Poetry: Shadows – Words of Alchemy


Do you see?

Slipped into the shadows
of your being, you have.
When sadness and lack
have settled within.
When comparison of
oneself with others
is the theme
of the day.

When appreciation
has faded and the
heart tightly closed,
you can be sure
the shadows have appeared.

When the light has
dimmed and you feel
smothered by the shadows.
Welcome the light back,
you can.

Remember all the times
Of living in the light
All the times of
joy and freedom.
All the times of
abundance and peace.
They are there too.

Do not forget them.

Remember those times
not with longing,
for this causes the
distance greater.
Remember those times
knowing they are
still there
simply awaiting
your return.

These thoughts are
the bridge that
connect the light
and darkness.
Comfortable you
are in the suffering
of the darkness.

The first
step onto the bridge
out of darkness
is the most
difficult step.

My gift to you
if you choose to see …

Life is a dance
with the light
and the shadows.

The dance of shadows cannot
be a dance sat out
if true freedom and peace
is the destination you seek.

For when you take the time
to dance with the shadows
with curiosity and patience
You will see that all of
life is a dance of contrast.

Have patience when
dancing with the shadows
of your being.

Love both the light and shadows
for one cannot
exist without the other.

Allow yourself to be free
and dance with me. – ©Camilla Downs

To learn more about the book, go here …

Words of Alchemy

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Throwback Post: No One Made Her Angry But Herself


May 2016

This one made my eyes sweat … Another of Lillian’s fairy tale emotion stories. The morning before she wrote this one, I was in a grumpy mood. Many times she will hook into this and catch a ride on the grumpy wave.

She was yelling at Thomas telling him that they had made me angry. I explained to her that no one made me angry except for myself with my own thoughts.

And then later in the afternoon, I read this story she wrote. As with many fiction stories that are sparked by the author’s reality, Lillian’s have a thread of her own reality running through each one. It warms my heart and causes my eyes to sweat …

I’m thinking that the series that she’s writing will be that book I mentioned she and I would write. I’m thinking Mr. Happy Tree will be the narrator (a fabulous tree that Lillian drew last spring or summer). **December 2020 Note: In fact, this story along with Lillian’s writings from age 5 – 16 years old are included in her debut book, Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories.**

Angry Candy Story

Once upon a time, there lived a red chewy candy who was always angry and her name was Angel. One day, Angel got angry for some unknown reason. Her candy buddies decided to investigate what could have made her angry but first, they had to look for some possible clues.

While they were investigating, Angel met with her candy friend, Sneaky Spice-Rika who was always acting innocent but Sneaky was hiding something from Angel. The investigators found strawberry flavored licorice, spices, and mint candy. So they went back to their club called Secret Detective Club to plan their next step of the mystery.

They put together a list of suspicious candy suspects with other candy suspects to talk to. The candy suspects’ were Sneaky Spice-Rika, Strawbella, and Sugarlicious.  They set out to talk to Sugarlicious first. “I did see something very unusual, odd, and peculiar this morning.” said Sugarlicious, “I saw Sneaky Spice-Rika near Angel”.  So the buddies said,”Thank you”! and moved on to talk to Strawbella but apparently she didn’t see anything strange.  Finally, they talked to Sneaky Spice-Rika and she said she was only near Angel to talk to her. So they went to Angel to get more facts and she said it was to comfort her. So the investigators went on to explain the whole story.

When Angel had heard the whole story, she chuckled and explained to them that no one had made her angry but herself. She also said that she had a bad argument with her candy parents, Coca and Choc. The investigators went back to everyone what they had learned. First, they stopped by Sugarlicious to tell her what she had thought was actually an act of kindness. Next, they stopped by Strawbella to tell her that Angel had been angry and she was made angry all on her own.

Lastly, they visited Sneaky Spice-Rika to apologize about suspecting her. The investigators thanked her for being such a great friend. Angel forgot about being angry and never got angry again. If you look closely, you can see Angel in any chewy red candy you or your friends eat.

I hope you enjoyed this story. Join us every Friday for the newest edition of Emotions With Animals!

