How to Be Peaceful

August Date Day with Thomas 9.6.16 #9

My life experience has taught the following for being peaceful:

  1. Meditation
  2. Intention to be peaceful
  3. Mindfully responding
  4. Nature

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 …

Walk with Lillian Vintage Lake 11.14.16 #4

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. 

Blessings,

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

Wonderfully exciting news! My 10 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Dear Thoughts: I Want To Be Happy With Myself

thomas-in-water-little-washoe-lake-october-2015

“I wish to be okay with myself.” This is what I heard him say. And, this is the message I relay to him.

Dear You:

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.

Love,
Your Heart

hidden-beach-8-19-16-23-hearts

P.S. This was written to my son, Thomas, in December 2016 or January 2017. He and I attended a ceremony of releasing the old and calling in the new. He had remained quite during the entire event. He’s 12 years old now.

On the last pass of the bowl where we were releasing and calling in, he said ever so quietly, “I wish to be okay with myself.” My heart fell to pieces as well as my eyes began sweating like crazy (a term Thomas coined for crying when he was a wee young one).

I am so incredibly blessed by his presence in my life and many times over have been shown why we chose one another as Mom and Son …. xoxo

Blessings,

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

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

*Inspiring letter for low self-esteem

The Post Office Gift – An Inspiring Short Story

be-love-love-is-the-answer-heart-in-sand-2013

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.

Blessings,

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

Wonderfully exciting news! My 10 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

*Inspiring short story, short story about compassion

There is More Than One Way

angel-wings-metal-heart-odabe-september-2016

Mine is not a better way, it is merely another way.

It is my belief that there is not only one way and no one way is better than the other. I feel when we come to embrace that there are many ways, we will also become empowered by the knowing that, although many travel different paths; we are united in our goal.

Each person’s way, is the way for that person. I believe the way I choose to live life is the way for me and leads to my goal … And so it is. My neighbor believes a different way is the way and will lead to his goal … And so it is. All paths lead to the same goal of happiness.

Thinking there is only one way is what leads us to judge one another and therefore further separate from one another. There is no need for me to understand why my neighbor chooses a different way. Once I release judgment, the feeling of needing to understand and judge others will release on its own.

love-stone-odabe-september-2016

Once we embrace that there is no ONE way towards our shared goal, human life would improve for all. The magic of civility, cooperation, and collaboration would replace their counterparts.

The way I have chosen is by choice. And it’s a choice driven from the heart. It is a choice that relies on the grace of God, the Universe, and at times that grace comes forth through the loving kindness of others.

**LOVE OFFERING** If you find this content helpful, I invite you to toss a tip in the love offering bowl. With oceans of gratitude … Camilla ….

love-cards-in-a-basket-october-2016

It is my deepest desire that I am living and modeling for Thomas and Lillian, and others, to listen to the call of the heart; no matter the difficulties that ensue from heeding that call. The difficulties can and will dissolve if chosen to be seen as opportunities.

These thoughts came forth upon receiving an email questioning my way of living and then later reading, “What God Said“, by Neale Donald Walsch.

driftwood-heart-hidden-beach-august-2016

email message received in August 2016:

“I read your blog often and find your life fascinating.  However, you often complain about lack of money, funds are tight, etc.  And you and your kids find ways to “make it work.” Also, you frequently rely on the kindness of others to make it all work.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to get a job that allows you to cover your expenses? While you may like being a free spirit, I wonder if it’s by choice or by necessity.  Wouldn’t some stability, via gainful employment, take some stress out of your life and eliminate the need for your kids to have to endure a kind of financial stress that no young child should have to endure?

I am not being critical but, at the same time, I do not understand.”

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

Did you find this writing meaningful? If you’d like to share a monetary love offering for this writing or my other content, you can do that here. Oceans of gratitude to you … xoxo

Latest Articles:

I help to support my family with my writings. So … there is an Amazon affiliate link 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

13 Ways to Keep Alive Your Childs Nature Connection

Thomas and Camilla Date Day July 2016 Thomas Walking

I began taking Thomas and Lillian for walks when they were both infants. Having not tried to introduce going for walks and relighting the spark of wonder at a later age, I’m not sure how this would work with older children.

Thomas is 10 years old now and Lillian is 14 years old. Each of them treasure our walks together and if we skip more than 2 days, they notice and bring it up.

