What Is Kindness and How Do We Practice It

What is kindness?” is perhaps a question we want to ask ourselves more frequently. I say this because I overhear people speaking to each other in an unkindly manner all-too-often.

What IS kindness? According to Webster, it is nothing more than being sympathetic, generous, friendly, gentle, loving, tenderhearted, and affectionate. Sometimes, we are better at these ways of being to strangers than we are to those we have been with for a long time. I wonder why that is…

Perhaps, it is because we have grown tired of the relationship and the other person. Or, maybe it’s because we are feeling grumpy at the point in time that we are unkind and we think it’s okay to take it out on the one we love the most. Is that fair? Probably not…

So how do we prevent that? We learn about ourselves more, about our tendencies to blow up at another when we’re irritable, or not getting what we want. We do our self-appraisal and we make amends, when appropriate. We begin to consciously practice all the ways that Webster defines kindness, as I’ve listed above.

Then there is the issue of how we treat ourselves, which is often harsher than how we treat others. We call ourselves stupid, for example, when we make a mistake.

How do we practice kindness, you ask? The answer to that is that, perhaps, we don’t. But we can, simply by choosing to look at another with respect, tolerance, and love, so that kindness just naturally flows from that point. It may not be a simple matter for us to do that, in which case, we can work on that. It’s practice, not perfection.

What is kindness to ourselves and how do we practice that? First, we can begin to note our negative self-talk. Then, we fetch ourselves up shortly when we are talking to ourselves in an unkind manner. We remind ourselves that we want to treat ourselves differently – with more kindness. So, we replace the negative criticism with some compassion, perhaps, or we pay ourselves a compliment for what we DID do right or well. With practice, we can change our interior thought-world.

When we learn to be kinder to others and ourselves, we will have just that much more chance of getting and staying sober, and we will begin to feel more peace.

I just have one question and it happens to be the verse from my book which goes with the photo above. “If this is not the time to be kinder and gentler to each other and to ourselves, when will it be?” 





You Have Choices in Your Life

It is great fun for me to blog every day, turning the page in the book to see what today’s topic is, thinking about what I want to say and how to say it. I hope you are enjoying the daily blogs, too. I am late today and disappointed that I am…

Today we’re talking about choices. You have choices in your life about everything you do. I didn’t believe that when I began my healing journey, my journey into sobriety.

Celebration of Choices

Celebration of Choices

In fact, I was a mess with emotion, and saw no way out of the emotional snare, and couldn’t fake that everything was fine. Couldn’t “grin and bear it,” nor “get on with it,” like everyone was saying to me. But I knew if I did that, it would be just like numbing the feelings with alcohol and I trying to quit; I did not heed their advice. So, I felt I had no choice but to be in an emotional snarl.

To digress a minute… I think when we say those things – grin and bear it, get on with it – to someone trying to get through emotional turmoil, it does not have the interest of the person at heart; it does a disservice to that person. If they could get on with it, they would! There is something holding them back.

Maybe it’s simply that they don’t know any other way to be, don’t know that another way exists. Maybe they’re in the process of getting on with it, and need to go through the turmoil to reach the other side.

I believe there is danger in saying grin and bear it and get on with it, even if we say it to ourselves – ESPECIALLY if we say it to ourselves. Doing so requires that we repress our emotions, our feelings. In so doing, our hurts turn into angers and resentments; among other things, we excessively drink away our sorrows.

Then one day, we explode and a child or wife is battered, someone is killed or hurt in some way, physically and always emotionally…  But we have choice in this whole process. 

So, back to what I was saying about being stuck in the turmoil and thinking I had no choice in the matter, when, in fact, I did. Rather than stay in the victim role, blaming others, I had the choice to take responsibility for my healing and my life to avoid going to that place of “losing it.” 

What do I mean by having choice? I mean, we do whatever it takes to look at our wounds that are making us unhappy, and move ourselves forward. We go to support groups for substance abuse, we get counseling, perhaps medication for emotional problems identified, we read books that discuss the specific topic that is our issue.

We engage in identifying our feelings by journalling, we take brisk walks a couple times a day. These are all things we can do when we decide to choose something different for ourselves. The list goes on…

The point here is the choice. I didn’t know it at the time, but my decision to get sober was my exercising of choice. It was the first step in taking responsibility for my healing. It was a choice I made with far wider-reaching healing than I ever could have imagined.

You, too, have choice over everything you do. Look gently at yours. Are you happy with them?


Altering Your Mind with Inspirational Quotes About Life

It’s hard to think that inspirational quotes about life can alter your mind. Usually, when we think of mind-altering, we think of substances like drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.

These substances bring us a euphoria, an escape from emotional pain and stress. It is with these that we get away from the demons in our mind, sometimes engaging in their use until we are numb and can no longer feel. This can occur when we are experiencing deep emotional wounds.