See the full story on Lillian’s blog, by going here …

Angry Candy Story

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Open Your Mind to the Possibilities – Words of Alchemy Review

Thank you to fellow author, Helen Pryke, for this beautiful review on her Pink Quill Books blog. I am deeply touched by this expressive and warm review!

“My review for Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs, 5/5 stars.

Camilla Downs takes us on her journey of healing, compassion and love in this collection of poems. Each one is written from the heart, and her warmth, and her love for her children shines through every word.

Nature and its healing power is very important to Camilla, and her poems instill you with a feeling of well-being and calm. She gently guides you through the chaos and difficulties of life, and shows you how just a few moments of quiet observation of the world around you can help reset your fragile state of mind.

Looking at the world through Camilla’s eyes is a calming experience, and opens your mind to the possibilities that life holds. I loved the poems about her children, and how she acknowledges their difficulties, indeed, she embraces them, and reassures her children that they are a part of them to be accepted and talked about openly, rather than suppressed. This mother’s love, her compassion, is inspiring and humbling. Highly recommend.”

To read the full review, and to visit Helen’s blog, go here …

#BookReview for Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs

Reblog: Sunrise With Wild Wind Bloopers at Sunset

Sunrise With Wild Wind Bloopers at Sunset

September 24 2020

Thomas and I went for a hike on the Tamarack Lake Trail earlier this afternoon. Incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Thomas had fun hitting rocks into the lake. I included some blooper photos of trying to take selfies with the wild wind that was blowing, and a blooper of what happens when Thomas takes my photo … He keeps taking the photo until I take my phone away! Crazy kid!


Go here to read the full post and view more photos …

Sunrise With Wild Wind Bloopers at Sunset

No Idea What I’m Doing While Earth Dancing With Three Positive Words – Sonya Interviews Camilla

This past July I took part in a written interview with Sonya of “A Lover of Books”. Before the interview could post, Sonya made a decision to retire from book blogging, which I fully understand. Book blogging can be intense! I figured I would share it here as Sonya put much time and effort into going back and forth with me, and pulling it together.

Sonya and I chat about having no idea what I’m doing, being a nature inspired poet, not intending to publish my poetry, how writing has been therapeutic, Earth dancing, and three positive words. Join us …

First of all can you tell me a bit about your latest book, ‘Words of Alchemy’?

Absolutely, Sonya! Words of Alchemy is a free verse poetry memoir that covers six years of my life, from 2013 -2019. Writing has been and is therapeutic for me, including writing poetry. When I began writing poetry in 2013, it was a way of processing life experiences, healing, and getting things out of my head. Words of Alchemy is a poetry collection of these events.

What do you hope readers will get out of this book?

It is my hope that readers connect with the content, causing them to laugh, shed a tear, or nod their head in agreement. If something I have written helps another to view a situation differently, opens their eyes or heart to a new way of experiencing life, or simply lets them know they are not alone, I am truly blessed.

Is this a book people can turn to when they need to relax or are after some inspiration?

Looking at feedback I’ve received, I would say yes to this. I think the best way to respond is to share some of that feedback.

“I immediately fell for Camilla’s story – relatable, inspiring – facing challenges, overcoming obstacles, and being a role model. In other words, a good person. A person who, among other things, fuels her creativity and capacity to give by immersing herself into landscapes – communing with the outdoors, shooting photos, and writing about all of it.

Words of Alchemy is her compilation of free verse poetry touching on these issues – a sincere and sensitive ode to life and to nature. Divided into alchemical sections – experience, perspective, lessons and growth – we take a seat next to our author for the Alchemy of Healing.

In Words of Alchemy, author Camilla Downs relays her story – powerfully personal and enlightening. Her words reflect a recognition of challenges and rewards, the natural world she is mindfully part of, consciously present, and admirably, ensuring she shares it with all of us.” – Bill Arnott, June 2020

“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 zen like mindfulness by the melodic prose in this beautiful collection.”- Michelle S.

