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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Are Inner Strength and Spirituality the Same Thing?

Good morning to each of you and welcome to another day! May it be a great one for you! I had an interesting search term this morning. It was “are inner strength and spirituality the same thing?” I want to speak to this today.

Spirituality is defined by Webster as being of spiritual nature and spiritual is defined as of the soul or spirit, sacred, devotional. It does not need to be connected to religion or the church to be considered spiritual. For example, I consider myself very spiritual, believing in a higher power that guides all that is, but I do not adhere to or practice any religion.

Inner strength I would describe as the strength of character, the strength that comes from within me to sustain a peaceful existence. I see, or consider, that my spirituality enhances and adds to my inner strength. When I am not feeling strong within, I pray to my higher power and I receive inner strength.

Given the way I am defining these two terms, spirituality and inner strength, I see them as two separate and distinct things, yet intertwined. I think that people who practice some form of spirituality have more inner strength, as they have more faith upon which to draw.

There are my thoughts on spirituality and inner strength. What are your thoughts on these? Are they the same or distinct? I invite you to leave a comment and let us know.

I want to let you know that I have a new video on my home page about my new free 3-module video course on finding inner peace through forgiveness. The video course consists of three tips on how to forgive. If you are struggling with lack of inner peace, head on over and get the videos. I believe they will benefit you for the rest of your life.

 

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How to Deal with Sorrow and Grief

Good morning to each of you! It is my wish that you each have a lovely day, filled with peace and joy. The term that was searched for three times is “how to deal with sorrow,” and I added “and grief.” So that is what I am going to speak about today… sorrow and grief.

If you’re in that space of sorrow and grief, I am sorry for your loss, whatever it might be, and I wish you well in your grieving process. The focus of my writing today is on how to get through your sorrow, your grief.

First of all, know that each of you dealing with these difficult emotions does so in your own way. Each of you deals with sorrow and grief the way you saw your parents and other adults deal with them when you were a child.

The messages we are often told as children, and as adults, are don’t feel bad, replace the loss, just give it time, be strong for others, and definitely grieve alone. So, in response to these messages, we hide our grief and sorrow, put on the face that all is okay; we shove it deep within. This does not serve you and, in fact, is damaging to your soul.

You are going to feel badly until you are ready to move on, and it is beneficial to you not to deny these feelings. To replace the loss is to avoid your feelings. Time heals, depending upon what you do with your time. If you sit and wallow in pity, you will not heal, but if you take action to get to a place of peace, the time will assist you.

Know that it is okay to show your feelings about your sorrow and grief, yet that will most likely make others feel uncomfortable. Express it to those people you trust, those who will not berate you for your feelings.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has defined five stages in the death and dying arena: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Know that you will experience these things and that they are perfectly normal. You will go back and forth among them; it is not probable that you will go in a straight order with them. The length of time you spend in each stage is totally unique to you and cannot be compared to another.

I’d like to stress not to compare your grieving process with anyone else’s, as yours is totally yours alone, depending upon what you observed while growing up.

Sorrow and grief can occur after a death of a loved one or a pet, after a move of any sort, after leaving a job, from loss of self-worth, or any time there is a loss. I highly recommend the book The Grief Recovery Handbook: The 20th Edition by John W. James and Russell Friedman.  It contains valuable exercises to do to assist you through your process to heal from sorrow and grief.

Again, my condolences, and I wish you well on your journey through sorrow and grief.

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What It Was Like Getting Sober – Part 3

My van

To continue… I must say, I hope you stick with this post. It’s long and I really hated to do a part 4.

The first year and a half of getting sober was difficult, as my feelings were extremely raw and I had nothing with which to numb them. I did a LOT of writing. I took several brisk walks a day.

After several months of doing these things as well as going to 4-5 meetings a day, God brought me the old van I ws telling you about earlier, and I dove in, gutting it, redoing the plumbing and electrical systems in addition to all the woodworking. I designed the interior bulkhead walls and the bookshelves. This project was a life-saver. It eased the difficulty of getting sober and feeling all my emotions.

