Thursday, March 31, 2016

Consciously Connected

In the words of that poet Bruce Hornsby, “Somethings will never change, ah, but don’t you believe them.”

If your ancestors and mine had believed in the slave holders, segregationists and misogynistic titans who said that nothing would ever change, where would we be?

Today, there is a new kind of gatekeeper, but they are telling the same lie; “You’ll never make it, somethings will never change, and that’s just the way it is.”

Ah, but don’t you believe them.

You can make a difference, in your life and the environment around you.

To be consciously connected means to be consciously and intentionally connected to yourself and then to other like-hearted people.

You must first become aware of your true self; your core, the person you were always meant to be.

When you peel away the layers of what you’ve accepted, “just enough to get by,” and going along to get along, day in and day out, you will see the self you’ve left behind.

Once you’ve connected to your true self, you can consciously connect to the beauty of the world around you.

You will be able to make deliberate connections to like-minded folks. When you do, you will raise the vibration of the environment at home, work and in your community.

Others will be able to change and grow, or they will fade into the background of the conscious play you are creating.

If this sounds a bit new-agey, look around. Your phone has become smarter than you are and you get mad at your own computerized car.

The world is changing come along.

Be you, be well, be conscious.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

To reexamine your life more intentionally

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Self-Conscious, Self-Aware or Consciously Connected

 I have a wonderful friend who is totally brilliant. In fact, he is a genius. He often feels the need to inform me that he is self-aware.

I resist the urge to tell him that he’s not aware of anyone else, and just smile and nod my head.

To be self-conscious is to have an inflated awareness or perception of your appearance, actions and ultimately your power to destroy someone else with the run in your stockings.

Self-awareness is the conscious understanding of yourself; your personality, desires and ways.

I’m striving to be consciously-connected; to have a deliberate awareness of myself and how I fit into the world around me.

On a daily basis I seek to know myself, to seek improvement and to connect to others who are doing the same.

That’s it. I’m hoping this helps you see that you are not alone, that everything is not about you, but ultimately it’s all for you.

Be you, be you, be Consciously Connected.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reaping What You’ve Sewn

We all want to get a return on what we invest; or do we?

The truth is, we want a return on the good that we’ve planted and we want everything else to go to rot.

From what I understand about karma, the law of reaping and sewing and even the Law of Attraction, it just don’t work like that. (Yes, I do be having a PhD.)

We get a return of all that we plant. The things I’ve said to my children are also said to me (usually by them.)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to focus my intention and planting towards only what I really want a return on.

(If you think that last sentence was clumsy, you should try thinking it and then doing it.)

Fortunately, I’ve come across techniques for focusing my intention and learning how to truly mean what I say.

In the book, The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther and Jerry Hicks, the authors point out that we have an inner-self. This inner-self is the soul of the self and then we have the self. They are not so much in conflict as they are in a struggle for agreement. (If you’re married you understand this. If you’ve been divorced, like I have then you really do.)

The inner self is the true you, but we struggle with the world around us. We believe that what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell is all there is. To make matters even more interesting, we allow all past encounters to dictate who and what we are right now.

Now, the inner self is determined to be in joy, while the self that we show the world struggles to just get by.

So how do we bring these selves together; how do we get them to agree?

In their book, The Hick’s point out that the sixth sense lies within your emotions, and when you learn to listen to them, you can find the direction you need to go in.

There is another book, HeartMath by the HeartMath Institute that provides a technique for doing just that.

Every day, I employ the Freeze-frame technique. And each day, I get closer to expressing and living in the joy that I say I want.

You can find the Freeze Frame technique on YouTube, but if you really like to read (and you must) I’d suggest that you read both books.

I truly believe that all things work together for the good; even the things that I say I don’t want.

Every day, we all have the opportunity to look, learn, grow and direct our lives in the direction we need them to go in.

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

Join the conversation on Periscope

Monday, March 28, 2016

Authentically New

There is a wonderful Arabic proverb that says, “When a person seeks their purpose, the Universe conspires to answer.”

I had been looking for just the right framework to teach a lesson on becoming one’s most authentic self when I received my Universal gift.

The gift came from the brilliant theologian and pastor of Christ Church Episcopal in Savannah, Georgia, Rev. Michael White.

It was Easter Sunday and Michael spoke of the resurrection. I’ve deliberately used a small “r,” because while Rev. Michael referenced the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, he emphasized the resurrection of the listeners.

Michael began by talking about the raising of Lazarus from his tomb. He stilled the minds of the crowd with this thought, “Lazarus was not resurrected; he was resuscitated into his old body, his old self. Jesus was resurrected and was made new.”

