Latest News: I Support Black Lives Matter – BIPOC

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(Photo by Jumana Dakkur from Pexels)

The fear of speaking my voice sits lodged in my throat. Yet, I can do this. It is nothing compared to the years of suffering my brothers and sisters have endured.

I can no longer remain silent about matters that offend my heart and soul. I have been quiet about current events as I begin to educate myself. I am 50 years old. I have been quiet for far too long. I know that no matter what I say in this writing, something will not be said in the best way, or the wrong words will be used. However, I cannot let that delay my speaking up.

I have been walking into my own discomfort for the past 15 years. I’m prepared to walk into the discomfort of learning about systemic racism and I’ve been doing it for a week, and will continue doing it until I feel I’ve educated myself fully, spoken, and continue to live from a different place with this knowledge. I love my fellow humans and I will do this for them, for myself, and for the positive advancement of the human race. This is an act of love. For me, love is not just a feeling one has for another. Love is an action. How do we expect change to happen unless we address it within ourselves first and foremost?

I support Black Lives Matter. I support BIPOC. I support the lifting of oppression. I support justice and equality for communities of color. I support the white population waking up to and educating ourselves, and then living from a different space. Once we educate ourselves there is no way we could continue to live from the same space we have been. I will not stick my head in the sand and pretend this does not exist. I will not bypass this portion of my DNA that needs to be opened, drained, and healed. As a dear friend recently stated, “this isn’t some fake assed thing that someone made up.” To quote her again, “It has some very real roots in it that needs to be addressed by every person.”

This paragraph spoke to my heart, as well as my mind as I’m deeply interested in epigenetics. I will be getting this book, too. Follow this link to read the full article … https://engage.onbeing.org/_notice_the_rage_notice_the_silence:

” ……. Resmaa Menakem is a teacher and visionary in this city, though I only became aware of his groundbreaking work a few months ago. Just before the pandemic sent us into lockdown, I sat across from him in our studio on Loring Park. He watched me as closely as he listened to my words. He caught me bracing at the term “white supremacy,” and taught me that noticing such bracing is exactly where I have to begin to live differently. He’s drawing on knowledge we’re just now gaining about systems and processes in our bodies that we’re only now learning to see: vagus nerve, psoas muscle, trauma, epigenetics. He draws a stunning connection between generations of trauma that white bodies inflicted on each other in the centuries we call the Dark Ages and the generations of horrific trauma inflicted on black bodies in the “new world” of America — which, as Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.” We are all literally carrying – breathing, reliving, and so repeating — much that didn’t happen to us personally. It’s one way to finally grasp why talking about race, and “teaching our brains to think better” about race, has fallen brutally, tragically short: “The vital force behind white supremacy,” Resmaa Menakem writes in his extraordinary book My Grandmother’s Hands, “is in our nervous systems ….. ”

The work I have done over the past 15 years has been for my own self-gain, addressing my own mental and emotional health. The purpose of this current work is to help heal and restore dignity to BIPOC. I believe that every human being deserves dignity, freedom, and equality. I desire wholeness for myself and the world. This is a commitment to my personal and spiritual values. I am doing this because it’s the right thing to do. I know no one is going to congratulate me, or celebrate me. In fact, I fully expect it will turn some away. This will bring sadness, as I do not like controversy or confrontation. I’m sure some will choose to unfollow, unfriend, or ghost me. However, it is more important that I be in integrity with my values, my soul, my heart.

I commit to:

Continue to educate myself, expunging what is in my subconscious that I’m not aware of

Continue to research every candidate running for any position. If I come across any information which makes it clear the candidate does not align with the values stated above; they do not get my vote. (I did this in the election this past Tuesday, finding at least three candidates that were a NO due to this or for standing against the LGBTQ+ community.)

Continue to vote in every election. See above.

I will begin to support non-profit and community organizations that stand for justice and equity

Pay attention to other ways in which I can help

Here are a list of resources that I am making my way through. I have not looked through most of these. I am making my way through them and will come back and note when I’ve watched, read, or listened to a resource:

Articles with lists of things to do and resources:

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

FOR OUR WHITE FRIENDS DESIRING TO BE ALLIES

Anti-racism resources

Articles with information:

You Asked, I Answered: 7 Difficult Questions About Racism

Race and Healing

Podcasts:

Kendi on How to Be An Anti-Racist for Unlocking Us Podcast with Brene Brown

Movies:

(Many of these movies are free during the month of June.)

Just Mercy – FREE for the month of June – I watched this on Friday, June 5, 2020. Powerful movie. Watch it.

Ghosts of Mississippi – FREE for the month of June – Watched this on Friday, June 12, 2020. Watch this one.

Selma – FREE for the month of June – Watched this on Friday, June 19, 2020.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Watched on Friday, June 26, 2020.