The meaning and reason for these walks has shifted over the years. When I first began walking it was to get exercise. The walks I take now are for experiencing my connection with nature, listening and learning from nature, and staying connected with my true self. This is the meaning I impart to Lillian and Thomas as well.

These “13 Ways to Keep Alive Your Child’s Nature Connection” have walks as their root. The root must be solid and secure if this growth period is to be successful.

  1. Make going for a walk together a priority. For this to work, there must be a strong commitment. Take each child on a walk alone, go for a family walk, take a walk with your significant other, and take yourself on a walk alone.
  2. Walk slowly. This is not about seeing how quickly you can get finished or how many calories you can burn.
  3. Point out clouds, leaves, trees, rocks, and animals. Get up close to the trees. Touch them. Speak what’s in your mind aloud and be curious.
  4. Ask your child how it makes them feel to be on this walk, sitting next to the lake, sitting on a rock, or touching the tree.
  5. Take pictures of the rocks, trees, leaves, sky, water, animals … whatever you feel moved to capture. Invite your child to do the same. You can talk about these pictures later.
  6. Take a journal with you. Sit and write or draw whatever comes to heart. Invite your child to do the same.
  7. If your child invites you to feel a rock or pinecone or to dip your toes in the water or stand on a big rock or to make shadows or to catch the leaves as they fall; say “yes”, let go and have fun with him.
  8. If they want to linger a bit longer, say “yes”. Whatever is waiting for you at home, can wait. This is deepening your own connection with your child and with nature. And, also strengthening your child’s connection with nature.
  9. Choose a “sit spot”. This is a place that you and your child will visit every time you take a walk. While at your sit spot, sit in silence, and listen. The more you do this, the more you will begin to see and hear and smell. This is a good place to use your journal.
  10. During the walk, ask your child what she hears, smells, sees and what something feels like when touched.
  11. Your child is continually learning from this experience. It’s best not to attempt to make this about learning the proper names of birds, flowers, weeds, and clouds as this will follow naturally the more you walk. Take note of whatever it is and have fun researching it later.
  12. Collect rocks, sticks, leaves, pinecones, and whatever else to take home. Have a place on the patio, in the garage, or inside the house so these can be used later for research or for creating nature based art.
  13. Authentically share your own sense of wonder with your child. This may be buried deeply within. Yet, it is there. Meditate, pray, practice yoga, whatever calls to you so that you can peel back the years and layers of losing your nature connection.

C18 Trip July 2016 #32

There’s no need to wait until you have time to go camping or to get away from the city. The trail at a local park will work. A walk along the sidewalk in your neighborhood will do. Nature is everywhere if we open our heart and eyes to seeing her.

We just read two GREAT children’s books that emphasize this. They are:

The Garden of Happiness

The Curious Garden

Also, I recently read “How to Raise a Wild Child” if you want to read further and go deeper with this.

(I invited Thomas and Lillian to review this to ensure I had not left out anything. With a few additions, it is ready!)

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). If you benefited from this writing, would you like to toss a tip in the love offering “bucket”? Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

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

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.

Latest Articles:

A Rapturous Dance With Life

Lake Mead July 2016 #15

I did it. I did it. I did it.

I drove Team TLC 3,400 miles. Thursday, July 7, 2016 through Saturday, July 16, 2016 I drove 3,400 miles roundtrip to attend the Chromosome 18 Conference – Reno, Nevada to San Antonio, Texas .. 1,700 miles each way. A conference Thomas and Lillian have their hearts set on attending every year. We began attending the C18 Conference in 2009 when it was in Las Vegas and have gone every year since then.

We arrived home at midnight on Saturday, July 16th. I was kind of it out of all day Sunday. Then Monday, I woke up ready to go! By Monday afternoon, every muscle in my body ached and I felt weighted down. I was completely out of it for 4 full days. It took about 7 days before I felt like myself again.

Yet, I DID IT!! … xoxoxo

The plan was to leave at 5:00 am on Thursday, the 7th, so that I could drive as far as possible before darkness fell upon us. I am completely out of my comfort zone driving in the dark in unfamiliar places. I could not get to sleep the night before. I was worried and having anxiety about this trip due to finances, honestly, not even having enough to cover the trip.

Yet, I know how deeply important this conference is to Thomas and Lillian. Each for their own reasons. Thomas is the sibling to a sister who has a chromosome deletion. He has, and is, developing deep friendships with the other siblings his age and being mentored by the older siblings.

