Mermaids and Fairies and Gypsies With Unexpected Life Paths – Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Thank you to Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine for sharing my interview with author D.G. Kaye. Very much appreciated, Sally!!

Debby and I chat about mermaids, fairies, gypsies, being a Pisces, unexpected life paths and how they led to becoming an author, following inner nudges, and writing with my eyes closed. Join us …

Q & A with D.G. Kaye Features Camilla Downs – Words of Alchemy

Reblog: Walks of Love With a Wild Sunset While Being Hot and Humid

Walks of Love With a Wild Sunset While Being Hot and Humid

August 15 2020

After dinner walk with Lillian last Thursday. Love these walks.

  

Follow this link to see more photos ..

Walks of Love With a Wild Sunset While Being Hot and Humid

Nature’s Classroom – Words of Alchemy

Nature’s Classroom

The one supporting the many,
The many supporting the one,
This interdependent relationship you share
A lost art to we.

It’s clear to see,
The disconnect coming forth,
When the wild is taken from you,
Mirrored in the forests
Of the society of we.

Oh Mother, what a sweet
And beautiful teacher you Be. – ©Camilla Downs

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

Throwback Post: Golden Opportunity – Unexpected Hysterical Enlightenment

**THROWBACK POST**

November 9 2016:

I wrote this message after taking these pictures. We just got back from Lillian’s OT appointment and I was drawn to these two trees. Lillian and I laughed, and smiled, and took wonderful, inspiring pictures. A message inspired by nature …

Wednesday, November 9, 2016, was so incredibly strange as I was going through an internal shift all day and it was simply overflowed into my presentation. This afternoon from 1-3:45 I spoke on a parent panel at UNR (with 6 other Moms) to students getting a degree serving individuals with disabilities in one capacity or another. The class is titled Serving Individuals with Disabilities and their Families.

In the past I would have been bothered for at least 2 weeks by the way I presented myself. I feel it’s time to retire the facade and BE who we are … vulnerable, real people whose only true want is love, joy, and kindness … And it’s only a “want” because we haven’t realized we already have all that within us.

It was not my best “speaking”. My voice wavered, I was on the verge of tears, and wept at times. I’ve spoken so many times over the years about this topic and not presented in the same way as today. I’m usually firm and confident. Yet, I do not judge myself thinking I have done poorly. I was authentic.

When these students graduate, get their first job, and they have a parent(s) sitting across from them, there will be days when that parent will not be their best. They may be experiencing illness in the family, a marriage that’s crumbling, had a negative experience in the grocery store before the meeting, or experienced something world shifting that has caused them to know who they truly are at a deeper level.

Today I was authentic in a huge room full of people I do not know. On the drive home I cried so hard and deep I could hardly get my breath. A strange mixture of tears of sadness and joy all at the same time. Knowing a chasm had just opened in my heart to an even deeper level to let love flow in and out. A chasm of connection with all.

I was crying hysterically and singing at the top of my lungs to this ….

Followed by this one …

Since then everything seems so clear and pure. When I listen to songs, I’m hearing them like I’ve never heard them before. I’m singing and dancing and the love is overflowing within me.

I realized that I have an opportunity here. A golden opportunity to confront shadows still lurking within and have this be the catalyst to walk the talk and BE LOVE, to do what I came here to do .. And that is to share love in my own unique way ….

It was beautiful and authentic. Good thing the hysterical enlightenment and awakening waited until I was in the car and didn’t happen in front of those students. They only got a little taste of it!

May we all let ourselves know who we truly are .. not what the mind or ego would have us believe. What we truly are ….. LOVE …. xoxo

***October 23 2020 Update*** …. I absolutely took hold of that golden opportunity and proceeded to dive deep into remembering, healing, connecting, feeling, releasing, and doing it all over again … for 4 years.

At times, I literally felt like I would die during the midst of deep diving. I’m thankful and blessed to be sitting here, typing this on the other side of that intense time. It was completely and totally worth every moment. Thank you to the friends and family who patiently and lovingly supported and loved me during this time. I love you … xoxo

(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.)

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

 

An Outrageously Determined Trailblazer – Spotlight on JQM Literary

Much thanks to James for having me on the JQM Literary Spotlight today! We’re chattin’ about an outrageously determined, trailblazing, heartfelt, warrior woman and how I became an accidental poet. Join us …

FIRST, LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU A BIT. TELL US SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I cheated for this one as I felt too close to myself to really nail down my uniqueness. So …. I asked my Facebook connections, what they think is unique about me. Here’s what they had to say: It is unique that my two kids are published authors, along with my two published books. Thomas’s book was published when he was 10 years old and Lillian’s when she was 16 years old. They are 14 years old and 18 years old now. Here’s the rest of what they had to say … I’m a heartfelt warrior woman, who is an Earth Mother, resourceful, creative, a problem-solver, and who is outrageously determined; trailblazing with patience, creativity, strength, perseverance, and altruism.

