Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing



Feeling What We’re Feeling

I saw a post on Facebook a while ago asking a question.  The question was “What would you do if the person you’re in a relationship with broke up with you on social media?” So many of the responses included “I wouldn’t care”,“I would say good riddance”, or “Why would I care?” or some variation of feeling nothing and going on with life as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that people enter our lives for a number of different reasons and they leave when their time has passed. When their time passes, I don’t believe that we should hang on, but instead allow the space for them to leave and something new to enter.  However, sometimes endings are painful. Sometimes they are sad.  Sometimes the way people leave our lives can be hurtful. And that is ok. What’s more, having feelings about the endings or the person leaving is ok. Actually, it’s more than ok.

That is where we, as a collective, have arrived.  We’ve gone for generations burying our wounds to the point of denying them. We have deemed feelings as weakness and disavowed any knowledge of them, whereby we have determined that not having any feeling at all is a testament to true strength. We’ve become so afraid of being hurt that we’ve decided the best course of action is to simply shut down. Apathy is the new strong.  We’re then covering this apathy with the new age ideology of self-love. We’re so well-adjusted and we love ourselves so much that we don’t care about what anyone says, thinks, or does to us. We mask this with affirmations, mantras, achievements and all kinds of positivity that we can get our hands on.

Unfortunately, we’re not helping ourselves.  We’re hindering ourselves and the world in which we live. Let’s go back to the Facebook post I mentioned at the beginning.  I had to ask the question, “Why are many of you involved in relationships with people with whom you wouldn’t care if they left you and did so in such a dismissive way?” Some of the answers I received involved, “I don’t want nobody who doesn’t want me,” or “Why should I care about someone who doesn’t care about me?” Again, there goes that idea that being strong and loving myself means that I don’t care and I am weak for caring. There’s no shame in caring for those who either are unable or unwilling to care for us. The solution is to release the shame, not to release the caring.

This act of not caring is affecting us in ways we haven’t considered and it’s because we are in denial of the affect it has on us.  In spite of our best attempts to live in a state of emotional denial, we are not actually suppressing those feelings like we think.  Instead, those feelings are showing up in different ways: road rage, bullying, depression, abuse, even the mass shootings we have been seeing lately. These are all the side-effects of the emotions that have been silenced for far too long. We’re imploding before our very eyes and the silenced emotions we’ve been hiding are crying, kicking and screaming for us to pay attention to, give voice to and allow them to be.

I’m reminded of the movie, Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas as William Foster, a middle-aged man dealing with unemployment and divorce. All William wants to do is have the life he thought he should have and make it to his daughter’s birthday party when his car breaks down in the middle of traffic. His long-held frustration and bitterness gives way to violent encounters with people all across the city. This movie was released in 1993 and it seemed so far-fetched back then, but 24 years later we are seeing this play out more and more before our very eyes.  Just watch the news or read the newspaper and you will see some version of this story in the headlines.

Now, I don’t say any of this to depress you. Quite the contrary. I say it to wake you. To arouse you. To inspire you. To light a fire. If you’re reading this, odds are quite high that you are a light worker of some kind and I don’t mean to pressure you, but it’s going to be up to you to shine the light on this. It’s going to be up to you to lead and show others the way.  The time has come for us to rise and to give voice to our emotions—all of them.  Vulnerability is the new sexy and the new strong.  Vulnerability is the way that we’re going to free ourselves and live the life the Universe is conspiring to help us create. Our emotions are our allies. They show up to tell us, teach us, and guide us. They are not “bad” nor are they “good.” Instead, they’re simply necessary.

I think the gentle ogre Shrek said it best when he simply stated, “Better out than in.” It’s time for us to let our emotions out–in healthy, constructive ways at that.

