Friday, November 29, 2013

The real Black Berry on Black Friday
What Will It Take For You To Love Yourself?

A few years back I lost a tremendous amount of weight. I did it deliberately with great intention. People are often amazed by the fact that I could lose 150 pounds; I’m more amazed that I had it to lose.

When you understand how you got somewhere, it’s easy to figure out how to get back.

After a great deal of research into what the weight loss industry just doesn’t want us to know, I came to see that for me weight gain was a result of stress gain. Because I am genetically predisposed to being fat; stress takes me there.

If you are predisposed to being thin, then when you are stressed, you will lose weight.

The most amazing thing I discovered during that time of weight loss was how little I wanted to shop. I truly needed to. Each week, the clothes I bought the week before became so big that I would look like and old rapper.

Still, I took them in or wrapped myself in a belt and kept on losing.

The less stressed I got, the more I liked myself. The more I liked myself, the less likely I was to want anything more.

Stay with me, because I’m really going somewhere. I need you to understand that there is no conspiracy to make us buy stuff. There is no hidden agenda to make you fat. There is no secret plan to make you unhealthy.

It’s all right out in the open.

The unhealthier you are, the more likely you are to feel that you are not enough.

Being fat didn’t make me not like myself; not liking myself made me fat.

If you don’t see yourself as wonderful, beautiful and powerful as you are, then you will never be satisfied and you will long for joy outside of you and your own control.

Today, instead of standing in a line, waiting to buy things I don’t need, I’m going to stay at home and love the person I have already become.

I’m wearing a pair of earrings I bought years ago. They sit in a tray waiting for the right occasion. That occasion is right now.

On this special day, decide to be:

Less stressed and more loved.
Less angry and more understanding.
Less of a hoarder and more of a giver.
Less of what someone else wants you to be and more you.

You are beautiful, powerful and wonderful; just as you are.

Be you, be well, be wonderful

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Art of Living: Making Thanksgiving Matter

Making Thanksgiving Matter

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. This is a day filled with thoughts of gratitude, family and food; what’s not to like? (Okay, maybe the whole stealing of the land from the First Nation folks and all. As the saying goes; “If you look at anything too closely it will break your heart.”)

On this day, folks in the U.S take time out to actually articulate what they are grateful for. For a moment, the nation’s vibration is sky high and even without booze or the turkey’s tryptophan, we feel that everything good is possible.

Then just as quickly as it came, the feeling goes. Someone needs to stand in line for stuff they don’t really need, while grown men argue over a football game that is as predictable as the one from last year or the year to come. Someone will bring up ObamaCare also known as the Affordable HealthCare Act and all hell will break loose.

A kid who’s been watching it all will wonder if she will end up like this, but then will go back to making a list of more stuff that someone needs to stand in a line for.

A woman tired from cooking will wash dishes and wonder if the one who came with her son will offer to help her in the life she both loves and hates and no one’s even talking to grandma.

Still, this day brings us closer to seeing that we already have and are enough.

If we could just spend a little more energy on gratitude and a lot less on stuff, that vibration of endless possibility would linger and we could make the world a much better place.

So let’s you and I do what it takes to really turn the tables. Change only needs a few to get the movement started.

         Tell someone you love them.
Listen to an elder
Laugh with a child
Serve someone in need
Listen for ways to agree
Know that you are wonderful
Be grateful for all that already is
As my mother would say, today is just another (BLEEP) day; it’s you that makes it special.

Be you, be well, be full of thanks.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Joy, Unspeakable Joy

How To Get More of What you Say You Want

Research and my mother have found that the things that give the most joy tend to be simple and peaceful. Too often though, they go unnoticed and therefore unappreciated.

Last week when I looked more closely I could see that I finally had what I'd been looking for:

A movie that taught me something

 An “I love you” from an almost adult child

Dinner with a “family” of beautiful people

A doctor’s good report for my brother/friend

The sound of my son playing his guitar

 The sight of my daughter making homemade cranberry sauce for 200 homeless folks

 Watching my dogs play

A sermon that turned my old thoughts upside down

A call of appreciation for the work that I have done

Letting go of an old pain

The embrace of a new friend

I didn’t buy, seek, or need anything more. I was filled with joy.

Start making your list of the joy and peace that you have right now. Look at the list and say thank-you, for what you give attention to expands.

Leave trouble alone and grab a handful of joy and peace.

Be you, be well, be peace.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Need Help? Ask For It

Look out; I've got collards
The Problem With Not Asking

Hi, my name is Bertice and I have a hard time asking for help (Hi, Bertice.) Okay, now we can start the meeting.

Asking for help has not been my forte. I am the daughter of a very proud woman. My mother would go hungry before she would ask for food.

I am not hungry; far from it. But during the last four years of my life, probability has stepped in and I have experienced more illness and injuries than I have all the years before.

I am not bothered by this. I have not asked "why me" because I know the answer; I was due.
Prior to now, my life has been practically free of illness. Recently though, I have had to deal with a head injury, and a bunch of other trying things, but I am still very healthy. I have no chronic disease and everything I’ve had to endure is reversible.

Still, I have a hard time being sick, slow or in need of help. Old injuries re-injure so I have to endure the business of a big boot on a foot that has not healed.

My children don’t understand the concept of me needing to sit down, because well, I have not sat down.

