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 Either way, I would be delighted to work with you so you can find relief.



Gratitude For Yet Another Day

Good morning to everyone! Welcome to my blog! The search term I have chosen today has to do with gratitude… gratitude for yet another day.

I just spoke with my friend in Denver, where they are getting snow in blizzard-like conditions. And I am here, north of San Francisco, where it has dawned yet another beautiful and sunny day. I am so grateful for my life and where I live today. How about you?

For what in your life are you grateful? What is lighting you up today? Is it your physical surroundings, the presence of family and friends in your life, the things you are able to do with your life? What is it that brings you gratitude? Leave a comment and share your gratitude with us. Maybe that one thing you share will spark someone who is having difficulty being grateful into recognizing and appreciating the thing in their life for which they can be grateful.

Finding it difficult to be grateful for anything? Consider gratitude for the fact that you can see, can smell, can hear. Take a basic physical ability that you have and express gratitude for it. Consider one of your positive traits (we all have them) and express gratitude for that. Find one thing to be grateful for and the tone of your entire day will change.

If you like the attitude I display and want more of it, be aware that I offer the coaching program Opening the Gates of Your Heart: Finding Peace and Happiness Through Forgiveness. In the sessions of the program, I offer a safe, nurturing and non-judgmental atmosphere in which you can discover the gates of your heart. We work together to clear those gates, so you can open them and feel peace, happiness, and freedom.

You are eligible to receive a free, 30-minute discovery session, in which we will discover together the gates of your heart and what keeps you from peace and happiness. Then I will share with you how we can continue to work together, if what I say resonates with you. Simply call 415-883-8325 to schedule your free discovery session today. Let’s get started so you can learn to live with gates flung wide!


Using Gratitude in Dealing with Despair

Good morning, everyone! It is the wee, wee hours of the morning and I popped awake, so here I am. I wish for you each an insightful day, filled with many moments of gratitude.

Face of Despair

Face of Despair

I wanted to address the person who searched for “dealing with despair.” Let me begin by saying that I know what it is like to live in despair, to be filled with it. When I was about five years into sobriety, I was so filled with despair that I was praying to die. I knew of no other way to deal with my despair than to exit this world. I was like the image to the left – wailing, covering up my eyes and just wailing.

I remember those days, and want to say I know how debilitating they are. My heart goes out to those of you who are feeling despair. I also want to say that there is a way out of it; there is something you can do to minimize your despair.

I am not one for saying “fake it till you make it,” or “act as if.” I believe that not being with what you are feeling is detrimental. However, there comes a time when you can make the choice to move through your despair to something else.

To get out of despair, using gratitude is a powerful thing. You may not be grateful for anything in your life, nor see how you can be. Yet, gratitude is a great anecdote for despair.

Try this… be grateful for at least one thing today. Is it your sight, your hearing for which you are grateful? Are you grateful that you can see the beautiful flower in that garden, or hear the birds sing? Whatever that one thing is that you are grateful for, focus on it until you are really, truly appreciative that it is in your life.

Can’t find anything for which to be grateful? Use my example; be grateful for your sight, your hearing. Take your attention off of your despair and focus on the gratitude you have for that one thing. Allow that feeling to consume you throughout the day. Revisit it again and again.

Helping others to see their world with new eyes is what I do in my coaching practice. If you are having difficulty being grateful and would like some assistance to get there, please call for a free 30 minute discovery session. We will discover together what you want from your life and the blocks you are experiencing that keep you from getting what you want. Simply call me at 415-883-8325.

As you go through the day, make an effort to find gratitude for one thing, just one, and focus on it throughout the day. Use gratitude to deal with your despair and let us know how that went for you by leaving a comment.




Feelings of Giving Up and Hopelessness

Good morning! I have been assent for the past two days, and you visited anyway. Thank you for that. I hope you found information that was useful for you.

Today, the search term which touched my heart was “feelings of giving up and hopelessness.” So, now that you have learned the process of how to forgive, let’s turn our attention to healing and getting past hopelessness.

This term touched my heart deeply because I was once at the place of giving up. I was praying to die because I felt my life had no purpose, that the abuse I had suffered early in life was only for the purpose of making my life miserable. And because I was there, praying to die, I recall how miserable I felt, and so, I wish to be of use to those of you who are struggling with giving up.