Lillian’s friends are her peers that she has connected with through this conference. She communicates with some of them all throughout the year. When one texts, blogs, post on Facebook and Instagram, emails, chats on Facebook, or uses skype; the spoken word is not needed.

In our world of verbal communication difficulties, social media has helped create a world that would not exist for Lillian and one where she has true friends. She has no local friends, yet she has friends all over the United States and the world … As far away as Tasmania, Australia.

C18 Trip July 2016 #17

After having about 3 hours sleep, I could not seem to get ready as I was overwhelmed with the enormity of this trip. I had an adult meltdown which delayed our departure. We were finally on our way at 7:00 am; two hours later than I had planned.

There was much excitement as we began the road trip. Lots of talking, observing the landscape, and silliness. About two hours into the morning, we lost cell phone service due to the rural area we traveled. We were without cell service for the next five or six hours until we reached Las Vegas. During this time, Thomas and Lillian became absorbed in reading books, magazines, or using their computers or phones.

Which left my mind much time to mess with me. I had stepped way out of my comfort zone with this trip. I had never driven this far, much less driven this far being the only one in charge of packing, driving, and navigating. Plus, we had never driven this far as a family. Our max road trip travel time was to the 2015 conference in Salt Lake City; which was about an 8 hour drive from Reno.

Thoughts of us being stranded due to car problems kept entering my mind like a dark storm cloud encroaching on the brightest of days. Thoughts of the lack of finances for this trip took their turn in the dance also. Not to be left out of the dance, thoughts of my insanity at attempting this cut into the dance too. All of this dance to be completed with the veil of anxiety and worry weaving in and out like a breeze blowing through the trees.

Thankfully, I am a student of mindfulness and emotional connection. And, since there was nothing else to do but sit and drive, I took this opportunity to put these practices to work. It was a rapturous dance between being mindful, connecting with emotions, and embracing the fear wanting to dance with me.

This trip proved to be challenging. I had not anticipated this dance with life in all of its flavors and colors in such a way to cause the suffering brought on by my thoughts. It was my goal to have this trip be a learning experience for me of not knowing, not planning, and just going. That’s certainly not for everyone.

Yet, I felt this was important for me. It’s a huge step out of my comfort zone. One step closer to trusting myself, trusting internal messages, and letting go of how it’s supposed to be done. As mentioned earlier, I’ve never driven this far alone … Much less alone with Thomas and Lillian. In addition to driving this far in Rosey, our 15 year old car, with dancing through this trip on less than a shoe string budget and letting go of worry that the string will hold tight.

I had moments where I was so extremely hot and exhausted I had visions of taking an ice bath and moments when I was so tired I was shaking and wondering what in the heck I was doing ….. Yet, I know. I may not know on the surface right now; but deep down, I know why I do what I do.

This was also a dance full of wonderful, bright moments. We shared inspiring comments and tons of love that furthered each one of us. Definitely some amazing growth for all of us happened! WOW!

**LOVE OFFERING** If you find this content helpful, I invite you to toss a tip in the love offering bowl. With oceans of gratitude … Camilla ….

love-cards-in-a-basket-october-2016

We had a ball and laughed tons and enjoyed the beautiful landscape as we drove by it. Lillian was being so helpful and encouraging Thursday morning before we left.

Thomas was awesome and inspiring with his comments as we drove the two lane highways in the middle of nowhere in Nevada and Arizona. We saw a huge sign that read, “Nothing” and had a great laugh about that! Just after driving through Boulder City and Hoover dam, Thomas said, “I love it here.” He was so impressed with Lake Mead and said he wanted to live there.

Thomas went on to say that he always has deja vu and he has lived this life before. He said it all seems so familiar. He was incredibly inspired by the beauty that passed before our eyes. He also commented that he wants to buy land and simply let kids play on the land.

On the first day of driving, Lillian got sick to her stomach. We ended up spending about 30 minutes at a gas station bathroom and Thomas was extremely helpful. When we were looking for a place to stay and it kept getting darker and darker, I apologized to them as I had planned on stopping sooner. He said, “When you get a rock in your shoe, just shake it out.”

Rosey did a pretty good job. She had a wee bit of problems getting overheated but that was resolved with turning the air conditioner off while traveling up and down the mountainous areas. I had to give her some oil and coolant on the way there and some oil on the way back home. It’s scorching hot checking oil and fluids in over 100 degree weather!