This week, when I went to buy groceries, my daughter insisted that I ride the little hover-round cart that the grocery store provides. (She also insisted that I stay in the car, but let’s just deal with the cart thing.)

I didn’t want to use the cart, but a torn tendon hurts so after a painful limp through produce I complied.

The cart was difficult to drive and I kept backing into things, but I quickly noticed something that I would not have on two feet; when asked, most folks are quick to help.

Now, I know I live in the place where hospitality was born, but still, I was amazed by how folks would run to help even before I asked for it.

People engaged me in conversation and reached for items I had only looked at. Children smiled at me, as if to say, “Hey you have a stroller too.”

The folks who work in my grocery store asked what had happened and then told me that they would be praying for me, while strangers shared stories of their time in the boot and the cart.

My daughter took charge in ways I had not allowed and I laughed at my own ignorance.

More than one person offered to help to carry our groceries to the car and I quickly realized that maybe the problem is not getting help, but asking for it.

So I need your help with something. This week, I’d like you to join me in an experiment in making the world more beautiful. I’d like you to ask for help.

Ask someone to assist on something you need help with. Ask for directions, or for guidance. Ask someone to share a story or to sing you a song. (Okay, make sure that last one is from someone you know.) Ask for a hug or a joke or a designated driver before you start drinking.

Ask for advice, peace, wisdom and joy.

Maybe it’s not that we don’t love each other; but that we don’t ask for, expect, or wait for the love we need.

I’m just a student in this thing called life, asking you for a little help in living it.

Be you, be well, be vulnerable.

I love you,

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting Old? There's An App For That

The Older Jazzier Me
Getting Old? There’s An App For That

Tomorrow is my birthday; 11/12/13.

There’ something rather wonderful about making it this far. When I was in the fourth grade, I calculated how old I would be if I made it all the way to the year that would give me these wonderful numbers. When I realized that I would have to be 53, I thought about how ancient I would be.

When you’re a kid, 53 really does seem ancient and so far off that you think it's impossible. Well, I’m almost there and yet somehow, I’m not as ancient as I imagined.

I had planned on taking a wonderful trip and then an old foot injury that had not healed landed me in a boot, unable to take the hiking journey I had hoped to take.

Old injuries must heal, or the slightest thing will open the  wound. This is true for both the body and the soul.

So where was I; oh yeah; getting older, they say that the first thing to go is…

Last night as I gathered with the motley crew known as “The Family,” we laughed about love and life and anything that could make us laugh. I blew out the candle on a red velvet cake my daughter made and said something about being old. That’s when Robin the 29 year old 6 foot something engineer/MBA/motorcycle enthusiast/ my new nephew decided to show me how old I could be.
Using the Old Booth App that all the other young folks knew about Robin showed me how I could look.

We laughed some more and once again I could see down the road to even older.

There’s something about getting older that makes me want to jump for joy. I still hold the memories of that kid in the fourth grade. She was lonely and sad and wondered if she’d ever make it in life.

She did, she does and she will.

Getting older is the gift; enjoy it.

Be you, be well, be older and wiser.

Bertice Berry, PhD.
11/12/not so old

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stop Majoring In The Minor

Do I really need this tiara?
Stop Majoring In The Minor

Leander Morris, my High School music teacher, would often tell his students that they were majoring in the minor. For years, I didn’t understand what he meant.

If we were arguing about integration and bussing, then we were “majoring in the minor.”  (By the way, I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware.  My schools were not integrated until the year after I graduated in 1979.)

If we were discussing whose church choir was the best, then we were “majoring in the minor.”

And if we dared to discuss things like, boys, sports, clothes or stuff we wanted, well then according to Mr. Morris, we were not even in the minor league.

As I have mentioned, Mr. Morris was a music teacher and one would think that a person whose life work had been defined as minor would be more careful about where he put his labels.

Many years after I graduated, I asked Mr. Morris what he meant about the whole major, minor business and he said this:

“Minors are things that enhance the majors, but the major is the thing.” I had already been to undergrad so I understood only slightly better, but I was still not completely sure of what he meant.

My face must have registered this because he went on to say that life was too short to spend worrying about things that didn’t matter in the big picture of life.

That day, I took his words to heart. I began to focus on bigger issues and concerns. I began to look for ways to make the world a better place and I found that when I did, my desires were also met.

A few days ago, when I heard myself tell my daughter the same minor- major thing, I laughed and then took the time to explain.

I told her that she should take an account of her thoughts for one hour. At then end of that hour, she should make an account of where her mind had wandered.

I’d like you to do the same. Do you overcare about things that are just not that important?

Do you think about an enemy you have created?

 Does your mind wander to things that have not happened, but you believe will?

 Do you think about how fat you just keep getting, or how small you were when you were in your 20’s?

Are you fixated on a love life with someone else’s spouse and how much greener the grass is on the other side?

Are you worried about who will be in the playoffs and what the next season of your favorite show will look like?

Take note of the thoughts you wake up with and the ones that take you to bed. Decide where your thoughts should be and your energy will follow.

There is an ancient Arabic proverb that says when a person seeks their purpose, the Universe conspires to answer.

Get out of the minors and into YOUR major.

Be you, be well, be lived.

Bertice Berry, PhD.