Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 274; A Time to Work

My teacher Daria; one of the world's best teachers

A Time To Work

This past weekend, I was a part of a work session that lasted all day and all night.

It was hard, exhilarating and challenging. I was reminded of my days back in graduate school when it seemed that all I did was work.

I work hard and I play hard. The difference between me and most folks is that I do both at the same time.

I have learned to love learning and that is the trick of life. This weekend, I was surrounded by a group of amazing teachers who taught me to be better than I am at being me.

I wish I could tell you more, but I’m too tired to do so.

What I want to say is this, doing what you love requires hard work. Learning how to do it requires even more.

Into each life, a little hard work must fall, so learn to love and enjoy it.

Be you, be well, be a worker.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 273; Crossing the Line to Happiness

Crossing The Line

I’m going to apologize up front to those of you who are expecting a mad rant about something that made me cross a line. My intention today is to help you across the line in the sand of life from the constant pursuit of happiness to actual happiness.
Here goes; current research on the subject of subjective wellbeing/happiness finds that the pursuit of the extrinsic goals of money, status and image do not bring happiness. In fact, it appears that a constant search in this arena will result in unhappiness because the getting of stuff requires the need for more stuff.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m at a work session with a group of folks who put me up in an extremely nice condo on the ocean and I am surrounded by beautiful things; I LIKE THEM.
There is nothing wrong with having status, image and wealth, but the constant pursuit of them will not satisfy nor make you happy.
In contrast, when we seek personal growth, strong relationships and a sense of community and the well-being thereof, we become happy. Happiness makes a difference in how well we live.
Yesterday, I saw this in action. A young woman I am working with has an ill father. She was saddened by the fact that she could not be with him. The story is much bigger and more personal than you can imagine, so suffice it to stay; it was one of life’s trials.
I called my dear friend and sister Rita who lives in the same town as the young woman’s father. She and her husband Hal went to visit my friend’s father and showed him love. The power of that visit is with me now and will fill my heart until I die.
The love they showed in that moment gave happiness, peace and a sense of restoration. Money could not by that moment. My status would not garner that kind of love and my image would not have even started the car.
I believe that my own personal growth enabled me to be open to share in this need. The growth of the young woman to reach out for help, and the relationship between Rita, and I; she and her husband and then our sense of community which recognized that we are all family is what brought the peace that surpasses understanding.
I’m not turning in the beautiful stuff that has come with life. I don’t have to get rid of the status that I have achieved (okay, if you know me, then you know that I’m laughing) and as I humble myself, my beauty is magnified.
But I have decided to spend the rest of my days seeking growth, loving relationships and building the community of humankind.

I hope you’ll join me.
Be you, be well, cross the line.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day272; The Breath of Life


Today, take the time to think about your breathing. No, really think about it. I know I sound like a crazy woman who was up late and then overslept; because I am.

But I was thinking about this before all of that happened.

Breathing is something we do naturally, until we can’t. But we don’t give it enough thought.

Take a deep breath in and imagine what you can give life too.

Let it out and think about doing so.

Take another deep breath and breathe the breath of life.

Exhale and see all that you can become.

Breathe and know that the air you take in is shared with the greatest minds that ever lived.

It is shared with the most talented beings from the beginning of time to now.

Breathe and Be.

I love you

Bertice Berry, PhD

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 271; Something Good Is About To Happen

Something Good Is About To Happen

I have a little dilemma here; I have an early flight and a big concept to share, so I’m going to break it down as parsimoniously as possible. (I know; I dropped a 5 dollar word in a 2 dollar sentence.)
Have you ever noticed that when everything is going well, like your laundry is all clean, the kids are acting right and you got your bills paid on time, that you begin to worry?
“Uh oh, something bad is about to happen.” You mumble to yourself. Then you begin to brace yourself for the self-fulfilling prophecy you’ve already planned for and when things go wrong just like you expected, you get to be right.
It’s good to look ahead; it’s even more wonderful to store up for winter, but we have been living like our enslaved ancestors on the day after Juneteenth who danced and celebrated the night before, but woke up saying “I know this can’t be true; there's no way that I've been set free.”
What if we truly lived in the present now and expected only good?
What if we believed that all things were possible, simply because we believed?
What if we built our hopes on things eternal?
What if God’s will is done on earth just as it is in heaven?
Would we even want to know, or would we want to keep expecting the worse rejoicing then we proved our own selves right right?
Heavy stuff, I know. But I have a plane to catch and a belief that it will take-off and land.
Be joyous, uplifted and expectant of nothing but infinite good.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Day 270; Laugh Until It Heals

