Monday, December 5, 2016

Dealing with Guilt, Shame and the Past

Dreaming and Imagination

New Tools for Dealing with Guilt and Shame

Yesterday, I heard a sermon from the very brilliant Rev. Helen White.

Helen is one of those power-house folks who catches you off guard. She’s small of stature with a beautiful and open kind face. Her voice is soft and soothing and she delivers what appears to some as a small tap but to others the perfect combination of a one-two punch.

Helen weaves story and scripture so well that her listeners are laughing one moment and chastised the next. 

Here’s the thing though, you never ever feel corrected; you only feel loved.

In yesterday’s sermon, Helen crept up on a subject I’ve been dealing with personally and professionally for at least 40 years; how to deal with guilt and shame.

In Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, David R. Hawkins’ wonderful treatise on emotions and their corresponding vibration/energy, Hawkins points out that the lowest emotional vibrations are those of guilt and shame. They not only add nothing to the world around you, they actually suck the energy from the room while diminishing the energy of the guilty and shameful party.

Helping folks move beyond guilt and shame into a purpose-filled life has become my mission but you can’t get to purpose when you are burdened with the guilt of the past.

Helen, offered a beautiful and unique approach; dream your way to a better outcome.

Instead of wallowing in the past; instead of going around and around the same sin/fault over and over and over again, imagine a better outcome. See yourself going down a different path.

 Imagine what you’d like to do and become. Be as specific as an artist painting and sculpting the smallest detail. Don’t just use your mind to turn another corner, use it to see the entire layout of the city.

Dream of all of the wonderful possibilities you can live.

As I pondered Rev. Helen’s sermon yesterday morning and into the night, I began to think about those who never fall into guilt or shame. They do not possess the over-stimulated conscious. They lack what Freud called the super-ego; that thing that serves to remind us of our moral correctness.

These sociopaths and narcissistic individuals have already imagined themselves to be above it all. They are already perfect in God’s and everyone else’s sight. They see no need for forgiveness, because they believe that they have never, ever done anything wrong.
They are entitled to whatever they take and have created a story befitting of their illusion.

We need to feel guilty when we have wronged ourselves and others, but most of us have wallowed in the guilt for so long that it has gone beyond the job of correction and moved us into a space of mournful regret and depression.

Feel the guilt, ask for forgiveness and then imagine yourself going down a different road. Take time and meditate on another possibility. See the road so clearly that it becomes your choice the next time and the next.

Instead of wallowing in guilt and shame, create new outcomes and opportunities for yourself and forothers.
See your way clear.
Be you, be well, be free.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Special Request...

Happy Birthday to Me
Teach Something, Share Something, Do Something

Well I have a big birthday coming up. It’s not big because of my age, but big because of the age and time we are living in.

This is a time of change and transformation and you have a choice; be a part of the change for the better or not. Choose wisely.

Typically, when folks ask what I’d like for my birthday, I tell them world peace.

This year, I'm giving instructions.

For my birthday, I’d like for you to teach something you know, share something you possess or do something that you can for the Greater Good.

But wait, there’s more.

I’d also like you to spread the word. Take a picture, write a post or just tell someone about the good you’ve done. Good news travels fast and I’d like it to move at the speed of light.

Tweet about it, post it, snippy snappy chat with your friends.

Be the good that we need to feel and see.

The opposite of fear is not security; it is love.

Let’s love the world right.

Use the hashtag womeninpurpose and tell me Happy Birthday @DRBERTICEBERRY on Twitter.

That’s it. That’s what I want, need and desire more than anything else; for us do so much good that others feel the need to do the same.

My birthday is Saturday, November the 12th, but I celebrate for a month, so you can do.

Be the change we so desperately need to see in the world.

I love you.

It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday, it’s my Earthday.

BE you, Be well, Be in Purpose

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Energizing Your Spirit

Reenergizing Your Spirit: What’s Missing?

Last weekend, after a long and exhilarating week of travel and work and meeting amazing folks who were doing amazing things I was, in a word-- exhausted.

One would think that the last thing I needed was to do anything, but that’s exactly what I needed.

I needed creativity and young folks who laugh at seemingly nothing only to reveal a meaning deeper than I could have known.

I needed creativity and understanding and I needed hope.

So when I got the call to give a 5 minute talk at my church, another to take care of my granddaughter and one to get together with a group of great young minds, I could only say “yes.”

Because what sounded like more stuff to make me tired, was in truth the stuff that I needed to lift me up.

I needed to wrap my mind and creativity around a parsimonious representation of the heart of my spiritual community. 

I needed the infectious smile of my granddaughter and the squeal she makes as soon as she sees me.

My soul and mind deserved the gathering of young, energetic and wise lights who could hold 5 conversations at once and listen intently to all of them.

