The Blog

“You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free. Your. Mind.” – Morpheus, in The Matrix movie

The Counterfear Blog is, as one might imagine, the long form exploration of the counterfear work.  If you would like more on that, there is an "About the Blog" post here.  Of note, many free tools for countering fear are included in this blog under the oh-so-creatively-named tag "counterfear tools (in blog)" using the tag below, or on a page here.  Each Focus Area also has its own tag.

This blog is a dynamic tool.  As stories unfold and content builds, you can use the buttons below to search for blog topics you are interested in.  Blog comments are moderated and may not show immediately if approved.  All blog entries are my own, unless otherwise noted.  If you have a topic of interest or would like to explore guest-posting, please contact us.  Be well, be shiny –

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Tool: Hold The Line

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Disruption can throw us off.  Like, it can really throw us off.  It can throw our world out of kilter.  Our home life, our work, our community, our country.  It can be anything from a job loss to a tornado to a relationship change to a broken leg to a move.  Anything. One of the things... Read more

It's Time To Talk About National Security

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
My advice today:  it is time to talk about National Security. This is the dialogue.  This isn't about politics.  This isn't about anything else now but a threat to the... Read more

Not Panicking... When You're the Fire Department

Thursday, October 12, 2017
There is a scene in the movie Roxanne, where the fire chief walks into his small-town Colorado fire department on a summer evening, and a 50-gallon drum is on fire in the station.  He hollers up to the volunteers, who... Read more

Decision Support Information, aka Incident Intelligence

Thursday, October 12, 2017
The Basics of Fire Intelligence I had a super sexy sounding job once as a Fire Intelligence Coordinator at “South Ops,” the busiest interagency emergency coordination center in the world.  Our job as one of eleven geographic area coordination centers in the US was to... Read more

My List: As Long As Any Woman's List

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
"Pissed off women move mountains." - Vanessa Burnett I see that a whole lot of my women Facebook friends are sharing their stories of icky man... Read more

We Need to be Careful on Wildfire & Climate Ties

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
We need to be careful about citing every intense wildfire as tied to climate change. California has a natural fire ecology, frequently severe fires,... Read more

Holding Space for Las Vegas With Our Actions

Monday, October 2, 2017
Holding space today for everyone in Las Vegas and those connected to the incident. Unfortunately, active shooters are part of our way of life now. We can hold space for those affected, but... Read more

Humanity in Vegas

Monday, October 2, 2017
This quote is from a witness in the Las Vegas mass shooting.  His name is Anthony, filmed with his girlfriend Dillon. He was interviewed by Jo Ling Kent, NBC News Correspondent at 8:05 p.m.... Read more

Inclusive Pricing Launches October 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017
Join the Accessible Rates Revolution One of the things about running a business is that you do need to actually bring in money.  It’s a key feature. The intention of this business is to help people counter fear, and to be able... Read more

On True Believers

Sunday, September 10, 2017
“Why does everyone assume when I’m talking about belief, I’m talking about God?  I don’t care what you believe – just… believe it!” – Reverend Book, Serenity  The idea of the true believer has come up again in my life, so I thought it would be useful to put a piece together... Read more

Disaster Emotion: On Heartbreak & Resilience

Thursday, September 7, 2017
This piece is long, and I’m okay with that.  Sadness and hard truths aren’t always short stories. We are at a unique time in America, when hundreds of thousands are being affected by disaster of some type.  There are incredible wildfires across the western US, Texas and Louisiana are in response and recovery from Hurricane Harvey and its incredible related flooding, and Hurricane... Read more

Ill Will & Name-Calling

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Today I’m fired up.  I get in a state when there are impending catastrophes, especially given the fact that we’ve already got one or two well underway. Years ago, I committed to living my life well within my own integrity.  For me, this means loving people, giving folks a chance, and... Read more

Keeping My Damn Voice

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
There are moments... and I find myself tempted to temper my voice to meet some perceived Important Mission. Here's the thing, though. I tempered my... Read more

Yellow Clouds (Some Wildfire System Info)