“Full of beautiful, inspiring, thought provoking poems about love, nature, acceptance, joys, fun, mindfulness and gratitude. They really pick you up and make you consider your own life … It’s a feel good collection of poems that really will brighten your day.”- Lynne P.

For people like myself who haven’t really read much poetry would you say your book is a good starting point?

Yes. In my mind, I divide poetry into two categories, traditional and non-traditional (free verse). I personally struggle with traditional poetry, I just cannot wrap my mind around some of it. However, that’s also the case with free verse poetry. I’ve read some that I could not follow. With that being said, I feel my poetry is easy to read and easily understandable. I’ll also say that if someone doesn’t connect with mine, please do not throw out all poetry. Poetry is so very different. It can be deeply satisfying and moving. Keep trying different authors and styles.

What was the publishing process like for you?

Words of Alchemy was my fourth book to publish. I am now officially an indie publisher, under the imprint of Loving Kindness Books. WooHooo!!

Being that it was my fourth book, it was much smoother this time around. With my first book in 2012, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance, I had no idea what I was doing. I literally figured it out as I was going along. Before writing the book, and during the writing, I did not let myself think about how it would be published as I felt that would stifle and delay the book being written.

I wrote the book in 3 months, then set out to publish it. Friends beta read the book, with some editing along the way. A friend connected me with a young man who has autism, D.J. Svobado, and who is also an artist. I felt his artwork would be perfect for the cover of the book, and he was thrilled to donate the artwork as I offered him a full page in the front of the book to share about himself and his business.

I got stuck when it was time to upload the book to Createspace (now KDP). At about the same time D.J.’s manager contacted me to follow up regarding his artwork. She wanted to know about the book and to read a few chapters. She also asked if I had someone that would be editing the book, doing the graphic design, and uploading the book. I told her that I was going to figure it out on my own as I did not have the money to pay someone.

After she read the chapters, she offered to do all of this for no charge as she was incredibly moved by what she read. It turns out that this was an area of expertise for her. The publishing of this book was unique. Everyone who had anything to do with the book’s creation, donated their time and skills. It was amazing and incredible the way it came together.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I’ve been writing poetry since 2013. That’s when I visited Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe, California. The beauty was quite overwhelming, bringing me to tears. As I drove home, I made several stops along Lake Tahoe, sitting to take it all in. While doing this, poetic words sprang to life. This was the beginning of a six year journey of being inspired by nature with poetic words, then later, inspired by life events. Here’s that first poem and a couple of photos from Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe.

(Fallen Leaf Lake – 2013)

Earth Dance

As the sun’s rays dance upon you like stars twinkling in the night sky, so shall our souls dance upon this Earth.
As you are who you are with ease, so shall we no longer struggle to be who we are.
As you adjust to the World around you without struggle, so shall we go with the flow of life.
As you release your beauty, power, and love for us to enjoy and learn from, so shall we drop the facade of our bodies and identifying with materialism and what we’ve accomplished …
And so shall we become vessels of love, joy and peace.

(Lake Tahoe – 2013)

Was it always a dream to see your poetry published?

When I began writing poetry in 2013, it was therapeutic in that it helped me process life. I did not begin writing it with the thought of publishing it one day. I had no thoughts of publishing it until mid 2019 when I knew it was time to publish another book. I had planned on writing another memoir similar to my first book. Yet, my heart kept bringing me back to the poetry. When I finally listened and took a look at just how many poems I had written, I knew that was to be the next book.

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Just as long as I’m comfortable and wearing comfortable clothes, I’m happy. I like to sit on my couch, with my computer in my lap, with the sun shining in the windows, and a lovely view through my windows.

Do you have any other writing projects on the go?

Not at the moment. I have ideas brewing, adding the ideas to my notes to come back to when I feel I’m finished with my time off. I’m also participating in many author interviews and spotlights. These are fun and tough at the same time as many of the questions pin me down for solid answers. Definitely not an area of strength for me.

Do you read a lot of poetry?

