Monday, October 28, 2013

Leading The Way

Sunday dinners with The Family
The Art of Living

Leading The Way; Why We Can't Complain About Young Folks

 Alright boys and girls I'm going to get right to this.
I'm really getting tired of hearing folks who are my age, the AARP age, complain about young folks. They say they are lazy, idealistic, unrealistic know-it-alls who know nothing.
Well, I don't see it that way. These young folks, our young folks know a lot. They have the ability to tap into information in ways that never existed before.
Younger folks tend to be compassionate and caring and have a desire to be fully engaged.
They are also missing out on some very important things 
That's where we come in. It is our job to be the guide. 
A few weeks ago, a friend told me about how his parents would take in anyone who needed a place. As long as there was room in their home, there was a place for someone who needed it. He went on to say that when the elders die, it is an end of an era. We then must take up the slack.
Right then, it occurred to me that my generation has been sold a new brand of aspirations; we are being sold a second youth. 50 is no longer 50, it's 35.
We are not older, we are embracing the little child within. Instead of teaching young folks we are out trying to reclaim the youth and beauty we didn't appreciate when we had it.
So where does this leave the 20-somethings? Who do they learn from?  
Recently, I've began hosting dinners on Sunday nights for a group that calls themselves, "The Family."
 It's a group of young folks who come together to laugh, learn and share their week with one another and with me. They are smart, hard working and compassionate. When I am with them, I am encouraged about our future.
Each week, I learn new things that I would not have found on my own and every week, I am able to help these young folks "see their way clear."
 Someone  did it for me, I must do it for them.
I know I'm not old, but I am older than them. They need me and I need them.
What can you do to guide, encourage and uplift a young person. You've had your chance; give them one and you will get another.
Be you, be well, be leading the way.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Journey Into Your Authentic

The Journey Into Your Authentic
"Know yourself and you will become known."

My name is Bertice Bessie Berry. I never like telling folks my middle name. I don’t care for it, but this is about being authentic, so now you know. I was named after Bessie Smith and Bertice Redding, both singers, both strong and independent women.

            The old folks used to say, “Be careful what you name a child, because that’s just what you will get.” They were right.

             I am a sociologist, author, lecturer and mother. I have worked as a cleaning woman, resident assistant, comedian, educator, researcher and counselor. To earn money I have braided hair, called bingo, picked fruit, done inventories, sang, and performed in community theatres. I have volunteered in my children’s schools at nursing homes, juvenile halls and prisons. I once co-owned an art gallery and used all of the earnings to help families in need. I am a mentor and friend and guide to many. I have suffered abuse, rape, neglect and hunger. I grew up poor but am not now. I have no living parents and have suffered the loss of a child. I am none of this and all of it at the same time and I am me.

            I am my heart and my head; a sentient being on a journey called life and I love this existence.

            I am a straight black woman in her fifties and yet I am not my orientation, race or age.

            I am funny and irreverent and generous to a fault. I am loud when I laugh and quiet when I cry.

            I am spiritual being striving to be human, striving to be Christ-like even though I don’t yet fully understand what that means.

            I am great at making money and lousy at keeping it. I can keep a secret I don’t like and give away things that I love. I’m exceptionally good at getting people to open up and have been known to have strangers tell me their deepest darkest fears. I’m as good a talker as I am a listener, but I know I talk too much. I love to sing to myself and will do so for strangers. I am an introvert forced to be an extrovert. I get along very well with others and enjoy being alone.

            I love to read and have a hard time letting go of a good book. I write daily but not as a routine. I love nice clothes and hate to shop. I am simple and complex; a well hidden open book.

            I like myself. I like my hair or the lack thereof. I like my big butt but hate the cellulite that comes with it. I adore abs and my tiny waste. I love my eyes and my smile and I am a fan of my own arms.

            I am constantly learning, but I know for a fact that the moment I deny myself to myself is the moment that I stop being authentic.

Who are you?

            Describe yourself in one short sentence and then do it in two pages. What are your strengths? What are your challenges? What do you like, love and adore about your physical self? What are you challenged by? What have you done and what do you do? What are your talents and abilities and what makes you smile? If you could have been anything, what would that have been? How do you learn best and what ignites your passion for learning? What do you value and what are your value characteristics? Who and what do you love?

            The more detailed you are with describing yourself, the easier it will be to see who you have left behind.

BE you Be well BE Authentic

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Excerpt from the upcoming book The Journey Back to Authentic

Monday, October 14, 2013

For Every Need There Is A Purpose...

