Today I continue the So.Many.Stories project with a wonderful piece from Kimberly Burnham. Kimberly grew up as a third culture kid in Colombia, Belgium, Japan, Canada and yes, even Cleveland. You can read more about Kimberly at the end of the piece. For now, enjoy this challenge to do what you love.
Bullet Statement: Do what you love, what you are passionate about, safety and success will follow.
It is hard to imagine I paid money, a lot of money, to step onto this stage. I chose to speak through the fear, sadness and, yes, elation coursing through my veins. In a moment of insanity, like the time I roped up and walked face first off a cliff in Utah’s Western desert, I chose to storm this stage in front of a room full of entrepreneurs.
“Own your power. Stride on stage like there are lions who will eat you if you waver,” says Bo Eason, professional football player, storyteller extraordinaire and actor in Runt of the Litter. “Move on stage like a lion. Make the audience feel if they look away, you will eat them,” he coaches.
At 14, I walked face forward off the edge of a cliff. I trusted the strength of the repelling ropes, around my waist, to stop me from crashing a hundred feet down to the tree lined canyon floor. I trusted the survival trip leaders to ensure my safety. As I walked down the cliff face I controlled the speed at which the rope slid through my hands. I felt powerful. I felt safe.
At 54, I repeat to myself, “each day is about the peak moment, when supported and encouraged by others, I feel powerful.” I am the master of my destiny, I remind myself as I take this stage.
“I am here!” I plant my claim to the stage, to my life, to my story. I have begun to convey my experiences. Now, there is only forward. There is no turning back, running off stage and pretending my inner introvert no longer wants to share my message, the story of how I use complementary and alternative medicine to contribute to peace and health in the world, the way I walk the tightrope between passion and safety. Through the nerves and love of my life, I tell the story.
“I am here!” No one wants me here but the Egyptian shop keepers whose stalls line the edge of this much fought over beach. I am here to scuba dive in the Blue Hole, my dream since I was a child listening to Jacques Cousteau, the most famous undersea explorer of all time. The jagged coral, the poisonous lion fish, the deadly rip tides, it is the Red Sea, where waves of deep blue water meet the red sands of the Sinai desert. Cousteau describes, “the most beautiful place on earth.”
Every cell in my body is listening as I tell the tale. “My friends and family feared for my safety. My life insurance company called it high risk behavior and that is just the scuba diving, not this Egyptian beach. To get here from my hotel, I had to jeep through three check points manned by soldiers carrying machine guns.”
“There in the distance,” I paint the picture for one person in the audience. I can get through the emotions I feel. I can tell the story, if I focus on one person. I look for the light in the eyes of one person hungry to hear my story of hope, of ways to thrive in this world.
“Way in the distance across the Red Sea, I can see Jordan and Saudi Arabia. And back beyond the checkpoints and my hotel is modern day Israel.”
Standing on the stage, I know where the story is leading. Emotions well up. Tears at the very edge of my eyes, I say, “It is a good day when you can cross something off your lifetime to do list. I went scuba diving in the Red Sea among the alligator fish, a pride of lionfish, and their deadly cousins, the stonefish, small terrorists of the sea.”
Telling the story, I start to recognize the patterns, the openings to joy and connection. I say the hardest words for me to say.
“A week later, I watched on a big screen TV in a downtown hotel room in Tel Aviv, Israel as the Twin Towers burned. I understood that day, September 11th, Tel Aviv was safer than New York City.”
“There in the Middle East for three weeks, I worked in a physical therapy clinic, helped an Israeli soldier live pain-free, supported a child to walk with more balance. I explored treatment options with a much loved Rabbi, committed to finding ways to deal with cancer, without fighting terror with terror.”
I believe people who feel better, make better choices for themselves, their families and their community. I can contribute to peace by supporting healing and decreasing pain.