WHAT IS THE GENRE AND AUDIENCE FOR THIS BOOK:

Nonfiction/Free-verse Poetry/Memoir …. Any age who enjoys free-verse poetry

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK:

I began an incredibly deep and profound healing journey after my divorce in 2007. A major part of the healing was going for walks, lots and lots of walks, allowing nature to help me in healing. When in nature, poetic words would simply bubble to the surface of my thoughts. That was the original inspiration. Following this, I began to receive intuitive nudges to take photographs while on these walks. So began the practice of taking nature photographs and posting on social media. One day I sat to look through the photos, choosing one to share, and as I began to type the accompanying message, a poem landed on the page! It was incredibly magical. I didn’t even set out to write poetry, an accidental poet, perhaps?

Go here to read the full spotlight …

https://jqmserv.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/jqm-literary-spotlight-presents-words-of-alchemy-by-camilla-downs/

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

Reblog: Wonderful Walks With Clouds and Thorny Sunsets While the Ornamental Grass Glows

Wonderful Walks With Clouds and Thorny Sunsets While the Ornamental Grass Glows

August 9 2020

There were many wonderful walks, clouds and sunsets during the two week stay at home vacation and social media break.

   

Go here to see more photos …

Wonderful Walks With Clouds and Thorny Sunsets While the Ornamental Grass Glows

Walk With Me – Words of Alchemy

Walk With Me

Come,
Walk with me.

Do you not see,
that you have
tethered yourself
to illusions.
That create the
suffering you experience.

The illusion that you
are small,
that you must
compete and attack
to survive.

An illusion that comes
not from your soul.
Your soul knows the truth.

When you feel bliss,
when you feel time
stand still,
When you are truly joyful,
When you know that all is well,
When you look into
the eyes of another
and see the universe.
When you give and receive
love to yourself,
your brothers and sisters,
animals and Mother Earth.

These are when you have
let illusions fall away
and experience the
Truth of Grandeur.

Practice, you must,
at walking into the
confusion, overwhelm,
and fear for these are
not of the Truth.

For only when you
release the tethered
cord of illusion
will you be set free.

Come,
Walk with Me
And come home
to the Truth. – ©Camilla Downs

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

Throwback Post: I Vow to Learn

**THROWBACK POST**

I’m not sure when I originally wrote this. Perhaps in 2016 or 2017.

Our Children, Our Awakeners

In my illusion I thought I was going to raise you
To be whole, complete, and worthy,
To be educated, kind, and wise,
To be a leader, empowered, and free.

I was deluded to think I knew it all,
fooled by my age and might.
I thought I had it all together,
Ready to teach, inspire, and change you.

Only now, after so many moments
With you
Do I realize how foolish these ideas were,
How baseless and grandiose.

I now understand …
That it is you who is here to teach me,
To guide, lead, shift, and elevate,
To transform, awaken, and inspire
Me.

I now realize how I had it wrong,
Upside down and outside in,
It is you who are this perfectly designed clarion
To wake me up to my true self. -Excerpt from the book, “The Awakened Family – A Revolution in Parenting” by Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D.


(Thomas and Lillian at 2 years old and 6 years old)

I have made many facebook posts with the comment, “They are my greatest teachers”, referring to Thomas and Lillian. I have written several blog posts that connect with this concept also.

Yet, only recently did I know I was simply scratching the surface of just how much and how deep Thomas and Lillian teach me … if I am open and conscious to receiving it. Little did I know that I was only skimming the top layers of conscious parenting.

And on the flip side laying the foundation for some of the same erroneous lessons, stories, and blocks that were unconsciously taught to me as a child.

In my heart I knew that these two, in fact all children, can be our greatest teachers if we are ready to live consciously in the present moments of life, release blocks, and create our future from the here and now and not in reaction to our past. I simply was not ready to know the depth of what Thomas and Lillian had to teach me.

These teachings are by no means fun and full of glitter scattered joyful moments. They are tough. They hurt, physically and emotionally. They suck big time. Yet, these moments are the doorway to our own freedom. This doorway serves two purposes.

One is the freedom to live our lives in the present moment; not being held back by our past. The other is freedom for our children of not being led down a similar path with similar thorns and blocks.

This doorway can be difficult to enter. We try and try to enter it, yet it seems stuck. There is no handle and we push with all our might to open the door to freedom. At last, we can take the looping patterns of our past no longer. During this darkness we awaken to the idea that the doorway opens within. All we need do is allow it to open by being in the darkness, feeling it, and release it.

Again, NOT an easy thing to do. It is extremely uncomfortable as memories surface and we allow ourselves to feel what we dared not feel as a child.