At the very least, this behavior of over-indulging can be self-destructive, especially if substances are used for the purpose of numbing. At its best and in moderation, altering our minds with substances gives us a bit of a respite – a breather, so-to-speak. Is this not the same thing we would all like to feel when we get stressed from the daily trials and tribulations?

Instead of using substances, consider that we can alter our mind with inspirational quotes about life. We hear the words of another, whether that person is famous or not, and we relate to them at a deep, personal level. They resonate with our being. Ah, a connection is made.

The words bring us hope – hope of better times, hope of release of stress in our mind. Often, the quotes are strong enough to bring forth empowerment. When this occurs, we are inspired  to take action on our behalf.



Stirring inspirational quotes about life bring us to compassion for ourselves and others. The words can lead us to want to show concern and empathy for those in our world.

Inspirational quotes about life lead us to gratitude as we express our thankfulness. We begin to feel oneness with others and ourselves, as we open our hearts.

It is that feeling of oneness that arises when we read these inspirational quotes that is so sacred, so spiritual in nature. Perhaps, allowing in the spirituality of the quotes changes our mind chemistry, such that it alters our mood.

So, the next time you have a need to alter your mind, try some inspirational quotes about life. Bask in the hope, the compassion, the gratitude you find, and experience that feeling of oneness with yourself and the world.





Inspirational Quotes About Life and Patience

It is my hope that you will find inspirational quotes about life in this blog for the next topic in the book…patience.

Patina of Patience

Patina of Patience

“I am being asked to slow down so much after a lifetime of running so fast. I do not know how to do that. How do I watch and wait for life to evolve naturally without forcing it? How do I learn to be patient?”

That was me in life, running so fast from one thing to the next, forcing, pushing. The result I often experienced was the world crashing in around me, never suiting me, things turning out poorly.

In sobriety, I learned a different approach. First, I took action whenever I wanted or needed something to happen. Then, I learned to sit back and wait, doing nothing more on that situation.

Instead, I learned to go on to the next thing that needed my attention, the next indicated thing. I learned to have faith that a power greater than myself would work out the details and that the results I would receive were better than if I forced the results to happen.

Here lies the clincher, though. You have to discern if further action is needed on your behalf. For example, I have applied for a job. The interview happened a week and a half ago, and I have not heard from them since.

Yet, I learned from a friend employed by the company that they liked me, thought my skills were strong. Given that, I would have expected a call by now. So, I have decided that I have been patient and now need to show that I am interested in the job, by calling them to see how my application process is going. I believe this call is needed on my behalf. I could be wrong… and yet, it feels right in my gut.

So, patience requires a bit of discernment, decision-making on your part. But, like the patina which has grown on the gate in the image, good things grow over time. Allow that time to pass before jumping in. Realize that the forces of the Universe can do more for you than you can by pushing any result.

Divert your attention by turning it to the next indicated thing. For me in my example, the next indicated thing is to blog, to do my social media networking. Later today, it will be to go to the place where I volunteer. Always do the next indicated thing that is in your path, even if it is washing the dishes. You can meditate, read, or take a walk.

Above all, have patience and faith that things that are meant to be will come to pass. Don’t push life; it is like trying to run upstream in a stream with a strong current. 

Instead, enjoy the scenery around you while you patiently wait in faith. And that does not include tapping your foot while you wait… oh, no! It means truly letting it go and turning your attention to the next indicated thing, then the next, and the next… Doing that will help you find peace.

I hope you have gained some inspirational quotes about life and patience from this post. How do you remain patient in your life? What does patience look like to you?


Inspirational Quotes About Life and Hope

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope

One of the inspirational quotes about life and hope for today is, “A ray of light across the bars of my being lights my way, instills hope in my heart.”

Another is, “You feel hope when you feel that what you want will happen.” That is Webster’s definition…

For you who is learning to love yourself and to overcome low self-esteem, depression, worthlessness, or despair, you begin to believe that you can overcome these things, that you can feel self-love.

Now that you have seen yourself with kindness and compassion, forgiven yourself and others, learned to have humility and willingness, and accepted yourself as you are, you realize that you have hope for better times, a better feeling about yourself and your life.

You have hope that you can move forward in life, that inner peace and happiness can be yours. Breathe in intention – to move forward in your life. Breathe out manifestation – you experience peace and happiness today.

All it takes is that little ray of hope that you see in the photograph, and soon the sun shines even more brightly across the bars of your being, dissolving doubt, washing away fear. You bathe in that ray and drink in the hope that it brings to your soul. 

That’s right… go ahead and drink in hope, relish it, revel in it. Let it open your heart. Believe in yourself and let your light shine in your world and the world around you. 

