Modality of the Month: Plant Medicine

Modality of the Month: Plant Medicine

Submitted by: Rene Milliman RN, BSN

Plant medicine is a very simple means of treating ailments without traditional pharmaceuticals. There are many items we think of as traditional foods, and herbs & other plants that we can incorporate into use. These medicinal plants can also be used to improve overall health and wellness. Many therapeutic plants are found in our everyday kitchens. For one example, garlic can help to ward off illness and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.


My first introduction to recognizing plants as medicine was when my older cousin who lived next door started collecting dandelions to make tea. Dandelion is a liver cleanser, supports kidneys & your immune system, and promotes good digestion. Isn’t it interesting that the plant we create evermore poisonous chemicals to eradicate is the very plant that will help the body cleanse itself of harmful chemicals? Now when I have friends wanting to get rid of their dandelions I am happy to come dig them up for them! Or I’ll leave my own growing for the bees to enjoy and help us grow more medicine. 

Here is a list just a few plants that I find super helpful, and these are the ones I find easier to suggest to others who may never have used plants as medicine before

Peppermint – stomach upset/nausea

Chamomile – heartburn, relaxation

Lemon/Ginger – GI upset

Echinacea – help the body fight infections/shorten duration of illness

Hawthorne – help lower blood pressure and protection against heart disease

Catnip – muscle relaxer & sleep

Raspberry leaf – easing PMS


I have not listed every use for each plant here. Each one has a multitude of uses which is incredible, but overwhelming. My recommendation is to consume them in whatever way is most comfortable for you. Sure, a strongly brewed decoction made of the strongest plant parts might have more strength to it. But if the process to make it is lengthy, and the end result is less palatable for you, it’s less likely that you will make it a part of your practice. Find the way that works for you.

Because most plant medicine is not approved for use by the FDA, products can’t have more than a generalized use listed on them. This requires us to do research to learn what they can do. It also makes it challenging for plant medicine to become more commonly used. When choosing between Pepto Bismol and Ginger Tincture for GI issues, people are going to choose the label that tells them what they are buying it for and how to take it. This is why it’s helpful to introduce plant medicine simply and in the moment. Have a friend over or a patient that is complaining of nausea? Make them a cup of peppermint tea. Simply the act of holding a warm  beverage in your hands is therapeutic. And when they find relief, they will remember that for the future. And perhaps that will be the start of their journey to learn more about herbs and food as medicine. 

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Modality of the Month: Archetypal Astrology

This gallery contains 6 photos.

  Modality of the Month: Archetypal Astrology Submitted by: Marina Ormes, RN, HN-BC (ret.) (The following is an excerpt from an article-in-progress by Marina Ormes that will soon be submitted for publication to nursing and holistic healing journals.) Archetypal Astrology: … Continue reading

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Modality of the Month: Meditation


Modality of the Month: Meditation

Submitted by Lisa Gregory BSN, RN-BC, CCRN, OHNA Director at Large

In a world filled with stress and chaos, finding inner peace and balance is essential for overall well-being. Meditation, a powerful holistic modality, offers a path to healing and self-discovery. With its roots in ancient practices, meditation has gained significant popularity as a means of achieving mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I find that meditation can aid in grounding and centering myself. I use this modality whenever I have the time and/or mental space. My practice can be quick or lengthy depending on the day. This healing modality explores meditation, highlighting its benefits and discussing how it contributes to a holistic approach to wellness.

Meditation is a practice that involves focusing one’s attention and eliminating external distractions, allowing individuals to connect with their inner selves. By quieting the mind and cultivating a state of mindfulness, meditation encourages self-reflection and self-awareness. This ancient practice can take various forms, including guided visualization, breathing exercises, or mantra repetition. Regardless of the technique used, meditation promotes relaxation, stress reduction, and a sense of calm.

The benefits of meditation extend beyond mere relaxation. Regular meditation practice has been shown to have numerous positive effects on mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and depression by calming the mind and cultivating a positive mindset. It enhances focus and concentration, leading to improved productivity and mental clarity. Additionally, meditation aids in managing stress and lowering blood pressure, contributing to better cardiovascular health. It promotes emotional stability, fosters self-compassion, and enhances empathy and interpersonal relationships. Meditation has even been found to strengthen the immune system, leading to improved overall health.

