Nursing and my new religion

Annelies van Haastrecht, community nurse, Voorschoten, the Netherlands

I started nursing at a young age, 17 years old. And if you asked me at that time why I had chosen nursing as a profession I would not have been sure what to answer. It would definitely not have been the answer I would give today. Today I say I have chosen to become a nurse because I love people and I love to care for and nurture them, to give them an insight into how it is to truly be caring and loving for oneself.

I left the healthcare system ten years after I started, without any appreciation for myself, burnt out, not coping with the pressure and the huge demands of the system. I did my utmost to fit in, to please others, unaware of who I truly was and this resulted in me becoming the tough nurse, hardened, in whom everything and everyone else came first. I thought myself and saw around me that this was what nursing was about, but I felt I would never be enough, that I had failed, I had given myself away completely and I gave up… and withdrew from my profession.

I closed this door and was convinced I would never go back, but over the last few years how I live, the way I feel about myself, my life and work has changed and for 5 years now I am back in the healthcare system with demands that are probably even higher and I simply love my job. How come I am enjoying my job so much and feel that the pressure and the high demands are not getting to me as they did back then? At the age of 56 years when a lot of people decide to work less hours, I am choosing to work more hours than I have for a long time.

What is my secret of working and enjoying myself in a stressful job and feeling very well?

Well, it is no secret at all. It is true religion that’s back in my life. Not a religion in the way of the traditional religions, but religion in the true meaning of the word. A religion that lives within you and in the relationship with yourself first before anything or anyone else. A religion that unites people as we are all the same and asks us to take care of our bodies, to truly nurture ourselves. A way of life.

I am connected to God, not as a trust but a knowing in my body, a quality that is inside me.

I have built a relationship with myself, a loving relationship that is forever deepening. Without relying only on the outside world any more, but on my body and inner-heart. I appreciate the quality of stillness I bring to my life and thus to the patients I care for. The love I feel inside is what is coming out and this is true religion, me living me. The way I care for and nurture myself is the way I care and nurture for patients. That was not there from the first moment; it has been and still is a process, from living what the outside world wants me to live, to living the connection with the love I am from inside, step by step every day. I make mistakes, take a step back, but choose to come back again and again.

Love is patient and will never give up. And so I can say I am religious; no church, no temple other than my own body, my own heart. I take all of me to my job, to my colleagues and the patients I love and care for.

Read more:

  1. From exhaustion and feeling false to feeling vital and truly looking after myself. 
  2. Nursing, me and Serge Benhayon 

 

623 thoughts on “Nursing and my new religion

  1. When we love and care for ourselves is so simple and natural to be this way with others. It also really highlights what is and what is not true care.

  2. I love these words
    “A religion that lives within you and in the relationship with yourself first before anything or anyone else. A religion that unites people as we are all the same and asks us to take care of our bodies, to truly nurture ourselves. A way of life.”
    The word religion has been so misrepresented to mean so many different things that its true meaning was lost the day it was reinterpreted to mean anything less than it is. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for this waywardness as it supported us to live in the disconnection to God a false comfort, by giving our power away to those religious teachers that said they were the voice of God. We are all Gods therefore we are all equal to each other whether we have access to God depends on our own ability to truly love and honour ourselves, if we can do this then we have access to God it’s a given because God is love.

  3. Annelies your words are imbued with the deep care and love that you have for yourself, showing that the quality that we live in comes through our everything, it is not only felt through our actions but also through our spoken and written word and equally through us in both physical stillness and silence.

  4. Annelies, I loved reading this, it kind of reminds me of the time I was so disillusioned by the health care system, that I would have done anything to take another career path, if the opportunity ever arose. I was part of the statistics of burnout and exhaustion that prevails in our system.

    Like you I had to turn it around, and I made it about me and not the system. Once I worked on the issues I was carrying from well before my career ever commenced and during the career the issues that developed, which sometimes were absolutely ridiculous, I had continued to carry for many years.

    I LOVE going to work, yes it is part time, but what I bring during the days I am present are worth a full time position. And sometimes I attend to some of my work during my days off too with no expectations either.

    So anyone can turn their work around, from being discontented to loving it, it is all about you and not the job.

  5. ‘I am connected to God, not as a trust but a knowing in my body, a quality that is inside me.’ When we know this wisdom inside us, anything is possible. We can be in service whatever we do, wherever we go.

    1. Gill, when we are so caught up in the nonsense, the wisdom is still with us, but masked by things that do not belong to us. When we are connected to our bodies, then the wisdom speaks and the service can truly begin and that service comes from within and not from the sake of doing it.

  6. “I am connected to God, not as a trust but a knowing in my body, a quality that is inside me” – this is a spine-shiver statement. This knowing puts us firmly in life, making every moment purpose-full and joy-full.

  7. ‘The way I care for and nurture myself is the way I care and nurture for patients.’ This is such a basic concept but a truly fundamental one because we can’t really care for others unless we care for ourselves first.

  8. The joy that comes from living in self care, self nurturing, and self love is very inspiring for others to feel.

  9. I can feel the care coming through in this blog….a very real feeling of being connected to something deep within – it makes me connect to that in myself and appreciate the stillness that lies inside me also. Very beautiful, thank you Annelies van Haastrecht.

  10. “A religion that lives within you and in the relationship with yourself first before anything or anyone else.” This is so important and is the foundation from which we can build a life of true service.

  11. When one knows God from within and is committed to nurturing and deepening that connection, no belief is necessary – one just knows.

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