What Is Tolerance and Why Must We Practice It?

As we continue to search for sobriety and peace, we must develop tolerance. Defined as bearing or sustaining differences in others, allowing and permitting those differences, and recognizing and respecting those differences, tolerance must be our mantra.

Practice of Tolerance

Practice of Tolerance

“I have the most difficulty being tolerant of others when I am feeling inadequate, insecure, and uncomfortable with myself. Yet, when I am able to look beyond the imperfections of others, I discover great beauty and worth in them. And, I discover that another’s value does not diminish my own.”

There are things which cannot be tolerated, such as verbal or physical abuse, denigration of our spirit. We want to assess our own behavior and be sure we are not guilty of either of those. If we are, we pray for the willingness to change that behavior. We get help.

If we find ourselves in an abusive situation, we need to find the courage to speak up against the abuse. If we find we cannot do that because it incurs more of the same only with more force, then we consider getting ourselves out of that relationship.

Tolerance of others is a major way to promote peace, not only within, but in the world around us as well. Peace within and around us is not possible unless there is tolerance. The more sober we become, the more we find that tolerance just flows naturally.

It is so important that we practice tolerance; I cannot stress that enough. We will feel filled-up and that will generate more tolerance.

Not only do we need to develop tolerance for others, we must develop it for ourselves also. Certainly, we continue to perform an appraisal of our behaviors, yet, when we are less-than-perfect and hurt another, we are tolerant of ourselves, and then we take action to apologize and to change that behavior in future situations.

Assess yourself today. How do you practice tolerance with others and  yourself? If you discover you are not tolerant, you may take action to change that, as tolerance is the way to peace, to staying sober. It is our mantra.



Have You Found Inner Peace?

Promise of Peace brings us to the conclusion of the book. And I quietly wonder if you have found inner peace, any at all, by going through the book with me this last 42 or so days. I really hope you have…

Promise of Peace

Promise of Peace

Peace. How do you know peace when it finds you? For me, it is the all-inclusion of everything we have been talking about into my senses, seeing with the eyes of my heart, and feeling a great deal of love for all beings on this Earth.

It is promised to us, if we go through the process that is defined in my book, because in doing so, we learn to love deeply. There is no desire to be in conflict with others.  When really in-tune, that includes inner conflict as well.

Does that mean we go through life in this glow? Hardly. That doesn’t happen because we’re human beings and, as such, are a caring and feeling species. Given the ever-constant changes in our lives from day-to-day, and the fact that we react with feelings and emotions, we slip temporarily from that space of centeredness and peace. 

So, what is there to do when this happens? Lament the loss of our peaceful existence. even if it was only for five minutes? No, we merely start in by looking at the situation, feeling our feelings, examining our response to situations that have arisen.

Case in point, I am in the middle of something which has the potential to affect how I conduct my life in the future, and I was stunned to realize I was playing the victim role! Wow! I thought I was past that, but it showed up very subtly. So, I am in the process of doing more self-appraising to see what is going on with me that puts me in that mindset.

At the same time, I am feeding myself positive affirmations. These tasks equate to ” taking action,” as we discussed in previous posts. Slowly, I am becoming able to see glimpses of my terror over how this new information could affect my future. How much will I get out from behind that terror to affect my own future? That is the key.

We can affect our own future by the actions we take today, in this moment. What do we do with the fear? We can recognize and feel it, acknowledge that it exists,  then walk away from it and take action, and, as needed, allow a glimpse of it again later.

We repeat this again and again until our fear subsides. I believe these issues get raised for us, so that we can take a look at core beliefs, and to heal from the destructive ones. While we do this, we remember to be gentle, kind, and tolerant with ourselves and the others around us.  And the result is, we find our center again. We find that peace again.

We even can go to it among the turmoil by distracting ourselves with a favored and cherished activity, one in which you get lost. Your peace will return as a reprieve for what you will again visit to sort out. That’s how it works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too.


Improving Your Communication Skills

“If we as individuals cannot speak to each other, how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?”

Such is the verse for our topic today, improving your communication skills.

Let me be clear about the fact that I am not a communications expert, but I do observe people and their communication, and I do know what prevents me from communicating with others.