 Holistic healing emphasizes the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit, recognizing that optimal health requires balance in all aspects of life. Meditation aligns perfectly with this holistic approach. By bringing harmony to the mind, meditation positively influences the body and spirit. It helps individuals develop a deeper understanding of themselves, leading to improved self-acceptance and self-love. This self-awareness enables individuals to make conscious choices that align with their true selves, promoting overall well-being.


Meditation serves as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation. It provides a safe and nurturing space for individuals to explore their thoughts, emotions, and aspirations. Through regular meditation practice, one can developresilience and gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Meditation allows individuals to let go of limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns, creating space for personal evolution. It fosters a sense of inner strength and confidence, empowering individuals to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience.

Meditation is a powerful and accessible holistic modality that promotes healing and self-discovery. By quieting the mind, meditation brings about a state of mindfulness and inner peace. Its numerous benefits span mental, emotional, and physical well-being, making it an essential practice in the quest for optimal health. As a holistic modality, meditation supports personal growth and transformation, fostering self-awareness and resilience. Incorporating meditation into our daily lives can lead to a harmonious and balanced existence, enabling us to navigate life’s challenges with grace and serenity.


Links to guided meditations examples:

FREEBIES | Oregon Holistic Nurses Association

Free Guided Meditations | Insight Timer

3 Simple Guided Meditation Scripts for Improving Wellbeing (

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Modality of the Month: Reiki

Submitted by: Abigail Hall MSN, RN, HNB-BC, OHNA Secretary

“I feel so much more grounded”.
“I have a sense of calmness and feel more connected to
“I feel like I have been cleansed and I can operate at a
higher level.”
“It was like restful sleep.”
These are just some of the quotes I received when I was asking my friends who are Reiki practitioners what their clients say. There were many more statements but all the people I spoke to expressed that they love Reiki and the effects it can have on people, pets, plants, and the world. Reiki is an energy system, it is spiritual energy, and it is a word. Roughly translated, Reiki means universal life force energy. As an energy system, Reiki promotes a way of living with universal energy and love, alongside positive thoughts and mental attitude.
The origins of Reiki are set around the 1920s in Japan. It came to the West in the 1980s and 1990s and was adopted in many different circles. There are four levels of Reiki practitioners from Level 1 to Level 4, and Level 2 and above use symbols. A person progresses through and is attuned to each level. Attunements are when a master passes on the ability of a student to be a channel for Reiki energy. Reiki treatments happen when a person is fully clothed and laying on a massage table or seated in a chair. The practitioner places their hands on or near the person’s body and they offer or conduct universal energy. There is no pressure or massage with a Reiki session, and it can even be done over distances.


The treatment is holistic and can have effects on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a being. Reiki can be delivered by itself or as a support to other forms of treatment. The act of bringing spiritual energy into a person’s own energy field is a way of clearing blockages, enhancing innate energy flow, reducing tension, promoting the qualities of love, and increasing relaxation. Reiki helps the body’s own healing response, while fostering a state of bliss, wellness, and peacefulness. Energy blockages impede the innate flow of energy, and as we know everything is made of energy, so blocks can cause health problems, relationship troubles, spiritual distress, or even financial concerns.
As a Reiki 2 practitioner, I have integrated Reiki into intentional moments when I am with my family, my patients, my colleagues, and even passersby who I sensed were struggling. I view it as a beautiful gift to be a channel that can steer positive, loving energy towards people for them to use as they need. I have integrated it into my healing practice and use it to feel out and direct energy. I have seen it used after traumatic events, during a time of growth and expansion, to settle and ground, for general emotional and spiritual maintenance, and in times of an acute health crisis. People have reported a tingling, buzzing, warmth, or calmness in their bodies after sessions. If you are interested in learning more about Reiki or becoming a practitioner, choosing a Reiki Master and the type of training is extremely important. If you are looking to experience Reiki, choose a practitioner who can speak about their training, attunements, practices, and professionalism.


