Monday, December 1, 2014

Making Peace by Stopping...

The Battle that Begins in You

Last week I received a note from our mail carrier. She informed me that my trash can was in her way and that if I did not move it to another space, then she would stop delivering my mail.

I was a tad miffed---okay, I was ready to give her a piece of my mind, but then my heart offered itself as a sacrifice instead.

As I calmed down I imagined the mail carrier in her truck attempting to drive up to my mailbox. Instead of being able to pull up and put mail in the box, she would have to get out of her truck and walk around my can.

My head got in the way again and began to complain about how much later the mail had been coming since she started on our route, and again my heart interceded showing me the countless number of others who had been negligent in the placement of their cans as well.

At that moment, my foot began to remind me of its injury and the reason why my trash can had been all over the place.

While my foot had been healing from an injury, my friends and family have all been taking my trash down the long driveway for pick-up. Sometimes, it’s a tad too close to the mailbox.

I smiled at my beautiful life and the fact that folks love me enough to take out my trash.

My heart told me to simply apologize to the mail carrier. I asked my heart if she had lost her mind and she said that she was my true mind, so I smiled and did as I was told.

I wrote a note to the mail carrier and in it I apologized and explained the reason for the mis-placement of the can. Then I thanked her for doing her job with purpose and my own heart smiled at me.

That day, I received another note and this time, the mail carrier was thanking me.

This morning, the can has been moved so both the sanitation driver and the mail carrier can do their job without interruption.

Ask yourself the following,

Am I in the way of someone else’s job?

How can I help lighten the load of others?

Who do I owe an apology to?

How can I help keep a battle from happening?

What happens when I move from my head to my heart?

Now, what happens when I use the wisdom of both?

Maybe the world is a beautiful place but it needs us to believe that it is and then make it so.

Be you, be well, be beautiful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Energy In The Room

Me at 60---okay, I'm just 54. GOTCHA
The Energy in the Room; My Birthday Message to You

For years I’ve told people that I’m only as good as the energy in the room. I’m well aware of the fact that I have to raise the energy, but I’m also clear that we are all connected and need the energy of those around us (I’m including pets and plants here as well.)

Last week, I had the opportunity to be in a room of folks from Medtronic. Excel is the African American field resource group. This room was filled with highly successful beautiful people. Now, I don’t know what’s in the water at Medtronic, but folks there seemed to thrive on learning and evolving.

 I had already been with the women’s network, so after meeting the Black folks there, I knew that the company was on to something.

Medtronic has taken a deliberate course to raise the energy in the room by making it more diverse. Additionally, they add support to affinity groups empowering them to be stronger as individuals and more productive as a collective.

The energy in the room of those African Americans at Medtronic gave me a very beautiful vision of the future. These folks were bright and beautiful and they truly cared about the wellness of others.

In that room, I was free to be my own authentic self because they were themselves.

Now, here’s the truth; you can’t expect to take energy from a room if you have not brought any to it.

Everything is energy. We thrive and connect and then thrive again. Life requires that we all bring our best so we can leave the best and take the best from all that has been created.

Today, November 12th is my birthday. I had promised myself that I would not work, but I’m doing it. I’m with the wonderful folks at Sharp Healthcare in San Diego. I decided to work on my birthday to give back what they gave me.

Years ago when I lived in San Diego, my mother was treated and healed by the hands of the energy of Sharp employees. We had ten more years together.

Life is a beautiful quilt of the threads and fabrics we bring together. Individually, we may be a worn, too old and faded to wear alone. Together with others, we create a picture, a map, a story of life well lived; one that creates the energy for others to do the same.

What do you bring to the room?

What do you get from the rooms you are in?

Are you more concerned with having than you are with being?

We are the energy in the room. You can bring joy or you can bring pain; choose joy.

Be you, be well, be beautiful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Come Together Children

Dinner and A documentary family
Come Together Children

If you want to be well, truly well, you can’t do it alone.