I gently say, please do not give up. Things can get better. There is hope. For your life to turn around, you need to muster up all your energy and take one action. Can you do that for me? Will you promise you’ll do this one thing? It has two parts. Will you do them? Great. Let’s proceed…

When I was at my lowest low, praying to die because I was too afraid to kill myself, I was able to get out of that space by being of use to another person who was in the middle of feelings of hopelessness. I shared one thing that had been useful for me, and he was so grateful, tears came to his eyes.

You, too, can do the same thing. Here’s how. The first step of this process is to get a notebook, a wire-bound one, even available at 7-11 for a couple of bucks. Start writing in it every morning, even for 15 minutes… printing, with your “other” hand, your non-dominant hand. Write about your feelings of hopelessness, why you are feeling hopeless, what the circumstances of your life are that lead to those feelings. Write about your past that has led up to these feelings.

What you will find is that all sorts of deep emotions will well up and flow onto the page. You may find yourself sobbing and this is okay. Keep going. You may need to take a break to allow yourself to feel your emotions, yet, feel them. Allow yourself to just “be” with them.  Try not to numb your feelings with substances or activity. Certainly, if you are having difficulty dealing with the feelings that arise. consider getting therapy assistance. Sometimes, this is free or low-cost at your county mental health department.

When you are able to look at and feel those feelings of hopelessness, you begin to heal from them. Remember, the only way out of them is through them. What you resist, persists. When you shine light on those dark and depressing emotions, you begin to heal.

At the end of each writing session, write down one thing for which you are grateful, just one thing. Allow yourself to hold onto that one thing throughout the day. It may be as simple as the fact that you are able to write. Just be grateful.

After a time of doing this, you will see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, be on the lookout for someone else who is feeling that feeling of hopelessness, too, someone who is despairing. Share with them the writing exercise, including the one thing for which to be grateful. Focus on them, not you, for the entire time you are speaking with them. Be a good listener of their woes, and then encourage them to write about it, print about it, with their non-dominant hand. Share with them what this experience has been like for you.

Walk away from that experience knowing that you have made a positive impact on someone else’s life. When you realize this, you will begin to feel more and more hope as you help more and more people. You will feel useful, that you have purpose. Make it a mission to help another and this will help with your hopelessness.

I wish you well on your journey.


Living in Gratitude

Good morning, all! Today I would like to talk about gratitude – how to live with it every day, how it benefits us to do so. One of my images from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing is Visions of Gratitude, as seen here on the right.

Visions of Gratitude

The verse that accompanies this image is: “When I look with eyes that appreciate, everything around and within me is more pleasing, more beautiful.”

This has been my experience. The more I look around and appreciate all that I have, all that is in my life, the more pleasing life is in general. The more pleasant it is. The more grumbling I do about things, the more anger and dissatisfaction I feel. It’s my choice, and I like to feel good, so I choose looking with appreciation at all that I have.

We can all practice looking for the good in our lives, looking for things about which we are grateful. It starts from the moment we wake up… we can be grateful simply for waking up to have another day to live to our fullest, to experience life and all it presents.

Even if we are in the middle of hard times, we can be grateful that 1), we can feel the pain, because when we feel pain, we also feel joy when the pain clears, and 2), we can be grateful that from the difficult time, we will grow our spirit, our character.

When we express gratitude for all that we have, our demeanor is one of cheerfulness, of happiness. We are a joy and a pleasure to be around. We set a good example for others to show their gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for my home, my warmth, my kitty who is my companion, my health, my job… I am especially grateful to be an alcoholic because it led me to recovery and that led to healing that has occurred in my sobriety. Recovery has led to all the peace and happiness I have searched for all my life.

What are you grateful for today in your world? Leave a comment and share with us your joy and gratitude.


Quotes on Life with Images

This, “quotes on life with images,” was a search term that found my website this morning. I recall using that as a keyword phrase, perhaps… What I what to really focus on is the term, because what I have to offer you today is quotes on life with images. They are taken from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Carolyn Jones

All Rights Reserved

Visions of Gratitude

When seen with eyes and heart that appreciate,

everything around and within me becomes more pleasing, more beautiful.

Moments of Wonder

 Do you suppose there has always been such richness, such beauty in the world?

Perhaps it has been there all along,

waiting to be noticed, to be seen, with the eyes of the heart.

If we as individuals cannot speak to each other,

how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?

