  This morning’s search term that I am so fond of was “what are the good things you get from sobriety?” Ah, a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

When I think that I was severely hung over every day for seven years, and somewhat less severely for the preceding 20, it is a wonder that was not a deterrent for my excessive and massive consumption of alcohol! But it wasn’t. So, the most obvious and initial positive effect of sobriety is the lack of hang-overs. It’s glorious to wake up and be clear, no headache. Try it. It’s wonderful!

But the most positive effect from sobriety that you will enjoy is the healing of wounds, healing of emotional pain. This alone makes sobriety well worth it.

While working through those wounds, it will feel like sobriety is not worth it, that you were better off when you were drinking. But consider, sticking through the rough times in sobriety can reap you a reward so indescribably wonderful, I urge you to keep at it. When difficult emotions surface, which they will, think about how your sobriety will reap a big pay off soon.

Be with your emotions; let them flow through you. Allow them to be felt, which will allow them to move through you more quickly. Take note of the joy interspersed among the tough feelings, and look forward to the point when that joy returns, for it will.

When you discover emotional sobriety, you will know it in an instant. You will feel a tremendous calm settle over you. You will have a deep knowingness of peace and understanding of yourself and others. You will know you have arrived in a new dimension.

So, is sobriety worth it? Yes, without a doubt. Leave a message and share your experiences with the wonderful feeling of sobriety. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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Is Sobriety Worth It?

Good morning to each of you and welcome to the start of a new day! I am once again drawn to the search term, “is sobriety worth it?”

Let me simply answer that question. The answer is yes, sobriety is absolutely worth it. That has been my experience, at any rate, and the experience of countless others in sobriety.

You may fear letting go of your good friend alcohol. You may wonder what in the world you ail use for entertainment, for relief from your hurts, your emotional pain. But consider, if you’re reading this, alcohol is no longer serving you, it is probably causing havoc in your life and you are searching for other ways to find relief.

If you are generating hell in your life and it is related to alcohol or drugs, you will find sobriety most appealing. Without alcohol or drugs, you will not have hangovers, a major benefit right from the start. As you sobriety progresses, you will discover things to do to entertain yourself – listen to music, read, visit with friends and family, exercise, write in a journal, and the list goes on.

Perhaps the thing that makes sobriety most worth it is the healing that will occur when you start to look at your emotional pain with clearer eyes. You will learn to be responsible for your own feelings instead of blaming others for your pain. Your feelings of pity for yourself will disappear, and you will find interest, genuine interest, in those around you.

The healing from the past that you experience is precious, simply precious, and you do not want to miss this benefit of sobriety.  You will find a new peace, a new freedom, and you will revel in these feelings.

What is it that you fear most from sobriety? How do you think sobriety can help you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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How to Trust a Higher Power

Hello and good morning in the pre-dawn hours. : ) I am wondering how things went for you with the forgiveness challenge. Were you able to do the exercises? How did/does it feel? Do you think you’ll be able to get to the point of forgiveness? I hope so.

This morning, there was a search term “how can I trust my higher power,” and I wanted to address this today. It is crucial for your peace of mind and your sobriety to have a belief and trust in a higher power. To relay how you can do that, I’d like to tell a story…

When I came to sobriety, I did so having just read Conversations With God. This was a very powerful book for me; the effect on me was astounding. I had begun to believe that God was everywhere around me, in everything and everybody. So, when I entered sobriety, I thought it was God urging me to do so. I now know this was the case, but about 3-4 years into sobriety, I began to have difficulty with God.

I was working through my childhood issues, dealing with the anger and rage, the confusion and hurt, the wounds I was left with from my childhood. I began to trust God only so far, and then I felt I needed to take over, I needed to watch my back. I had reverted to a survival mode, one which was familiar and necessary from childhood days.

Soon, this lack of trust in a higher power began to get in my way, and I got to a deep despair, wondering why a higher power would have allowed me to experience what I did as a child. The way I got out of the despair is a whole other story; let me focus on trusting my higher power…

Right about the time that I was in deep despair, my sponsor suggested I begin to notice the things in my life that were going well, the good things that were occurring that I did not plan nor force to happen. So I did. I began to notice these things. What I soon discovered was that  wonderful things that were happening, small, little things that I did not design or orchestrate.

