Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur

Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur
Valerie Anne Burns

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Blooming Surprises

Blooming Surprises



So far March has brought a breath of fresh air to my door twice--Blooming gifts to thank me for gestures that come, for the most part, naturally. A flowering delivery at my doorstep is nothing short of a miraculous departure from the never-ending coupon circulars adding to environmental waste since it's impossible to opt-out.

Every day we're inundated with snail mail, phone and email solicitations, scammers, internet challenges where getting someone on the phone drives you to madness overseas, as well as financial obligations and finagling to keep things running. At least, that's how I feel. My heart skipped a beat to arrive home to such abundant beauty in the form of two dozen long-stem pink roses and two days later, a gorgeous orchid plant.

One of my life's truths is debt, debt that's followed me since divorce twenty years ago. It's a humbling admission. I've been paying it down and then a variety of hurdles would occur like breast cancer where a 4-year journey felt endless. The thing is, when a person is going through a life threatening ordeal and can't work, the bills don't graciously stop. I had to charge essentials like groceries and rent so my debt increased and I ended up back where I started all those years ago. I didn't make the decision to file bankruptcy so I keep making payments into what feels like a black hole to maintain good credit. Maybe it's ridiculous to not file bankruptcy but it doesn't feel right. I play the 0% interest game for balance transfers.

It's all about spinning plates and there are times when those plates can get quite heavy.

On a recent balance transfer, I had a conversation with a Capitol One representative. It's always a relief to not only reach a competent person, but a nice one. Anxious for electronic transfer to go through, she agreed to call me back with an update in a couple days and Tammy actually did just that. Tammy from Tampa called a third time to get all the issues resolved. I thanked her and commended her for her rare dependability in these virtual times when speaking to a real person takes some doing.

Somehow, Tammy (from a corporate bank company) and I found our way to speak on a personal level to discover that we are both breast cancer survivors. I listened to her. Although Tammy had a caring and supportive husband to help her, it's still a lonely journey. I expressed compassion for what she had to go through and suggested she take a look at my blog where she might find relatable stories and inspiration. 

A few days past our connection, I spotted a tall box on my patio with FLOWERS in bold black on the side of the box. Who could've sent me flowers? It wasn't my birthday. Inside were two dozen gorgeous long stem pink roses from Tammy to thank me for being an inspiration, bringing a smile to her face and brightening her day. She wanted to put a smile on my face, which she most brilliantly did.

When I decided to write a memoir and blog to support the book, I made a promise to myself that if I was to commit, I'd only write raw and authentic words along with the moments of grace that propel us forward. If I have a positive effect on just a few, I'd fulfill a purpose. Tammy would find my raw and honest blogs encouraging where truth resonates. Thank you, Tammy--you are a sweetheart.

The orchid arrived a couple days later. As an animal lover, I'd jump in front of a car to save one. My friend asked me to look after her senior cat again while she was away in Mexico with her boyfriend. The principessa was not doing so well and couldn't seem to keep her food down. The most common thing with senior cats is their kidneys begin to fail. I took her off the food from the Vet and put her on the regimen my senior cats were on. To make a long story short, I turned this little cat's life around. She's keeping her food down, happy and gaining weight. When my friend returned home she was so relieved and delighted to see her fur baby doing so much better. I came home to more blooms at my modest door seeing an exquisite orchid plant, along with a bottle of Pinot Noir, and organic dark chocolate. When spinning all those heavy life plates, elegant dark chocolate comes in handy.

Receiving flowering grace has deepened an important lesson, which is showing compassion whether it be a stranger, friend or animal. There are times when all that's needed is to allow someone to talk (vent) and not judge. The gifts are lovely but not at all necessary because I wouldn't have known how to be or behave any other way. For my door to be graced with blooming surprises instead of unwanted circulars and envelope solicitations is a wonderful thing and something naturally beautiful I can gaze upon in my home reminding me that love comes in many forms.

Keep on swimming through life,
Valerie


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Mermaid's Revision

A Mermaid's Revision




After several months, and several distractions demanding attention, I've completed the revision of my book, "Caution: Mermaid Crossing". My editor told me to think of the undertaking as if it were a master class... one that will work my brain overtime. By far, it's the hardest work I've ever done and pushed to use a very different part of my brain. I'd liken it to pieces of a puzzle floating in the Universe that is within hand's reach but just how to grab the right piece and fit it all together so it becomes a captivating whole is the true challenge. 

Many thoughts and emotions swirled around both as powerful waves and calm ripples. I had to go deeper, deeper than I was comfortable doing. My editor encouraged me to dive into those canyons of painful valleys and poetic peaks. Knowing that I have the right editor, who I respect for her keen insight and understanding of my voice, is the very reason I don't want to disappoint with my hard won efforts. 

Diving deep into canyons is both exhausting and enlightening. I know that I'm changed--forever changed from critical challenges and experiences. I continue to work at not only fully grasping a path through cancer and an interesting variety of hard hurdles but healing from physical and emotional repercussions. I can't risk further judgment I've received out in the world while going through a health crisis until I feel more fierce, so it's easy to isolate and retreat. Solace is necessary for writing. Sans family, I'm very content with my close posse of sparkling angel friends (mostly far away) and our mutual support is a gift from the gods. I find that writing is for those who can be secure alone and even enjoy being in one's own company. 

Seeking a ritual to inspire my creative flow is how I made it to the end of a revision. It's a practice I've come to cherish. My revised ritual (one I continue as a writer and healthy New Year regime) for accomplishing the task of a successful and timely book revision instead of it taking an endless cycle of seasons goes as follows: getting to bed early, waking before the sun comes up, and getting my tea in the dark. When weather permits, I sit out on my patio in a chaise, sip tea, watch light paint the sky in different hues while the day peeks through as I listen to and feel my hummingbirds. The quiet envelops me and feel as if I'm holding a secret reverie being up before anyone else. When the sun continues its rise where light is greater than dark, I read. When an hour passes, I eat breakfast, pull out my lap desk and laptop, plop myself on the sofa with back support and began writing essay by essay from the beginning; one-by-one paper clipping each essay that's been re-written for the discovery of a desired end.

I think about the idea of paper clipping arduous and heartbreaking episodes in my life and handing them over to more capable hands to bless, analyze, solve, and then sent to a special place in the heavens for filing and safe keeping--Absolute healing and magic takes over and the cautionary brutalities of life push further and further into the vast Universe dissolving from blazing heat of a star.

Once I emailed the revision, I felt my body move into a foggy fatigue. Cathartic indeed. While I know the revision has brought the book to a closer final draft, I worry it's still not quite there. Will it ever be there and will the editing ever end? Will the revision on myself ever end? I believe the edit will eventually come to an end but self-revision is ongoing.

At some point, I'll have to announce that there's a final draft, but revising myself after enduring a marathon of trauma, and losing years to cancer that can't possibly be given back to me will be tricky. This is the moment in life (at an age I don't care to admit) to fully realize that I can only live in-the-moment because nothing is sure and plans I felt were critical to happily thrive in the world didn't find their way into manifestation. 

Revising old dreams, recreating new visions, reinventing where I am now, reinforce my activism for progressive action on critical issues and protection of a fragile planet and wildlife, share my truth; as well as renewing my mermaid spirit and tender heart is my intention for 2019. What's yours?

Happy New Year--May it bring you magic!



Keep on swimming through life,
Valerie