Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 335; Looking For What's Wrong

Looking for What’s Wrong

We all know someone (and maybe it’s us) who wakes up in the morning looking for all of the wrong they can find in anything they can see.
When I was younger, I disliked these folks greatly, but now that I have an AARP card, and live in the south, I feel for them and say things like “Bless their hearts.”
Seeking wrong in everything is a tremendous burden; it fills the heart of the seeker with all the sludge they go looking for.
The job of the Wrong Seekers is getting much easier though. All you have to do is stand in line at a grocery store or turn on the news or internet. There you will see all that has gone wrong in the lives of young starlets, politicians and even the boy next door.
Still, the job of a seeker is to seek, so the sludge on the surface is not always enough, they must seek the little details of things no one has seen or heard, and then they can spread their new finds among those who seem just a little bit too light in their step.
There will always be things that need to be repaired, fixed and corrected and we should always be about the business of being better, but you cannot wallow in what is wrong—it will not make you right.
I’m not saying that we should go through life with blinders on; I’m saying that we should take them off. Nothing is all good, but nothing is all bad.
If all you can see is death and destruction, it’s time to reboot.
Be you, be well, be whole.
Bertice Berry, PhD.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 334: Crazy days and What We Can Do about Them

Crazy Days and What We Can Do About Them

Yesterday, I had one of the craziest days I’ve had in a very long time. I won’t go into the details---protecting the innocent and all, but it was one of those days where everything seemed off.
We all have these days, it’s how we respond to them that determines how we move forward.
I’m going to make this quick because I really don’t want to tempt fate or the stars nor the fullness of the moon; when things don’t go the way you planned, desired, hoped for, get your ego out of the way.
When people accuse you of things, the likes of which are nowhere near your heart or mind; don’t be defensive; remove the will to prove them wrong, apologize for any misunderstanding and move forward.
When someone wants to win a game that does not matter to you; let them.
And when you are driving your own car and someone else wants to determine the direction from the backseat; keep driving.
Sometimes life offers challenges that seem as meaningless as a Super Bowl game (I know I’ve offended my friends; not my intention. I only mean to point out that no matter who wins or loses; everyone, including the fans of the losing team will all be back again the following year.)
If we allow them to, the challenges of life will make us stronger.
Earlier this year, I hit my head in what seems like a meaningless, unnecessary way. The results of this minor accident became a major mess. There was no one to blame, no battle to fight (although one doctor did suggest that I sue a hospital---REALLY!!!)
The only choice I saw in the whole thing was to get well and be become better than I was before.

And so it goes with life. You can fight, or chose to be better than you were before.
Be you, be well, be chosen.
Bertice Berry, PhD.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 333: When Your Children Become You

Up all night

When Your Children Become You

For the past two nights, my daughter has played host to a motley crew of students seeking to complete a film project. Of course she told them that they could film it here and of course she agreed that a start time of 10:30 in the evening would work out perfectly.
Now, I go to sleep rather early, so on the first night, the students who went bump in the night were not that much of a bother, but last night when the filming moved from downstairs to the same level as my bedroom, I was somewhat put-out.
Just to add life to living (I’ve decided against the whole insult to injury thing,) after the filming was done; my beautiful daughter decided that they should all sit around and talk until 3:45 in the morning.
My joy was made complete when she felt the need to come and share her evening with me.
I’m still laughing to myself, because the moment I felt that I should tell them to all go home was the moment that I recalled something important; my daughter and my son who played his guitar all night, were raised in a home where guests were always welcome.
They grew up on gatherings of friends who became family and spent endless hours laughing and dancing with with them.
Yesterday, I spoke with a sister friend who told me about her daughter’s free riding adventures as an artist and then she remembered her own.
When did we get so old that our children’s ability to replicate our behavior cannot be seen as a really good imitation of life?
Yes, I wish those young folks would have gone home sooner and I’m sure that when my mother lived with me and I threw a party she felt the same.
I’m sure that my friend’s artistic daughter feels that she can float around on her mother’s dime as long as she wants to and I’m, certain that my friend wishes that her mother could have done for her as she does for her daughter.
When our children do the same wonderful, madness that we once did, we really can’t get mad. Well, we can, but what’s the use?
They have their journey, just as we had ours and it’s time for us to sit back and smile.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 332: Are You Stuck?