I am making my way through this list .. Spotlighting Black Cinema

Books:

Black, White, and Brown

Stop Asking People Of Color To Explain Racism–Pick Up One Of These Books Instead

I’m reading “me and white supremacy” right now and am halfway through the “workbook” portion. Powerful book.

Youtube:

Instagram:

Search #ShareTheMicNow – on June 10th white women with large audiences shared the mic with Black women to magnify the important work they are doing.

I am a mother. These words and how they came to be uttered ripped my heart to shreds. This was the final straw.

Elijah McClain’s last words:

Thank you for taking the time to read this with an open heart. I am not posting this to open a channel of debate in this matter. Simply to speak my mind on this platform I have been building for the past 10 years. Should you disagree, that is your business. Not mine. I press the publish button with love … xoxo (I will continue to update this post as I come across more resources, or learn that I should word something differently.)

P.S. … There will be a post coming soon in support of the LGBTQ community, as well as the Me Too community. I did not want to lump them into one post as they each deserve their own space. 

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.

A Calming Meditational Journey – Words of Alchemy

“A beautiful testament to the love and dedication of a mother to her children, and her personal transformation using nature as a guide and companion. I was instantly transported to zenlike mindfulness by the melodic prose in this beautiful collection. Poems like “Released” will remain with me as a reminder of the healing strength of our connection to nature. The rich imagery and natural metaphors make each piece a standalone daily meditation.” – Michelle S.

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.

Educating and Re-educating Myself

For one month now I have been educating and re-educating myself. Even revisiting events I and most people are already aware of. However, I am seeing through fresh eyes, a new and different lens. Eyes of wanting to understand what my brothers and sisters have suffered, and still suffer. Eyes of compassion. Eyes that know first hand not to judge another unless you first seek to understand and put yourself in their shoes.

As I am one who used to judge from on a high and mighty horse. That is, until life handed me a handful of shoes at once and said, try these on for size …. parenting a child with special needs, becoming a single parent, poverty, openly acknowledging that I am part of #MeToo, and becoming a part of the LGBTQ+ community. All of those wrapped inside a 15 year journey of healing myself. Humbly, I say, “Yes, I see now.” I am not done educating myself, and will continue to do so.

Here are three movies I’ve watched. I’m reading books also and watching/listening to talks. I will post those as I make my way through them. You can see my earlier blog post here; which lets you know where I stand and also lists resources.

Just watching these trailers again, I am sobbing. Now, I know my sobs do nothing to further anything. However, I am moved to educate myself and to become the best ally I can be. Change begins with one person letting themselves be moved, moved enough to understand, moved enough to stay silent no longer.

(These movies are free during the month of June 2020.)

June 5 2020:

“Just Mercy”

Powerful true story. My heart hurts and I’m sobbing. Not having read the book by Bryan Stevenson or knowing the story, I assumed the events of this movie were from the 60’s or 70’s. I heard a radio interview with Mr. Stevenson a couple of months ago, but I missed the timeline for the events.

I’m ashamed I did not know the horrors that were happening while I grew up and lived in the state next door, Mississippi … most likely happening there too.

When I said goodbye to the Deep South in 1989, and all my family, I knew in my heart I had to leave. I just didn’t consciously know why. Sometimes one has to shake ones world up, to wake up. Thank you *Bryan Stevenson for your bravery and courage.

*Bryan Stevenson founded and runs the Equal Justice Initiative.

Trailer:

Released: December 2019

Movie description:

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.

June 12 2020

“Ghosts of Mississippi”

This one made my brain want to explode! Another powerful, true story. Maddening, infuriating, heartbreaking. Watch it.

Trailer:

Released: December 1996

Movie Description:

In this film based on actual events, black activist Medgar Evers (James Pickens Jr.) is murdered in 1963, and much of the evidence points toward white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith (James Woods). However, after two trials, De La Beckwith is acquitted twice by a jury of whites. Now, decades later in 1989, Evers’ widow, Myrlie (Whoopi Goldberg), thinks she has evidence to finally convict him. But no lawyer will touch the case except the young and brash Bobby DeLaughter (Alec Baldwin).

June 19 2020

“Selma”

“It is unacceptable that they use their power to keep us voiceless …. What happens when a man stands up and says, Enough is Enough” – Martin Luther King, Jr

These people had more courage than I will ever know.

His words throughout this movie kept pulling me back into the present moment. Bone-chilling, as the quote above.

I mean, we all know about MLK, but, educating (re-educating??) myself in these current times … I find myself seeing with woke eyes and heart, hearing and feeling things I did not as a child, teen, and young adult.

Trailer: 

Released: December 2014

Movie Description:

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.

 

A Celebration of Life and Nature – Words of Alchemy

“Words of Alchemy is warm and personal, like being invited to sit on the author’s couch and listen to her talk to family and friends. Intimate and loving, these poems are a celebration of family, of friends, of life, of nature, and of adaptation.”  – Amazon Customer

Throwback Post: Poetry – Freedom Walk

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping. I think this is from 2016, not quite sure.)


