What Does it Mean to Love

I’ve had a huge, important realization in the past two weeks. One that’s taking quite a bit of courage to put out there … Yet, I feel the need to ask my fellow humans, or at least the three or four of you who read this, for assistance.

What does healthy love, in a relationship with a partner, look like for you?

Do you have an example from your life you’d be willing to share? Whether it’s a few words, a story, a poem, whatever you’ve got that defines a healthy, unconditional love. Let me add that I believe that Love is Love. Period. So, if you have something to share from your partnership that helps to define healthy, unconditional love; please share.

The reason I ask …

I recently had a situation arise with someone I love dearly. I suddenly and clearly realized that, of all the behaviors and values I have modeled throughout the past 18 years, there has been one key area missing. I’ve been divorced since 2007, and have not had a relationship with another since then. I am quite clear on what an unhealthy relationship is and can share from experience regarding that. Prior to my divorce, I had 20 years of experience with unhealthy relationships, so, I’ve got that area covered.

The one I am asking this for, is on the verge of exploring relationships, that aren’t familial or friends … And, I find myself struggling to help that one understand what true love is … (as opposed to what one sees in movies and reads in many books). In this age of role playing games, with avatars and made up worlds, I am experiencing first hand how one can be lead down a path that is anything but true love, when they’ve nothing to compare it with.

I can also share what I’ve read about true, unconditional love, and what I’ve witnessed amongst other couples. Yet, I do not have first hand experience of what it means to have a partner who unconditionally loves you, and whom you unconditionally love. Therefore, I turn to all of you, those amongst you who have and do experience this … What does that look and feel like?


(“Love is Magical” Renga Poem written by me and my two kids)

The time is now, the time is ripe for me to help this one whom I love to know about this. Both of us are avid readers, so I have given this one three books that I have read that do a very good job of giving real life examples, defining a true and unconditional love. Those books are, “all about love” by bell hooks (which, synchronistically, I happened to be reading when this realization smashed into my consciousness), “The Path to Love” by Deepak Chopra, and “Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson.

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.” … from “all about love” by bell hooks

I am in tune with this way of defining it, and have experienced dimensions of this, care and affection, being two of those.

All those years ago, I suppose I had hoped that I would have experienced a true and unconditional love with a partner. Yet, that was not to be the path I traveled. I reckon I was not ready to love and to be loved. I had been laser focused on healing and learning how to unconditionally love myself and my children. The beginning of 2020 marked a tipping point for the healing journey. Now begins the journey of heart opening. Hallelujah!

I invite you to share this with those you know who would be willing to share their thoughts. In this case, I do not feel there could be too much information. If you would like to reply privately, you can email to Camilla Downs @ gmail.com. Thank you for taking the time to share. A couple of photos of me and my loves, Thomas and Lillian.

PS: I do not welcome responses that are homophobic, patriarchic, or that support sexist-defined gender roles. 

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

One of Those Extra Sensitive Days

With Lillian turning 18 and the stressful move, I got behind on posting things here. For a while, you’ll be getting some older posts as I get caught up … Much love!

December 15 2019:


(Photo of me during a 2013 Date Day with Thomas – seemed fitting)

Feeling extra sensitive today, hormonal, grumpy, pouty, sad, and sleep deprived due to being up to the early morning hours with Lillian. Had I been on the receiving end of the following unsolicited “suggestions” when not in this state, I would have (probably) easily laughed it off. (Sharing for anyone else who is going through some really weird times!)

“You should write about your life, things that happened during your youth, up through your divorce, up through the current time. That would be very interesting. That stuff you’re writing now is too girly and boring. You should write something that appeals to middle aged white males, possibly divorced (the person making the suggestion is also very conservative). A book that details all the raw details (the not nice stuff) and the ripple effect of what you did when you decided to divorce. You could have a section in there from my (the one making this suggestion) point of view, too. Saying no less than five times, “of what happened when you decided to divorce”.

