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.

Sort Posts Alphabetically

There's Something Happening Here

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

We Have To Take Care Of Each Other

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

Trump's Daily Decision

Thursday, June 4, 2020
In all of the outrageous things happening in the US, Donald Trump continues to choose every single day not to use the full power, strength, capabilities,... Read more

Things To Hold On To

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

Time To Think Deeper Resilience

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

Fighting For Each Other

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

More Death & Destruction Is Coming Whether You See It Or Not

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

Creating the Space - Coronavirus Version

Saturday, May 23, 2020
There's this scene in the movie The Matrix where the survivors have hit a rough spot.  Most of the team has been killed by the bad guys, who have taken one of the good guys hostage to break into their most sacred space; the space where the rest of humanity survives.  The team is deciding to remotely kill the one who has been... Read more

The Great Transformation

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

Stay Grounded / Prioritize Everything

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

There Is No National Coordination System - There Are 12

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

He's Got Space Dementia!

Thursday, March 26, 2020
"He's got space dementia!" It's a silly quote from the absurd not-quite-an-apocalypse movie, Armageddon. Here we are in our own not-quite-an-apocalypse (I... Read more

3 Things To Demand From Legislators

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Wondering what to demand from your legislators? Please share widely. These 3 federal authorities & capabilities are not being fully used. People will... Read more

3 Huge Federal Things Not Fully Activating

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

We're Going To Need Dreams As We Go Through This

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

Pandemics Are Not Survived On Hope

Monday, March 23, 2020
"Rebellions are built on hope." - Star Wars' Rogue One. Pandemics are not survived on it. There's a persistent hope that this is going to be over soon.... Read more

We Are WAY Behind (Plus The 4 Things)

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

4 Things To Help Navigate The Biggest US Disruption In A Century

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

Navigating Information Overwhelm

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

Machinery Behind The Scenes Of Big COVID-19 Announcements

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

On Devolution

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

Parts Of Why This Could Be Bad - Continuity, Complexity, Cascading Effects

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

Hopefully Not Going Full Apocalypse

Saturday, February 29, 2020
I don't think we're going to go full apocalypse. There may be people who see posts like mine and the widespread increasing panic out there and think we are... Read more

The Power of Federalism, Plus 2 Tools

Saturday, February 29, 2020
This official US Government tweet shows the level of professionalism and calm we are going to get from the federal government in this crisis: obviously very... Read more

Play Time Is Over

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

Ramp-Up, Declarations, Institutions, Federalism

Friday, February 28, 2020
Today's Take Why all of this action internationally? It's a risk calculation. There's risk here, and it's real. There's death here, too. Pretty big economic... Read more

Haunting National Security Post

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

The Moment Has Arrived

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
I pull a lot of my wisdom from movies. The great mythology of our time. This one from the Matrix hits me at some of the most powerful, toughest... Read more

It Almost Certainly Is Going To Be A Pandemic

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

Stopping The Sellout

Thursday, January 23, 2020
(UNCENSORED) I'm feeling some overwhelm and I imagine I'm not the only one. So what do we do in this moment? Some have given up. Looks like many in the... Read more

Shift In The World Order

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

It's Not Doom & Gloom - It's To Get Ready

Thursday, January 9, 2020
I've been told that I put up a lot of gloom and doom stuff. Thing is -- I don't see it that way. We're better prepared for the unimaginable when we can... Read more

3 Clear Ways To Counter Fear

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

Forms, Fractures, & The Transformation Of Tyranny

Friday, August 23, 2019
It's easy to get overwhelmed and overtaken by the slow tsunami. The forms we are used to are hypnotic and reassuring, but that doesn't change the... Read more

Active Shooter in El Paso - Quick Tools

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

The Dimished Fight Against Domestic Terrorists

Saturday, August 3, 2019
As a reminder, one of the first things the Trump Administration did in the early months was to attempt to or to successfully shut down the office for... Read more

Clarion Call: Time To Do Different Things

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

Our Weakening Homeland Security

Saturday, June 22, 2019
This piece was inspired by this New York Times story, "ICE Is Expected to Begin Operation on Sunday Targeting 2,000 Immigrant Family Members".  Related story... Read more

Attempted Bombings

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

Stop Waiting For Something Bad To Happen: It Has (And There Are Things You Can Do About It)

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

Holding the Line: DNI Coats On The Record In Aspen

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Here’s my quick high-level reaction to DNI Coats’ lengthy live interview on NBC today.  Fascinating that the Aspen Security Forum is the same week that the US president kowtows to an enemy of the US known to have attacked us, and speaks AGAIN against the US... Read more

Alloys Forged in the Fires of Fracture

Thursday, July 19, 2018
The fractures on the “social pages” these days are, perhaps unusually, reflective of the fractures spreading elsewhere – between friends and families, and within communities. As an... Read more

Why I Stopped Salsa Dancing (or, Russia Doesn't Play)

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

When "Burning It All Down" Has Begun

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

Deep Resilience: The Hidden Work of Government Continuity

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. Yet. I very recently watched an episode of the CBS TV show Madam Secretary called “Night Watch” (summary here) that aired May... Read more

America The More Vulnerable (Why I March)

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Big day for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Nationwide protests of its activities. Federal Protective Service, or FPS, which is in NPPD... Read more

DHS ICE HSI Agents Send Protest Letter To Secretary

Friday, June 29, 2018
I get very serious when it comes to what homeland security is supposed to be about.  We can push exactly that as a critical message at this time. It's directly related... Read more

Despondency Doesn't Save Democracy

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

Actions For You & Yours In An Active Shooter Incident

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

Doing The Same Thing Over & Over Doesn't Cause Change

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Y'all, @600 people were shot at one single incident in the past year in Las Vegas. There are active shooter incidents every few days in the US. Orlando in... Read more

So You Want To Help Counter Election Interference

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The Risk & The Election This week, the US Intelligence Community (IC) said in public that the country’s next election is threatened by Russia. They said this already about the last election. The... Read more

The Mueller-Oprah Phenomenon, & Another Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 transform... 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 is... 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 firefighting,... 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.  Didn’t... 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 coordination... 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: 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: 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 with,... 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

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

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

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 popcorn... 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

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   [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

I Took the Red Pill: Why I Am 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