Monday, December 12, 2016

Seeing Your Connections


The brilliant psychologist, Dr. Naim Akbar said that we should ask ourselves on a daily basis, “Why, me, here, now?”

I love this question. It has led me down some rather amazing pathways.

Last week, I used the question to keep me from spiraling into anger, guilt and just plain madness.

I was scheduled to work with the leadership team at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. It is their mission “To restore, sustain and enhance the health and developmental potential of children through excellence in care…”

Their Genomics Institute is running head-long into the future, finding cures and bringing them back. I’d love to tell you more, but I can't; no really, I can't.

What I really want to convey is the fact that life is already connected and it’s our job to find out how.

I am the single mother of five adopted children. They all have differing needs and “specialties” and although they are now adult-ish, they still need me.

My life is hectic and full of surprises, but it also follows a very tight schedule.

I was scheduled to be at Rady this past weekend, but I what I didn’t know was that my daughter would discover that she had enough credits to graduate with her best buddy on the same weekend.

 I needed to be in San Diego on Friday and then again on Monday. To do the job and the graduation,  I would need to fly from Savannah to San Diego on Thursday, then take a red-eye flight back Friday night so I could land just in time for the graduation on Saturday. Then, I’d need to fly right back to San Diego early Sunday morning.

I try my best to be present and in the moment. I don’t think about a flight to leave until I am done doing what I am supposed to do.

We spend so much time thinking about the next thing, that we don’t truly engage with the thing that we are doing.

But, I’m talking about connections, so let me get to it.

On Friday, when I rode up to the campus of Rady Hospital, my mind flashed back to 20 years ago. In that moment, I saw myself rushing from a flight to that same hospital to be with my daughter after an ENT surgery.

Back then, I’d felt bad about not being on time and I felt guilty for being at work in the first place. I said this to Autumn, my escort and beautiful conductor for that day’s event. She looked at me in surprise and said, “Do you know the name of the surgeon?”

I told her no, but I’d remembered his kind face.

She smiled and said, “I bet that’s him.” She was pointing to a man who appeared to be gliding across the hospital campus grounds. “That’s Dr. Kearns, he’s now the CEO.”

I thought, this can’t be happening. What are the odds?

For me, they are pretty high. I’m always seeing and finding connections. We all can.

We are so busy focusing on what we have to do next, that we can’t see the life connections that are right in front of us.

I went from being exhausted from just thinking about all of the flying I would have to do, to remembering the day I came rushing in for that surgery.

Then later that afternoon, I really got the magic.

After I spoke to the leadership team, Dr. Kearns came up to talk with me. He’s tall enough for me to need to really look up. He was talking to me and at one point, he looked down into my eyes and touched my shoulders.

I’m crying as I type this, because when he did, I was flooded with the same emotion I had 20 years ago.

Back then I  felt guilty about not being at the surgery and then I felt bad for being late. When I’d got there, my daughter was in recovery. She still had bloody bandages on and she had just woken up. She looked as if she wanted to say, “Why did you let them do this to me?”

I was crying when Dr. Kearns came in. Once he discovered that the new person was actually the mother, he touched my shoulder and told me that everything was fine and she was better than okay.

I told him that I should have been there and he actually said, “Don’t do that to yourself, it’ not good for her or for you.” And then like some kind of surgery ghost he was gone.

Life is full of déjà vu’s and connections. We don’t see them, because we don’t want to.
We spend more time seeing separation than we do connections.

Here’s the thing; life is already connected.

Look and see.
Be you, be well, be why, me, here, now?
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dealing with Guilt, Shame and the Past

Dreaming and Imagination

New Tools for Dealing with Guilt and Shame

Yesterday, I heard a sermon from the very brilliant Rev. Helen White.

Helen is one of those power-house folks who catches you off guard. She’s small of stature with a beautiful and open kind face. Her voice is soft and soothing and she delivers what appears to some as a small tap but to others the perfect combination of a one-two punch.

Helen weaves story and scripture so well that her listeners are laughing one moment and chastised the next. 

Here’s the thing though, you never ever feel corrected; you only feel loved.

