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.