Wellness requires a community of folks feeding and leading one another.

Longevity research finds that people who are a part of a community with common interests and activity tend to live longer.

Moreover, (sorry boys and girls, I have to drop a moreover every now and again) these people tend to live healthier lives; lacking any of the diseases associated with aging.

Simply put, you need to get you some people.

You need to be a part of a group of folks who gather regularly to think, move, laugh, share, learn, and love with one another.

I’m giving you the short version, the even shorter version is this; come together children.

Be you, be well, be gathering.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Laughing and Learning together 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Love and Work

Love and Work 

Last week while reading a book by the inventor and engineer, John C. Lincoln, I was reminded of a saying from one of those street corner philosophers I grew up with;

“If you want to hide the truth,” he said, “put it in a book.”

There in the book entitled, Christ’s Object in Life, were the words that made me stop and think (okay full disclosure here; this whole book has, as the young folks say, ‘blew my head up.”)

“…work, instead of being a curse is the greatest gift that [mankind] has.”

Lincoln goes on to say that when we love what we do, truly love it, work is our salvation.

I love what I do. I love that I get to do it. Even when it is hard and tiresome and demanding, I love my work.

Most people cannot say this because they will not say this.

The first step in loving someone or something happens when you make the choice to do so.

No one and nothing can make you love them. You must chose it and when you do, your choice enables you to see beauty that you would not have seen before.

I somehow knew this when I was a kid in Wilmington, Delaware cleaning houses and banks.

One day, I decided to love what I did. When I did, my mind opened up to all of the possibilities of life. The toilets I cleaned would one day be my own and I would be grateful for the job that had made it so.

I am grateful for the early morning flights, because I choose to be. No one makes me write a blog, nor do they pay me to do so.

I love this work because I have the opportunity to look at life and reflect it back to the people who share in it.

Your work is your salvation and while some of you may want to argue about who and how their salvation is truly found, I will simply suggest this:

If you are not happy with the work in this kingdom, how do you expect to see The Kingdom---on earth as it is in heaven?

Be you, be loving, be loving the work you do.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Mis-Education of You

Who am I not to..
The Mis-Education of You

In 1933, historian and father of the study of African American History, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, wrote The Mis-Education of the Negro.

In it, Dr. Woodson argued that schools were not teaching African Americans; instead “negroes,” as we were called then, were being indoctrinated to be second class citizens in the very country they helped build.

As you might imagine, this was incredibly radical. Dr. Woodson was the son of former slaves. Education was highly valued in his family. His father had moved Woodson and his siblings to West Virginia to find a school for them.

Dr. Woodson was the second African American to earn a doctorate, and he did it at Harvard. It goes without saying that education was important to him, but Woodson saw a distinct difference between education and indoctrination.

At the age of 12, my mother had to drop out of school. At 12 she also learned that her grandparents were not her real parents that her mother, a woman she believed to have been “some white friend of the family,” had come to take her away from the people who had loved and raised her. (My grandmother Caroline was not white, but could and is believed to have often “passed” as white.)

My grandmother Caroline sent my mother to work and so her formal education ended. Still, my mother yearned to learn and “know things about things,” as she put it.

She was an avid reader and when she came across Dr. Woodson’s treaty on mis-education, it became a guide for her education and a source for the correction of me and my siblings.

“You are just building the back door,” my mother would often chide whenever any of her children did something that she believed was against our own self-interest.

As a child, I had no idea what she was talking about, but years later when I read The Mis-Education of The Negro for myself, I came to see her full intent.

"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary."

Dr. Woodson’s treaty can and must be applied to all God’s children because we are all being mis-educated about our own selves.

We are allowing others to tell us who we are and who we can be. We have been limited in our own thinking and our own story.

We have been telling ourselves that we are not capable and we are not powerful.

We have come to believe that we have no say in any matter and nothing can or will ever change.