Michael went on to describe a period in his childhood when he so desperately wanted to play for the NBA. He said that he practiced free throws daily and dreamt of the day when he’d play professionally. He explained that the dream was fine for his childhood self, but as an adult, no amount of practice would enable him to realize that dream.

Michael said that a dream to play basketball was an old dream.

Instead, Michael pointed out, we need to be resurrected into something completely new.

Which takes me to my point. This wonderful treatise on the differences between being resuscitated back into our old self, and being resurrected into a new calling is what I needed to say the following.

Finding your authentic self, your voice, vision and calling should be about being reborn into something new.

You must bring the lessons you've learned on your life’s journey, but you must be resurrected into something new.

Ask yourself these questions:

How can you combine your talents, abilities and dreams into a completely authentic expression of who you are now?

If you could change anything in your world, what would it be?

If you could bring something to your surroundings, what would it be?

If you could leave just one thing for future generations, what could it possibly be?

When Mary finally recognized Jesus, she wanted to hold him, but Jesus told her, not to hold onto him, as he was not his old flesh.

If you want to do something new, do not hold on to the old self. If you want to leave a message of peace, love, hope or understanding, give those things to yourself first and begin a journey of authenticity.

Be You, be well, be wonderful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Company You Keep

Listen up boys and girls, because back when you really were a boy or girl, your parents told you who to avoid and who to hang out with. You didn’t listen then, and you don’t now.

Whether you know it or not, your peers; those folks who are similar to you in ability, qualification and background are still having an impact on your life.

A few days ago, while shopping for much needed supplies, I ran into a cashier whom I’d known from another store. We hugged and asked about each other’s families. (I live in the South, we care like that.)

She asked what I’d be doing the next day and I told her that it depended. “What’s going on?” I asked.

She told me that her church was having a ground breaking ceremony on their new building. I smiled politely and told her congrats, but, I’d planned on reading a book. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Is it the Bible?” She countered, rather indignantly. I smiled, begged her pardon and shuffled away.

Had I stayed a bit longer, I knew that I would have felt pressured to drop what I wanted to do, to do what she wanted me to.

It turns out that the book, The Power of Peers, by Leon Shapiro and Leo Bottary, was not only what I wanted to do, it was also what I needed to do.

In this brilliant book, the authors outline how the company you keep drives your ability to lead, to grow and to succeed.

Shapiro and Bottary make a case for peer groups among CEOs and other lonely leaders. In doing so, they also create a model for all of us to recognize the power of deliberately choosing the company we keep.

The book describes how to select the right peers, create a safe environment, utilize a smart guide and foster valuable interaction and accountability to learn from others while sharing what you know.

I should tell you that Leo Bottary was one of my peers during my undergraduate career. Energetic and always willing to serve, Leo is still living and creating a model for successful servant leaders to connect to like-minded people to learn, lead and change their world.

I’ve said it before, but Bottary and Shapiro have presented the business case for the fact that self-esteem is for the self, but it comes from the people you have around you.

What they have clearly conceptualized and defined is the fact that the company you keep determines the kind of companies we all get.

 Whether you are a CEO at a Fortune 500, a pastor, husband or wife, your company determines your business.

Peer pressure did not begin and end in your adolescence, it continues even now.

If you want to lead and succeed; if you want to create something new; if you want to live a life of purpose and authenticity, you must deliberately determine the company you keep. Otherwise, someone else will plan it for you.

Be you, be well, be in good company.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Watch the discussion on Periscope 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Seeing Your Way Clear

My mother always had a way of saying one thing and meaning so much more.

One of her favorite sayings was “Seeing your way clear.”

If we needed a new pair of shoes or a notebook for school, she’d say, “I’ll get it, as soon as I can see my way clear.”

At first, I thought this meant that she had to wait until pay day, but pay day would come and go and still no notebook.

I decided that it must have meant that she had to pay all of the bills, but still, when that was completed there was no new note book.

When I’d least expect it and always right on time, the way had been made clear and those shoes, a gym suit or notebook would appear.

It has taken me many years to see that seeing the way clear is about the ability to see beyond life’s obstacles clear to the point of your desire.

To do so, you must remove your judgement about yourself, your past, your ability or fear of lack.

You must think clearly and critically.

And you must believe.

You must believe in God and yourself and you must believe that all things are possible to those who can see their way as clear.

Be you, be well, be clear.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Have You Been Labeled?

At some time or another, we’ve all been labeled. 

Please understand that I’m not referring to a diagnoses or prognosis, I’m talking about a definition or description of some aspect of your personality, behavior or appearance.

