Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur

Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur
Valerie Anne Burns

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Need for Breath and Breeze

A Need for Breath and Breeze

(Formerly "Breeze Bliss"-Re-written and updated for the times)

     I don't know about you, but I have to remind myself to take deep breaths since I gasp for breath in these stressful times. While 'trying' to heal from a long all-consuming breast cancer path, I have to deal with Trump only adding to my anxiety and PTSD. It's not in my nature to stand by and simply watch the disgrace, and battle for the soul of this country - I sign petitions, call my representatives, while observing all I believe in continue to spiral into the abyss. So that I don't end up in a psych ward, sit paralyzed on my sofa for eternity, I must find ways to counteract the mayhem going on in the outer and inner world.
     When I feel a nice breeze rush through my hair and brush against my face, I'm transported. A cool breeze wakes me up, and a warm breeze ignites sensual senses. A quick swirl of wind moves me to close my eyes and take it in. Autumn temperature, especially when a wind picks up and delivers rain emboldens me to feel refreshed. Let's say I yearn for that rain in what remains to be a parched Santa Barbara. I've been coming to a sudden stop during power walks to notice bold late afternoon color in the sky. We have to seek those moments of beauty to deal with what challenges us.
     It's been far too long since this mermaid has been in her beloved tropics. Swimming, sailing, and snorkeling in that pristine turquoise water would be particularly healing. It might even erase Trump's ugly orange face from my mind and provide (however briefly) a reprieve from daily abominations coming from his creepy racist mouth; ah, what a relief that would be. It would also assist healing of scars I wear outside and the internal scars that hold on like clinging barbs. I'd like to swim deep in clear warm water amongst sea creatures living life as they're created to be - I am more than weary of human creatures in the White House and elsewhere acting opposite of living life in divine creation. I need to balance my restless and tattered soul in lapping waves.
     It's time to feel a strong, balmy breeze all around me while the sun sinks into the blue. It never fails to give me the sense that all will be well. When I was a teenager living on Key Biscayne, out at night on my bike, or meeting friends at a deck bar right on the sand as waves softly rolled toward us, I'd drift into a calm state. After dark, the T-shirt, shorts, and flip flops worn during the day transitioned into night. Even if it became cool enough for a sweater, those breezes blew in a tropical manner. And the scent of clean salt water, along with tropical blossom filled the night air as the moon rose over a darker shimmering blue.
     The temperate breeze and sea is a part of me, running through cell and bone. When I visit the tropics after moving to California decades ago, the stirring sensation is reignited in me. I no longer favor the hot humid summer days I can barely withstand, but the comfortable balmy air is lovely forever. I especially recall the beauty of being in the Bahamas, and sitting at the bar during sunset for the daily tropical cocktail. The bar held a cross-breeze that was perfectly positioned for patrons to be embraced by the velvety winds. I closed my eyes, willing myself to freeze frame this intoxicating feeling.
     A similar moment to hold in my recall senses, was during a stay in Honolulu Hawaii. On one of my trips there, I flew in the early morning hours, and due to the time difference, was sitting with my friend by noon on the patio at the Halekulani. Jet lagged and exhausted, I was revived in an instant. The Hawaiian trade winds carried me through lunch to the beach below where I dove in gorgeous water, still warmed by the sultry breeze on my skin. At night, blowing through the sheer curtains, that same breeze lulled me to sleep.
     Until I find myself in the tropics again, I'll be aware of Santa Barbara's autumn breeze and take deep breaths to clear my mind and visualize what brings peace. The winter brings rain that washes away dust and provides water for a thirsty earth. The days become a breathtaking crystal clear. Crisp, clean air energizes the spirit, and we all need our spirits continually reignited.
     When you experience moments that blissfully transport you and ignite all your senses, close your eyes and take it in, telling yourself, "I will remember this." When I've gone through the toughest struggles, I pause, gently shut my eyes and envision a euphoric experience. It's been especially helpful to everything from simple daily challenge to the times I would lay on a gurney frightened before surgery, or the continued challenge of getting a needle into my tired veins. Even now, when I go in for a monthly IV to boost my immune system, the nurses are aware that I check-out to envision a blissful memory that calms my nerves. My eyes are closed and I think of swimming in perfect turquoise water as a warm breeze encircles me. What exhilarating memory do you possess that would have the ability to carry you to a tranquil and beautiful space?

Keep on swimming through life,

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Everything Happens for a Reason?

     Rumi's quotes have a way of being especially profound to me. He is a beloved figure for good reason. Although he was a poet, mystic, and scholar five hundred years ago, his words resonate as if written today. Personally, I like the fact that he was born one day after me, September 30th. A fellow Libra born in 1207. Astounding to think how many centuries ago Rumi entered the world.
     Especially with pervasive social media, there are many phrases and quotes, often from someone you've never heard of, thrown around and posted these days. I don't believe there's absolutes. I also don't believe in phrases for convenience to discount raw truth and honest feelings. Maybe there's some truth to the law of attraction. But it's not gospel. If it was, I challenge anyone to explain a two year old with brain cancer, a nine year old with leukemia, or innocent people being on the receiving end of abuse. Young children are still in the fantasy side of their brain missing the rational side to even have the capacity for 'law of attraction'. Did they attract illness and pain into their sweetly innocent lives? No. When I think of the torture I went through; indescribable pain from surgeries and assault to the body that rolls into humiliation - to my veins not working any longer, I shudder at the thought of any child (anyone young or old) going through that. Never, would I dare to say an insensitive statement as, "it was meant to be". It happens and acceptance is what we strive for.

