Tributes to Charlie McGuire
I met Charlie at my first AHNA conference, 1988, at Estes Park, CO. It was my first visit to CO, and was in awe of the beauty of the mountains.
I was then asked to be on the AHNA Board of Directors to complete the term for the North Central Regional Director. Some of the board members had resigned that year. At that time I was working full time as the Supervisor of Health Services at the Ft. Wayne Community Schools. This administrative job was demanding, so I hesitated in saying “yes” to the position of the North Central Regional Director -- that, yes I will change my life in many ways. During the five years I was on the board of directors, I got to know Charlie as a leader who was compassionate and passionate about her work and her purpose in this life.
What a presence and passion she had for her work!!! She was such an inspiration to me, and a model to be a holistic nurse, and to teach as many nurses in my community about the importance of her work. It was also that year I met Janet Mentgen, who started the Healing Touch program which the AHNA supported, and endorsed.
I had a dream about Charlie the night before she passed. The dream was, I was out in my yard pulling weeds, and Charlie was just sitting there talking to me. She said, "How can you pull all those weeds, and not get the pesticides on your hands?" My hands were ok. I won't go into the meaning of the dream, but I wanted to share the dream because I felt I like I was really with her, we were just hanging out together. It was an honor to be in Charlie's presence!
I have a great memory of Charlotte McGuire(Charlie): In 1991, I drove from Indiana to Telluride, CO, for a composer conference. Myra Tovey (my wife) had suggested that I consider looking look up Charlotte McGuire after the conference. I called Charlie from Colorado, explained who I was, and was graciously invited down to Flagstaff for dinner. She, her partner, a shaman (whose name I can not remember) and I had a wonderful meal.
After dinner, we all assembled on Charlie's back porch and had a sacred ritual which involved smoking sacred tobacco, and telling our deepest feelings in a sharing circle. At some point, I shared that I felt as if I was on a visionquest, and that I was craving deep spiritual experiences. Charlie then explained that she thought I should see Monument Valley. Her recommendation was so strong and heartfelt that, after the evening's festivities, I drove straight to Monument Valley - even though it was late (about 10 pm) and several hours away. That night, after I arrived at Monument Valley, I slept in my van in the parking lot and felt a transformation happening. The rest of my 5-day drive back to Indiana was full of wonderful "coincidences" and unplanned events, all of which signaled a change in my consciousness. Somehow, that sharing circle with Charlie had given me permission to be my spiritual self.
Although I had originally driven a long way to an "important" conference in Telluride, the "post conference" experience that had begun with Charlie was far more vital to my life. I mark that night of the sharing circle as the the time that I began trusting deeply in my inner, intuitive nature. I have never looked back since. Thanks Charlie.
The first thoughts that come to mind when I hear of "Charlie" is that her "presence" is penetrating. When I see her I see a woman "standing in all of her power", and when speaking with her you feel her full "presence" with you. What I am learning from her is to stand in my own power and be fully present to myself and others.
There are many people in this world that have given so much as Charlie was one of them. I will never forget her kindness and her laugh. She is a special person and she truly will be missed and I will be forever grateful for the help and guidance she had given my daughter.
I'm weeping as i send you back this e-mail– too young to leave us– she gave to us all her vision and spirit– it was an honor knowing her– she will be remembered and forever loved.
I learned of your leaving this earthly realm on the 16th. I remember feeling at the end of the day before that it was different in a good & special way. Some of that feeling I could attribute to the days events... I met another who loved the art of dance as much as I did, since our childhoods. There was a sense of something else though, I couldn't cognitively identify. Later, I wove it all together & realized the unknown piece was the beauty of your life & the lasting glow it made on thousands of lives. I feel that as you transitioned, the profound, positive impact of your life, your dance, uplifted us past the sorrow. That night, I chose a star in the night sky to remember you always. It is the star at the far edge of the Big Dipper. Without you being there the rest of us would spill out & scatter. Because you are there, you hold in our holistic efforts, we keep close together encouraging each other and staying true to the path you blazed. Thank you Charlie for being a life-changer to us all.