The Detours of Life

Back in December I was out driving and I got so turned around.  It was weird because I wasn’t in unfamiliar territory.  I knew the area and I should have known where I was going, but somehow I wound up in an unfamiliar space.  I took myself so far out of my way and became so impatient and irritable with myself.  Let me be honest and frank. I was pissed.  I should have known better and I wasted my time.  In reality, it was probably only about 5 minutes, but still! That was 5 minutes I could have been doing something else.  Now considering that I was driving, I’m not quite sure what else I could have been doing save for driving. However, in the moment, I knew I could have had the option to do something else besides getting lost in a familiar area.

Well I was in the same area the next day.  Of course you know I had visions of previous irritation dancing in my head.  I vowed to myself as I was driving that I wouldn’t make the same mistake from the night before.  I would pay attention, doggone it.  I noticed a detour sign as I was driving my familiar route. It turns out that there was construction underway on the bridge and it was closed until December 12th.  That means I would not have been able to go across the bridge–which is where I was trying to go the day before.  That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t being derailed. I was being redirected.  I may not have known about the bridge closing the day before, but my detour actually prevented me from getting stuck in the crosshairs of the traffic jam that was underway because of the bridge closing.  I went from irritation to gratitude.  It turns out those 5 minutes really weren’t a waste after all.  And my little driving detour is a perfect metaphor for life.

The Universe is constantly working on our behalves, sending us on little detours. So often when we come across a detour we focus on the inconvenience and disappointment of it. We take detours as stop signs, erroneously believing that the presence of a detour means our goals will never come to fruition.   We believe a detour is a denial, a setback from which we cannot recover; which further serves as proof that what we are never able to get the things we want to pass.  So we stop instead of taking the detour.  We change courses completely or just turn around and go back from whence we came.  However, the truth is that detours are meant to help us.  We cannot see the chaos that lies ahead should we continue on our path, but The Universe can and so it sends us on a detour to help us avoid it all.  Keeping with my traffic imagery, let’s consider when we receive GPS or traffic cam updates while we drive.  Usually, the traffic reporter is reporting from a helicopter where he or she has an aerial view, which provides a greater perspective.  The traffic cam can see all the things you can’t see. So when you’re stuck in the middle lane of gridlock traffic, gritting your teeth and cursing as the road rage courses through your veins you can’t see that there’s an accident 4 miles ahead that is causing the trouble.  You can’t see the construction that’s taking place which will absolutely make traffic go smoother in the long run.  Often what seems like obstacles to us are not obstacles at all, but mere detours pointing us more efficiently in the right direction.  Consider the detours in your life.  Were you actually stopped from seeing your dream come true? Or were you simply redirected?  The next time you encounter a detour, consider that there may actually be construction on the bridge ahead and the detour is simply redirecting you to help you avoid the chaos.

What if Every Choice is the Right One?

Happy Friday! I believe I’ve told you before that I’m an introspective person.  I think a lot about who I am, who I want to be and what I want out of life.  While many may think that’s noble–and I’m one of those people, I have found that this is just another example of the pros and cons of life. What I have found in my existential quest to introspect is that I tend to think so much that it impedes my ability to act.  I don’t actually DO much because I’m so busy thinking about what I’m going to do, how I’m going to do and when would be the best time to do it–among other things.  That’s no way to live!  So I’ve become intentional about making choices so that I’m not finding myself stuck. It was really scary initially because there was this fear of making the “wrong” choice (I can also be a bit of a perfectionist).  But as I found myself deep within the throes of a crisis while trying to avoid making the “wrong” decision, I heard a big small voice tell me to calm down and simply choose and consider the question, What if every choice was the right one?  Ahhhhh . . .

The Ego . . . Friend or Foe?

compassion-857727_1920One morning my daughter woke up in a panic.  She said she was terrified. She’d had a bad dream and apparently this dream rocked her to her core. Even though she knew it was a dream, and even though she knew the most likely cause of the dream—she’d watched a scary episode of a TV show UniKitty, she was still afraid.  She didn’t want to walk around the house until the sun arose or until I walked around with her. First, I had to make sure that I turned on the lights before we entered a room.  I didn’t get upset with her though.  I happily obliged her.  I understood her fear.  I could remember being a child and being afraid of the toilet flushing.  I would have this overwhelming need to rush to my bed and hide under the covers before the toilet completed its cycle.  And while I knew it wasn’t a logical fear, it was one I held for many years.