In yesterday’s sermon, Helen crept up on a subject I’ve been dealing with personally and professionally for at least 40 years; how to deal with guilt and shame.

In Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, David R. Hawkins’ wonderful treatise on emotions and their corresponding vibration/energy, Hawkins points out that the lowest emotional vibrations are those of guilt and shame. They not only add nothing to the world around you, they actually suck the energy from the room while diminishing the energy of the guilty and shameful party.

Helping folks move beyond guilt and shame into a purpose-filled life has become my mission but you can’t get to purpose when you are burdened with the guilt of the past.

Helen, offered a beautiful and unique approach; dream your way to a better outcome.

Instead of wallowing in the past; instead of going around and around the same sin/fault over and over and over again, imagine a better outcome. See yourself going down a different path.

 Imagine what you’d like to do and become. Be as specific as an artist painting and sculpting the smallest detail. Don’t just use your mind to turn another corner, use it to see the entire layout of the city.

Dream of all of the wonderful possibilities you can live.

As I pondered Rev. Helen’s sermon yesterday morning and into the night, I began to think about those who never fall into guilt or shame. They do not possess the over-stimulated conscious. They lack what Freud called the super-ego; that thing that serves to remind us of our moral correctness.

These sociopaths and narcissistic individuals have already imagined themselves to be above it all. They are already perfect in God’s and everyone else’s sight. They see no need for forgiveness, because they believe that they have never, ever done anything wrong.
They are entitled to whatever they take and have created a story befitting of their illusion.

We need to feel guilty when we have wronged ourselves and others, but most of us have wallowed in the guilt for so long that it has gone beyond the job of correction and moved us into a space of mournful regret and depression.

Feel the guilt, ask for forgiveness and then imagine yourself going down a different road. Take time and meditate on another possibility. See the road so clearly that it becomes your choice the next time and the next.

Instead of wallowing in guilt and shame, create new outcomes and opportunities for yourself and forothers.
See your way clear.
Be you, be well, be free.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Special Request...

Happy Birthday to Me
Teach Something, Share Something, Do Something

Well I have a big birthday coming up. It’s not big because of my age, but big because of the age and time we are living in.

This is a time of change and transformation and you have a choice; be a part of the change for the better or not. Choose wisely.

Typically, when folks ask what I’d like for my birthday, I tell them world peace.

This year, I'm giving instructions.

For my birthday, I’d like for you to teach something you know, share something you possess or do something that you can for the Greater Good.

But wait, there’s more.

I’d also like you to spread the word. Take a picture, write a post or just tell someone about the good you’ve done. Good news travels fast and I’d like it to move at the speed of light.

Tweet about it, post it, snippy snappy chat with your friends.

Be the good that we need to feel and see.

The opposite of fear is not security; it is love.

Let’s love the world right.

Use the hashtag womeninpurpose and tell me Happy Birthday @DRBERTICEBERRY on Twitter.

That’s it. That’s what I want, need and desire more than anything else; for us do so much good that others feel the need to do the same.

My birthday is Saturday, November the 12th, but I celebrate for a month, so you can do.

Be the change we so desperately need to see in the world.

I love you.

It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday, it’s my Earthday.

BE you, Be well, Be in Purpose

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Energizing Your Spirit

Reenergizing Your Spirit: What’s Missing?

Last weekend, after a long and exhilarating week of travel and work and meeting amazing folks who were doing amazing things I was, in a word-- exhausted.

One would think that the last thing I needed was to do anything, but that’s exactly what I needed.

I needed creativity and young folks who laugh at seemingly nothing only to reveal a meaning deeper than I could have known.

I needed creativity and understanding and I needed hope.

So when I got the call to give a 5 minute talk at my church, another to take care of my granddaughter and one to get together with a group of great young minds, I could only say “yes.”

Because what sounded like more stuff to make me tired, was in truth the stuff that I needed to lift me up.

I needed to wrap my mind and creativity around a parsimonious representation of the heart of my spiritual community. 

I needed the infectious smile of my granddaughter and the squeal she makes as soon as she sees me.

My soul and mind deserved the gathering of young, energetic and wise lights who could hold 5 conversations at once and listen intently to all of them.

