I recently read an article on surge capacity...and how the test of our reserves has come in some interesting packaging in 2020. Topics that weigh heavy have proven to be more of a marathon than a sprint, and finding a new center of gravity (on repeat) is proving to be the constant in this season of change. When things are spinning, I search for sources of strength to surf the waves of surge capacity.

Practicing Meditative Movements™ and earning my teaching certification this year is going to be one of those things I look back on and attribute to how I navigated the depth and breadth of change in the cocoon that is 2020.

Join me for this special course offering on Meditative Movements™, a technique that combines meditation and movement to go inward for strength. Let's meet up to practice this technique together via Zoom on the second Tuesday of the month, October 13-June 8. Meditative Movements™ creator Ellie Peterson is generously offering this course (regular $197) to essential workers for just $49. 

Details in link: http://meditativemovements.com/YesToLifeSeries.html

Roles and relationships are changing to accommodate stressors in care delivery. Please join us for a reflective webinar to channel perspectives from nursing's history as we address current and future context for practice. Participants will learn survival tips for societal challenges influencing practice from a nurse historian and reflect on time tested values to navigate the future.

Founder and President emeritus of Creative Health Care Management, Marie Manthey will engage and challenge us to consider how to find perspective in relationship to the times and to one another.

To register, email Natalie Lu at: thereflectivenurse@gmail.com

Monicah Gikiri, DNP, Phd, RN, is a career mental health nurse who has primarily served health needs stemming from persistent mental illness, chemical dependency, and trauma. Monicah currently works in an inpatient setting to address mental health in children. Her education and life experience have prepared her as a nurse leader and educator to engage inquisitive minds and to continue challenging knowledge to answer the call-light of our generation. On this Juneteenth, Monicah asks nurses and our partners in care to consider honoring the day with a personal and professional plan of care and a wake to allyship.

This past month has been a container for strife and hope. It was devastating to see a father, brother, son, cousin...dying for no good reason. I was disheartened over opportunists who prayed upon this moment to loot. I was desolated to see some Americans show more outrage for damage to a Target store than for the devastation of a daughter losing a father. 

All the while, I have been uplifted by masses of friends and strangers that marched with me. I was encouraged by demonstrations of empathy and mourning.  I was heartened by all the black families that came out to support each other. 

Why should I care? I am a nurse, I don’t do politics! 

As nurses, we are community leaders in the agencies of life-saving acts of fellow humans, often silent and without accolades.  We herald and recognize Nightingale as the founder of modern nursing, but perhaps more important is to credit her (and many other examples in our profession) as leaders of community health movements.  It’s time to channel the nursing process for the greater good; to level-up caregiving as a movement for community leadership.  This work will take more than a 12-hour shift, requiring multiple phases of care, and a myriad of multi-disciplinary influences.

Try considering George Floyd as your patient; crying for breath, for help, for safety...looking to you for intervention and a plan of care.  Watch the video footage and consider these cries for help from a population that is presenting deficits of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  The lack of safety is affecting a collective population’s well being. Imagine watching that video like it’s a patient in your assignment and then going back to business as usual. 

This is a primary prevention issue. Through assessment, we have identified that a population is at risk.  We have identified that some intervention is needed to remove that risk, and we need a plan of care. It is time to put together a care plan for our community that closes the gaps on well-documented disparities and that up-levels our nursing narrative in addressing these deficits in community health.  

I don’t pretend to have any answers. I just know that if George Floyd was my patient, I would be digging deeper to understand how to rally a broader, more multi-disciplinary team. I would be asking for a care conference.

I cannot imagine being the person that was recording the death of George Floyd and how helpless they felt. This is not an isolated incident of an African American voice going unheard. We have identified that there is a systemic failure as evidenced by George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, George Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Zachary Bear Heels to name a few. There is so much we can do as nurses in our community. We can demand better stands from the police force. As a mental health nurse I am trained to deal with dangerous patients every day. I have been trained to de-escalate and to find ways to keep both my patient and myself safe. We have a social contract for safety. We need to change the mindset of punishment to serving the people. 

Like in health care, for this plan of care to be successful, we need to get the right specialists doing the right work.  

As citizens and health care professionals, we have an obligation to consider the state of our community through personal and professional lenses.  This is not a one-day appearance on the lawn of the capitol if we are going to truly understand vulnerabilities and voices that need lifting and radical listening to heal.  Over the past month, I have had inspiring conversations within the community that serve my hope. 

I would like to share some videos that inspire me to consider my role and responsibility in answering the call-light that is ringing on a vulnerable population.  These links provide actionable ideas for intervention. May they bring you the eye-opening wake I feel in the face of writing my next care plan to abolish the disparities in health care.

More than funny

Black murder is normal 

Racism: what will it take to end it?

Let’s get to the root of racial injustice 

What I am learning from my white grandchildren - truth about race

"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~Helen Keller

The ripple effect of this angel’s wings will be felt beyond this world. A woman and fellow nurse who left an indelible mark on my heart, personally and professionally. Your grace preceded you, dear Erin.

Erin’s story: https://youtu.be/bFvtsjCtqtU

Image: METAvivor Research and Support Inc.

Healing begins...by my resident junior poet
Healing begins...