But beyond that, I understood because in that moment I felt as if I was able to witness the ego in the flesh.  Many psychoanalysts and psychologists from Freud to present have defined and redefined what the ego is. The ego is essentially our identity that is constructed of the thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves.  In the spiritual sector, and other sectors for that matter, the ego can get a bad rep.  Check your ego and humble yourself.  Don’t be so egotistical.  Don’t let your ego rule you.  These are just some examples of the warnings we receive regarding our egos.  We’re sold an image of the ego as a savage dictator and brat, hell bent on feeding its own desires well past satiation.  And sometimes that can be true. Sometimes the ego can operate like a toddler.  It can want what it wants without any regard for the consequences.  It can be bratty.  It can be ruthless in its pursuit to feel better.

But what if it’s more than that?  What if the ego isn’t actually a dictator?  What if the ego is actually just like my daughter this morning? Simply scared and asking for attention? What if our ego is actually asking us to shed some light in the darkness to illuminate those shadow parts of ourselves?  We tend to look at ourselves through cloudy lenses. We grade ourselves with high marks when we do those things which are pleasing to us or when we feel good.  When we don’t feel as good, or we feel we’ve misstepped, we tend to fail ourselves.  Perhaps our ego is our loving friend who is guiding us to look beyond the surface of what we see and to see ourselves fully as we are, without judgment.  But since we humans can be more than a bit stubborn, we don’t always take heed at its first nudging so it has to work harder to get our attention. It has to get louder. It has to start kicking and screaming.  Those are the moments where we are at what we deem to be our worst.  Those are the moments we look as if we are out of control. We’re fearful, angry, short-tempered, arrogant, and maybe even more than a bit selfish.  Those are the moments that in spite of knowing the fear is illogical, we refuse to walk around our familiar home until our mom walks with us and turns on all the lights.  But instead of it being about us getting out of control, perhaps we can consider that it’s more than that and that’s just the moment when we have the opportunity to gain control and begin to take the steps to accept ourselves. It’s the moment we get to turn on the lights to see things and ourselves as they truly are and not as they simply exist in our minds, which gives us a chance to accept ourselves and grow.  That’s a pretty radical thought, isn’t it?

Ego, just a three-letter word and yet so interesting. If we did not have an ego, we would be lost. Feeding it too much we would also be lost.

Lida van Bers


Where Are You Lacking?

Happy Friday!  It’s been said in a really important book that before you remove the beam from your neighbors eye, try removing the plan from your own eye first.  I always thought that was a caution to refrain from judging others. While I think it is, I’m understanding now that it’s also about recognizing that what you see in another just may be a reflection of you.

I was reminiscing with a friend about how my dad had a time reconciling that he had money and didn’t have to scrape to make ends meet.  It was funny watching him until I really empathized with him.  I understand that he struggled because while he had become financially well-off, he was still mentally in a space of lack. I also recognized that while I didn’t do that financially, I did do that in my relationships.  It’s interesting to see where that lack mindset shows up–and it does show up for a lot of us. Where has it shown up for you?

You Can’t Always Have What You Want . . . Or Can You?

Happy Friday!  I’ve been having a fantastic week, as I hope you have as well.  I feel like there’s been one moment after one moment after another where I’ve experienced some wonderfully happy moments. I’ve laughed. I’ve shed some happy tears. I’ve had people be incredibly nice to me.  What’s more, I’ve actually been able to receive people being nice to me! That’s huge for me! I’ve lived much of my life on the defense, erroneously believing that the world was out to get me, that I would have to scrape my knuckles against the ground to get what I want. And that’s because deep down, there was this pervasive fear that I could not actually have what I want. I’d of course heard people say things like What you want also wants you or You’re the only thing standing between where you are and where you want to be. But hearing them say such things only incensed me and convinced me even further that they didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany of my own that the reason I didn’t believe them had nothing to do with any truth in my belief, but more because I was sabotaging my way to making my beliefs true.  Wow!


