(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping. I think this is from 2016, not quite sure.)
(Scripts Wildlife Preserve – June 2020 – Photo by Camilla)
I walk this path with legs
that have walked many miles
I walk this path with arms
free of heavy burdens from the past
I walk this path with a mind
that supports and encourages the heart
I walk this path with a heart
that is pure and ripe with love
I walk this path with eyes
fresh with new perspectives
I walk this path with ears
awakened to natures sounds
I walk this path with a nose
that inhales the sweetness
I walk this path with mouth and lips
parted to breathe the benevolent essence
I walk this eternal path home
with all beings as one.
Camilla See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.
Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.
Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.
It was the long walk today. What a beautiful walk it was. Light, free, joyful. Listened to the birdsong. Felt the warmth of the sun and the lovely breeze. Smelled lilacs. Tasted my true self. Sensed newness in my bones. What a beautiful walk it was.
More dandelion photos … I find them incredibly beautiful ….
And she walked.
And she walked.
She walked until
The home of
Peace and Joy.
Discovering once there,
She had been
Here all along.
I went for an hour long walk this morning. My body and mind did not want to go. I went anyway.
Just as a cool glass of water slakes my thirst on a scorching hot day, going for walks quenches the thirst of my soul and heart to know my true self, to heal, to release, to allow joy, and to be at peace. Walking guides me in the loving way to process life, to fulfill life, and to let life be.
For the past 18 years I have been going for walks. The meaning and depth of the walks have shifted throughout the years. What started as an activity simply to satisfy my desire to be active, bloomed into a walking practice. A practice to process healing, to release, to discover my authentic self, and to connect with nature.
Going for a walk at least three times a week has literally kept me going when I felt I could not carry on, and propelled me into bliss in times of joy. Each time I walk I have a different experience. At times, the walk overflows with peace and bliss and at other times, I’m ready to be done the second I begin. Those times are when I can’t seem to get out of my head. Worried about this, that, or the other; or lost in the past or distant future. Turning the worry over and over like one would a compost pile. Hoping a resolution will bloom from the compost pile of worry.
Most days the walking, along with nature as a helper, snaps me awake from tending the worry compost pile. My entire being melds with nature during these walks and reminds me what I already know. That the worrying only buries solutions deeper in the compost pile.
Going for walks and being amongst the trees, sun, clouds, grass, rocks, flowers, bushes, birds, wind, and weather nourish my heart and soul. Just as fruits and vegetables provide this body the nourishment it needs to continue; walking does this, and much more, for my heart and soul.
Going for walks is like being at an outdoor art gallery where nature changes the artwork every day, in fact every minute at times. Walking teaches the art of letting go of that which you find beautiful and meaningful. Walking teaches to quiet the mind, seize the moment, breathe and let soak in every morsel of beauty nature shares.
For the beauty nature displays while on a walk, is ever changing dependent upon the time of day, the season, whether clouds obstruct the sun, and whether it is near sunrise, midday, or sunset. Walking teaches the art of experiencing the continual changes of life as nature experiences the changing seasons.
Going for a walk opens the writer’s spigot and helps to flow the words of my heart and soul. I know it may seem I’m assigning much responsibility for these walks. In truth, my walking practice works in concert with a meditation and mindfulness practice, along with a writing practice. All of these practices to be held grounded by the practice of allowing myself to physically feel the emotions of life. This quintet of practices guides me in walking into the unlovely aspects of life and welcoming uncomfortable emotions.
I’ve been walking with my kids since they were infants. I cherish every single walk taken with them. They are 17 years old and 13 years old now. Once they were old enough for one to stay at home, I began going with each one of them for a walk once or twice per week and a walk as a family once or twice per week. I continued to have walks alone, one to three times per week. Now that they’ve gotten older, the walks with each of them has slowed a bit. Yet, it is my hope that I opened their eyes to the beauty and philosophy of walking.
When my daughter was seven years old and my son three years old; I discontinued paying for cable and eventually donated our television. Walking is one activity that took the place of time spent in front of the television. I was moved to incorporate picture making into the walks as well. I have thousands of photographs of our walks throughout the years.
Whenever my son or daughter had a tough day, I would be sure to have a walk with him or her after dinner. The three of us had many deep and meaningful conversations during these walks. Mixed with periods of silence to simply enjoy the beauty. Not to be left out, mixed with much fun and silliness also. Rolling down hills, playing with our shadows, catching leaves as they blow from the tree, hitting pine cones with sticks, running through sprinklers, playing in the mud, feeding the ducks, helping worms cross the sidewalk, and making nature photographs.