At my first Holistic Nurses Conference in Minnesota, I looked up and my eyes connected with Charlie's. She came over and personally welcomed me. In the brief privileged moments I got to spend with her, I felt unconditional love, an amazing sense of adventure and extreme happiness. She is and will always be my vision of holistic nursing and an inspiration of what this organization can accomplish. In her honor I have decided to create a wall of inspiration in the holistic center, Soma Flow, that will be opening its doors upon the completion of the building renovation. May her spirit live on and thrive in all of us as we continue to grow.
With love and gratitude-
It is with mixed feelings that I read about Charlie's passing! Oh, my, what a person! She truly lived her "passion!" Not very many people know what theirs is these days! On behalf of the Michigan Holistic Nurses' Association I want to express thoughts of gratitude for Charlie's foresight, stamina and pioneering spirit! She has broken ground inside and outside the medical community for health care we all need and should have!
Her flame has lit ours, so may we all glow brightly in continuation of "holism" for everyone.
Deepest, heart warming energies to all and especially the AHNA Staff!
Love and serenity,
Thanks to the diligence of the AHNA office-keepers over the years, Charlotte McGuire's considerable contributions to nursing and the philosophy of holism and healing will be remembered as an important part of AHNA's history. Charlotte's later interest in and promotion of equine-assisted psychotherapy took the concept of holistic nursing to a new dimension...which after all is what holism is all about. May she fly in peace and comfort on a winged horse to new adventures of discovery!
I've been in nursing since 1968. I stumbled onto Holistic Nursing back in the mid 1980s and it resonated with me. I read about the founder and in her own way, she touched my heart with compassion and with perseverance to bring a different message to those with whom I worked. Since that time, I have advanced my practice to include holism in social work but my roots definitely go back to what I learned from and about Charlie. I attended my first AHNA conference and felt the electrifying presence of the divine spirit there and was again captivated in a more intense way. I am eternally grateful for the direction that she provided......and she never even knew that she did that for me. I am blessed to be part of the AHNA and I’m so sorry that she is not with us physically. My blessings to her family.
Wishing you abundance and true health,
When I met Charlie at the first AHNA annual conference that I attended I was struck by the enormous love and power I felt from her. Over the next several years that I attended the AHNA annual conference my connection to Charlie grew. I felt a certain energetic connection to her, as I know many others have, that gave me a strength to fully come into my being and passion as a holistic nurse. When I was awarded the 2006 Holistic Nurse of the Year Award, Charlie held me in her arms and I felt a transmission of love that was indescribable. She gave me her cowgirl hat with a personal message of love written inside. I have kept the hat hanging in my bedroom as a symbol of all that Charlie is, was, and forever will be----A Woman of Spiritual Beauty, Power, and Unspeakable Love. Thank you Charlie,
In memory of a life well shared. Charlie, friend, mentor, medicine woman and more.
I was privileged to spend time with Charlie at her beloved BWR and in Brisbane when she attended the Australian College of Holistic Nurses conference. Charlie 'danced with me' taught me how to truly be my authentic self, I will cherish my time with her. Nursing and women the world over are far richer for her loving, giving life.
I met Charlie for the first time as our paths crossed in the hallway at the AHNA Conference at Lake Tahoe last year. I introduced myself and told her how much I appreciated the work she has done for nurses and all the people that benefit from our work. She had a beautiful presence and gratitude as she listened intently and thanked me for being at the conference. What a beautiful being of light! Her work and devotion to holistic healing has touched our hearts and moved us forward for the highest good of all.