Energy begets energy and light begets light.

If you are tired and weary, exhausted from doing the thing to do the thing and then drained from actually doing it, try the following:


Be Creative

Smile at every child you see.

Stop and listen to the laughter of children.

Surround yourself with young folks and actually hear what they are saying.

Read a book.

Watch a documentary.

Listen to a book.

Know that you are loved.

Be you, be well, be ENERGIZED
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Real Issue

The Real Issue:
Can You Be Happy for the Happiness of Others?
Can you genuinely be happy for someone else’s success? Don’t answer too quickly. Take a moment and ponder this question.

When you hear that someone has fallen in love, gotten engaged, is having a baby; when you see that someone has lost weight, gotten a promotion or graduated do you immediately think of all they’ve been through or do you only see the outcome and wonder about their secret advantage?

We have been fed on the notion of competition and comparison. It’s not enough to get exactly what you want, we’ve all been brainwashed into wanting what others have.

Before you know it, we’re all jealous of someone else. This is bad enough, but to make matters even worse, we’ve all come to believe in the theory of the “unfair advantage.”

Now, we think that the folks who’ve been the disadvantaged have somehow become the advantaged.

All attempts to right hundreds of years of wrongs are seen as handouts to an undeserving minority of folks who have never ever worked as hard as you have and therefore did not earn what you so rightly deserve.

When you look at things through the eyes of equality, you can see that privilege is not the issue; entitlement is.

When we argue that we deserve something because it’s always been that way, we are arguing for the right to be entitled.

The whole this is mine because of who I am is the core of entitlement, and entitlement comes from a diet of keeping up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, the Hiltons, and anyone else you think of as having IT.

If this all sounds too simplified, then just sit with it for a day.

Try to go about without thinking about what someone else has and then try hard not to wonder how they got it.

Try your best to be happy for each and every piece of good news and then try even harder to not gloat when someone misses their own mark.

Our stuff runs deep. It lives in a pit of despair and fear about you not being good enough.

Wake up to the fact that you are wonderful as you are; that you deserve what you work for and we all can be and have our just deserts.

There has never been one pie that only feeds a few. There is so much more and even more to be discovered.
Be you, be well, be your own.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gratitude: A State of Being

On Gratitude

I just a big lesson on the difference between being grateful and being possessive.

As I walked out of my home for what could have been the last time, I came to a definitive conclusion; I am not my stuff.

Last week, the folks of Coastal Georgia and Haiti and Florida and Haiti, South and North Carolina, Haiti and did I mention Haiti, experienced the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. While the storm has long gone, we are all still dealing with the aftermath (especially the folks in Haiti.)

Streets that were here are now blocked by the huge oaks that once lined them. Power lines and sewage have tainted the drinking water and then there is the mold.

So where is the gratitude in all of this?

Being grateful should not be reduced to clich├ęs and comparisons. If I had a dollar for every, “It could be worse,” or “At least you have your power back,” I could really make a difference in Haiti.

Gratitude is a foresight and possessiveness is hindsight. When we look back on what we had or what we think we might have had, we miss the opportunity to see what can be.

Gratitude is a window of hope. It is not an act, but a state of being. Let me be more direct; either you are grateful, or you are not. Gratitude is not one and done. You are not truly grateful one moment but not the next. Being grateful is a lot like being nice. When you are a nice person, others feel it.

Ask your own self the following:

Do you see possibility for goodness or fear the worse?

Do you live in fear of those who are different or do you seek to (re)connect?

Do you work on the foundation of the future or are you obsessed with the next big or flashy thing?

Can you be happy in the moment or do you your emotions rush to the part where you know the good time must end?

Grateful is a state of being. We have become possessive creatures who can only be happy when our stuff outshines someone else’s.

Know this; we are all connected and we are connected to everything.

The tree that fell yearns for its roots and the fatherless child who was killed by that tree yearns for the root of all beings.

Be Grateful.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What Do You Attract?

Attracting Love

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to experience some of what my home town offers. 
Every place has its own flavor, color and lesser-known joys, but I live in a truly magical place.

The event was the Picnic in the Park with the Savannah Philharmonic. It was held in Forsythe Park and it was packed. My daughter and I arrived an hour early, enabling us to get a prime spot for both our blanket and our car.

More family joined us later, but before they did, we’d made friends with everyone around us. This is no exaggeration. Folks came over to my lounge chair (which had some-how turned into a very low recliner) to introduce themselves, talk about local restaurants, and even to complement our colorful blanket.

As the crowd grew larger, space was very limited and we became the spot where folks in search of a drink, or friend, meandered through the tight spaces, winding up at our blanket.

They’d beg our pardon, give many obliges, “Hey Baby’s, and other Southern greetings.