 Laugh Until It Heals

Yesterday, I had a call with a group of folks who plan a huge conference and training session for the American Association of Critical Care Nursing. We worked hard, brain storming ideas off of one another, and thinking of ways to be better than we were last year.
We discussed research implication and ideas behind the idea of what people will eventually come to see as “something that looks easy.” I knew we were working hard because my head was hurting.
In the midst of the hard work and headache was a great deal of laughter.
At one point, we laughed so hard that the pain from my head had joined the one in my gut.                                                                                                                   
I love to make others laugh, but ironically, I don’t laugh easily; most humorists don’t. We are too busy analyzing the humor and why people find it funny. So when I get the chance to laugh hard, I take it.
Laughter increases memory, lowers the blood pressure, gives your muscles a work-out in your face, legs, back abdominals and diaphragm. Laughter reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and does even more.
So why don’t we laugh more often? For the most part, I think we have not learned how and when to laugh. The humor in the U.S. has moved from laughing at a bad situation to laughing at the people in that situation. That move has also led to a movement of political correctness which in some ways keeps us from laughing entirely.
Don’t get me wrong, we need something that tells us when we have gone too far, but we still need to laugh.
·         We need to laugh at ourselves until we find a way out of our situation.

·         We need to laugh at the ironies of life

·         We need to laugh with one another

·         We need to laugh through our pain.

Yesterday, I laughed and learned and felt what it means to laugh at absolutely nothing and I was renewed.

Today, make yourself laugh. Seriously; get in front of a mirror and just laugh until you feel your abs contract, then laugh some more.

Laughter heals.

Be you, be well, be a healer.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 269; Can You Keep A Secret?

Can You Keep a Secret?

I’m sitting here at my desk wanting to write about something that I can’t. I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement and so I won’t.
But there are times in all of our lives when someone tells us something that is so good we want to tell the world. There are others when the thing is so bad that we want to tell the world.
Fortunately, my news is the former. But it got me to wondering about the whole telling and sharing of secrets and gossip.
For the most part, I’m one of those folks you can tell a secret to and never hear it again; that’s because I forget it. Still, I wonder why folks ask you to hold onto something that they themselves could not.
I understand the confidentiality of work; it is necessary. Whenever I’m working on a project that requires it, I ask that folks not divulge the details or information we have shared. When it’s so good that we can’t stand it, we simply talk to each other.
Gossip though is another matter; when someone starts to tell me something that they can’t keep of the negative sort, I ask them to just keep on holding it. I used to ask them to dump their trash somewhere else, but I don’t even want them to do that.
We gossip in an attempt to make our own self feel better. We think that by putting someone else down, we are elevated. Life does not work that way. Making someone else more sinful or ugly or stupid will not make you a beautiful and brilliant saint. It makes you a gossip.
When you carry trash, you will smell of it. (Wow, I’m going to remember that line and use it again.)
Stay true to your own life.
Stay in your lane.
Hold on to the joy of confidential news. If you have to talk about it; do so with the person who told you.
Don’t dump or pick up trash.
Good news will make you smile and stand taller. Gossip will bring you down.
Ask yourself how you want to feel and let your heart do the talking.
Be you, be well, be wonderful.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 268; Be Careful What You Ask For

Dreaming and conjuring

Be Careful What You Ask For

Yesterday, I had one of those truly surreal moments when I connected to something I’d thought about the night before.
I believe that we can have what we desire, but the trick to life is in knowing what to want.
A few night s ago I had a flashback dream. In the dream, I was a kid again and my brother and I had snuck my mother’s recordings of the comedian Mom’s Mabley and were listening to them in the basement.
We’d laugh at the familiar lines of the bawdy old woman who made even my mother laugh. Moms was in her late 70’s at the time and performing all over the world. “Don’t talk about the dead unless it’s good,” Moms said of her late husband. “Well, he’s dead, good.”
I woke up laughing and wondering how and why I had conjured Moms. I knew that she’d had a difficult life. She’d been raped twice when she was a child and forced to marry a much older man. Her grandmother, whom she said was responsible for “hipping” her; making her wise, encouraged her to run away. She did so and joined the vaudeville circuit. I laughed at the dream but I had a big day ahead of me and so I forgot all about my night time visit with Moms.
Later that morning, my daughter and I flew to Cincinnati for a meeting the next day. We spent the morning with a good friend who took us to lunch. Afterwards, we walked around an artsy neighborhood and found a throwback record store. The place had some of everything. There were CDs and vinyl; 45s and 78s.
I was looking in a section of CDs with recordings of Dr. King and Malcom X and then I found it; a collection of performances of Moms Mabley. I stood there wondering if this was actually happening.
Thinking of Moms Mabley is rather random; finding her CD in a store my friend didn’t even know existed was downright mind boggling. (More about Moms)
As we rode in the car, we listened and laughed at what I had mostly forgotten. To hear my daughter laugh at the same things that I did as a kid was priceless.
What can you conjure?
What old memories would you like to revisit?
What did you dream?
Today, I’ve decided to be even more focused with my desires, because I never know what might turn up.
Be you, be well, be wanting.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 267; Be Careful What You Laugh At