I was not only moved to photograph our family during these walks; I was moved to photograph nature herself. There are only a few occasions I’ve gone for a walk and not taken at least one photograph. These photographs helped to inspire poetry to flow forth from my heart. I had never read or written poetry up until about four years ago. This seemed to be an extension of the walking and other practices.
I fought myself on going for the walk this morning. It was 32 degrees outside and I was already cold. I wanted to get warm and cozy, sit and write this story. My heart knew the moment I stepped foot on the trail, I’d be grateful I listened to the call of the walk. May you be inspired to explore how walking could create a shift in your life; whether that be ever so small or ever so big.
Writing has been a sanity saving bridge which has led from processing parenting experiences to peace and solutions. Single parenting two children led me on a journey for which I have no map. Through writing, I create the map as I travel this wild and wonderful parenting safari.
My parenting journey has included many life lessons disguised as sinkholes, road blocks, and dead ends. My daughter, Lillian, was diagnosed at age 3 years old with a rare condition called 18p-. This chromosome deletion only affects 1 in 56,000 people. Her sibling, Thomas, is a strong willed empath who either speaks his mind or holds how he feels inside until he explodes. In 2006 I became a single parent to them, lost nearly everything, and was forced to file bankruptcy.
I have been single parenting Thomas and Lillian for the past twelve years. Lillian is 17 years old now and the main way that 18p- affects her is an inability to articulate words, anxiety, chronic pain, irrational fears, and difficulty processing strong emotions. Thomas is 13 years old with his own difficulties of being a sibling to Lillian and puberty has hit him full throttle.
Writing led me to peace and acceptance of my role as parent to these two unique and beautiful children. Writing brought peace and solid steps to take in regards to medical issues, schooling, and emotional challenges faced by Thomas and Lillian. In some situations, writing was not the only factor; yet, it has been a shining thread of grace that connected my heart and mind along this parenting journey. And still is.
Several factors led to a loosely held practice of writing every day. When I became a single parent I intuitively felt moved to learn the practice of mindfulness, meditation, and journaling.
My practice of going for a walk three times a week also solidified into a committed practice of noticing and immersing in nature. All of these practices combined with the writing practice opened my eyes to a different style of parenting, a more focused and connected style.
My laptop became the couch I rest upon; while writing of my experiences became the therapist. This also serves as a tool for me to sync with life and for giving myself feedback for those experiences. Writing became an avenue to connect with and release the myriad of emotions and experiences of parenting.
The writing becomes an observer of my experiences. One that allows me to step away from the situation by pouring my heart onto the digital pages. I feel we all know in our heart the solution to tough parenting situations; or at the least, what would be the better of available options.
Although I choose to publicly share much of my experiences through writing, one does not have to write with the intention of sharing with others. The very act of writing about experiences and feelings is deeply therapeutic. There are many writing practices from which to choose. Writing with pencil and paper, using a laptop, writing in the morning, in the evening, in silence, while listening to music, at home, in a cafe, in nature … You get the idea.
The how, when and where is a completely personal preference. The portion of the practice I have found to work best for me and those I have mentored is to first get centered in one’s heart. If you find yourself stumbling and no words flowing; this is a sign you are still centered in your mind.
Take three long, deep breaths and gently release whatever thoughts you may be having. Begin to write about the parenting issue facing you. Write about your feelings and thoughts on the issue. Once you feel finished with this portion, stop for a moment. Take three long, deep breaths once again dropping your focus into the heart.
Next, write these six words … “What do I need to know?” Don’t hesitate. Just write. Write until the words are no longer flowing. Write no matter how wacky or scary this may seem. Write no matter what crazy thoughts come to mind. Write those too.
For some of you this may not be concrete enough and seem like “fluff”; and for you, it simply may not work. Yet, I’m betting that more than half of those who try this will at least feel at peace with the situation and at most know what actions to take that are in everyone’s highest and best interest.
I have experienced parenting guidance in this way and have seen others receive peace and guidance as well. If you aren’t accustomed to writing, it may take a while to grease the writing wheels. Don’t give up. Try it for at least a month. No one has to see what you write. Delete it, tear it up, shred it, crumple and stomp on it, burn it, eat it, whatever.
Write. Write and watch the transformation of becoming a more connected and focused parent. Not only that. Write and watch the transformation as you begin to trust yourself and become more at peace with life.
And she began the walk
The walk of only she,
breathing in, knowing she was breathing in
breathing out, knowing she was breathing out
She listened to the sounds of
the song birds
the beeping construction equipment
the roar of an airplane overhead
the creak and pop of the plastic fence
the screech of the vulture as he took flight
the long distance cough of another echoing across the wetland
the jingle of her earrings in the breeze
the whir of the traffic in the distance
She felt the soft breeze
brush by her cheeks
lifting her hair ever so gently.
her eyes on the vibrant pink flower
and found her thoughts to be ….