Energy begets energy and light begets light.

If you are tired and weary, exhausted from doing the thing to do the thing and then drained from actually doing it, try the following:


Be Creative

Smile at every child you see.

Stop and listen to the laughter of children.

Surround yourself with young folks and actually hear what they are saying.

Read a book.

Watch a documentary.

Listen to a book.

Know that you are loved.

Be you, be well, be ENERGIZED
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Real Issue

The Real Issue:
Can You Be Happy for the Happiness of Others?
Can you genuinely be happy for someone else’s success? Don’t answer too quickly. Take a moment and ponder this question.

When you hear that someone has fallen in love, gotten engaged, is having a baby; when you see that someone has lost weight, gotten a promotion or graduated do you immediately think of all they’ve been through or do you only see the outcome and wonder about their secret advantage?

We have been fed on the notion of competition and comparison. It’s not enough to get exactly what you want, we’ve all been brainwashed into wanting what others have.

Before you know it, we’re all jealous of someone else. This is bad enough, but to make matters even worse, we’ve all come to believe in the theory of the “unfair advantage.”

Now, we think that the folks who’ve been the disadvantaged have somehow become the advantaged.

All attempts to right hundreds of years of wrongs are seen as handouts to an undeserving minority of folks who have never ever worked as hard as you have and therefore did not earn what you so rightly deserve.

When you look at things through the eyes of equality, you can see that privilege is not the issue; entitlement is.

When we argue that we deserve something because it’s always been that way, we are arguing for the right to be entitled.

The whole this is mine because of who I am is the core of entitlement, and entitlement comes from a diet of keeping up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, the Hiltons, and anyone else you think of as having IT.

If this all sounds too simplified, then just sit with it for a day.

Try to go about without thinking about what someone else has and then try hard not to wonder how they got it.

Try your best to be happy for each and every piece of good news and then try even harder to not gloat when someone misses their own mark.

Our stuff runs deep. It lives in a pit of despair and fear about you not being good enough.

Wake up to the fact that you are wonderful as you are; that you deserve what you work for and we all can be and have our just deserts.

There has never been one pie that only feeds a few. There is so much more and even more to be discovered.
Be you, be well, be your own.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gratitude: A State of Being

On Gratitude

I just a big lesson on the difference between being grateful and being possessive.

As I walked out of my home for what could have been the last time, I came to a definitive conclusion; I am not my stuff.

Last week, the folks of Coastal Georgia and Haiti and Florida and Haiti, South and North Carolina, Haiti and did I mention Haiti, experienced the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. While the storm has long gone, we are all still dealing with the aftermath (especially the folks in Haiti.)

Streets that were here are now blocked by the huge oaks that once lined them. Power lines and sewage have tainted the drinking water and then there is the mold.

So where is the gratitude in all of this?

Being grateful should not be reduced to clichés and comparisons. If I had a dollar for every, “It could be worse,” or “At least you have your power back,” I could really make a difference in Haiti.

Gratitude is a foresight and possessiveness is hindsight. When we look back on what we had or what we think we might have had, we miss the opportunity to see what can be.

Gratitude is a window of hope. It is not an act, but a state of being. Let me be more direct; either you are grateful, or you are not. Gratitude is not one and done. You are not truly grateful one moment but not the next. Being grateful is a lot like being nice. When you are a nice person, others feel it.

Ask your own self the following:

Do you see possibility for goodness or fear the worse?

Do you live in fear of those who are different or do you seek to (re)connect?

Do you work on the foundation of the future or are you obsessed with the next big or flashy thing?

Can you be happy in the moment or do you your emotions rush to the part where you know the good time must end?

Grateful is a state of being. We have become possessive creatures who can only be happy when our stuff outshines someone else’s.

Know this; we are all connected and we are connected to everything.

The tree that fell yearns for its roots and the fatherless child who was killed by that tree yearns for the root of all beings.

Be Grateful.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What Do You Attract?

Attracting Love

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to experience some of what my home town offers. 
Every place has its own flavor, color and lesser-known joys, but I live in a truly magical place.