Be Careful What You Laugh At

Okay, so I’m writing at an airport gate because I got up too late to write at home.
I had full warning and should have expected that it would happen. I’ll explain. Yesterday, a friend called and shared what I thought was a hilarious story.
He had to go to a big annual conference where he is always the big cheese. He overslept the night before and had not packed. So quickly, he, threw some things in a bag, rushed to the airport and barely made his flight. A later flight was not an option as he had to head up an important meeting.
Once there, he discovered that he hadn’t packed the clothes he would need for the conference.
I asked if he went out to buy new things and he said no, that he simply went to fewer events. Whenever someone asked if he was coming to a dinner or party he told them that he had work to do.
I laughed and laughed because my friend is also one of the best dressed guys I know. He’s also one of the most rational. Although he has the money to buy more clothes, he refused to do so.
“I have too many clothes,” he said. “I go to this conference every year and I didn’t have to make an appearance at every event. So I just went to my room and washed out my things for the next day.”
I laughed as he told me about the one very nice but very recognizable suit and I laughed about how he purchased a Martin Luther King/Obama t-shirt for his casual wear.
I laughed so hard that I fell asleep laughing and then I overslept. I had only one hour to shower, dress and yes, pack for an early morning flight.
I laughed at myself as I threw things in a bag, much like my friend must have done. Fortunately, I don’t have multiple appearances and will only be traveling for day. My liquids and gels are always on stand-by and I lay-out my clothes the night before.
But here’s the lesson for today; when you know better you have to do better. Reaping what you sew is always quicker when you know and have an understanding of what you are doing. I made fun of my friend, laughing at his mistake and his I Have A Dream t-shirt.
Silently, I had wondered how someone so smart could have done something so dumb. I was kind enough to not say this; still I thought it more than once.
This morning my thought came back to me when I found myself in the same situation. Fortunately I had read a treatise on guilt and forgiveness the day before so I applied the principles immediately. I recalled my laughter and my thoughts and I asked for forgiveness. I forgave myself and knew that my friend would too. I imagined the peace that surpasses understanding and as I did, I felt that I was missing something important.
I stood in my doorway and tried to imagine what I had forgotten and it came right to me.
My wallet was in another bag and I would have been traveling without it. I smiled and said a word of thanks, grabbed my wallet and came to where I am sitting now.

Be careful what you laugh at, because we all reap what we sew.
Be you, be well, be forgiven.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 266; Pushing Through

Pushing Through

One of the most remarkable traits my mother possessed was the ability to push through every and any obstacle. She had her faults, but her ability to push through even those made her the world’s greatest transformer.
I have inherited this trait and as much as I admire it in my mother, I often detest it in myself. It is a wonderful thing to be able to push beyond your own pain and needs, however, there is a time when we must all leave our ego on the floor and get back in bed and just do nothing.
From my mother, I learned to value work for the sake of work and unfortunately, with the exception of my friends and the Amish, this is not a widespread idea.
I believe (which means I do not know for certain) that every office has at least one of these “push through” types. These are the folks who will work until the job is complete. They will stay as long as it takes and they will put the needs of the whole above their own.
This sounds wonderful on paper, but the whole truth is we must also take care of ourselves.
Pushing through is great at the end of a work-out, when you need that final push. It is miraculous when you have an idea that sits just in front of you but you can’t quite reach it and then you push through and find the gem.
It is a great trait to have where work is concerned, but when it comes to life; we need to rely on the love and kindness of others.
We must rest and think and let life assist us in our everyday tasks.
When I find myself working even harder than my mother did, I allow her voice to guide me from the other side; “I worked that hard so you can work smart.”
Today, push through your need to beat yourself at working and take the time to rest.