I am the flower swaying in the breeze
The flower is me
She focused her eyes on the crisp green
blades of grass hosting plump round droplets
I am the blade of grass hosting the water droplet
the blade of grass is me
I am the water droplet resting on the blade of grass
the water droplet is me
She focused her eyes on the majestic vulture
I am the vulture resting on a rock
The vulture is me
She focused her eyes on and lay her hands upon
the crooked and tall tree.
I am the tree standing crooked and tall
the tree is me
Recently, I had the experience of one of my 40 minute meditation sessions feeling like it was only 5 minutes. I am always in awe when that happens. I find it incredibly magical … xoxo
Afterwards I wrote this; which will be the opening for my next book (Go here for information about my first book). Sharing this sneak peak with all of you … It’s still in rough draft status; yet, I was moved to share. Perhaps someone needs to see a word or two from this …
Walk with Me
Journey to the Center of My Soul
I had a choice to make.
I could choose not to even go near or open the door that would lead to the awakening of my true self. I could continue living life as I had been, seemingly happy and seemingly enjoying life.
Or I could choose to open that golden, larger than life door. The magical door that would lead the way to truly living life. A life of feeling all there is to feel – every single bit of it. A life of strapping into the gigantic see-saw of this path and riding my way through pain, despair, sadness, unhappiness, joy, peace, love, and bliss.
I did it. And I did it ever so gently. There was no transcendental moment with angels singing and everyone welcoming me. Well, maybe not in this dimension anyway.
I made the choice of the magical, golden door. So began the journey to the Center of my Soul.
Little did I know that once I entered through the door’s archway, and closed it behind me; that there would be no turning back. No matter how many times and how deeply I thought I wanted to turn back during this journey; I could not un-know what I was beginning to Know.
I strolled through that doorway thinking it would be easy and that I could control this the way I thought I controlled the rest of my life. Eventually, I learned that life is not something to be controlled. Living life is to let go and let it happen. Let go; yet take action when intuitively and heart inspired. Take action minus the need for controlling and minus attachment to the outcome.
This has been, and continues to be, a journey of opening my heart. A heart that closed as a very young child; perhaps even a heart that had been closed for many lifetimes. Every book I’ve read, movie I’ve watched, date day taken with my kids, every healer that I’ve worked with, and every walk taken has been in perfect timing to lead me to the next step of opening my heart.
I ultimately arrived at the place of knowing I was to love whatever comes into my experience. I haven’t always known what that meant. I thought I did. I did not understand how one is to “love” whatever is happening, or whatever one is feeling.
I now get that life is not here to fulfill me. I am here to fulfill life. There are absolutely days when I forget all of this. I’m still traveling this path. I fall back into old habits. Yet, the more I remember to love whatever is happening, the more my heart opens and the more I am able to share the One Love with all.
This also entailed letting go of my need to be bothered and to be upset by others and situations. Letting it go, by loving it as it came into my experience. This meant loving the un-lovely feelings that bubble forth during these times.
Loving the feelings absolutely does not mean to pour positivity over them and squish them back down to the place from which they came forth. It means simply, telling yourself over and over, “I love you”, to your own heart. And it means letting yourself physically feel these un-lovely feelings. It is truly amazing and life shifting to do this for oneself.
As a young girl my favorite and most loved fairy tale was the one where the down trodden princess was finally seen and loved for who she is by a dashing prince. And then this dashing prince whisks her away to her hearts delight wherein she lives life the way she chooses, forever in joy and peace and fun. I carried this with me into adulthood.
Now as I look back on this, I can see I was waiting for life to fulfill me. I see I was waiting for some “other” to see me, love me, tell me I am worthy, tell me they believe in me, and tell me they are sorry for wrongs done to me. And then for this other to place me in the perfect situation wherein I could control life and have experiences that would not take me out of my comfort zone.
Traveling this path of opening my heart, I have learned that we all need these words spoken to us by those closest to us and those not close to us alike. Yet, as importantly, we also need to speak these words to our self. Especially when we did not hear them as a child; or heard them very little during our young and tender years.
And, most especially when we are having unlovely experiences and feelings. That’s when we need it most. The more we do this for our self, the more our heart opens. And, the more our heart opens the more we come to realize that life’s journey is not about life fulfilling us. It is about us fulfilling life and sharing love in the way we came forth to share.
I invite you to walk with me through these pages. Walking, being in nature, and writing have been the magical ingredients for alchemizing experiences as I travel this path. Let’s go.
Camilla See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
Amazing news! My 17 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here.
Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.