As a child, my aunt Geraldine called me, “The cutest little red-headed girl from the projects.” As far as I could see, I was the only one.

 My sister Chris called me “hedgy,”, because no matter how tight she plaited my hair, by the end of the school day, that wild mane of red hair would stand straight up like a hedge bush.

I’ve been labeled as the “saved” girl, the loud girl, that smart girl and believe it or not the quiet girl. I’ve been the young one, the old one, the funny one and the “woman with all them kids.”

Sometimes, even when you don’t want them to, labels can stick. When they do, they are like the adhesive from a hospital dressing and are very difficult to remove.

Labels can become a self-fulfilling prophesy; which is like telling someone to watch out right before you push them down.

When you believe that thing that’s been said about you, your behavior will follow. If at any time, you choose to believe something else, that label falls off and that prophet’s mojo is rendered useless.

The source of the label and prophecy does not matter. The prophet can be a minister, a parent, a husband or wife. When you believe in your own ability to change, grow, evolve, you can be free.

So get to seeing and believing something new, because this red-headed-hedge from the projects believed herself around the world.

Be you, be well, be new.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Join me for the conversation on Periscope

Monday, March 21, 2016

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged

I strive to be non-judgmental. I’ve only achieved it in my rather perfect marriage. My husband never judges me and I never judge him.

My marriage is the only relationship in my life that is totally free from judgement, and that’s because I’m not married.

Forming opinions of guilt or innocent, good or bad, right or wrong, based on my opinion and assessment, happens all day every day. It’s in our DNA.

We are constantly judging a situation to determine the danger that could be involved. The only problem is, we don’t really know.

We judge based on what we’ve been told, what we learned and didn’t learn, and we judge based on our very limited experiences.

Folks start a new job with judgements from the old. We enter into a new relationship with baggage from the last.

“I know he’s going to do the same thing that happened to me the last time.” Is said even before the first date.

How do we move from judgement to acceptance? 

How do stop hating the HR department whom we have never met? 

Why does your boss’s name in your email list bring that same feeling you had as a kid when you had a bad dream and the old folks said that a witch was riding your back. (Sorry, I had a flash back.)

The worst part is, as we judge others, we’ve already judged ourselves.

It has been said, and I am believing it, that being less judgmental can lead to inner-peace.

Start today with you and your own thoughts about you and your own thoughts.

When you see yourself as ugly, unworthy, dumb, not good enough, ask yourself why. How do you come to these conclusions? Where is your evidence? Can you reject the null hypothesis?

In other words, can you test the fact that you are beautiful, worthy, bright, and enough to be good. If you find any evidence for any of this, then you cannot accept, live in or believe the lies you have been telling you.

If you’ve been wrong about yourself, maybe, you can begin to reassess others as well.

Be you, be well, be the moon.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thinking, Doing and Creating

It’s 2:00 in the morning and I’m up pondering the idea/ concept of creativity.

 I like thinking in the early morning. Not too many folks on this side of the pond are up using the universal wifi, so I’m free to think and ponder ideas like creativity.

Later in the day, when life and stuff and the stuff of others crowd my mind, luxuries like thinking about thinking are long forgotten.

I decide to exercise and listen to book. In another book, Spark, I read that exercising in the early morning gives the brain an extra boost for learning throughout the day.

Years ago, while recovering from a rather frightening head injury, I found it almost impossible to do the thing I loved so much. I could not read. So at the suggestion of a friend, I began to listen to books on tape.

After two years of struggling, I was able to read again. As with anything we take for granted, I went back to my love for reading and forgot all about those audible books and how they had gotten me through.

That’s when I read Spark and learned that the early exercise was marvelous, so I decided to combine it with my love for reading.

Because it’s really hard to hold a book while doing tricep kick-backs, I went back to the books on tape.

That brings me to Creativity. I was exercising, listening to Ron Chernow’s brilliant Pulitzer Prize winner, Alexander Hamilton when I heard my own key. 

Hamilton, a truly American creation, was a man of both thinking and doing.

That’s it folks, If you want to create something new, like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-hop musical based on Chernow’s  Alexander Hamilton, you have to get up early; you have to think and then do.

Nothing is truly created. Everything that is, already was. 

Creativity then, is about pulling those things together in a completely new way.

Be you, be a thinker, be a doer.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Watch the conversation unfold on Periscope

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mores and Folkways and Norms, Oh My

Get ready boys and girls. I’m going to take you on a brief tour inside the unspoken, accepted rules of your own world. Before I do, let’s review a few of the terms you may need for the trip.

