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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Coping with Despair

Well, hello! It has been several days since I have written, and many of you continued to visit; thank you for that. Today’s search term was despair… how to cope with it, so I will discuss that, with a bit of a twist of hope.

When you are in the grips of despair, you feel hopeless, like nothing is worth it, that things cannot get better. You are listless and depressed… It is difficult to hear that things can be any different, and, yet, they can be.

It is possible to rise above despair, to get through it, past it. I am living testimony to that, and if what I’m going to say worked for me, it can work for you.

The bottom line is, to get through despair, it is necessary to refocus your attention on another who is in need, another who is hurting. It is necessary to drag your attention to the other person, thinking of how you can be useful to them by sharing about your pain.

First, identify why you are feeling despair. Write it down, list the reasons out. Get it all out on paper. Then look for the ways in which you are feeling self-pity, ways in which you are feeling like a victim. Choose to look for a way out, a way to feel better.

Next, write down one thing you have done that makes you feel better, one thing for which you are grateful. Is it getting a cup of coffee every morning? Does that lift your spirits? Find that one thing for which you can be grateful, that one thing that makes your heart sing.

Then seek out someone else who is feeling down, feeling despair for the same or similar reasons that you are feeling despair. Go to them and let them know what worked for you to feel better, even if you felt better for just a second. Let them know of the one reason you were grateful in the midst of your despair. Share this humbly, not with an attitude of, “look at me. You need to do this, too.” Share with gentleness. Simply share your story.

Notice the flicker of hope in their eyes, on their face, as you have given them hope, even a glimmer, that things can be better for them. When you notice this, know that you were the one who brought them some hope from their despair by sharing what helped you. Know that you got out of yourself long enough to be of use to another.

This is your way out of despair. Keep being of use to others, one person at a time, and you will notice that you begin to feel more hope and less despair, simply by being grateful for one thing and then being of service to one other person.

 

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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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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!

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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.

 

 

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Celebrate Gratitude for Who You Are

Hello and good morning to each of you! I am filled with gratitude for the day and wish to share that with you. And I am going to take it one step further and ask you to celebrate yourself for who you are!

If you have finished the positive list for your self-appraisal, then you will want to celebrate with gratitude what you have discovered. Be loud and proud to yourself about who you are in all your greatness, all your glory, all your light. Cultivate deep knowingness about who you are, what you have to offer the world, for you have much to give.

Offer gratitude for all your experiences, both positive and negative, that have shaped who you are today, for without ALL your experiences, you wouldn’t be “you” today. Be grateful for your life and all it has taught you, for all you have learned.

Write with your non-dominant hand – printing is easier – all the feelings that arise as you read this post and contemplate your beingness, and especially those of gratitude. Be humble and ecstatic about what and who you are, what and who you find.

Have you started your week’s long listing of all the positive things you thought, said, and did during the past week? Don’t forget to do that. Be in deep gratitude for all of those positive things. Celebrate them, celebrate you!

I hope your feelings of gratitude for who and what you are carry you forth through this day and all the days to come! It all starts from your list of positive traits and characteristics. So have at it… celebrate gratitude! Celebrate you! Have a splendid day!

 

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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.

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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.

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Gratitude for Another Day

Good morning and I hope your Christmas day was filled with gratitude – for the day’s blessings and for staying sober. One person searched for Christmas day, their first day sober. Today is their second and I hope it goes well for them.

Visions of Gratitude

Today I’m talking about gratitude for yet another day, and specifically, for my sobriety. I am very grateful for the day of sobriety on Christmas day. There were times in my life when staying sober on Christmas was very difficult, but I made it through by expressing gratitude throughout the day.

I keep my eye and heart on the abundance I am experiencing, rather than the scarcity. For example, my sister sent several gifts for me to put under the tree, and I am so grateful she did. It completed the feeling of Christmas. It led me to feel wanted, appreciated and I am grateful.

If I’d had no gifts, I could have been grateful for the tree and the joy it brings to the room. If I’d had no tree, I could have expressed gratitude for my home, my cat, food, and my health. The point is, there is always something to be grateful for, even if it is the smallest thing.

When I was first sober, I had difficulty showing gratitude for anything. I was too mired in the emotional pain I felt over my past. I went through a period of great anger and sadness over those feelings, those experiences.

