Finding Balance Outside The Bubble Through The Holidays

Holidays are a funny time. Christmas lights go up, Rudolph songs hum through stores and customers pummel each other for Black Friday sales. Even when life is treating us well, holidays can be a stressful time. With so much uncertainty politically, it adds a bit more tension at family gatherings, doesn’t it?

As a Nurse for many years, I have filtered the news to understanding what interests me most, such as science, healthy living, fitness and self-care related issues. That has shifted for me recently as I investigate my personal actions and the impact they have on the world. It is not enough for me to stay in my little bubble and my happy place. I am attempting to find balance in investigating true news sources, staying open to listen to other viewpoints and taking steps to align my actions with my values.

For example, I value clean water, clean air and equal rights. As Nurses, I think most of us do. Last week, while I celebrated Thanksgiving after working at the hospital, I reflected on the North Dakota Pipeline and the actions by Native Tribes, Americans and Veterans to peacefully protect the land. While it is much easier to stay in my bubble and do my part at the hospital, I needed to question myself. Are my actions aligned with my values. After watching THIS VIDEO I knew they weren’t.  I took action to transfer my money from Wells Fargo to a local credit union because big banks and our President elect are invested in this pipeline. 

Now I’m not saying we can’t have fun. Don’t boycott holiday shopping altogether; That probably wouldn’t go over too well with the kids! I invite you to do it consciously. Give some thought to how much is enough? After watching the documentary TRUE COST. I am more aware of the consequences of shopping at H&M or The Gap verses Patagonia who promotes fair and safe labor practices. This sounds like a political issue and not such a Nursing issue but where do we draw the line? This is absolutely a Nursing issue. I was enlightened by The California Occupational Nurses when I spoke at their Nursing Conference. We as Nurses are responding to the impacts of how politics impacts individual people who show up at our bedside.

After maintaining weekly blogs for nearly three years, I will be shifting the frequency of my posts to monthly and as needed. I still look forward to engaging with you and supporting all of us in self-care. What better way to do that than dial back commitments?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I will be offering the 8-week MBSR Course in January. SAVE $50 with Early bird registration which ends December 9th. If you live outside SF, stay tuned for an online offering coming in 2017.


How Do We Keep Peace At The Nurses Station With A Divided Nation?

Does a divided nation mean a divided workplace?

Does a divided nation mean a divided workplace?

Regardless of how you voted in the election last week, chances are you don’t see eye to eye with everyone in your workplace. Some of us may be a minority red voter in a blue workplace or a blue voter in a sea of red coworkers. Perhaps you didn’t exercise the right to vote and aren’t sure where you fit in. Judgments are likely to be present and some people may not be on their best behavior. So how do we get through the post election adjustment period?

Figure out what your unique needs are.  If the Trump win has you celebrating, this is probably not a challenging time for you. Perhaps learning about his plan, cabinet choices gives you peace of mind. However, if you found yourself experiencing grief this week, you are not alone. People respond to grief differently and need different lengths of time to sit in it. If you experience grief, anger, fear, be with that as you need. Do not force yourself to come to acceptance prematurely. It never works to fast forward through our emotions. Find support with friends and family or email me.

Seek support with like minded and supportive community.  Take an assessment of the people in your life. Who makes you feel safe in a way you can be completely yourself and say whatever you feel? We are in sensitive times and if you are struggling, it is really important that you be gentle with yourself. Stay informed as you can tolerate, minimize the news and social media until you feel stronger and get outside in nature.

Practice active listening  If you are in a place of acceptance of President elect Trump, bring the awareness of sensitivity to the other person’s view and connect with others. Be a supportive ear for people who are struggling. When in discussions with people who think differently, try not to make things personal, listen from your heart to understand beyond the words, what emotions are buried under their viewpoint. Often it is fear. Do this in small doses because it can be overwhelming.

We all have the capacity to connect with each other.  This is a challenge and you can handle it. If you signed up to be a Nurse, you don’t have the luxury to only care for people who see the world exactly as you do. You’ve been there before with your patients and you can do it again with your colleagues. Your coworkers need you to and so does the world.

Assess the sensitivity of your coworkers and respect their need for space.  Not everyone is ready to talk about the election. Some nursing environments operate with strong boundaries leaving personal lives out of work. Most of the units I have worked in get personal – for better or worse. Be sensitive to the needs of your coworkers and give them the space they need. Regardless of your political views, if you are witness to any hate crimes in the workplace, for God sake intervene and support the victim. Bullying, lateral violence, microaggressions contribute to toxic workplaces. This is a constant challenge in the Nursing profession. We need to be particularly sensitive to our fellow healthcare professionals who identify as a person of color (POC), immigrant, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), Muslims and Jewish people.  I do not identify as any of the above and that is exactly why it is easier for me to speak out and act as an ally. I am pledging to stand with all these vulnerable groups and I invite all of you to be a Good Samaritan and do the same.

These times call for MINDFULNESS. CLICK HERE for more information on the 8 week MINDFULNESS MBSR Course. Early bird registration ends December 9th.

Home Stretch

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Regardless of your political views, you have probably felt the turbulence of this election. For some of us, our vote has already been cast and many of us will vote tomorrow. Some may have a hunch of what the final results are, while some of us sit with uncertainty. How can we be with difficult times and stay centered and balanced but still engaged?

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Maybe that is a question for the Chicago Cubs. I grew up as a Yankee fan, back when Bucky Dent was the short stop and there was something called a Reggie Bar. I am now a fair weathered fan and was very happy to see Cleveland and Chicago in The World Series. Could there have been any more drama to go ten innings with a rain delay? Well this election feels even more dramatic with the last minute announcement from Comey that has been completely shut down and a peaceful Republican attacked at a Trump rally.

How do we stay calm, centered and balanced in conversation with others without losing our cool? Naturally we want to stay engaged, attempt to stay open minded but it can be really challenging when we don't see eye to eye or we find the other party fairly ignorant. Using mindfulness to stay connected to our bodies, paying attention to our breath and pausing before we speak will be tools we can use in the home stretch.

I'm Back In Town And Teaching Mindfulness Course

I love so much about traveling. I love exploring different cultures, creating memories with friends, and getting out of the comfort zone of the familiar auto-pilot zone. Changing our routine gives us the wake up call to see our lives with fresh eyes. I'm settling back in after extended travel and I am setting the intention to live the concept of Non-Striving. For those of you that know me, this may bring an eye roll to your face as I've been known to be a bit of a busy bee.

Learning to create a lifestyle that is more peaceful and able to navigate the ups and downs that life throws at us is one of the teachings in the comprehensive 8 week mindfulness course started by Dr. John Kabat-Zinn forty years ago. I am always amazed at the tremendous growth and progress that happens in such a short time period, which is why I am offering this course again.

So if you are afraid your mind will resemble the photo above, come join the 8 week course and I will walk you through the mindfulness course in a step by step fashion with each week building on the previous class.  If you want Anderson Cooper to convince you to do this course, then watch him talk about his experience.

To get more details on the Free Introductory class or the 8 week MBSR course, click here

Remember, Nurses get 28 units of Continuing Education credit by taking this course.