Even nature finds a way to do something new

Are You Stuck?

Are you stuck in your routines? Does your life look like go to work, come home, microwave something, eat it, watch TV and then pray for sleep? Do you do your household chores the same way, at the same time every week? Do I read like a late-night infomercial?
If you answered yes to any of the above, or know someone who does, it’s time to be free.
Doing the thing to do the thing has never gotten the thing done. Our lives were meant to be engaged with, but it’s easy to get stuck in reverse which now that I think about it is much better than being stuck in neutral. (In reverse, you are moving.)
While it may be easy to get stuck, it’s not as easy getting unstuck. The hardest step is the realization that you have been doing the same things the same way and complaining about them for more years than is necessary.
Life is for living and then living some more. Each day brings new opportunities to sample new healthy ways of living and expressing yourself.
Yesterday, as I sat waiting for the phone repair people to come and repair our internet, I noticed that unlike my children, I was not jonesing for the net.
I’m in a period of renewal, so I’m not watching TV either, so after reading a book, a journal and a few articles, I decided to watch the birds in my backyard.
An entire world of activity opened up and when I went to tell my sister about it, she filled me in on even more. She said that she’d watch a crow take some of the old stale bread that she had thrown out to them and dip it in the water of the bird bath before he ate it.
“He softened up the bread,” Chris said in disbelief. I was as amazed as she was and then she led me to one of the many bird books we have around which pointed out how smart crows are.
So why am I talking about birds and old bread? Because getting unstuck requires that you see that you are and then see the world around you. You must look with new eyes.
I’m often reminded of the line in the movie the Matrix when Neo has been unplugged. He asks why his eyes hurt and is told that they hurt because he’s never really used them.
I feel that many of us---okay most of us, walk around not really seeing the beauty of life. Today and every day that follows, stop, look and marvel.
See the beauty of life that lies around you and don’t stop there, see the tragedy as well. Then see how everything is connected to something else and then back to its self; that beauty is tragedy and tragedy is beautiful.
The moment I miss my mother is also the moment that I know she’s with me still. When I think about how hard life is I see how wonderfully full it is also.
When I think that I am tired I come to see that I have a reason to be; I have accomplished something.
Today, start to see and then share your gift of sight.
There is a Gnostic scripture that reads, “When a sighted man and a blind man are in darkness, neither one can see, but when the lights come on, the sighted man can see.”
This passage has nothing to do with the physical ability to see; it is about your ability to perceive, to dream, to imagine and then to create.
Be you, be well, LIVE
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 331: Getting Back into the Groove

Even fun requires work

Getting Back Into The Groove

After a long holiday and even a short one, it’s sometimes difficult to get back to the work that needs to be done.
Today and every day that follows, I’d like you to think about your deeds a little differently. According to sociologists---and I happen to one of them, work is a basic human need. The need to create something and do something for the good of something is something we all need.
We’ve learned to see our work as drudgery, a slave, the grind and yet without it, what would your life be?
Okay, I know you have this image of one endless weekend, but let’s rethink that picture. What would you really do with yourself if you had nothing that you had to do?
Instead of work, I’d like you to think of purpose; a mission that you are here to accomplish and that it can only be done through your work.
You may not have the job you desire, but maybe, just maybe, you are not the employee that your job needs.
As you go to work today, do so with gratitude; not only for the paycheck, but for the job itself.
Look for ways to fulfill your mission and purpose. See your job and its people in a new light and when you do, you will be seen differently as well.
Get back into the groove of life and let life’s groove get back into you.
Be you, be well, be better.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 330: Loving The One You're With