I am reading more poetry. In the past, poetry was not a chosen genre for me. Having written a book of poetry, I’m more inclined to read a variety of poetry now. I am up for giving any style a shot and want to support new poets and indie poets. With this changed attitude, I’ve come across some lovely poetry.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I absolutely love going for walks, whether that be on a manicured walking trail in the city or a dirt hiking trail in the mountains. Taking nature photographs during these walks is a hobby I’ve been at for about 13 years. Reading is another activity I do in my spare time. There’s just nothing better than devouring a wonderfully written book, or expanding the mind and heart through a nonfiction book, memoir, or poetry. Here are a couple of photographs I took on recent walks.

(Scripts Wildlife Preserve – 2020)

Can you give me three positive words?

You. Are. Worthy!

Thank you, Sonya! Thank you for having me on your blog, thank you for your time and efforts in putting this interview together. Thank you for your kindness. All the best to you!!

About Camilla:

Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.

Words of Alchemy is the poetry memoir of a single mom who traveled through the ups and downs of life with reverence and reflection. This book is for those who are in need of uplifting, easy to read poetry that leaves you feeling comforted, inspired, and with a different view of how life can be lived.

Book Blurb:

In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a heartfelt free-verse poetry memoir.

During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.

Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow. The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.

Website: http://camilladowns.com/
Family Website: http://theteamtlc.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamillaDownsAuthor/
twitter: https://twitter.com/camilladowns
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CamillaDowns/
pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/camilladowns/
Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/camilladowns
Meeting the Authors: http://meetingtheauthors.com/

Where to Buy:

Words of Alchemy: If you’re in the U.S. and would like a personalized, signed book – free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): http://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/
Amazon – Words of Alchemy: mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy
Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/camilladowns
All of our books: http://camilladowns.com/books/

Top Twelve Favorite Movies to Watch During Christmas Season

I thought I’d put together a fun post sharing our favorite movies to watch during this season. They are in no particular order. Hopefully, you find one or two you have not seen, or perhaps have forgotten.

(Photo by Nathan Engel)

Beyond Tomorrow (1940)

On Christmas Eve, two young strangers are invited to dinner and they fall in love. When the benefactors die they come back as ghosts.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

After George Bailey wishes he had never been born, an angel is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

The holiday season is in full swing when a cultured gentlemen with twinkling eyes, and ample belly, and a snowy beard is hired as Macy’s department store Santa. He claims his name is Kris Kringle, and soon fills everyone with Christmas spirit – except for his boss, Doris Walker, who’s raising her daughter Susan to not believe in Santa but when Kris is declared insane and put on trail everyone’s faith is put to the test as old and young alike face the age old question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Polar Express (2004)

A doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)

A hobo and friends take up residence in a mansion whilst the family is away on Christmas holiday.

Holiday Inn (1942)

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in the sensational musical comedy Holiday Inn. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards, this special edition features 13 holiday songs by famed composer Irving Berlin, including “White Christmas” – one of the biggest-selling recordings in music history!

Scrooge (1951)

An old bitter miser who makes excuses for his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve.

The Bishop’s Wife (1948)

An angel in human form enters the life of a bishop in order to help him build a new cathedral and repair his fractured marriage.

White Christmas (1954)

Two talented son-and-dance men (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business.

The Sound of Music (1965)

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s cinematic treasure, “The Sound of Music” is the winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In this true-life story, Julie Andrews lights up the screen as Maria, a spirited young Austrian woman who leaves the convent to become a governess for Captain von Trapp’s (Christopher Plummer) seven unruly children. Her charm and songs soon win the hearts of the children – and their father. But when Nazi Germany unites with Austria, Maria is forced to attempt a daring escape with her new family.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

James Stewart is a Budapest store clerk who finds himself feuding with his co-worker, Margaret Sullavan, only to unknowingly fall in love with her.

A Christmas Wish aka The Great Rupert (1950)

In this heart-warming Holiday tale, a lovable trained squirrel inadvertently helps a family of down on their luck vaudeville performers. A George Pal Production!

I couldn’t find a decent trailer so here’s the movie.

Plus one!! I forgot this one!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

The comic misadventures of the beleaguered Griswold family continue in this latest “Vacation” outing, the third and most successful of the series.

