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The Invisible String

Although I never met my great-grandmother, I heard many stories about her—often involving ancient healing practices and the interconnectedness of the universe. One such story was her belief in what she called the Invisible String. This string was described as existing in all living things and connecting us to one another, beyond our physical or waking state; in energy healing practices, this is called the Human Energy Field. The first time I heard this story, I felt instantly connected to her with my own inner knowing.

This Invisible String wove itself into my early nursing experience as a hospice nurse. I had studied a form of energy healing, and I decided I wanted to be on the open road—visiting people needing hospice care, feeling more connected to my work than I had in more traditional nursing roles. In traditional nursing, I felt cut off from the Invisible String, even though I’d known it to be useful to many people.

One of my visits as a hospice nurse was to Ms. Pell, who lived with her husband across a small mountain range from where I lived, on several acres of open land, lined at the entrance with orange trees. Ms. Pell had a rare form of spinal cancer, leaving her with unhealed wounds from multiple surgeries and a long list of medications she was relieved to stop taking.

I joined her in her kitchen at a white, wooden table, reviewing the program procedures, as her husband and adult daughter sat nearby to fill in the blanks. I was young, vibrant, trying to be of service. Ms. Pell seemed to me to be unsure, facing the unknown, near the end of her life. But I felt a kindness and comfort from her, as I sat in her home, where she had raised her children and now spent time with her grandchildren. Her life was clearly fully lived. As I sat with her, I felt the Invisible String—a vibration of tingling current in the space between our chairs, across the kitchen table.

We set up a visit schedule. I would see her three times a week—on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—for dressing changes and pain assessments. For four weeks, we had a routine down and I felt like I was coming home in her home. She shared stories of her life, and I started to share stories of energy healing and my great-grandmother’s Invisible String.

“I was going to an integrative nurse practitioner for my care,” Ms. Pell said one day. “You remind me of her.” She smiled and handed me a book that her integrative nurse practitioner had recently published. “Read this and see that the Invisible String is there for you and for me—that we are not separate,” she said.

Later, at home, I opened the book. In it, I found a hand-written message: May you be open to receiving the gift of this encounter. May your awakening be joyous.

I often think of Ms. Pell, of my realization that it was not she who was unsure or fearful of the unknown, but I who was. Our healing encounter was not linear, but a series of moments in which I was changed and so was she. I think of Ms. Pell when I look at the mountains. I smile, remembering that there is no separation with the Invisible String.

Lisette Shanhai
Winter Park, Florida






2 thoughts on “The Invisible String”

  1. So rich in authenticity, wisdom, and fullness: What a respectful and compassionate way to bring awareness into your nursing practice and trust what unfolds! Grateful for these moments of connection; you truly honored her be-ing as the excuses of dressing changes, pain management, and assessment brought you into each others’ paths.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Sheri. It was an opportunity to dwell in the heart of healing, which can be missed at times. It was the therapeutic relationship which helped us both.

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