The story we have been telling is not true, but we have come to believe in the validity of it because Santa Clause, the Care Bears and Wall Street told us so.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson~ A Return To Love


Be you, be bold, be knowing

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Are You Afraid to Live?

Are You Afraid to Live?

“Something is always happening to you,” a former friend said years ago. She had just learned of the death of one of my children and not knowing what to say, she said that.

I smiled and looked directly into her eyes. I wanted her to feel the words that I was about to say.

“The bigger the life, the bigger the pain.” I told her, “but with much life, comes much joy also.”

This past week, I had the opportunity to speak to the women of Aspire. These women are a part of the workforce at Medtronic. The room was filled with folks who are extremely smart, beautiful and compassionate about their life and work. (Medtronic)

What they admitted out loud to themselves and to one another was the fact that we can all be more confident.

With a goal to contribute to the wellfare of humankind, these women understood that they had to be the change the world needed to see.

I began to think of my own bold life and how incredibly big it is. As I did, the words of a character from one of my novels spoke to me clearly; “If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done.”

I decided that I could live even more and be much better.

The decision to do so required three things, faith, courage and bravery.

Are you living, or are you merely existing?

Are you afraid to step out of the comfort of your comfortable life to teach what you know to someone else?

Will you be willing to love someone so much that the loss of the loved one is too much to bear?

Are you willing to read from a new play book, even at this stage of your game?

Can you appreciate all that you are becoming and tell yourself “well done?”

Be you, be well, be living.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Love or Shame

Love or Shame

Earlier this week, I got myself ready to go to cook and serve food to people who are hungry. I was surprised to be met by my girls, who had told me they “might” be able to go with me.

In my mind I had prepared a speech to shame them into getting ready. I had planned to tell them that they didn’t need to worry about being hungry and could get up any time they wanted to, but those who came to Emmaus House had to rely upon the kindness of kind folks.

My shame speech was not necessary and I wondered why I had prepared myself to be let down, instead of looking forward to the joy of what had actually occurred.

We rode and chatted about things that only the young can comprehend. I nodded as if I did whilst in my mind I thought of how good it felt to not be going alone.

We arrived at 7:15 and although breakfast is not served until 8:30, there was already a line.

Now, when I go to Emmaus House, I go to work, so dress for the occasion. Apparently, I did my job too well.

As we walked up to the door, one of our customers stood up to inform me about the proper way to stand in line.

Listen to what I’m telling you,”  he said. “There ain’t no shame in this line. Cause there ain’t nothing to be ashamed of.

 Don’t you feel no shame at all, all you need to have in your heart is love.”

I could not move. A part of me wanted to stand in the line to fully receive the experience, but a bigger part, the part still attached to the concerns of the world wanted to explain that I would be preparing food, not eating it.

Then I thought of what the man had said; “There is no shame.”

I let go of every other thought and absorbed the joy of his comment.

Every day, we get to choose love or shame.

Choose Love.

Be you, be well, be love.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Not Too Late

The Gateway to Success
My child, these are not the things that you were made for

This is not the road, this is not the door

My child, you were never meant to face calamity

My desire for you, is that you would be free

It’s not too late to do the things you are to do

It’s not too late to find, the door that leads to life

It’s not too late to turn from your calamity

It’s not too late oh no my child.


I wrote the words to this song about 15 years ago. I had just exited the building of a juvenile prison. It was New Year’s Eve and I had been a volunteer for both a young adult facility and a maximum adult prison.

I was there to lend support for an education program that some had declared a waste of time.

The song came to me clearly and fully in words and tune. I remember the tears streaming down my face as I sang words which sometimes come back to me as my own reminder.

Too often, we are too quick to write off troubled young folks as “broken,” “useless,” or “finished.”

It’s never too late for a child or an adult to turn their lives around.

A few months ago, I worked with an amazing group of people who do amazing work.

The folks at Gateway to College identify and assist young people who may have dropped out, been put out, or are in danger of doing so.