What I observe is a lot of bickering, bullying, and putting others down. Why do we do that to each other? Why can we not speak with gentleness and kindness to others?

I think of the reasons that I do not communicate well to another and it is usually when I am feeling low, or “less than” about myself, or when I am very shy. I retreat inside, unable to come out and participate in dialogue.

I am talking about the kind of dialogue where each party is free to express their feelings or thoughts without fear of ridicule or belittlement. How can we, as listeners, be active participants?

First of all, we can show respect for another as they are talking to us, remembering that each person is unique and worthy of our respect. Remember, we are focusing on cultivating differences between us and others.

Secondly, we can show tolerance for that person, allowing them to have their own opinion, even if it differs from ours. Remember, just because they say something of worth, it does not detract from our value.

Third, we can show kindness and gentleness as we set about talking to others. Remember, we each just want to be acknowledged for who and what we are, so we can pay attention to those around us.

Fourth, have compassion for another as they trudge with purpose through their life. Remember, show ourselves compassion also, for the frightened people we may be when it comes to approaching others and talking.

With respect, tolerance, kindness, gentleness, and compassion, we can engage in dialogue with others, allowing ourselves to show that tender side of ourselves. When we practice these things, we can also listen well, which is the other part of communication. Remember, listen to what others are saying and hear with your heart.

How do you engage in communication with others? Do you need a brush-up on your communication skills? Do you do all the talking, or do you allow room for others to talk? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.



Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

This morning, I had the opportunity to reflect upon whether my glass is half empty or half full. Here’s what happened. Oh. First, let me explain that I am deviating from the topics in the book for my second post yesterday and today’s post… I will resume the book topics tomorrow.

Yesterday’s second post was an exercise in a blogging class I was taking, and this morning’s is something that came to mind. I was sitting on my enclosed-in porch, as is my wont to do in the morning, drinking coffee and watching the sun rise, playing shadows of bushes upon the house next to mine.

I was taking the opportunity to reflect upon the blogging class I took this past weekend. Specifically, I was thinking about how I rated the class with a thumbs-up of 8, instead of a full thumbs-up of 10. When asked by the presenters why that rating and not a 10, I replied that I already knew much of the information that was presented.

Glass Half Empty of Half FullIt’s interesting I responded in that way, as a lot of what I DID learn was new to me, and very valuable. I was rudely awakened to the fact that I looked at the experience as my glass half empty, instead of half full. Embarrassing to admit, but a valuable lesson for me to examine further, so I thought it beneficial to share it with you.

I was modeled the attitude of judgment about everything and everyone when I was growing up, and the judgment was always negative. I don’t say this to give an excuse, but to allow you to see where my default mode came from. It’s simply a fact.

So, when asked about my thoughts about the class, they automatically went to my glass being half empty, rather then half full. Darn! And I thought I had outgrown that! I certainly have worked on changing that perception over the years.

I believe this experience came up to show me how I still need to work on this issue of the glass half empty or half full. It gives me an opportunity to treat myself with gentleness and tolerance, rather than beat myself up about where I initially went… to the glass half empty.

Additionally, I get the chance to practice perseverance in changing my default to the glass half full.  Life is all about practice, after all… We can turn the other way and become defensive or intimidating about the way in which we see the world as half empty, or we can gently examine ourselves, ferreting out our negative responses when a positive one is just as easy to do.

How do you view the world? Is your glass half empty or half full? Do you have to remind yourself of this, or is your glass always half full? Do you view the world with a positive outlook?



Inspirational Quote About Life and Grace

As we move forward in my book, our next topic is grace. Today’s inspirational quote about life and grace from the book is “Gently, quietly, an unearned favor of great beauty and pleasure is bestowed upon me.”

Sweep of Grace

Sweep of Grace

There is nothing quite like living in grace. It is a spiritual experience, for me. It is swept upon me quietly, gently, as the quote says, and as the photograph shows.

The thing about grace is that it is unearned, it is a favor. The more you strive for it, the more elusive it is. It is a gift that settles upon you. It just feels like the world is in alignment, that all is right for you.

Webster defines grace as an attractive quality, feature, or manner. It is beauty or charm of form, composition, movement, or expression.

How do you live in grace? Since it is nothing you can originate, since it is bestowed upon you, living the principles of living that we have been discussing will lead to grace.

