February 2013 … Hike above Damonte Ranch High School
Sun Heart …. July 2012 … Made by ME!
Damonte Ranch Hike April 2013 Date Day with Thomas … Stick Heart made by ME … Sticks provided by nature!
Meditating and Asking
This morning during meditation and prayer, I expressed that I was ready to release certain aspects of my life. As I was ready to face whatever needed to arise and be embraced.
During journal writing, I asked, “What am I to focus my attention on today?”
Basically, the answer that came forth was to focus on being present in each moment. That I am to give each person I am with my undivided attention. Also, that I am to fill my heart with love and send that to each person with whom I speak. And that the overall focus of the day was to listen, with the word of the day being … LISTEN.
Not too long after the above, one unwanted action by Thomas towards Lillian, eventually erupted into full blown “disturbance of the peace”. The peace of our humble abode.
I felt my lower self hook into the unkindness being exchanged between Thomas and Lillian. Thoughts of, “Why does this have to happen? Why does this arise and ruin the quiet of the morning? Why …. ?”
There was much yelling, door slamming, and unkind words being thrown about. I remained to the side until I allowed that hook to pull me in and add my own string of profanities and demands into the mix.
Thomas chose to go for a walk; which was a wonderful choice to make in that moment. Shortly after that, something within switched and the thought, “Have you acknowledged how Lillian feels?” Did you LISTEN?
Ah, yes. Not just acknowledging with words, but with love and understanding. Did I listen? Well, crap! I did neither of those.
And, then … I did …..
And Lillian and I had a meaningful and healing conversation. One in which we talked about closed hearts, hearts turned cold and turned to stone, and the opening and thawing of said hearts.
When Thomas returned from his walk, Lillian had not fully released the hook of, “I need to get you back for what you did.” In other words, revenge. You did this to me and now I must do this to you.
This is a painful trigger for me. Not a trigger that causes anger or similar feelings to arise. A trigger of resisting, pushing against others need for this. I used to have this same need. I no longer do and it causes my whole being to wilt in the presence of it.
This is one of the reasons I teach and model for them to “let it go”, to not respond from the lower self, and that an argument cannot continue if one person refuses to engage in the argument.
I made it clear in the most peaceful way possible that I would not allow this “revenge” by way of hitting or scratching. After much going back and forth, the matter was resolved with the two of them throwing a pillow back and forth to one another.
This entire episode lasted about an hour and a half to two hours. After this, and after everyone was calm and back to themselves, I went for a walk in the drizzling rain.
As I approached a tree, I felt the need to look up. This is what I saw and the message I received:
I’ve got you.
You are never alone.
I am always here supporting you.
Further, as I was walking, I remembered what I had asked for in meditation and prayer and the journal message.
Realizing You Have Received
Aha! I see now. Yes, yes. So I spent much time filling my heart with gratitude for having experienced what I asked to experience and face.
In order that I may continue on this path I have chosen to travel ….
January 2 2017:
Deep in review of 2016 and coming to a knowing of 2017. Listening to music, eyes closed at times, remembering, reflecting, envisioning. This feels different than any other time in the past. Feels wonderful, feels the pretense to a huge shift …. xoxo
January 6 2017:
We had a nearly two hour family meeting last night. I shared my theme of 2017 – The Shift. Shared my two words for the year: Knowing and Allowing. And my anchor – Writing.
I also shared that there is deep tiredness within me. All part of the process for me and a quality that is an integral part of the shift that will occur.
I will be releasing some things that do not serve me nor our family. And, as of now, may very well be as a tree and hibernate for the winter.
Beginning of Creating:
January 8 2017:
We’ve moved on to the next step! Perfect for the cleansing nature is processing right now with this rain.
Looking for words and pictures to capture our hearts desire for 2017. xoxo
January 10 2017:
On to the next step …. Making art of our 2017 hearts desire.
We each create our own and we create a Team TLC vision. This feels amazing!