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 265: The Power of Timing

The Power of Timing
Okay boys and girls, I am excited and ready to kick it up a notch. For over 265 days now, I have been getting up a few hours earlier than I would normally need to, to write about transformation and becoming our highest version in spirit, mind and body.
We have 100 days to get there. Okay, the truth is that you have the rest of your life, but for now we have the now.
When I was back in graduate school, I somehow found myself entrenched in the powerlifting and body building community. I’d help folks train and even did the choreography for many of Ohio’s top competitors. I worked out daily because other than the church or the library, the old gym (the new one was for the see and be seen crowd) was the place where I could still keep my head in the books and do something physical at the same time. I’d do reps and memorize statistical research terminology or theoretical concepts.
I loved the hard working folks at the old gym where I became a fixture. Trainers would try to get me into competitions and wondered why I refused to do so, since I attended most of them with my friends. I didn’t care to put my body on display, but I loved the work-outs and trade secrets shared by those who were truly in.
One of the best kept secrets of an athlete is timing. The body builders and power lifters all understood the seasons of their body and the timing of their next events. They would work daily towards their goals, but understood the need to wait for the right peak time to truly get down to business. The best work was always done with a three month window.
“Start too soon, and you peak too quickly, start too late and you miss your moment.” This wisdom could be applied to many things in life (don’t even go there,) and I have often applied it to studying for my comps, writing a novel and even for guiding my children.
In life, just like weight training, timing is key.
So now, that you get the point, let me drive it home; we have 100 days left to really reach the top. Today is the day to begin to apply all that you have been learning.
As they say in the gym; “I’ve been working every day for this day. Now the real work begins.”

·         Get your goal in front of you. Let it determine what you will or will not do.

·         Let nothing hinder nor delay

·         You will have the rest of your life to take a break from you---okay you won’t but you get the point.

·         Begin to visualize your results.

·         Tell yourself that you are grateful for you now

·         Put aside all things that hinder

·         Surround yourself with truth, love and more truth

·         Realize that you deserve the time you need to spend on yourself

·         Go For It
Be you, be well, get ready to be your best.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 264; The Evil That Men--and Women Do

The Evil That Men and Women Do

When I was still a kid and in Ms. Denton’s English class learning to recite Shakespeare in the iambic pentameter it was meant to have, my mind would get stuck on the lines of Anthony’s burial speech in The Play Julius Caesar.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do, live after them.
The good is oft interred with their bones
So let it be with Caesar.
A lot of what I came to think and feel about others came from Ms. Denton’s English class. From Macbeth, I came to see that even a murderer could be looked upon differently when you knew enough about their background and from Caesar; I decided that I must find any way possible to see the good that others do even when we are told not to.
In our society though, we are fed a daily dose of the wrongs of others. So much so, that even when someone redeems themselves, we want to bring up the wrongs.
The good if oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar.
After this line, Anthony says, “He was my friend, faithful and just.” How many times have we heard someone say, “That’s my friend but…”
Yesterday, I was moved by an experience that was the opposite. The North Carolina Public Health Association had gathered at a conference in New Bern (which by the by is very difficult to get to.) The folks from North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, held a luncheon and honored some of the association members for the good and innovative work they were doing in their community.
There were programs designed to make sure that poor kids had dental check-ups and one that taught girls who were trying to run from abuse, rape and neglect, to run for sport and esteem and pure joy. One woman’s bio read like a real-life super woman. She’d personally computerized social service programs that did not have the know-how or funds to do so.
After a duo of do-gooders found out the amount of money that came with their prize, they immediately did the math and found that 150 pregnant women who could not afford pre-natal care were now going to be able to get it.
I left for the airport with tears in my eyes and love swelling my heart. I knew that these folks from all over the state of North Carolina would not make the evening news; not even in that small town. But their good would live after them.

So let it be with you.
Be well, be faithful, be just.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 263; Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do you Think You Are?

Last night I had the gift of speaking to the freshman and other members of the campus community at The University of Indianapolis. I write gift, because all of the folks there had read my book The Ties That Bind as a campus-wide project.

Now, you probably know that this was a real kick for me. Before I even began, students came running up to tell me how the book had changed their lives. One young woman said that until she read my book, she had never really cared about who her father was, but now was determined to find out. Another student told me that she read the book and decided to talk to her parents about her family’s background and learned that they had descended from the King of Scotland.

One young man said that he felt all alone; that he had no trace of family anywhere, but he left knowing that his peeps were on that campus and his new auntie lived in Savannah.