Folkways are defined as a way of living, thinking and acting in a human group.

Norms are defined as a standard or pattern of behavior that is considered normal in a society. While mores are the central accepted customs and folkways of a society.
 Mores then, are the strongly held norms.

Every society, group, family and even church has its own folkways, mores and norms.

Sociologists, William Graham Summer pointed out that, “Mores can make anything right and can prevent the condemnation of anything wrong.

Our mores tell us how to dress, act and behave.

In his treaties Children of Light, Children of Darkness, theologian and ethicist, Karl Niebuhr wrote, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.

If all of this sounds like a lot of intellectual mumbo-jumbo, stay with me.

We, all of us, are sliding away from our own folkways, mores and norms.

Our self-righteousness and lack of inclusion has led to hatred and in-groupness.

Our wink and nod towards prosperity teaching has caused us to see the poor as sinful.

And in our desire to see our own self as beautiful, we have come to think of anyone outside of our group as hideously ugly.

Let’s rethink our norms, our in-groupness and even our ethics.

Who is defining your right and wrong?

Should we revisit the norms, or do we need to establish new ones?

Do the norms and mores of your facebook group clash with the norms and mores of your job?

Don’t look to me; I’m just asking the questions.

Be you, be well, be beautiful.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Shower The People You Love With Love

Investing in Love

An investment is defined as the time, energy, or matter spent in the hope of future benefits actualized within a specific date or time frame.

I must admit that I have spent a great deal of my time, energy and matter on folks and events that will never result in a return.

If I sound a little callous, stay with me---or don’t, because I’m at the age where I get to see concrete examples of the true value of life. I know that everything comes around and all roads lead to the truth.

I’ve watched folks put their time, love, energy and efforts towards family and friends who just don’t like them back. Then, when something happens and that person is in great need they get the proverbial, we’ll-be-praying-for-you. 

Behind their backs the truth is much worse. The same folks who have benefited from the sacrifice of another will laugh and smirk about how that sufferer should have taken better care.

And then there’s karma.

But I digress, or do I?

I really don’t want to spend any more time on the areas of your life that have not, will not, won’t be there for you when you need them.

I want to spend this time with you. 

Why do you run to the folks who shun you and ignore the ones who remain faithful?

Why do you give all of your energy to the churches, clubs and associations where nobody knows your name?

Why do you seek to be included in “family” events only to be mistreated when you show up?

And why do you ignore all of the beautiful children and older folks, who need, love and desire your attention?

Folks, I’m asking, no imploring you to reassess your portfolio. You can pick your family; choose wisely.

Be you, Be well, be vested.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do You Lack Motivation or Inspiration?

I’m a sociologist; more specifically, a public sociologist. For some reason, folks often define and describe me as a motivational speaker. They should see my daughter’s bedroom.

It is true that my audiences and “students” often feel motivated to complete the task at hand, but how I define my work says much more about my audience than it does about me.

Your work requires that you understand the fine line/ big difference between motivation and inspiration.

Motivation is defined as the reason, general desire or willingness one has for doing something (Merriam-Webster)

While inspiration is seen as the divine influence or action on a person, which then qualifies them to receive a communication, appointment or revelation.

 It is the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. (Merriam- Webster)

My audiences are high level achievers. Rarely do they lack the motivation, the will or purpose for doing what they need to do. They are motivated beyond belief.

 For the past 25 years, I have observed very similar qualities among what I call The Genuines, those Authentic Leaders, we all say we’d like to be.

They know their purpose.

They invest their time, money and energy in the education of themselves, their families and their teams.

They tend to be ambiverts; both introverted and extraverted.

They are smart with a heart. They are deep thinkers, but their goal is for the good of humanity.

These folks know who they are and why they are here; still, we all need reminders, refreshers and new tools for completing the task.

If you want to be an achiever. If you want your mind, spirit and body to agree on the same goals, if you want to love what you do, the life you have created and the one you want to have, you need to get inspired.

Find your reason for existing and then, find it over and over again. Once you know it, use it to inspire someone else.

Be you, be well, and be inspired.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

and follow me on Periscope for morning Inspiration and evening Meditation

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Are You Picking At Your Past?

I’ve been trying to share this lesson for some time now. The idea in my mind was clear, but I couldn’t conceptualize it clearly enough to share with anyone else.  Every good teacher knows that if you can’t conceptualize, you can’t operationalize.

Anyway, this morning around one, I was awakened by the feeling of something wet around my collar bone. I knew that our weather was expected to turn towards summer, so I assumed that it and I had done so.