As I talk to large audiences and individuals, I share my experiences and the stories of my clients, not because it is easy but because I am grateful for the ability to inspire hope and offer real solutions in the form of knowledge, self-care exercises, visualizations and treatment approaches from Integrative Manual Therapy, Matrix Energetics, acupressure and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine.
A lot of people ask themselves, “how can I thrive, make a difference in my community and contribute to a peaceful world?”
On my desk is a heart chakra green and white postcard which says, “Do what you love. No excuses.”
Do what you love, what you are passionate about, safety and success will follow. Building a wall and locking the door is not the way to keep yourself safe. Not doing things because of fear, doesn’t increase your safety.
Perceive the opportunities. Live passionately. Contribute to quality of life in this amazing world.
More about Kimberly: Born in Provo, Utah, Kimberly Burnham has a BSc in Zoology from Brigham Young University ’82 and a PhD in Integrative Medicine ’96.Kimberly is the author of several books and a chapter, “Fractals: Seeing the Patterns in our Existence” in Jack Canfield’sPearls of Wisdom, 30 Inspirational ideas to Live Your Best Life Now! (2012) as well as “The Eyes Observing Your World” a featured chapter in Christine Kloser’s Pebbles in the Pond, Transforming the World One Person at a Time (2012). Her upcoming book is The Nerve Whisperer. Kimberly’s goal is to change the face of brain health and how each of us experiences this incredible world. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut with her partner, Victoria Carmona. Find out more about Kimberly at http://www.KimberlyBurnham.com and http://www.NerveWhisperer.com,
- So.Many.Proposals (communicatingacrossboundariessomanystories.wordpress.com)
8 thoughts on “So.Many.Stories – Safety and Success”
Am i allowed to post your this article to my group in linkedin, if this is ok%3
Thank you for the inspiration. I love the statement – Do you what you love. No excuses. That is what I need to hear in this moment. And thanks for how you are showing up in the world. You are a force of healing and inspiration.
Lilia Shoshanna Rae, http://www.lightlovetruthwisdom.com/blog
In the moment, thanks Lilia for showing up to hear my words. That is what we have and thanks for your tremendous ability to inspire.
I just love your writing style Kimberly Burnham and how you tell the story of safety and success. We all want to know that our life makes a difference. Contributing to our community using our individual gifts makes a difference. We all are connected. We are all one. What happens to any one of our brothers and sisters on this planet creates a ripple affect on us all. It is so important that we get this and when we do a more sustainable and just world will blossom. It is time we all open our package of giftedness and share it with the world. Our gift is truly what we love to do and are passionate about. Thank you for letting me know about this incredible blog.
Hey Carolyn, the ripple is affecting us all. Thanks for your work in the world and for your book, Step Up, Step Out – Share Your Gifts and Be an Agent for Change
I love the narrative and ease with which you share the question, “Have you shared your gifts with the world?” Whether as an adventurous soul or dreaming of taking a journey to wellness, Carolyn, you courageously shares the wisdom, personal dance and education you embrace in exchange for sharing your gifts, not as a tourist but as a global human being in Ecuador, Bali, Uganda and beyond. Thanks, Kim
It was my pleasure! I look forward to checking out the link. This whole safety/risk thing is a big thing. And our country has created a nightmare of sorts called “retirement” and “security” and “pension”. While none of those on their own are bad, the ethos it creates can be troubling. I can’t count how many times people have said “Well I hate my job, but only 7 years…or 10…or 5 or fill in the blank years to retirement.” Not a healthy way to live. Thank you!
Marilyn, I hear you on this. Last week two people quoted a number to me like 435.5 and then said, “that is the number of work days I have until I retire.” Said not with a happy face looking forward to what can be accomplished, contributed and enjoyed in each and every one of those days.
Thanks for posting this Marilyn. I also wanted to let you know I recently did a free 1 hour audio (replay) interview with fellow Pebbles in the Pond author Ann White:
Kimberly Burnham, author of Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open and author, Ann White, Creating Calm in the Chaos.