The event was the Picnic in the Park with the Savannah Philharmonic. It was held in Forsythe Park and it was packed. My daughter and I arrived an hour early, enabling us to get a prime spot for both our blanket and our car.

More family joined us later, but before they did, we’d made friends with everyone around us. This is no exaggeration. Folks came over to my lounge chair (which had some-how turned into a very low recliner) to introduce themselves, talk about local restaurants, and even to complement our colorful blanket.

As the crowd grew larger, space was very limited and we became the spot where folks in search of a drink, or friend, meandered through the tight spaces, winding up at our blanket.

They’d beg our pardon, give many obliges, “Hey Baby’s, and other Southern greetings.

Our family (in the form of the young folks I call my nieces and nephews) arrived and the diversity of our blanket grew richer. Our surrounding "new" friends wanted to know how we’d all met, where they were from and what we kept laughing about.

We listened to great music and chatted about life and the joys thereof when I noticed a little boy who kept moving his chair closer and closer to mine until the two chairs were touching. The little boy told me his name and asked for mine.  

His parents noticed and told him to remember what they had said about personal space. 

I assured them that he was safe with us and that we would watch out for him. They said he was a handful and I simply nodded and told them that I understood. They relaxed back in their spaces and my new little friend relaxed in ours.

Then something beautiful happened. This little boy, who had been a stranger turned to me said, “You know what, I love you.” I smiled and said “Honey, I love you too.”

He kept smiling and then he said, “And I have a secret to tell you.” Looking deeply in my eyes he said, “I really love everyone and everything, but right now, I love you more than anything else.”

I could not contain my tears. In that moment, I felt that my heart had been healed.

As if he fully and completely understood the joy from my tears, the young boy sat beaming with pride and he hugged me tightly.

When it was time for us to leave, we were told by him and everyone around us that we were a joy to be with.

We all have the power to change the energy in a space. We have the ability to radiate love and joy wherever we are. We always have a choice. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.

How can you shine more brightly?

How can you be the light in a room?

Who needs your love today?

Be you, be well, be the love.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Future of Business

The Future of Business:
The Graybar Way

I believe that if you live right, life has a way of coming back around to give you what you have been giving to others.

Some call it karma, some reaping and sewing; I call it a wonderful life.

My work affords me the opportunity to meet and greet people who do the things that we don’t pay attention to but could never live without.

We’ve all sat behind a Graybar truck and have had the benefit of their business.

I recently had the chance to meet the folks who provide electrical, communications and data networking services throughout this nation.

I’ve worked with amazing companies and have met some really powerful people. This past weekend, I had a chance to peek into the future.

Every so often, I work with an all women’s audience. I love this work. I believe that as more women succeed in business, everyone will have the opportunity to succeed in life.

We’ve all got a ways to go; men need to sponsor and support more women and women have to do a much better job supporting each other, but that’s a conversation for another day.

When I’m lecturing, I like to get to the meeting place early. I want to take in the space before it’s filled with the great minds that will occupy it.

This past weekend, I walked towards the meeting rooms a little lost and a little confused. A young man wearing the company’s logo shirt stopped and asked if he could help me.

I thanked him and told him that I was looking for the Women in Graybar or W.I.N.G.S breakfast and he smiled and said, I’ll show you the way. The young man told me his name and informed me that he did not have the privilege to attend but he was sure that I would enjoy it.

I actually scratched my head. I was confused and amused at the same time.

I’ve been speaking at women’s meetings since I became a woman but I’ve never seen a man yearning to attend one.

There were other folks sitting outside of the room. They all acknowledged me and said good morning.

I walked in the room expecting it to be empty, but I was surprised to be met by the CEO herself.

Kathleen Mazzarella (The Margin Ninja) is brilliant, energetic, warm and compassionate and she is the future of business.
Kathy is one of two woman to lead a Fortune 500 company of this kind, and the only one of this size but she is as humble as she is powerful. 

Kathy extended her hand to greet me, squinted her eyes, read me faster than I’ve ever been read and decided that a hug was my preferred greeting; she was right.

As the room began to fill up, I was surprised and somewhat proud to see that this women's event was attended by men as well. The men made up about 40-45 percent of the room. 