I was so stunned, I remained silent and just responded with Hmmmm … Coming from someone I’ve spoken to a handful of times in the past 6 years. I absolutely welcome input from well meaning friends. All of the previous and a few other things were said in a nice, seemingly helpful tone, with the underlying energy of shaming. I may be extra sensitive today, but I’m no fool. (In case it’s not clear, these suggestions came from my ex-husband.)

I don’t write to an audience. I write what wants to be written and doubt I’ll ever write something that appeals to his demographic … as that’s not ME. What a weird, un-fun, and unlovely past few months this has been. And, yes, I think this will be included in the memoir that has been brewing for years. It just wasn’t ready to be born yet. It may even be born as a fiction, based on true events. We shall see … Here’s to taking deep breaths, being kind to myself, and most of all, loving myself through times like this. And, when needed for release, saying bunches of swear words, bunches …

March 18 2020 Update – Although I was in a sensitive state when this conversation happened, it still would have triggered me. However, I moved through it, letting myself feel what I needed to feel, not trying to push it away. Sending love to anyone who has experienced a similar situation.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

It’s a Wild Ride At Times

With Lillian turning 18 and the stressful move, I got behind on posting things here. For a while, you’ll be getting some older posts as I get caught up … Much love!

November 9 2019:

Entering packing mode and mastering the art of uncertainty (sort of … ). After months of construction delays we are finally moving either on 11.15, 11.18, or 11.19. HA! And even then it will only be temporary until our unit is ready on 12.2.

It is and has been a wild ride of having triggers ignited, meeting all sorts of emotions … sadness, joy, anger, frustration, irritation, shame, and guilt; testing my faith that all will work out eventually. My 2019 theme has been “Meeting My Edge”. Good grief, have I been meeting my edge!

At times, I’ve been holding on to the edge by my fingernails. My method is to allow myself to be with these emotions, walk into them, embrace them, FEEL them, so that I can process and release. All while trying to remember to be kind to myself and love myself through the depths of the shadows I have been traveling.

All of this happened at the same time as Lillian turning 18, with the changes that has brought for her, having to sign documents, take more responsibility for her self care, and we still aren’t passed this. It remains fresh. She is struggling with the change of this, the change of moving, and changes to her schedule.

I share this not for sympathy. I share as that’s my nature. I feel it is important to share the raw and authentic life happenings. The fun, lovely, and joyful. The unlovely and sad. I don’t share everything as I tend to withdraw, turning into the moments. Once I’ve processed, I come back around and share as I feel it’s important for others who may need to hear or see that they are not alone. Being reminded that I’m not alone has been incredibly meaningful for me. Oceans of love to anyone who may need to hear this message … 💜💜💜

So …. let the remainder of the packing and purging begin …

March 7 2020 Update – We are in our new place, settling in nicely. I’m almost finished with paperwork having to do with Lillian turning 18. And as soon as they finish construction on the clubhouse here, I’ll have an official launch party of Words of Alchemy. Whew!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Survival of the Reno Downtown Library

In early November, Lillian and I survived visiting the downtown library so that Lillian could sign volunteer paperwork and get the fingerprinting form. That’s the one library we cannot visit due to Lillian’s depth perception, balance issues, and an uncooperative proprioceptive system. It’s a 4 level building with huge open spaces and staircases. Makes her head spin and legs shaky. It’s beautiful and I love this location. Just not a good fit for her!

There was a huge amount of anxiety over having to go there. I had spoken to them about her difficulties and they were going to let us in the back door so she didn’t have to walk through the front door and through the huge open areas. My contact was not answering the phone, so I figured we’d give it a shot going through the front doors. Didn’t go so well. We inched along with Lillian getting more and more uncomfortable and beginning to have an anxiety attack.

We made it to the elevator and I got us off one floor too early. Ugh! We inched towards a corner surrounded by book shelves and two walls to help her feel better. And … then we were stuck there! I asked a library worker to let them know we were here, but stuck where we were! HA! Someone came and let Lillian know if we got back on the elevator and went up one floor we’d be directly by her office door so she wouldn’t have to see the open area.

