The Tribe

December 17, 2012

In 1994 I wrote this for the National Sexual Trauma Center…It is true today.


We are all members
of a Tribe
to the terrors
of night —
Struggling to vanquish
the day —
Forgetting that we
spring from the
each of us formed
dripping clay and water
into us —
animating us.
We dance,
all out of who we are
Creating – Re/creating – Co-creating
who –
we are.
We each
bent and broken,
clay pieces missing;
hunks torn out
limbs cracked —
tormented creations —
we people the
and hobble
through night —
Not seeing who or
what we could become.
Longing for a
cool soothing

Wishing for a guardian
some protective
angel wing
to encircle us
keeping each of us

Turning to face the tribe
I see the
button eyes of
with pain
holding themselves
struggling to cradle
in their own arms.

Another clay figure
chipped, cracked,
crazed –
What predators have done to the
children of the tribe
offered as sacrifice
for food and shelter
by their mothers;
taken and tormented
in brokenness
by men and boys – other females
used, abused, traumatized;
Is destroying those
who are the precious
art of the community.
We are destroying
our own legacy
by our own hand.
We are both
destroyer and —
guardian —
predator and prey
demon and angel.
Until we see all children
as my child
No child will be
Until I can touch and cradle
anyone’s child as I would my own
no child will be
Until I can protect everyone’s
As I would lay down
my life
for my own child
then no child will be

Those of us who choose all children
must see ourselves as guardians
extending wings
encircling all little ones
for their sakes
and the sake of the Tribe.

July presentations

August 13, 2012

In June and July, I presented at the Academy for Expanded Perspectives on Learning national conference in Estes Park CO.

I am including this website and encourage those of you who are educators, nurses, managers and just plain interested in the leading edges in education to go to this site.  Certainly, we are pushing the limits of traditional education to transform what we do in the classroom and the clinical setting as well.

This is the body of the presentation using qigong, mindfulness and mandala drawing for teachers and clinicians. I will be producing an article for their journal in the next month and I will place links in this blog. This work is designed to support the newest in pedagogy and is intended to impact abusive behavior both by faculty, staff and students. The knowledge is critical because it is based on the research and practice we have developed over the last 20 plus years and it actually works to diminish the incidence of abuse and to provide administrations with the needed support to intervene and remove abusers within their individual settings.

If you are interested in bringing this workshop to your School of Nursing, academic program or clinical setting just contact me through this center blog and I will respond as soon as I am able.


Title: Inter-professional Mindfulness Education Techniques Utilized in A Nursing Education Program for Self-awareness and Transformation.

Forty two years ago there was a film produced by Franciscan Media called “Awareness.” This film presented a view of the origins of Buddhism, the life of Shakyamuni Buddha and the purpose of awareness as an integral approach to development of the spiritual experience and life.  At that time I was 23 years old, watching that film, a doorway opened changing my life. Eventually, I became Buddhist in my personal quest, became a psychotherapist treating depression and abuse in patients, retreat director and educator. In this evolutionary process, developing skills for awareness and meditation predated the movement for mindfulness in education and healthcare we have experienced in the 90’s onward.

About twelve years ago I became a nurse practitioner and experienced first hand what is an oft quoted statement about nurses: “Nurses eat their young.” This assessment has been so documented in the education and practice of nurses that it has become the measure which must be changed if nursing as a profession is to transform itself, retain nurses who continue to practice (one third of all nurses leave the profession within three years) and create an atmosphere and pedagogy which creates a new, more viable identity for the nursing profession. Much of the education of nurses parallels the education of teachers; one of identity formation and transformation from novice into proficient professional. In identity formation the negative becomes as much a part of the process as the positive. Changing the culture of nursing from self-devouring into mutually supportive and collaborative requires self-examination and growth based on this self-consideration.

The purpose of this discovery presentation/ workshop was to share ideas and provide an experiential opportunity for developing mindfulness in the classroom utilizing, qigong, breathing exercises, meditation, journaling , art therapy techniques and critical thinking techniques and dialogic interactions. These methods have been utilized in psychotherapy and translations of them into the classroom to train therapists have been utilized. The effort to bring self-awareness to the student nurse through these same mechanisms is novel, just beginning to find a foothold in some nursing programs largely through journaling exercises but there are an array of techniques for classroom and patient use.

Participants had the opportunity to experience the discovery process utilizing some of these techniques and discuss their usefulness in the learning environment.