You Can’t Have The Love You Want
Until You Love the One You’re With
Okay boys and girls, for the record, I’m not advocating that you stay in the relationship you are in while you keep looking for the love you want.
Today’s lesson and every lesson this year, centers on loving yourself first.
You can’t give what you do not possess. If you do not truly love yourself—and I mean everything about you—then you can’t fully express love for another.
I’m sure you have had plenty of relationships without this love for self, but think hard and long about this next question before you answer it: why did those relationships end?
I know, it takes two to Tango and that the other party had something to do with it, but ultimately, you picked them and we choose based on the information we have and the intuition we ignore.
I may be preaching to the choir, but I am also a member. When we learn to love and adore our own being, we become much more attractive to others.
But here’s the rub, you will also become more attractive to those who have a difficult time loving themselves. In you, they will see the self-love they desire.
I have friends who often say, “You attract to you what you need to work out.” This is true, but then there is the law of probability; there are probably more people who have not learned to love themselves then there are who do; chances are, you will run into some of them.
Everyone is attracted to light; even the darkest soul desires the light. So if you are striving to shine more brightly, expect to be attractive to those who live in darkness.
But also know this, light attracts light and when you work on yourself to become who you need to be for you, you will have all that your soul desires.
That’s it---proof that you can talk about the water even when you live in the desert.
Be you, be well, be love.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 329: I've Eaten Too Much and I Can't Get Up

I’ve Eaten Too Much and I Can’t Get Up

Okay, we are just two days out of the Thanksgiving Festival and folks are starting to feel the rub; you know the one I’m talking about; the one where one thigh is rubbing up against the other one and asking for permission to pass.
I’ve heard from people who tell me that they never want to eat again, and then they ask when I’ll be making a crab quiche. (I wish I was joking.)
I also wish I had a quick fix remedy for overindulging---now that I think of it, I do; don’t do it again.
Each day, we have the opportunity to do better than we did the day before.
Change rarely happens in giant leaps; it happens in small steps. The most effective change happens when you make gradual alterations on a regular basis.
While you cannot undo what you did on Thanksgiving Day, you can change the way you interact with food, alcohol, crazy relatives and on-line shopping today. Ask yourself the following:
·         What do I you truly need?
·         What can I get rid of?
·         What do I need to add to my diet, activities and life? (Start with more clean water and fresh air.)
·         Who and how can I love more deeply? (Start with YOU.)
As you look more closely at what you do, you will begin to see why you do it. Let go of the regret and shame you have for overeating and drinking and do better today; right now.
Be you, be well, be forgiven—letting go of the need for revenge and restitution
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 328; Passing The Torch

Passing the Torch

I have often said that our young people know much more than we do, but they don’t have as much wisdom. The gap between knowledge and wisdom is your ability to teach what you know to someone else.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to fill the gap. My daughter decided that she was going to prepare the entire Thanksgiving dinner. At first, I was elated; the thought of doing nothing gave me too much joy. But then I noticed something important about myself; as we got closer and closer to the day of cooking, I was having a difficult time of letting go of the reins.
“I got this mom,” she kept telling me. “I know,” I said, “I just want to make sure that you are okay.”
I had to search myself and find my truth. I discovered that I was having a hard time letting go. Call it a need to control, a failure to allow my kid to grow up or just a fear of the house burning down; the why did not matter it was the “what,” as in what are you doing Bertice, that puzzled me.
I offered to be my daughter’s assistant and she was not having it. Then I said I’d wash the dishes and she gave in a bit.
We had started early in the morning. I woke up and didn’t smell a turkey and so I went to her room to tell her that Berry women cook early. My daughter does not like waking up early, but she disliked the idea of not keeping the tradition even more, so she got up and got started.
She had read everything she could and knew all of the technical terms necessary, but when it came to actually pulling things out of a turkey, like gizzards and neck bones, she wanted my help.
I assisted by talking her through it and realized that I was beginning to let go. I washed dishes and let her do her thing and then I shared the magic, “If you take all that you know and combine it with all of the tricks and tips that have been passed on to me, you will be an amazing chef. In fact, you will go beyond everyone who has gone before you.”
For a moment, she said nothing, and then she stopped saying, “I know” every two minutes and began to ask questions.
Her change came about when I let go of the reins and allowed her to run freely. In doing so, my family sat down to the best Thanksgiving meal we’ve ever had.
What are you holding on to, but need to release?
Are you trying to help, or control?
What can you let go of today?
Who can you share your wisdom with?
Who can you learn from?

