Over the years, we’ve come to think of diversity mainly in terms of quotas and numbers. Some think of it as taking power and resources from one group and giving them to another. But diversity is something that benefits us all.
Embracing diversity is one of the keys to being well in spirit, mind, and body.
I’m often asked to speak about diversity for corporations that have seen how the power of diversity can support their growth. These companies have come to recognize that if they are to be more creative, productive, and profitable, they need diversity. However, as I tell them, diversity is not about power sharing. Diversity, in its truest sense, is about critical thinking, and exploring new perspectives and ways of acting.
I employed diversity thinking to develop my Year to Wellness Program. I studied numerous cultures to find out which of their practices I could incorporate into my own life. I recommend that everyone go through a similar process, looking at different ways of doing things to find what works individually. Your mind, body, and spirit need new and diverse ideas to evolve.
We fear that which is different because we were taught to. We learned to stay in familiar circles as a means of safety and survival, just like the cave dwellers. But the human race evolved precisely because people left the cave, ventured out, interacted, and grew.
I love my heritage, my culture, and my family. I also love learning, and I’m constantly opening myself to new experiences and ideas. I meditate, do yoga, and dance to world music. My children grew up with Capoeria and other forms of art. They attended archaeological camps and learned to golf.
Right now, I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking around the family room. In front of me is a painting by my sister, Myrna Vercher. Myrna was a brilliant artist who died from complications of diabetes. She was a New Age thinker way before anyone called it that and was always striving to do and be more. When I was twelve, Myrna gave me a gift that she said would change my life. I had hoped for a bike, so when I saw that it was a book, I was disappointed. Years later, she gave me the same book, and I am sad to say that it took me even more years to finally read it. The book, The Science of the Mind by Ernest Holmes, is the very foundation of much of what we call New Thought. I read the book after Myrna passed away and in it found the letter that she had written years before. She told me to grab hold of all that life had to offer and to love myself more and more each day.
As I look up at Myrna’s painting of a black Madonna and child, I faintly recall sitting in the backyard trying to be as still as possible because I had to pose so Myrna could capture my features as she painted the baby. I gaze around the room and see pieces that have made their way here from South Africa, Tibet, Holland, and Korea. There is a chair form Scandinavia and a sculpture from Egypt. On a door hangs a shackle from a slave ship, and across from it, a portrait of my mother—bondage on one side, freedom on the other.
Life is big and long and wide. The more diverse your environment, the more creative and evolved are the products that come from it. Embrace it.
Be you, be well, be diverse.
You can read about Bertice Berry’s Year to Wellness Program, at www.berticeberry.com/ayeartowellness.html