With an hour and a half to go before we arrived in San Antonio, the epoxy glue I use for the driver side mirror had enough of the heat and was simply melting away! A couple of years ago I bumped the mirror backing out of a covered parking spot. So, for about 20 minutes I was holding the mirror until I could pull over. Bungee cord to the rescue!! Before we headed back home, the hotel gave me duct tape and that worked great for the ride back home.

I feel strongly guided to be establishing a new relationship with myself and the world and to model this for my kids, have them actively participate, and to help them know that there’s more to life and living than traditionally meets the eye.

I want them to never lose touch with their true self and to grow into adults knowing their given talents and having a solid and clear courage and conviction in sharing that talent with the world!

I continue to learn so much daily … About me, Thomas and Lillian, others and simply just living and dancing with life! xoxo

C18 Trip July 8 2016 #1

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

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.

Latest Articles:

Why I Live Life with Abandon

Bench at Vintage Lake February 2016

Therapists, Teachers and Friends

I don’t even know where to begin and not quite sure how to put into words what I have experienced recently. As I was experiencing the below, thoughts of, “I have got to share this. I must tell someone. I feel like dancing and twirling with the wind, shining like the sun and sharing this with everyone.” were whirling within me. It was incredibly powerful.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been told by several how brave I am, how I am honored for my dedication to being a parent. I’ve also been asked not just recently but several times over the past 7 or 8 years, “How did you process all this, how did you do it? Did you have professional help, a therapist?”

My therapists have been the authors of the books I read. Two of my greatest teachers have been my kids, Thomas and Lillian. Other teachers have been the suffering brought on by my thoughts, beliefs, and ideas, and those with whom I have shared un-lovely moments. The friends I share absolutely everything with are nature, meditation, and my own version of praying.

I continually ask to see things differently, to question the thoughts, ideas and beliefs I have. I ask to unlearn thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that no longer serve me. In the few days before this experience, I had finally come to a point where I authentically released and let go of all that I wish for and want. I let go of it with tremendous love and with the knowing that I would absolutely receive once I let go of the longing.

Here is what I experienced …..

A Bayou Angel

This morning a bayou Angel and her Mom came to my assistance. One who feels I am a gift to her in how I show up and live my life. As I sat eating my dinner of a lovely, big bowl of popcorn, I simply stared into the bowl at each kernel before eating it. (I was enjoying my first night alone, with the house to myself, for the first time in a year.)

Popcorn Dinner June 27 2016

I was listening to Stevie Nicks on Pandora, feeling as if Stevie Nicks and I are soul sisters, like I could physically feel the the impact of the words she sang. As I scooped up and popped the last bit of popcorn into my mouth, the bayou Angel and I exchanged our last email for the day agreeing that our having re-connected was divinely arranged.

To See A World in a Grain of Sand

William Blake’s “To See A World … ” came to mind and it was as if the flood gates opened. Not only to let flow tears of knowing, tears of joy, and tears of love …. It was the flood gates of my entire life flowing out around me and wrapping me in the knowing that there have been no accidents in this life.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

It has been divinely laid out. Every encounter, every relationship, every friendship. I saw the synchronicity of having lived 3 years of my life in Houma Louisiana, the deep unhappiness of my family life at that time, and how the friendships I formed were a saving grace. Not only a saving grace back in the mid 80’s, a saving grace in the year 2013 and 2016. Unbeknownst to me a mutual, symbiotic relationship of one inspiring the other and one becoming a messenger angel for the other.

Everything that I have experienced was laid out in such a way that I could choose a different path at some point in my life. If I didn’t choose that different path, I would most likely still have felt as though I was happy, moving right along side millions of other people doing life the way everyone else is doing life. Or I could have chosen a path on which I numbed myself so as not to feel my emotions and to drown out the callings of my soul; which I did do in my late teens and early 20’s.

Date Day with Thomas June 2016 #15

A Different Path

Yet, I chose the different path. The path that leads to a simple life, a life of ease, a life of valuing something completely different, of knowing the given talent within and of sharing that talent with others. Although it is a path that leads to a life of ease and non-struggle, the walk along that path has certainly not been simple and free of struggle, nor free of suffering.

