Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Great Minds:
Big Picture Thinking

See the waves, the sun, the sand and the sky
Great Minds live in the present and learn from the past while seeing into the future.

This kind of thinking is rare. It is the thinking required of those in leadership.

 One must lead their team in the celebration of past successes while transforming and changing course in the present just prior to the dangerous events up ahead.

This is a difficult task and when the leader is the only team member with this vision it’s almost impossible.

Big picture thinking should and must be a part of everyday life.

I am often amazed by our lack of concern for the environment.

Environmental issues affect all races, religions and levels of income or education, yet very few have time to do the daily behaviors that can lead to great change.

This limited view fails to recognize the connectedness of our present actions on future possibilities.

We want what we want now with little or no thought of the affect and impact our desires have on future generations.

In the book, 72 Names of God, Yehuda Berg writes, “Seeing the big picture means learning to become the Creators of our own fulfillment…”

Big Picture thinking is different from long range. With long range vision, you are looking down the road to possibilities. Big Picture sees all at once.

 It sees the apple and the tree. The new car, the environment and the folks who assembled it.

Today, take a moment to see the impact of your actions and then see the possibility.

Be you, be well, be a Big Thinker

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Great Minds: Discipline

Great minds don’t think alike. In fact, they don’t think like anything or anyone else. While they share similar traits and often draw similar conclusions, great minds are great because of their unique direction, discipline and drive.

Having a great mind has little to do with I.Q and much more to do with big picture thinking.

These thinkers live in the present, learn from the past while looking to the future.

People like Dr. Bennet Omalu, Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, Dr. Linus Pauling, Confucius or Kongzi, Leonardo Da Vinci, William Wilberforce, Harriett Tubman, Alexander Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bebe Ross Coker.

I could keep listing names and would love to, but that would take my brain in other directions; directions that may end up someplace great, and yes, I digress.

But the focus of a great mind stays to task and wanders at the same time. It is disciplined to the point of distraction and focused to the dismay of those who love them.

We often celebrate the speeches of the great minds of Dr. Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela but we forget the rigorous, painstaking work that goes into them. (It has been said that for every minute King spoke, he spent at least an hour in preparation.)

Nelson Mandela caused a great deal of worry and frustration because of the amount of time and work that went into his decisions. What looked like waiting to the last minute to some, was utilizing all resources and seconds for the good of everyone.

Great minds like Winton Marsalis, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Ella Fitzgerald and Prince often played the same note over and over and over again, and then they played it some more.

The focus required to get things just right takes as much discipline as learning to play for the first time.
Great minds do not stop at talent or ability. They know that money is not enough and that the last performance, no matter how brilliant must be improved.

Great minds do not think alike, but they are all disciplined and focused.

 Great minds belong to hard workers.

 These minds give birth to ideas and principles that last throughout the ages. Their art and artistry remain masterful and their principles and policies bring compassion and comfort for decades beyond their lifespan.

Great minds often come from poverty and hardship and have most certainly endured suffering.

In the words of Dr. King, “Rarely do we find men (and women) who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Great minds require and bask in great discipline and thinking. What looks like boring reading, writing, editing, artistry and research to some, looks like a beautiful day to the great thinker.

Be you, be wonderful and a great thinker.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Know Thyself

The phrase Know thyself is one of those really old Greek maxims used to teach folks to stop following the masses and listen to their own head and heart.

Today’s equivalent may be something along the lines of “Do you Bookie.”

In the Gospel of Thomas (one of the non-canonical gospels found at Nag Hammadi in 1945) lies one of the most powerful teachings:

Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: See, the kingdom is in heaven, then the birds of heaven will go before you; if they say to you; It is in the sea, then the fish will go before you.

 But the kingdom of is within you and it is outside of you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty and you are the poverty.

Who are you? What gifts do you bring to the world? What contributions do you make to the world’s corruption?

In A Return To Love, Marianne Williamson teaches us that “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear I that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us.”

Today, Know thyself. Do you Bookie.

See your power, your light, your love.

Move from fear to love and know that if you don’t, you are the poverty and the problem.

Be you, be well, be you.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

At One with Your Surroundings

 Look around you. Do it now. What do you see? What are you seeing for the first time?

Are you just looking, or are you truly seeing?

Being at one with your surroundings enables you to be at peace wherever you are. This peace and oneness, is not at all about where you find yourself; it is about how you find your Self.

