Author Archives: Harbridge Christina

Pine Needles

3am
Every night
The cat asks to be let in
So annoying

Our Christmas trees
Dry out
The cat drinks the tree water

My knees are scarred
Both knees
The cat gets in the way
On the stairs
When packages hide my view

The new couch
Is shredded in one spot
The cat refuses to use a post

My niece has a scar
On her left thigh
The cat didn’t want her
In his room

I pray every night
To hear his incessant begging meows
For brown tree needles
For more stair trips
To see sofa foam
To give him that room

I miss my cat and wish he’d come home

If I could go back to me a week ago
I’d whisper in my ear
This is the sweetness of life
These little annoyances
and
you
will
miss
this

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The Last Time is a Beautiful Thing

I read an article that introduced me to a deliberate practice that has helped me be more present.

Is this the Last Time you get to do this?

This question isn’t meant to scare or put one into scarcity. It is a precious reminder that this moment is, well, precious.

My son has long hair. It is hard to brush. I help him in the morning and sometimes it is just hard.

I am blessed to be with him on the mornings I brush his hair. Now, if it is a struggle, I lovingly run my hands over his silken (gnarled underneath) tresses. I slow it all down and LOVE how delicious it is to be a mom who has a son.

I told my son about it and he sort of laughed. Yet, weeks later he did something he hasn’t done since he was four. He used to stand at the top of the stairs and call for me in the SWEETEST voice MOMMA!

(I taught him to do this as a toddler when he woke up in the morning… I’d come get him in such a fun way.)

It was beautiful to get a Last Time Do Over. I felt so very grateful.

I’m learning to be super present by slowing moments down as if they were the last time. Thank you author of the article below. 🙂

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-corneal/parenting-lasts_b_1874086.html

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Say Yes to Everything

Say Yes to Everything

For a week.
Of course, put some boundaries around it.
(My boundaries were: no travel required, no going with strangers in dark allies & no messing with my son’s schedule)
Say YES to every request or ask.
Of course, do not tell anyone you are doing this.
Just do it.
There are so many articles out there about saying NO, so I wondered how it would feel to embrace the chaos of YES.
One week.
It was total chaos and bliss.
It took me to places I value.
I threw me off of my ‘to do’ list and into the present moment.
YES is the new NO. or is it KNOW.
🙂

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Emotion IS

“Get over it.”
“Buck up.”
“Carry on.”
“Calm down.”

“Whatever you do, please, do not have an emotion I do not feel like having right now.”

I find this curious. About humans. What most of us yearn for is real moments with people we care about. Yet, we often shun, distance and turn people away at the moments that are perfect for deeper connection.

Grief. Anger. Bitterness. Imperfection. All those yucky feelings we all have.

One of the cruelest things we can do to another person is shun them. We do this in a fashion when we distance ourselves from people when they are in a feeling.

I watch my son be told (by people who love him) not to cry if something hurts. “Toughen up champ.”

I watch CEOs, who desperately need to confront reality sooner in their business, push the truth away because of the emotional package it is coming in.

I wonder sometimes if teenagers stop talking to their parents because their parents have taught them for years that when they are having an emotion they will be calmed down, repositioned and not listened to.

Perhaps if humans physiologically understood that emotions are temporary and they are often part of a process that gets people closer to their genius. When we disallow emotions we shortcut the beauty of being human. The best of us is often on the other side of some intense feelings.

The next time a kid, a co-worker, a spouse, a sibling, a friend is having an emotion you do not feel like having in the moment – sit in it with them. Be curious without trying to solve the issue. Get them talking more and feeling more.

I believe empathy shows love and personal strength. Empathy is simply the ability to feel the feelings of another person without becoming it. To be with someone. To allow imperfection so we move closer to perfection. (although perfect isn’t and doesn’t actually exist)

If what we really want is for someone to stop feeling bad, sometimes the fastest path is through it rather than around it.

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It is longer than I think

And old draft from 2012.

So. I did this thing.

13.1 miles

Running.