In an industry where men make up an overwhelming percentage of the workforce, and women a tiny percent of the leadership, Graybar is truly remarkable. 

After I spoke, folks stood in line to greet me. They all shared heart-warming stories, tears and laughter.

What moved me to my own tears was the number of people asking what they could do to change the world. Some wanted to find young folks to sponsor, some wanted to combat racism and sexism and some wanted to level the playing field.

Kathy, the CEO was still there waiting for me and when everyone else was gone, I asked her how she managed to find so many amazing people.

She smiled and said, “We hire nice people. Business is work, it should be done with good folks.”
We stood and talked longer (actually we closed the place down) and I left smiling.

Life is coming back around. 

Graybar was founded in 1869. It’s got a remarkable history of firsts in electricity, telegraphs, telephones, fire alarms and much more. You may not know who they are or what they do, but you can not live without them.

Graybar is hiring. If you are smart, flexible and kind, if you want the world to be a better place and know that it starts with you; if you want to work hard, learn, think, grow and be happy, Graybar has 800 positions that may just have your name on one of them. To learn more

The Graybar way is the future of business, it’s smart with a heart. Get on board or be left behind.

Be you, be well, be the future.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preconceived Outcomes:
Are you setting yourself up for self-fulfilling prophesy?

When I travel, I tend to leave a day in advance. I book flights with at least two hours of connecting time between them.  That way if my first flight is delayed, I still have the opportunity to catch the connecting flight.

I rarely have to rush through airports or get annoyed by the inevitable delays associated with travel.

I try to take the first flight out, since the plane is almost always there from the night before and I have my breakfast in the airport lounge. 

I give myself loads of time to get to the gate giving me just enough time to people watch or read.

A few days ago, I got to my gate early and sat down. The woman next to me immediately began to chat me up.

She was pleasant and like me on a business trip. Our plane arrived and an old travel buddy came off the plane. We spotted each other and acted like kids on the playground.

“I was thinking about you last week.” I told her. We exchanged hugs, good wishes and enquired about each other’s children. (Hers were of the four legged variety.)

I learned that she had had to put one of her babies down and we hugged again. She was off to her next flight and I felt warmed to remember that even in the airport, I have close friends.

The woman I had just met, commented how special that was and how she had moved away from family but had not really connected since then.

Just as she said this, the gate agent announced that we had to move to another gate. The woman sighed and said, “It’s always something.”

I smiled and we walked to the new gate. Once there, our pilot made an announcement informing us that the original plane had a maintenance issue and would take 4 hours to fix, but that he’d called and got a new plane so we'd be leaving about a half hour late but would land only 15 minutes later than the scheduled arrival.

I smiled and my new travel buddy asked why. I told her that my friend had been on that original plane, but it had landed safely. I went on to say that the delay could have been much worse, but all we had to do was walk to another gate.

She stared at me and said, “I like your outlook. I wish I could be more like that, but my job has given me a team of young folks who have never done this work and a big assignment that’s very important.

I smiled again and again she asked why. I told her that the young newbies all had something to prove. They were fresh and excited and ready to work for her. She frowned and began to sweat and said, but they don’t know anything.

I told her that they knew plenty. They had degrees that were fresher than hers and new eyes on an old problem. I informed her that her team had no expectations or preconceived notions about how difficult or as she had put it, “impossible” the job was, so they would be eager, unless…

I paused and allowed her to ask the question and when she did, I told her.

“Unless you go in with a preconceived outcome before you even start. Unless you decide that your team is not worthy of your respect and unless you really do believe that you are all alone.”

Then she smiled and said that she had sat down in the right seat.

What have you already decided?

How can you reframe your thinking?

How can you turn quick encounters into meaningful exchanges?

Be you, be well, be conceived.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Certain and the Unknown

The Certain and the Unknown

I  had a call with a client about an upcoming event. During our talk, we discussed the changes and transformation the organization was going through. 

The call was informative and all business like until the senior executive said something that went through my very soul.

This woman who has worked hard and long to achieve the big title she has, said that her organization was going through loads of change; some good, some not so good.

She went on to say that the company was experiencing a lot of unknowns but that they also had a great deal of certainty.