My sponsor said this was my higher power working in my life. Ahhhh, I thought to myself. So, this is the higher power. I began to trust that I was being cared for, watched over. Slowly, I eased the need to watch my back, and began to believe that it was being watched by my higher power.

Today, I believe there is a higher power at work in my life. I see evidence of it every minute of every day in the small things, the things that fall into place as a result of me having taken action. Opportunities arise, people are there to help me… it all just falls together like a beautifully choreographed dance.

This is how your higher power works, in small ways, effortlessly. As things begin to fall into place for you, as others appear on your path to guide you, think of it as your higher power at work in your life, for it is. : )

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What Is It Like to Be Sober When You’re Hurting?

Good morning to each of you, and the day is long past dawn. It is bright and clear in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, and I am loving this weather!

Yesterday, I spoke of what it was like to be sober and I talked about all the positives. What about when it gets tough? You see, it does get tough. It’s not all a picnic. So, that’s what I want to talk about today… what to do when being sober is tough.

The thing about being sober is, you begin to feel your feelings. For years, perhaps, you have numbed them out, and suddenly your numbing agent is gone. The length of time for the difficult emotions to emerge will vary in the time it takes for them to appear and in intensity, depending on the depth of your pain.

For me, I was on a pink cloud, feeling wonderful, for about 6 months before the difficult emotions really hit me, and I mean REALLY hit me. Although, during that 6 months, I was still grieving the loss of an unrequited love, the thing which had led me to my bottom in the first place, when all I could do for several months was drink and cry. So, I was dealing with those feelings of rejection and even thoough I felt grand being sober, those feelings were hovering in the background.

I’m referring to the feelings that were buried deep inside, the ones of rejection from when I was a child, the feelings of worthlessness, shame, and despair that I carried throughout my childhood and then for most of my adulthood until I was 48, which was when I got sober. It was a bottomless well, a deep crevice and I felt like I had fallen off of a cliff many days.

How did I deal with it, you may ask, so you know how to deal with it when those feelings, or similar ones, come upon you? First and foremost, I resolved never to drink, although there were times in the course of my sobriety when I would yell, “Being sober is not better than when I was drinking!” Nonetheless, I kept holding on to my sobriety, I kept sober, and discovered that being sober was absolutely worth it! How did I do that?

I went to 4 or 5 support group meetings a a day for the first one and a half years of being sober. Every morning, I started my day with a brisk walk, followed by writing in a journal with my left, non-doiminant hand. I printed, actually. All sorts of deep feeliings flowed onto the page and I was able to have them to look at, to experience them. My writing helped me work through those feelings.

Plus, I talked to people a lot about those feelings that came up. And then, I read spiritual books voraciously. Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation, The Dance, and The Call, Iyanla VanZant’s Until Today, Yesterday I Cried, and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Melody Beattie’s books on co-dependency – I forget the titles.

Later in sobriety, when I was facing the pain caused by my child abuse, I read all of Claudia Black’s books, It Will Never Happen to Me was a big one that helped me get through my feelings.

The point is, and this post is getting long so I will end with this, allow your feelings to come up and find some way to cope with them. It is okay to distract yourself at times, with healthy activities, such as reading, exercising, writing, yet you need to face the difficult emotions and feel them. The only way past difficult emotions is to go through them. The only way out is through… Stick with it, hang in there, get counseling if needed. Ah, that’s something else I did that was paramount.

Just remember, the end result is happiness and joy, peace and freedom, like you have never experienced before. Trust me on this. Just stay sober, and don’t pick up that first drink. I wish you well on your journey.

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What Is It Like to Be Sober?

Hello, and good morning to you each! The day has dawned clear and sunny here in the northern San Francisco Bay Area. My kind of day. : ) I hope your day is filled with peace and joy.

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I began to wonder if I’d gone too far with it, if I’d gone over the top. I worried that I divulged too much about my process, my actions of follow through with the director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project. I considered taking that information out of the post and re-publishing it.

After my panic subsided, I elected to leave Fred’s name up there, and perhaps, if you google him and his project, you will learn more about forgiveness and about the project and him. That would be a wonderful thing. Perhaps I could have even linked to him to begin with!