That did the trick! After signing paperwork, she took us back down the elevator and let us out the back door directly by the elevator. Whew! I am deeply proud and happy for Lillian having not spiraled down further while in the midst of it. I helped her slow down her breathing, breathing deeply, and distracted her by looking at books and talking about them.

As I’m stuck on the 3rd floor of the library, in the Sci-fi section, in a corner, with Lillian attached to my arm with a death grip … I’m thinking how utterly hilarious this is …. Lest I begin thinking how not hilarious this is and spiral down into my own meltdown. Good material for future books. Life is the best material …. for living, for sharing, for meeting our edge …

(November 2 2019)

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Breathe In and Breathe Out and Feel It

I had a decision to make. I could continue to be stuck in a place of self pity, of feeling like I’m not one of the chosen who gets to have a peaceful, abundant, and joyful life. By no means was this an easy decision to make. I struggled on and off for more than 20 years with a core belief that people like me do not get to have an easy, peaceful life.

A charmed and privileged life of knowing what one wants, how one wants to contribute to society, and for this to effortlessly flow into one’s experience. No, as much as I tried to affirm the opposite of that belief into my consciousness; I found the “people like me don’t get to have it that way” belief still lurked in the dark hidden crevices of my mind.

I’m not one of those who knew as a child what she liked to do and stuck to it, no matter what. In fact, I have no memories of any interests or leanings during my childhood. In my mind’s eye all that I see or remember are like snapshot photos, like a polaroid instant photo. I don’t remember my childhood as if it were a movie with the scenes replaying in my mind. The things I do remember are frozen in time.

Having a gratitude practice has been the shining light during times when it seemed there was only darkness. Many times it appears as if I have nothing for which to be grateful. With practice, I have learned to dig a bit deeper than what seems to be happening.

On the days in which my mind is swirling with the heaviness of circumstances; I can bring my will power to the table, allow myself to feel the heaviness, and then move into that for which I have to be grateful. There can be a seemingly never ending stretch of time between moving from feeling the heaviness to a gratitude practice. Yet, it’s worth the wait for me to do it in this way.

I can look around me and find dozens of things for which to be grateful. The clothes I’m wearing, the furniture in the room, the laptop I use to pour out my heart, the food in the kitchen, indoor plumbing, toilet paper, a comfortable bed.

Then I can shift my gaze to the window. I am grateful for the window itself so that I may see and have nature within eyesight. Gratitude continues for the trees, and grass, the fresh air, the warmth of the sun, the shade of the clouds, and the delightful bird song.

This is just the beginning. I then close my eyes and bring to mind more images for which I am grateful. My two kids come to mind. I see each of their faces, their smiles, and my heart swells with love and overflows with gratitude. These two wonderful beings have brought deep lessons and incredible joy as they were the catalyst for my arriving at a different destination than I had imagined and shifting my entire view of this thing called life. You bet I’m grateful for these two.

When my daughter, Lillian Darnell, was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with a rare chromosome condition called 18p-; which affects 1 in 56,000 people. Was I grateful for this diagnosis at the time? Absolutely not. I cursed the harshness of it, I cursed life, I was angry and I felt betrayed. Do I feel the same way 14 years later, with a 17 year old Lillian? Absolutely not. …….. Well, let’s be honest. Yes, I do at times. That’s where feeling the emotions and then the gratitude practice shine their amazing light and lend a hand.

In the past I did, in fact, bypass allowing myself to feel the cruddy stuff that called for my attention. I went straight to the gratitude practice without first acknowledging and embracing the unloveliness that had risen to the surface. These days I only bypass when I can’t possibly focus on what needs to be released or I just don’t have the energy or will power. Otherwise, I dive into the abyss and hope I come up for air some time soon!

