The Power of Diversity
I know, I know, it’s February and that means Black History month, so you think that’s why I’m talking about diversity---NOPE; I’m still talking about wellness. In order to be well, in spirit, mind and body you need to redefine and reevaluate your use of diversity.
I’m often asked to speak about diversity for corporations who see the power of diversity for their own growth. These companies have come to recognize that if they are to be more creative, productive and let’s just say it, profitable, they need diversity. Not everyone feels that way. We’ve come to think that diversity is about quotas and numbers. That it requires the taking of power and resources from one group to give them to another. That it is in the words of Rodney King a cry for us all to “Just get along.”
Diversity is not about Kumbaya, power sharing or can’t we all get along. Diversity in its true sense is about critical thinking. I employed the use of diversity thinking to develop the Year to Wellness Program. I had to look from culture to culture, and practice to practice to see what works in my life today. You will need to do the same thing. Nothing grows in a vacuum. Your mind needs new and diverse ideas to evolve. Your spirit or the psycho-social self requires that you experience something different and your body will not heal itself with the same junk over and over again.
We fear that which is different because we were taught to. You learned to stay in familiar circles as a means of safety and survival and the same thing was taught to cave dwellers. Isn’t it time for us to evolve?
I love my heritage, my culture and my family but I also love learning and I’m constantly opening myself to new things and ideas. I meditate, do yoga, and dance to world music. My children grew up with Capoeria (sorry, you have to look it up) and all forms of art. They attended archeological camps and learned to golf. When I was young, my sister Christine made us watch and learn from the French Lesson on PBS and my teacher Karen Denton took her students to see plays by Shakespeare. (So what if they were performed badly by the all-boys school.)
The world is big and there is much to see and learn. The more you open yourself to the diversity of life, the more you grow and evolve.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking around the family room. In front of me, there is a painting by my sister Myrna Vercher. Myrna was a brilliant artist who died from complications with diabetes. She was one of the brightest lights I’ve ever known. She was a New Age thinker way before anyone called it that and was always striving to do and be more. When I was 12, Myrna gave me a gift which she said would change my life. I had hoped for a bike, so when I saw that it was a book, I was sad and disappointed. Years later, she gave me the same book and I am sad to say that it took me even more years to finally read; the book was The Science of The Mind by Ernest Holmes and is the very foundation of much of what we call New Thought. I read the book after Myrna had passed away and in it found the letter that she had written years before. In it she told me to grab hold of all that life had to offer and to love myself more and more each day.
As I look up at the painting by my sister Myrna of a Black Madonna and child I faintly recall sitting in the backyard trying to be as still as possible because I had to pose for the features of the baby. I look around my room now and see the other pieces that have made their way here from South Africa and Tibet, Holland and Korea. There is a chair form Scandinavia and a sculpture from Egypt. On a door hangs a shackle from a slave ship and across from it hangs the portrait of my mother; bondage on one side and freedom on the other. And I sit still.
Life is big and long and wide. There more diverse your environment, the more creative and evolved are the products that come from it.
· What’s around you?
· What lessons do they teach and remind you of?
· Find an old book and re-read it.
· Do something different TODAY.
· Share what you know.
“All invention, art, literature, government, law and wisdom that has come to the race has been given to it through those who have deeply penetrated the secrets of Nature and the mind of God.” Ernest Holmes
BE you, Be well, Be Diverse
Bertice Berry, PhD.