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We Are the Change – Adaptability as a Core OHNA Value

Submitted by Marina Ormes RN, RN, HN-BC (ret)
OHNA Director

Adaptability is one of OHNA’s core values and we certainly have been living it the past three years. Our tag line: We Are the Change, means we are changemakers—leaders at the forefront of change. It also means we must be able to stay current with changing and evolving conditions and situations.

Nurses, of course, are uniquely positioned and well-trained to respond to changing needs. We are patient advocates, the eyes and ears of not only changing vital signs or lab tests, but also changing energies—the “vibe” in the room.

Good nurses are tuned in, in practical as well as energetic ways, to what our patients need. Holistic practice means we are present with the patient and the patient’s family so we can notice what needs to happen… not just TO the patient but FOR the patient’s greatest good.

As our beloved Kathleen Bell and other presenters reminded us during last month’s conference, healing is not the same as curing. While curing means eradicating a disease or restoring physical health following an injury, healing can occur at all stages of life and in response to all life events.

We can even heal while actively dying, and this means we as nurses remain present so we can support what best serves the patient, whether that is physical comfort or through emotional/spiritual integration that leads to greater wholeness.

All of this applies also, of course, at the organizational level. We must remain present to what IS, not just what we thought or hoped for. We must be ready to respond to needs as they emerge and change approaches when called for.

In 2020 we were thrilled to have made a commitment to booking the Full Camp at Breitenbush Hot Springs for our conference. For the first time ever, we had grown enough that we anticipated registration numbers high enough to justify reserving all of Breitenbush, just for OHNA conference participants.

Then along came a global COVID-19 pandemic that has forced all of us to adapt. As if that weren’t enough, as part of the massive forest fire events of 2020, wildfire tragically destroyed much of Breitenbush’s buildings and infrastructure.

Adaptation for the Board of OHNA has meant canceling our 2020 full-camp conference, pivoting to an online conference in 2021, and not being able to meet in person for two years. Board members were, as so many of us were, stretched thin. We have had to learn ways to support our own resilience, both at a personal level and as the governing Board of OHNA.

The past three years have been challenging, but in September of 2022 we were able to meet in person, with a smaller group, at the actively regenerating Breitenbush Hot Springs.

Many forest species are strengthened by adverse events such as fire. Some, like morel mushrooms, even wait until after fires to fruit with their delicious mushrooms. I felt this strength when we met together. I was moved by the power of Breitenbush’s efforts to rebuild. I felt the power of what OHNA has become as a group while “not” meeting in person, while “not” doing business as usual, while “not” getting much accomplished from our to do list.

I felt the strength of who we have become because we know how to heal—not because nurses are better at healing than anyone else, but because as holistic practitioners, we trust the healing process to unfold without needing to control or understand it.

And what we have become simply feels magic. It is more deeply rooted, stronger, clearer, and more organized in both thinking and readiness for action. Participants at the conference were all of these things individually as well as together. What was shared by many at the closing ceremony was not just a sense of personal renewal, but a sense of deep regeneration that included clarity about action steps, commitment to self-care practices, and strength to step into more leadership roles within healthcare and beyond.

This, to me, is the epitome of adaptability. It is the ability to let go and surrender with intention and with being present to what is. In so doing, we allow ourselves to become what we could previously only imagine. It is an integrative approach. It is giving ourselves permission to let go of what isn’t working and become something new, even when (maybe especially when) it isn’t comfortable to do so. This is what it means to be the change.

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OHNA Core Value – Sustainability

Submitted by Christobal Mozingo Goodwin, OHNA Director-at-Large, who is a Board-Certified Holistic Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator. He is a Master-prepared Registered Nurse with over 30 years of combined healthcare, wellness, and workplace safety experience.

Sustainability is definitively a Holistic Nurse value. It is one that we know is important, but we often witness the exact opposite in our daily care workflows. From single-use items, to reams of paper still being consumed in the “paperless” era, to a pile of plastic packaging that accumulates in our workspaces; healthcare doesn’t feel very sustainable and the Covid endemic has seemed to exacerbate the feeling of unsustainability.

It may come as a surprise that in the past few decades, a nurse-inspired health care sustainability movement has quietly been doing the work to influence the reduction of waste while providing safe, conscientious care. Nurses (and their respective nurse organizations) have made environmental stewardship a priority. One can experience this when interacting with different organizations such as State Boards of Nurses (very few print physical nursing licenses anymore) and at some major nursing conferences, where most content is offered in a paperless format or through a smartphone application.