My daughter Lillian loves any of the Christmas themed Barbie movies also.

Here are the movies we’ve got on our list to watch. We just haven’t made it to them yet.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles


Die Hard

We love discovering new movies. What are your favorite Christmas or Holiday movies?

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Open the Heart – Words of Alchemy

Open the Heart

Nature knows not
Her beauty without us.
We know not
Our beauty, compassion,
And peace without her.
Oh beautiful tree
The lessons thou impart to me
Open the heart to be free
Grateful to you
I will forever be. – ©Camilla Downs

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.

Throwback Post: One Blood Test, One Phone Call, One Moment in Time


(Team TLC – July 2014)

Written in 2014 and 2015

November 2020 Note – This writing does not flow. It appears I came back to this over several months in 2014 and 2015 adding my thoughts. I’ve left it in its original, raw state except for a bit of rearranging so writings about the same topic are grouped together.

One blood test, one phone call, one moment in time; drastically changed everything. I know more about genetics, chromosomes, DNA, motor skills, verbal skills, and now emotional and behavioral issues than I ever thought I would need or want to know. The main way that 18p- manifested for Lillian earlier in life was that she had delays with motor skills, articulation issues, and GI concerns. Now at 13 years old Lillian is very hard to understand when she speaks. She simply cannot articulate in the way most of us can. The shape of her mouth and the inability of the tongue, lips, and mouth to coordinate properly are what cause this. She is a smart young lady and has all the words and thoughts she wants to say in her mind, but simply can’t get them all out in an understandable way.

She has always had anxiety and fears concerning certain issues, had problems with unexpected changes, and an inflexibility with schedules. These issues had been mostly manageable. About the time puberty entered Lillian’s life she had an IEP for transitioning from elementary to middle school. She also came down with a bad cold turned into a sinus infection. All of these proved too much for her to handle and she imploded. So began a turn in this adventure that began so long ago.

I now find myself learning about emotional and behavioral issues and Lillian’s inability to cope with situations that cause her to panic or worry.

In December 2014, Lillian caught a pretty bad cold. At the same time we had just attended her transition IEP for moving to middle school next year. Internally, Lillian’s teenage hormones were making their appearance as she had just turned 13 in September. Illnesses take a harder toll on Lillian, even if it is just a cold. She missed some days of school, went back for one day and then seemed to get sick all over again. Her cold had turned into a sinus infection.

After the sinus infection cleared, Lillian refused to go back to school. This wasn’t just a case of Lillian being stubborn and defiant. I could sense a deep fear and high level of anxiety. I tried to help Lillian through this time by addressing and solving whatever it was that was causing the fear and anxiety. During this same time, Lillian’s ability to cope and remain calm seemed to be dissolving. Whenever her schedule was changed or didn’t work out or things didn’t go as she thought they should, she would go straight into a horrific meltdown with an explosion of screaming, hitting, pinching, and scratching. It was lightening fast with hardly any space between something going wrong (in her mind) and the explosion.

At this point, I decided that I needed professional help. In April 2015, I finally located an acceptable psychotherapist that took Lillian’s insurance to work with Lillian and I on mindfulness techniques, dialectical behavior therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. I know that there are medications to help with these difficulties but my inner compass is very strong in that I am supposed to try the non-medicated route first. I absolutely do NOT judge other parents for the routes they take on this complicated and complex journey. The part of me that would have judged no longer exists, thanks to Lillian and Thomas.

It was (and is) my intention to try to help Lillian be in tune with her body’s feelings and emotions so that she can recognize when anger or sadness are present. And to then have her use mindfulness techniques and emotional connection to connect with negative (and positive) emotions. First and foremost to get her past the point where she feels out of control leading to screaming and lashing out at others (myself and her brother, Thomas).

This is furthering my own mindfulness learning as I must be mindful when Lillian disconnects. I must also be patient, flexible, and learn how to not take words or actions personally. There are absolutely days and moments my thoughts go straight to, “It’s time to look into medication.” However, once the moment has passed so has the thought. As long as we are making progress we’ll continue this path. Although Lillian has not returned to school yet, we are making slow progress. I use the term we as this is definitely a team effort by all three of us.