I left San Diego in the spring of 2002, and headed back to the Bay Area, where I got a job. Soon after, I fell and injured my right, dominant wrist, so much so that I could not write with that hand and started journaling with my non-dominant, left hand. All sorts of deep feelings welled up, out of nowhere.

In fact, some of what I wrote now appears in the book I wrote and photographed, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. In 2004, I discovered that the writings matched perfectly with some gate photos I had taken earlier in the year, describing their physical characteristics perfectly. I did not plan this; it just happened, which is why I believe my book was divinely created, guided.

Anyway, after returning to Marin and injuring myself in 2002, I could not deal with the weather that winter; the rain was blowing sideways and the van was leaking, getting my journals and books wet. I lost it and became suicidal. After reaching out to the crisis line and getting stabilized, I returned to San Diego and proceeded to receive treatment for my wrist injury.

Surgery was necessary, and I spent the next 3 years trying to find a place to live where I could be and not use my hand for a month following the surgery. It was going to be pretty extensive… First I went to Colorado and then to a friend’s home in Washington state, but these places did not work out and I found myself back in Marin in 2005, having surgery.

My emotional recovery continued, as I delved deeper into my psyche. I got assistance from a therapist. But I still was experiencing great, deep despair over my childhood. I felt the pain I had endured was for no purpose in my life, other than to make me miserable. That despair continued until one day, I discovered my purpose in life.

What I discovered was that my story, my abusive history, was of help to another when I talked about it and relayed how I had begun to heal from it. Suddenly, I saw the reason for the abuse. It was to help others by talking about my experience of healing so that they, too, could begin to recover from their abuse, their pain that they had endured. Suddenly I had purpose, my life had purpose.

After realizing my life’s purpose, my whole attitude and belief in myself changed, and I have not felt despair since that discovery, that day. In fact, my recovery has progressed to the point that I am stable and flourishing. Initially after surgery and for 2 years, I pulled together my book. Then I spent the next 2 years publishing and marketing it. It didn’t really take off, despite the fact that everyone who reads it, raves about it.

In 2008, I bought my humble little home in Marin, so now I am a long-term resident in a place that I love. An opportunity and calling came about, working with the Vietnam vets to help them through the suffering they still experience. What I have to offer today that I didn’t have 38 years ago is a way through grief, as well as how to get past anger and bitterness that is long-standing.

You see, I was finally able to forgive my parents for my upbringing. I carried that deep resentment around for 33 years, and am well-versed in how to forgive a long-time hurt. This is one of the major things I talk about when I work with the vets.

I conduct workshops now, as well as coach others. The topics are as I’ve discussed… grief recovery and forgiveness. I love my life and most of all, I love it when, after talking with someone, I see their eyes light up with hope after being sad and listless, void of all hope. That wonderful peace that I have found is something which I love to pass on… how to get there, how to look at the world and oneself with new eyes, 180 degrees from what one saw before.

You, too, can have a healing journey through all of your grief, your anger and bitterness, through all of your despair and hopelessness. It all starts by getting sober, giving up the drink for a kinder and softer way. Come join me. It is a wonderful life. Learn how to start on that path by coming to my workshop Finding Freedom In Forgiveness on National Forgiveness Day, October 27th. For more information and to register, go to http://findforgiveness.eventbrite.com.

If you are hurting enough, and you want something different in your life, then you are ready, perhaps, to embark upon a new journey. Reach out. Get help. You were not intended to do life alone in a vacuum, by yourself. It is a sign of strength and courage to reach out for a hand. There is love out there, brought to you by God’s countless angels. I wish for you to discover it.

 

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Offer Yourself Compassion for Your Dream

Fields of Compassion

You may be afraid to follow your dream. If so, offer yourself compassion for the fear, for that (likely) small child receiving that wound – terrified.

Then give yourself some compassion for the wounds that caused the fear. Let yourself feel the hurt and pain that wound produced, using doses of compassion when it gets difficult to feel your feelings.