This gratitude practice and connecting with emotions works best for me when I pour my feelings and emotions into my digital journal. First, I get it all out. Feel what I need to feel as I’m writing, from numbness, to anger, hopelessness, and despair. While at the same time either sobbing or laughing at the ridiculousness of it. For me, this is a critical first step before even entering the gratitude practice. If I did not take this first step, I’d simply be stuffing the unlovely feelings to resurface later.

In all honesty, I forget many times to come back around to gratitude. I am in a hurry, I don’t have time to sit reminding myself of all for which I have to be grateful. By allowing myself to first feel what I need to feel, I can then experience a pivotal shift by acknowledging that for which I am grateful.

At 13 years old, Lillian’s younger brother, Thomas Darnell, is in the throes of puberty and has his own set of challenges. This single parenting journey of raising two kids who each have challenges has been a wild ride. I turn to writing in my digital journal and following with the gratitude practice.

I am not meaning this to sound as if my challenges are any more important or deeper than another’s challenges. At this point I have come to realize each one of us has shadows and struggles. Some of us have perfected bypassing all this jazz, living life seemingly to the fullest. Some of us have perfected diving into it and living life to the fullest. And, some of us are patiently making our way through the diving in part and doing the darn best we can at living life to the fullest. We’re all in this together. Just in a different way.

Having a gratitude practice has been an integral part of this journey for me. I am blessed to remember to appreciate life’s delights, nature’s art and beauty, the kindness and compassion of others; balanced with diving deep into the unlovely feelings and emotions that rise to the surface, ready to be embraced, loved, felt and released.

Breathe in, Breathe out, Feel it …. One breath at a time.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Are you an author who would like to be interviewed or a book lover who wants to discover new and interesting books? Head over to Meeting the Authors … I think you will love it!

Coming Soon!! “Words of Alchemy” is the latest book coming to life! Cover is currently being created and we are shooting for July 2019 for release date!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

 

Holding Space …… with Love

As I swiftly walked by the fountain one cold and frosty morning this past March, I was stopped in my tracks. Nature is the most incredible artist. The beauty of these leaves suspended and frozen for a moment in time, captured my heart.

And … I did spot a heart shaped leaf. Beautiful!!

I mean. Just had to give the heart shaped leaf it’s own post. The lil frozen bubbles, the green leaf down below, the frozen ripples, sections partially free from the frozen water. Ahhhhh ….

Seeing these beautiful frozen leaves helped bring clarity to something I was in the midst of …

When it’s my own internal struggles and turbulence I have learned to lean into it, be with it, and try to remember to keep love at the forefront of whatever it is.

What I have not learned is how to do this when someone I love dearly is struggling and I don’t have clarity about how to help them and feel deeply inadequate for the task. Especially when there are two someones struggling. And, sometimes, struggling at the same time.

This is what lies at the forefront of the current journey. It’s definitely not a pleasant place to be. Yet, offers much opportunity to continue to move through one’s own journey while at the same time holding space for those closest to you as they travel their own journey.

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As I am posting this near the end of May, I have moved somewhat beyond this. I say somewhat, as when in a close relationship with others, this seems to be an inevitable place to be at some point. The place of not knowing how to help and holding space for oneself, as well as others.

Aren’t these frozen leaves absolutely magical and gorgeous??

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Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Coming Soon!! “Words of Alchemy” is the latest book coming to life! Cover is currently being created and we are shooting for July 2019 for release date!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

Nature is a Wonderful Guide

**THROWBACK POST** (Still housecleaning the blog. At least I’ve reached 2016 now!)


(Photos of us – Team TLC – 2016)

February 11 2016

“I think.
Lillian worries.
Camilla just is.”

Thomas wisdom shared last night as we were reading in my bed before going to sleep …

He had a rough day yesterday. He made a choice at school that caused an unlovely consequence.

On the ride home I let him know he could not use his digital time as he overused it in the morning. By the time we got home he was in much distress. He had a full blown meltdown when he got home and I knew we needed to go for a walk.

I shared how unhealthy it is to not let oneself feel and experience anger and other negative emotions. That we must find that place where we can let ourself feel it physically, being with it, and without hooking into the story of the negative emotion; which can cause us to be harsh with others.

