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 


630 thoughts on “Nursing and my new religion

  1. A great example that when we commit to looking after and deepening our relationship with ourselves and nurturing our body we live in a quality of rhythm and harmony that truly supports and evolves us all.

  2. Religion is a living quality that is clearly evident in our eyes, the quality of our voice, our movements and the warmth in our hearts. It is a still and easy manner that makes people feel instantly at home, welcomed, cared for and appreciated. What an immense gift to receive in your most vulnerable moments of illness and disease.

  3. Seeing a true purpose in what we do through our job, surrendering to the fact that there’s so much more taking place than meets the eyes, is so fulfilling,

  4. It is very rare to hear nurses speak of God in nursing but dealing with life and death situations all the time, I suspect there is a depth and philosophical approach to life for many nurses. Most would say they love and care for people. Perhaps when we are damaged by childhood impressions of religion, we do not equate love of people with God, but I now see they are one and the same when we see the divine in ourselves and others.

  5. What is really super gorgeous is how this love that you now feel for yourself is what each person at your work will experience – your love.

  6. ‘I am connected to God, not as a trust but a knowing in my body, a quality that is inside me.’ Beautiful and through that quality we get stillness and when we take that quality to work we don’t get exhausted we just love what we do.

    1. True and we don’t react as much or take things personal, it is responding to what is needed at any time. And when I do react it is just coming back to my body and connect to the love inside me, the support that is always there.

  7. Bringing back the truth of the meaning of religion and taking it away from those institutions who have so bastardised the meaning of the word is key for mankind’s future.

  8. This is so true of so many youngsters starting out in their chosen career, they don’t really know themselves or love themselves so the chances of choosing a career that they will love is unlikely. Our whole education system needs pulling down and rebuilding on the foundation of the person i.e. the student being everything and not the exam results.

  9. When we learn to turn inward and start to be more gentle and nurturing with ourselves as a way of living we establish a connection and flow to a true quality that becomes our foundation.

  10. So many people try to cope with their job by working less hours or withdrawing, whereas the key is the quality we live and thus work in. Beautiful how you brought God and your religion back into your life and now your work and how this changes everything.

  11. It is beautiful to feel the effortlessness of what it is to live religiously. For whenever we live in connection to the love we are within, we live in connection to God as our Soulful light is the light of God no less. As such from this point of connection every move we make is a religious one, confirming the fact that being religious is our innate way of being.

  12. Through deeply connecting with ourselves we find that we are connected to a far greater universal order and exquisite divinity that allows us to deeply reach others in the very simple gestures of everyday life.

  13. Knowing that I have “A religion that lives within you and in the relationship with yourself first before anything or anyone else” has totally turned my life around. It has given me a purpose for living in the most loving and appreciative way I possibly can and the magic that comes from making this choice is immeasurable

  14. When we live our lives according to external pressures and attempting to fit into those, instead of feeling what our own natural rhythm is, our body soon lets us know that how we are living is not working for us. The body responds amazingly well to a few simple choices to really listen to it and honour what it’s telling us. Just as we create our own imbalances and dis-eases, so it must be in our hands to rebalance and bring our bodies back into harmony and alignment with their innate rhythms.

  15. “I am connected to God, not as a trust but a knowing in my body, a quality that is inside me.” I love the simplicity of this religion Anneliese. There is nothing for you to do other than simply be all of who you are.

  16. I love your religion ‘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.’ simple and true.

    1. Yes, it takes getting used to saying that you are religious as there are so many negative associations around the word.

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