Monday, April 29, 2013

The Art of Living Week 17: Stay in Your Lane

Stay in Your Lane

I was just a girl when I met Mother Moore, but she was already ancient. Mother Moore was my godmother’s mother and she was real deep.

Mother Moore rarely spoke, but when she did, everyone stopped whatever they were doing to hear the words they would all head.

“Mother Moore is special,” I was told. “She hears from God and when she tells you something, you better be listening.”

I kept waiting for Mother Moore to “speak into my life,” as it was called but it seemed like forever.

She would sit for hours with her eyes closed but I knew she was not asleep. Sometimes she’d just stare into space and then she’d turn and look at you. The truth is, Mother Moore was kind of spooky so I was hoping she never told me anything.

Mother Moore was a big woman and when she finally spoke to me, I knew why everyone listened. He voice vibrated and you could actually feel her words.

She looked deep into my eyes and spoke the words that always come back to me guiding my every decision: “Stay on the side of right,” she said.

I expected her to say something more, but that was it. She closed her eyes and went back to wherever it was that she went.

“Stay on the side of right,” didn’t mean much to me as a kid. I was hoping for something like, “You will be great one day,” or at least “Get out of Wilmington,” but I got “stay on the side of right.”

I can’t begin to tell you how frequently those words ring in my ears. They have been a constant reminder that even when I want to do what seems good I need to go a step further and stay on the side of right.

The area of “right” may not seem clear to you at first, but throughout my years, I have learned that the side of right comes with a neon sign.

So here’s my Mother Moore message to you; when others are doing whatever they please and seem to be getting away with it, you stay on the side of right.

When you feel like you want to haul off and slap someone because they are due; stay on the side of right.

When you feel the need to quit and throw in the towel on something that requires your love and dedication; stick to it and stay on the side of right.

When you don’t know where to go or what to do next; stay on the side of right.

Be you, be well, be true.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Monday, April 22, 2013

The Art of Living Week 16: Don't Miss Your Date With Destiny

Don’t Miss Your Date With Destiny

I believe that when you walk with Purpose, you collide with Destiny. In other words when you live your day-to-day life with purpose and mission as your guide, you will inevitably reach your destination.
While Purpose is the individual drive, Destiny is for the good of the collective.
Here’s the thing, we often step out of line and away from our own dreams just when they are about to manifest. When we do, we miss our date with our own destiny.
I will admit that it is often difficult to stay on the course when others appear to be having the time of their life, doing whatever they please.
When I was much younger, I often cried about my internal drive to “do the right thing” no matter what. I secretly wished that I could be like my peers; floating whichever way the wind took them. Still, my compass kept pointing me to my North and, try as I might, I could not go in any other direction.
My friends would tease me, calling me “The Square,” or Miss Goody Two Shoes. They would laugh at me saying that I was more saved than Jesus and then when no one was looking, they would ask me to pray for them.
I never saw myself as holy, or square. I actually felt like I was the one who was free to roam and do whatever I wanted, simply because I did what I needed to first.
After class and the library, I would play pool until late evening, but at 3:00am, I’d be back up studying. I had the liberty to do what I wanted because I did what I needed.
What is your raison de’etre; your reason for existence. Just as William Wilberforce chose to dedicate his life to the abolition slavery in England, you get to choose. What is your reason? What are you here for?
Are you doing what you can on a daily basis to achieve your life-long goals?
When opportunities arise for you to achieve your dream, do you complain and walk away or are you prepared?
When we fail to do what we have decided to do, we can miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Don’t miss your date with destiny. Stay on your path of Purpose.
Be you, be well, be ready,
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Times Like These

In Times Like These

Listen up people and listen good; things are crazy right now on a personal and global scale;


At times like this, there is a tendency and an urge to become angry, fearful and to want revenge. Instead you must raise your vibration.

Raise it so high that you attract the goodness and kindness you want to see in the world.

When things around you get crazy you can either respond in more craziness or respond in love. Find a way to help someone in need; include yourself in the equation.

Take a moment to send loving energy to those who are in harm’s way. Send these thoughts around the globe.

When the problem is closer to home surround yourself with the people who love you. Build up the relationships you have neglected while carrying for those who are neglectful of you.

