Monday, January 26, 2015

The Power of Gratitude

The Astonishing Power of Gratitude

I’ve written about gratitude many times before, and I hope to keep on keeping on.

Gratitude should have been a verb. Maybe then we would come to fully understand the power it has over any transaction.

“Today, I’ll be gradituding for my parents,” or “Yesterday, I went to gratitude at the homeless shelter.”

If we understood that by simply giving thanks for what is and will be, then we could see that we are sending out a message to the Universe that what we truly appreciate is what we’d like to create in the world around us.

Gratitude is powerful.

In it and through it we find the key for unlocking our purpose and potential.

I’d like you to spend the day in gratitude, or gradituding.

Give thanks for your family, your home, your looks, your friends, your children and all children. Give thanks for the elders and the elderly, thanks for all teachers and health care providers. Be thankful for those whose minds have captured the ideas that we text, tweet, write and imagine with. Give thanks for the soldier, the salesperson, the doctor, and Indian Chief. While you’re at it, give thanks for the entire race of folks who cradled this land, and for those who literally slaved in the sun and fields and left us a legacy we fail to be grateful for. Give thanks for your parents and for the wisdom bearers, for the writers whose hearts are wrenched open every time they pick up a pen. Give thanks for water and sustenance, for cooks and all who feed you in body and soul; for ministers and nuns, for ambassadors and words, for the languages we speak. Give thanks for thought and the ability to think, for reading and writing and counting and such. Give thanks for the furniture and the animals and the ones we call pets. Give thanks for flowers and artists and all who create, for the trash collector and the inventor of things.

Give thanks for love. And as you think on all of this, realize that the list should and could be much longer and yet we have failed to do the simplest and yet most powerful thing when we forget to give thanks.

Be you, be well, be gratituding.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Gratituding for these shoes

Monday, January 19, 2015

Balancing the Golden Rule

Balancing the Golden Rule

Pushing through could actually be my middle name. It’s what I do. No matter how exhausted, weary or injured, I will push through to make sure that I do my best at whatever it is that I’ve set out to do.

In the past, I never imagined that pushing through was not always the wisest thing. In my head and my heart, pushing through was not only the right thing to do; it was the righteous thing to do.

In 25 years of working, writing, lecturing, I have never canceled an event and have only had to reschedule a few. Not even a flight delay or cancelation can cause me to miss an event. I will simply fly as close as possible and then drive the rest of the way. (Once my manager Jeanine and I had to fly from California and then drive through the Tennessee Mountains in the middle of the night. We arrived just in time to hear my introduction. Afterwards, people actually cried and thanked us for the extra effort we made to get there.)

I often feel that folks don’t put in enough effort; they surely don’t give any extra. I’m amazed at how quickly people will give up on their own dreams.

Pushing through has been so much a part of my existence that I could not see any other way. I’ve worked through gall bladder attacks, a concussion, broken hand, pre- and post-op foot surgery. (My last 5 years have been my Calamity Jane years.)

Last week though, when I had to fly to Delaware to be a part of a documentary, something was off. I could not get myself up and I knew that I had to move. I catch early flights because they have a greater probability of no delays and there are more options if there is one.

I changed my flight to give myself another hour but still did not feel quite right. I took a second shower, got packed and dressed and walked to the front door.

When my daughter came to see me off she took one look and me and said, “Mom, you’re really sick.” She touch my forehead and told me that I was burning up. I gave my classic line about “Just pushing through.”

My daughter took the role of guardian and asked a most important question, “If this was me, what would you tell me to do?”

She had me. In that moment, I realized that my standards for others were not the same as those that I had for myself. I had gotten the Golden Rule so backwards. I treated others, everyone, the way I would want to be treated, but I hadn’t bothered to treat myself that way.


As I turned to go back to my bedroom, everything started spinning and I actually felt the severity of my illness.

It tuned out that I had a monster of a stomach flu and needed to be in bed for several days.

I’m just going to put this right out there for you to ponder:

What have you done for you lately?

Do you push through even when you need to pull back?

Is your Golden Rule balanced?

These questions are for those who keep going when they know they should slow down. You all know who you are, especially my brother whose name rhymes with Berry Bee.

Those of us who maintain standards have to be around to teach them to others.


Be you be well, be wise.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Getting What You Want

Getting What You Want

Hello boys and girls. It’s been a while since I’ve written in this space. I’ve been doing some things, cleaning some things, moving some things.

In the process of my de-cluttering, I stumbled upon an old writing I had hidden away in a book. (Was it Malcom or Martin who said “If you want to hide something, put it in a book?” I think it was Malcom---)

At the top of the found page I had written Gratitude/Ingratitude.
 I smiled at my very familiar scribble. I have a way of writing extremely small on the back of something that I’ve recycled. Back when I was a graduate student and couldn’t afford paper, I would strive to get as much as I could on whatever I found.

Even now with paper and space, I write the same way, dropping in French, Spanish and even Korean words that I’m trying to add to the languages I don’t practice enough.

I read my own words and was blessed by the lesson I share with you now.

Imagine two doors. Each are closed but one door leads to despair, anger, frustration, hurt, loneliness, pain, and lack, while the other door serves as an entry point for happiness, joy, clarity, fulfillment, peace and abundance.

In any situation, at any time, you can choose either door.
I got a call from an old boyfriend. He told me how much he missed me. At first, I was angry. I wondered why it had taken him so long to feel this way. I remembered my two doors and realized that I had chosen the one leading to anger. If I had continued in my thoughts, I would have begun to feel lonely, unhappy and unsatisfied, believing that I had failed in love.

I quickly closed the door and opened the second; the door of gratitude.

Then I was happy for the call. Although I had no desire to revisit the relationship with him, nor did I want to start a new one, I was able to express my appreciation for our time together. He went on to tell me how wonderful I am and that even though he had missed out, he was grateful for what I'd taught him and for the love we share.

When I controlled my choice between gratitude and ingratitude I controlled my outcome. What could have been anger and resentment became clarity and joy.

I reread my words and wondered when I had written them. (Head injuries are not for everybody.)

I started to feel frustrated with my failure to remember and I knew that I had not chosen the right door, so I told myself thank you for the lesson and a feeling of joy came flooding in.

In this New Year decide and chose your outcomes. You can have pain and unhappiness, insecurity and loneness or you can have clarity, peace, joy and fulfillment.

I’m not here to tell you which door to pick, I’m just here to say how grateful I am that you chose to spend a moment with me.

Thank you, I love you.

Be You, Be Well, Be Grateful

Bertice Berry, PhD.