Love, light and gratitude to you Charlie,
I am so glad to have had special moments of Charlie in my life. Although they were only at the AHNA conferences (for more than 20 years) those once a year moments sustained a special friendship throughout the year. When we met at conference each year Charlie's glowing eyes welcomed me like no welcoming committee could. . . . and she always encouraged me to visit her at the ranch ~ I am sorry that I did not go. Charlie and I had a special love in common, and that was my mother Mary. Mom and Charlie had a beautiful relationship and Charlie offered me much comfort when Mom died. Charlie died on Mom's birthday, May 15th, and I know Mom was there, along with many others, to lovingly welcome Charlie singing her favorite song "Welcome to this World, won't you come right in. . . . ". I'll miss your glowing eyes Charlie ~ and give Mom a hug for me ~
I share the grief of Charlie's family and friends for her passing from her life on earth into the pure light that awaits for all of us. As a holistic nurse and part of AHNA since the early 1990's, I feel so bereft, but also so thankful that Charlie's hope and love brought us all together and sustained us all these past years and into the future. I never met her, except as one of her daughters at AHNA conferences, but I glowed from her humor, her groundedness, and her insight. It was as if she perfectly understood our desires for the best for ourselves and for those we serve as nurses, despite all of our mutual inner struggles and outer obstacles--the oneness of the field that is our truth as holistic nurses. I do not recall a word that she said, but what I do remember is a piercing compassion--may this be the gift we pass along to our families, friends, patients, communities, world, and universe in her honor.
My thoughts about Charlie from the first time that I went to a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona - it was that the way that she welcomed me into the organization with a "Hello Sister" and it really made me feel welcome. I have never felt so welcomed by a group of nurses in my life. I will always remember her and I am so grateful the time that I went to Flagstaff when she came in town. It was really neat to be able to spent time with her and hear her stories for the early days of AHNA. I am a better person for having known her.
I met Charlie only twice, once at the 2006 AHNA conference when she didn't think she was going to get there because of a sick horse. Our comments to each other were about her colt, and our mutual love of animals. I saw her again at the 2007 AHNA conference. Even if she didn't remember me, she treated me with such respect and interest, it made me stand tall. I admire women who are so sure of their leadership that they can take a stand and help things move forward in our society for the good of all. I am blessed to have met her and to have had two brief conversations with her.
Charlie affected my life in a major way by creating AHNA. I was in a very difficult time in my life as the chief nurse in a public health dept. on the border of TX and Mexico. The administration was insensitive to the needs of the public we served and the nurses attempting to give services.
As I was struggling with these issues, I had a dream in which I saw a brand new circular staircase with the words Holistic Nurses painted on the edges of the steps. To me this meant that holistic nurses would lead me up and out of this dark place of stress and tension. A few days later a nurse friend came into my office carrying an AHNA folder on how to start a network in your community and we vowed to do just that. With that she walked out the door and I never saw her again. I later learned that she had moved. So, it was up to me to create the AHNA network in El Paso, TX alone. Which I did. It was in the 80's and I went to my first annual conference in Oakland, CA, where I knew I had found my family.
I also attended a conference in Florida where we were reported to the police for smoking pot and Charlotte was called out into the hall to explain to the authorities and police that we were doing ceremony and smudging. I do not know if they believed us or not but none of us went to jail that night. It was also at this conference that I met Janet Mentgen and took the first Healing Touch class that she offered at an AHNA conference. And I went on to become a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner. So as you can see Charlie was an important person to me and to my path of healing and wholeness. I have maintained my AHNA membership for some 20 years.
Peace & Blessings,
Charlie McGuire opened-the-door for so many of us who wanted to be of greater service, but felt limited by collective fear. But Charlie didn't just open the door, she held it open, inviting us in, and continued to open additional doors. I'm can only wonder, in amazement, at what Charlie is up to now...and what doors she will open next? I am quite certain that our beloved Charlie will continue to be a supportive presence! Peace to all who have been touched by Charlie McGuire.
What a great loss to the world of nursing. She exhibited such presence and strength, as well as unconditional love to all. I feel blessed to have had the opportunities to have met, interacted at many conferences, and visited with her at the ranch. We'll keep her in our hearts and minds as a wonderful role model and honor her achievements in founding AHNA. My condolences to Robbie, Wren, and all good friends and companions at Buffalo Woman Ranch.