Further thoughts, on a different day, still in 2016 or 2017 …

What if? What if all of the suffering of this world, all the fighting, all of the destruction to our Mother Earth; comes down to this one global wound? This wound that was inflicted so long ago no one even remembers where or how it happened. What if we let this wound heal? What if we nursed this wound? What if we sat with the wound, drained the poison from it, and nurtured it? What if we learn to unconditionally love our self?

I raise my hand now and say, “I’m in.” I consider our kids to be mirrors to reflect back to us our own thorns and darkness. I’m blessed to have two such mirrors in my life. And sometimes blessings are not comfortable or fun. Over the past six months these beautiful and amazing mirrors have shown me in a hugely uncomfortable way that I have never loved myself unconditionally and so therefore, I have never loved another unconditionally. And, yes, that includes my own two kids.


(Thomas and Lillian at 14 years old and 18 years old)

This has been a perfectly timed mirror message as I needed to get to a place where I would not let myself be overcome with guilt and sorrow with this knowing. Had I been shown this earlier, I would have sank down deeper into the black hole pit of despair, judging and becoming the victim.

What if all the times of disrespect, disregard, arguing, back talk, “laziness”, unkindness, excessive use of digital devices was not about that at all? What if it’s about our relationship with our kids? What if it’s about how we only conditionally loved them when they were wee little ones and on into their young life? What if all they are truly saying is “Love me. All of me. Love me as I am; not as you wish me to be. Don’t shame me. Don’t manipulate me.” What if excessive use of anything is only an attempt to escape from the pain of not feeling loved for who one truly is?

What if we took this same scenario out onto the streets and into the world? What if that person having a meltdown in the grocery store is truly saying, “I am so unloved. I don’t love myself. I’m horrible. No one has ever loved me.” What if people committing crimes are simply saying the same thing? What if people in power are saying the same thing with decisions or comments they make? What if “natural disasters” and any negative seeming environmental issues are Mother Earth saying, “I need your unconditional love. Love me when you perceive beauty and love me when you don’t perceive beauty.”

None of this to excuse unkind behavior or to give anyone a free pass to wreaking havoc. Yet, when we can not let ourselves be affected by unkindness directed towards us, we will know that we have learned how to unconditionally love our self … And, can now unconditionally love the one directing unkindness our way. No matter what they say or do; our love never waivers. We can look them in the eye and say, “I love you brother, or sister.” And, what if, when the other is unconditionally loved, the unkind behavior and the “escapism” simply melt away? What if?

My take: It’s not about the unkind behavior or the object used to escape. It’s about our relationships. It’s about unconditional love. It’s about unconditional love not received as a child. It’s about being raised with and taught conditional love.

It’s absolutely and definitely not about blaming our own parents as they could not love in a way they had not been loved or taught. It’s about how most of us learned to love one self only conditionally. It’s about sharing that conditional love with others and only conditionally loving Mother Earth. It’s about passing that conditional love to our kids and so the cycle repeats.

I don’t claim to know whether this is “correct” or to know the solution. I’m also not implying with these words that we simply let kids rule their own life, making their own decisions without our guidance. There is a drastic distinction between conscious and unconscious parenting.

I do feel that the more people who are unconditionally loved, the more peaceful and joyful world we will create. So I’m starting where I can. With me.

I vow to unconditionally love my self. I vow to clear my own cobwebs so that I can be a mirror for my kids without my past interfering. I vow to unconditionally love my kids. I will release all expectations and agendas I have for each of them. I will engage with them. I will not manipulate. I will not cause them to feel guilt or shame when they are sharing of their true self. I vow to try. I may fail at times. Yet, I vow to notice when I have failed and to let them know when I have failed. I vow.

**October 8 2020 Update** – What a powerful message to have written at the time, and to take in again. For the most part I agree with all I wrote and concluded back then. I do want to say that when I speak of unconditional love I am not suggesting we stay in harmful situations, or continue to communicate with abusive people. One can love another, and never be in their company. And, we do not have to unconditionally love every human we encounter.

(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.)

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

 

Friday Night Drinks at the Bucket of Blood Saloon – Julie Interviews Camilla

I’m having Friday night drinks with Julie in the UK! Plus, we’re chattin’ about Mark Twain, Bucket of Blood Saloon, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Garden of the Gods, Lake Tahoe, and the sound of wild snails eating … Grab your drink and join us …

Another Friday, they seem to be coming around faster and faster! Which means it is time for another Friday Night Drinks and this week I am joined by author, blogger, self-publisher and mentor…. Camilla Downs.

