Monday, February 24, 2014

What Gives you Joy?

Waking up ready to learn

What Gives You Joy?

Reverend Sierra Wilkinson Reyes has a smile and glow that is pure joy. I was in front of her soaking up the shine from her glow; a glow she willingly shares when she asked me the question.

“What gives you joy,” Sierra asked smiling. (Now that I think of it, I’ve never seen her not smiling.)

I felt compelled to tell her my truth, one I hadn’t really admitted to myself.

“I love to learn and I love to share what I learn with others.” I said smiling back.

As soon as I did, I wished for some other answer; one that made me sound like Indiana Jones or better yet Harriett Tubman; now there’s an adventurer.

I wished that I had said surfing, or mountain climbing. I wanted to be able to tell her that I enjoyed trekking the Himalayas with the Dalai Lama, but all I had was learning and sharing.

Sierra smiled the smile that a professor gives when you’ve gotten the right answer; one that could never be wrong and I knew my own truth.

So today, I’m asking you to ask your heart the same thing; what gives you joy?

What do you do that helps you wash away worry and resentment?

What would you do even if no one was paying you?

What would you like to think of when you wake up, and when you lay down to sleep?

If money was no object and Oprah left everything to you, what would you do with your life?

If you knew that today was the day and you had to find joy right now, what would it be?

No one has your answer, but everyone feels it when you don’t know it and don’t live it.

Be you, be knowing, be joy.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Art of Living Better: First Things First

Not there yet--got work first

First Things First

            Okay boys and girls, I’ve got a new toy in the form of my left foot and I really want to get to walking. I’m recovering from foot surgery and I’m itching to get out doors.

I feel like a kid again wanting to run and play before chores are done, but there must be an order to life.

This morning, when I sat down to write, I had to stop and clean off the table before I could even do so. My daughter believes that washing the dishes means washing the dishes, but I grew up in a time when washing the dishes meant cleaning the entire kitchen; floors included. You could not say that you had washed the dishes if you hadn’t cleaned the kitchen table too.

My mother’s mantra was “first things first.”

She’d say things like, “Put things back to where they came from and no one would know you had them.”

My mother believed that you should leave things better than how you found them and that by taking care of the little things you were making the big ones happen.

In this world of super-fast information and instant gratification, we need to be reminded that there really is an order to the process and a process to success.

Take care of the small things and the big things will appear.

Everything takes time so whether you are waiting for a foot to heal or a child to really grow up, take the necessary steps to care for, clean, teach and discipline your day.

If “a” plus “b” equals “c” then get your “a” game ready. Stop trying to have “c” without “a” and “b”.

My mom worked hard, raised seven children on her own and kept talking about how things were going to get better. She kept working and we kept listening. When we got tired of hearing her, we applied her lessons and found them to be true.

My mom was 87 when she died, and she would have told you that her hard work paid off.

Be you, be disciplined, be better.

Bertice Berry, PhD.


Monday, February 10, 2014

What You Do Have?

           What You Do Have?

For the last few weeks I have been stuck in weather travels. My original flights had been canceled and I had to find and book another flight to the frozen tundra, which I did, but then I could not get back home.

I had three days to ponder my situation.  I watched the news and heard words like apocalypse and catastrophic, and I saw people fighting over who should have done what and I quietly began to ponder the notion of personal responsibility for a collective change.

Being stranded in a really nice hotel will do that to you.

Friends and family called to see if I was okay and I moaned as I ordered yet another salad from room service.

I didn’t have to hear about how bad someone else had it for me to know how good things really were.

Let me get to the point; it can always be worse; but it can also be better.

Being better requires that you see how good it really is.

Today I’d like you to ponder this; what do you have.

Most of us (about 99%) can use more money. Some of us would like to have less weight and more health. We’d love to feel safe and loved and all of that is good, but I want you to think about what you already have.

Before you complain about your job; be grateful and get better at doing it. Fall back in love with the partner you picked and realize that in some ways your kids are a reflection of you (emphasis on some.)

Take pride in the things you have and give them some cleaning, maintenance and love.
Cold outside, but warm in here

I’d like you to mentally ponder the things, the life and the love you have and then I want you to know that it could be better, but it already is.

Be you, be well, be grateful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.