Love and Light,
Although I missed the meeting in 1981, I was one of the few dozen nurses that met with Charlie in 1980 in the Woodlands outside of Houston to talk about the possibility of a holistic nursing organization. At that time Charlie was a strong and perceptive person who seemed to be able to look directly into one's soul and connect at that deep, spiritual center of pure consciousness. Over the many years, she maintained her vision and her generous, caring spirit. As Editor of the Journal for nearly 10 years, I was always mindful of Charlie's desire to have our association continue to strive for excellence and inclusivity. I will miss her and feel blessed that she was part of my life and my professional development. I lost my mother just 4 days before Charlie's passing (on Mother's Day)--I believe they are dancing together in the great beyond!
I am very sad at the news of Charlie's passing. I have been a member of AHNA since I first heard of it in 1982. I met Charlie that year and have admired her ever since. I was privileged to attend a conference in Sedona for the Southwest Institute for Women and experienced the Medicine Wheel ceremony and the Pipe Ceremony with her in that beautiful place. We have reconnected at several conferences and every time it was a treat to be in her midst. I am happy for her to have had the 9 years on the Buffalo Woman's Ranch, following her dream. I have visited her at the ranch and saw how much she loved being there. I am sorry for myself to know I will not visit her at the ranch again or see her at a conference. This leaves a hole in my life. But I treasure the time we did have and the lessons she has brought to us. She did her job well and I believe she is HOME now. The rest of us will continue the work.
From a member who has had the experience of attending several AHNA conferences where Charlie was there - I "knew" (experientially) she was a being of light - it's hard to describe - a kind of energy emitted from and around her that took me away (or perhaps 'in' to self). A real feeling of presence in her presence. What a gift. Whenever my thoughts drifted towards her, as they have especially been in the past few days (knowing this email delivering the news would be waiting for me soon), I felt and feel a sense of love and peace (sadness was and is in there but the hard to describe other than "right, truth, knowing, sense of peace" overpowered/overpowers it). I feel gratitude. Thanks too that someone somewhere will read this - I trust we (all) have feelings like this. I trust too that others' comments may be made available for all to read. And I trust this will be one special conference coming up. Namaste.
A celebration of Charlie--indeed an amazing archetype for all women--and men of this present time on earth---I'm in awe.
When I think of all she did and contributed to so many and the collective! With the passing of so many children and people this past week in Burma and China I can't help but feel she was called to help them all transition to the next plane. Her spirit as a world leader and teacher was preparing to leave us--knowing her greater role during this May of 2008. I will keep her in my heart and trust her guidance will continue to lead us all. I am and always will be a holistic nurse on the tapestry of unconditional love, joy and grace. Thank you Charlie for your ever-expanding vision.
I am so sorry to hear of her passing, but I am sure she is in a better place of peace.
Blessings and love to all of you who were able to provide comfort and support.
I am so sorry to hear that we have lost Charlie. AHNA has become such an amazing part of my life and work, and I have Charlie to thank for starting it all. Her spirit lives on in the legacy she has left.
I would like to share some thoughts about Charlie. As I was one of the founding members of the Holistic Nurses Organisation in Australia, Charlie was and continues to be a shining light for me. Her grace combined with her straight talking made for a awe inspiring example for us in Australia to follow. I personally experienced her compassion and love and know I am blessed to have met her. Please add my voice to that of the Holistic Nurses of Australia to the well deserved tributes to Charlie.
Rosalie Van Aken
...about my friend
I had known Charlie for so many years as Charlotte that when she changed her name to Charlie, she became Charlotte/Charlie. Her eyes would dance in delight as
I would stumbled and corrected myself.
The thing about Charlie was her incredible memory of personal details plus our ability to dance with delight in holistic principles and yet at the same time disagree on a fair number of things. Even with the disagreements, there was an unspoken understanding that those disagreements were left at the table and we were still friends; and, even confidents. She had a depth of being and feeling that was almost palpable. Her eyes were most expressive as she talked and seemed to look deep within my soul. Only truth could be spoken.
We lost contact for several years and then as if by magic there we were, laughing and sharing again. Charlie had a way of making you feel like you were the most
important person in the room... and she meant it.
Of all the things that could be said about Charlotte/Charlie the most precious one to me is... she was my friend. I treasure that.
