Thursday, October 26, 2017

all one

Today, after a short presentation on the history of racism, and before a quiz, my nursing class meditated on the concept on "oneness." We are all one, all connected.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Reiki class

My students are listening, feeling, and learning. They are researching and writing.

We did Reiju at the pond this week. Frogs bellowed, turtles bobbed, water lilies shone. One student felt vibrations. Two saw colors. All participated. It was marvelous.

They are Reiki. We are Reiki. I love to teach. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wellness Conference

Was so much fun. I could have spent three days talking to the wonderful crowd of magical people. I think we had enough food for three days. I wanted to talk to everyone and attend all the presentations, but I kept having to check on something, fix something, or answer an important question. I did make it to the final workshop: Kirtan. I love Kirtan. Sound healing from inside and out. Sound meditation; connection with self, spirit, and community. I love the moment when the chant ends and it's silent, breathing, maybe a gasp of wonderment.

We'll do it again next year.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


The two women took me on me on a tour of their city. I was travelling in the southwest USA and they were best friends.

"These are the best houses," they told me. "Where the rich people live."

I looked quickly for hints of amusement and deception, but could detect none. They were chattering and bickering with each other, as usual, casually admiring the homes, paying no notice to me in the back seat.

The houses looked worse than the poorest houses in Maine. Mud houses in dirt yards. Old wood fences around the perimeters. The houses were crowded together with short driveways and clear views to the neighbors. Small windows. Dirt houses in dirt yards. These were the best houses?

"There's the river," they pointed out.

I looked down into a long depression in the dirt.

"Dry now," they added, unnecessarily.

I thought of New England's best houses. Grand three storey clapboards, long windows with green shutters. White and yellow houses and green lawns, white picket fences. Long driveways, trees, and beds of bright flowers. Or the newer boxy places with lots of glass and fancy landscaping, a pool out back.

They can't even afford a lawn, I thought, ignorant, confused; not understanding the economics, environment, or culture. I thought again that it must be a trick. I thought I'd like to walk in the wild desert and feel nature in this strange place. 

one challenge today

Life's challenges help us learn, grow in compassion and wisdom. I hope you have one challenge today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Outrage fatigue

                                 Every day bad news from Washington. Every day more erosion of democracy, gangrene in our Capitol. More hate, more division, more income inequality. The rich play, the rest of us are slaves.

I want to fight for what's right: love, tolerance, diversity, education, health, green Earth, and compassion. I would march every weekend if that would help. I'll volunteer, donate, I'll support altruistic candidates.

But feeling a bit of outrage fatigue tonight. Eleven hours in the hospital with smart eager students, with too many brave kind people dying of cancer, with excellent fabulous wonderful nurses. A little fear too. With so much hate and ignorance, so many guns, will they start shooting us?

And Reiki. Our ethical foundation is to recognize and release fear and anger. Transcend these fearful angry times, while remaining in the world, lightly.


                someone said, “I have to wash my truck.” I paid scant attention. I was in a room full of strangers. He continued, “There was a murder….”

“WHAT?” I interrupted. I pictured blood and guts in the back of a pickup. I pictured him furtively hosing it down.

He grinned and I knew. “A murder…” he said.

“of crows,” I interrupted again.

“that’s what they call a flock of crows.” He spoke over me. He grinned again. “They made a mess of my truck. I have to clean it off.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

so much snow

Our side streets are one lane, we have narrow paths from our cars to our front doors. Out early or started late two days last week. No school yesterday, no school tomorrow. Thursday iffy.

Those of us who move snow are exhausted. I shovel my steps, scoop my deck and driveway; put on snowshoes and go around the house and garage to rake the roofs. My arms, shoulders, and hips ache.

The snow piles around my house are 12 feet high. I scale them in my snowshoes and I'm level with the roof of my house. It's supposed to snow the next two days: we're expecting another foot.

It's pretty. I like the white stuff. I love to be out in a storm and I love to ski and snowshoe. I like wintry isolation. I like cold outside and warm house; I like to sip tea and watch snowflakes swirl.

I have help: I pay my neighbor to plow the end of the driveway. When the snow piles got too big he had to stop plowing and change to a snowblower. But the snow was so light and fluffy and the piles already so high that much of it simply slid back down into the driveway. My driveway is half full of snow and no place to put it. It's pretty, but there's so much of it right now.

A stretch of warm sunny days will be welcome.

snow days

I'm so glad we cancel school when the travelling is risky. I'm lucky to have a dependable car with 4-wheel drive and good tires; so many of our students don't. My commute is 7 minutes; many students drive an hour to come to school. I'm not a single parent of small kids and don't have to worry about childcare if their school is closed. So many of our students do have those concerns. I recognize that hospital nurses must show up for work, regardless of the weather; our students pay to come to school. Nursing school eases students into the responsibilities of the profession. We like our students and want to keep them alive, healthy, and in class. We're lucky to have College leaders who are sensible and responsive to our students' health and happiness. I'll be working from home tomorrow, students will be studying for mid-terms and writing clinical papers: warm and safe; still committed to education, science, and community. Nursing programs used to expel students for being married, going to a beauty parlor, and drinking alcohol. Nurses have a terrible tradition of "eating their young." We're trying to change that harmful practice. I'm so glad that nursing education has evolved and continues to respond to the needs of our students. We exist because of our students. Our students tell me that they feel respected and supported. Our College is a wonderful place to work and study. Thank you for reading this.

Friday, February 10, 2017

and again

Just read another one. Just like the first one.

This one says: "Being a nurse isn’t about grades, it’s about being who we are. No book can teach you how to cry with a patient. No class can teach you how to tell their family that their parents have died or are dying. No professor can teach you how to find dignity in giving someone a bed bath. A nurse is not about the pills or the charting. It’s about being able to love people when they’re at their weakest moments."

I disagree. I can and do teach these things.

According to this writer, nursing can't be taught. Nursing isn't about books, classes, or instruction. It's not critical thinking, interventions, teamwork, or communication. So what the heck am I doing? Why bother with nursing school? Just get some loving people and turn them loose with stethoscopes and needles.

According to this person nursing is love. Just love.

Nursing is all those things. The art AND the science. Thinking and expressing compassion. Heart and brain.

I find this view of nursing (just love, can't be taught) to be so demeaning. It diminishes us. Yes, I have a heart. Yes, great nurses express compassion. But we also have brains. We're scientists and health detectives. Not just girly hand-holders, we have brains. We assess, plan, intervene, and evaluate. That's the nursing process and it's the foundation of our practice.

I can teach all these things, the science and the art, and if they're not important, then what the heck am I doing as a nursing instructor? Just unleash some lovey hand-holders if that's all nursing is. End of rant.

great nurses

I read a post online that said, "Nurses are born not made."

This is an interesting opinion, similar to the notion that people are "called" to the profession. 

I'm a nurse and a nursing instructor. I wasn't "called," I ambled into it. Stumbled. Thought, "hmmm.... life and death, I bet that's not boring."

Now I help people become great nurses. I help people learn nursing skills such as expressing compassion, listening, and critical thinking about health care. I provide opportunities and facilitate experiences. I help students identify and collaborate with nurses, aides, housekeepers, pharmacists, physicians, therapists, visitors, administrators, and technicians. 

The students practice observing, measuring, palpating, auscultating, and interviewing. They analyze laboratory values and think about how lifestyle and medications affect disease processes. They think about where the patient will be in 5 years, and in 10 years. 

Nursing can be a great job, a rewarding career, and not necessarily a calling. People can learn to be great nurses.