 They not only help these students complete a high school education, but they also a help them get to and through college. Their method of success is remarkable.

We know that education is critical and yet, too often we are willing to give up on our young folks when they have made the wrong choices or have been influenced by others who made them for them.

Education saved my life. It was the key that unlocked the door to a pathway that has helped illuminate a pathway for others.

I was moved by the work of the folks at Gateway because I knew that for every path they illuminated, many, many doors are opened for many, many others.

True brilliance does not come from an easy life; it comes from an educated struggle.

It’s never too late to do the things we are to do

It’s not too late to find the door that leads to life

It’s not too late to turn from your calamity

It’s not too late, oh no my child.

Be you, be well, be reminded.

Bertice Berry, PhD.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Are You For Real?

Empowered to Shine

I could write an entire series on the folks at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital in Phoenix Arizona. (More to come on that later.)

They are authentic, real and empowered to do whatever it takes to make their patients whole.

Their teamwork, family-like existence and true love and concern for what they do and one another is unparalleled, but what touches me right where I live is how amazingly authentic everyone is.

Their authenticity provides for a diversity like no other. With everyone being who they are and bringing their best to work, the folks at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital are able to create an environment where each person’s talents are able to shine.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the world would be like if were all empowered to shine.

Starting today, begin a journey of realness.

Ask yourself who you really are and who you’ve been pretending to be.

Seek ways to be more you at work, at home and in your community.

Find information, and ideas that will feed your spirit and your personal mission.

Give your best in everything you do.

Avoid negativity and cling to what is positive.


Be you, be real, be the light

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Authentic Leaders at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital

Monday, September 1, 2014

Give Love Away

Give Love Away

About a month ago, I was working with a team of amazing people. We were discussing value sets and the probability of any two people having the same set.

Let’s just say that it would be easier to be struck by lightning while being mauled by a grizzly bear on your vacation in Tahiti while you won the lottery.

We all laughed and marveled at the fact that life could be so rich.

A few days later, I was at a women’s leadership conference. After I had given a speech, a young woman came up and said that she wanted to discuss a project that she was working on.

I took one look at her and thought of my “nephew” Rob. In my mind’s eye, I could see the two together.  

Suddenly, I was a yenta. Now there are two descriptions of the word yenta, probably more. Yenta is a Yiddish word that refers to a busybody; a gossip but in some cases, as in mine, she’s a matchmaker.

I pulled out a picture of Rob and showed it to the young woman and her mother who was also there. “He has soulful eyes,” Cecilia, the mother said.

We both smiled and nodded as if we were twice our age.

In that moment though I realized that I was the age of the women of old who could look at someone and see a good match.

I gave Camille Rob’s number and then let him know that I had.

Long story short, they are a couple, and a really good one at that.

But here’s the thing, what if we were so busy paying attention to life, love and the yearnings of our loved ones that we never had time to worry, complain or feel lonely ourselves.

What if you paid more attention to the light in someone’s eyes and less to the things they do that give offence

What if our observations gave joy to others and our words were the music we all need.

I’m waxing poetic, or maybe it’s just wax, but all I know is the love between Rob and Camille is rare, hard to find and beautiful.

Maybe we need more matchmakers and a lot less gossiping busybodies.

Be you, be well, be the love others need.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

If You're Happy...

If You’re Happy and You Know It

If you went to Public School or know someone who did, then you know the Happy Song. Not the one by Bobby McFerrin; the one he wrote at the last minute to fill space on an album.

 Don’t Worry Be Happy became the hit that was played over and over and over again.

And I’m not talking about the Happy song from the movie Despicable Me, by Pharrell Williams; but now that I’m thinking about it, it seems that everybody loves a Happy song.

I’m talking about the Happy song that told us to clap our hands and stomp our feet; to say I Am and to do all three.

The most powerful thing about the song that Boomers sang as we marched around the playground is the fact that the song informed us that if we were happy and knew it, then our face should reflect it.

