Opening the Gates of the Heart




Book Review
Opening the Gates of the Heart
A Journey of Healing

By Carolyn CJ Jones

Reviewed by

You will never look at a gate in the same way after you read this book. Creatively illustrated with thoughts from the author, this is a book that one will reflect on and reread. Covering many different aspects of life, topics include acceptance of self, perseverance, tolerance, and gratitude, to name only a few of the topics.

Carolyn CJ Jones shares her story, a story that many of us can relate to. What is different about this book is the author's talents as a photographer. You will be amazed by the photographs and how they in themselves tell a story. Share in this journey of a woman told with words of wisdom and reflection through gates.

The book is an easy read but one where reflection of the photo and the words can take you on your own journey of discovery.

Some of our favorite inspirational quotes from the book are:

"I have spent a lifetime spinning webs of terror and shame between the spires that stands as sentinels to my heart."

"If this is not the time to be kinder and gentler to each other and to ourselves, when will it be?"

"It is time to let others see the pitted and rusted metal that is me. It is time to let myself come out from behind my gate.

"I tap into my ability to persevere, to walk through the gates of despair to reach my passions and desires . . . the things about myself and the world around me in which I delight, to which I connect.

"If we find the courage to invite in a sacred force to embrace those deep wounds with us, perhaps we will be graced with the ability to befriend our pain and then, to heal."

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."

"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?"

"Through practice and perseverance, I am learning and growing."

"I am asked to slow down so much after a lifetime of running fast."

"We just want to be seen, to be noticed by those around us. We need to matter to each other, and to ourselves. We do not need to do this alone. We need to help each other "

"Why can we not celebrate the talents and skills and difference of each other, encouraging others and ourselves to greatness, daring to stand out, to be unique, to be individual?

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

"When seen with eyes and heart that appreciate, everything around and within me becomes more pleasing, more beautiful.


I would recommend this book for anyone who is or who has faced challenges in life. It would also make a great gift. And, is a wonderful coffee table book to spark discussion. Opening the Gates of the Heart is available at Amazon.


Still not convinced to buy the book. Below read the first couple of paragraphs written by Carolyn CJ Jones:

"I discovered the gates in a San Francisco Bay Area community where hillsides are home to grand and aged mansions. It was February 2001 and I was sitting in the cockpit of the sailboat I had called home unitil six months earlier. As I looked at the hills around me, I realized there was a neighborhood I had not visited during my years of living in the area, so I went to explore. There I discovered the most beautiful gates I had ever see. I was entranced! Having been a photographer since the age of ten, I vowed to photograph them if ever I returned.

I present an idyllic experience in the paragraph above, and it was. But the complete story is that I was in great emotional turmoil, depression, and despair at that time. Having recently walked away from my 20-year marriage, a 25-year career, and my home, I was completely bereft of anything I knew before in my life and I was terrified. I had gone to the sailboat to say goodbye to my soon-to-be ex-husband after a tumultuous breakup. My plan was to leave California and go on a road trip to "find myself."


Get the book read the rest of Carolyn CJ Jones story and her amazing photos and thoughts.


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