On a grander scale, nurses have continued to be vocal and advocate for cleaner and greener workplaces. The ongoing vigilance of the nursing value of sustainability has resulted in transforming the way hospital systems design, build, and operate their care facilities. This championing of environmental stewardship by nurses has been driving the “greening of healthcare”.

In her seminal work “Greening Health Care: How Hospitals Can Heal The Planet”, Kathy Gerwig, former Environmental Stewardship Officer for Kaiser Health Plan wrote, “The good news is that the health care industry is rapidly waking up to its double-edged impacts on health and the environment and is making significant strides to become more environmentally responsible and sustainable”.

Sustainability demands a redefinition of consumption for nurses personally and professionally. As holistic nurses, we know that an important way to manifest the change we want to see in the world is to model the actions and behaviors to make it happen. I hope this blog post has moved you to think about your efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle. By making small changes, you can reduce waste, reuse materials appropriately, repurpose goods, and recycle when possible. Most importantly, you can be the change you want to see.

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Root Where You Can – Guest Post

Submitted by Paul van Waardenburg
OHNA member

The times are a-changing. There is an impending new normal, a great reset. The landscape of our lives is regularly changing. This past year and more has shown us that one month there may be fires, a pandemic, etc. and the next everything is open, and your employer is “asking” you to come back to the workplace. Circumstances have left mapping out our lives beyond a month victim to regular revision. Many of us, healers in this community, have been tasked with learning how to be resilient. We are asked to not burn out at this time of service. How do we stay grounded in a world that is constantly shifting beneath our feet?

This dilemma has led me to find new ways of living in this time to find answers, signs, and synchronicities. How can I redefine my time? What is this time? Does “Sun”day have a more sun-based aspect to its quality? Is the first day of summer the actual date of the earliest sunrise to the latest sunset? When I looked at the first day of the spring equinox, for example, I found that the calendar date was different from the actual day when the day and night were both equal times. When I check my horoscope and I look directly above me can I make out the constellations or planetary placements that inform the astrologer overhead? When I look at sidereal or Vedic astrology, I find that western astrology does not pertain to which stars are in the sky where I am. Each of these questions has only led me to subjective confirmation, but how can one live more in the objective?

For me, it has been about aspects of the sun and moon. Instead of waking up every day with the alarm on my phone, I find rhythm in waking up with the songs of birds out my window or the cat purring beside my head. I have found ritual(s) based on the aspect of the moon overhead. Each new moon I take time to celebrate my ancestors and with a full moon, I take time to reflect. I sit in silence before the sun fully rises into the sky as colors change and dance in celebration of the day ahead. I offer salutations in yoga forms depending on the planetary aspects moving about in the wider Universe while taking in their form with breathwork.

We are sovereign and yet time slowly picks away at that view of ourselves. Appointments, clocking in and out and living for the weekend slowly erode that perspective. I challenge that our existence as sovereign entities creates more of who we are than career, education, or whatever story that has been incorporated into the current expression of ourselves. I offer my experience to exploring my time in the objective thought-form and ask each one of us to share and practice yours too. I challenge that we are living in a story of existence and each of us is the main character in that epic. By reclaiming our time that story becomes clearer.

What is your objective way to measure time?  How can you offer it more space in your living being? Sit with this idea in stillness, root where you can, as we have eternity to find the answers.


Paul van Waardenburg BSN, RN-BC is a husband and father of three wonderful light beings. As a full-time home hospice nurse and part-time chaos magician, his activities include those of life and living. To find more of Paul’s inner monologue in the outer you can check out his podcast MagikCool Podcast which he co-hosts with his wife, Jessica, where they discuss esoteric solutions to the very real difficulties that surround our lives.  Or his solo cast, RevolutionRN, where he interviews nurses focused on empowering their communities and one another.