My little sister Steph
…And For Every Purpose There Is A Need

Last week, my little sister/friend Stephanie Hill shared an amazing story. A friend had passed away. It was a tragic loss. Anthony was only 22. He was just moving into his first apartment and was excited and uplifted. Anthony had suffered from Type 1 Diabetes for 12 of his 22 years. So when Anthony didn’t respond to his mother’s calls, she knew that something was wrong.
 Anthony lived that kind of life that left a big impression on those around him.

His father died when he was young, but Anthony took care of his mom and grandmother like the old soul folks knew him to be. A year ago, when his mother found love, Anthony walked her down the aisle.

When I read Stephanie’s email about the loss of someone so special, I wondered how his mother would be able to move on.

Stephanie told me that she would be walking for a cure and she attached the articles for me to read. There in the attachments, I read the gift that has inspired me to the heavens.

I didn’t have to worry about Anthony’s mother Nina. She knew the gift of her son and allowed his life to continue to shine.

Nina had lost her son, but her friend Tikara’s son was terribly ill and in need of a kidney transplant.

I have no idea how someone in that much pain could be so present to think fast enough and do this amazing thing.

I have always felt that for every need there is a purpose and for every purpose there is a need.

Anthony, Nina, Tikara, and Ryan are proof of this necessary life cycle.

Stephanie walked yesterday for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, but you can still make a donation. (Push Steph beyond her goal)

This week and every week that follows, find a way to allow your purpose to fill a need. You don’t have to donate a kidney, but I’m sure you have something that someone needs right now.

I love you.

Be you, be well, be Purpose.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Most Deadly Disease and How You Can Help Cure It

The Most Deadly Disease

I’ve been holding back from sharing this, but now I think I’m ready. I hope you are, because the only way to beat this thing is with your help.

The word’s worst disease is right up there with hatred, cancer and HIV/AIDS. In starts in your head and then gets in the bloodstream and affects your heart.

A person can be brain dead and still live, but what kills the heart kills the body as well.

I’ll get to it, so you can get to work---on yourself. The thing that’s killing us more rapidly than anything else is a disease known as jealousy.

Our envy and jealousy make us spend more, bully, hate, envy our neighbor, shut down creativity and congress.

Jealousy keeps us from seeing our own unique abilities and strengths. What I find most amazing is the trend to be jealous of our own former self.

We envy the person we were when we were younger, thinner or stronger. We envy our old self; the one we despised so much that we created the one we are now.

Our jealousy of self becomes jealously of family and friends, neighbors and colleagues and eventually we become jealous of that “other”---anyone we think is separate from our self.

Jealousy is as old as Cain and Able and unless we take a good look at our own stuff, it will be around until, as my mom would say, “Kingdom come.”

Today and every one that follows, take a good look at your own thoughts. Jealousy is never obvious to the diseased. It creeps up on you in the form of “you make me sick.”

In fact, we are making our own selves sick when we envy the achievements, station, intelligence, looks or toys of another.

I have good news; gratitude is the cure. Be grateful for who you are and what you have right now. Be grateful for your children and don’t compare them to someone else’s. Give thanks for your loved ones and appreciate them for who they are and why you chose them.

Love and give thanks for your family, friends, job and the co-workers who come with it. Give thanks for your neighborhood, school and country.

Remember, gratitude has nothing to do with pride. Gratitude is the simple and peaceful appreciation that “this is enough.” Deal with tomorrow when it comes and be grateful for who you are today.

Jealousy is taking out good people, but it does so slowly; so slow that we don’t even know what’s killing us.

Help us end world jealousy by being more grateful, authentic, unique and appreciative today.

Be you, be well, be whole.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The One Thing You Should Never Save

  The One Thing You Should Never Save
Whitney Houston sang about it and so did the Jackson Five. I’m not a big fan of guessing games, so I’ll just tell you that the one thing you should never save is love.

Love cannot be quantified nor can it be forced in to a system or sold on a love stock exchange. Love can be withheld, stopped, shut down; and still Love will never cease.

Love can never be made into a pie and then thought of in terms of a zero sum power where if you give up some to one person, everyone else gets less.

Love never fails.

The more love you give, the more you get, so why are we so stingy with love?

This week and every week that follows, I’d like you to join me on an experiment. Every morning, make a list of ways to be more loving.

Send a note to someone you’ve been thinking of, compliment a stranger. Say “I love you” to folks who would not expect it and make a note of the reactions.

Make observations on how you feel when you extend love. Is the reaction immediate? How long does it last? Are some folks more receptive than others?

Love is the one thing that should never be kept, saved or stored away; love must be lived, shared and renewed.

Join me in love and share your observations with others.


I love you.

Be you, be well, be loving.

Bertice Berry, PhD.