Most people feel uncomfortable in new clothes, new surroundings and with new people.

When you are truly at One with yourself, you can be at One in your surroundings.

Now, look around again. Take in a deep breath, close your eyes and open them.
What do you see?

What new thing can you appreciate? Notice the amount of work that went into something. Try to imagine the people who did the work. See the thing in its raw form. Imagine the sand and the tree that a window or floor board came from. See the factory workers where the paint on the walls was mixed and made.

See through the exterior of your electronic device to its inner workings. See it as it was being made.
Take in a deep breath and see yourself connected to your room and the people who harvested, made and assembled the items in it.

You are already connected to the world. You are never alone. You are a part of everything and everything is a part of you.

Wherever you are, you are already connected.

We are no degrees of separation from anything or anyone because there is no separation.

You are One because we already are.

Be you, be well, be ONE.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Power of One

Okay boy and girls, I’m going out on a limb into the deep where no one has gone before, into uncharted territories of wilderness in that place you call, You.

Now that the sane folks have left and I’ve gotten your attention, let’s get down to the real.

We are living in a world of false division.

Every day, all day long you are being given the “opportunity” to choose or pick a side. At first glance, there are two sides but once you’ve chosen that side, there are two more and then more and on and on and on.

You chose to be a Christian, then you have to choose a denomination. Once you chose the denomination or non-denominational version of that, you chose the church. Once you chose the church, you choose the club—sorry, auxiliary board, choir, or service that you’ll be a part of. When you chose that, you chose the side of which dual you will exist on.

With your career, you’ve chosen a path. Maybe it chose you, but somehow you decide to work at the place you call, your job. Once there, you’ve chosen a department which also finds itself divided. That division comes with its own cliques and in-groups. You chose one based on who you’ve come to be and then you remember your life at home. You find that there is another group and so you strive to find work-life balance.

We are fragmented beyond belief.

 Even our own physical body is divided into parts with those we like and those we don’t; the part that’s in pain and the part you like to show.

Where one part ends, another division begins.

The Power of One is about wholeness. It’s about beginning to see and feel the connectedness of who you are and the impact you can have.

Think about the division you’ve created within yourself, your family, your community, your world.
Are you on the side of blacks or whites, democrats or republicans, the believer or those other folks?

Take a moment to feel the impact of this separation.

Now see where life connects.

Stay tuned for more.

Be you, be well, be ONE

Monday, May 9, 2016

Living Beyond The Agenda

Your purpose is not your job; it is your calling.

 On a daily basis, you must ask yourself, “Why, me, here, now.” (Naim Akbar, PhD.)

This question of why was I born at this time and what is it about me that can make a difference, when asked and answered can truly change the world.

We keep looking for short-termed answers to beauty pageant questions pitched in elevators. Questions like, “What’s your story and if you were a cereal what brand would you be and why?

Stop playing. I mean it.

This life is meant for living and for evolving; first for you and then for the world around you.

If your bank, hospital and car dealer can clearly define their purpose, mission and values, why can’t you?

No one can tell you your purpose. No one can live your value for you.

There is a beautiful Arabic proverb that goes like this; “When a person seeks their purpose, the Universe conspires to answer.”

When you begin to ask that question of why, me, here, now, even the birds and tree will guide you.

You have to look and you have to listen. You have to see and hear from your heart, and you have to keep an open mind.

Start today.

Who are you? What qualities did you inherit from parents and guardians? What lessons have you learned along your life’s journey? What skills, talents and abilities, degrees and certifications have you picked up along the way? What do you love? What brings you joy? What are your dreams?

Begin to answer these questions for yourself and you will uncover the thing that lies within.

For we are not motivated, inspired or moved by agendas, brands, paychecks or punishments.
What moves you enough to change the world is and always will be your purpose.

If you don’t know and live your own purpose; you will be led by someone else’s agenda.

Be you, be well, be purpose.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seeing Into the Future

Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or don’t; you are constantly looking into the future; the time regarded as still to come.

You did it when you applied to college, seeing the day that you would graduate, long before you did.

 You did it when you got married, had children, or moved into a house.

 Back then, you stood on the threshold of what already was and imagined all that could be.

Then life happened. You still saw into the future, but you began to change your mind and slowly, gradually all of the possibilities became impossible.

 The dreams you imagined were too difficult and you were no longer certain of their reality.