Can you feel that hope? Are you breathing in intention and breathing out manifestation? Let your soul be lightened and washed clear. Is your soul feeling more clear? It is my hope that it is. Now, have a peaceful and happy day as you bask in hope today… then tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next… one day at a time…



Inspirational Quotes About Life and Gentleness

Today I am going to give you what I hope to be inspirational quotes about life that you can use when it comes to being gentle. It is from the book and gentleness is the next topic.

Bed of Gentleness

“Oh, could we not treat ourselves with great gentleness as we go through life learning, growing, healing? Would we then be more gentle with others, too?”

I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself while you are changing and traveling on your journey is to be gentle with yourself. It does no good to beat yourself up and it affects your spirit and soul adversely.

I used to say to myself “I should…” a lot. I should have done this, I should have done that. Over time, I have discovered that “should” is a shaming word and makes me feel ashamed of myself every time I say it. When I say it to someone else, it only shames them.

Instead, I have consciously, over time, replaced the word “should” with “could,” or “would.” I could have done this, I wish I would have done that… See the difference and how you feel it in your gut?

This is one major way you can be more gentle with yourself. Another way is to see yourself with compassion for your actions and desires to have done something differently. After all, you do the best that you know how at each given moment. If you would have known a better way, you would have done it differently.

I think when you talk to yourself with gentleness, it flows out into the world and you begin to talk to others and treat them with more gentleness, also. Encourage yourself, praise yourself for a job well done, do anything but beat yourself up. Remember, you can always apologize for something you did that was hurtful to another.

Try treating yourself with more gentleness and see how that feels for you. Learn to stop using the “should” word, and see if you feel more gentleness for yourself.

I hope this post presented some inspirational quotes about life and gentleness that you can use to your benefit. Have a good day.




How to Find Joy in Your Life

An Expression of Joy

Burst of Joy

As we move along through the topics and inspirational quotes about life that appear in my book, I am going to deviate a bit and take one out of order. It is appropriate to express it now and it has to do with joy.

I discuss it now for a very special reason, for I found in my spam folder many, many positive comments about my blog, and it made my day. My heart bursts with joy! Thank you so much, all who commented.

So, why joy over this? Well, I have been blogging for quite some time and have not had comments. I have felt like I was speaking to a void, and now I know people are reading and are liking what I say.

It means so much to me to see comments because it tells me I am being useful to you. And that is my passion – to be useful to you. It warms my heart, feeds my soul, and brings me joy. Thank you again.

Joy is a feeling of exhilaration, a burst of the most extraordinary energy. It brings a huge smile to your face. It is a delight, a great pleasure. When you feel it, your heart lightens and opens up.

The most simple things can bring you joy… observing a beautiful flower in bloom, watching a child at play, seeing an older couple walking along, holdiing hands. If you are alert and aware of what is going on around you, you, too, will feel joy at the simplest of things.

For me, I experience joy every day, and, in addition to the simple things like I mentioned above,  it’s because of the freedom I feel from my sobriety. By staying sober for many years, I have grown to be ever-mindful of what is going on around me, always aware of the little things. This brings me a deep, abiding pleasure, which I call joy. 

It wasn’t always that way. In fact, I have spent the majority of my life up until the age of about 49 when I got sober, feeling “less then,” hating myself, worthless, and blaming others for these things, as well as for my despair and my wounds. It didn’t happen overnight in sobriety that those things went away; it took hard work on my part, examining honestly who I was and what my part was in the woundedness I felt.

What I realized was, I was responsible for my emotional state, for healing from my wounds. When I realized this and set about understanding and healing from my pain, I eventually came to the point where I was able to forgive and this took a huge burden from me. Since that point, I have been able to experience joy. I notice it when I am living in the moment.  

My book is filled with inspirational quotes about life which, when practiced, will lead to joy.  If you are one who commented and said you really like what I am sayiing in my blog, then you will love my book, because the blog is based upon the topics in the book. The verses in the book are just shorter than the blog, yet, the tone is the same.

I invite you to email me at carolyn@gatelady.com with requests to do guest posts for my blog, as well as allowing me to guest post on your blog. This holds true for exchanging links, as well. I further invite you to purchase a copy of my book, for it will bring you joy. It is my mission and goal, my passion, to help others find joy. So, here’s looking at you with joy!


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?



Inspirational Sayings About Love

Acknowledgment of Others

At long last, I return to the blog. I took the last topic of patience and really put it to the test. Perhaps I have lost some of you… that is my fear. If not, thank you for your patience. It’s appropriate that today’s topic is acknowledgment, as I wish to acknowledge my lack of writing for almost a month.

I was in Pennsylvania from the end of May until June 6th. Since my return, I have been unable to sit down and write. I have had trouble getting back into my work routine, period. I have taken three weeks to pull together  documentation for an application to a health care program. In the process, I learned to do a profit and loss statement for my business, so it turned out to be positive.