Nature is a wonderful guide during times like these, times when we resist feeling the rawness of life. About an hour after our walk Thomas had settled into acceptance and we had a great night. May you take advantage of the gift of nature when needed. xoxo

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I needed this reminder today. I’ve been having a rough past two weeks.

I’m exhausted. My body aches. My back aches. My shoulders ache. My neck aches. My hips ache. I’m sad and I’ve been sobbing on and off all day. I’m deeply tired. 

And, I’d just really like someone else to take care of me and everything else for a week or two …

I know that this too shall pass … However, in the midst of this crud, is definitely an unlovely place to be. I’m glad I’m still housecleaning on my blog and that I came across this one.

Here’s to feeling all the feels … May they move on through …

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is still available. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

 

Always Hear the Children

**THROWBACK POST**

July 30 2018:

Found while walking Yonce, the french bulldog, this morning. To be followed by passing a bouncy young girl of about 7 years old walking with her grandma.

As I walked by the young girl, I smiled, made eye contact, and said “hello”. To which she quickly said to her grandma, “Grandma, I want that lady to be my mom.” Grandma swiftly replies no and they continue walking.

Sweet girl, I wrap you and your family in oceans of love and pray for grace, courage, and strength for whatever is going on in your lives; whether it be a small or big issue or whether you were even just playing a game. And I pray that your voice is always heard. xoxo …

May each of us always be open to seeing and hearing children as they need us to see and hear them. Their precious hearts need us to see and hear their truth.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

 

Happy Birthday to Me – Reuniting With Someone Special

**I wrote this on February 27, 2019 … One day after my 49th birthday.

Just when I thought the really deep, tough stuff was all done ….

Around the 1st of February 2019, I began to feel anxious and restless. A knowing was woken within me that I had forgotten. Many, many, many years ago I had turned my back on someone who needed me. I broke loose from this relationship and built a strong, heavy door between the two of us. I wanted nothing to do with the sadness, envy, and jealousy she held within. I was sick and tired of being around this heavy, dark energy. So. I left without even an explanation.

In the midst of coming to this knowing, I experienced a series of three events in a one week period that caused me to view myself as a failure. A failure as a parent, a failure as a friend, and a failure at a work project. I sat with the emotions this brought forth and when I remembered, I invited it all with open arms and when I remembered, I loved myself during these harsh thoughts.

A pattern surfaced. I took notes, looking back at past events to round up as many events as possible that came back to this same pattern. Then, I had one of the most amazing aha moments.

I came to know that the feelings and emotions that were felt during and after these three events, were from within the one I had abandoned. These were her actions and her emotions.

Who is this one I turned my back on years ago? She is my inner child, little Camilla. I had not realized when I brushed aside all of the harshness experienced in my youth and younger years; that I had turned my back on her and how she viewed life.

What I came to know near the beginning of this month is that I am needed by her. We need each other. She knows things about my childhood. I know a few things about this journey I’ve traveled and kinda sort of, a few things about being an adult. I realized she could give me back my childhood, help me to remember what my dreams were, what my interests were, what I loved to do as a child.

I also realized that I could help her to not view life the way in which she does. Not to her fault. She views life in the way it was modeled to her when she was a youngster and by way of just assuming things on her own. She was unintentionally neglected then and has been neglected by me ever since the day I left and built the door between us.

Once I realized this, I began the work of tearing down that door. I lovingly let her know how sorry I was for abandoning her. I let her know I would ever more be here for her, that I trust her, I believe in her, I see her, and I hear her. I let her know that even if she never trusts me and never reveals her secrets to me; I will be here, unconditionally loving her and acknowledging how she feels.

As often as I can remember, I will place my hand on my heart, and send the message to her that she is loved, she is seen, she is heard, that I believe in her. I will share the message that life does not have to be as she assumed or witnessed. Life can be as I have learned it can be, as I have lived it, as I have envisioned and as I know it to be. Once the two of us reunite, and join, we will know this as one and it can become our united path.

