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The circle of healing: embracing holistic nursing personally and professionally.

Lynn Fenske

This past January, I turned 40. For some this seems old, for others not, for me it is simply a turning point.... A place to reflect upon and look forward. In this moment as I write this article, I am pausing to notice how my life up to this point can be likened to beading a necklace. An activity I truly enjoy and have found myself over and over again wishing I had more time to do. The truth is, I have all along been beading a necklace each bead representing a role or stage in my life. A bead for my childhood growing up on a farm, adolescence attending grade and high school, womanhood moving out on my own, nursing school (BSN and MSN), marriage, divorce, Ayurveda school, living abroad in India, yoga training, wound, foot and nail care certifications, advanced holistic nurse certification, health/wellness coaching, etc. For 40 years, I have been collecting these unique and different beads--occasionally stopping to pick one up, hold it in my hand, remember and then place it back in storage.

In this moment, I realize the piece that has been missing all these years.. The piece that brings it all together (and makes it one). This piece is my spiritual essence--the strand that gathers all the beads together. I was born with it, but it has taken years of practice, experience, and maturity to build its strength and integrity. As I look at all these beads together.... I notice the many colors, shapes, edges, areas of dullness and sharpness, and the spaces between. Realizing that there is no other necklace that looks the same and we each have our own unique strand and set of beads. This is a defining moment for me.... A time to wear this necklace and let it shine! It is this simple practice of embracing my life and experiences that makes me a holistic individual. And when I fully embrace who I am, I can only emit goodness to all others.

Deborah Markee

A few years ago, I was surprised by how profoundly I was affected by the suicide of a popular young co-worker. I educated myself regarding grief and mourning following suicide and I noticed that the females around me were openly grieving the loss while the males were not. The only consistent things in reference to the suicide I heard from my male co-workers were; "I didn't notice any signs" or "I should have done something." From what I had read, those were typical responses from men.

Weeks passed and I was still raw with sadness. From my exposure to holistic nursing, I believed that we who were seeking healing were best suited to heal ourselves. After ascertaining staff was in agreement, I developed and implemented a healing circle at work to promote healing and resilience for staff. Participation was voluntary. My colleagues were eager to begin. Still, I was most concerned about the men. In anticipation of them not joining the circle, I designed our initial circle to honor and affirm the energies, strengths, courage and wisdom of the men we worked with and to acknowledge our gratitude to them for keeping us safe. A feature of the ritual included naming the four cardinal directions, the energetic personalities associated with each direction and naming the men representing those directions. Before the circle was initiated I asked the men if they would help the females by aligning their intentions with those represented by the directions (i.e., protecting us from the influence of ignorance, safeguarding our peace and renewal, averting turmoil and confusion and guiding us to make wise choices). The men agreed to participate in this fashion.

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We held the healing circle every week for many months. The men protected the perimeter while the females conducted the circle. The ritual changed often and included prayer, meditation techniques, gratitude, Jean Watson's exemplar exercises to identify intentions and introductory coherence techniques. In this small way, I was able to bring holistic nursing into my traditional nursing practice.

Chris Snyder

Recently, my life has been beset with deaths, divorce, and a protracted period of vision loss that had left me feeling sad and unworthy. I began to understand what Tara Brach, PhD, calls the "trance of unworthiness." I had succumbed to the unworthiness that seems so common to nurses who battle being competent advocates for their patients' in a health care environment that demands so much. This unworthiness has followed me throughout my career. In recent years, I observed this same "unworthiness" in my clients battling addiction, trauma, depression, and anxiety. My passion is helping clients learn compassionate ways of coping and healing using mind-body-spirit methods. As holistic nurses learn more about neural integration and the interconnection of mind, body, and spirit, we become role models as we teach self-care, centered grounding, medications, and the use of breath to manage emotions and discomfort. At the end of all of my therapeutic groups, we form a healing circle by joining hands and becoming present in the moment. All group members first exchange a phrase of support then we hold silence and eye connection. The goal of this practice is for group members to develop solidarity, a shared sense of support, and reassurance that we are not alone.

Recently, I have been on a personal healing journey involving reaching out for support, self-care, and replacing the trance of unworthiness with loving compassion toward me first and then others. An integral part of this healing journey has been my memberships in AHNA, and the New Mexico Holistic Nurse Network (local chapter of AHNA). My life has been enriched by going to the monthly meetings of supportive holistic nurses. Our chapter represents an inspiring circle of nurses who are incorporating holistic nursing principles into their personal lives and their clinical practices. The beauty, wisdom, and passion imbued by this group of nurses is nothing short of profound. This compassionate holistic nursing group has come together in healing circles for me and other members who have known suffering and pain. These profound moments of healing and group connection reveal the power of a holistic nursing community.

Finally, there is reconnection to the idea that healing starts from within and reverberates throughout. Whether it is the circle of Debra Markee's grief support group or my circle of healing clients, or Lynn Fenske's healing circle of a beaded necklace that shines brightly with goodness and light. May more nurses find healing and connection, self-love, and ways to learn and incorporate holistic nursing into their practices.

Author Biographical Information

Lynn Fenske, MSN, RN, AHN-BC, is a board certified advanced holistic nurse with a Master of Science degree. She has nearly 20 years' experience with the latter portion of her career focused on wound, ostomy, foot/nail care, health/wellness coaching and eastern integrative medicine (Ayurveda/Yoga). Her experience includes acute, chronic, and ambulatory care in rural, metropolitan and international settings. In collaboration with her clients, she uniquely integrates eastern and western modalities to promote health and well-being. Lynn currently blends her unique skills within her private practice at Hybrid Healthcare LLC.

Deborah Markee, MSN Ed, RN, began her career as a registered nurse at Boston City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She later worked on a dedicated AIDS unit at The New York Hospital until she moved to Albuquerque in 1997. She worked at Lovelace in oncology for ten years before taking her current position. For the last seven years she has held a staff nurse position on an adult inpatient psychiatric unit at University of New Mexico Hospitals' University Psychiatric Center in Albuquerque. Deborah is co-leader and founding member of the Albuquerque, NM Chapter of the American Holistic Nurses Association. She welcomes the opportunity to share her knowledge of holistic nursing with both at-risk high school students and student nurses. She finds observing the growth and success of the Albuquerque chapter and its members most gratifying.

Chris Snyder, LPCC, BSN, LMT, RN, has worked as a medical and psychiatric nurse in hospitals, clinics, and community settings and as a nurse case manager for clients with complicated medical and psychiatric conditions. Chris provides therapeutic massage and Reiki for clients. Chris received a Masters' degree in Counseling in 2010. Most recently, she has provided Intensive Outpatient Treatment for groups and individuals with addictions and mental health conditions. Chris combines mind-body-spirit holistic healing methods to promote advocacy, self-empowerment, and self-understanding.

New Mexico Holistic Nurse Network (NMHNN) is a local chapter of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). The group meets on the second-Thursday of every month from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Membership is open to all who are interested in holistic health. Please join us at one of our upcoming meetings. For more information: nmholisticnurses@gmail.com www.newmexicoholisticnurses.wordpress.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/NM-HolisticNurses/10150106603645601
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Author:Fenske, Lynn; Markee, Deborah; Snyder, Chris
Publication:New Mexico Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Jul 1, 2014
Words:1478
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