“If you’re happy and you know it then your face should surely know it, if you’re happy and you know it say I Am”

It’s true, happiness seeps up from your heart to your face and out through your smile.
Happiness will not be still, silent, nor does it remain hidden.

Happiness, like the songs of old and new is contagious. It flows from heart to heart and face to face.

Try it, smile at someone and keep smiling. If they don’t smile back, move on to someone else and try again.

Keep smiling until you know that you need it. When you do, you’ll see that the world does too.

Be you, be well, be happy.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Open Your Heart, and Love...

Open Your Heart and Love Will Follow

Last weekend I returned home after a wonderful dinner at my “new niece,” Radhika’s house. Well, it was her mother and father’s wonderful new home, but Radhika did a great job of looking like she had cooked too. They had all prepared an incredible meal of Indian food which filled our hearts and soul for the week to come.

There had been a terrible storm just before our dinner out, so my “new nephews” Rob and Nick, gave my daughter and I a ride there while our other “new nephew” John Thomas and his girlfriend gave us a ride home.

I smiled the entire time as I reflected on the family that had become family; filling in the spaces of the heart that sometimes feel empty.

Just as we arrived home, a neighbor from another neighborhood approached us about a dog they had found. They wondered if we knew where the scared dog belonged. They had been driving around in a golf cart, hoping someone would be or know the keeper of the little scruffy thing.

I was still smiling from dinner when I looked at it and felt my heart connect to hers. The couple said that they were the parents of two large dogs and would not be able to keep her, but it was obvious how much they cared.

I told them that if they didn’t find the dog’s family, they could bring her back to me and I would get her checked out and then adopted if no family had come forth. (Who was I and when diid I become the Dog rescuer, I wondered.)

The next morning when I was on my way to tea and church (yep, we do that in the South,) I met the couple again. They were going up and down searching for Dora’s home. (They had been calling her Dora, as in the explorer.)

I stopped and reminded them that I would still help and they thanked me profusely.

Later that afternoon, when my family had come over for dinner and a documentary, the couple came by with Dora.

Dora took to my daughter right away, but then she found Rob, my nephew who is allergic to dogs.

In minutes Rob had opened his heart to Dora and Dora completely and unconditionally opened herself to him.

Dora had curled herself next to Rob and I just laughed. He smiled and said that if we didn’t find her family, his roommate might want to adopt her.  

I reminded him that he didn’t have one and laughed when my “niece” Carrie decided that Dora was her dog, period.

Someone else mentioned how they could take her and I noticed my daughter looking like she always did when she wanted to love yet another animal.

Late that night, after Dora decided that I was her mommy and my room was her home, Dora’s real mom had found my daughter’s post on the community Facebook page. She came running for Dora, whose real name was something with a “C.”

For that one day, we opened our hearts to a stranger who came in the form of a little dog.

We are all given a chance to open up to someone or something that may be different or from another family. We get that chance every day.

When your opportunity comes, do you open your heart?

Can you allow yourself to care for someone or something for just a moment?

How would it change your day; your week; your life?

Love comes in many forms, open your heart to the need in front of you and the desire you have will be fulfilled.

How do I know; my heart tells me so.

Be you, be well, be open.

Bertice Berry, PhD.
Order A Year to Wellness and Start your journey of Love today

NOTE: I wanted to write about the terrible situation in St. Louis. I have a sister and family there and I know you all are praying.
I could not write about it. I needed to write about something, anything else.
Please don't believe me to be frivolous or uncaring; it's quite the opposite. We need solutions and we need them quickly.
We must begin to connect as family now. Gather together in your communities with the folks you don't know and the ones you do. Stay connected in love and optimistic faith as if your love is the world's cure.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Change Your Mood With Your Own Thoughts

Think On the Good

I had just gotten a hot new haircut and was happy and feeling rather good, when something happened and that feeling was almost forgotten.

