10th Anniversary Special: Past, Present, + Future - The Spiral of Life – Part 1

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
“Do small things, with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa ~


I love the message Mother Teresa has shared with us where she sees that some people feel that what they are doing is just a drop in the ocean, though she reminds them that the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. We are all drops in the ocean, and it is at this time of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the CTNIGI can see how relevant this saying is.

As I have started to trace the history of our interest group, I see all the drops that have brought us to today: all the ideas, meetings, papers, AGMs, submissions, calls, emails, steps, chats, the ah-ha moments, members, sharing, revisions, arguing, laughing, the helpers, direction from RNAO, and so much more. I feel in the last two years the emails alone I have sent and received could fill an ocean! Though when looking at them one at a time it seems like such a small thing, not making much difference. Yet we are!

That is the spiral of our life! Spiritually we are on a path that does moves in a spiral. Sometimes they feel hectic and out of control, like a tornado or whirlpool. Other times it feels like our essence or core, as in our DNA. The spiral stands for coming into being, and like the seeds of a plant, it is more than a start, as seeds are there at the start, middle and end of a plant. Like the seasons, it is connected with the cycle of time, and our lives: birth, growth, death, and rebirth. Spirals are found naturally in nature and are created by us.

 Sprirals are ever present - RNAO-CTNIG president's address

Spirals are purely the path of our journey, curving and moving, like a labyrinth, taking us forward; always forward, even when we think we take a step back. Life does not proceed in a straight line, it is a spiral. Spirals are a symbol of a spiritual journey, and are we not spiritual beings having a human experience! They represent our process of living – how we grow and learn, and sometimes how we return to a spot where we thought we learned that lesson – though it is just a step up on the journey, where our paths seem to cross again, though not really the same. It is purely another opportunity to learn or see life from a different perspective, a way the universe checks in on our choices, and provides something new, without letting us know where we have been.

Carl Jung (a noted psychiatrist) described the spiral as an archetypal symbol that represents a cosmic force. And yes, the CTNIG is a force. In old Britain spirals were associated with the feminine, the doorway to life. I see our vision as a new doorway to health and healing, the feminine side of the soul. Our vision is to have complementary therapies recognized, incorporated and integrated into nursing and healthcare in Ontario. 

So 10 years ago when a group of nurses took a common passion, complementary therapies, and chose to create an interest group with our own professional association, they birthed an idea, they had a vision. This birthing has created a power that will has moved forward and will continue to be felt more and more each year in the healthcare field. Like all living things it will grow, transcend and transform. 

RNAO-CNTIG Founder and Past President Darka NeillA key figure in this movement is Darka Neill , RN, BScN, RTTP, Reiki II, a key founding member, and our first President/Chair of the CTNIG. She presently holds the position on the Executive as our Newsletter Editor; thanks to her our newsletter has been fantastic over the last few years; though she is even more than that. I like to think of her as the wise woman of the group, our heart! If it was not for her devotion and commitment to this group’s vision, one she holds dear, the ember of passion may have been snuffed out, and along with it the CTNIG.

Darka began nursing at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1970 right after graduating from the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing. She has had a long career at the Hospital for Sick Children working in the Haematology/Oncology, Chest/Cystic Fibrosis, and Psychiatry in-patient areas as well as in Medical, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Endocrine and Gynecology ambulatory care specialties. She attended Ryerson University where she graduated with a BScN with honours from the School of Nursing in 2001. In addition to the RNAO and the CTNIG, she is a member of the Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario (TTNO) and the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA).

Darka became interested in Complementary Therapies (CT) when she saw how well they fit within a holistic model of health care where the mind/body/spirit interconnection is supported and how they empowered the individual to be an active participant in their healing process. She utilizes Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, meditation, and relaxation strategies in her nursing practice and personal life. Her heart remains at bedside nursing where at the Hospital for Sick Children she offers Therapeutic Touch hospital wide and facilitates a weekly relaxation group for patients struggling with Eating Disorders. As holistic nursing requires nurses to engage in self care, Darka enables nurses to participate in self care activities by offering a unit-based wellness program for staff. There she provides sessions of Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, relaxation strategies, and the old fashioned nursing back rub in support of a healthy work environment for all unit staff.

Darka, in conjunction with the CTNIG, advocates for the integration of CT into holistic nursing practice; the provision of CT by nurses; the education of nurses about CT so they are able to provide health care consumers accurate information about the safety and efficacy of CT, and the opportunity for patients to access CT as part of their health care choices. She also has lead the Executive, formally and informally, in all they do! In 2009-2010 I invited Darka to be part of my mentoring team while I had the opportunity to do a RNAO Advanced Clinical Fellowship looking at “The Introduction and Integration of Complementary Therapies in Acute Care”.

