Monday, April 28, 2014

Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and You

Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and You

This week of racist remarks and slurs has been a wake-up call to those who say that everything is fine and we can all just forget and move along.

Today, I’m asking you to look inside yourself. Deal with the stuff you think and say when no one knows you’ve said it.

Deal with the lopsided logic that you apply because something hasn’t gone your way.

Think of the junk that’s in your heart, said only to family and friends or mumbled when no one else is in your car and you sit yelling at that driver who doesn’t look like you.

While you wait for the verification of the voice on that call, verify the words that are coming from your mouth and the thoughts that ping around in your own head.

Pick up your knuckles and walk upright. Whether you believe in evolution or swear by creationism, know this; it’s time to evolve.

The racism, sexism and homophobia we whisper behind closed doors can be heard, seen and felt.

What you do to others, you are doing yourself.

Be you, be well, be evolved.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Say Yes To What You Don't KNOW

 When You Don’t Know Say Yes

The past week will go down as one of the most refreshing, exhilarating, inspiring and eye opening weeks of my life.

It was an amazing week. I did new things, met and connected at a deep level with new folks, was affirmed, confirmed and reified all in one week.

But all of that newness came at a cost---I am physically drained.

Now, folks who know me also know that I rarely get tired. I sleep when it’s time to; get up when it’s time to and go back to sleep before I will allow my body to burn out my brain.

This week was deliciously draining, so yesterday, I found myself ready to stop mid-sentence.

I’d shared the day with family and I decided to stop in the middle to let the young folks go do their thing.

They pleaded with me to join them saying all the things a parent loves to hear. Things like, “It won’t be the same without you and come on, we need you.”

Reluctantly, I pushed through and went on the end of day boat ride.

As we rode up the river, I thought of all of the wonderful things I had done that week and how with each new thing, I had been reluctant but then had given in.

I could see that everything I had embraced was something I desperately needed but was afraid to receive.

What goodness are you missing out on because you are tired; afraid, or just green?

Learn to say yes to what you don’t know and let life take you on a beautiful ride.

Be safe, be wise, be yes.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are You Really Living?

Are You Really Living

Research shows that everyone that has lived will eventually die. It’s a fact, as the sun rises, so does it set.

The real question is this; are you truly living?

Life requires that we recognize a few things; our own existence, the presence of others, the beauty of the world around us and that thing/force that connects us all.

It’s time that you stop going through the motions of life; car on, drive to work, move some stuff around until something happens, drive home, car off, act like a family, sleep and then do it all again.

Life is so much more than paying bills, hating work and tolerating the family we created. Life requires that we see beyond the mundane and into the glorious.

Today and every day that follows stop going through the motions and live.

When you drive, don’t talk on the phone and for life’s sake, don’t text. Even when your hands are free, your mind is not. See where you are going and what you have been passing up.

Speak to someone you encounter regularly but barely know. Ask a question and learn something about them.

Share your knowledge with someone who needs it.

Smile at every child you see.

Talk to an elder.

Listen to a child.

Watch the birds and imagine what they may be saying.

Stare at the clouds.

Recycle something.

Give away something you don’t need.

Help someone in need.

Allow someone to give something to you.

Call an old friend and make a new one.

Actually speak with a neighbor.

Spend real loving time with your family.

Read a book.

Sing a song.

Talk to God and never stop loving.

Make a better list than this and do it.

Your life is real and it is now. The past is a lesson, the future is where you can apply it. Don’t wallow in regrets for time gone by. Use the time you have now to live more fully.

Be you, be well, be full.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Calling On the Ancestors

Calling On the Ancestors

Last week I was at a coneference with a group of insurance and financial advisors. The folks from AXA have been around for a very long time. They are already great at what they do but they had come together to become even better.

At that conference, I witnessed something I had never seen done by a corporation.

As everyone stood and music played quietly in the background, the names of each and every one of their co-workers (both past and present,) who had died the previous year leading up to the conference were reverently read out loud.

AXA is a very large company, so there were many, many names. No one moved or spoke.

With the calling of each name, I felt a stirring of emotions, energy and love.

My sister/editor/amazing jewelry designer, Janet Hill Talbert says, “When a person dies, a library closes.” It is our responsibility to keep that library open. (Click here to see Janet's designs.)

As I spoke that morning, I invoked the names and memories of some of my ancestors. I spoke of my mother and of Terry Evenson, the man who helped put me through college and became like a father to me. I spoke of my sister Myrna and my great-grandfather John Henry Freeman, the abolitionist.

I thought of my daughter Mariah and my nephew Christopher and when I did I could see a host of others.

When we call on and remember those who have passed on from this life, we are stirring the memories and lessons we need for our journey on this side.

Being a part of this very spiritual practice in a group of corporate folks enabled me to know that even when we can’t see it, an awakening is already happening.

Call on your loved ones. Share their life and stories with others. When you do, you will come to see and know that dead don’t mean done.

Be you, be well, be connected.

Bertice Berry, PhD.