**LOVE OFFERING** If you find this content helpful, I invite you to toss a tip in the love offering bowl. With oceans of gratitude … Camilla ….

love-cards-in-a-basket-october-2016

It has been a path of confronting feelings about my own self-worth. A path of knowing the deep intrinsic worth of simply BEing. A path of peeling back layer after layer after layer after layer of thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that have compounded throughout this life … and smothered the true me.

I felt as if I was breathing with all of life, all of the earth, and all of the Universe. Two hours time went by and it seemed like it had been 30 minutes.

In the whirling of my life through these flood gates, I felt divinely loved … a pure love so deep I cried sobbing salty tears of joy with the knowing that I am loved, that I have always been loved, and that I AM love.

The knowing sobs ended with a peace and a bliss like I have never felt before that no matter what happens in the next two months and from here forward; everything will be okay and my family will be okay. I will always be loved and be love no matter what.

… And that is what I experienced. These words don’t seem to do it justice. Yet, I have tried to convey the power and beauty of it.

Be the Change

In the past society has taught us (or at least me, anyway) a philosophy of, “If this, than that”. You are only valued IF you live your life a certain way, accomplish certain things, accumulate material items.” … Rather than teaching us as young, sweet, innocent beings that we are valued. Period. There is no, if and when. Period. You are valued.

I take Gandhi’s words of, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world ” straight to my soul. My number one main and most important “job” is ensuring that I “raise” two beings who live life from a place of loving-kindness, who retain peace and joy as they age and are grounded in the knowing of their given talents so as to share those talents for the benefit of others.

And one of the ways in which I carry out this job is to simply be me. To live life from a place of loving-kindness and come to know the given talents I had so deeply buried. And to do this openly with Thomas and Lillian observing and being a part of the process and watching me build a new relationship with myself. (Here’s a wonderfully inspiring, short and beautiful, post by a friend, Tania Marie, titled Portals of Possibilities, which touches on this.)

I single parent the two of them and this is a full time, almost round the clock job. It’s not really a job in the traditional sense of the word as I enjoy getting to do this. I am supposed to be doing this. It’s definitely not always easy or fun, yet those un-lovely times are when we are learning the most and making the greatest progress as human beings.

Crossing the Bridge

WAlk June 19 2016 #4

“And she said, I’m ready to live this life with abandon and joyful bewilderment … I’m crossing that bridge.” ~Camilla Downs

May you take this as you need to receive it. Perhaps a calling to begin questioning why you are doing what you do, what is causing you to make certain decisions. Perhaps to reinforce why you seem to be “bucking” the system, or going against what others think you should be doing.

Perhaps simply to be told that you are loved, you are loved, you are loved and to stop judging yourself.

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

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.

Latest Articles:

Angel at the Farmer’s Market

(Every once in a while I receive a nudge to write in third person. This is another of those times.)

IMG_3518.JPG

She had been dealing with a headache for 3 days now. She felt as if her body, inside and out, was covered in a thick and sticky sludge. A sludge full of all the reasons why she is wrong, inadequate, a loser, and a downright horrible person.

She thought back to the dream she had two weeks ago. She could not get away from a giant sink hole. Everywhere she went, this sink hole followed! One minute she’d be free of it and then she would purposely re-enter the force of it’s pull. She knew this was not just a random dream. The sink hole was a metaphor for how she’d been feeling about her life these past few weeks.

Then she was brought back to the present when she received a message from a friend that landed on a heart that she’d been slapping around and wringing like a sponge. It was exactly what her heart needed to hear and was the perfect message for her to receive in that moment. The divine message: “I love your positiveness and your love of life and love. You are a true inspiration to me.”

After dinner she went for a walk as she had missed her morning walk. It was an incredibly beautiful evening with magical clouds decorating the sky. She felt light and at peace. She smiled at the adults, kids, and people she passed. She spoke with them. She shared love with Gus, the dog. What a happy fellow he is. She felt like a streak of joy passing by everyone with brief stops to share with one another. Peace was with her through the rest of the night.

While sleeping that night she dreamed she was trapped in a house that kept creating sabotage after sabotage. She finally escaped only to re-enter the house as she had left something inside. At this point she woke up and she knew once again that this was a metaphor.

During her morning meditation she focused on connecting with and releasing this sludge. Memories of being trapped as a child came to her. She decided that it’s time to clear her heart and soul of this sludge, return it to the ether. It’s no longer hers, she no longer needs it.