You are constantly seeing into the future of what can and cannot be and let’s face it, you are getting exactly what you predict.

Today, I’d like you to see into the future with a twist.

Instead of seeing that something just won’t work, I’d like you to imagine that it will.

I’d like you to try to ignore the naysayers. Dream without their consent.

Tell yourself you will make it on time, your children will behave and that you will have a beautiful day. See that you will smile, laugh and be filled with joy.

Take 3 minutes, sit, listen, be still, see and then see better.

Still your mind from the noise of what you’ve been calling “realistic” and step into reality.

See the future from your heart.

If you want to be better, you must see better.

If you want a better world, you must see a better you.

Be you, be well, be a time traveler.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seeing Yourself as Light

That' me, the ray on the right.

If you want to be better, you must see yourself better.

This is truly difficult, not because we don’t have the ability to see into the future, but because we love to cling to the past.

For some reason, we have come to believe that learning from your mistakes means that you have to hold onto the pain of those mistakes.

I don’t know about you, but when my injuries heal, I no longer feel them. 
They may leave a scar, but unless I’m thinking about the injury, I don’t pay it no never mind. (Translation: sometimes you can have one thought and then you say, “never mind.” No never mind then, is to not bother with the thought in the first place.)

Imagine that there are two roads. One road leads to everything you’ve ever thought you wanted. On this road lies all of your hopes and dreams.

The other road, leads to nothing you’ve ever wanted.

The road you travel on is up to you.

I can’t believe that I am about to admit this, but experience shows me that most people will take the second road. These folks have become so familiar with pain, suffering and disappointment that they have decided to take what they think they already know.

The thought process goes something like this: “Why bother with what you might be able to have when you already know what you can’t.”

It’s not that folks fear the new; it’s that they are familiar with the old.

Some folks take it a step further. They set up camp and post signs toward the road of suffering. They tell others that this is the way to life and that the devil or enemy controls the road to life. They build monuments, write songs and start religions based on the pain they have endured.

This road is a crowded road; it is a road well-traveled.

The other road, leads to life. In the beginning it is a dark road. There are few travelers and not much to light the way.

This is where you come in.

 You are not your race, religion, experience, career, degree, level of education, or income. You are not where you come from or the family you have. You are not your home, car, or the stuff you have collected.


As you journey on the road to life, you illuminate a pathway for others. The road becomes brighter and brighter. Celebrations pop up everywhere and you are the source of that celebration.

All of the things and ways of being that you are not become wonderful because your light shines through them.

Others begin to see the light in their community, church, home, school and highways of doubt. They leave the road of nothingness and find the road to life because you dared to be your authentic light.

Be you, be well, be light.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Seeing Yourself in a Better Light

I have a belief that goes like this, “The way you see the world, is actually the way you are seeing yourself.”

People who see the world as a beautiful place tend to feel the same way about themselves. While those who think that the world is ugly and sad, have most likely felt this way about themselves first.

My belief on this matter leads me to conclude that if we want to see the world in a better light, we have to see ourselves that way first.

At first glance this observation may seem like one of my random thoughts; the ones on my bucket list of research questions.

But this is a big one. It’s where psychology meets sociology; where the self meets the collective and the “I” becomes the “We.”

The big question becomes this, “How do we see ourselves in a better light?

How do you begin to believe that you are a beautiful being, divinely made for a divine purpose?
 Too deep?

Okay, then how do you begin to see yourself as a good person deserving of a better life?

I’d like you to begin the work of stripping away. Strip away the trappings of life. Pull back the stuff that you don’t just have; it has you and you are beholden to it.

Then pull back the layers of wants (you know, the things we confuse as needs.)

I’d like you to reevaluate your belief that you are not worthy, not good enough, not saved enough, not beautiful.

You are not the car you drive, the house you live in, the family you’ve come from, your religion or your job. You are light.

We are all connected and related. I don’t need to diminish you to feel better about me.
When you shine, I glow.

When I love my work, my family, my community and everyone I encounter, I become more beautiful---and so does the world.

That’s it. It sounds really simple, but I’m coming to see that as I take responsibility for my own 
missteps and mistakes, I can see that I am human and prone to them. For this, the angels are envious.

As I recognize the humanity of even my shortcomings, I can see the humanity of others. And then I know, that we are all connected.

Be well, be you, be seeing.

Bertice Berry, PhD.