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Four Rivers Endings and Beginnings

Four Rivers Endings and Beginnings

We know the quality of one’s nursing practice, the presence and authenticity one brings to those in our care is influenced by our understanding of the events that happen in our lives. How you end your day is as important as how you start your day. You can affect the start of your next day and even your next 24 hours, by your preparation for restoration and sleep.

I am excited to share with you a beautiful new practice I am using that is a nourishing way to end the day. It extends the positives from the day, ties up loose ends so that the next day is truly fresh. Rick Hanson reminds us, that it is as if our brains are Teflon for the positive and Velcro for the negative. If you want to increase the neural networks for the positive, it is important to extend the time you spend with positive and beneficial experiences. You may be doing this during the day as you experience gratitude or moments where you refocus upon your breath, coming back to your center. However, how often do you brush your teeth, plop into bed, fall asleep as your head is hitting the pillow and wake up with an alarm, feet barely touching the ground, as you dash off into the day? I have changed my nighttime routine. I now answer the following 4 questions from Angeles Arien, cultural anthropologist, educator, and award winning author. She speaks of the Four Rivers of life that nourish us and help us to grow.

1. River of Inspiration. What and/or who inspired you today? In what way or how?
2. River of Challenge. What challenged you to leave your comfort zone? Did you accept the challenge?
3. River of Surprise. What “came out of the blue” today for you?
Staying aware of these mysteries of life can help you move in new directions.
4.  River of Love. How or in what ways did love touch you today?

These questions encourage your reflections on the mystery of being alive, discerning what is important and guiding you to explore your own depths. In the process of answering these  questions regularly, you develop a new intimacy with your Self. Angeles Arien says,  “Intimacy  is, ‘Into Me See’ “.

This practice has added focus to my nursing practice and added a new dimension of closeness with my husband as we share our experiences of the Four Rivers. I also discovered one of my biggest challenges is my shyness around “putting myself out there” in the social media world. And, here I am doing it!

By ending your day in this nourishing way, you too may experience good sleep and a rich next day with focus and clarity. It benefits not only you, but your clients, students, colleagues, patients, family and friends. Perhaps you will enjoy your life and daily experiences even more as you open to your Four Rivers- Love, Surprise, Challenge and Inspiration.

Please share with us what comes up for you as you explore the Four Rivers of Love, Surprise, Challenge and Inspiration. How does this exploration affect your nursing practice and your personal life? What does the practice feel like for you?

We support your Four Rivers exploration here:

With love, Padma
1 comment
  • Elizabeth Scala June 5, 2017 at 12:28 am

    These are such lovely practices. I love the nature of these self-reflection questions. Thank you very much for sharing them. I have book marked this page and will come back to the questions often. Sharing!

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