The Alchemy of Self Care

by | Mar 10, 2017 | 9 comments

Guest Post by Padma Dyvine

Halloween alchemist working at night with mortar and pestleOne day a friend of mine used the word alchemy and I was catapulted into contemplating the topic and its reality in life today. The feelings and concepts of mystery and transformation tickled my senses, stimulated my imagination and penetrated my meditations. The word alchemist comes from alchemy, which is the  “art of transmuting metals.” Alchemists could be considered to be very early chemists because of their work trying to transform base metals into gold.

Visualize an alchemist of long ago stirring a pot of lead to transform it into precious gold. The focus was economic riches. Today, the riches are found in the mysteries of healing, transformation and a sense of being in alignment with your purpose for your life at this time.  Now visualize a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly emerging from it's chrysalisAlchemy is a transformational process that is visible especially in hindsight. Self-care can be a healing journey towards Self care and in hindsight can be seen as an alchemical process. By committing to making one small change in one big habit you might start your own alchemical process.

For me the small change in the big habit was deciding in 2012 to stop working in end of life care which I’d been doing for close to 15 years. It was a calling, I had dedicated my life to it and I enjoyed financial comfort- but tolerating the drain on my life energy, Vital exhaustion became unsustainable. Tired and worn, I risked self-care and discovered Self care. I chose to honor the inner promptings of Vital energy which can guide us when we listen.

Little did I know in 2012 that I had embarked upon a journey that would lead me to discover the power and beauty of Self care. Wonder, trepidation and the unexpected elements of a transformational journey accompanied my healing from burnout. I was surprised to discover that there were no jobs that fit my needs when I thought it was time to return to work. Disappointed, discouraged and concerned about finances, I took a part time job to “tide me over” until a better fit showed up. Meanwhile, I continued to read, to explore new places, and to meditate. I pursued my spiritual inclinations, spent time in Nature, and spent more time with my husband. I got more sleep, began to eat and exercise better, and I became a bee-keeper.  As I became stronger, and had time to listen, I heard the inner promptings more clearly and loudly. I took unexpected leaps: became a certified holistic nurse, enrolled in a business course, and developed the VIP program (Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses). The opportunity for creative expression in creating Integral Nursing Solutions, PLLC is the result of the transformation that is still in progress.

Lead did not become gold, but through the alchemical process of healing with Self care a butterfly emerged from the cocoon. What happens inside the cocoon is a mysterious, fascinating process. The caterpillar may not realize what is happening as it responds to inner promptings for survival, but we as humans observe and marvel at the wonder of the process. Living in an environment that sustains it, the butterfly emerges. If you commit to making one small Self care change in your own life you may embark upon a transformational journey that will bring you into deeper relationship with your Vital energy.


The small and subtle ways that you begin to feel better can support the healing process, such that after a while, there is no return to what was. Perhaps committing to getting enough sleep, or listening to guidance that comes from journaling or meditating regularly can initiate that transformation.  The peace that comes with knowing that you are listening to promptings from deep within nourishes your Vital energy.

We can look at Alchemy as a healing process. Today, collaborating with my colleagues to create retreats or workshops for self-care, we know that we are supporting nurses in their healing journeys of sustaining Vital energy, preventing Vital exhaustion.  Alchemy happens for me and my nurse colleagues when I support them in their own Self care plans. The outcome translates into a happiness that is sweet and uplifting for me and them in the moment, and if they continue with the Self care, healing continues.

You are welcome to join us on our weekly free phone call for Vitality.

Self Care for Vitality
Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses
Phone 712-432-3066
Pin 177444
It’s free to all and you can join in with a share or just listen in
Wednesdays 6:30-7:00pm EST

With Love,

PadmaAbout the Author: Padma Dyvine is a Certified Advanced Holistic Nurse and Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse. Applying over 40 years working in a variety of settings, Padma inspires with loving support, nurses in all work settings to embrace their authenticity as they move forward in their careers finding balance in their personal and professional lives and organizations in their support of their most valuable asset, their nurses.



  1. Jane

    What a beautifully written, moving piece! The unconditional love in it is palpable and inspires me to be more gently loving with my Self. Thanks for sharing.

    • Elizabeth

      Padma wrote an exceptional post!!! Thanks for the feedback.

    • Padma Dyvine

      The old phrase “charity begins at home” is so true. Being gently loving with your Self is where it begins and then radiates out. Keep going, Jane. Your light is important to everyone. Let it shine!!! You need it and we all need you to shine it!

  2. Amarynth

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Elizabeth

      So glad Padma could guest blog here! Thanks!!

  3. Carmen Davailus Buck

    Great article! I shared and could see a theme of self care emerge for me this week. It will be a crazy, awesome, wonderful, busy week, so I’m happy to have the reminder to take care of myself. Love hearing of your journey Padma! Beautiful post-

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Carmen! Padma certainly does share great reminders of self-care with us here! Have a good busy week.

    • Padma Dyvine

      Carmen, Your “crazy, awesome, wonderful, busy” week will go with more ease thanks to the care that you give to your Self. Go for it! Since I am responding in the middle of the week, this can be another reminder. Sometimes the hardest part is noticing that we are getting frayed around the edges and continue to push. Self care can be and is delicious. Enjoy!


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