Throwback Post: Every Breath We Take is a Miracle

**THROWBACK POST**

July 23 2015:

View from Little Washoe Lake yesterday …

I share these words from the heart space, a place of compassion and love and of wanting the same for all of you. I have been practicing Loving Life and letting Life Love me in return. Some of this has to do with loving-kindness for one’s self, some to do with loving each other, the Earth, nature, and animals.

Life really loved on me yesterday. I embraced some fears yesterday morning, knowing that they are a part of me and not trying to push them away or crush them. I just let them be and in turn they did not stop me!

Then I went on to have an absolutely wonderful day. Found out that we would be able to stay in Salt Lake City from Friday to Friday as we originally planned and would not have to cut it short. I had loving interactions with everyone I came across … at Mill Street Tire getting the oil changed and tires rotated, an impromptu stop to see a friend, and getting Thomas a haircut.

As we were checking out at Whole Foods, two women came up to me and thanked me over and over again for the kindness of my son as he had helped them get something they could not reach (I was not aware of this.). Thomas was confused on the drive home and kept asking why they kept thanking him (and me).

Then when we got home, I had a message asking if I’d be interested in contributing a 2,000-4,000 word article to a multidisciplinary government journal having to do with intellectual disabilities. Later, I began to feel guilty. I chose to connect with that feeling, to see what I needed to learn from it. I learned that when good things happen, I begin to feel I am not worthy.

Well, not anymore. I am worthy and so are YOU! We do not have to accomplish spectacular things, be a certain way, look a certain way, have a certain amount of money and prestige. And, if you have all those things … You are worthy too! We are all worthy, because we are breathing and every breath we take is a miracle. Love is indeed the answer … xoxo …

**Update April 19 2021 – What an amazing journey I’ve been on. It’s wild how difficult it can be to like ourselves, to believe we are worthy, to not see ourselves in the worst light. I moved through the worst of this, leaving it behind with the dawn of 2020. However, I still have days, weeks even, where I question my worthiness.

I suppose that’s simply a component of being human. I witness as my beautiful 15 year old son has these same struggles, and feelings. May he, may all of us, stop being so hard on ourselves, and come to know how precious, beautiful and worthy we are. xoxo (Here’s the article I was asked to contribute – 

My Journey With Intellectual Disability and Relationships – A Short Memoir

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

Throwback Post: Float Your Boat

**THROWBACK POST**


(Photo by me, taken during a 2017 Walk)

December 11 2017:

After an extremely rough afternoon, what a blessing to receive a sweet, loving, kind, and generous message … Just the push I needed to bring on the sobbing so I could connect and release ….

When you have one with difficulties in the executive functions area, it is nearly impossible to suggest spur of the moment activities. In Lillian’s case a meltdown is going to happen 95% of the time.

Yet, I continue to try. We have a blu-ray Christmas movie to watch from the library as they had no regular DVD of this movie.

I figured we could watch it at the lodge in the theater as their equipment will play blu-ray. (I use a really old portable DVD player plugged into a projector for our movie watching as we don’t have a TV.)

I looked on the library website and saw we would have to return the movie on Wednesday so I suggested we head on over and watch it. Well, at the same time, I must have given my patience a vacation. And, invited every worry and concern that has been bothering me over the past three months.

Two kids having meltdowns, one mom having an outburst, and two hours later ….. We are still out of sorts … but this wonderful and generous message was exactly what my heart needed ….

Sharing for anyone else who is having an off day, anyone who gave their patience the day off, or anyone who invited worry and concerns to cloud their day … From one human to another; I share a loving, warm, heart hug with you … And say .. You are not alone. Be still. And know …. xoxo

I find when I am already in “Why me victim mode” and my thoughts are full of worries and concerns that having nothing to do with a current incident … That’s when I lose it. So … when not in that meltdown moment I practice mindfulness and meditation and walks in nature so that I can have a balanced and peaceful perspective most times. Yet, we are human, so that’s not going to happen every time … And … That. Is. Okay …. xoxo

I have felt incredibly out of sorts and in a huge fog lately. Along with some anxiety. I know when I feel anxiety it is usually due to something surfacing that it would be best for me to connect with so as to release. Sometimes I forget that, though, and resist …

Most times if I would quit trying to row the boat and just let that sweet little boat float through life, peace would be more consistent …. For, I fully believe that life knows what its doing and has my back …. xoxo

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

Dear Anyone Who Feels Like They Don’t Matter

Dear Anyone Who Feels Like They Don’t Matter,

I hear you. I acknowledge you feel this way. I see you when you tell me these thoughts create a dull pain you feel throughout your entire body. I hear you when you say that you just want the pain to stop. I know that the intensity of this pain is excruciating at times. I hear you.

I wish, like I’ve never wished for anything before, that I could take this pain away. I wish I could help you to know that you do matter. I wish I could help you see the positive ripple effect of your existence.