Such peace is with me knowing that I am reuniting with little Camilla. Knowing when I am triggered and these same emotions, thoughts, and feelings surface, that they are coming from her, the sweet child within. Now that I know this, I am able to comfort her and let her know this is not how it has to be. There is another way.

What a beautiful miracle it is to recognize from where these feelings of being left out, feelings of doing it wrong, feelings of only getting the scraps of life, what’s left over, and feelings of unworthiness, envy, sadness, and jealousy originate. I say again, what a beautiful miracle.

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Being more than a month out from this experience, I have moved through it and am in a place of peace, beauty and joy. I accept these moments when they arise and move through them. For my own benefit and for the benefit of humanity. For I do believe every single bit of healing we do for ourself, goes towards global healing as well. Much love to all of YOU!!

Now, to share the birthday celebrations with you ……..

Just had to show off this lovely creation by my sweet friend Jessica Araus!! Sweet and perfect!!

And, my mantra for the day from sweet friend, Cat Murray …. “I am shiny” … Heeheehee!!

And, and this beautiful birthday blessing from my beautiful friend Lalita Simon-Creasey …

Happy Birthday to you dearest Camilla
I wish to ye with that most beautiful of smiles
Fall deeper and deeper in love with who you are
Seeing grace and beauty everywhere as you travel through the miles.

May today be the beginning of everything true
May you be fulfilled, cherished and joyfully happy
May you see always truest beauty inside you
May you smile as you read these words of prosperity.

With lots of love on your birthday and always,
Lalita

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Photos of the 2019 birthday celebrations!!

We enjoyed a special birthday dinner at The Romano Duo’s place the night before my birthday.

It was a nasty drive from Reno to Dayton with extremely strong winds, gusting 80-90 miles per hour with the added bonus of big fat wet snow drops; which froze as soon as landing on the windshield! Took my time, driving as slow as I needed to feel comfortable, taking the least busy route so as not to worry about other drivers who may be in a hurry.

Frank had a virgin Bloody Mary waiting for me with a beautiful roasted, pickled asparagus spear and lemon stuffed olives! We enjoyed an amazing salad to go with our main dish. They made me my very own pot of vegan spaghetti sauce using Beyond Meat crumbles. And a lovely vegan Baklava for my birthday dessert treat.

Ahhhhhh …. Good stuff!!

On my birthday, 2.26.19, we had birthday cake for lunch!! Thank you to Thomas for catching the moment of my wish making. ❤️❤️❤️

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Birthday celebrations with a plot twist! Sparkling pink lemonade birthday toast in the dark!!! Power went out just as we were sitting for dinner. Stayed out for three hours. That wind packed a powerful message.

Thank you to my sweet friend and neighbor, Kendra Johnson for buying a package of C batteries for our flashlight! I just happened to text her asking if she had any while she was at the store!!

And, thank you to another sweet neighbor for whom I’m cat sitting. I borrowed a couple of votive candles from her place. Cats were kinda freaked out from the wind and their music had shut off!

Lillian used coding on scratch to make me a digital card. Isn’t it beautiful??? I was going to have a birthday movie night. Hmmmm … Will see if I make it to it now.

This 49th year blew in with 60 and 70 mile gusts, eventually taking the power out just as we sat to eat dinner and have our sparkling pink lemonade toast last night. It was three hours later when power was restored. There’s an interesting message in there somewhere. Ha!!!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Go here to see latest soul writings. xoxo

A Philosophy of Walking

And she walked.
And she walked.
She walked until
Arriving at
The home of
Peace and Joy.
Discovering once there,
She had been
Here all along.

I went for an hour long walk this morning. My body and mind did not want to go. I went anyway.

Just as a cool glass of water slakes my thirst on a scorching hot day, going for walks quenches the thirst of my soul and heart to know my true self, to heal, to release, to allow joy, and to be at peace. Walking guides me in the loving way to process life, to fulfill life, and to let life be.