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 327; Foraging for the Good Stuff

Go beyond the surface
Dabblers and Divers
Happy, happy day of thanks. Make sure you take the time to list the things you are thankful for. Keep this list in a desk drawer or place where you will see it often enough to remind yourself of your gratitude.
Okay, now to the lesson, lesson. Yesterday my friend and brother Jerry sent a link to a PBS video called An Original Duckumentary. He knew that it was right up my alley. It was about the secret lives of the ducks we see every day, but give little attention to. (Watch and Enjoy)
I sat transfixed as I watched the ways of ducks. One of the things that stood out—and believe me, for a nerd like me there were many, was the different ways ducks find their food; some skim the surface of a pond or lake for all of the goodies that float to the top, while some tip their bodies over, and with hind parts in the air they search a little deeper for their food. These ducks are dabblers. Then there are the divers. Diver ducks use the little lung capacity they have to dive under the surface going all the way to the bottom to retrieve the most nutritional foods.
I went to sleep dreaming of diving deep to find the good stuff.
This morning I awoke with time to read. I opened Buddha’s Brain; The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom and read this:
It’s a remarkable fact that the people who have gone the very deepest into the mind—the sages and saints of every religious tradition—all say essentially the same thing: your fundamental nature is pure, conscious, peaceful, radiant, loving and wise and it is joined in mysterious ways with the ultimate underpinnings of reality by whatever name we give That. Although your true nature may be hidden momentarily by stress and worry, anger and unfulfilled longings, it still continues to exist. (Hanson, Mendius, 2009) (Read more about the book)
The question for you today is this; are you a surface seeker, a dabbler or a diver? How far will you go to find your true self? The deeper you forge the more peaceful and loving the experience.
Be you, be well, be thankful.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 326: A Pre-Thanksgiving Message

A Pre-Thanksgiving Message

Thanksgiving is by far, one of my favorite holidays; not because of the macaroni and cheese, the stuffing and collard greens. It’s not about the mashed sweet potatoes or corn pudding, nor is it because of the fresh baked buttered rolls. It’s not the red velvet cake or the apple pie. I don’t wait up like a kid on Christmas morning for the coleslaw and homemade apple sauce or the fresh green beans. Yes, there will be turkey, but I’m vegetarian so my daughter’s black bean and sweet potato chili has already been prepped.
I love Thanksgiving for another reason. Tomorrow, all over the United States and in the homes of ex-pats abroad, families and friends will be sharing and receiving a thanksgiving meal.
At all of those gatherings, people will be giving thanks and sharing the things and people they are thankful for.
On that day, the vibration of love and gratitude is at an all-time high. People will be saying thank you and actually listing things they are grateful for. I LOVE IT.
But today, I’d like to ask a small, okay, huge thing. After this day of gratitude and appreciation, we often follow it up with a day of shopping for stuff we could not possibly need.
Our lights are shining so brightly and then we run off to a store to knock someone down as we rush for something that someone else had their hands on just so we can get it first.
Here’s my request; when you go out for the pre-Christmas sales (Notice I’m NOT calling it Black Friday) keep gratitude in your heart.
Think of all you have and are and are becoming. Think of what you and the recipient of your gift don’t need and think of someone who may need it more.
Think of Youth Villages and College for Every Student. Think of the HearAid Foundation or and the literacy program in your town. Think of small independent businesses and the kids in your neighborhood who need a little love and direction.
On post- Thanksgiving Day, keep giving thanks and as you do, remind yourself of what you already have.
Thats my message. Thought I’d share it today because by Friday, I may be too full---of love.
Be you, be well, be thankful and wise.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 325: The Future You Can Control