It was due to all that Darka has done that the CTNIG “ Award of Excellence ” was created, and totally without her knowledge. The Executive also made a unanimous decision that she would be the first recipient to receive the award for all her efforts, love and passion. As we were trying to decide what the award would look like, I had the opportunity to have a Soul Essence art piece done for myself by a friend and artist, Jennifer Merritt . Soul Essence Artwork is a piece of art created by Jenn with only knowing your name and birthdate, or the name of your group. From this she is guided to draw a piece of chalk pastel artwork. She provides you with a full written analysis of the color and symbolism in the drawing; communicating all that she was sensing as she was drawing it. I commissioned her to do one for the CTNIG. I then had the idea to have prints made of the artwork, and have it serve as the gift for the recipient of the award.

The CTNIG Award, in future, will be given to a deserving candidate every two years. It will be a person who is committed to working toward the CTNIG vision. All nurses or nursing students, who are current members of the CTNIG, are eligible to receive this award. Exact details as to the criteria that nominees should demonstrate are still under construction, though they only need to look to Darka to see the essence we are looking for in a worthy candidate.

So stay tuned for more award details, as well for our ‘new’ website launchthis month. We will post pictures of Darka’s acceptance, the celebration that will occur on November 10th in Toronto at the RNAO building, and perhaps a video or two of the day. The website will have some old features and definitely some new ones. Oh yes, we have a new “Kid on the Board” – Katrina Graham is our new Education Officeron the Executive. You will have a chance to read about all our 2012-2014 Executive Officers at the new site, including some vacant positions still on the board. We hope the new face on the site will bring a smile to your face! Of course past newsletters and ‘Members Voices’ will still be available, though a few new things will also be introduced, like an events calendar and key links to various associations, and definitions of the various CTs may be your desired stop. We hope to entice you back frequently and we will be looking forward to your comments and feedback.

So in closing stay tuned for part 2 of The Spiral of Life and learn what and how our celebration went. Did we truly surprise Darka? And learn more about Cindy Palajac and her participation in our 10th Anniversary celebration with Sound Healing in our Fall/Winter newsletter, coming out later this month! So as the spiral moves on, remember to breathe in the essence of celebration, and know, this first 10 years is only our beginning!

RNAO - CNTIG President Kim M. Watson Blessings, in love & in light, Namasté, Kim  



Holiday Season Celebration: Past, Present+Future - The Spiral of Life - Part 2


"Christmas my child, is love in action...When you love someone, you give to them, as God gives to us. The greatest gift He ever gave was the Person of His Son, sent to us in human form so that we might know what God the Father is really like! Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas."
~ Dale Evans Rogers ~


Our 10th Anniversary celebration was wonderful; and yes we did surprise Darka! Congratulations Darka on being our first recipient for the CTNIG Award of Excellence; you are truly a gift for us and a true role model for complementary therapy. We really want to thank all the members who were able to celebrate with us, especially those attendees who were part of our original board! It was wonderful! Many memories were shared which I look forward incorporating in our new website.

RNAo 10th Anniversary Celebration Pictures

If any of you have any great memories of the CTNIG over the years, please share them with me!

Update on the website - yes there has been a slight delay! For me life has gotten in the way, though in the New Year we will officially launch the new view of the CTNIG, you can take a peek now and see it in its evolution. If there is anyone out there interested in being part of the Executive as our Website Manager, please contact me. And remember, we do have a few other available positions on the Executive, such as Policy and Political Action Officer, Membership Officer and Newsletter Editor.

Katrina Graham - Education Officer RNAO-CTNIG BoardThe New Kid on the Board: Katrina Grahamis our new Education Officer. We are so excited to welcome Katrina to the Board, and look forward to working with her! Her profile will be on the website, though she is of Scottish and Cree heritage and grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo. As a native woman she became aware of the traditional and wholistic nature in which we heal others and ourselves, and she understands that we have a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self. She finds we all too often forget we are comprised of all these beings, and that we have to care for all of them in order to heal wholistically. She graduated from McMaster University's Collaborative Program, through Conestoga College this year. She is a Home Visiting Nurse for Moose Cree First Nation and is looking forward to her role as the Education Officer for the RNAO-CTNIG.

So as the spiral moves on, as we expand and evolve, remember to breathe in the essence of celebration, our 10th Anniversary and our present shift in the consciousness and our holiday season. This first 10 years is only our beginning, and as we move forward, hold all dear to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual essence of who CTNIG is! Take a moment and read the message in the art that expresses who and where the CTNIG is. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

~Blessings, in love & in light, Namasté, Kim


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