I spent this Nurses Day in distance learning activities with my nine year old. Sipping on coffee while doing a lesson about fractions, I thought about dosage calculations from nursing school and the math test one takes before working at a hospital. During phy-ed, where the challenge was to inflate a plastic bag to bat in the air while running around a stool — I was reminded of some of the creative things I’ve seen patients, families and colleagues do to burn off some physical steam within the four walls of a hospital room.

My favorite lesson today was the peace poetry activity du jour with artist in residence, Marie Olofsdotter. The video session led us through inspiration and process for writing solar circle poems centered on the theme: healing begins. I was compelled to dedicate the healing rays on my solar circle to the four therapeutic practices of a favorite book and philosophy by Mary Koloroutis and Michael Trout: *See Me as a Person.

My daughter’s poem took the shape of a heart, complete with beams of things that make her happy. Engaging in this art reminds me of the value of poetry in practice. Try your hand at drawing a heart or circle around the words, “healing begins” and see where your pencil takes you!

*See Me as a Person review on Goodreads:

Today I'm getting a running start on my goal to raise $1000 for Children's Minnesota as a member of Team Superstars. I'm lacing up my running shoes for my 10th training run to prepare for the TC10 event of the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2020. You can support me by cheering, by asking how my training is going, and/or by making a donation to help me meet my fundraising goal to contribute to the Child and Family Services fund at Children's MN.

You may recall my hubby's "breathless proposal" some 15 years ago at this event. I'd be grateful for your support of the place that put us on each others' paths at a time when the world is fighting a pandemic and upholding health and healing every step of the way. There's no place I'd rather work or bring my own child for care, and your support of any type or amount will help ensure critical services in a time of increased need.

Minnesota is doing a #GivingTuesdayNow campaign to raise money for those especially in need at this time -- so this felt like a great time to get the word out!

My page and story:

What’s on your self-care menu?

This question was posed in a talk I recently heard among 200-some nurses. We were invited to consider options on the menu to create a S.E.L.F (stop, evaluate, learn, find your path) care plan. On paper, after identifying the cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional stress reactions that nurses are challenged to meet in practice, we chalked out a plan for home and for work to have a virtual first aid kit at the ready.

When I'm living what Oprah might call "my best life" -- I'm ordering up mediation and movement on the regular. When I'm not being thoughtful about self care, eating whatever isn't nailed down (preferably on the couch!) is my go-to. In all fairness, I think this indulgence has its place -- distanced from a go-to ritual!

Creating my own self-care first aid kit inspired me to sign up for a Meditative Movement™ 21-day challenge, starting on 2/29. The Meditative Movements™ technique embodies over 100 movements designed to release stress, to energize, or to center oneself in calm. I've practiced Meditative Movements™ for years, and I am excited to fold these exercises back into my daily routine. The three-week challenge (explained in detail in link above) will feature one movement each week, optimizing ease in habit-formation in less than 10 minutes per day.

Ellie Peterson, creator of the Meditative Movements™ technique is offering up the I Am Loved Meditative Movement™ this week as a warm-up before taking the leap on 2/29 for the three-week challenge to trial this habit in your self-care practice. The movement is like hugging a moment while picturing or simply being present to whatever makes your heart swell! A brain-body connection to keep the warmth of Valentine month cozy in your heart all year.

Meditative Movements™ are like a mailbox full of love letters addressed to stress-release, energy-boosts, or centering to calm. I practiced the, I Am Loved Meditative Movement™ while window-shopping on Valentine's weekend.

Feel free to reach out if you have questions about the challenge or the technique. I'm leaping beyond this three-week challenge to become certified to teach Meditative Movements™ by taking the leader certificate training on Thursday, March 12. Holler if you are moved to join me! natalie.lu.msn@gmail.com

An annual tradition of choosing a word over a New Year's resolution has been a steady practice of mine for some seven years. One word as a lens on the upcoming year. No lofty resolutions. This weekend I continued a tradition of creative shenanigans in the art journal to play with my 2020 word of the year: habits.

One thing I sometimes miss about bedside nursing is the habitual cadence of a shift. A myriad of regularly scheduled things happen like habit amidst dynamics that can feel beyond control on either side of care delivery. A focus on the habits that make up personal and professional practice feels like worthy territory to explore in this leap year that kicks off a new decade.

Two dear nursing colleagues joined me for my annual word-of-the-year habit. They brought 'joy' and 'peace' (their words) to a table filled with art supplies. We ceremoniously launched our words-of-the-year, inspired to find more ways to interact with our words in the days and weeks to come.

The Reflective Nurse will be partnering with Yoga Garden in March to gather together on our mats for a special offering of owner Laurel Van Matre's class: 'Your Year in a Word' - a 90-minute yoga class and session to explore your year through a word...on your yoga mat! Logistics to be announced soon - please message me with interest. Optional tea-time at a local venue following yoga for any nurses or partners in care who wish to steep in some conversation about taking what's learned on the mat into personal or professional practice.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for a regular serving of prompts to get your wheels turning, I've drawn inspiration from the online class: One Little Word® by Ali Edwards for some seven years, now.

Wishing you peace and joy in your habits of welcoming a New Year!