On the way home from the haircut, I stopped to pick up supplies from the hardware store. The deed was done and I was loading the heavy items into the back of my car when a woman pulled up into the space next to me. There were many other spaces, but something in my energy pulled her right there.

After parking as close to my car as she possibly could, she got out of her's, walked around to where I was and looked me up and down as if daring me to speak. I did, I said hello.

She muttered something and marched into the store.

I finished my work out with the heavy items, checked my hair in the rear window and smiled at my new self, but when I walked around to the driver’s side door to get in, I realized that I couldn’t because the woman had parked too closely.

I tried to get in from the passenger’s side and considered climbing through the window, like Jenny McCarthy in the movie Heat, but thought better of it, so I went back into the big store to try to find the woman.

I needed to be home to get ready to go out to dinner with friends, so I quickly asked the customer service folks to page close parking woman.

The announcement was made three times and I met several nice people who also drove her make and model, before the woman finally appeared. She was angry and yelling about how that black woman had better not hit her car when someone pointed out that I was standing right there. (I’m always amazed how race and differences come up and out when we are I the wrong.)

I didn’t give her a chance to speak; I calmly said, “Your car is fine, but I can’t get out of my space.”

She barked that she didn’t know how that could be and marched back to the car.

She got in and hurriedly pulled her car back while I got into mine. She waited for me to do so and when I did, she pulled right back into the spot the same way; only now she took up two spaces.

She never said thank you, or I’m sorry and clearly acted as if I had done something to her.

As I drove off, I wanted to turn around and tell her a thing or six and then I thought of my six thing rule.

 It takes six positive events to undo the feeling of the negative one, but why wait, so whenever something negative occurs, I think of six positive events that have also happened.

I thought of my new haircut and my barber Vernon who made me laugh when I told him that he could change it if I didn’t like it. He told me that I would be wearing it if I liked it or not.

I thought of my friends that I’d be seeing later and how they always brought me joy. I thought of how my daughter had made me watermelon juice that morning and all of the beautiful folks at the farmers market. I thought of the joy in my manager, Jeanine’s voice that morning when she called to share ideas and possibilities and I thought of the look on my electrician’s face when he talked about his grandchildren.

I was smiling like a loon when I looked in the mirror and saw my new self and new haircut and suddenly, the woman and the time sucking event was a distant memory.

We all possess the power  to change our thoughts and our mood, even when crap happens.

Smile, think of six good things and smile some more.

Be you, be well, be the smiling six.

Bertice Berry, PhD.



Sunday, August 3, 2014


Wake Up To Yourself

For the past few months, I took the time to reboot and renew.

It all started with what I thought would be a forty day fast. For years I’ve done this. It’s a time for cleansing and realigning my spirit mind and body.

Because of what I call The Mighty Three (the three big life changing events you go through after you hit the age of 50---and thank goodness I’ve had them all quickly,) I have not been able to fast.

I typically take the time in January, but this year, a serious and much needed foot surgery kept me from doing so.

At the end of May I decided to take on the challenge and once engaged in the process, I knew I needed to go longer.

So for 62 days (I had decided on  60 but actually lost count,) I drank nothing but green juice and water. I ate no food, watched no TV, and avoided negative conversations and behavior.

What I did instead was to fill my spirit, mind and body with the nutrients, thoughts words and deeds that I had gradually moved away from.

We all have a way of living that makes us better. We start out well but throughout the year, we gradually move away from what we need to do towards what we or someone else wants us to do.

By emptying my mind, body and spirit of the stuff I don't need, I can see and hear much more clearly.

62 days of fasting is not something that I recommend, but I will suggest that you take a moment to step away from your junk food; the stuff we eat, do, say and hear that takes us away from our more beautiful self.

When you do, you will wake up to your true self; a self that is more whole and happy and much more productive for the world we live in.

Be you be well, be awake.


Bertice Berry, PhD.