Offer it to yourself because you are wounded. You have been struck with a sliver to the heart and it has festered all these years, creating a barrier for love to flow in and out , back and forth between you and the world.  

Compassion is your ability to feel sympathy or sorrow for another’s suffering, usually associated with a desire to help.

In this case, it is the sorrow your soul feels for the suffering you have had over the years. Have you been miserable emotionally, hiding that misery from others with things such as self-medicating, blaming others for it?

Know that you can admit to the feelings. In fact, it is better to acknowledge them, so you can feel and deal with them. Hopefully, you apologized to yourself for having the belief that you are alone in the world, for you are not. Know that there are people waiting to help and support you. 

Back to “getting over it.” When you are told  to just get over the pain and resentment, a disservice has just been done to you, and it is detrimental to your healing, in my humble opinion. Offer yourself compassion for that guilt you feel over the comment, for your thought that there is something wrong with you, that you “should” be able to get over “it,” whatever “it” is…

There is nothing wrong with you. You are experiencing your own timetable in your healing. This is assuming you are taking action to heal, as opposed to doing nothing and blaming.

It has been my experience that I needed to look at my emotions carefully. That was nearly impossible, as I couldn’t even identify them, let alone name them. It took longer for me than for other people.

At times, the people I would vent to were unavailable , either not present physically or emotionally. I cannot blame them. In fact, I send them my gratitude for their compassionate hearts and offer THEM compassion for the draining times they had listening to my woes.

Well, I have meandered with this concept of compassion and offering it to ourselves. I love free-form writing, stream-of-consciousness… One other thing to note is that compassion is an integral part of forgiveness, which, if we want to make peace with our lives, we need to extend to others and to ourselves. Compassion is a salve to use during this process.

How do you show compassion to yourself? Have you ever used it to get to peace?

 

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Show Gentleness to Yourself as You Heal and Grow

Bed of Gentleness

There is nothing quite like showing yourself gentleness to speed along your healing and growth processes.

It will go a long way toward helping you to overcome the desire to beat yourself up, or to criticize yourself, not only during the appraisal portion of your journey, but throughout your journey.

Cut yourself some slack. I’m not advocating you pat yourself on the back for unkind and uncaring behaviors, but I am saying to allow yourself to be human with failings.

The thing about your failings, your short-comings is that you can choose to change them into victories, lessons to learn.

I am advocating you take a long, hard, honest look at yourself, using humility to do so. And I am advocating that you show yourself gentleness as you do that looking. Beating yourself up is counter-productive.

Feeling regret or remorse over some action, words, or behavior? Be gentle; recognize that you did the best you could at the time. If you’d have known better, you would have done better.

Now you have the opportunity to change anything you did that you don’t like, or, at the very least, to get some peace from your regrets. Be gentle with yourself as you go about making those changes.

Allow yourself to slowly and gently reveal yourself to yourself and others. Showing gentleness to yourself and others is paramount as you continue on your journey to living your dream and finding peace. 

 

 

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Commitment to Your Dream Leads to Peace

Commitment of Journey

If you are searching for peace, inner peace, then one way to get it is to commit to your dream. 

As we’ve discussed, your dream, the urgings of your heart, are from your divine and are your purpose in life. You are asked to be following those urgings, which may be one reason why you are reading this post.

Peace is possible when you cease the unrest of your heart, your mind. If your soul is at odds with itself, which it is when we are not on our true path, how can your heart and mind be at rest?

To get to that place of commitment, you must be willing to take this journey, no matter what. You may need to deal with scoffing from a spouse, family, or friends. Even through agonizing feelings, commit.

The reward is a heart and mind that are at rest, closer to peace. What are you doing to commit to your journey to peace?

 

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Willingness is the Key to Fulfilling Your Dream

The day dawns bright and clear-skied; I can hear birds singing. It is the morn of a special day for me. I am giving my first workshop, in a series of many. Everything I’ll need is piled on the couch, awaiting loading in about an hour.

