Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur

Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur
Valerie Anne Burns

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Chronic Pain-Butterfly Beauty

Chronic Pain - Butterfly Beauty

Chronic pain is something I'm familiar with and takes an undeniable fierceness in one's character to move through life. It is my love and respect for the beauty in nature that continually feeds me and inspires hope. Being connected to Mother Earth is calming and life-enforcing.

Getting through cancer twice (long ordeal more recently with breast cancer) is miraculous as is nature. But it's the genetic autoimmune disorder that has plagued and followed me for many decades that I find, in its worst cycles, absolutely debilitating as well as discouraging. No matter the many decades-long healthy, organic lifestyle I've been on and trying every alternative method and supplement under the sun, I've yet to conquer it. Tenacity is in my bones (lifetimes) and I've been on a long, devoted mission of conquering this pesky genetic nuisance often running my life.

A difficult truth is, pain suddenly increased about a month ago to new heights (due to a recent extra layer to deal with), which has a way of making me feel like I'm going cuckoo. I have to remind myself of ebb and flow; flare-ups that will decrease There are cycles of pain where I feel as if it will never go away and it renders me immobile--a mermaid with her fin folded up in the fetal position.

It's not only isolating and lonely, but alienating. You're simply not yourself--far cry from your best self. Personally, I am weary of being on a long path where it's necessary to be known for the role of a "resilient, strong survivor". It's a role I've carried since a toddler when my mother passed from breast cancer. Health hurdles can knock you on your ass. It's scary and the overwhelm of research, managing, appointment going, holistic practice and routine creates a full plate... not the optimal situation when a girl just wants to have fun... break out and away... a new role.

But I carry on regardless, especially when a creative opportunity arises. I've submitted work and been invited to do literary readings in Santa Barbara and LA. I recently performed a chapter from my book, "Caution: Mermaid Crossing" titled, "Venice Vision" for Speaking Stories. It was an honor to be selected and a remarkable experience. I enjoyed the act of participating and receiving high accolades, which I most beautifully embraced. Over the years, I've learned how to prepare and care for myself when in a cycle of pain. On performance day, I laid low, stayed off the phone, got on the mat for yoga stretching, prepared my fresh green juice and ate healthy. Then, off I went to face a full-house audience.

I'm so ready for a new chapter in my life! Writing is a calling and creative expression is crucial for my life force. It is also the moments of beauty in nature that strengthens my spirit. A friend presented me with an exquisite orchid that had a crhysalis hanging from it. When the butterfly in all her colorful glory broke free on April 17th, she became my roommate. Coming into the world on the eve of a full moon, I named her Moon. She's under my care and thriving. A butterfly (Moon) is the epitome of rebirth and renewal.

I have desire to thrive and feel renewed. I have hope invested in a new patented natural product that is meant to repair and restore joints so pain diminishes. The product was introduced to me unexpectedly--faith that stars would line up to answer my call for a natural alternative to arrest the progression came to be. I have many dreams and visions to manifest and my creative energy and curious spirit will be needed!

If you are dealing with continual or intermediate chronic pain, my heart goes out to you. Seek natural alternatives that support you and find your own ritual that connects you to nature's grace. And, if you know someone going through this, please extend kindness and an extra dose of patience--Share time in pretty scenery to help shake off stress and find the humor in life. If possible, swim in a tropical turquoise ocean to feel its warm embrace.

Since I was a small girl growing up on an island (off Miami), I naturally fell into a mermaid rhythm with the green sea, wildlife, and balmy air surrounding me. I will forever be a seeker of beauty and it is all around us--natural creation that gifts us opportunity to open ourselves to the miracles of Mother Nature. I find ritual incredibly comforting: Tea in the early morning while hummingbirds fly overhead, listening to an orchestra of birds visiting the trees and sky, looking out to my ocean-island view that holds no boundaries, and feeling a cool breeze on my face to wake me up to the world and day ahead.

What is your 'butterfly beauty' -- a place in nature that gives you pause and inspires ritual?

Keep on swimming through life,

I resonate with this meaningful quote: “Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude,” Eugène Delacroix

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,