“The memories of the past are not part of the present moment,” she told herself. “I am not trapped. I am free. Free to live this life in peace and joy and free to release suffering. It’s time to let it go and let the light shine throughout my heart and soul. It’s time to have a heart and soul cleansing. A cleansing that will take with it the amnesia that has smothered the knowing of who ‘I Am'”.

She felt wonderful after meditation. She got everyone’s breakfast ready and went for her morning walk before taking her son to camp. It was a quiet, still, reflective morning.

After taking her son to camp she stopped by the Farmer’s Market to get a couple of fresh tomatoes. She walked right up to the stand she knew she wanted to visit. The wonderful farmer greeted her with a smile and compliments about her smile and outfit. She told him he could pick out two tomatoes for her, one for eating today and the other for tomorrow or the next day.

Tomatoes June 21 2016

She wrote a check as she had no cash on her. He looked at her name and tried pronouncing her first name. She let him know how to pronounce it correctly and he said both her first and last name out loud. He said, “That’s a special name. You should write poetry or be a writer of some type.” She looked at him, smiled, and with a warm heart said, “I am.”

They said goodbye and told each other to have a great day. And she left having just received a message, an answer to that for which she daily prays and meditates.

You’ll never receive answers if you aren’t expecting them. Ask for them. Expect them. You just may meet an Angel at the Farmer’s Market.

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

Latest Articles:

The Power and Magic of Connected Parenting

Thomas and Camilla Date Day April 2016

This is a long post. So, I’m going to give you the take-away points right now:

Take Away Points:

  • Examine and question the way it’s always been done. Ask yourself, “Is that true? Do we have to do it that way?”
  • It’s okay to question others who have direct control over your child’s education or therapies
  • Observe and facilitate discovery for your child’s interest
  • Differences play a role in our given talent
  • Pay attention to your intuition
  • Trust and have faith in your feelings and ideas
  • “Teach” your child by modeling your beliefs and living your passions
  • It’s okay to do it differently
  • Have meaningful discussions with your child and ask for her input
  • Release guilt and self-judgment for not “doing” life like others
  • Share your passions with your child
  • Become a learner and discoverer with your child
  • Be inspired as your child shines as his unique self

(I originally wrote a version of “I Have a Dream” on the Different iz Good website in 2010. I was called to combine this with two other blog posts from 2011 into a new post with updated information. The updated information is in italicsThere is a bit of repetition. I wanted to leave the original articles mostly in tact and this is the reason for the repetition.)

I do not claim to know the One Way, or One Size fits all approach to living a joyful, peaceful life. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. These are simply my thoughts to share for those with whom it resonates. xoxo

I Have a Dream

“Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Goethe

I have a dream of a world where people like my daughter Lillian Darnell, who have intellectual disabilities, genetic differences, chromosome abnormalities, are not pigeonholed into jobs that don’t reveal and let shine their uniqueness. Jobs that do not give them the opportunity to share their unique and different view of the world.

I have a dream of a world where those closest to these magnificent people and those who are entrusted to educate them shift their perception. A world in which we become aware of not what they can’t do or what they are doing wrong or different. A world where educators don’t attempt to make them fit into a cookie cutter system that is so archaic even “typical” kids don’t fit in.

**Update: As an example of the above, during an IEP meeting when Lillian was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, I was told of their concern that Lillian was still not drawing proportionate stick people. The first thoughts that ran through my mind were, “Are you kidding me? Why on earth would we be focused on changing something that is unique about her?” I explained to them that this was something unique about Lillian and very well may be part of the gift she is to share with others.” I told them they could stop being concerned about that. 

Can you imagine what educators would have said to Picasso’s parents? “We are deeply concerned about the way he draws people? We cannot get him to draw proportionate stick people.” Please don’t misunderstand. I know these therapists and educators had Lillian’s best interest in their hearts. My perspective is simply different than their perspective.

**Update: A world where we question the way it’s supposed to be done as that’s the way it’s always been done. A world where we examine our own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs and ask, “Is that true? Does it have to be done that way”? A world where we let ourselves become learners and discoverers right along side our children.**

A world where we open our eyes and discover what they can do, what they are good at doing, and what they like to do. A world where we notice what excites them, what fuels their passions. A world where we take the initiative to mentor them to cultivate this, shape and mold it into a way for them to earn a living for themselves.