Monday, September 4, 2017
We have yellow clouds and light in Iowa today, and I have been avoiding verifying the reason all day. I try to stay out of wildland fire news because... Read more

Texas Flooding: Infrastructure Interdependencies

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Two examples of cascading infrastructure impacts and infrastructure interdependencies from the Texas Flooding: Baptist Beaumont Hospital is... Read more

Natural Disasters & Terrorism & Critical Infrastructure, Oh My

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Quick post in reference to this story:  "Chemical plant struck by Harvey now likely to explode." I'll be damned if I didn't spend my first week in... Read more

Disaster Resilience, on the Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Today in 2005, Hurricane Katrine hit. I was in a Department of the Interior headquarters emergency management office, with new internal mapping technology... Read more

Public Private Partnerships in Hurricane Harvey

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
This is a nice piece on what the private sector is doing to support Hurricane Harvery:  "What Corporate America is doing to help Hurricane Harvey... Read more

10 Ways to Help in Hurricane Harvey Disaster

Monday, August 28, 2017
Hurricane Harvey aka Tropical Storm Harvey is unfolding as the largest US catastrophe since Hurricane Katrina. Rain and flooding are expected to continue this week. What can you do to help?... Read more

On Presidents Visiting Disasters

Monday, August 28, 2017
Just as an FYI, any time a US president visits a disaster - any president, and any disaster - it is usually not helpful to the disaster itself. The... Read more

Catastrophe in a Catastrophe: Hurricane Harvey

Saturday, August 26, 2017
  There is no doubt that #HurricaneHarvey is a natural disaster already underway. We don’t know yet if it will become a catastrophe – time will tell, as flooding persists over days. First, this post will note how to... Read more

Be the Storm: Channeling Intensity

Thursday, August 24, 2017
"Fate whispers to the warrior, 'you cannot withstand the storm,’ and the warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’” – Unknown Sometimes I forget that I am an intense person.  This is probably due in part to years of work in federal bureaucracy attempting to squish it out of me.  Today I remembered because I was playing the Beastie... Read more

Flash Flood Eclipses Eclipse

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The Eclipse I live in central Iowa.  Naturally, like much of America, I felt inclined to take a dive into total solar eclipse madness… after all, I was only 3.5 hrs’ drive to the north.  Probably like more of America than Americans would admit, I made my travel plans at very nearly the last minute.  That part worked out pretty well, because I ended up having what was really a pretty... Read more

Embracing Chaos... Road Trip to the Eclipse

Monday, August 21, 2017
Woohoo! Up early for eclipse viewing! Drove south yesterday from Iowa to Kansas City, KS. Three states in one day is more challenging in the Midwest than... Read more

Quick Guide: Get Media Coverage Of Your Protest

Sunday, August 13, 2017
NOTE:  This post was originally published on the Counterfear Facebook page here, where there is some discussion. --- Folks, if you are doing... Read more

Charlottesville: What Would Your City Do?

Saturday, August 12, 2017
A white supremacist rally was declared unlawful after turning violent today in Charlottesville, VA, and an emergency declaration was issued by the... Read more

Washington Only Works When You Have Friends

Friday, August 11, 2017
Here's something I learned about getting things done in Washington, DC, from my 11 years there. You have to have allies. Everyone has allies. You'll... Read more

Guam, North Korea, & a Nuclear Threat

Friday, August 11, 2017
I have never been to Guam, but I have twice been on teams whose job it is to look after it in some way. At South Ops in Riverside, CA, the South... Read more

Hope Doesn't Mitigate Disaster

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
How do we explain the moment that we're in?  We've got a US president and some in his administration under investigation for collaborating with a hostile foreign state.  A foreign state that 17 US intelligence agencies agree... Read more

Close to Home: Lawmakers Targeted in Alexandria Shooting

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
"Our strength is our resilience, and it's usually times like these that bring us together and we're always better afterwards. So pray for the continued... Read more