The Only Future You Can Change

Last night, I had the occasion to use one of my mother’s old sayings. Until then, I hadn’t ever understood her words.
My daughter determined that she was going to be more frustrated with me than I was with her and while we were driving on a dark four-lane highway, she decided that she would just get out of the car.
The moment I heard her seatbelt snap open, my mother’s words came pouring out of me, “Do not let your mouth write a check that your behind can’t cash.”
Now, I already told you that until last night, my mother’s words had been like Latin to me. So, let me explain, I finally understood that what she was saying was, don’t let your, mouth get your butt into trouble.
Unlike me in my youth, my daughter immediately understood and refastened her seatbelt.
She apologized and said, said that she didn’t know why she was acting up; I told her that it was because she was 19. At that age you sit on the wall between knowing everything and knowing nothing.
Then I told her the secret that had been told to me; “The only future you can control is your own,” I said.
As you stand where you are, look down the road to the next hour (you’re a beginner, so don’t go too far) and decide how you’d like yourself to be. See yourself as more loving, kind, less judgmental, slow to anger and a joy to be around.
What would it take to be this truer more desirable version of you?
Apply your heart, mind and head to the tools and application thereof and look for the evidence of your work.
You can control the future, but you can only control your own. When you do, you cause a ripple effect for all of those who need the same light.

Be you, be well, be your own future
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 324: On Freedom---and oh yeah Lincoln

                                                                  (Click and listen)

Freedom, Lincoln and Me

Typically, I’m not one to tell folks to go and see a movie, but yesterday as soon as I left the theatre, I was actually texting people who like to text, informing them to see the movie Lincoln.
To say that I was moved is an understatement. I sat in a crowded theater in Savannah, Georgia watching a film that was more about the passage of the 13th Amendment than anything else; including Lincoln.
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude; it was the beginning of making America free.
I watched this Steven Spielberg film; the one he will now be known for, and it felt like I was watching something that I had never read about. I was transfixed to the screen hoping that the Amendment would pass and my people and their captors would one day be free. I won’t give anything away, but during one part of the movie I wept uncontrollably and could hear others crying too.
I wanted to immediately take a trip to Washington to see the monuments and bow my head in gratitude to the other forgotten names in history, then I remembered that I live in Savannah and the United States and that in every state you can find some piece of history that tells the story of your now.
This week, take the time to see this film and when you do (and even if you don’t) take a moment on your way home to stop at one of those markers of history that you pass every day. Read the writing and see what it’s all about.
As you do, say a word of thanks to those who have gone before you and have paved this road to freedom.
Keep praying, hoping, thinking and desiring the freedom of all; because until all of us are free, none of us can truly be.
Be you, be well, be Free
Bertice Berry, PhD.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 323; The Right Lighting

My actor friend and sister Daria
shines so bright that everyone around her looks better
Being Seen in the Just the Right Light
Ask any actor or performer about how important lighting is and they will tell you that it’s crucial. Bad lighting can make a good actor look—well, bad.
In everyday life, lighting is important as well, but real life lighting does not come from outside of the actor; it comes from within.
I recently heard from a reader who wanted to know how to make sure her intentions were always perceived correctly and how to correct those perceptions once they were misinterpreted. These are rather wonderful questions and I hope that my response is as well.
The underlying assumption of these lessons has and will be based on the idea that the only person we can change is our own self. When we change, evolve and grow, we illuminate a pathway for others to follow.
With that in mind let me go back to the notion of lighting; our inner light becomes the light we need; for ourselves and the world. As you grow and develop your own thoughts and actions you shine. I believe that our shine helps us to see how to avoid and correct our own mistakes. It also helps us to see things more clearly.
You cannot control the perceptions of others. If I come from a place of hurt and shame and I believe that others are always trying to hurt me and you step in to help, I will most likely perceive your attempt as another hurtful situation.
If I don’t grow and learn from my painful experiences, I will repeat them over and over again. I will come to believe that things are always painful and people are always out to get me.
There is not much someone can do to change that thought in me; I must change it myself.
Misinterpretations happen when I make assumptions based on my own past negative experiences.
But here’s the good news, we can do something for the situation when we shine our light. When we raise our vibration through personal growth and self-improvement, we learn to remove our ego and the need to be right, and will seek ways to help others rather than rejoice in their pain.
When I shine my light on a situation, my heart opens up and I am able to say “Forgive me, I love you, I’m sorry.” Not because I have wronged someone, but because I want that person to be able to let go of their pain and heal.
When we open our hearts and get out of our head, we can see that the misinterpretation has little to do with our own actions and more to do with the interpretation thereof---hence the name misinterpretation.
When we shine our light on the hurt of someone else, they are able to open up and be healed.
And again I say, the work has to start with you.
I hope I have made sense and if I have not shine your light a little brighter for me---come to think of it, do it anyway.
Be you, be well, and shine
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 322; Practice What Your Prefer