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Cultivating Resilience – Guest Post

Submitted by Sarah Johnston, BSN, CCRN
Critical Care Float Pool
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center

As healthcare professionals, we get a firsthand look at how fragile we are as human beings and at the same time just how resilient we can be. We can see how life is a continuous balance of both. Sometimes things unfold as we have planned and other times, we are humbled at how little control we have. If there is anything, we can be sure of from helping people who are sick, it’s that recovery is going to look different for everyone- and the same goes for building resilience. Resilience is defined as one’s capacity to recover, which is a process that takes commitment, practice, and is going to be a unique experience for everyone. As front-line workers during a pandemic, we have had an intimate connection with COVID in that we don’t ever get a break- not at work or at home. We grieve the loss of normal in our personal lives and we come to work scared and unsure of what the future will hold. What an enormous quality of a human – to be made so strong yet so vulnerable.

How can we view this experience as an opportunity to cultivate resilience? Studies show that intentionally shifting our focus and our mindset creates a more positive outlook on life in general. It’s not in a way that doesn’t allow us to feel wholeheartedly pain and suffering, but rather it gives us the ability to choose strength to continue forward. In each of our stories, we get to choose whether we play the victim or the hero.  We could share with each other all our individual methods and approaches to fostering resilience. It might be inspiring to some and it might be a start in the right direction. For others, it might be disheartening, and reaffirm their shame and disappointment in themselves for not doing or feeling better.  I wonder if we might find more value in showing one another compassion for the grief we have all experienced. Learning how to give ourselves and each other permission to feel grief because that is where resilience is planted.  Rather than a list of how we can foster resilience, what if we spend time learning how to be reflective, mindful, intentional, and balanced. What if we spend time being kind to each other, helping others, and putting our focus on the community and people we are surrounded by – lifting each other up and creating a culture that promotes resilience and encouraging one another to persevere through challenges. COVID isn’t likely the first and surely will not be the last opportunity we experience in this life where we are given the choice to give up in despair and hopelessness or to move forward with a new perspective.

So, take a moment to reflect on who you are, what your world looks like, and how you can be kind to yourself and others while you navigate seasons of change. Honor each other for small success and recognize we are all on the same journey to planting resilience and growing together as a community.

Thank you, Sarah!!

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How I can apply my holistic practices to everyday life…

Submitted by Kelly Alandt RN
OHNA Director-at-Large

I remember learning in nursing school about the importance of treating and caring for the whole person; taking into consideration not just the physical aspects of a person, but the emotional, mental, and spiritual portions as well. Over the years as I have moved through my nursing career, the physical aspects of care for patients began to overshadow and steer my focus. The concept of whole-person care often became lost.

In 2009, I started work at a hospital in Asheville, NC, where I was introduced to Holistic Nursing. The hospital had an educational program there for nurses who were interested in learning more about Holistic Nursing. I had never encountered the term Holistic Nurse, nor did I understand what it meant to “be” a holistic nurse. It was through this education that I was reminded of the concept of caring for the whole person. Although my husband had been introduced to several of the modalities included within the realm of holistic nursing, I had not. One of the many holistic practices I learned was making an intention to be present. Giving my undivided attention to the moment that was happening right in front of me with my patient. In doing so I am able to focus on what is needed of me, and for the person in my care, without being distracted by outside thoughts. In giving my entire focus to the “job at hand” I am able to make the best decisions needed in that moment.

As I’ve moved through life and nursing, time and time again I have become overly concerned or worried about future things that I didn’t yet know the answers to. I often found myself mulling over all the potential outcomes for a particular situation I happened to be facing; trying to work out all the possible details of how it might happen. This is exhausting! Trying to anticipate outcomes to events that haven’t happened yet added more stress and was affecting my health in ways I unaware. There had to be a better way to deal with uncertainty and the unknown. I am often reminded to draw on the things I have learned about being present and living in the now.

This is just one of my “holistic tools” I have to help me reduce stress and anxiety in my everyday life, especially in our current time of COVID 19 and the pandemic. Each day we are faced with plenty of uncertainties which can be troubling and stress-inducing, especially if they become our focus. Left unmanaged, these events can ultimately have negative effects on our wellbeing. I don’t like unknowns.  When faced with a situation where there is an unknown outcome, I become anxious, emotional, and often irritable as I try to determine how events will unfold. It is in these moments that I have a choice. I can stay where I am, lost in the unending potential outcomes; or I can shift my focus to the present. Being able to be present, in both my everyday life and in nursing, has been such a positive change.

Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whoever we are with, it all deserves our full attention and presence. I know most have heard the quote by Bill Keane, “Tomorrow is a mystery, yesterday is history, and today is a gift; that is why it is called the present”. It is talking about the gift we can give ourselves by remaining in the moment. If you find yourself getting swept up by stress-inducing “unknowns” or “what ifs”, try focusing on what is happening in the present. Try asking yourself what things are within your control, and what is beyond your control. We are really only in control of ourselves and our actions. Control the things you can and do not dwell on those you cannot. Remembering that can often help to reduce the stress and worry related to unknown outcomes.

As I reflect, I clearly see how much I was missing by not being present in the moment; instead, I was worrying about things that I had no control over. It has taken time, conscious practice, patience, and giving myself the grace to be imperfect as I hone this skill. Trust yourself. Know that when the time comes you will make the best decision you can about the things within your control. There are still plenty of days that I too get swept up, but always find peace, joy, and happiness when I come back to being present.

My recommendation…find joy in the people that you chose to be surrounded by, joy in the places you find yourself, and live each experience in this life to its fullest.

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How Does A Holistic Approach Contribute to Well-Being?

Submitted by Jeanne Thomsen, RN
OHNA Secretary

For me, well-being is that general feeling of contentment and peace when I find the balance between accomplishing the things that need to be done and giving time to the things that I want to do. Accomplishing those must-do-but-don’t-really-want-to tasks usually requires a written list that I can check off with satisfaction as I complete each item. I cannot fully relax when I know there are things that I need to do waiting for me. However, I also cannot let those tasks dominate over my preferred activities that help me to unwind and re-center. Planning the enjoyable activities is sort of the reward for getting the to-do list done. Well-being also includes contributing to physical health, which we all know is connected to our mental health. Again, it is finding that balance.

In order to achieve this balance, I know that I must do something physical each day. In the pre-Covid-19 days, this meant I could use the gym at work or go for a walk outside on my lunch break. During the time of working from home, my partner and I have been walking in our neighborhood almost daily- more than we ever have in the 3 years we’ve lived here! Now that the weather is warmer it is easier to add a variety of activities and friends to the outdoor activities while maintaining safe distancing measures. And on those frequent rainy Oregon days, I utilize a yoga app to do a routine customized to my energy level and desired goal for the day.

I also try to incorporate at least a few minutes of meditation each day. Sometimes this is just sitting quietly and noticing what comes to me. Sometimes it is simply the minutes in the shower with no distractions. Often, it is gardening. (Look up benefits of gardening and even soil microbes for mood and mental health and enjoy an array of studies and articles supporting this!) Sometimes I go hiking or camping alone and bask in the silence and nature around me. Sensory deprivation leads to the most rejuvenation, grounding, and creative inspiration moments. This is where I realize all the chaos around us is just extra, and all that is really necessary is already here organically. It reminds me that no matter what is happening around us, I get to control my actions and reactions which may also have an influence on others. I would rather lead by example than by force, and this knowledge brings me peace as well.

Visualization has always been a strong positive influence in my progression of self and well-being. I am a very goal-driven person, sometimes to a fault, and visualizing the attainment of my goals has absolutely helped me believe I can accomplish the things I dream. Once you envision yourself in that new career, or with that diploma, or traveling to a new place, or creating a new piece, or just being the calmer person you want to be, it becomes a more realistic and attainable target.

And finally, the natural next step once proficient in a skill is to teach others what you know. Transitioning from bedside nurse to nurse educator has reinforced the fulfillment of helping others in any way we can. For example, if you have a holistic healing practice it is beneficial and natural to teach others while practicing your skill. (Remember Erickson’s 7th stage of development: generativity vs. stagnation, where we give back to others and leave a beneficial mark on society. Turns out, it’s real!) Am I certified in a holistic practice? Not yet, but I have envisioned it happening and here I am joining a group of inspirational holistic practitioners so I know I am on my way to accomplishing another step in my journey to well-being. Stay on your path toward your envisioned goals of well-being, and reward yourself when you take steps toward progress. You can do it and the benefit is well worth the effort!


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