Warmth of Humility

 Rather than take on everyone else’s dreams, desires, and expectations,

can I not look humbly at what has been placed before me?

We will grow through the barriers of our heart and

be able to fully experience the richness of life.

Promise of Peace

When I practice the principles of love for myself and others,

the gates of my heart melt into the glow of dusk,

and peace rises to greet me.

Balance of Serenity

I am serene, carried by the winds to places where

I am held in balance with great beauty and strength.

Burst of Joy

My heart bursts with joy!






The Power of Gratitude

When put to use, gratitude is very powerful. Even more so, it is magical.

I will move into gratitude today for two reasons – 1) it was a search term and 2) it enhances everything you do in life, and it can help you maintain sobriety. Gratitude assists in the forgiveness process, too.

What is gratitude? According to Webster, it is a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits. To me, gratitude is pleasing and I am thankful for what I have received, whether I have asked for it or not. I am thanking a higher being, or source, showing and sharing my gratitude.

There was a long period in sobriety during which I could not be grateful for anything. In fact, my roommate and I used to meet each other while one was on the way from a meeting and one was on her way to a meeting. The question would always be, “What was the topic?” The answer invariably was “Gratitude,” to which the other would exclaim, “Gratitude AGAIN??”

The thing is, I could not get past the hurt and pain of my past enough to be grateful for anything. It took me several years sober before I seemingly overnight, began to have extreme gratitude. Oh, but I remember the incident vividly. It is the same day that I realized my life’s purpose and my calling.

Once I did, the whole world changed for me in my ability to be grateful for all the gifts I was receiving. In fact, I began to look at my experiences as gifts from which to learn and grow, to heal and thrive.

I still do today… look at experiences as gifts for my learning, healing, and growing, and I see them with gratitude. Sometimes, when I am in the middle of it, I don’t see it as a gift, though. But it works its way through, and I begin to see the gift. Staying sober helps a great deal with that, and that’s the topic of another blog.

If you’re having difficulty being grateful, expressing gratitude, then try this. Every morning when you wake up, whether you lie awake for awhile, or bound right out of bed, feel gratitude for waking up. That’s it, just for waking up.

Even if you would rather not continue with life and not waking up sounds like the solution for you, set that aside for a bit if you can, and just be grateful you woke up on this day, that you have one more day to hope that things will turn around today, or one more day to stay sober. Whatever your difficulty, think of it as one more day to have things change.

It takes courage, and a lot of willingness. And if you’re beat down so low, perhaps those are the only games in town. You have a choice to grab hold of willingness and courage, or keep with the status quo.

Back to our daily exercise. Practice greeting the day with gratitude for two weeks. For the following two weeks, keep doing that and add this: throughout each day, remember back to waking up and being grateful that morning. When you can remember what that  felt like for you, be grateful you were able to experience gratitude, able to be grateful. Be grateful for the courage and willingness you used.

After a while, you will find yourself showing gratitude for getting great parking spaces. It works to elevate your mood, and it’s easier to be around others, and they around you. Remember, gratitude begets gratitude.

How does gratitude manifest for you? Are you able to express it already? If not, was the exercise helpful? Leave a comment and let us know.


Are you resistant to this or even to the exercise?



The Power of Gratitude

There is much to say about the power of gratitude. Gratitude can take us from a deep, dark place to one one of light and happiness. 

Visions of Gratitude

Visions of Gratitude

“When seen with eyes and heart that appreciate, everything in and around me becomes more pleasing, more beautiful.”

Such is the verse that accompanies this image in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. We are moving through the book, one topic at a time, and our goal is to reach peace and maintain sobriety.

When we’re in a low spot, the last thing we want to do is be thankful for anything, because we do not feel there is anything for which to be thankful. Yet, adopting an attitude of gratitude can pull us out of that funk.

We can start easily and small, meaning, we pick some stable things in our life for which we can be grateful… a home in which to live, food to eat.

If we don’t have these, and even if we do, we can be grateful every morning that we wake up and can see around us, can see a myriad of colors. We can be grateful for the use of our body, that we can get out of bed and walk, or propel ourselves.

That is one way to start the day. Certainly, as we start the day, we also want to show gratitude for our sobriety and the power of the Universe that helps us to stay sober.

Every little thing that happens to us throughout the day can have gratitude applied… making it to the grocery store safely, having money to buy groceries in the first place, and so forth.