Whether that be working for someone else or . . . being an entrepreneur. A world in which we, and they, don’t feel guilty or wrong about using differences to their advantage in life. Our differences most likely play a role in our given talents.

**Update: I have since expanded this dream to include all children and people like my son, Thomas Darnell, who are high functioning, extremely bright, have a deep thirst for knowing “why” and are not okay with “because I said so” as an explanation, who are empathic, and greatly sensitive to the energies of others.**

“Each of us has a Different gift that lies within us. Some amongst us just need a little extra help in uncovering that gift so that we can share it for the benefit of the world. ” Camilla

Lillian and Camilla Walk 5.26.16 #4

(The following was written in 2011 as the last chapter in the “D iz for Different” book)

Z is for Zig Zag

Conventional wisdom says “do it this way, this is the way it’s always been done.” I am the type of person who questions conventional wisdom. I pause to think about whether the way it’s always been done is really the right way for me and my family.

Conventional wisdom says that the best path for Lillian is to attend traditional public school to benefit from what she’s entitled to according to federal laws and what’s established in her IEP. That worked for us through fourth grade, but it doesn’t work now. **Update** – Lillian is now in tenth grade by traditional school standards.

I simply believe with all my being that this young lady will not follow any conventional route in her life, or in her career. I believe she will be self-employed, and I don’t believe she will reach her full potential staying in a traditional public school. Of course, I will accept whatever career path she chooses, but for now, I choose us to zag instead of zig.

I’m not saying that we should always zag when others zig. But, that we pay attention when something inside us is saying, “not so fast there, find a different way,” or “don’t keep doing that.” We may hear these messages, but dismiss them due to doubt, fear, or lack of faith. As these messages spring from our heart, we find that we have invited judgments of our own and others into our mind telling us we are crazy for thinking that way.

**Update: I also believe Thomas will not follow any conventional route in his education and life. In fact, we don’t follow a conventional route as a family. I single parent Thomas and Lillian and have for the past 9 years. We haven’t owned a television since 2008.

We live in an 800 square foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo. I haven’t used a microwave in 3 years. I hand wash our dishes. I value good quality food over the newest or designer clothing, shoes, cars, furniture, jewelry, or electronics; and I share that value with Thomas and Lillian. We go for many, many walks together. We talk about food, the differences in quality of food, and the ingredients in our food.

We read a lot. I thoughtfully choose the books we read aloud together and they choose their own books. We also have a movie night once per week using a projector and a Macbook Pro. These are also thoughtfully chosen and we have started taking turns choosing a movie from the selection I check out from the library. I share the books and movies as a reference for others in the Book and Movie Musings section.

Since Thomas was 1 year old we have been going to the library every 2 or 3 weeks. We live as a team rather than a dictatorship. Mostly, I am the team leader, yet I give them many opportunities to lead. We have letting go burning ceremonies every quarter. We continually talk about why we are here, what are our goals, how are we doing personally and as a family, we make gratitude lists, create yearly vision boards for each of us and one as a family, write “compliment” notes for each other, and we openly discuss and practice mindfulness and emotional connection. We are not typical … and we like it.**

I wrote this when Lillian was 10 years old. She is now 14 years old. I homeschooled her the year I originally wrote this. She re-entered school the following year and was there for two and a half years. Here’s a bit of the story on how that happened.

Lillian and Camilla Walk 5.26.16 #2

She has been “homeschooled” for the past year and a half. In January, without my having searched for it, the term unschooling and information about it kept coming across my awareness. After reading much about it, I realized I had been unschooling Lillian all along and just didn’t know it.

Lillian self leads her learning and discovery. I take the opportunity when it’s presented to facilitate that learning. She has always loved to write, draw, and paint. You can see that as far back as 2007 in the first blog we began titled, Pink Elephant Books. I knew even back then that she and I would author books.

Currently, she blogs on her own site at LillianDarnell.com. Her writing is becoming deeper and richer by the day. It has been magical to be a part of and watch her blossom. She is absolutely thriving by being allowed to focus on her passions and interest.

She loves tracking the weather and has loved it since probably about 2007 or 2008. When we need to know what to expect with the weather, we ask Lillian. If she doesn’t already know, she’ll look it up in less than 5 minutes. She says she has a weather sniffer nose and she can smell the rain coming and other weather conditions.