She had one extremely huge meltdown turned into explosion this past July. We made a quick stop at the grocery store to get a few items. I was a bit overwhelmed as the store was super crowded. I was trying not to forget what we needed and to carry on small talk with Lillian. We took a few minutes to smell the essential oil perfumes and wonderful handmade soaps. Then we chose a gluten free cookie for all three of us. After this, I decided to return an item since we were close to the customer service counter. The wonderfully kind cashier offered to ring my other items since I only had a few. I accepted. Lillian had caught up with me at this point and once I was finished paying, I could sense her energy shift.

Apparently, there was miscommunication between the two of us about Lillian looking at more gluten free desserts. This quickly led to a volcanic like explosion for Lillian with screaming and lashing out at me. Fortunately, I was close to the exit doors, so I made my way out and headed to the car with Lillian screaming and yelling behind me. I quickly got into the car and invited Lillian to do the same if she was going with me. She was not open to doing any of the mindfulness or other techniques we’ve been learning.

I decided to start making our way home even though she had not calmed down. Perhaps not the best choice in that moment. She was scratching, pinching, and pulling my hair from behind. As soon as it was possible, I pulled over, turned to Lillian and screamed some ridiculously outrageous comments, and decided I must get out of the car. We needed space between us as I was in a great deal of pain from the scratches and she was a big hot mess. Once out of the car, I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and asked to see the situation differently. I opened my eyes and shining up at me from the rock and dirt filled ground was a beautiful red jewel heart. I knew that was in answer to asking to see it differently and a reminder to always respond with love.

At this point, Lillian was ready to do a calming technique and I requested that she do it on her own. She got out of the car and chose to pick up a couple of rocks and study them. After a few minutes we got back into the car and drove home. We’ve not had anything of that magnitude happen since then and I am hopeful this was simply “one step backward” before more steps forward. When this happens for Lillian, one of us has to be fully present and mindful or things can escalate.

When I pulled over there was anything BUT grace flowing from my mouth. After being scratched continuously, and having my hair pulled from behind from the time we left the parking lot; I lost it. So glad I listened to my intuition to pull over and get out. It was what we both needed. I know when this happens it is not the true Lillian and we are making great progress with helping her to notice, feel, and release emotions (centered around mindfulness).

My feelings are that we are all doing the best we can with where we are in our lives; child and adult. I judge no other parent for how they choose to handle this. That has not always been the case. Where there is Love, there is no judgment. Personally, I want to help Lillian learn NOW how to process emotions so that she has a happy and peaceful life as an adult. So that she knows how to handle things when they don’t go as expected and don’t go her way.

It’s so interesting that for at least 4 years I’ve been talking about connecting with emotions with Thomas and Lillian and Lillian does NOT want to feel sadness. Goes straight from sad, to anger, to deflecting the anger in a split second. We are teaching her how to “listen” to her body for the clues that let her know she’s about to get angry.

I have much to learn from Lillian and she has much to learn from me. I know because she verbalizes what she’s saying to herself. It boils down to this: She’s not in control and she cannot be successful. We are giving her new phrases to replace those: I am in control, I can let this dissolve, I am successful. Along with teaching mindfulness activities and I take both of them through a mindfulness exercise at least 4 times a week. Definitely not an easy path, yet, for me, this is the path of Love.

Two more positive moments from the 2015 Chromosome 18 conference … one night she was having anxiety and worries about going out to eat with her friends (without me as I was having dinner with the moms … ladies night). Worried there would be stairs, worried about going to the bathroom, worried about what to eat, worried about it being too crowded. She was expanding, to use her word. I explained to her that she was expanding and that we could not talk about it and come to a solution in her current state (it was bed time too). She agreed to wait until tomorrow to discuss it. The next day when I brought it up, she said, “There’s nothing to talk about it.”

This happened with one other issue too. And I have used this several times now as it seems she wants to discuss things as we are getting ready for bed. I have been successful at getting her to wait until the next day.

