Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 21: The Fourth Side of Wellness

We need We
The Fourth Side of Wellness

Last week was the first time I missed writing this weekly blog. I was in Boston at the National Teaching Institute with 7500 people who belong to the American Association for Critical Care Nurses.

My computer had crashed and I had no way of writing. Still, I was so filled by the energy of the folks at that conference that I rarely even thought about my computer.

My cell phone worked and it was filled with text messages and calls from friends who all wondered if I was okay. This takes me to the point of today’s post; the fourth side of wellness.

For years I’ve been thinking of wellness as the realignment of the spirit, mind and body, but after reading William Danforth’s book, I Dare You, I have come to see that we need a fourth side; the social side.

In a book he wrote in 1953, Danforth rightly points out that no one side should diminish the other and that if the individual is well, they must belong to a well collective.

I’m a sociologist; I know that the self is social. I also know that for years, I have created community wherever I have lived.

I must admit that for the last several years, I have been more to myself.  The death of my mother and of one of my children led me to be much more solitary when what I needed was to be more connected.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of friends and connections that are strong and highly regarded, but before now, my house was the center of much activity on a regular basis.

We need these social connections to be well. We need a village, and a professional association that allows us to gather with like-minded people who experience what we do.

We need to come together on a regular basis to hug and laugh and sing How I Got Over; my soul looks back and wonders how I got over.

If you are a birder, join up with a group. If you love to sing, find a local group of amateur singers.

Most people feel that their church is their gathering but a gathering where only one person speaks is not a gathering on equal footing. You need a social circle (if your church is your club—well alrighty then.)

Join up, gather, sing, dance, party, cry, laugh, read, teach one another, share, confide, eat, move, learn and laugh some more.

Last week, when folks reached out to check on me, I realized that I had created another community; this one was all over the world and through the internet.

In order to be who I am, I need you.

In the Zulu language when someone says I see you, it means you have come into existence because you have been seen.
The response to being seen is simple, “We are here.”

BE well, be social, be connected.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


  1. In order to be who I am, I need you [too]. I am here...and feel connected. I'm doing what I love (painting)...and looking forward. Peace.

  2. I see you Ms. Beatrice Berry and I hear you, too. Speak!

  3. I am dead on with this. My drive this week is to connect with as many people as possible. Love you for your sharing, Bertice!