Practice What You Prefer
Yesterday, as I stood waiting for the airport security check point to open up, I watched the TSA employees set up for the start of the day. To say that they were dragging is an understatement; they were down-right weary.
Had it been just a few who had no pep and I might had chalked it up to a hard night, but the entire team moved as if they all had their own personal storm cloud hanging over them.
I was tired. I had slept only a few hours but I was energetic and decided to play a game of “I Would Rather” in my own head. It went something like this:
·         I would rather work hard with people I love than have it easy with hard people.

·         I would rather be hungry in a house of plenty than full in a place of hunger.

·         I would rather be early and stand and wait then be late and have to rush.

·         I would rather have a good conversation with a stranger than a bad one with someone I know.

·         I would rather be tired from doing good work than be tired from doing nothing.
In my morning musing, it became apparent to me that my preferences were also my patterns. I work hard, I share what I have, I arrive and prepare early. I began to wonder about what we call preferences and whether or not we truly practice them.
People say they prefer to be happy, but their patterns don’t support the claim. In other words, if you don’t like drama, why do you keep buying a ticket for the drama train?
I think what I’m saying is this; we all want this fulfilled life we call an American dream, we want to be beautiful, happy and dazzling.
You can have whatever you want; but you have to think like it and act like it.
If you want peace, prefer to be peaceful.
If you want to be dazzling and beautiful; prefer to read, learn and prepare.
If you want joy; prefer to be joyful.
That’s it for Philosophy today---now you see why I took it as a foreign language requirement.

Be you, be well, be what you desire.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 321; Better Than What You Planned

Better Than What You Planned
I’m in Newport Beach California. I got here yesterday and I’m on an early flight out today. My wonderfully hectic life is all over the place, each day is different from the day before; I plan it and like it that way.
There are times in all of our lives however, when our plans don’t turn out the way we want; they turn out the way they are supposed to.
I was here for a fundraiser for the HearAid Foundation, (Read more and join us) a small and powerfully purposeful group of folks who provide hearing aids, implants and devices for people who need but can’t afford them.
When I was first asked to speak at the event, I said yes because of my nephew’s struggles as a hearing impaired child and then adult.
At the time, I had no idea that I would need the folks who I was speaking for.
After a minor accident became a major mess, I am now faced with a struggle with tinnitus, which in my case is a very high pitch ringing in my left ear and both when I am tired and post-concussion disorder.
I did not plan to understand the needs of the folks who are served by last night’s event, but that’s what happened.
The event was moving, beautiful and round the way life is supposed to be. The theme for the gala was Resonance.
Resonance occurs when a system is able to store and easily transfer energy between two or more different storage modes; or as I say, when you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.
In life, things happen; some good, some not so good. When the not so good happens, there can be the tendency to ask, “Why me?” This is a good question, but don’t wallow in the “me”; put your emphasis on the why.
When you do, you will see that life happens to everyone all of the time. When your time comes up and things come together; take the opportunity to see why and how you can help affect the life of someone else.
As you do, you will see that your plans were just a dress rehearsal for a much better performance.
Be you, be well, be better.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 320: You Can get WIth This Or...