This IS the Disaster

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Some on social media today seem surprised or extra disheartened by the behavior of Senators in the Attorney General Sessions hearing regarding the Russia... Read more

Floored by the Shock About Paris Climate Accord

Friday, June 2, 2017
Well I'm going to have to swear. I have to admit to being flat-out stunned that so many people are stunned about the POTUS pulling the US out of the... Read more

It's Kind of a Long Story (Book vs. Blog)

Friday, May 12, 2017
Way back when I was in college, my mom suggested I write a book. Wait, do I sound younger if I just say "Back when I was in college?" I digress. At the... Read more

Just Write

Thursday, May 11, 2017
From what I have seen, when aspiring writers ask widely known writers how to do it, the second group always tell the first group to start by JUST WRITING.... Read more

What "I'm Done" Means

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Yesterday I heard myself say the words "I'm done," in reference to something I have loved for years. A part of my work. I spent the rest of the evening... Read more

Sea Change: Let's Call the Budget Proposal What It Is

Friday, March 17, 2017
"Brace for impact." - 'Sully' Sullenberger Perusing the news or your Facebook feed can be perilous these days - especially if you are a news addict with a... Read more

Have a Resilient Inauguration Week Trip to DC

Monday, January 16, 2017
So you’re going to Washington! Whether you are traveling to the nation’s capital for a party, a protest, or just to be present, one thing is for sure: you will need to be resilient. Anything can happen in a city on a normal day, but let’s admit it: this week, Washington, DC will be a special case. Really and truly — anything is possible. Things may... Read more

A Prayer for Election Day

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
And so it begins.  US Election Day 2016.  Years in the making. May we be wise in our choices, and peaceful in our response.  May we find acceptance.  May we... Read more

Everything You Want Is On The Other Side of Fear

Sunday, October 23, 2016
George Addair said, "Everythig you want is on the other side of fear."  I love that, because it is a tool. If we face our fear; if we counter it - we start a shift.  The action might just be finding the fear, and... Read more

Breakpoints & Resilience: Why Sidewalks Are Sexy

Saturday, October 22, 2016
"There's no doubt the ground will shift.  The question is: when it does, will you be ready?" - Seth Godin Nobody wants to talk about sidewalks.  Sidewalks are boring.  The opposite of sexy.  A... Read more

Staring Down Transformation

Thursday, October 20, 2016
"You can't transform something you won't look at." - Dixie St. John It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and a bit paralyzed.  We tend to resist change, even when risk is... Read more

Going the Full Phoenix

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
I learned a beautiful metaphor about transformation when I was in life coach training with Martha Beck.  It’s a bit about how a caterpillar doesn’t go into a cocoon and slowly... Read more

Countering Fear & 9/11: A Community Radio Conversation

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Click on the graphic below to hear KHOI's "Heart of Iowa" 9/15/16 Community Radio Show I’ve spent kind of a ridiculous amount of time this year thinking about 9/11.  The fact that I think that that... Read more

Terrorism: Accepting the Unacceptable

Monday, September 19, 2016
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” - Og Mandino Just when I feel like it’s safe to take a time-out from the news for a day or so, we’ve got more terrorism. I won’t even try to summarize the latest developments… but the super-quick picture is that there were attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota this weekend.  The debate rages on about whether these were terrorist attacks.  At its... Read more

Anchor and Flank

Sunday, September 18, 2016
"Anchor and Flank" is at the core of the counterfear process (check out the Focus Area page "Anchor and Flank" for more).  It comes from fire.  In fact, it's a core principle of wildland... Read more

Light From the Darkness: The Day After 15 Years After 9/11

Monday, September 12, 2016
"I remember exactly that moment when the whole world stopped & we saw each other standing there. Wondering how we ever forgot that we are all light wanting to shine for each other." - Brian Andreas, StoryPeople Yesterday I tried to write a blog post about 9/11.  Well, if I’m honest, I started trying to write it on Friday.  Didn’t work. ... Read more

Tool: The Art of Triage

Friday, September 9, 2016
Addressing Chaos Years ago when I worked as a Fire Intelligence Coordinator at “South Ops," I set about finding some tools to help me organize and prioritize.  South Ops is the country’s busiest interagency operations coordination center, and is reputed to be the busiest such center center in the world.  It covers response... Read more

Brexit, the EU, & the Market: Need a Time-Out?

