The Blog

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

The Blog is an exploration of the counterfear work.  More here:  "About the Blog."

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.  Each Focus Area has a tag.  All blog post entries are original unless noted.  Contact us to ask about posting as a guest.  All blog post comments are moderated and may be delayed until approved.

Counterfear tools are tagged.  Each can be found below via the tags noted here, or on its own page, "Counterfear Tools (in blog)".  The 15 Tools to Make Shift Happen are addressed separately.

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Allowing Hope In

Saturday, December 30, 2017
I keep leaving fire.  It’s a funny thing to leave, because the ways in which I leave are not really visible to the fire world.  They’re quiet – as so many leavings are.  They vary, too.  I left the field for fire management.  I left fire management to work on post-9/11 stuff in Washington, DC.  I left that because it didn’t... Read more

Tool: Hold The Line

Thursday, November 16, 2017
UPDATE:  This post is duplicated as a Services page, "Holding the Line," and is a Counterfear Tool.  Since it was originally posted, the US has been experiencing increasing chaos; especially in mid-2020.  This area of work - holding the line - can help with the part of the mission of the... 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 security of... 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 (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 coordinate regional... Read more

My List: As Long As Any Woman's List

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
"Pissed off women move mountains." - Me (Vanessa Burnett) I see that a whole lot of my women Facebook friends are sharing their stories of icky man interactions.  Assault.  Rape. ... 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, high fire... 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 we... 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 to... 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

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 embracing... 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 Irma is... 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 voice... Read more

Yellow Clouds Today (a.k.a 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 it is... 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 evacuating... 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 the US... 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 (DOI) headquarters emergency management office, with new internal mapping... 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

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 media... 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

Catastrophe in a Catastrophe: Hurricane Harvey

Saturday, August 26, 2017
There is no doubt that Hurricane Harvey 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 help in a... 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 divine... 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 in... 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 never... 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 Pacific... 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 go just swimmingly. Hopefully that’s the case.... Read more