And I am excited! Really excited to offer what I will to my audience… a way to make peace with your life. In case you’re interested and in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s today from 10 am to noon at the Embassy Suites – San Rafael 94903. 

This is a dream of mine, to share my story, my message, and I am fulfilling it in part, due to my willingness, which brings me to today’s topic…

How willing are you to do whatever it takes to follow your dream? How about to find peace doing your dream?

It is terrifying to make a leap of faith, trying to believe that everything will be okay, when I move forward to live my dream. At least it has been for me, especially the financial investment for training workshops.

Yet, I was willing to do whatever it took to get to the point of following my dream. You, too, can be willing. If you believe that the urging of your heart is your divine, your Source, speaking to you, then it is easier to believe that what you feel in your heart is your dream.

It is easier to take that leap of faith. Even if you don’t believe in anything outside of yourself as a Source, use the higher good within you… follow the urgings of your heart because it is for your higher good. Only you can make that determination.

The key is willingness… to take a risk, to take a leap of faith, to find the courage… all is takes is willingness the size of a tiny keyhole…

 

 

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Accepting Your Path in Life Leads to Peace

When you are accepting of your path in life, things move along smoothly, gracefully. It’s as if you flow from one thing to the next. “When we become entwined with our path, the steps become as soft as velvet, and the ascent flows smoothly.”

This is different than being resigned to the flow of life. When resigned, there is an attitude of defeat. You are battling to make things go a certain way. Often, you are angry or bitter, blaming the situation for any feelings of unrest you may have.

Path of Acceptance

When I became sober, I accepted what was going on around me, but I was resigned with defeat. It was a very heavy feeling. Somewhere along the way, things changed for me and I began to gracefully accept that things were as they should be in the Divine world. I had finally gotten to the realization that when there was nothing I could do to change something, then accepting it became the softer and easier way. 

I am not saying that you should resign yourself to a situation if there is something you can do to change it. On the contrary, you can take action to try and change something. But when your actions do not impact the situation, when you keep hitting a wall, then it is time to gracefully accept what is happening.

Acceptance also applies to your feelings. If you can accept what you are feeling at any given time, then it is easier to flow through those emotions, and to heal if that is what is needed. So often, we ignore or discount or deny our feelings and that just intensifies them. Again, the easier softer way is acceptance of them. 

To reach acceptance, perhaps it is helpful for you to pray or to meditate. This helps you let go of the way you want something to turn out, and allows the Divine to work in your life. If you then feel sad or hurt over the results,m then accept that also. If you do, that emotion will pass more quickly. It is helpful in accepting your path in life to just let go, to surrender, to accept. It leads to peace.

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Introspect Can Lead Us To Harmony With Ourselves and Others

“When do we take the time to just listen to the breeze, the quietness, the ramblings of our mind, or the world around us? When do we simply rest, quietly connecting with ourselves and all that is vast and wondrous around and within us?”

Perhaps, we don’t take this time. Yet, it is so important to participate in introspect and self-reflection. We are always bustling, moving quickly from one activity to the next, watching TV or listening to music, never taking the time to sit quietly with ourselves.

This is such an important activity in which to engage, as it allows us to become centered, grounded. Introspect allows us to examine our thoughts, our beliefs, our actions and our interactions with others. Introspect allows us to determine if we have approached ourselves and others with love.

It is a time of sitting idle to allow ourselves to observe what is happening in the world around us, and to determine how we fit in. Activities such as meditation and yoga provide a framework in which to practice introspection.

Other activities might include sitting on the bank of a lake, river, or the ocean, allowing our thoughts to follow the meandering, rhythmic movements of the water. Or, we can sit on our front porch and watch the activity around us.

The benefit of taking time alone, without noise distraction, is a great connection with our innermost self. We can reach that part of us which is love. From that point, we can them touch others with harmony and love. We become available to ourselves and others when we practice introspect.

Post a comment, telling us what the ways are in which you practice introspect and self-reflection? What are the benefits you reap?

 

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