January 14 2017:
Completed the art version of my 2017 Heart’s Desire … Feels incredibly powerful.
The theme for 2017 is “The Shift” (I deeply feel this does not solely apply to me as I feel there is to be a collective shift.)
The two words for 2017 are “Knowing” and “Allowing”. Knowing is comprised of Spirituality, Meditation, and Mindfulness. Allowing is comprised of allowing my good from expected and unexpected sources.
The anchor for 2017 is Walking and Writing.
The theme, two words, and anchor are cradled in the embrace of LOVE. ….. Now on to The Team TLC art version of our collective heart’s desire for 2017.
Previous Creations and Visions:
I’ve been creating boards since about 2008 or 2009. So I’ve developed my own method using ideas learned from others and my intuition. The past few years they’ve gotten “livelier”.
Once I began to have a theme, focus words, and an anchor – they became more powerful. Here is the progression showing 2015 and 2016.
2015 Theme was LOVE, two theme words were “Love” and “Meditation”, and anchor was “Treasure is Within” …. This was the year that my meditation practice shifted and became deeper than I could have imagined.
My two grandmothers, who are no longer with us, visited me in meditation and in my dreams. They delivered a message (during a time of intense need of receiving said message) that the treasure I seek is within me and always has been. I had just hidden it. All of this happened during the year AFTER I created the board.
Here’s 2016. I wasn’t done with love yet. So the theme was LOVE again and two words were “Love” and “Mindfulness.” With the anchor being “Writing” …
I had a few articles accepted for publishing during 2016 and continued to open my heart to love and focused heavily on mindfulness.
“Nature knows not
Her beauty without us.
We know not
Our beauty, compassion,
And peace without her.”
Oh beautiful tree
The lessons thy impart to me
Open the heart to be free
Grateful to you
I will forever be.” ~ 2016 Camilla Downs, Lessons from Nature
(Picture in San Antonio along the Riverwalk July 2016)
My life experience has taught the following for being peaceful:
Meditation is at the core of being peaceful. I meditate between three to six days a week. My meditation practice is a mixture of different methods; which became much deeper and became more meaningful after I read, studied, and implemented the practices in the book, “Meditation for the Love of It” by Sally Kempton.
On November 9, 2016 I spoke on a parent panel at UNR to students in the medical field. The class is titled Serving Individuals with Disabilities and their Families.
I may falter at times, yet I will continue to do this. I will continue to live from my heart. Living from my heart means sharing my experience and point of view. Additionally, it means I will continue to meet anything that is the opposite of love with love and peace.
I will continue to spread love, compassion, and non-judgment as that’s the only way I know how to BE anymore. I may not always succeed at remaining peaceful, yet I know I did not come here to have an aggressive, hateful, and negative experience.
Even when I encounter others who have everything but kindness to share with me, I will leave my ego and mind and be in my heart. I will see past that person’s ego and see who they truly are. I will not argue. I will not go there.
I have two kids who watch how I react and how I show up in the world. I know that my words are meaningless without the living of those words.
The Monday before I spoke on the panel, I presented a “Peace Lesson” to a group of 4th-6th grade students. The first question I asked them after we defined peace was this: “Where do you think we find peace?” …
Only two students offered to answer. One said, “In a sanctuary”. I agreed with him that a sanctuary could certainly be a peaceful place. The other. The other. She knew. Her answer … “In our heart.” That wonderful girl read my heart …
So … How to Be Peaceful:
I shared with the students that peace does not begin with “the other”. “BE the change we wish to see in this world” is not an empty meaningless quote for me. BEing the change does not start only after another person changes. We cannot force others to be peaceful.
One other suggestion I shared with the kids: When someone wraps a beautiful package and offers to give it to you as a gift, and you decline to accept that gift; who is the owner of that gift? The gift remains with the person who tried to give it to you.
What if you considered unkind comments from others as a gift they were attempting to give you? And you decided not to accept that gift? The gift would remain with that person.