Then it occurred to me, that I didn’t feel hot or wet anywhere else. So, began to I wiggle my toes and fingers, just like I’d learned to do when I was a kid having nightmares of winged creatures trying to ride on my back.

“Wiggle your fingers and toes,” my mother told me. “That way, your body will wake your mind up from the dream.” I was a young kid, but I remember thinking, isn’t it the other way around?” I thought it but didn’t have to say it because it worked, and later, I even learned how to re-enter a dream recreating the outcomes.

But, I digress, or do I?

Anyway, this morning, I got myself out of the bed and into my bathroom. When I turned on the lights, I was shocked, but even more amazed to realize that I had scratched open the wound of a gnat bite. I was bleeding profusely.

I went to wipe the wound and stopped suddenly. “This is it.” I said to myself.

This is what it’s like to go picking at your past.

Stay with me, because, I’m excited and in pain.

In our state of sleep and lack of awareness, we pick at problems from the past; so much so that they bleed in the here and now; so much so, that the problem becomes new.

I stood in the mirror and thought about the things I’ve picked at my children for, because something in their present reminded me of something from my past. (We call this preventive, but sometimes we open an old wound and sometimes, we create a new one.)

I thought about past mistakes that I pick at long enough to find myself making the same mistake or worse, feeling so guilty about the past that I can’t move forward in my present.

 I eventually grabbed the peroxide and mercurochrome---yes, I likes to kick it old school. As I cleaned and treated the wound I marveled at life’s ability to heal.

We are made for renewal, but if we keep going back and scratching at our past, we will find that it’s impossible to move forward. Now wiggle your toes and fingers and wake up to your now.

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

For daily inspiration, follow me on Pericope

Monday, March 7, 2016

Authentic Leadership:
The Lesson of the Lunch Box

“In all the world there is no one like me; in all of the world, there is no one who can do what I can do.”

This was the lesson I was fortunate enough to learn, back when I was a kid growing up in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Society of Friends has one of the best education programs anywhere. Everyone wanted to go to Friends School, but most of us could not afford it. Fortunately, they had a summer program for a selected few and fortunately for me, my teacher Karen Denton got my name on the list.

That summer, we were to think of all of the the things we could do and explore our possibilities.

It was an amazing time, so the following year when I declared to anyone listening that I was going to be a sociologist, everyone laughed. Mainly because no one knew what it was and also because they knew that something with “ologist” on it would require money that my family didn’t have.

I believe that Purpose, like nature, finds a way. It pushes through the cracks in the sidewalk to grow and bloom even when it’s been stepped on. 

Purpose finds a way.

Still, finding and living your own purpose needs a few things:

It needs you to listen to it.
It needs you to respond.
It needs you to know yourself.
And it needs you love and embrace what you find.

Which takes me to the lesson of the lunchbox. Years ago, I was discussing the whole Purpose thing with my friend and manager Jeanine Chambers. She laughed and said that it reminded her of her  lunch box.

I asked her what she meant and she said that her mother always packed what they needed for their lunch. Being children, she and her siblings all decided that they didn’t want the things they had been given. So at lunch time, they would make trades with other kids only to find that what they previously had was what they really wanted and needed.

What you need you already possess.

Because they were kids, they had to keep learning the lesson over and over again until they got sick from something someone else had.

Your family, work, community and world need you to be the authentic leader you were designed to be.

Stop trading your abilities, talents, compassion wisdom and knowledge for short-lived fads and trends that take you around and around in circles. 

Your purpose and leadership can take us all forward.

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

Friday, March 4, 2016

Is Your Ego Getting in The Way of Your Happiness?

I’m a sociologist, so why am I even using Freudian terms like “ego?” Because like it or not, words like ego and id have become a part of our everyday language.

We don’t always use them correctly. We think that the ego refers to an overgrown sense of self when Freud meant for it to be that part of the mind that helps us navigate the world.

The super-ego must be that overgrown self; but no. It’s that self-critical piece of mind that helps us reflect back the societal norms and standards we’ve picked up along life’s way.

According to Freud, our id is the unconscious, impulsive self that needs to constantly be in check.

So when we feel the need to “give someone a piece of our mind,” which piece are we giving up?

This stuff can get deep---even for a crazy person like me, so without going back to school let’s ask ourselves the following:

Would you rather be right or happy?

Are you holding on to something you need to let go of simply because you don’t want to be wrong in the eyes of another?

Is your id working over time?

Do you argue facts you can google?

Are you using the standards for your life to judge someone else’s?

Don’t look at me---I have to figure these out for myself.

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