I asked her to repeat what she’d just said and when she did, my heart actually danced and I had those chills you get when you feel the expectancy of something  good.

We all have unknowns, but still, there are certainties.

Too often, we lean into the worry and concern around the unknowns. Our mind flips through every negative “what-if,” in our rolodex of fear and we fail to realize that we can also choose to imagine the positive.

What are the certainties in your life?

What do you know that you know that you know?

Keeping in mind that your brain does not really know the difference between what is real and what is imagined and that stress affects you whether founded in the real or the imagined, what can you imagine better?

I’ve been sitting here watching the clouds of what could be that much talked about tropical storm. I remember how my mother would make us unplug everything, turn off all lights and sit far away from the windows.

I begin to worry and wonder about the giant trees and all of the glass on my house, but then I lean into the certainties.

I know that these trees have been here for hundreds of years.

I know that God is love.

I imagine the storm blowing back out to sea or at least waiting until everyone is safe and surrounded by love.

As I sit and meditate towards the certain, I watch as the clouds roll away and a humming bird dances in front of my window.

Life is full of unknowns; it’s also full of certainty. Choose your seat and sit down.

BE you, be well, be loved.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


In this time of chaos, confusion, hatred, anger, shame, regrets, loss and lack, I’d like you to imagine a better world.

See it clearly, with great detail. Imagine.

 Use all of your senses to create the experience of a future in the very near future.

We need you and we need it now.

Imagine, See, Be, the change we need in the world.

Be you, be well, IMAGINE

Watch as the conversation unfolds

In this time of chaos, confusion, hatred, anger, shame, regrets, loss and lack, I’d like you to imagine a better world.

See it clearly, with great detail. Imagine.

 Use all of your senses to create the experience of a future in the very near future.

We need you and we need it now.

Imagine, See, Be, the change we need in the world.

Be you, be well, IMAGINE

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Letting It Go

My first attempt at a painting

I’m a firm believer that you can’t get to where you’re going by clinging on to where you have been.

Getting to the place that you define as your most excellent adventure requires that you learn from your past, live in your present while looking to your future-- simultaneously.

It sounds impossible, but it can be accomplished. It requires that you let go of fear, frustration, blame and shame. You must let go of the anger you have about not being where you want to be and you must let go of the false notion that it’s someone else’s fault.

There is a wonderful Arabic proverb that goes like this:

“When a person seeks their purpose, the Universe conspires to answer.”

I was at an event St. Anthony’s Shawnee Hospital and Physician’s Group in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The place was full of history and art, but my schedule was full and I knew that I’d have to come back to experience all that the place offered.

Still, the people were layered and wonderful and each conversation brought more and more joy.

While in the meeting, I noticed that each table had been prepared with goodies for the participants.

 There were treats and noise makers, colored pencils (yes, this is the correct use of the word colored) and there were wonderful pages of intricately designed art works to be colored.

I had planned to doodle, but I was caught up in the stories I’d been blessed with. During a break, I went to check my email and in it there was a message from the designers of an adult coloring book.
The note said that they enjoyed my blogs and wanted to share a book with me.

I believe that synchronicity is the language of God, but I must admit that I looked around the room to see if the sender was there and had seen me gathering untouched pages for later.

I might be crazy, but I’m no fool; I responded immediately and they sent the book the same way.

Let It Go! Coloring Activities to Awaken Your Mind and Relieve Stress by Sheriese Seven is not just deliciously beautiful, it provides a very real tool for letting go of the things that so easily beset you.

In the book, the author provides you, the co-creator with a page to write one word that represents something that made you unhappy or caused stress.

 After you write the word, you acknowledge what has given you pause, close your eyes take in three breaths; in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then with the blackest pen, you cross out the word until it is unrecognizable; in that moment, there is no stress and you are free to fill in the beauty within the lines of these most amazing renderings.

 Each page gives relief, each page gives you new eyes.

I often recommend books, today, I’m recommending that you purchase two; one for you and one for someone else who you know needs to let go.

Give yourself the time to reconnect to who you are and what you desire by letting go of what you no longer need.

Be you, be well, be wonderful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.