The Least of These

I’m one of those people who believe that while there are many of us walking this great big ole’ world, we are all so much more alike than we are different.  Of course there are variations, but what I mean is that we all pretty much want the same things.  How we go about getting those things and the way those things look may differ, but the over arching theme is the same. For instance, we all want happiness, peace, understanding and love.  What it may take for me to have those things may be different from what it will take for you, but we both want those things.  Another area where I think we are all more alike than we realize is in our influence in life. We all want to matter.  We want to know that we have touched lives and made a difference in the world. We want to know that we are valued and that when we leave this place, we have left some kind of positive mark. I think we’re all also more alike because we tend to think that the only way we can is through some grand or large gesture. I think we tend to think this because we’re not comfortable with our greatness. We tend to question who am I when it comes to thinking of our influence or we downplay our influence.

I saw this at my father’s memorial service. If I’m not mistaken, there were about 7,000 people in attendance and thousands more outside of the facility (House of Hope on Chicago’s southside) where the service was held. We received letters and cards from all over the world.  What a reach! It was overwhelming.  I remember feeling so proud that my father had touched that many lives that these people felt moved to send condolences to my family during our time of grief.  But the truth is, he was always Bernie Mac–even when we were poor living in my great-grandparents home, or getting evicted from one of our apartments, or living in a one bedroom apartment on 87th & Ashland.  He was Bernie Mac when he worked for Wonderbread (a job he hated). He was touching lives then through his comedy and his warmth and compassion.  So if the world never came to know his name, if only 700 or 70 or even 7 people only showed up to his service, he would have still made a difference. He still mattered. And most of all, he mattered because he was my father–the first man I ever loved; the one who taught me all I’d come to know about life.

Oprah Winfrey received the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes the other night.  She gave one of the most moving speeches I’ve heard in a great while. It was so moving many have called for her to run for president in our next presidential election (in the year 2020).  I’ll admit that I had chills throughout her entire speech. I felt inspired. With her speech, Auntie O did what she has done for decades, which is inspire and motivate the masses. However, I disagree with those calling for her to run for president. And this is where the mindset that we have to keep going bigger, greater, and do more in order to exact change or influence.  I personally think Oprah has the right idea and has had the right idea for years–and if it ain’t broke, why bother fixing it. Oprah is exacting the greatest amount of influence she can by doing exactly what she is doing. She is unapologetically herself and to quote Jerry Maguire, THAT is what inspires! That is the way to effect change and to create that ripple effect of change that we wish to see in the world–each of us being our most authentic selves and doing that which only we can do.

Allow me to clarify this right now (just in case you were confused). You matter. Right now. At this very moment. Just as you are. You matter. You have something to offer the world that only you can offer in only the way that you can offer it and that makes you pretty freaking special. You needn’t worry about the numbers. Millions of people don’t need to know your name in order for you to matter or for you to effect change.  You don’t have to reach the highest mountain peak to inspire others. You just need to continue to show up.  We often overlook the small gestures that add up over time to the collective.  At any given moment, you could be the hope that someone needs to go forward. At any given moment, you could be the reason someone didn’t give up or someone aspired to do something.  So please don’t worry about the numbers or the crowds. Just be you and never ever forget that you matter and you matter because you are here.


Happiness Really Does Come in a Jar!

Merry New Year!  I hope the year is off to a great start for you.  I hope your holiday season was filled with love, warmth, comfort and all the things that make your heart swell. As for me, I spent my holiday sick. And I mean sick.  I was literally sick for 7 whole days *cue Toni Braxton*. Then I woke up feeling miraculously well and like my old self on New Year’s Day. So I’d say my 2018 is off to a great start.

Upon thinking about things, I’ve found that 2017 wasn’t so bad either.  Sure there were some world wide upheavals and tragedies. No, I didn’t get everything I wanted and there were disappoints. But in the grand scheme of things, 2017 was pretty darn good. How can I say that? Well, a jar told me so.  My jar. My happiness jar to be exact.

