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.