The Ultimate Connection

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Eyes on the Cross

Today is the day. THE. DAY.

No lilies. No dyed eggs. No bonnets. Just the cross.

Let’s not rush through it. Or wish each other a “Happy Easter.” Eyes fixed on the cross, people. Just the cross. Just for today.

How we look at the cross is how we deal with suffering – ours and that of others. How we sit with our suffering and the suffering of those we love deepens our connection. If what Ram Dass says is true, that “we are all just walking each other home,” then we have to be willing to walk the whole journey, including the hours of brain-numbing, heart-broken-wide-open suffering.

During times of suffering, are we able to sit quietly without distractions? Are we able to call it what it is – a tsunami shitstorm of despair and darkness? To let the tears come and to let others bear witness to our grief? Are we able to accept our doubt, our fear, our where-is-God? I often wonder if I would have been able to stand at the bottom of the cross watching helplessly while someone I loved like crazy withered in agony? And yet, I do. In many ways, we are all given opportunities to do this throughout our lives. And God, please God, don’t make it too hard, too physically painful, too emotionally agonizing.

I am practicing asking for help. I am working on allowing myself to cry around others so they can help me just sit with it.

It has been a hard week, this Holy Week. As we walk toward the cross, the universe decided to sweeten the pot by giving me quite a few extra challenges because God must think I am a colossal bad-ass. Challenges that left me thinking during some moments, “I am done.” More than just a little discouraged. More than just a little exhausted by my messy life. More than just a little “are you friggin’ kidding me?” I am practicing asking for help. I am working on allowing myself to cry around others so they can help me just sit with it. Usually, I am a private crier. As I focus on the cross, I want community around me. Just so dang hard to be that vulnerable, that afraid, that overwhelmed.

Eyes on the cross. Don’t look away. I know it brings up everything in us that we shy away from. Everything we are so deathly afraid of. All that makes us feel so shattered.

Eyes on the cross. No 21-gun-salute-to positive thinking. No insulting clichés. Just stay with the raw, courageous, this-sucks.

Eyes on the cross. For HIM. For you. For all whom you love. It matters.

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Karen Hardwick brings decades of expertise to her work as a trusted advisor and coach to C-level and senior executives, their teams, and organizations.

Karen is known for sharing her own life-stories with clients in order to role-model transparency, foster connection and empathy, and enhance success. She has created a unique model for deepening connection — The Connected Leader™ — which gets to the core of a company and its people with compassion, intuition, and business savvy. Her upcoming book, The Connected Leader, is filled with her powerful voice and inspires others to lead with emotional wholeness, spiritual strength, and mental well-being in order to become their best selves and help others do the same.

Karen lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg, and their 17-year-old son, Matthew, where she can be found around the table with friends and family eating nourishing, home-cooked meals and sharing stories. She is the biggest contributor to the family ‘swear jar,’ despite her daily practice of meditation and prayer. And above all, Karen believes that living a life of connection is courageous; a sacred calling that requires all we’ve got.

Karen J. Hardwick, M.Div., MSW

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The Power of Connection

Karen is currently writing a book about how the power of connection can transform leaders into catalysts, groups into teams, and businesses into places where people lean in to courage, clarity, and compassion.

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