I know that I cannot help you see this by merely saying it. I understand this. Please know that I am here for you, I will sit with you, I will hold your hand, I will listen, I will not tell you that you are wrong. You have these thoughts and feelings. They are valid. I hear you. I see you. I am here to help you have strength to get through these thoughts and feelings.

I will try to help you see the others to whom you matter, those who would be lost and heartbroken were you no longer here. I will try to help you find the creative outlet that inspires you to pour these thoughts and feelings into. Nothing is more important to me than being here for you and helping you see and find these. It is my hope that with this as the first step, and with the passage of time, it will lead to you and your thoughts knowing that you matter.

Please know that I am here for you. You matter to me.

With Oceans of Love,

Someone Who Loves You More Than You Know

*************************************************************************************

After my separation and divorce in 2006, and for about 10 years after that, I often had suicidal thoughts. I wanted the pain, the confusion, the thoughts of not knowing what to do, to leave me alone, to be silenced. These suicidal thoughts never persisted for long, as the next immediate thoughts were about my two kids.

I derived strength from knowing I had to be here for them. It took many years, yet, I did eventually come to know that I matter. My thoughts shifted away from the pain and confusion, and shifted to telling me that I matter, that I would get through the tough times, and that everything would eventually be okay.

I learned to use writing, walks, nature, meditation, and mindful living to give me strength, and to encourage myself when my thoughts were at the lowest. These activities worked for me. They may not work for another. However, I do know that there is a creative outlet that will help each of us process these thoughts and feelings.

**Please note: I am not a doctor, a therapist, or a psychiatrist. I am simply a mother who finds herself sharing this message with someone she loves. I was moved to make it an open letter as I know there are many others who may feel this way. Please know that there is someone in your life that wishes you to know the above message, and that they are there for you.

I am actively working on getting professional help for my loved one, as we have been on waiting lists since late December/early January. It was rough last night, and I felt the need to share this.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Samaritans (http://www.samaritans.org/) is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in distress or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom. They provide a 24/7, toll-free crisis line, as well as local branches. Samaritans Helpline can be reached at 116 123.

(The two photos above credited to Brett Syles on Pexels.com)

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

 

Throwback Post: Walk With Me – Nature is a Knowing Mirror

**THROWBACK POST**

May 13 2016:

Today’s Walk With Me theme: Anything is possible if the intention is there. If grass can grow on a rock, then your dreams, your creations are possible.

Confirmation that nature is indeed a mirror reflecting your beauty and whatever it is that will benefit you in the moment.

In the stillness, there is clarity. At times there may be ripples, yet, clarity always returns. xoxo

May 16 2016:

Nature had amazing and beautiful gifts this morning. How did she know I was in need of such beauty and gifts? She knows. She always knows. xoxo

 

Friday, May 20, 2016: Today’s Walk With Me theme was: Let those emotions and feelings blow right on through you; rather than letting them settle within and make themselves at home. Let them stay just long enough to connect with, be curious with, and physically feel. After this, they will leave on their own … If it helps, go stand in the wind!

December 2020 Update: These are from a time I was processing deep healing. Nature was a constant source of comfort, helping me to view events in the most helpful light. My views have changed a bit regarding emotions and feelings. I feel it is imperative that we allow ourselves to physically feel emotions and feelings, so that when they do “blow right through”, we have processed what needed to be processed. If not, these emotions will keep reappearing.

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 15 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

**THROWBACK POST**


(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

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

Throwback: Parenting is My Work and My Art

**THROWBACK POST**


(Team TLC – 2015)

Written some time in 2015

Parenthood is my work and my art. Something within was awakened when I became a parent. My life completely shifted when my two kids entered it. They reflected back, and still do, what I feel is the gift I am to share with others. They were the catalyst.

Lillian is 14 years old and Thomas is 10 years old. Lillian has a chromosome deletion called 18p- as she is missing the short arm of chromosome number 18. This manifests in speech difficulties, emotional issues, and problems with her proprioceptive system. I have single parented them since Thomas was one year old.

The self-realization journey I began nearly 20 years ago, was sparked with the initial thoughts of parenthood and grew into an all consuming flame as they entered my life. I knew there was a different way to live life, to experience life, other than the way I had been raised and the way in which some of society chooses to live.

These two are weaved throughout anything I create. The three of us are a team and I actively encourage each of them to explore being creative. Whether that’s with painting, drawing, photography or writing. By choice, we do not own a television and have not since 2008. Instead of watching television, we read and go for nature walks.

Our family life is a form of art that I openly share with the world as I feel that is my gift to share. I came to the realization that the more children we encourage to never lose their sense of wonder, to always follow their heart paired with the practice of mindfulness and emotional connection; the happier and more peaceful world we will have as they age. I feel some children these days are led down the same rabbit hole as I was, in always seeing our happiness and peace not arriving until some point in the future when this, that, or the other is obtained or accomplished.

