Pamela Dietrich RN, MScN
Over the past 34 years of my nursing career I have come to a place of renewed understanding of what ‘living a health-filled and joyful life’ in our nursing profession really means. During these years, I upheld the values of our profession: serve with compassion, self-sacrifice as needed, pursue further education, commit to excellence, and maintain an unfailing commitment to our work. Collectively, we’ve influenced positive change within our Canadian health care system, as we speak from a place of constructed knowing (Belenky et. al) about what is needed to create a loving, compassionate response to individuals, families and communities. Gratitude for the progress we`ve made.
We also suffer at times from the burden of this calling despite our best intentions toward self-care. As I reflect back over the past 6 years, I now recognize the powerful ways in which my body was giving me signals to pay attention …In May 2008, while I was managing a very full academic teaching career, my youngest son while studying at university, experienced an existential crisis, requiring a full tilt family immersion within the health care system. I took a short leave of absence to assume a primary support role, and as we faced the realities of the health care system, and his unique needs, my intuitive sense of what he needed did not sync with what the system offered at the time. And so began a long process of searching, advocating, trying to balance work with family needs. Again in the spring of 2013, another crisis, and this time, my body responded with a cumulative, systemic response screaming…. “No!!!“. Dr. Gabor Mate`s (2003) work “When the body says no: The cost of hidden stress“, started to make perfect sense to me. I have come to understand, with the support and love of many, that I was responding to a life-time of care-giving….within my family of origin, within my relationships, within my role as a Mother, and within my professional calling.
I am on a path of transformative healing and more aware of how my body has been a wonderful guide and compass for my own health in the profession. That year when I experienced the sudden incapacitating health challenges associated with Trigeminal Neuralgia, I was forced to take a third leave of absence from my employment as a nursing educator, to engage in a process of “radical self care` (Rankin, 2012). A team of medical practitioners told me I would need to stay on very potent anti-seizure medications possibly for the rest of my life in order to deal with neuralgic pain associated with the condition. At the time, I took the meds just to cope with the un-relenting acute pain…. however, while on the meds, I was totally disconnected from my body. In retrospect I see that my body was screaming for me to stop and pay attention to Spirit. A voice deep within spoke words of love….dear One, …you will be well again. I went to Source, embryonic in my movements, and over natural time, with the encouragement of my healing mentors, through dance, physiotherapy, acupuncture, meditation, energy therapy, neurofeedback, and the loving support of a the team at Kingston Integrated Healthcare, I am now off all of those medications. I also had to take a serious look at my involvement in the workplace, all of my relationships, and my environment. I am moving now in natural time and at a pace that is required. Thankfully, as I transitioned from a place of darkness and despair, back to a place of hope and vitality, my body, mind, and emotions are now more fully aligned with my Spirit , that inner pilot light that knows what it is I need and desire. I am living with greater strength, vitality, ease and Joy! I have learned that each of us already has all that we need within to thrive and be well. As I continue along this personal transformative journey, I look forward to supporting others…students, educators and clinicians as they navigate their path in a demanding profession, with greater health, ease, and joy.
I invite you to visit my website and contact me if you would like more information for yourself or your workplace. www.sunrisehealthandhealing.ca