The book traces my family along with the one who owned the Delaware plantation they lived on during slavery. It turned out that my family had lived on a plantation with the abolitionist, John Hunn and although I had not been aware of it, I too was a descendent from free folks who participated in the Underground Railroad. Before writing the book, I had been completely unaware of this and had used Hunn’s name in my first novel, Redemption Song, but had done so improperly.

I wrote The Ties That Bind as an apology to Hunn and  my ancestors. By not knowing who I was, I was not being true to my own heritage.

Last night I urged the students to learn who they are, to find their purpose and to seek ways to connect to others.

Recently, I’ve been in touch with one of the decedents of John Hunn, we jokingly call ourselves cousins, but yesterday, before going out to give the lecture, I opened an email from Roland Hunn. He’s also looking into his family story and has done his DNA testing. It turns out that we might be right; a little more than 10% of his heritage is African American and that’s enough to know that we truly are connected.

Who are you?

Who your people is? (Yes, you read it right.)

How do you connect?

Be you, be found, be connected.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Day 262; Stay True To You

Stay True to You

A few days ago, while talking to a friend an amazing question was posed. We were talking about a young person who had vowed to do for another, but had failed to do for himself. My friend had asked the young man a simple question, “I know what you promised to do for her, but why can’t you do the same for your own self?”
The young man had been stymied by the question. He stammered and wondered until it occurred to him that what he was willing to do for others, he had not been willing to do for himself.
When I heard this, I had to look through my own life. Givers and doers tend to be amazingly loyal---to everyone but themselves.
You promise yourself a little rest and then you cheat on yourself to make sure that someone else gets the time and attention they want. You promise yourself a massage, but then decide that you can use that money for someone else’s wants.
The questions this morning is simple; what are you willing to do for you?
What have you done for you lately?
Why are you cheating on yourself?
Folks who are loyal have no problem remaining true to others; the problem is with being true to themselves.
Don’t get mad at me, I’m just the messenger.
Now, I’m going to catch a plane, so I can give a different message to someone else.

Be you, be true, to you.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 261; Happy as a Clam to Do Something New

Happy As A Clam to Do Something New

Keep reading; it's just henna
After reading this, I hope you will have things to do, places to see and people to meet, so I will just get right to it. Doing new things is a great way to create happiness in your life; it also helps beat back frustration and anger.
Yesterday, I got in my van to run a few errands, but the car wouldn’t start. I immediately laid out a three way course of action for short term and long term possibilities. It turned out that the short term goal was all that was needed which is a good thing because the long term involved a new car.
My jumper box was of course missing, but my manager Jeanine was Jeanine-on-the-spot and came right over to assist me. Plan two would have been going to rent a car since our repair shop was closed, the kids had to go to classes and I was leaving town.
Neither of us had ever jumped a car, but we’d seen it done and I could read. It’s a good thing I didn’t skip too many of Mr. Prado’s Spanish classes because the directions were only in Spanish.
I was elated when I heard the engine start so we kicked into part B of phase one; which was to get a new battery. The repair shop was closed, but Walmart is always open and it turned out that this was where the last battery had come from.
The battery had one month of warranty left and I didn’t owe a dime. I smiled until I heard that it would take two to three hours to get to it. Then I remembered that I had a book and smiled again.

Jeanine smiled and said, no worries, we can go and do something new.
So I introduced her to the flee market; the one we always pass but never go to. I’d been before with my mother and my sister; who both love to walk and just look. My mother used to say, “Let’s go not shopping.”
Jeanine and I were having a great time looking at things we didn’t want and then we came to the henna booth. Jeanine had done it before and even has tattoos, but I had never done anything of the sort. She decided to have her hand done; a beautiful and intricate design and I stood by and watched.
Then I said to myself; “Try something new, you tell others to.” I did and smiled the entire time. I came home with a car that was running and my new body art.
This morning I laughed to myself about how in the past a car that didn’t run could have been a great deal of frustration. With only one day off, who wants to spend in at an auto shop, I would have complained. Instead, I was happy as a clam—which by the by, comes from the phrase “Happy as a clam at high tide,” because at high tide, there are no predators to attack.