I have taught Thomas and Lillian to respond to unkind comments with silence, or “Is that so?”, or “Okay” and to walk away. It truly, truly does not matter if that person thinks they are right. What matters is what you know in your heart and how you live and BE.
I gave an example from my own life. A couple of years ago, I was sitting next to someone who had been an everyday part of my life for ten years, someone I trusted and loved. That person chose to say over and over many unkind comments to me.
I finally turned to the person and said, “You know what? You are right about that. And you know what else? I have nothing but love to share with others and I will not argue. And, I am deeply sorry that you feel so unloved.”
Obviously, I didn’t and don’t agree that this person was right. I simply let him relax into the feeling that his ego so desperately needed. After that the “conversation” ended.
I do not mean to say that we ignore when we feel worry, anxiety, and fear. Absolutely NOT. FEEL those feelings, physically feel them. This does mean to dwell on the reason for the feelings. That will not have the desired affect. Focus on how it physically feels. Sit with them. No matter how painful. Cry a river of tears if that’s needed.
For when we let ourselves physically feel these emotions, we then, and only then, will release them. Go stand barefoot in the grass, dirt, sand, or rocks and let Nature help you uncover the peace that is within you.
It is truly magical. Oceans of love and hugs to everyone … xoxoxo
*This does indeed take practice. I have been practicing for years .. and I still falter at times. Most of us are going against how it is ingrained in us to respond. Additionally, this is the way I have chosen to be peaceful. It may not be the way you choose to do it.
**THROWBACK MOVIE NIGHT – 2012**
My choice: The Parent Trap – Loved by all of us – lots of laughter!
Thomas’ choice: “Grave of the Fireflies” –
Thomas says, “Not what I was expecting. It was sad.”
Lillian says, “Sad, yet had good parts and interesting songs.”
I say, “Quite emotional. A young boy trying his best to care for he and his younger sister. Causes one to think of and know what’s truly important in this life.”
Camilla’s choice – “Finding Forrester”
I say, “I love this story. ‘The first key to writing is just to write! Write from the heart. Review with the head.’ I love this story! Oh. Did I say, I love this story. I could have done with a lot less inappropriate language, yet, I understand it was representative of the characters.”
Thomas says, “Good movie. I liked it a lot. Funny in some parts, suspenseful, liked the characters. Really liked that Forrester wears his socks inside out due to the seams on the inside. I agree and wear my socks inside out. The people who make socks make them wrong.”
Lillian says, “Good, awesome, and my favorite part was near the end. I liked it!”
*Finding Forrester Movie Review, *Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review
“I wish to be okay with myself.” This is what I heard him say. And, this is the message I relay to him.
Your wish shall be granted. Your heart knows you are okay just the way you are. You are the way you are for a reason. And that reason has nothing to do with causing suffering for your self. You are uniquely you for a beautiful reason.
You are worthy and okay. This is a self supporting statement. The words “because” need not be included as it does not apply. You are worthy. You are okay.
You DO NOT have to be a certain way or DO certain things. You don’t have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, live a certain way, say certain words or say them in a certain way. You don’t have to say words you think others want to hear.
As each tree serves an interdependent purpose in the forests, you serve an interdependent purpose in the forests of human life. A purpose unique to you and which only you can serve.
Simply by being you, the benefit will come to others. Others miss out on this benefit, if you choose to listen to the ego and not the heart. For the ego will tell you and is the one telling you that you are not okay.
Keep your heart open to the unique gifts and talents you are to share with others. Turn your eyes and ears to those who have done the same and who listen only to the message of their heart. You will see it shine from the face of the ones. You will feel it exuding from the ones. These are the ones who will guide and mentor you to listen to the heart and not the ego.
“I wish to be okay with myself.”
Indeed, you are not alone in this wish. You spoke the words so many of us feel. May we all join in the knowing of our hearts.