For example, living with honesty, and with an open and willing heart will lead to grace. So will it if you live with tolerance, compassion, and kindness toward others and yourself.

Live with these qualities today and see if you experience grace, that wonderful veil that descends upon you, gently. Let us know if you experience it and what it feels like for you.


How to Find Peace with an Open Heart

As we move along in the book, one topic at a time, we come to how to find peace with an open heart. In the book, it’s called Openness of Heart.

Openness of Heart

The verse talks about how we go through life with a heart that is closed to life’s pains to protect our heart. The verse continues with, “If we allow our hearts to open, we will see things in a different light.”

“We will grow through the barriers of our heart and be able to fully experience the richness of life.” And we – you – find peace.

Along with an open heart comes an open mind. You must develop an open heart and an open mind to find peace.

How does this work? How do you come to have an open heart and mind?

You make a choice and you decide to see things in a different light. You decide to see the world and the people around you with more kindness, gentleness, and tolerance.

You begin to delight in people and their differences by opening your heart to them. Perfect example… Last weekend I was in a holiday craft show at the mobile home park where I live. The woman across the aisle from me had a table with lots of stuffed bears, around which she had placed small scarves she had knitted. There were other objects, as well.

Now, I’m not much iinto stuffed bears and the like, but I decided to look upon the wares at her table, and to notice her and them with an open heart. What I had the gift to observe was this woman, lovingly placing these scarves around the bears’ necks, then arranging and rearranging the bears and other items on her table.

The expression on her face was one of pure focus, pure love, and I was able to be a witness to that, simply by opening my heart to her and her product. It was priceless to watch her… My heart soared.

When you close your heart and mind to others, you miss out on priceless moments such as these. In fact, you miss out on peace in your soul. So, how do you find peace with an open heart and mind?

As I said, you make the decision to see with eyes of gentleness. You consciously decide you will be open-minded about what you encounter, that you will delight in someone’s differences. You consciously decide to not be fearful of their differences. Then, you view another with the eyes of the soul, viewing them as another child of the Universe, just like you.

You allow them to be different and praise the differences in them, knowing that the differences you witness add great richness to your life. You recognize that, to some, you and your expression of who you are will seem strange, and you smile at yourself when you think this, allowing you to be yourself with your strange habits. When you can do these things, you will experience peace of mind and openness of heart.

How do you open your heart, your mind, or, do you go about life with your heart and mind closed? Wouldn’t you like to experience seeing life with the eyes of your soul, being more gentle, kind, and tolerant? Try it. You’ll enjoy the feeling.





A Promise of Peace

Peace at Dusk

Promise of Peace

And, so, we are brought to the last topic in my book “Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.” It is peace. The verse in the book is: “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.”

Even as I type that and read it aloud to assure it’s correct, I feel a deep, calm and settled  feeling in my heart. Knowing what path my life took to get me to this peace, it feels like a miracle and makes it all the more special.

Has it really been ten years ago that I was in deep depression and in the depths of despair, only able to drink and cry over an unrequited love for which I left my 20 year marriage? At the time, I thought I wanted to die, and stopped feeding myself to that end. Later, I would realize that the unrequited love got me out of my highly dysfunctional marriage. So, it was a gift for me.

But I couldn’t see that at the time and, so, proceeded to drink myself into oblivion every day for months. Finally, I got the spark of a will to live, and during that moment of clarity, I realized I needed to stop drinkiing. So, I set off to San Diego from the San Francisco Bay Area, to live with a girlfriend and get sober.

Now it is ten years later and life has become a gift and a blessing, filled with great joy and inner peace. In the interim, I have been through hell and back as I have had to feel my feelings and pain without numbing them with alcohol and drugs. In the process, I have developed a whole new awareness of myself and the world around me.

I have been reconfigured into a different person. I have learned to love myself and then others. Compassion, tolerance, and respect have filled my life and heart. I have found the peace for which I searched in my marriage and my drinking. Funny how I had to leave both behind to find it…

The journey I took is what is reflected in my book. It uses photographs of wrought-iron gates I took and verses with inspirational quotes about life that I wrote, to show the path I took in my travels to wholeness. It’s not a how-to book, yet if you purchased it and followed the steps I took along the way, perhaps you would find peace, also. And if you’ve found peace within, then join me in to book for a quiet , yet, triumphant celebration.


