This blog space is a dynamic tool. As content builds, you can use the buttons below to search for blog topics you are interested in. Each Focus Area has a tag. The "Counterfear Tools (in blog)" can be found via that link or through the tags here. Shift the Country tools have moved to the 5 Ways To Make Shift Happen page on that new website.
All blog post entries are original unless noted. All blog post comments are moderated and delayed until approved.
Friday, October 30, 2020
I never wanted it to be like this. Not that anyone did, but I’ve been dreading it longer than many.
This week I heard yet another pundit say “no one could have ever imagined it could be this bad.” “This bad” meaning Trumpism, mass death, a democracy in trouble… all of that.
Yeah – that’s not... Read more
Friday, June 12, 2020
Way back at the beginning of all of this before this Administration even came into office, I hoped that the US intelligence and national security... Read more
Thursday, June 11, 2020
There is a lot of tragedy around.
That is an understatement
It's going to hit all of us at different times and in different ways. From all the things.... Read more
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Some Big Picture Parts
Hey! It's another super long post! This one puts some of the pieces together in one place that we're not all talking about as a big... Read more
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Folks it's time to think deeper resilience.
Put your contingency plans in place. Write down the phone numbers you need. Have backup plans for meeting... Read more
Monday, June 1, 2020
We're in a hell of a moment. If you are hoping that it is going to calm down, I'm here to tell you that it won't. We just had a series of super spreader... Read more
Monday, June 1, 2020
Here's a random data point for all the trippy stuff happening today out of the White House and in DC: Trump and Putin talked today.
Heaven knows what... Read more
Monday, May 25, 2020
Lots of helplessness, worry, frustration, anger, and rage on my feed today. I've got it too.
I'm going to say some uncomfortable stuff here as a disaster... Read more
Sunday, May 3, 2020
In a 2012 keynote speech at the Smithsonian, I heard a renowned system scientist say:
"The challenge of our lifetimes will be to manage the decline of civilization."
It felt like every single person in that auditorium stopped breathing. Like time paused; if only for a moment. I've never been in... Read more
Monday, April 6, 2020
Today I offer two pieces of advice in this time of increasing intensity. The first is to try and stay grounded. To not panic. The second is to... Read more
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
There Is No Single National Coordination System For Disaster Response
NO, there is no single US system to help everyone in every state and in every hospital get the critical... Read more
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Three Huge Things The US Government Is Deliberately Not Fully Activating That Could Help Keep You Alive:
1 -- The Defense Production Act.
2 -- The... Read more
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Disasters can be dream-killers. We don't really talk about them that way. Yet they wipe out people and neighborhoods and livelihoods.
There's another... Read more
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
The federal coronavirus response, being touted by the media as something that will be lovely and helpful, is ramping up way later than it should have.
One... Read more
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
I feel like the US is slowly catching up to what I've known for years.
I knew we were not ready for a catastrophe - especially more than one at a time.
I... Read more
Friday, March 13, 2020
One of the things that happens in disasters is information overwhelm. Especially in the information age. It's a big issue inside the response, but it's a... Read more
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Big Infrastructure Action
NCAA cancelled in-person attendance at the March Madness tournament today. This post is a super quick look at how some post-9/11... Read more
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Today's word is "devolution."
Yesterday I talked about two fairly dark subjects... pandemic planning, and continuity of government / continuity of operations... Read more
Monday, March 9, 2020
The darkest areas I've ever worked in in disaster management are continuity planning, and pandemic planning. The worst-case scenarios are usually too much... Read more
Friday, February 28, 2020
Play time is over.
If you don't think the pandemic threat of coronavirus is worth taking seriously, then you're not paying attention to the ENTIRE FREAKING... Read more
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Hello! It's the middle of the night, and apparently this is the time in which I decide to write haunting posts about homeland security.
Tonight's post is... Read more
Monday, February 3, 2020
Two enormous factors converging. You never know what will cause the perfect storm. We can see the risk landscape intensifying though:
*** The constitutional... Read more
Sunday, January 12, 2020
In June of 2001 I went on a date. We ended up in a very detailed discussion -- or rather, an argument -- about how the US could experience a very serious... Read more
Friday, January 3, 2020
We're at nothing short of an enormous moment. Tonight, the United States of America took out the second most senior official of Iran.
A lot of fear... Read more
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Police in #ElPaso, TX responding to an active shooter at/near one of the largest US malls.
What can you do? Learn how to Stop the Bleed, & help your... Read more
Friday, August 2, 2019
Hi all! I started this as a little life update, but it turns out it's more of a clarion call.I feel like I'm on the eve of something big. We're in a time of... Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
I wish I could say I was surprised about the attempted bombings and/or suspicious packages today that were sent to political figures in the US.
It sounds brazen to say I was not surprised. It might sound callous. It’s... Read more
Saturday, August 4, 2018
If you are under the impression that the United States government can do nothing to fight Russian cyber actions and attacks, to help states with election security, to help with detection of cyber threats to states or companies or federal systems, or to take offensive cyber... Read more
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
I’d bet that lots who have worked in national security keep quiet about certain things – even in light of any given news, reveals, or leaks. Many have also been speaking out through various media. Twitter is a hotbed of national security discussion. Among other things.
Here’s my national security... Read more
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The thing is, when people take action meant to burn it all down, there's a chance it will actually all burn down.
Once a disastrous fire is burning, you don't know where it will... Read more
Saturday, June 30, 2018
There are a few things I don’t talk about very much, and one of them is Continuity of Government (COG). It’s about actions and protocols that maintain the continuity of Constitutional US government. It’s not a light subject. It doesn’t come into the light in the public sphere very often.
I very recently watched an episode of the CBS TV show Madam Secretary called “Night Watch” (summary here) that aired May... Read more
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” – Representative John Lewis
Things are getting more intense, here in the U.S. of A. We’re in a near-constant ramping up of, well, a whole heck of a lot.
This weekend, a protest... Read more
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Active shooter again today. This time it's at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School (#StonemanShooting) in #ParklandFlorida.
Every time there is an active shooter incident, it is a chance to think and talk about how you would react. It is a chance for... Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018
The Institution Is Essential
Institutions matter. They are the anchors to society, the social contract, and government itself.
When it is your... Read more
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Holding Out for a Hero
No one person is going to save the day – or the country. It's not Special Counsel Mueller. Despite all of the twitterpation since Sunday’s Golden Globes that Oprah... Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Two examples of cascading infrastructure impacts and infrastructure interdependencies from the Texas Flooding:
Baptist Beaumont Hospital is evacuating... Read more
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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 trulyâ€Š—â€Šanything is possible.
Things may go just swimmingly. Hopefully that’s the case.... Read more
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
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
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
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 transform... Read more
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 is... Read more
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
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 firefighting,... Read more
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. Didn’t... Read more
Friday, September 9, 2016
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 coordination... Read more
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
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
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
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 with,... Read more
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
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
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 popcorn... Read more
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.
It would be nice to think that if... Read more
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
"Light up the darkness." - Bob Marley
[NOTE: This piece has become one of the anchor pieces in the story of getting ready for the great disruption that began in 2020 with the pandemic. More pieces to the back stories are here, including a sort of update to this post here on Why called The Great Transformation.]
Most Counterfear.com 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... Read more
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
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