My plan: to run the whole way and not stop until the finish line.

My treat: seeing my little boy seeing his old mom doing something she didn’t think was possible.

So. We go.

Crazy flight. 11 hours. Lots of training. I could run SIX MINUTES without stopping when I started.

Wanting to finish in 3 hours.

So. We lose a tooth. Sebastian does. Over dinner the first night. He says, “If this is any indication of the days ahead…”  Yes. He did say that. Because the kid parrots all the silly ways I talk about red lights, drunken window tappers in the Tenderloin or spilled milk on his favorite shirt at breakfast.

So. We try to relax. I get hives. Quarter size. I lost count at 13. Not because I can’t count but I sort of lost interest. I realized I was about to be one big giant postule of yuck. Luckily we had a nurse nearby. Gave me Benadryl. I poodled most of the night worrying about my race. Fret fret fret.

I shifted my focus to the moment I crossed the finish line. My son talking about it and telling me he just couldn’t wait to see me finish. It is what kept me going in training: knowing that I was going to have this moment with my son. I wanted him to see that discipline is a good thing…that all the training was worth it.

I hired a sitter to be with Sebastian while I ran. I let her know that the most important thing for me is that he was at the finish line. I gave her the possible times. I could have asked friends to be with him. Yet my desire to never tread on another trumped good sense. I hired a gal.

I ran. 3 laps. 13 ish miles. Dear friends cheering me as I struggled to keep running. I did. When I crossed that finish line I wanted to be able to tell my son “I DID IT”- that thing I didn’t think possible.

The last mile I broke down. Almost gave up. Luckily a stranger Scott, limping on the side of the path, told me to keep going and not give up. He ran with me the last mile… talking all the way. He was magic.

I see the finish line…and… not my son.

Not my son.

It seems the sitter had lost track of time. He wasn’t there. Other friends were. So many of them. Two gave me flowers. And that moment was so sad for me.

I saw him in the distance and he ran to me. He was so angry that I had crossed the finish line without him. The sitter apologizing for losing track of time. Then, she admitted that she just didn’t believe that I could finish my first half in 2.5 hours. She sort of apologized but not really.

Life is like this sometimes. We have these expectations that can make us sad.

What did I learn from this? That maybe I need to learn to ask those close to me to help.

Or maybe

The lesson is that Sebastian, it is the small moments that matter most. The times you were on the bike next to me while I learned how to run. The finish line, feh. That is only for us if we think FINISHING and the MEDAL is what makes a life.

I don’t. You?

 

 

 

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It is okay to want what you want just because you want it

I read an article last month that left me feeling so very compassionate to all the Moms out there. Well, to all humans really.

In the article, a Mother adamantly espouses the right way to parent in such a crazy world. She writes well and her thinking makes sense.

Beneath the article, I also felt a feeling I think most Mom’s (parents) feel on a daily basis.

Do we really know the right way to parent?

I don’t. I’m sure I have it wrong half the time.

The mom who never misses a school event, will be told, when her kid is a teenager, that she was ‘always there’ with an eye roll. The mom who attends specific events because of her travel schedule will be told, when her kid is a teenager, that she was ‘never there.’

This post isn’t about that. It is really about this underlying need, it seems, for humans to shout from the rooftops that they have figured out the right way to live. To almost admonish others for choosing another path. Announcing that we have found the Holy Grail of parenting, leadership, selling or living!  With several exclamation points, we are so sure of ourselves. !!!

Actually, each ! is perhaps a declaration of just how unsure of ourselves we are.

It feels like such insecurity in all of these declarations. Beneath it all, as I read that article, is a wish and a hope that ‘it’ has been figured out. And for ‘it’ to be valid, everyone who parents differently must be wrong. As I read several articles this morning, I just noticed how BINARY we are. So EITHER/OR. If I am right, you must be wrong. Rather, if I am parenting this way, I MUST be right and therefore you must be wrong or I am not okay.

It is okay to want what you want just because you want it.

