Saturday, September 7, 2013

Finding Joy Through Forgiveness

Recent I spoke with an amazing woman, Carolyn CJ Jones, on The Life Enlightenment Book Shelf Radio Show.  Having spent her adult life renovating houses, cars, and boats, Carolyn CJ Jones now uses those same skills while speaking and coaching, as she gently guides others to reshape their lives, leading them from resentment and struggle to forgiveness and peace. She is qualified to teach about this topic, as she renovated herself after discovering how to forgive from nearly four decades of her own anger and bitterness. Carolyn is the author of the award-winning book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. She currently lives north of San Francisco, where she continues her love of renovation, both of her home and while guiding others who struggle.

.Read her powerful words here:

Good morning! Happy day 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 and share it with you. It has to do with finding forgiveness.

 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, filled with self-pity and playing the victim. I drank very heavily over all these things. 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, that my feelings were my responsibility! 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.

Blaming also went away when I forgave my parents for my abusive upbringing. Did I come willingly to forgiveness; did I seek it out? Not at all, yet when it gently found me, I was thrilled and found peace and freedom from that moment on.

 How did I learn to forgive? I saw my father as a wounded human being, who struck out at me because he was in so much self-pain. When I saw him in this way, I was able to have compassion for him, for his wounds. I saw my mother in the same way and after a year of reminding myself they were wounded when they were abusive, and returned to compassion, I realized one day that forgiveness had gently found me.

After that, 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! And it all started with forgiveness! Imagine that…

 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 may 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 forgive another and the weight will fall from your shoulders. You will find peace and freedom and you will dance in great joy.

On September 28, CJ will be teaching a workshop in Novato, California that I highly recommend.  For more information and to register:

And to hear my interview with CJ:

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