Saturday, June 25, 2016
“Why don't we take a five minute break?” - Dark Helmet, Spaceballs Big news today, as the UK has voted to leave the EU. Worldwide markets reacted to the... Read more

Keep the Faith

Monday, June 20, 2016
Fire folks are known to be a little eccentric.  Well, wildland fire folks, anyway.  Come to think of it, just today I had a new friend say to me, “who voluntarily goes into a burning forest, anyway?”  To me, that sounds like a... Read more

Tool: Create the Space

Sunday, June 19, 2016
"First things first." Creating the space is one of my own personal go-to favourite coaching tools.  It’s pretty simple.  You have to create the space for what you want.  You may want peace.  Vision.  Rest.  Progress.  You can reach these - even for a moment - by creating some space for them. ... Read more

Tool: Take a 5-Minute Break

Saturday, June 18, 2016
“Why don't we take a five minute break?” - Dark Helmet, Spaceballs I find much of my wisdom in silly movies.  This gem from the movie Spaceballs has been a counterfear lifesaver for me - over and over.  "Why don't we take a... Read more

Tool: Sphere of Control

Friday, June 17, 2016
"You don't surrender your dreams.  You surrender the one thing you never had and you never will: control." - Socrates, Peaceful Warrior Read more

Tool: Daily 5 & 5

Thursday, June 16, 2016
This here is a tool you can use daily.  It's fast.  And it's effective. Every day, take five minutes and write a list of: 5 things you are grateful for 5 things that... Read more

Tool: Change Your Language, Shift Your Life

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Take a look at your language.  You are not what you were.  From this moment on, you can be something different. Language is powerful.  How we use it reflects how we think.  When you pay attention to your language, you can see what it reflects about how you think.  When you put the work in to change your language and your thinking - you can shift both. Talking about You To start... Read more

Tool: Embrace Your Humanity

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
This is a tool from Steve Maraboli, a favourite life coach of mine.  I met Steve in 2009, well before I considered becoming a life coach myself.  Steve planted a seed, though. I listened to hours of Steve’s online... Read more

Tool: Hear Your Fear

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
With all this talk about countering fear, it is important to recognize fear itself. We have fear for a reason.  Sometimes it’s a life-saver.  When I see a crazy driver veering around on the road or cutting in and out of traffic -... Read more

Tool: Go for a Walk

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
“The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.” - Socrates, in the movie Peaceful Warrior Going for a walk is absolutely one of my favourite life tools.  Walking is good for the soul.  Humans have been... Read more

Tool: Take Out the Trash

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
"Take out the trash.  The trash is anything that's keeping you from the only thing that matters, this moment.  Here.  Now.  And when you truly are in the here and now, you'll be amazed at what you can do, and how well you can do it." - Socrates, in the movie... Read more

Tool: Vision & Passion

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
“This is your world.  Shape it, or someone else will.” - Gary Lew Randomly sit one day and write a life vision.  Don’t stew over it, or make it in to something bigger than it is…... Read more

On Orlando: Love Makes Us Strong

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Pulse Nightclub Attack - June 12, 2016 - Orlando, Florida Tonight I finally figured out what I wanted to say about the attack this week at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I outlined a... Read more

On Newsletters

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
So I will admit this:  I was a bit of a policy wonk during my quality time in Washington, DC.  I only mention this because one of the things you do when policy wonking is... Read more

May Day & Mayday!

