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 

 

570 thoughts on “Nursing and my new religion

  1. It is beautiful to feel the deep settlement within you and how enriching your life is through your connection to you, your stillness, your essence. A quality that is available for us all to connect to which delivers a sense of true fulfillment, knowing and feeling in our bodies that who we are is already everything, and so there is nowhere else to be. Our connection to our body and being is a relationship whereby our Soulfulnes can be lived bringing to life the much needed quality of love.

  2. I reckon that my understanding of how the quality of my relationship with myself and taking care,underpins my relationship with life and others, is going to go on developing forever.

  3. I would like to say that in the time I have known you Annelies I have felt your heart continually opening and at the same time your steadiness and gentle authority and presence growing. I say it this way because I feel sure that this is an ongoing process and that the beauty that you are will be more and more felt as time goes by. I so appreciate all that you are and feel honoured to be in contact with you, loving sharing all that we do.

    1. Thank you Elaine and yes I feel how much I have changed and have been growing but also how much more there is to come when we keep saying yes. What we can bring as elderly women to our workplace friends and family is of such a great value and we should not hold back on this ever growing love we live each day.

  4. When we live the cardio-centric way of life, our body is in fact the only church we will ever have. No stone edifice for special occasions needed, it is one continuum in all its wondrous imperfections.

  5. This settlement is the quality that is brought to everyone in this line of work. This sharing is so inspiring for many others in other professions.

  6. I love here Annelies how you bring medicine and religion together as one and in this you really define the true meaning of religion – to reconnect to a quality of truth and love inside us all and live that to the best of our ability with others.

  7. If you look around in most healthcare situations, you will see nurses who have toughened up to cope with the demands of the job and putting everyone else’s needs first. It’s no wonder nurses burnout. It’s great that there are nurses who have found a way to not work like this, and have been re-inspired in their passion for nursing.

  8. “Well, it is no secret at all. It is true religion that’s back in my life.” Annelies, I love and am deeply inspired by your fabulous, matter-of-fact, unapologetic claiming of Religion. Awesome 😍

  9. Dear Annelies, this blog reminds me of my true religion too, equally expressing myself in nursing at the moment. Understanding more about myself and life since I came to the one-unified truth in my heart after re-connecting to myself with the support of the teachings of Universal Medicine. Found my way in my heart, which I express from every day, and more and more, which naturally changed and changes and is enchanting my life. Simply the love of God in my heart – no pictures, no beliefs – simply from there I nurse with my heart.

  10. If things are not working , we intend to shift job or partner etc. But many times that is not the true change of what it is needed- it is to bring a different quality in the situation like you did Annelies.

  11. Reading through some of the comments I became aware that yes, I appreciate how I work but that there is so much more to appreciate about the quality I bring, I am not yet taking this to the depth I know there to be, so thank you all for your comments, it supports me to value more what the quality I bring to nursing.

  12. ‘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.’ and wonderful to take your joy and vitality to your work everyday for all to benefit from.

  13. I love the way that you have connected nursing and religion in this way Annelies – not a nurse who goes around converting her patients to antibiotics and church-going, but one who carries the love of God in her heart and brings that healing light and love so needed in a hospital. All benefit, not only the patients but the staff at every level – cleaners, chefs, admin staff, maintenance workers. Deeply beautiful.

  14. What can I say besides, you’re awesome! This is not the norm, can you imagine if all nurses at your age had this passion and zest for their job and life? Wow, we need more of what The Way of The Livingness has to offer considering the results all around the world, in many different fields seem to be outside of the “norm” in the best way possible.

  15. Wow Annelies, this is so amazing to be in a profession like nursing deeply caring for you and your patients without compromising yourself; this is huge and shows that when we deeply embrace ourselves, and live us we can be in environments which are stressful without taking that on, and this is so important, because we need people in there living this and showing others that they too can do so.

  16. Annelies, reading this I feel that you could have a future in nursing nurses back to vitality by sharing your amazing story. This is just not normal, nurses are burning out all the time but how many can say they have come back to the profession and now love what they do.

  17. The nursing industry is in desperate need of people who do not fall victim to the stresses of the job and find themselves unable to offer the necessary care that is required… let alone the true care that is possible when one truly cares for themselves before anyone else and can then offer that fullness and depth of care to another. You are indeed a much needed reflection of what is possible in an industry where true care is a truly a rarity.

  18. “The love I feel inside is what is coming out and this is true religion, me living me.”

    These are such beautiful and inspiring words, as in the whole blog, for it reminds us that when we live from the inside-out we are not at the whim of all that enters when we live from the outside-in.

  19. I love this line ‘The way I care for and nurture myself is the way I care and nurture for patients’ as this then ensures the quality of the care offered and ensures that you don’t become exhausted or burnt out.

  20. I noticed how many young people start their career with a deep feeling of love and purpose for people but that this often gets more to the background as the years go by and the reality of the world and the system we have to work in does not reflect back our original feeling to serve with love. It is beautiful how you shared you came back to this and how this is very possible to live in the busy healthcare sector you are working in and how this knowing of what our purpose is can be the medicine to not go into overwhelm or burn out as so many are now but actually love to work and truly feel vital.

    1. Beautiful Lieke, the medicine to not go in overwhelm or burn out is the knowing of what our purpose is. This is what brings in quality otherwise we lose ourselves in the high demands that are in the workplace today. Not only in the health system but in a lot of work areas in our society.

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