If we are having trouble identifying things for which to show gratitude, we can start by sitting down and making a gratitude list. This is hard to do sometimes, yet it yields tremendous results over time. We start by listing ten things about us and our lives for which we are grateful. Then, we just sit with that and repeatedly express gratitude for those ten things.

The next day we do the same, and then the next, and then the next after that. Every day, we write down a gratitude list and we reflect on that list. Over time, we soften to the things for which we are grateful and we begin to see other things in our lives to add to the list.

Given time, finding things for which to be grateful comes automatically and we begin to be able to expand our list. We will find ourselves looking for the silver lining in the cloud of that bad experience  so we can express our gratitude. It does not happen overnight, but eventually, we will see everything with the eyes of appreciation and we will want to continue this because it feels so good inside.

Today, find three things for which you can express gratitude, and repeat that tomorrow. Then, start writing down ten things you find that you are grateful for. It could be as simple as the pictures on the wall which bring you peace and joy, or as complex as gratitude for that unrequited love that pried you out of a verbally abusive marriage and led you to sobriety.

Soon, you will live a life with an attitude of gratitude, and this, more than anything, will lead you to peace and help to keep you sober. Gratitude is a powerful tool at our disposal, at least, I have found it to be so.



An Attitude of Gratitude

Visions of Gratitude

“When seen with eyes and heart that appreciate, everything around and within me becomes more pleasing, more beautiful.”


How can such a thing which is second nature to me today have been something with which I struggled in the past? I resented people who spoke of gratitude, being grateful for this or that in their lives. Then, I felt guilty and ashamed because I could not get to that place myself.

I was still hurting too much from past experiences, their betrayals. I carried great fear to speak up about my feelings. I could barely acknowledge them to myself, they were so painful. I needed to go through a grieving process, to deal with my sorrow, my worthlessness, before I could get to a place of healing.

Over time, this is exactly what I was led through…  a healing process. The creation of the book helped me through my growth and change, and my growth and change led to the creation of the book. The order of the images and their titles reflect my process of healing and my process in sobriety.

Today, I am able to look at events as opportunities to learn and grow and I am grateful for those experiences. I am grateful for the ability and grace to feel gratitude. It is an attitude that, for me, has become pervasive. It floods and colors everything I do. It brings me peace and joy, softens and opens my heart.

Do I sound like Pollyanna? lol Most likely. I used to have a Pollyanna doll. I got it for Christmas one year because I loved the movie with Haley Mills. So what’s so bad about sounding like Pollyanna, as long as I give acknowledgment to my emotions that arise from events and situations?

In other words, as long as I don’t gloss over the difficult parts of a situation, pretend they don’t exist, go on cheerily without dealing with them, I am able to get to gratitude with honesty.

Gratitude finds me now, if I am humble, as well as open and willing to receive it. It has been a process of healing over many years. It is joyfully peaceful when I realize I am feeling grateful about something. How about you? Do you experience gratitude often?


Ways to Persevere

Rolls of Perseverance

Perseverance“I struggle to not become discouraged, or to think I am a failure because I have not achieved, in my first few attempts, the vision of myself as I wish to be.

Instead, I try to hold tightly to that vision, awaiting my efforts to catch up with the way I am seen by my heart.

Through practice and perseverance, I am learning and growing.”

Perhaps you have experienced being discouraged and feeling as though you failed, because repeated attempts to improve yourself or become a happier person, were unsuccessful. Sometimes, it gets harder and harder to keep trying.

I was one of those people who would beat themselves senseless for perceived failings. I say perceived, because I have learned that nothing in life is a failure. Looked at with a sense of gratitude, failings are actually lessons, opportunities for growth.

It took me a while to get to this point, and many floggings. It seems that when I learned to do a self-appraisal, over time I began to look honestly at what I was doing, what I was believing about myself. I mean looking deeply. What I believed about myself was not true. It was other people’s words and judgments that I was believing.

Once I saw this, really saw and felt this deeply, things began to change for me. I had to search my soul and learn who I really was, not what I had become in response to others. A humbling and difficult experience…

Another thing that has allowed me to persevere with joy is the development of gratitude. With much practice, showing I am grateful for any situation as it happens eases the sting of disappointment or feelings of failure. For me, everything is seen as something for which to be grateful. There can be no failure when there is gratitude.

How do you persevere in the face of discouragement?