Our family (in the form of the young folks I call my nieces and nephews) arrived and the diversity of our blanket grew richer. Our surrounding "new" friends wanted to know how we’d all met, where they were from and what we kept laughing about.

We listened to great music and chatted about life and the joys thereof when I noticed a little boy who kept moving his chair closer and closer to mine until the two chairs were touching. The little boy told me his name and asked for mine.  

His parents noticed and told him to remember what they had said about personal space. 

I assured them that he was safe with us and that we would watch out for him. They said he was a handful and I simply nodded and told them that I understood. They relaxed back in their spaces and my new little friend relaxed in ours.

Then something beautiful happened. This little boy, who had been a stranger turned to me said, “You know what, I love you.” I smiled and said “Honey, I love you too.”

He kept smiling and then he said, “And I have a secret to tell you.” Looking deeply in my eyes he said, “I really love everyone and everything, but right now, I love you more than anything else.”

I could not contain my tears. In that moment, I felt that my heart had been healed.

As if he fully and completely understood the joy from my tears, the young boy sat beaming with pride and he hugged me tightly.

When it was time for us to leave, we were told by him and everyone around us that we were a joy to be with.

We all have the power to change the energy in a space. We have the ability to radiate love and joy wherever we are. We always have a choice. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.

How can you shine more brightly?

How can you be the light in a room?

Who needs your love today?

Be you, be well, be the love.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Future of Business

The Future of Business:
The Graybar Way

I believe that if you live right, life has a way of coming back around to give you what you have been giving to others.

Some call it karma, some reaping and sewing; I call it a wonderful life.

My work affords me the opportunity to meet and greet people who do the things that we don’t pay attention to but could never live without.

We’ve all sat behind a Graybar truck and have had the benefit of their business.

I recently had the chance to meet the folks who provide electrical, communications and data networking services throughout this nation.

I’ve worked with amazing companies and have met some really powerful people. This past weekend, I had a chance to peek into the future.

Every so often, I work with an all women’s audience. I love this work. I believe that as more women succeed in business, everyone will have the opportunity to succeed in life.

We’ve all got a ways to go; men need to sponsor and support more women and women have to do a much better job supporting each other, but that’s a conversation for another day.

When I’m lecturing, I like to get to the meeting place early. I want to take in the space before it’s filled with the great minds that will occupy it.

This past weekend, I walked towards the meeting rooms a little lost and a little confused. A young man wearing the company’s logo shirt stopped and asked if he could help me.

I thanked him and told him that I was looking for the Women in Graybar or W.I.N.G.S breakfast and he smiled and said, I’ll show you the way. The young man told me his name and informed me that he did not have the privilege to attend but he was sure that I would enjoy it.

I actually scratched my head. I was confused and amused at the same time.

I’ve been speaking at women’s meetings since I became a woman but I’ve never seen a man yearning to attend one.

There were other folks sitting outside of the room. They all acknowledged me and said good morning.

I walked in the room expecting it to be empty, but I was surprised to be met by the CEO herself.

Kathleen Mazzarella (The Margin Ninja) is brilliant, energetic, warm and compassionate and she is the future of business.
Kathy is one of two woman to lead a Fortune 500 company of this kind, and the only one of this size but she is as humble as she is powerful. 

Kathy extended her hand to greet me, squinted her eyes, read me faster than I’ve ever been read and decided that a hug was my preferred greeting; she was right.

As the room began to fill up, I was surprised and somewhat proud to see that this women's event was attended by men as well. The men made up about 40-45 percent of the room. 

In an industry where men make up an overwhelming percentage of the workforce, and women a tiny percent of the leadership, Graybar is truly remarkable. 

After I spoke, folks stood in line to greet me. They all shared heart-warming stories, tears and laughter.

What moved me to my own tears was the number of people asking what they could do to change the world. Some wanted to find young folks to sponsor, some wanted to combat racism and sexism and some wanted to level the playing field.

Kathy, the CEO was still there waiting for me and when everyone else was gone, I asked her how she managed to find so many amazing people.

She smiled and said, “We hire nice people. Business is work, it should be done with good folks.”
We stood and talked longer (actually we closed the place down) and I left smiling.

Life is coming back around. 

Graybar was founded in 1869. It’s got a remarkable history of firsts in electricity, telegraphs, telephones, fire alarms and much more. You may not know who they are or what they do, but you can not live without them.

Graybar is hiring. If you are smart, flexible and kind, if you want the world to be a better place and know that it starts with you; if you want to work hard, learn, think, grow and be happy, Graybar has 800 positions that may just have your name on one of them. To learn more

The Graybar way is the future of business, it’s smart with a heart. Get on board or be left behind.

Be you, be well, be the future.

Bertice Berry, PhD.