That is what I’m left with. It is okay to mom the way that is right for us and our kid. It is okay to lead the way that is right for us and our vision/team. We each get to see the outcomes of what we are choosing and decide if we want to make adjustments or not. Anyone with limited information will give us assumptive advice and it is a gift yet we don’t have to take it home with us. It is a way to check-in and be present in how we parent, lead or run our companies/jobs.

We give each other SO much advice. Perhaps to be caring and often to soothe ourselves that our way is the right way. That we are okay. That our choices are not selfish- they are the global way to be.

I think women are learning to not judge another woman for her parenting choices or life situation that limits her choices. Well, not really. Now we perhaps make snarky comments through our aggrandizing our discovery of the RIGHT WAY. It is sad.

I admire the women in my life who have devoted their life to being a work at home mom. I see them and all the ways they make my son’s school better in ways I do not. I value them and admit I am a little jealous at times. I had miscarriages and really wanted more kids. My jealousy sometimes makes me distance myself a little. That underlying ache can turn into judgment so easily. I can judge people because of my internal ache and insecurity to somehow make me feel okay.

I admire the women in my life who have devoted their life to changing the world. I watch them tear their heart out sometimes flying around the country because they want to improve the world their children will grow up in. I am a little jealous at times seeing the things they get to do and how they are making such a huge impact. I know how little my impact is on the world each time I choose to turn something down. I know I am not doing enough and giving enough of myself to change the world. That underlying ache can turn into judgment so easily. I can judge people to somehow make myself feel better.

I admire the women in my life who take care of themselves. Who are bold enough to live a life that is about happiness and being a whole human. They are changing the world by teaching their kids that bliss and self-care is of value.

I admire the women in my life who do not have kids because they didn’t want them or (sob) didn’t get to have them. They give my life tremendous love and perspective I just can’t get anywhere else. I am a little jealous of them at times seeing all the beauty they craft with a wave of their fingers. I do not do enough like they do so I get all weird in my head at times.

I admire the women in my life who just like to read and do as little as possible. Such a beautiful lesson for their children (and their friends who have kids) to understand that life is what we choose it to be… without comparison.

It is okay to want what we want just because we want it.

That is it. My wish is that instead of adamantly deciding we are doing it right and they are doing it wrong… we are open that maybe we have something to learn from other people. Maybe by noticing that someone is doing it different, we can ADD some thinking to ours rather than judge and proclaim.

Or we can just hug someone who just might need to be reminded they are okay and beautiful in their choices.

or something.

PS: “It is okay to want what we want just because we want it” doesn’t apply to serial killers, jerks who have control over people, governments, evil people etc. Take it as a lighthearted sentence not mean to give anyone license to hurt people.

http://www.umbrelr.com/young-mother-giving-kids-dont-blame-her/

 

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Does his ‘shut up’ trump the beauty of the lesson?

Hi.

I haven’t posted in a while. I found all of these saved drafts in my blog that I never made live.

Here is an imperfect unfinished post that is perfectly timed for me- based on something from over a year ago.

Here goes:

My sister sends me stuff all the time. She is brilliant. I use her brain way too much as I do what I do in the world.

There is this video of a coach in a press conference. He is having an emotional moment honoring the loss of a team member and his memory. Someone in the room answers a phone call, rudely, in the middle of the moment.

He handles it beautifully in my view. He didn’t coddle or gently tell the dude how offensive the action was. He DISRUPTED that guy pretty harshly.

My sister said today, “Sometimes the person being mean to you is trying to do what a true friend does: tell you when you are being an ass.” Okay, it shouldn’t be in quotes cuz that is the gist of what she said… I didn’t capture it perfectly.

Are we okay being caught in our behavior and hearing it? Can we then forgive ourselves for what we have done? Can we forgive others for maybe the yucky way they tried to bring it to our attention? Humans have ways of justifying our behavior and distancing ourselves from our true beauty.

We often can’t hear it. We grade how people tell us instead of just trying to hear what it is they are trying to say. Huge learning gets lost in our ease in getting offended.