Be you, be well, be the change we need to see.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 15 The Art of Living: Are You Making Life Harder

Are You Making Life Harder?
"Stop borrowing trouble; the day has enough of it's own."~My Mama

A wise young woman once observed that life is already hard, but we often make it harder than it needs to be.
In the past few weeks, I have watched friends and loved ones deal with illness and death. I have witnessed their courage and integrity during a time of grief and loss. They have bared their pain with the dignity that comes with a life well-lived.
In contrast, I have also witnessed the suffering of those who didn’t need to. For some reason, these folks decided that they needed to create some drama so that they could have a starring role.
You might ask, who am I to judge? But I’d have to tell you that I am just making an observation (the privilege of being a sociologist.)
You don’t have to be a sociologist to know that we have a choice. Life is hard; even when it’s good, it requires hard work. When it’s tough, it also requires hard work; so choose hard-good.
When we groan and complain, wallow in pity and refuse to grow up, we are causing ourselves and those around us, more suffering than is necessary.
Before you complain about life or decide to destroy the progress you have made, ask yourself the following:

·         Will my complaining change anything?
·         Will it make me stronger?
·         Do I always feel the way I am feeling right now? (If not, shut up and wait until the feeling passes and make your point then.)

·         What I think about someone else has more to do with me than it does them. Before making bold proclamations about a job or relationship, ask yourself: “Is it me?”

·         Am I making more work for myself?

·         If you are in a situation that is toxic, why are you still there?

My life is hard, but it is also wonderful. Every week I have to fly to completely new places and meet completely new people. Some weeks I’m in a different bed every night and I often find myself in uncomfortable situations. I stand in long lines and then sit and wait; sometimes for hours on end.
When a flight is late or canceled, I sit and wait some more. I am often lost, confused, disoriented and tired, but here is the truth: I love my life and work.
Whether I am sick, tired or sick and tired, I feel that I am one of the fortunate; because I have learned a wonderful secret; Life is hard any how; so let life be good.

Be you, be well, choose good.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 14 of The Art of Living: I Don't Know

The day I found out my head was round...
becuase I didn't even know
I Don’t Know

Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom, but with all your getting, get an understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

When I was a kid, I fell upon this scripture from Proverbs and it quickly became my favorite.
I have always loved to learn, so being told to do so was a joy to me.
Whenever I speak at a conference, I typically sit in on other sessions simply because I know that I will have the opportunity to learn something new. The topic rarely matters, because I know that I will get to see some aspect of that topic in a new light.
Most folks walk around as if everything they needed to learn really was taught in kindergarten. The idea and the thought behind the sentiment may be well meaning, but you must continue to learn.
The more I know, the more I know I don’t know. I don’t want to ever stop learning, nor do I want to feel that I know all there is to know about anything—it’s absurd to do so.
The more I learn about the world around me, the more I understand myself.
If you want to live a more fulfilled life, be open to learning more.
Start with the job you do; it can be a job you have at home or one outside of your house. Take some aspect of it and learn more about it. What’s new in your field? What can you add to your knowledge arsenal?
Take the learning up a notch by stepping outside of the familiar and spend a week in deep study. Read a book, watch a documentary and go through a series of TED talks. Read several articles or blogs and do a computer search until your heart is content.
Whatever the subject, you will see the immediate application to your own life and well-being.
If you are not learning, you are not truly living.
Learn something new every single day and then get an understanding.

The more you learn, the more you grow,
Be you, be well, be learning.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Art of Living Week 13: Getting Rid of Your Insecurities

                    Getting Rid of Your Insecurities

When I was a kid, I was teased about being fat; more specifically, I was teased about having a big butt. This was not just the run-of-the mill teasing it was right up there with bullying.
One day when I was crying about it a wise woman gave me great advice, “Learn to love yourself as you are or change it,” she said.
I decided to do both; I would love myself while I was changing.
As a result I have earned a rather healthy view of myself and others by looking at them and not their bodies.
Still, sometimes those old insecurities creep up.
I believe that our insecurities are the foundation of most of our problems. The ego gets in the way when it is too high or too low, but even the ego is a slave to your insecurities.

·         Insecurity leads to comparison. We look about and see something that someone else has and feel less about our own self.

·         Comparison leads to jealousy.

·         Jealousy leads to coveting

·         Coveting leads to strife, envy and suffering.

Here’s the thing, rather than deal with the insecurity, we are striving to become better warriors. We work towards getting what someone else has, whether we need it or not and then when it does not fulfill us, we start this cycle of insecurity all over again.
A few weeks ago, when I was in a store, I saw what appeared to be a butt hanging on the wall. It was a silicone butt enhancer. I laughed out loud. All of my life I had been trying to make my butt smaller while there were others who were trying to make their butts bigger.
If we could all learn to like what we have and who we are, we really could make the world a better place.
We only need a critical mass to think this way---something like 20% is all.
Today, I’d like you to tell yourself that you are good enough. (Yes, I can hear Stewart Smally behind me: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog gone it, people like me”.)
When you see yourself as beautiful, you will see the world that way too.

Be you, be well, be secure.
Bertice Berry, PhD.
The real thing