Be you, be new, be happy.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 260; Choosing or Chasing Happiness

Are You Choosing or Chasing Happiness

This morning I woke up 4 hours later than I normally do. It was obvious to me that my mind and body needed more rest, so they lulled me off into a coma-like state and gave me a gentle nudge at 7 instead of 3.
Normally when I get up, I read and meditate and then around 6:00, I make my bed say a prayer and then get to writing. I do not pass go, nor do I collect the 200 bucks, I get right to it.
This morning however, even though I had overslept by 4 hours,  I stopped long enough to take a quick glance at my email. When I did I found the following note, meant to be a comment for the blog post from yesterday:

On Thursday evening, after hearing you speak at the NG Women's Conference, I headed to the airport to get a rental car and then drive to Virginia to visit friends. I was exhausted and the wait at the rental car counter seemed endless. As I spoke to the gentleman next to me and complained about the wait, I glanced toward the rear of the line and saw a man with no arms and only a small deformed hand off his left shoulder. I watched as he took off his shoes and one of his socks and with his foot removed his wallet from the canvas satchel he had on a small cart that he pushed with his feet. With his right foot, he opened the wallet, removed various cards and then knelt on the ground to lift them to his deformed hand and dropped them in his left breast pocket. At that moment I realized how fortunate I am. I have arms and what took that man 5 minutes to do, I did in seconds. Your lecture sprang to my mind, that I could choose to be happy. I plan to keep a daily reminder of that man. Thank you. Without your lecture, I'm not sure that man's struggle would have had such a profound effect on my life.
Carrie Luecke

I read this and was moved to tears. I had spoken to a group of women in leadership at Northrup Grumman, they were all brilliant and all beautiful. I spoke about choosing to be happy, as happy people really do get things done.
In her note Carrie illustrated the lesson of time; that life is long, we make it quick with our anger and frustration. Carrie also illustrated something that I did not teach; that happiness enables us to truly see.
You can either chase happiness in the form of image, money and status or you can be happy with self- improvement, loving relationships and a sense of community and community involvement---and keep in mind the greater the definition of community; the greater the happiness (no I don’t have research to back that last thing up, I just know that it’s true.)
We don’t have to see someone with less to be more, but the moment opened Carrie to see what she would not have seen before. We get caught up in what is not happening and fail to see what is truly happening.
Life gives us the opportunity to choose and it loves us so much that when we get things wrong, we get to choose again.

I am grateful Carrie and to all of you who choose to read, grow and become. We are making our world a better place.
Be you, be well, be happy.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 259: Finding Your Truth

There are hills and valleys, some dry places
but it's all beautiful

Finding Your Truth

I was a fat kid. I was teased and made fun of; and just writing this makes me wonder where the fun was. I guess it was fun for those who used me as a scapegoat for their issues; but we all know how those things turn out. When you scapegoat your problems onto someone else, they come back to you in another form; one more dangerous than before.

Anyway, I was telling you that I was fat. I didn’t feel good about myself because of the teasing and taunting that came with it. An older woman gave me some great advice; she didn’t realize it, because the truth be told, she was a part of the problem.

We all have these ideas about an idea body. When our own falls short; and by the way, it always will because it’s someone else’ idea and not your own body’s, we tend to put our insecurities onto others. Well, I had been crying about yet another teasing incident and expected the woman to tell her niece and daughter to stop teasing me. Instead she said, “If you lose weight no one will tease you.” I stopped crying and actually asked this grown-up what she had said. She repeated and then added; “You can’t change the way they think, but you can change the way you look.”

With that I had my answer; I could not change the way they thought, but I could change the way I thought and felt about my own self. I was all of 13 years old and I decided that I could change me. I began to learn what it meant to be healthy in spirit mind and body and I began to think about all the good that I had going for me.

This week, I had a very hectic travel schedule, in less than 24 hours, I had been on 5 flights, had been in 6 cities and had clocked over 10,000 miles.

Someone asked how I was doing and I said, “Tired and happy.”

Years ago, I would have allowed someone to tell me how I should feel about how much I was doing. I’d listen to them tell me that I should be tired; that my work was not appreciated, that I should stay home. But that’s not the way I feel it.

I love what I do and I love that I travel to get there. Yes, I am often bothered by other weary travelers who don’t know the space boundaries or how loudly they are talking on a cell phone. I am bothered by the weight of my laptop and the early hours I must keep. But none of that compares to the joy I have from living a life of purpose.

Here’s the thing, no one should be able to tell you your truth. You must know it for yourself. You must know that you are a beautiful being, living a life of purpose, one that you love and are proud of.

I got home to a family who loves me and I love them. My kids told me all about Oedipus and computer codes and I was rewarded with the deep cleaning skills of my quiet and tired sister Christine. I walked past a mirror and I saw my truth; and it smiled back at me.

Don’t let others tell you how to think, find your own truth and think it for yourself.

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