Shut up. Message received. I doubt that person will ever disrespect a room that way again.

I’m not advocating for more people to be rude to each other. I do think we can listen to intent rather than actions.

Humans are way too focused these days on ‘HOW THE PERSON SAID IT TO ME” rather than “OH CRAP, I DID MESS UP?”

Perhaps the recoil we feel is just our inability to accept that we will just never be perfect…

I worry that all of our communicating classes are teaching us that emotions are bad. That we must coddle and calm each other instead of just telling someone they have spinach in their teeth.

Being nice means I won’t embarrass you by telling you that you have spinach in your teeth: KIND means I won’t let you walk around with it all day. Sometimes, I may say it in a way that does make you feel embarrassed. If we just accept that sometimes we will be OPEN and sometimes we will be CLOSED. Well, what happens then?

After watching that segment again, I wonder if that young man learned the lesson I got from the coach that day. We are not invisible. If we are in a room- BE IN IT.

 

 

 

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Small moments- the Living Like button

I have a deliberate practice to search for and notice the beauty of human beings. I then appreciate the individual I notice as often as I can. It makes me love the world I live in.

Whenever I stay in a hotel, along with the tip, I leave a personal note for the person taking care of so many travelers quietly and behind the scenes. A thank you note takes just a moment – it is such an easy way to increase happiness in the world. We just never know the heart and life of the hands holding that piece of paper later.

Small moments are the key to a better future for our world. We are all so busy and focused on the little computer in our palm. Can we hold that hand out to someone who has been in our physical presence rather than our technological one? Can we just start LIVING a LIKE button?

Creating a deliberate practice to NOTICE individuals and appreciate them is my focus in life. To appreciate without the expectation to receive anything in return.

I received this e-mail from someone creating their deliberate practice too. Love it. So look forward to a future when these kind of notes are so common people do not feel the need to thank for being thanked.

I love the world. Thank you dearest D who emailed me. It means so much to me. 🙂

Hi Christina,

So… following your lead, while staying at a hotel in xxxx, I left a note on my bed thanking whomever was straightening and cleaning my room.  It was a simple note, I honestly don’t remember exactly what I wrote… probably something like, “Thank you for taking such good care of me during my stay…” nothing more for sure.

As I went to dinner tonight, the person behind the hotel check-in/out counter…. I’m sure there is a better name for the area… but it escapes me at the moment…. called me over and handed me a bag with a note beautifully tied with lace attached to the top… the very nice person behind the counter told me that they wanted to thank me for my kind note….. inside the bag was a wonderful bottle of wine (vintage 2002…. old must be good) and the note in the attached image.

 Suffice to say, I’ll stay here anytime I’m in the area.  BUT…. what really struck me was the power of a simple note…

Thank you for sharing this little gem with me.  Every day, I privately (alright, I guess if I’m telling you, it is not very private) ask to be a light to someone during the day.  In this case, it backfired, as the staff of the hotel were a light too me…

 Go figure.

 Take care,

Name withheld to protect his privacy

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Buzzwords reduce understanding

This is such a good example of how humans often miscommunicate:

Colbert and Newsom

If folks do not understand what is being said: USE an example.

To increase understanding: help people FIND THEMSELVES in what you are trying to say.

Examples. Use them.

In case my link above gives you trouble:

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/02/colbert-to-gavin-newsom-what-the-bleep-does-any-of-that-mean.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

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Honoring you today

I’m so thinking of you
All of you
Who left your family and your home
To serve your country
Honor
Gratitude
In absolute awe of you

I think of you today knowing my ability to peek in on a sleeping boy
And listen to his breathing and dream words
Even tiptoe in to smell his hair and rearrange his blankets
I am lucky for that
You left your family and left that
For me
For all of us
I can’t imagine the strength and the honor it took to do that
and
so
Today – I think of you.
I thank you.
I love you.

We all must live each day
Being worthy of the incredible heart
It took for you to do that for us

We must act now in a way that makes you proud
All of us
Each of us
Me.

Thank you

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