Carole Ann Drick
I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. McGuire, but I certainly admired her. We all make the mistake of thinking that the "great trailblazers" of nursing lived long, long ago. Not true. Ms. McGuire was a nurse with a vision and the courage and gumption to see that vision become a reality. Lots of us have good ideas, but we never get past the thinking stage. I respect and admire anyone who works hard to bring about real change. I especially admire women who achieve greatness, because our current social structure tends to inhibit women's natural abilities. The history of nursing is filled with the stories of many women who were brave enough to challenge the establishment and upset the status quo. Today one more story was added to that history. Complacency is the real "root of all evil." We all must strive to make the world a better place one small step at a time. Thank goodness Ms. McGuire had the bravado to take giant steps to improve nursing and to allow us to follow her example and improve the lives of our patients.
Nursing is an art and a science whose essence is expressed best when we "heal through love" as she showed us. We must continue to hone our craft and take pride in being nurses. That would be the best way to honor her life. Being part of the AHNA gave me the courage to add my knowledge and training in herbalism, Reiki and Therapeutic Touch to my every day nursing practice. Thank you, Charlie McGuire, for having the vision and courage to establish such an important organization. Thank you for showing us the way. Ms. Nightingale is so very proud.
I know that we all grieve the loss of our dear friend and leader, Charlie McGuire. When I think of Charlie, I think of life at its best and hope for the future. Charlie was one of those rare people who emanated love from her being. She didn't have to "do" something, she just was love incarnated. While we will never be able to experience her hugs again, may we find ways to feel her "arms" around all of us, guiding us in ways only a spiritual being is able to do. And for each of us, may we find some comfort knowing that her love lives on in each of us, love with unconditional acceptance that we can share with one another in her name.
Peace and Blessings,
What a profound legacy this visionary and courageous woman leaves! As a professional, she carved a new path that helped return nursing to its essence and eased the path for other nurses who marched to the tune of a different drummer. As a woman, she inspired us to confidently view life as an adventure of endless opportunities for learning, impact, and continuous development. She lived life fully, fearlessly, fruitfully. The sadness of her passing is sweetened by the knowledge that a piece of her lives on in the countless lives she touched.
Meeting Charlie McGuire changed my life in 1980 when she called me to come to the AHNA Founding Meeting. I truly found a new voice in our collective holistic nursing journey. Charlie left nursing and AHNA a legacy of deep presence, caring and healing. She will always be with us.
I was deeply saddened by the message of the loss or our dear Charly. She was a mentor, an icon for holistic nursing. She will leave a void that challenges all of us to help address. I know she will be guiding us from throughout the universe now....challenges each of us to care for ourselves and be all that we can.....
~Mary Enzman Hines
While I never met Charlie in person, I am sure her energetic idea which brought the AHNA into being was a guiding voice for me; her loving message intuitively calling out to me all the way across the United States: "Come, join us on this journey...all nurses Holistic Become."
Those energetic vibrations have been at work in my energy field driving me to help co-create and work collaboratively with other like-minded nurses and physicians; the reality of Holistic Nursing at the bedside in a hospital setting; to move nursing into a field of care that encompasses the entire human being: Body, Mind, and Spirit on the healing adventure.
Thanks Charlie, I'll keep on listening; you just keep on talking.
I met her in l990 with Janet Mentgen in Sedona, Arizona when I took my first Healing Touch Level 1. When she walked in the room a chill went through me and I knew my life had changed, we worked closely together for about 8 years, doing conferences, auctions, trips. Charlie and I were roommates in 1994 when 38 courageous souls went to China and Mongolia, led by Veda Andres, we had an over the top experience, stayed in yurts, didn't bathe for days, Charlie said she smelled like a Yak! So many moments shared with this brilliant visionary, I love her dearly and she will always be walking with me. I hear her laughter and I smile with tears in my eyes. We will continue her dream. I am a Holistic Nurse Specialist thanks to her vision.
My sincere condolences to the friends and family of Charlie McGuire. I did not have the pleasure of knowing her personally, but I am very aware of her work and accomplishments. And, I am very grateful to her for her vision in founding the AHNA. Her contribution to nursing and patients will forever be part of our history.