It wasn’t until I’d done some healing work that I was able to write a gratitude list, listing out the basic things for which I was grateful. It included things like being grateful for my abilities at renovation. You saw the results of my renovation skills yesterday, in the picture of the van I rebuilt.

I am most grateful for those skills, as I am for other abilities I have. Today, I am grateful for my past, as it has made me into what and who I am today, with knowledge of what it’s like to be abused, so I can relate to others who have been or are being abused, so I can offer words of encouragement, support, so I can relay what happened to me to led me to be grateful for the abuse.

That story is another post. Today, I invite you to make a gratitude list, listing out the most simple and basic things for which you are grateful. When I made a gratitude list, I found that as I listed out those things, I was able to express gratitude for more and more things. It became a self-perpetuating situation, a little grew and grew until I was grateful for every little thing.

I wish for you gratitude for another day, another day of sobriety, if you are a sober person. If you practice gratitude, I hope it lifts your spirits. Have a pleasant day, filled with gratitude.

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A Christmas Story of Gratitude

the van I designed and built

It was December, 2003, and I was traveling from Denver, where I’d been living since June, to Baja to run into the guy for whom I had the hots. That’s a whole other story… I was traveling in my full-sized Dodge camper van that I had gutted and redone in cherrywood, designed to look like a boat.

It was the 23rd and I pulled into a mobile home and RV park outside of Tucson. When I registered, they said the Christmas party was that night and if I came and brought a gift, I got one in exchange.

I found my spot and got settled in with my traveling companion, my 19 year old cat, Maynard. I went through the van, looking for something suitable for a gift, and finally decided upon a Christmas candle I’d had for years but never had lit. Ah, this will work, I thought. I wrapped it in a Viva paper towel, and tied the ribbon with fancy yarn I had for weaving.

While I was looking around, I sent up a prayer to the Universe, asking for something small as a gift because I didn’t have much space available.

Feeling pleased I was offering a suitable gift, I headed off to the party. The first thing I noticed was that everyone that was coming had lavishly wrapped presents, with ribbons and bows. I felt small in comparison. I was ashamed of my gift. I decided to stay anyway.

The next thing I noticed was everyone was drinking wine except me. Ah, wonderful, I said to myself. The only alcoholic in the bunch. I felt singled out and awkward, but I still stayed. I was after that gift I was going to get because it was the only gift I was getting for Christmas that year.

My turn came down the line, and when it was my turn, I went up to the tree and looked for something small. The only small gift left was one the size of a VHS tape. Wonderful, I thought. Perfect. I opened it and it was wine glass stem rings, markers. They were Santas, Christmas trees, a snow man. There were six of them. Ah, great, I grumbled to myself in huge disappointment. The only alcoholic in the bunch and I have to get the wine glass markers!

I was feeling sorry for myself, and although the rule was I could pick someone else’s gift, I noticed no one else was doing that and I didn’t want to be the only one. I walked back to the van, highly bummed. As I sat on the side step of the van looking out at the night, I was filled with self-pity over the gift I couldn’t use. I got up and put it in the trash.

Suddenly, as I was throwing the wine glass markers away, I thought of my cupboard door handles, pulls, of which I had six. The brilliant idea came to me to put the rings on the door pulls for Christmas decorations. Oh, my goodness! My only Christmas decorations! I realized I had gotten something small, as I’d asked for and it was something to boost my Christmas spirit. I can’t tell you how much my heart soared with joy!

My cherished ornaments

These wine stem markers have become an integral part of my Christmas each year, for I now use them as Christmas tree decorations. They are the first ornaments on the tree. And every year when I place them on the tree, I renew my gratitude for all I receive.

I learned some valuable lessons that day I received these wine glass markers as a gift. First, I learned to be more flexible and creative in my thinking about how to use objects.

Second, I learned to greatly appreciate everything I receive, for I never know what the true purpose or use a gift may have. This has been the most valuable of all that I learned that night in Tucson.

Third, I learned that the Universe, God, or whatever that source is in the world, does send me what I ask for. It just might not be what I was anticipating, but it’s what I asked for.

That ends my tale about my wine stem holders. In closing, I’d like to say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to each of you.

Do you have a tale about Christmas and learning a valuable lesson? I’d love for you to share it with us.

 

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