(Scripts Wildlife Preserve – June 2020 – Photo by Camilla)

**THROWBACK POST**

Freedom Walk

I walk this path with legs
that have walked many miles

I walk this path with arms
free of heavy burdens from the past

I walk this path with a mind
that supports and encourages the heart

I walk this path with a heart
that is pure and ripe with love

I walk this path with eyes
fresh with new perspectives

I walk this path with ears
awakened to natures sounds

I walk this path with a nose
that inhales the sweetness

I walk this path with mouth and lips
parted to breathe the benevolent essence

I walk this eternal path home
with all beings as one.

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.

Hide and Seek with Found Poetry – Words of Alchemy

Creating more Found Poetry to hide within Words of Alchemy. Preparing to mail a book to a lovely winner in Massachusetts. Some of these still need a word or two trimmed. Found within books that were destined for the trash.

Ready to be hidden within outgoing books.

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.

Words of Alchemy – Poetry That Delves Into the Heart

A heart warming gift received this afternoon. Thank you, Marje of Kyrosmagica Publishing!!

“What a joy it is to read this gem of a poetry book. Full of beautiful free-verse, a memoir about friends, family, relationships and the love of the nature. This is for you if you enjoy the natural world, (as I do,) if you appreciate poetry that delves into the heart and doesn’t hold back. In many ways it is an intimate and brave expression of the author – Camilla Downs’s – thoughts and feelings.

I highly recommend.

5 stars.” … Go here to read the full review …

Book Review: Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs #FreeVerse #Poetry #Nature #Family #Relationships #Love

 

Mysteries of the Universe in Someone’s Hand

April 26 2020

Ever read a sentence in a book (or any writing) that reaches into your heart, gently opening a place where longing and sadness stay in hiding, something you’ve forgotten is even there (or pretend isn’t there), until you read just the right words, in just the right moment?

This sentence did that to me (for me?) yesterday:

“I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”

Reading this sentence caused my eyes to sweat.

I absolutely loved this book, devoured it even. I’d had it on my list for over 2 years, as part of a list of books to read before suggesting them to Thomas and Lillian. I read it in two days, finding it hard to set aside. Beautiful, powerful book.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Throwback Post: No Plans and Connecting With Emotions

(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping. Here’s a throwback to nearly four years ago!)


(Photo taken by me at Scripts Wildlife Preserve – Reno, Nevada, USA)

**THROWBACK POST**

June 2016: My words from this time last year (below) …. May the words inspire and encourage those whom it is meant for … xoxoxo

words from June 2015: “Team TLC has come to the end of a chapter in our adventures and we embark on a new chapter. This chapter will be a living-in-the-moment adventure, with intentions of it being FUN and memorable.

I don’t have plans, I don’t know where we’ll live after the summer with the Romano Duo, I don’t know exactly what will happen. I am not always okay with this, but mostly I am. I feel the desire to know exactly how things will happen and the worry that accompanies this are just fears.

In the past I’ve spent a great deal of time confronting and connecting with these and other fears and they no longer have power within me. I know these fears are not the true me and as long as I live from the heart with love as the foundation of all actions, I, and the rest of Team TLC, will be blessed and affluent.

I DO know where I want to live and have much clarity about the role I am to play in being of service. That is all I need to know for now. Connecting with emotions, specifically fear, has been one of the most empowering “non-actions” I have ever taken …. May you choose to connect with any emotion that holds you back.

I know everything will be okay and worry has no hold on me. That’s not to say that worry is no longer present in my life. I am now able to recognize worries, fears, anger, complaining, the desire to be right and have someone else be wrong, as simply the ego throwing a tantrum because I am stepping into my power.

The world is a beautiful love-filled place and none of us were meant to suffer. Our suffering is self imposed with the thoughts that we consciously and unconsciously choose to think. I have chosen to go deep, clear out all the crud and live at a deeper level. xoxo”

June 2016: Still so meaningful to me as we are about to embark on our longest road trip so far in Team TLC history, still not knowing with certainty how we will pay for it all, and when we get back, we’ll be deciding by the end of July on the course of a new adventure …

The need to know when, how, where, and what next; can at times, be the very block that keeps us from fully experiencing life and experiencing it as our true selves … minus the ideas and beliefs of others.

**May 2020: WOW! When I look back at the experiences I had, the way I handled them, I almost find it hard to believe that I wrote this, and that I experienced this! HA! I have moved away from the belief that we 100% cause our own suffering.

That’s pretty harsh, discounting the horrors that some have experienced. Yet, I think I needed to feel and believe this to get to the place where I am now, having more compassion for my own past experiences and those of my fellow humans. Here’s to learning, growing, not being afraid of being authentic, and making it known when you no longer hold certain beliefs.

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is 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.