From the moment that I looked into Charlie McGuire's clear blue eyes I was transformed. At my first AHNA conference I attended the Opening Ceremonies and danced in a circle with other Holistic nurses as we celebrated our connections. One circle inside another circle, we would pass each other and make eye contact. When my eyes met Charlie's I was completely embraced by the love and acceptance that shined through her and in to me. She is forever in my heart and spirit.
Thank you, Charlie McGuire and AHNA for the blessings and gifts you gave so freely.
To all my sisters/friends/colleagues… I was honored and blessed to be with Charlie recently. Her presence was so profound as was her honesty from day to day about this part of her journey. Walking in dignity and in a peaceful way this warrior did go. She was always one for gazing into the soul through those eyes of deep looking. In this way she could open up anyone to their own truth, inner beauty and the "knowingness moment of profound presence" being shared.
My question to myself and other holistic nurses is: "Where would any of us be today--so many years from the moment of conception of AHNA were it not for Charlie McGuire and the co-founders?" I'd rather not think about what my personal and professional life would have been without AHNA. I am in deep gratitude for all the gifts so numerous it would take months to elicit. It has shaped the very core of my being and existence. There was something about Charlie McGuire that was undeniably unique, amazing and heartfully inspiring to any nurse/human being who has walked the walk. She touched the wounded healer in all of us (except for those in denial ) and helped us transform from pain to love. I will deeply miss her standing on the stage at conference telling stories and so much more. She said "Wow" a lot in her last days as we all talked and shared our thoughts and experiences with whoever was present. We laughed at how many times we all said the "Wow" word. I thought about it and I think it could stand for "With Out Words"--"Wow" becoming more of a sound than a word that expresses a feeling or an experience when there simply are no words.
My last conversation with Charlie was about Gerald Jampolsky's words of wisdom; "Where there is love, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no love." Charlie was surrounded by big love at the end of this life's journey. As people came and went, her shaman sisters created amazing ceremonies to open the doors and ease the journey of transition, of truly dying in a peaceful way with her nearest and dearest close by--the sounds of the drum she so loved lifting her Spirit beyond the beyond--her time for living "between the worlds" was now complete.
In parting, I shared with her that I would be going to conference in June and she said: "I'll be there, too." I said "Of course you will be there." And she always will......Wow.
In love, in caring and sharing, may we honor her life, her love, her humor, her dancing, her wisdom, her vision. May we grow within and grow AHNA as she watches over us and guides us. And so it is. Where there is love, there is no fear..............
Blessings, Light and Love to all, Aho!
I am the proud recipient of a Charlotte McGuire Scholarship, which I received at the 2003 AHNA Conference in Scottsdale. I had the good fortune to meet Charlie following the award and was blown away by her bright blue eyes and positive energy. I owe her much for helping me to complete my MSN. Those of us who have been touched by her are her legacy. She leaves a very large legacy, indeed!
~Carol M. Baldwin
For my dear, dear Charlie,
When I went to Buffalo Woman Ranch I always found love and acceptance. It was difficult to leave each time.
She lived to see Angel Bella, her beloved Irish filly come home to the ranch. She lived to see her dream of a healing place for nurses come to fruition. Charlie imagined a holistic group of nurses caring and sharing for self healing and world healing and it came to be.
She had a wonderful love for us all and for dear Robbie.
I am so grateful that she asked me to fly her to visit her Dad in Texas last year. It brought me close to this phenomenal woman. I watched her eyes light up when she “took the stick” and flew the airplane for awhile.
Charlotte, Charley, Charlie we will miss your physical presence but know your love for us is always present.
I remember meeting her once at a regional conference in PA. She was dynamic and energetic. In talking with her, she had a way of making you feel as if anything was possible. Her enthusiasm for holistic nursing was contagious. I am hopeful that AHNA will continue to grow and far outstrip Charlie's wildest dreams for what holistic nursing is and could be. May she and those who loved her be at peace, for she has transitioned to the next plane and is starting to pave the way for those of us coming behind her.
Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"
And that is dying...
~as read by Carla Mariano at conference