For the past 18 years I have been going for walks. The meaning and depth of the walks have shifted throughout the years. What started as an activity simply to satisfy my desire to be active, bloomed into a walking practice. A practice to process healing, to release, to discover my authentic self, and to connect with nature.

Going for a walk at least three times a week has literally kept me going when I felt I could not carry on, and propelled me into bliss in times of joy. Each time I walk I have a different experience. At times, the walk overflows with peace and bliss and at other times, I’m ready to be done the second I begin. Those times are when I can’t seem to get out of my head. Worried about this, that, or the other; or lost in the past or distant future. Turning the worry over and over like one would a compost pile. Hoping a resolution will bloom from the compost pile of worry.

Most days the walking, along with nature as a helper, snaps me awake from tending the worry compost pile. My entire being melds with nature during these walks and reminds me what I already know. That the worrying only buries solutions deeper in the compost pile.

Going for walks and being amongst the trees, sun, clouds, grass, rocks, flowers, bushes, birds, wind, and weather nourish my heart and soul. Just as fruits and vegetables provide this body the nourishment it needs to continue; walking does this, and much more, for my heart and soul.

Going for walks is like being at an outdoor art gallery where nature changes the artwork every day, in fact every minute at times. Walking teaches the art of letting go of that which you find beautiful and meaningful. Walking teaches to quiet the mind, seize the moment, breathe and let soak in every morsel of beauty nature shares.

For the beauty nature displays while on a walk, is ever changing dependent upon the time of day, the season, whether clouds obstruct the sun, and whether it is near sunrise, midday, or sunset. Walking teaches the art of experiencing the continual changes of life as nature experiences the changing seasons.

Going for a walk opens the writer’s spigot and helps to flow the words of my heart and soul. I know it may seem I’m assigning much responsibility for these walks. In truth, my walking practice works in concert with a meditation and mindfulness practice, along with a writing practice. All of these practices to be held grounded by the practice of allowing myself to physically feel the emotions of life. This quintet of practices guides me in walking into the unlovely aspects of life and welcoming uncomfortable emotions.

I’ve been walking with my kids since they were infants. I cherish every single walk taken with them. They are 17 years old and 13 years old now. Once they were old enough for one to stay at home, I began going with each one of them for a walk once or twice per week and a walk as a family once or twice per week. I continued to have walks alone, one to three times per week. Now that they’ve gotten older, the walks with each of them has slowed a bit. Yet, it is my hope that I opened their eyes to the beauty and philosophy of walking.

When my daughter was seven years old and my son three years old; I discontinued paying for cable and eventually donated our television. Walking is one activity that took the place of time spent in front of the television. I was moved to incorporate picture making into the walks as well. I have thousands of photographs of our walks throughout the years.

Whenever my son or daughter had a tough day, I would be sure to have a walk with him or her after dinner. The three of us had many deep and meaningful conversations during these walks. Mixed with periods of silence to simply enjoy the beauty. Not to be left out, mixed with much fun and silliness also. Rolling down hills, playing with our shadows, catching leaves as they blow from the tree, hitting pine cones with sticks, running through sprinklers, playing in the mud, feeding the ducks, helping worms cross the sidewalk, and making nature photographs.

I was not only moved to photograph our family during these walks; I was moved to photograph nature herself. There are only a few occasions I’ve gone for a walk and not taken at least one photograph. These photographs helped to inspire poetry to flow forth from my heart. I had never read or written poetry up until about four years ago. This seemed to be an extension of the walking and other practices.

I fought myself on going for the walk this morning. It was 32 degrees outside and I was already cold. I wanted to get warm and cozy, sit and write this story. My heart knew the moment I stepped foot on the trail, I’d be grateful I listened to the call of the walk. May you be inspired to explore how walking could create a shift in your life; whether that be ever so small or ever so big.

©2019 Camilla Downs
(Photo made by me – 2016 – Geiger Way Lookout)

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.

Wonderfully exciting news! My 13 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

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