This thought process begins with, I must be “good” so I can get rewarded. Then, I must get “good” grades and be a “good” student so I can be acknowledged. I must do this also so I can get into college and get a “good” job. If I don’t go to college, I won’t get a “good” job and I won’t make money … and I won’t be happy.

I do this mainly through writing (non-fiction and poetry) and also through nature photography; and lately through painting.

My writings are centered on mindfulness, emotional connection, nature connection, and positive, connected parenting. I draw from personal experience and intuitively share what I am moved to share with others.

***November 20, 2020 Update***I’m pretty sure this was written as an introduction of myself, to be shared somewhere that I had contributed content. In reading this, I am filled with love and adoration for myself as I stood five years ago. I begin to think, how on earth did I make it through the incredibly rough years of 2012 – 2020?

The above is a little snippet of how I made it through. I know I took a path many would not choose, but when I look back at the strength, compassion, and empathy I exhibited, I feel it was the right path for me and my family.

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

Throwback Post – Planting Seeds of Love – Free to Be You

**THROWBACK POST**

Written some time in 2017


(Hike to Lake Tamarack – September 2020)

The poems I write are from nature and shared through my heart and fingers. They are inspired by nature photographs made by me. I sit with a photograph, ask what I am to share, touch my fingers to the keyboard, close my eyes, and let the message flow.

It is as if nothing else exists when I’m in this flow. It is almost always aligned with something I am in the midst of personally, and will usually answer or clarify an issue for me.

This poem was written the morning after I attended a local show by The Alchemist Theatre. The theme of the show was Providence. We all took white stones, were walked through a beautiful prayer/meditation at which time the name or image that appeared for us was our “name”. We then wrote this name on the white stone.

The message shared with me that night is that I am supposed to plant seeds of loving-kindness wherever I go and these poems are part of that. This served more as confirmation as I’ve known for a while I was supposed to do this, yet, was unclear on how.

LoveSeed is the name that came to me during meditation. For quite some time I’ve been dancing in and out of my own darkness and shadows. I experienced a shift that night.

This is the message I wrote to the members of Alchemist. “It is when we are in the depths of our own darkness, we can rest assured the light and solutions are simply awaiting our embrace of said darkness ….. for the light will shine, shine, shine once we patiently dance with the darkness.”

The next day I sat with this picture of trees I took in the summer of 2016 and thought, “What do you have to share?” (2020 Note: I am not sure which photo of trees to which this referred, so I’m sharing a recent photo.) This poem is nature’s message to me and anyone else to whom it speaks and one of the many love seeds I am to plant.

Free to Be You

Light and peace
await you dear one.
I know this is
your heart’s desire.

It’s there.
It never leaves you.
It cannot leave you
for it is what you are.

The light is the Source.
And you are the light.

At times you choose
to recede into the darkness,
and disconnect from the Light.

Pass through the darkness,
you must,
if you wish to
emerge into the light.
The darkness can always
be transcended.

And emerge you will.
Emerging into the light.
Merging with the light.
BEing the light.

You will know this.
You will feel it.
As the light embraces you
and becomes you,
all else will lift
and you shall be set free.

Free to be you,
free to come home
to the true you,
free to share divine love
in the way only you can share.

Come,
Be in the glory
of peace and light
for this is your inheritance.

Ever there,
Patiently waiting
for your awakening. – © Camilla Downs

This poem is published in its original, raw state. An edited version of poem appears in my recently published book, Words of Alchemy.

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.

 

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.

 

Throwback Post: Bring Your Light to the Fire

**THROWBACK POST**

February 20 2017:

“Live in the present. That’s in the past. Let it go.” –Lillian Darnell

We teach what we most need to learn. Thank you Lillian for sometimes being the student and sometimes being the teacher.


(Photo from a walk around Spooner Lake – July 2020)

I stand at the beginning of my third week of confronting some deeply buried crud. I feel this week will be the climax and I’m grateful for all that I’ve shared and modeled for Thomas and Lillian as they hold space for me when I need it most.

This year’s theme for me is “The Shift” and I don’t seem to be wasting any time! xoxo –

May this resonate with whoever it resonates with … xoxo

“It’s time to step into the flames of the fire. The time is now to connect with that which you fear from your past. The past no longer exists and cannot cause you harm. However, when it is avoided and sidestepped; it does indeed cause you harm.

This avoidance and sidestepping keeps you a prisoner of the past and held captive to a perceived smallness. As the flame grows, be still and know that you are not alone. Be still and know it cannot hurt you. It cannot consume you.

By bringing your light to the flames of the fire, it will be extinguished and transformed into the light of freedom.

The freedom to claim your power. The freedom to know who you are. The freedom to shine your light with others.

Be still. And Know.” – Camilla

**September 2020 Update** – 2017 was absolutely a year of shifting for me. I walked into and processed much deep, painful healing. Nearing the end of 2020, it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around all that I processed and healed. Life is such a wild adventure!! I sit on the other side of all of this, and let out a deep, peaceful, and comforting sigh. You did it, Camilla. You did it!

(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.