Words of Alchemy – Camilla Downs (Part Two)

Following my post earlier this month about Camilla Downs’ collection of poetry, Words of Alchemy, today I have the honour of sharing another poem from the book with you. The following is a Renga poem written by Team TLC (Camilla and her two children). Thomas Darnell wrote the first stanza, Lillian Darnell the second, and Camilla wrote the third. They rotated in that order until the completion of the poem.

You can find out all about Camilla and her work on my previous post, here.

Photo #9 Words of Alchemy Thanksgiving 2018 Team TLC 11.22.18
Love is Magical
Cows are loud and can moo
sometimes they say,
I love you!
Cows have milk,
and cows eat grass.
You are surrounded by love
every breath you take is love
You are love
Guinea pigs wheek and guinea pigs meek,
lovey dovey guinea piggy moo!
Love is the butterfly
gracefully it flies
magical is its color
Love is magical
the alchemy of peace.
Airplanes flying
through the air
fun galore!
How beautiful the bird flies,
as the wind.
Love is the tree
Love is the flower
Love is the silence.
Flowers blossom
pollen falls.
Rainbow is the sky
Rainbow is the water
Rainbow is the colors of the earth.
Nature is love
Nature knows how to be.
Team TLC
always kind
always thinking.
Kindness is always there
Kindness is like friendship
A wise man
is kind to the kind
and kind to the unkind
A wise man
under a tree
Blue bird flies to Alaska
Red bird flies to Hawaii
White bird flies to Australia
The magical hummingbird
arrives on a warm summer day
best food ever
try some
Most delicious food ever
Mindful eating
Mindful living
The way of peace and happiness
Eating is fun
and yummy
Apple trees grow with sunshine
Butterflies grow with food
Cake gets eaten fast or slow.
Beings, trees, and insects
We are all one love.
Words of Alchemy - Pre-Order November 2019 copy
Guest Posts

Surviving Me – Jo Johnson

I am joining the blog tour for Surviving Me today, and I am delighted to be welcoming author, Jo Johnson, to my blog to talk about staying mind fit in 2020. Many thanks to Jo for taking the time to talk to us today, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour. Before I hand you over to Jo, here are the all important book details.


Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.



Amazon UK

Amazon US

Surviving Me Cover

Now, without further ado, I will hand you over to Jo.

If for the whole of this year you eat high fat and sugary foods, smoke and don’t take any exercise, there is a good chance by next year you will be less physically healthy than you are now.

If you have a body, you also have a mind and the same principles apply. We all need to understand the way our minds work and make a conscious decision to prioritise and practise what helps.

In my debut novel “Surviving Me” the main character is a regular bloke who finds out to his detriment what happens when you don’t pay attention to mind health.

Tom Cleary has never felt good enough but a successful job and a pretty wife enabled him to ignore the voices in his head that shout “inadequate”.

When he is bullied out of his career by a younger colleague and his wife doesn’t get pregnant, old thoughts resurface about being weak and unmanly. Over time, he listens more to this inner voice and less and less to the people around him. He loses contact with the things he cares about and life becomes meaningless.

Eventually Tom goes to see a psychologist and learns some good news that could help us all. There are simple techniques to diminish the power of our negative thoughts and the way they influence our behaviour.

Here are two examples.

  1. Manage your thoughts.

Everyone experiences thoughts that are unhelpful or upsetting a lot of the time. Be aware of these thoughts and their impact on your mental health. Last year I published a book called ‘Shrinking the Smirch’. In the book we ask the reader to imagine their thoughts are being played on an imaginary iPod. Become aware of how much of the time you are listening to your mental iPod and how often it is playing unhelpful tunes. These could be to do with your health, relationships or about other issues in your life. Playing those tunes over and over will make you feel sad, upset and fearful and make it harder to feel mentally well. Managing your thoughts needs practice.


Notice when you are listening to unhelpful thoughts and then imagine tugging out your mental iPod as if it were playing music you hate. 

  1. Learn to live in the ‘now’ and spend less time in your head.

Research shows that staying in the present helps mental health. Some people call this mindfulness but it just means concentrating on what is right in front of you instead of being on automatic pilot. Most of us spend a lot of time caught up in our heads, regretting the past, fearing the future or just trying to manage the challenges of the day. Getting hooked up in our head causes stress but it also can mean that many moments of pleasure pass by unnoticed because we aren’t paying attention.


Take a moment to focus on what is happening now. What can you smell or see?

Are you hot or cold? Tense or relaxed?

“Surviving Me” tackles hard issues such as male depression, suicidal thoughts and degenerative disease in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way.

A Goodreads review says “Surviving Me is a refreshingly different novel which cleverly combines difficult emotional issues with just the right amount of humour. Be prepared to laugh, cry and think about the big stuff.”

Thanks Jo, for such an interesting guest post.


Surviving Me - Jo Johnson PHOTO 2I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.




Win two signed copies of Surviving Me &  five Surviving Me fridge magnets  (Open INT)

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.


For more information about this book, please pay a visit to the other blogs taking part on the tour.

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