As a member of the Nursing Leadership for Healing Circles team, I was delighted to host a healing circle for nurses in my home in Fort Salonga, New York. It just so happened that Diana and Kelly Lindsay were traveling to the East Coast from Langley, Washington, to attend a family wedding in Connecticut, and they graciously offered to host a healing circle on Long Island. It was wonderful to finally meet Diana and Kelly and to share a beautiful day of learning, reflection, and healing.
Twenty-two nurses from diverse nursing specialties accepted our invitation and gathered in circle. Most were board-certified integrative nurse coaches and holistic nurses, and others represented psychiatric nursing and nursing academia. But on June 22, our educational backgrounds, the setting in which we worked, and the credentials we had achieved throughout our nursing careers were irrelevant. We came together as human beings who shared a common goal to bring healing to humanity.
The circle is familiar to nurses. We first gathered in circle as nursing students in pre- and post-conference to learn in community and share our experiences. We have created circles of hope and healing throughout our careers each time we accepted the invitation to be part of an intimate moment of a person’s life at birth, in illness, and at the moment of death. It is in this sacred space where nurses have the greatest opportunity to create environments of healing.
Our nursing school days have long past. The current unpredictable arena of healthcare has caused us to feel disconnected from the art of our profession and from ourselves. Coming together in community reminded us of the power of the circle and helped us regain a sense of self and a renewed passion for our beloved nursing profession. The healing circle allowed us to access our inner wisdom and authentic power by giving us a quiet, comfortable space to share our personal stories, frustrations, joys, and sorrows. More importantly, the circle gave us permission to be vulnerable, so healing could take place.
Our special time together has heightened our awareness that we are mirror images of those for whom we care, and we do better when we feel loved and supported in community.
For days after the program, many of the participants continued to send messages of gratitude and expressed the desire to continue to gather in circle on a regular basis. A group of us decided to offer a monthly healing circle, where nurses could gather and continue to heal and flourish. Others are eager to integrate healing circles into their practice settings in the areas of addiction, chronic illness, staff development, bereavement, family caregiving, and nursing academia.
On October 1 and 2, Harmony Hill Retreat Center, which is located in Union, Washington, is hosting a Healing Circle Educational Program for nurses and other health professionals. Due to the success and popularity of the June program, plans are currently underway to offer the same program on the East Coast at Cormaria Retreat House in Sag Harbor, New York, in November 2018.
I recently read a quote by Christina Baldwin that resonated with me as I reflected on the day the nurses gathered in circle.
We have the opportunity in circle…to heal our old stories and to make new stories that lead to different actions and create a different world.
Now more than ever we are in great need of creating new stories that bring healing opportunities to self, our profession, our patients, and our world.
Header photo by Joanne Turnier