You left ground and sky weeping, mind and soul full of grief. No one can take your place in existence or in absence.” Rumi

     A few years back, I saw a movie that was based on a true story. It was probably during surgery recovery number three. The main character had gone through the loss of a baby and later her husband was kidnapped for ransom in a foreign country. I'll never forget what the character says when the authorities are interviewing her, "I use to believe that everything happens for a reason, now I believe things just happen." This resonated with me and quite honestly took a layer of heavy guilt off my shoulders. I had people ask me what I did to attract cancer in my life? I had one woman who'd never met me before, and was a guest in a woman's circle I was a member of ask me, 'what contract did I sign with the Universe to bring cancer in my life'? I took my exit. I got in my car and drove home. It was a better option than going off on this woman. May I just say, no one going through a severely challenging and life threatening ordeal wants to hear that. A close friend of mine told me that the next time I heard someone say something similar to very clearly tell them to, "fuck off."
     What are we to think of the disastrous situation of our country? Did the racists who came out of the shadows feeling they finally had a voice with Trump attract him into the White House? I feel like the country is falling into a dark shameful hole and no matter how many times I sign petitions or call my representatives, Trump and his complicit cronies don't disappear. Not only do they not disappear, their destruction increases daily. I feel like I'm chasing a speeding train intent on destroying the environment, wildlife, women's rights, racial rights; not to mention the lack of acknowledging the need for strict gun laws. Is this disgrace and annihilation meant to be? Once the Impostor's out, it will take years to undo the disastrous effects to citizens, our health, the air and water; position ourselves as a progressive nation in the world again. Why are we attracting soulless racists running the country in 2017 hell-bent on moving us backwards at least fifty-years?  If the ugliness of a narcissistic, fraudulent man running America is happening for a reason then I search for that answer. All I can come up with is, that this Impostor is waking up a lot of people who've been otherwise complacent; uniting us to fight for a better and beautifully progressive country. We can't look away, we must face the beast.

"The moons stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night." Rumi

     I can't avoid the night. I shine light on what's true. On a daily basis, I deal with chronic pain and fatigue. I've fought my way through cancer twice, but have yet to find a way to rid myself of a genetic immune disorder. I know strict routine keeps me from disappearing altogether, but it's not a joy ride. I often experience an isolating and lonely path. There is a Wonder Woman in me that pushes my life forward. After my eighth surgery and recovering at home, I received a sweet card from a friend of forty-years. We've seen each other through every imaginable life occurrence and all the milestones. I called to thank her for the meaningful card that made me cry. My scars inside and out felt as though they were lit up by fluorescent light. In extreme vulnerability, I knew if I was out in public, everyone would know! My friend asked if I noticed my picture on the stamp. I turned over the envelope and it was Wonder Woman peering out from the postage. It buoyed me to believe I have resilience and noticeable chutzpah.

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you." Rumi

     I power walk, stare at my beautiful orchid, hug my doggy friend tight but it doesn't fully erase my anxiety or hurt; or wondering if I can get back on track to believe again in my visions manifesting. Nor does it completely erase anger and worry for my country and fellow citizens. However, I notice beauty even in the most ordinary and simple ways. It's a saving grace. Today, at the hint of daylight, it was hearing the first anxious bird singing hello to the morning. We must find our ways to feel peace while healing ourselves and our planet. This country is in turmoil and determined destruction worsens. A small effort counts for a lot. I call my representatives and sign petitions. I respect my environment and never abuse or overuse natural resources. I connect with cherished friends who give a damn about many things, including me. I love being allowed to be my irreverent self. Laughter is an extraordinary upper in the midst of such disgrace and discourse taking place in Washington. Taking action lifts the spirit. We have to remember how we've been shown over and over that one person taking action for good has created enormous change.
     Staying connected to love and standing up for my values propels me to live to fight another day, to rest another day, to enjoy the autumn breeze, to be aware of what people care about; to stare at the hawk flying above me high in the sky; to know that each breath is a gift; the intricately designed nature of our planet keeps us moving through the world from sun up to the bright moon rising in a dark sky.
     I don't know that everything happens for a reason. I don't know why some of the kindest people on our planet go through excruciating experiences while some not-so-kind people escape the wrath. I don't know what it's like to pass to the other side. I do know genetics and environment play a part in health. I don't know law of attraction fits every life occurrence, but do believe many things in life are simply a mystery and random acts do occur. I do know for myself that creating balance in life, staying open to sweet surprises, working daily at letting go of hurt; and marveling at the miracles of nature keeps me grounded and focused on being one with spiritual light - searching for that place in me that Rumi came to understand where I know that 'I am not a drop in the ocean, I am the entire ocean in a drop' is a spiritual goal I'll hold close.

Keep on swimming through life,