Sunday, May 1, 2016
It’s May Day here in the US.  For me, it’s a day loaded with meaning.  All kinds of meaning. When I was a kid, May Day was the symbolic “real” beginning of spring.  The grass was green.  The winter was almost certainly over.  And every year, we went to some effort to make May baskets.  My mother led the operation, which involved assembling collections of... Read more

Random Tools to Counter Unclear Fear

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
One benefit to growing the Counterfear idea is that I’ve got notes on about a hundred counterfear tools in my arsenal - and that is a real number.  I’m in the process of getting as many of those as possible on the website in the near future.  In the meantime, this post is a bit of a Toolbox sampling... as I tried to process some unexplained fear one night. Practical Fear It would be nice to think that if... Read more

For the Universe-Denters, the Leapers, and the Dreamers: What To Do With The Voices In Your Head

Friday, April 22, 2016
“What do stars do?” - Yvaine, in the movie Stardust I’ve been in hermit-mode lately.  I suspect that the people who dream big and make stuff happen all maybe do the hermit thing every once in a while.  For me, it’s the best way to get a lot done.  If... Read more

2015: The Great Personal Leg Break

Thursday, April 21, 2016
The title here sounds dramatic and perhaps a bit grandiose.  I reckon that's because this here is one hell of a personal disaster tale.  And, I’m still trying to walk correctly. Here’s the super-short story, from last February.  On a Thursday, my brother and my dad flew in to help me gut and start the remodel of the only bathroom in my... Read more

About the Founder

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
“Sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did… there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” – Morpheus, The Matrix Hello!  I am Vanessa Burnett, the Founder and Chief Amplifier of “Counterfear.”  Because you can make up cool job titles when you own a... Read more

Stealth-Help

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Lately I’ve been busy writing an abbreviated history of my life and times for The Blog and the website.  One of the dangers and benefits of all the writing is that it inspires other... Read more

Random Life Tidbits

Monday, April 11, 2016
Hello!  This blog is just a few random pieces and parts about my life.  Much of my writing leads to Read more

The Link Between Fear & Resilience

Monday, March 28, 2016
This post is part of the "Counterfear Tools" blog series. Does Fear Tie to a Lack of Resilience? I’ve thought for years about resilience, and how to explain it.  Explaining resilience can feel overwhelming, because it can be so complex.  But, that is because life is complex.  When you boil it down a bit, resilience gets simpler.  We may well have more fear in areas where we suspect... Read more

Why

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
"Light up the darkness." - Bob Marley   Most Counterfear blog posts are conversational and fun and not so technical.  This one is technical, serious, and sobering.  It is a memorial.  It is a foundation.  It is also an explanation.  A clearing.  And a space to dream. This blog post is WHY.  Why “Counterfear.”  Why the Counterfear focus is on risk.  On change.  On resilience.   It's why I think all of this is so important. This post is made in honor of a dream.  A few dreams, actually.  It is a post in honor of the idea that when one dream fades - we can build... Read more

Children of the Cornfield: Hilarity & Inspiration at a Middle School Musical

Saturday, February 27, 2016
I moved back to Iowa recently, for a different life.  I had spent four years in the LA Basin (with 18.5 million people), and another eleven-plus in the Washington, DC area (9.5 million)… so that’s over 15 years in the country’s 2nd and 4th largest metropolitan areas.  OOF.  I add an extra “uff-da!” to that when I think about how I set out to be a park ranger, to live in the trees.  Who would have thought the world of wildland firefighting would lead to the damn... Read more

About the Blog

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” The Counterfear Blog is a piece of the heart and soul of this website, and of the counterfear idea.  I do not promise brevity.  I am... Read more

A Floor Wax and a Dessert Topping: New 'Counterfear'

Monday, February 8, 2016
“Sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did… there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” - Morpheus, in The Matrix movie   One of the things about a website... Read more

I Took the Red Pill: Why I’m on the Counterfear Path

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
“This is your last chance.  After this, there is no turning back.  You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red... Read more

Launching an Idea: What is Counterfear?

Friday, January 22, 2016
Welcome to Counterfear!  This right here represents my first blog post, and something I didn't expect.  That is because the word "blog" annoys the daylights out of me.  It is an ugly word, although the idea behind it is good.  I purposefully avoided using the word for several years, hoping maybe it wouldn't stick around.  Hoping... Read more