Camilla, thank you for joining me on the blog for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks so much for inviting me for drinks, Julie!! Books and drinks, can’t go wrong! I’m having a spicy, virgin Bloody Mary, with pickled okra and garlic stuffed green olives. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Bloody Marys are the one cocktail I cannot stomach, I’m afraid, I’ll have to stick to the gin. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

We would make our way from Reno up Geiger Grade Highway to Virginia City, stopping to take in the view along the way. Once there, we’ll stroll along the wooden boardwalk, which serves as a time machine to take us into days gone by. We’ll enjoy being immersed in the Old West of gold rush days, touring the mini-museums, the ancient cemetery, learning more about Mark Twain and the time he spent in Virginia City. We’ll end our visit at The Bucket of Blood Saloon, while the Comstock Cowboys perform. I’m including a photo I took of the view as you drive from Reno to Virginia City.

That sounds perfect. USA road trips are one of my favourite types of trip. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Billy Idol and Cyndi Lauper …. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, don’t they?

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m taking this year to press the reset button. Rest, relax, doing whatever is in front of me, or whatever I feel like doing. You see, for the past 15 years, I’ve been on an exhausting journey of healing. Which began with leaving a 10 year marriage in 2006, becoming a single parent to a 5 year old special needs child and her 1 year old sibling, and losing everything. If that doesn’t kick your butt into gear to take a good, long, look at yourself, I’m not sure what will! During that time I published four books, two of which are with each of my kids.

All this to say that I’m taking this year off! No meditating and no writing, unless there’s something that just needs to be written. This excludes my blog as I write whenever I’m moved about life experiences or current events. As this year comes to a close, I’ll begin thinking about what’s next, preparing myself to be guided by the heart. For sure, another book, a return to meditating, and who knows what else!

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

The proudest moment was having my first book, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance, reach #1 in on Amazon in Special Needs Parenting and #2 in Self-help, along with the feedback and reviews that were received. There’s nothing like the feeling of others reflecting back to you, the areas where you shine. We are mostly blind to this, not able to see ourselves as others do. It’s a true blessing when this happens.

The biggest challenge has been having faith in myself and my projects, during creation, and once released into the world. It was a true blessing learning about imposter syndrome, recognizing when it is discouraging me to move forward with a project. I was incredibly relieved when I discovered about imposter syndrome, that it is something many authors, artists, entrepreneurs, and people simply living life experience.

That is something i can relate to, I am a lifelong sufferer. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would love for Elizabeth Gilbert to endorse one of my past or future books, sharing it with all of her instagram followers, and telling them why she loves it.

That would be amazing, wouldn’t it? What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m really excited about taking this year off. Hahaha! I have to keep reminding myself that this is the case. I keep thinking I should be doing something, with thoughts of guilt and shame for not hustling and working on creating something.

I’m also pretty excited that I’ve finally gotten my daughter’s book, Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories, converted to and released as an ebook and am working on getting my son’s book, Biggest Little Photographer, converted and released as an ebook as well. These have been on my to do list for a while!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Last summer I visited The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The feeling in the air, the calm, peace, and beauty are overwhelming, in a good way! You’ll definitely need a full day, if not two days to be able to experience all of it.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

For the past 7 years, I’ve used organic olive oil as my facial cleanser and moisturizer, and nothing else. I so much like what it’s done for my complexion that I quit wearing make-up about 4 years ago.

Oh, that’s interesting! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The Sound of the Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.

I know it sounds odd. But, I adored this book. I’ve read it twice, and now thinking about it, I’m ready to read it again.

That sounds intriguing and very different to anything else that I’ve read. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

When I used to imbibe, I would drink a glass of water in between glasses of wine or other alcoholic beverage. I think I’ve only had a hangover a couple of times. Perhaps that helped? These days if I were to get a hangover, I’d turn to Google, searching for a natural cure with something from the kitchen, or perhaps essential oils.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A drive around Lake Tahoe. Stopping for hikes and stopping to spend time at the beautiful beaches. Lake Tahoe is an absolute gem. If you’ve not visited, you may want to add this to your bucket list, too. There’s not only Lake Tahoe, but when driving the area, there are many smaller lakes hidden throughout the area. I’d go for a walk or two, taking nature photos along the way. Then, I’d go for a dip in Lake Tahoe’s ice cold, refreshing waters. I’d also make sure to have a few good books with me, spending time relaxing and reading. Let me know if you make it over one day, as I’d love to meet you in person Julie!

Follow the link below to read the full interview, including the amazing photos paired with it ..

Friday Night Drinks with… Camilla Downs

Kayak Lunch on Lake Tahoe – Thomas and Camilla July 2020 Date Day

Thomas and Camilla July 2020 Date Day

July 17 2020

Thomas and Camilla July 2020 Date Day – Kayak picnic in Lake Tahoe …. …

I have wanted to do this with Thomas for many years. Happy that we finally got to do it!

  

Go here to see more photos …

Thomas and Camilla July 2020 Date Day