She had a huge meltdown in a restaurant on our last night there. First, it took us half a day to even get out of the room to go to the local library. She slept late and took forever doing her “schedule”. This seems to be interfering more and more with us even getting out of the house. Anyway, after we ordered she began to “expand” about not having gotten to everything she wanted to do while there, being VERY sad and angry about the situation.

She was crying and getting louder. I tried to have her wait until we were done eating to discuss, but she was not in a place to agree. She screamed and pinched my arm. I could not get her to do a distraction exercise so had to resort to helping her resolve the issue so we didn’t have to leave the restaurant with me dragging her out. She finally calmed down. Thomas was having great anxiety during this as he saw all the people staring at us.

Lillian has always had anxiety and worries related to certain situations, venues, and schedules. Some of these are stairs, escalators, people with stern voices, automatic flush toilets and hand dryers, small enclosed areas and big open areas. In addition to a fear of all animals and stuffed animals. Some of this stems from difficulties with Lillian’s proprioceptive system and some from sensory processing issues.

I am still on this journey of attempting to learn Lillian’s nature. I’ve come a long way. What I do know, what my internal compass is rock solid about, is that Lillian’s contributions to humanity will not come forth in the typical way of going to school, graduating, going to college, and getting a job (or some adapted version of this).

And something else I know is that it’s okay if there’s a shift within her and she does go the typical route. I feel she is an artist and her contributions are manifesting and will continue to manifest in this way. As I write this, I realize, she’s got something figured out that many of us strive to figure out our whole lives. How to express oneself. And how to express oneself in a way that benefits humanity and spreads loving-kindness.

Lillian loves and enjoys life. In fact, she is confused when, at her prompting, I or those around her don’t stop what they are doing and BE in the present moment, enjoying life and being happy.

November 2020 Note: This writing turned into a 4,000 word article contributed to a multidisciplinary journal for the Australian Institute On Intellectual Disability, published in 2015. To read the polished and final article, go here …

My Journey With Intellectual Disability and Relationships – A Short Memoir

November 2020 Update – Six years later … We have come such a long way from this time. Thankfully, the severity and occurrences of meltdowns has drastically decreased. Lillian began using botanical oil two or three years ago. That and maturity were huge factors in helping. 

I also wrote a letter to her meltdowns in 2016 that was published by Elephant Journal. If you’re interested in reading that, go here …

Dear Meltdown: Meet My Friend Mindfulness

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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

An Emotional Connection and Soothing to My Soul – Words of Alchemy

Thank you to Jo of Jaffareadstoo for this wonderful, moving review for Words of Alchemy.

“What did I think about it..

During this global pandemic I find that I am turning increasingly to the healing nature of inspirational verse to help to me stay grounded.

Words of Alchemy is a collection of expressive free verse in which the author shares her intimate thoughts and feelings about life, love, friendship, family, the natural world and does so with a light touch and an almost ethereal longing to be heard.

I find poetry collections intensely personal, as what seems so relevant to the poet can sometimes get lost in translation, but throughout this interesting memoir collection I felt an emotional connection to the thoughts and feelings expressed by this contemplative poet. Written over a number of years this collection is the author’s very personal journey through some of her troubled times and how she found inspiration in mindfulness and observing life around her.

Words of Alchemy is easy to read either all in one sitting or, as I did, dipping into sections at whim but guaranteed always to find something beautifully written and soothing to my soul. I found the whole collection quite charming and a pleasure to read on one of those scary days just recently when the world around me seemed such a very dark place.” – Jo

Follow the link below to read the full review post …


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 19 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 15 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Reblog: Congratulations to Lillian for Another Milestone

Congratulations to Lillian

September 19 2020

I’m finished. I’m done! After eight years, Lillian will be fully taking over an aspect of her self care. We have been working the past seven months on her taking it over fully. I did it for the last time about 30 minutes ago! Hallelujah!! Congratulations to Lillian!! Photo from our July 2020 Date day.

Just had to share this amazing news over here, too! Go here for the original post on The Team TLC blog …

Congratulations to Lillian