*Inspiring letter for low self-esteem
“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” -Henry David Thoreau
As Paige entered the post office she was greeted with a line extending nearly to the door. Internally she breathed a sigh of relief knowing she would be using the self-serve kiosk. With only one person waiting ahead of her, she contentedly stepped in line behind him.
He turned to face Paige and with contempt said, “It may be awhile. This lady is having problems. She’s been up there for ten minutes.” He was referring to the customer using the kiosk. Paige spent a few seconds taking in the situation.
The woman at the kiosk seemed to be looking for something and holding her arms up in confusion. Paige could sense the woman’s overwhelmed feelings penetrating the already flat energy within the foyer.
Without hesitation, Paige approached the woman and asked, “Can I help you?” With a slight hint of desperation the woman said, “I can’t find my postage.” Having used the self-serve kiosk an absurd number of times over the years, Paige had become intimately familiar with it.
She knew exactly where the postage was dispensed. If you’ve never used the kiosk before, you wouldn’t know that you cannot visually see the postage once dispensed. One must bend down, placing one’s hand inside the dispenser box to pull the postage from the dispenser. It does not release and drop on its own.
The woman was quit relieved and delightedly thankful. She moved on and the long waiting, irritated man moved forward to take his turn. His frustrations mounted so that he could not get his credit card to work in the card slot.
Paige gently approached and asked, “Can I help you?” He pushed his card towards her and said, “Sure, give it a try.” The card once again did not work, yet, most likely due to having been tried repetitively. Paige felt he simply needed to go back one step and come around again to the payment screen, yet, his frustrations had grown too large for his patience.
After confusingly hesitating a couple of times to thank Paige for her help, the man decided to leave. He seemed to be torn as to whether to throw in the towel, expressing his thanks, and giving it another try.
Paige felt a wave of peace and compassion flow into her entire being as she knew in another time, another place, she had stood in both the man’s and the woman’s shoes. She was also aware of times in the past when she had been deeply lost in her own thoughts and worries; times when she didn’t even notice that another being was in need of help.
After getting her packages posted, she departed with a joyful, peaceful heart with the hopes that anyone watching was inspired to spread loving kindness in their own way and their own time.
How long had everyone been watching the woman at the self-serve kiosk have problems and confusion? Was it five minutes? Ten minutes? That’s an eternity when one waits in line.
The author of this story is not asking to create judgments. She is asking simply to provoke thought. There have been times when she was lost in her own thoughts and worries to even notice that someone was in need of help. She gets that.
For the last 7 years the author has been meditating on living from the heart and spreading loving kindness to everyone she encounters. This day just happened to be one of the days that she got the chance to do just that … and what a blessing it was to her.
*Inspiring short story, short story about compassion
This is my third time “reading” this book. It takes a LONG time as I only read a section or two every day …. in order to BE with what I’m reading.
Sort of a continuation of “The Course in Miracles” … The contents of this book are simply LOVE, JOY, and FREEDOM.
I would describe it as a guide book for the internal journey of coming to know oneself, freeing oneself from false walls one has built, and finally sharing the gifts and treasures within oneself with humanity …. with joy, peace, and love.
A mathematical folk tale about wisdom and fairness. A village girl in India teaches a raja what it truly means to be wise and fair. Reading this we learnt the surprising power of doubling one grain of rice every day for thirty days …. growing into more than one billion grains of rice.
We all LOVE books by DEMI. The illustrations are simply unmatched with content that’s bursting with wisdom!
Amazing book about a young boy who travels to the Ends of the Earth ready to conquer! Along the way he discovers that what actually lies in his heart is kindness and compassion, rather than conquering, and he spreads it all along the way.
Absolutely LOVED this book! The illustrations are vibrant and captivating. Thomas and Lillian were glued to it right along with me!
I help to support my family with my writings. So … there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). Oceans of gratitude … xoxo
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
*A Course of Love Book Review, One Grain of Rice Book Review, The Legend of the Golden Snail Book Review