I share my enthusiasm and love of nature, photography, mindfulness, and emotional connection with Lillian and her brother, Thomas. And, Lillian has naturally become interested in these subjects also. Not because I sat her down and taught her the names of everything. But because she has witnessed me living it and my genuine love of these things. Thomas and Lillian love our walks and time spent outdoors. 

Thomas sporadically blogs on his website (ThomasADarnell.com), posts items for sale that he has created, and is about to become a published author. He completed a 365 photo a day project that he came up with and decided to do on his own. That is being made into a book that I will co-author with him. Tentatively titled, “Grand Adventures of the Biggest Little Photographer”.**

Thomas & Camilla Last Day of School 6.3.16 #1

(This next section was written in 2011 and a version of this later became the “O” Chapter in the, “D iz for Different” book.)

O is for Observe

“Most people see what is, and never see what can be.” -Albert Einstein

Observing, paying attention, being aware of the present moment. What’s happening, who you are with, are you having a conversation? Are you really being present for the conversation or are you thinking about all those bills that are due or what you’re making for dinner or what happened on the last episode of your favorite show.

How will we guide our kids, with special needs and “typically developing” kids, into a fruitful, joyful and peaceful future if we are not present for them? Observe their likes, dislikes, what are they good at doing, favorite hobbies and maybe they have topics or interests they seem obsessed with . . . the weather, the time, making lists, making a plan and sticking to it.

Observe these and then use these qualities to their advantage in life. They like these things for a reason. It’s not up to us to figure out why they like or don’t like something or why they are obsessed with a topic.

**Update: The very quality that we may find extremely annoying, could be the key to their joyful future. Let’s observe, be present and give them every single opportunity we can to blossom and use the special and unique gifts they have.

Stand back. Observe. Be inspired as their personality shines and they become their own person with the loving ingredients you have added along the way.

Power and Magic of Connected Parenting

**LOVE OFFERING** If you find this content helpful, I invite you to toss a tip in the love offering bowl. With oceans of gratitude … Camilla ….

love-cards-in-a-basket-october-2016

Dreaming, Zig Zagging, and Observing,

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

Library May 14 2016 #1

Latest Articles:

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered straight to your inbox!

 

The Shift and Miracles

Lillian at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 Date Day

I feel that any time we experience a shift of perspective, it is a miracle. Also, the things most of us simply do automatically just as we’ve done a million times before ….. I feel those are miracles ….

Recently, Lillian and I decided to reduce her twice per month craniosacral appointments to once per month visits. April marks one year since we began. She started out with once a week, then in August 2015 went down to every other week. She’s making GREAT progress.

Plus, she had a great day at physical therapy on that same day. She said, “Yes” to getting on the ladder and went up one step … FOUR times! YAY!! She has quite the fear of stairs (among other things) and this was a HUGE movement forward for her.

She also told me that she is going to use the stairs at least one time at the Chromosome 18 conference in San Antonio. We’ve been to this hotel before and she already knows what it’s like. There are stairs from the lobby to the 2nd floor meeting rooms and 4 years ago we had to take the elevator every time.

On Sunday she told me that in May or June she will start crossing the foot bridge (on the trail around the lake) without holding onto my arm so that she can practice for doing it along the riverwalk in San Antonio.

Also, she wants to walk the entire Damonte Ranch Loop (about 4 or 5 miles) a few more times before going to San Antonio so that she can be prepared to walk as much as we’d like while there.

Purple Flower at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 date Day with Lillian

And there’s more!! She is finally in a place where is ready to think about ways to confront her fear of animals – ALL animals. We have such a hard time on our walks as it doesn’t matter if dogs are leashed or not, she still panics .. and sometimes people just don’t understand that it doesn’t matter how friendly the dog is; she has an overwhelming fear. I always pet and talk to the dog so she can observe; yet she still panics and has anxiety.

One reason she is ready to face these fears is the impact it has on where and how and when we go places and do things.

Just BEing here is a miracle …. As I am on my daily walk, I say, “I am walking on the path that goes around the lake, and this is a miracle.” … Perhaps you may want to find a way to notice the miracles abundant in every single day … xoxo

Trail at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 Date Day with Lillian

Blessings,

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

Did you know I wrote a book? It’s titled “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance” and you can read more about it here.

Latest Articles:

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered straight to your inbox! Right here!