Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing

ABOUT Carolyn CJ Jones

Carolyn CJ Jones
I am as passionate about photographing wrought-iron gates as I am about varnishing teak wood trim on boats. It is the light which reflects off the metal, just as it is the light that reflects like a mirror off of the varnish. You see, I look for the light in my life and that is where I fin More...


This book is one that you can pick up and start reading at any point in the book. Once you go through a gate or two and read the accompanying inspirational quotes about life, you are able to put the book down with a lighter heart and go on with your day. 
Opening the Gates of the Heart is a pathway to peace. Using photographs of wrought-iron gates and inspirational verses, it tells the story of my journey from the depths of despair and praying to die to joy and inner peace. It guides you along on your own journey, through the gates which are your personal challenges. 

You come out on the other side of your gates, experiencing more love, value, and respect for yourself, as well as more love, value, and respect for others. You realize that inner peace is achievable and that, once reached, is reflected in the world around you. 

Life's situations led me to journal for my peace of mind, my sanity, and eventually, my sobriety. Then, after injuring my dominant hand, I was forced to journal with my non-dominant one, and all sorts of deep words flowed forth. Research has shown, in fact, that creativity abounds when one uses the non-dominant hand for activity such as writing. This was the case for me. At the same time that I was journaling, I was photographing wrought-iron gates, and was becoming totally immersed in that activity. I had a body of gate images which I was preparing to sell to galleries. In the process of preparing them, I titled each image, using words from a list I had created of positive and negative emotions, ways to treat each other and ourselves better, and principles of living. Then one day, I had an epiphany. I wrote in my journal, words which matched a titled gate, giving it voice far beyond the visual element. A search of my journals yielded prose that matched about 25 photographs I had already titled. It was at this point that I realized what I had was a book. Since this discovery, I have developed the book, writing the remaining prose, as well as revising the ordering of the images to more accurately reflect my journey of healing. On 10-8-10, the book was officially published.

----"This is a lovely celebration of those who have been on the journey, and an invitation to those for whom the journey awaits." 
Mike Farrell, author of Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist, California

----"This is a book of visual poetry frilled with the wisdom of being truly human."
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author The Invitation, Canada 

----"I am so moved by [this book]. It will stretch your heart, affirm the staggering beauty of the world and encourage you to realize that anything is possible."
Christine Bode, Book Reviewer, Ontario, Canada

----"You have a wonderful book/story because so much wisdom, truth, and beauty are shared in it."
Ronald Peterson, Freelance Writer and Editor, Michigan

----"[This book] is a jewell beyond price. [Carolyn's] journey from a sense of isolation and despair to self-acceptance and love is an inspiration."
Caroline McKinnon, San Francisco Bay Area

----"This book is a gem! It gave me hope. I do believe Carolyn's book will touch the hearts of many people around the world and give them hope."
Ursula Kauth, Business Consultant, San Francisco, California

----"Carolyn's is a story of courage that anyone who has won a battle or is fighting a battle should read. It brought tears to my eyes. It brought me hope."
Leslie Ellis, Insurance Agent, San Francisco Bay Area

----"She joins short verse with carefully chosen photography to exemplify emotions... It draws you in... The book takes one from chaos to preparedness with increased self-confidence and new respect for others..."
Geoff Pomeroy, Engineer, Writer, Musician, Ohio