At any rate, I would love some comments about how the post sat with you, what your reactions were…

Let’s turn our attention in an different direction, as I talk today about what it’s like to be sober. Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart and I am happy to write about it, as the more that join in, the merrier!

It was scary as crap to think about never drinking again, and it was that fear which, for many years, kept me from getting sober. Drinking had pervaded every aspect of my waking life, and I could not conceive of being without it. What in the world would I ever do, for example, if I went to a party and didn’t have a drink? How boring would THAT be?

As it turns out, not boring at all. In fact, it was more exciting because I was present for conversations with others. That’s not to say that right away I felt comfortable at a party without alcohol; it took a few months to work up to that point. But it came fairly quickly for me.

The reality is, to be sober, to live without alcohol and drugs in your life, is cleaner, more simple, easier, more enjoyable and exhilarating, more freeing. It’s just the way I love living my life now. I don’t miss alcohol because I know where it takes me, and I don’t want to go there… to the being looped and not able to think or talk clearly. So, I elect to stay sober.

For those of you wondering what it’s like to be sober, try it out a bit, but don’t just try being without the liquor. Being sober involves a shift of perspective in how you view life and yourself. It involves seeing the world and yourself with new eyes. To get to that point, get involved with a local support group that deals with alcohol recovery. One of these can be found in your yellow pages, or online under local alcohol support groups.

If you want to experience freedom, peace like you’ve never felt before, and joy over the simplest things in life, I invite you to try getting and staying sober. You will not regret it once you clear out all the old baggage, the old “stuff.”

Being sober and the feeling it generates is the feeling I was looking for all those years that I drank. Isn’t it ironic that I finally found that feeling I so desperately sought, by being sober?

What are your concerns about getting sober? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Seven Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you! May your day be filled with goodness and peace inside. Today’s search term I chose is “effects of sobriety,” because it is my 12 year birthday today. Twelve years ago today began my amazingly joyful and sometimes excruciatingly painful journey into sobriety.

And regardless of what I was experiencing, I didn’t drink – no matter what. You can do that, too. Do you want a new life, better than any you’ve ever experienced? Then stick with it – no matter what.

You will find the journey more than worthwhile. You will find it very powerful, very healing, very awesome. The journey is all of these things and more.  Some days, it is negative and extremely painful as you look at past experiences. Know that the experience and pain are being brought forth for your healing. Stick with it. Don’t drink – no matter what. It WILL get better!

So, let’s look at some of the effects of sobriety. I have spoken about these before from a different viewpoint…. today I present the end effect one might experience from sobriety.

1. You will begin to feel more self-respect when you don’t wake up all hung over, drooling puking, barely able to function as a human being. Imagine… waking up refreshed, able to get out of bed and function right away. Well, maybe after coffee. lol Seriously, waking up without a hangover did a work of good for my self-respect.

2. As you move through sobriety, you will begin to feel release from old wounds, old haunts, as you heal from the inside out. In addition to help from an alcohol support group, I needed private therapy help. I recommend this if you need it, as it will speed your recovery from old wounds much more quickly.

3. Your self-esteem and self-love will grow as you continue on this journey called sobriety. You will feel good about yourself for staying sober, and your esteem will grow as a result. The healing work you do will help you learn to love yourself; you will forgive yourself, and your self-love will grow even further.

4. You will feel true caring about the people around you. With your new-found sobriety, you will really care at a deep level for those who enter or are in your daily life. Yu will see others with compassion, see them as fallible human beings, and you will be able to forgive them their transgressions.

5. The blaming and self-pity you feel will diminish as you become more accountable for yourself and your feelings.

6. You will be able to see the world with new eyes… Gratitude for all your experiences, whether positive or negative, will fill you up and it will spill out to others.

7. And finally, you will wish to be of service to others rather than stay stuck in yourself and your woes, rather than blame others and feel self-pity.  Because of that, you will feel freedom in your soul. It will soar, as will you!

The possibilities are endless if you maintain your sobriety! My hope for each of you reading this is that you do, indeed, try sobriety, and succeed at it. Speaking from experience, 12 years of it, I can honestly say that the  journey is so well worth it. At last, I found happiness and peace. May you do the same.

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