You Can Get with This, or You Can Get With That
Life always gives us choices.
You can choose to see that everything is falling apart and that nothing will ever work out, or you can decide to view things as coming together as you need them to. The choice really is up to you.
This morning, I was given that clear choice when I woke up to dishes in the sink because someone decided that instead of taking the clean dishes out of the dish washer and putting the dirty ones in, they’d just leave the dirty dishes in the sink.
Now, this may not seem like a life choice, but when we make the wrong choice, little things spiral into big problems.
In my head, one of my children (and my head knew just which lazy one it was,) decided that they were just too tired from their job of laziness to do what needed to be done.
In this same head, I was crafting the speech about how laziness kills and destroys a good life and how if you do nothing, you get nothing.
Then I heard my heart sing. Surprisingly, I did not hear gospel, nor did I hear jazz, I heard the hip hop classic, This or That; “You can get with this, or you can get with that.”
There was no big hamster or Kia as in the car commercial; it was just Sway and King Tech.
 I laughed at my own heart as it told me to make a choice. I had to do so quickly. I have an early morning coastal flight and still needed to write and get my things together.
My head was telling me that my precious time was being wasted on dishes when I could be doing more productive things. I was trying to get madder and so I calmed myself down with the notion that when I confronted the lazy person, I would calmly offer them the opportunity to be lazy somewhere else. My heart told me the truth, “You can get with this, or you can get with that.”
In that moment I decided that I would evolve and choose peace. When I did, my heart asked me to breathe and see the good. As I did I saw the positive possibilities for the future; in them, my kid was not a homeless bum and I was not serving time.
This was a simple thing, but I know how it could have spiraled. Today, when you feel the pressures of life pushing you to the edge start singing, and remind yourself that “You can get with this or you can get with that.”

Breathe, chose joy and be well.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 319; Be The Force

Be the Force
I’m flying on a cloud and I don’t want to come down. Yesterday, I had the chance to speak to a group of folks, most of them 20-somethings who work for a non-profit called Youth Villages. (Read More)
These beautiful and hard-working people work with troubled and at-risk youth both in care and in their homes with their families. They listen to the needs of the young folks they serve, the research they conduct regularly and the families the kids are from, but they also listen to their own heart.
When I first learned of their work, I watched a tape of their CEO, Patrick Lawler (who I kept calling Cliff—crazy brain, crazy brain) as he spoke about his work, the mission and what inspires him.
 In addition to being a strategic thinker, Pat also lives from the heart. The company is featured in a new book called Everyday Heroes along with 49 other amazing groups.
I was moved to tears by a young woman I taught 27 years ago. Marcia came up and threw her arms around me and said “Thank you for being my mentor." She reminded me of a song I taught her class by Sweet Honey in the Rock;
We all, every one of us has to come home again. Some of us, were born on the bottom, we grew up from the bottom and we declared that we’d never return to the bottom.
Marcia had not only remembered this song all of these years, she had committed it to her life and her work. She grew up from the bottom and is earning her PhD.
When a band of old and young performers played Love and Happiness, I was in tears again; it was my mother’s favorite. Then when the band was introduced and one of the members was the only survivor of the Bar-Kays, who all went down on the plane that killed Otis Redding I was crying some more and I knew my ancestors were speaking to me clearly.
“The Force for Families;” is the mission and motto of Youth Villages and I witnessed a new movement.
As I looked out over the crowd of beautiful and diverse folks, I was reminded of the abolitionist movement. It too was filled with young hopefuls of all races. It was peopled by folks who knew they could make a difference and didn’t stop to think about the risk, or the reward.
Read about them, learn about what they do and then ask yourself, how you can be a force in your community or town. What can you stand for? What can you change?
What song can you dance to? Start with Love and Happiness. (click here and dance)
Be you, be well, be the Force.
Bertice Berry, PhD.