May 2012

June 3, 2012

BlogMay 24, 2012


“The trend towards integrative medicine is clear, but the approach is only now gaining traction in nursing.” (Klatt, 2010) 


This quote is terribly important for integrative healthcare because clearly demonstrates how responsive the medical field is when it comes to public demands in healthcare changes. AND how slowly nursing education and practice responds to these demands.  Tongue in cheek! The medical profession only became responsive when it was clear the consumer was paying out of pocket for complementary and alternative care. However, the academic program to educate physicians in most medical schools now includes courses on integrative medicine.  Schools of nursing universally state they are holistic in teaching care of whole patient/person; but holism and integrative healthcare are NOT the same thing. Holism/holistic care does in fact consider the entire body/mind/spirit of the individual but Integrative Medicine or Integrative Healthcare includes treatments which are complementary/alternative and melds them into the allopathic/ traditional Western medicine model of patient care.


Interestingly, the actual foundation of both requires an in-depth understanding of cognitive neuroscience and the mechanisms by which change is brought about by brain chemistry influencing responses in both body and brain. If we look at the originations of this current model for care we have to go back to the original research in stress responses by Hans Selye in his 1936 article “A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents,”  and the use of hypnosis for managing pain and healing by Milton Erickson, M.D. developed in the sixties.


The foundations for this view of treatment for the patient as a being “stuck” in a stress response which is an interior response to external stressors and the process of mind influencing the healing process began with psychotherapy. The process of understanding is much like watching a hamster running on a wheel/treadmill. The action is cyclic and unremitting unless the hamster is removed from the environment. Nevertheless, once the behaviors are learned…the brain is changed…this is what learning is…and the changes are difficult to transform.


It still requires psychotherapeutic skills for the management of patient care in illness and in a move toward wellness in preventive care. Those of us caring for patients both mentally and physically understand the entrenchment of behaviors which are self-destructive and clearly against the patient’s knowledge of what will bring about their own health or return to health. In order to changes minds, we have to literally change neural pathways, transforming the brain to a healthier process and thereby transform the body.


A recent study of women with cardiac risk factors showed they “knew” the information about cardiac disease, they knew what changes they needed to make but they still were not making healthy choices. The authors concluded the information dissemination was working but we needed to do a better job of educating for making change. I disagree…there is a step before primary prevention which must happen if action is to be taken. The brain itself has to change! And from those changes another ways of being, thinking, choosing, and living happens.


We will be considering and working on these methods in subsequent blogs.

March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012

Mar 15, 2012-03-15 Blog In the beginning of this journey I am reminded of TS Eliot, The Four Quartets, “We shall not cease from our exploration And at the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. For forty-two years I have been practicing in Discovery…before there was integrative medicine…I been practicing as my father taught me. He would say, “God made the body to heal itself.” This healing position from a man who was a gynecologist and surgeon, practicing “first do no harm” and “to treat in order to prevent.” Surgery was the action of last resort. As my first teacher I learned from him, nutrition and vitamin therapy, no medication unless is was absolutely necessary and then for the shortest time required. He taught and practiced from the position of psychosomatic medicine. What he taught 30 years ago is accepted now. Ninety-eight percent of illness is psychogenic in its origins. So with this beginning blog…I return to these original teachings. The actual scientific foundations of what is known today as Integrative Medicine or Integrative Healthcare arose in part from the work of Milton Erickson the father of modern hypnosis and hypnotherapy. His student Ernest Rossi wrote in 1986 about mind body connections…from there was/has been an exponential explosion of research and data. My thought is to return to the foundations of Discovery discussing the implications for today’s students in Integrative Healthcare as well as for patients seeking control of their own health and preventive care. In the early formation of the treatment protocols we use in our practice, the first step is always a starting place with self-discovery. So if we consider this….discovery is always a process beginning in a development of self-awareness. What am I experiencing? What does it mean? What is the purpose of what is happening? What do I do with my particular perspective and view of the universe? To quote the character Hugo in the award winning film Hugo, “If you lose your purpose, it’s like you are broken.” There is a process in self-awareness where we begin a process of recognition of our brokenness, our limitations, our gifts…and from this ability to think about ourselves and our meaning in the place we find ourselves right now…this moment. So let’s begin with this question….which will lead into others and this blog will unfold. Where are you now….right now…this moment….at the beginning of this journey? It does not matter much what age you are….questions we ask in our teens open up the pathways for our future selves. If you are at mid-life and you have come here looking for something…then return to your beginning and ask these questions. Your answer is the first step on this invisible path unfolding under your feet.

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