As a review, what we are doing with this blog is this: In my blog, I write on the topics that are in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, in the order in which they appear in the book. We are going from fear, worthlessness, sorrow, and despair, through discovery and awareness, to lessons learned about how to treat ourselves and others. Finally, we reach joy and peace. It is a chronicle of my own journey from the depths of despair and praying to die, to wholeness and happiness, joy and peace. I’m glad you’re joining me on the journey.

I have to acknowledge that one reason I have procrastinated is because I am uncomfortable writing the blog using my new keyword phrases, inspirational sayings about…, inspirational quotes about… Sometimes, they just don’t fit. Sometimes, I feel uncomfortable using them from blog to blog. I am concerned about what you, the reader, will think. Will you get impatient with it? I have to get past that as I am on page 1 in Google because of using those keywords and phrases. This reaches a large segment of people with which I would like to connect. So please have patience with me as I continue this practice.

On with acknowledgment… In the book, there are inspirational sayings about love, about how we can show love by acknowledging others. “We go within so we can reach out to others, and we reach out to others so we can go within,” is one such example. “We need to matter to each other, and to ourselves,” is another.  I think it’s important to acknowledge another… a smile to one on the street, a clerk waiting on a customer, a response to a loved one when they are talking. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated, but it is so important to show love and respect to others, and this is one way to do that.

In our, perhaps, haste to acknowledge others, we sometimes forget to show the same love and respect to ourselves. We brush aside our hurts, our pains, and do not take the time to feel them, grieving for what it is we have lost, giving importance to our feelings. They are not wrong, they are just what is. Once we can experience them, acknowledge them, we can heal from them, and gain the higher benefit from the experience. I think, too, that once we share what we are feeling, it makes us more human to others. We can all relate and connect at that place of hurt, as we have all experienced it. It is a part of living, a part of being human.

We can watch ourselves, as we go through our days, giving acknowledgment to others, remembering to offer it to ourselves, our feelings, our thoughts. We can remember to acknowledge ourselves when paid a compliment, also. So often, perhaps, embarrassed, or not feeling worthy, we brush it off. Does that not  negate the other person’s thoughts and feelings, showing them disrespect? Does that not belittle our strengths and who we are? Just some thoughts on quotes about life…




Inspirational Sayings That Can Help Change Hopelessness to Hope

Many people go from great despair and depression to hopelessness; they go hand in hand, it seems. It is possible to find inspirational sayings that help change hopelessness to hope, but we have to be in the right mind-set for them to sink in. Often, when we feel hopeless, we are not able let anything in – we are too exhausted emotionally to hear anything, too depressed to care, too bereft to sort out what is coming our way.

For me, hopelessness was a feeling that there was no use to live, no purpose to my life. I was totally listless and had no belief that things would get better. In fact, I felt so hopeless, I prayed to die. I found my thought that things could not get better, to be untrue, however. Hope crept in…

I am an inspirational sayings and quote kinda gal, and I found inspirational quotes about life that helped turn my hopelessness around. I just kept reading quotes. I also did a lot of recovery work involving much reading, and I was taking what I read and applying it to my situation.

Because of my work with sobriety, I reached out to help another and, through that action, discovered that the painful events of my lifetime had meaning and purpose. I discovered that when I relayed my story to another who was in pain, and humbly offered what I have found that helped me through it, he expressed gratitude for me sharing; he said it was very helpful to him.

As I processed what had happened, I realized that my painful experiences in life had been necessary so I could relate to this person’s pain and have compassion. I realized they were for the purpose of sharing them and the solutions I have found to heal from them. Suddenly, I had purpose! My life had purpose. I felt useful to others. It was this realization that led me to come out of despair and to feel hope. In fact, I have not felt hopeless since that day. What a blessing; such a gift.

I think when we do for others, we can recognize that tender part of our heart. Seeing that in ourselves, it resonates with what we would like to be in the world – perhaps kindness, perhaps giving.  And we begin to say to ourselves that a person with a tender part in their heart cannot be all bad or worthless. That is a redeeming quality. Ah, a beacon of hope .

“May a ray of light across the bars of your being light your way, instill hope in your heart.” That is for those who struggle with hopelessness, worthlessness and is a modification of what is in the book, as I made it about you, and not me.  I like Kathryn Hepburn’s words, “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw anyone out.” And I add, including yourself. Don’t throw anyone out, including yourself.

So move forward with intention (the aim of the root to anchor and the leaf to find the sun) and provide kindness to another (kindness-the touch of an innocent heart on the broken wing of a fallen bird).  Go with courage (the will to act in the face of fear guided by trust and the knowing of the moment) and go with trust (the arm that reaches through apparent circumstances and holds steadfast to identify with Source).