Updated: Jul 16, 2020
When you meet Christie Hardwick she radiates a calming and peaceful feeling, that immediately soothes the soul. Christie is the Founder and curator of Inspiration Gatherings and has spent over 30 years developing leaders and managing change. From spending 5 years on the Women’s Leadership Board for the Kennedy School of Government, to chairing the board for GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, she has touched many and inspired lives.
When did you first know you wanted to change the world one mind at a time and what was it that made you feel that?
Christie: “There was a comic strip I grew up with that was called “The Family Circus”. One of the children in the family was named Jeffy. Jeffy never came straight home when called, he always took the most circuitous route, climbing, crawling, jumping around through and over obstacles or adventures. I have always said I took the “Jeffy route” to my spiritual understanding. I was born into a family without any religious traditions and then at four was given a God Mother, who was Baptist to the core. In my teen years I was engulfed in my mother’s devotion to the Jehovah Witnesses, then broke away to join a ‘more light’ and “sanctuary” Presbyterian Church which began my awakening in both sexuality and social activism. Between the ages of 17 and 34, I suffered chronic depression, although I was high functioning in both my college and high-tech careers. This feeling of low vibration was so extreme that a body worker said to me “I’m not going to work on you if you don’t want to live”. I was shocked into the realization that I was hardly breathing and the pain I felt inside must have become visible to others. I was led to conventional therapies and some unconventional ones. Breath work, fire walking, cold plunges and Native American Sweats, began dislodging old beliefs and a heart that had been closed over. Eventually I found myself “made new, by the renewing of my mind” and it wasn’t a traditional religion, but a New Thought teaching based on a text book called The Science of Mind. This teaching gave me the tools to become aware of my inner life and begin to nurture and strengthen its presence in my every day experience. Once I saw that I could regain a level of joy and happiness in my life and how that affected everyone (including my now three adult children), I wanted to share my learning with others. I was licensed as a minister in 2007 and ordained in 2014 with The Centers for Spiritual Living.”
As a spiritual guide what inspires you?
Christie: “Nature first and foremost. Whenever I feel lost in any way, I find a tree to focus on and if possible touch. They stand- being what they are without judgement and always ground me with their presence. I also start everyday with at least an hour of spiritual study. This means I read something that reminds me to remain conscious of the divine patterns within me. I remind myself that I’m made from the same stuff as the earth and the stars and that all that is needed is within me. These reminders in the form of Hafiz (Sufi poet) or a book like “The Untethered Soul” or “Sabbath” serve to make me ready to give the best of myself each day, because I have been filled up with a lightness of being. I also love to dance and color in my journal!”
“People inspire me too. I have had the privilege in my coaching career to work with leaders of LGBTQ Equality organizations and support the trans-formative work that changes lives daily.”
In the complex world that we live in, how do you find the spiritual energy that keeps you positive?
Christie: “In addition to my daily hour of studying, journaling, and meditating, I look for ways to find the light in every situation I encounter. Instead of feeling hopeless about the current immigration crisis for example, I write a check, sign a petition and then give gratitude for the outcry which is evidence of conscious love and connection. These actions and focus on the light in any situation gives me energy. And one of the best ways to nurture your focus on light is to go within. Meditation has a complicated rap with people, I think of it as just being aware of your breath, the beating of your heart and flooding yourself with feelings of gratitude that you were given both.”
What art and music do you find stirring?
Christie: “I love and appreciate many forms of art. In our home my wife Jane and I have collected traditional landscape paintings, abstract paintings, sculptures in metal and wood, breath taking photographs, nudes and more. We are inspired by the artist and by the act of supporting them. When I look at our art collection I smile, thinking of the artists and being grateful for their gifts. In terms of music, I am a singer and songwriter myself and am influenced by too many to name here, I would say I tend to be an old school Motown girl for the most part, anything that gets me up to dance is great and good old ballads are to be sung loudly when no one is home! I also write to music whose language I don’t understand but that evokes feeling in me, Portuguese is a favorite.”
Tell us about your Inspirational Gatherings and what can people learn from them?
Christie: “Inspiration Gatherings are created as immersive musical and spoken word experiences for people to open their hearts and fill them up with positive thoughts, images and feelings. Participants leave the weekend lifted up and more familiar with the beauty and peace that resides within and learn that this inner well-being can be called on at any time to bring more love to any situation.”
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to be positive with all the negativity in the news?
Christie: “First, be informed but don’t watch too much and don’t watch before bed! One of my favorite books is “The Untethered Soul” and in it the author reminds us this simple instruction “keep your heart open, and when you forget and close it, open it again”. I have learned that my open heart is the most powerful tool to face anything.”
What has been your greatest achievement in life so far?
Christie: “My children are now 40 (twins) and 31 years old. My two sons and my daughter are each kind, wonderful, giving human beings. I can’t ask for a greater achievement than that! Bonus: they love to spend time with their moms! A distant second would be the other lives I’ve had the privilege to touch in my decades of work.”
Which women do you find most inspiring?
Christie: “My daughter Victoria and my wife Jane. Tori is a fierce, committed mother and teacher of special needs children and my wife is a lover of life and always brings good when she walks into a room.”
If you could meet one person in the world and change their mindset, who would you choose and why?
Christie: “Since none of us really has more power than another I would continue to change my own mind and believe that love prevails and that whatever I see in front of me that is unlike love can be overcome. If I had to choose one person other than myself to work on, I’d say a highly visible fortune 100 CEO, because they have as much influence as any political leader.”
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only take one movie, one song and one type of food what would they be?
Christie: “Moonstruck, Let Love be your goal (my own) and sunflower seeds!”
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Christie: “Dr. Maya Angelou- “You did what you did, when you knew what you knew and when you knew better, you did better”.
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For more information about Christie Hardwick & Inspiration Gatherings please visit http://www.inspirationgatherings.org/