Learning to Cultivate Differences Can Lead to Healing Emotional Pain

Cultivation of Differences

Perhaps the most notable difference you can cultivate is that with people of different color. In this photo, I make a strong statement about that difference. You can learn that people are just people, with the same fears, insecurities, and desires to be liked that you experience. We all bleed the same color of blood, have the same internal organs; the skin is just a covering of that which is similar in nature.

Along with differences in color, you will find people with differences in customs. Learning and celebrating these differences provides a delightful tapestry in your life, adding richly to your own customs.

Then there are differences in beliefs. I am not advocating that you cultivate differences when they are harmful to yourself or others, but, rather, when they enhance your sphere of belief. For example, people who pray to a different source than you can be considered fascinating. Just because they are different than you does not mean you must be defensive about what you believe. Your beliefs are just as valid.

When you cultivate differences with those that are different than you, a whole other world opens up. For example, I used to frown upon, and yes, even look down upon, people with tattoos. Then I got into sobriety and started learning to accept others as they are. What I discovered was that the most beautiful words came out of the mouths of people with tattoos, just like those that came out of the mouths of people without them. My whole outlook changed and I relaxed around them, letting them be, enjoying their words.

As you cultivate the differences you find in the world, it lends to your healing emotional pain, as you will find that you are more tolerant and respectful of your differences. It leads you to accept yourself more, celebrating your uniqueness. This helps heal a wounded psyche. What are the differences you can start cultivating today in your life?



Developing Tolerance For Ourselves and Others


Good morning. I find it interesting that, having blogged about judgment, other experiences happened that got me to look at the way I judge things. It’s as if it shows up everywhere as a means to look at my thoughts and judgments, and to heal from them, to ask for help to correct them.

For example, after my last blog, I was on hold on the phone for a long time and there was music playing. I noticed that I was judging it… “this is too chaotic and irritating,” or, “this is mellow and soothing.” It was that continual litany of judgments I referred to in my last post. I do this when I am around people, also. A continual assessment of what I like or dislike. Do you do this?

Practice of Tolerance

At first I was appalled, and then I had to smile, realizing that I can just notice my thoughts and say to myself that I don’t wish to be so judgmental. I have to, actually choose to, look at myself with tolerance. And that is today’s topic… tolerance. Certainly, I am a supporter of being tolerant of others, and especially of their differences, but I wish to focus on tolerance for ourselves.

There has to be a distinction between tolerance for bad behavior, i.e. hurting another or ourselves, and I don’t think we should tolerate that. But we can still look at bad behavior and say to ourselves we no longer wish to do that, and then ask for help from Source to dispel it.

I’m referring to just sitting with our thoughts and tolerating them, bringing ourselves to awareness for having negative thoughts, rather than beating ourselves up. I don’t think that solves anything other than making us feel badly about ourselves.

So the next time you find you are having thoughts or acting in a manner that disturbs you, take a minute to just reflect upon it, and offer yourself tolerance. Not excuses… just tolerance. Then ask for help to change that from the source that guides you, and see what happens.



Life Is A Journey – Join The Journey of Life

What does it mean to join the journey of life? What is the journey anyway? I use that term to include the series of events and experiences that occur in our life as we go about living it, from day to day. In that definition is the inclusion of living a spiritually-based life, believing in some force greater than yourself that keeps the “ball” rolling.

For me, it also includes committing to a journey of sobriety, of living life according to principles of living without drinking, living a better life in my head, being a better person in the world. It involves adopting ways of treating myself and others, such as with tolerance, respect, and love. It embraces a life filled with behaviors such as forgiveness and compassion.

When I say join the journey of life, I refer to taking on the challenge to be involved in our lives… the leaves that have fallen, the leaves that are grown, and the buds yet to form. Life is a journey – climb the stairs and join it.


Carolyn CJ Jones is the author and photographer of the book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. More about the book can be seen above under “The Book,” or in the videos on the sidebar. “About Me and My Work” above reveals more about her. Carolyn is now offering limited edition professional prints, either as prints, matted, or framed which can be viewed above. February’s limited edition print is Visions of Gratitude.