In between earth and sky, I spend a lot of time working on my inner well being. I read spiritual literature, I write in my journal, I draw and color my emotions, I meditate, I walk and listen to the trees and I pray. I have come to recognize that something within me is the answer to all my questions.
When I breathe deeply and let my nervous system settle, I feel a peace descend. Every time I do this I feel the peace and have come to recognize that it is always there. This peace that lives inside me is a place I retreat to often, but I wonder can I really live there? When things like Charlottesville happen and another black man or boy is executed on the street, another neighborhood in a Middle Eastern country or an urban or rural neighborhood in our country suffers violence and death, I wonder. Does my inner peace contribute to a better world?
The mothers of the fallen children, the mothers of the trafficked children, the mothers of the hungry children, the mothers of the terrified children, are they served by my peace? My inner well being is the place that I rise to – much like being above the earth and its sorrows for a time. When I am aware of all the pain and suffering and my peace at the same time, I notice that I am able to focus on the strength of people, the kindness of people and the cry for love in some people. It seems to matter what I’m looking with, that determines what I see.
If I stew in the rage and frustration and despair that arises every day, I see through that lens and I cannot see any of the good. If I look through my eyes when my heart is centered on peace, I can see a way through, I can see light, I can see the good that is happening.
I have heard that what you focus on grows, much like a plant that is tended with water and light grows. I have also learned that we are energetic beings.That we each share a vibration that emanates from us as we move through the world. We are each a broadcaster of our own station. What am I broadcasting? What energetic vibration am I carrying into the world?
Have you noticed that when you walk into a room where people have been fighting, even if there is no sound, you can feel it? Or when they have just come apart in an embrace, you can feel that? If my heart is closed in fury and you are in my proximity and you tune in, you can feel that. When my heart is open and full of peace you can feel that too.
I can avoid adding to the violence, the hate, and the anger by not living in it all the time. The more I can keep my heart open centered on peace the more I can contribute to peace in the world. Does this mean I walk around with my arms open and do nothing else? That might be good for someone's assignment on the planet, but it’s not mine. My assignment right now is to show up in places where I'm often the only black face speaking to a sea of white faces, sharing what I know and sharing what I long to know.
When I speak, I often begin with a song, touching the hearts of everyone in the audience with music before I share thoughts. I have had hundreds of people over the years write me or come to me to say how important my voice has been in waking up a part of them that they wish was more often touched. This seems worthwhile.
Lately, I have been attending conferences and events where I’m in a sea of black and brown faces and it fills me up. I love our skin, our beauty, and our culture. I love your skin too. My wife is a freckled grand daughter of people from Sicily. Take a few deep breaths right now. Feel the peace that is in you. Think about things that are troubling you and breathe into those thoughts.
Breathe until you feel the peace descend. From that place, ask your peace what inspired action you can take. In your corner of the world, you can align with the vibration of an open peaceful heart and see what arises. Living between earth and sky we can find our way to a better world. One breath, one moment at a time.
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Christie Hardwick is a master facilitator and spiritual guide with over 30 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and grass root-organizing efforts. She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Development. She is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow and a minister with International Centers for Spiritual living with a focus on leadership development. She spent five years as an executive member of the Women’s Leadership Board at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was past president of the National Board of Directors for GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network). Christie has held executive positions in Change Management, Human Resources, and Organizational Efficiency for technology companies. She is an inspirational speaker and facilitator in a variety of forums and provides strategic thinking and spiritual guidance services to clients across the United States.
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