I can’t remember now where I saw this, but I saw someone talk about keeping a big jar for yourself. They recommended that you decorate the jar how you like and call it your happiness jar. Each day, you write a note about the things, people, places, or whatever that made you happy in that day. I keep a gratitude journal so I figured this was along the same lines so I figured, why not? and decided to give it a try.  I found the perfect jar and I decorated it just the way I liked.  And then the note taking began.  I didn’t start until May, but I figured that still gave me plenty of time to begin to take notes for the year. And I was right.

Last night I actually went through all the notes and I’m so glad I did.  I had 8 months worth of happiness stored in my beautifully decorated jar and it allowed me to see and take in so much.  My happiness notes allowed me to see that it really doesn’t take a lot for me to be happy. I’m quite happy with the seemingly “simple” or mundane things in life.  There were several things that made me quite happy (repeatedly).  Here are the highlights of my happiness from 2017:

My Fizzle. There were many notes about how happy I was to play with her, watch movies with her, snuggle with her, walk the dog with her, or just chill and be with her.

Food.  Like seriously. I was happy as a clam about food in 2017. Especially chocolate (if you know me this is no shocker). I was surprisingly happy about grocery shopping AND cooking. Now if you know me you know cooking is a shocker. I cooked more in 2017 than I think I ever have and I actually enjoyed it.

Following in my Daddy’s footsteps, mani/pedis seemed to make me quite happy. I talked about those a lot and was really happy about it.

Paying bills. Now this one took me by surprise. But as the year went on, I began to gain an appreciation for simply being able to pay my bills. I was able to shift my perspective from Man this is due! or Damn now I have to pay that! to simply Thank you for the use of this and Thank you that I can now pay for its use.

Working out. I have never really put much thought into whether I enjoyed working out. I just did it because I enjoyed the health benefits. But 2017 helped me to gain an appreciation and love for working out simply for its enjoyment. To quote Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands.

Yoga made me very happy.  I was made especially happy by hip openers. It is said that our hips hold a lot of our emotions. I’m guessing the hip openers helped me to release a lot. Either that or I’m preparing for some stuff. I’ll allow myself to be the only dirty birdy with that thought.

Meditation. I began my meditation practice again last year and it made a profound difference in my life.  I became more peaceful and calm. I also strengthened my relationship with myself and my intuition.

Giving to others. I’ve always been a giver. Reading my happiness notes helped me to realize how much joy it brings me to be able to pour into others.

Walking. I walked a lot in 2017 and I enjoyed every bit of it.  It made me happy to get out in the fresh air and walk.

Cleaning and decluttering my house. In May I had what I can only describe as an out of body moment and I began purging and cleaning my house.  It turned out it wasn’t a passing fancy. I actually enjoyed the process and I have kept it going ever since.

Reconnecting with my family. 2017 brought me closer to my family–particularly my dad’s side of the family.  It felt really good to gather with them and laugh and fellowship and have fun.

Showers. Apparently 2017 provided me with some of the best showers I’ve ever had because they made me quite happy. I talked about the wonderful showers I had taken quite often.

My Ulta reward points. Thanks to all the shopping I do at Ulta, I had tons of reward points which made it possible for me to get so many of the wonderful things I love at Ulta at discounted prices.  That truly made me happy.

Getting out and about.  I was more social in 2017 than I’ve been in a long while. I made new friends whom I love and had a ball with, spent time with old friends and had a blast. I even got out by myself and had fun.

I also recognized that I learned a lot in 2017 and I didn’t learn through pain. While not every moment of 2017 was wonderful, I can’t say that it was a painful year.

I learned the art of detachment. I recognized how to hold my desires without attaching to the outcome.

I learned how to believe in myself and love myself and actually like myself.

I learned how to appreciate and forgive myself and how to stop criticizing myself.

I learned how to see myself as beautiful, and dare I say, even sexy.

I learned that it’s just as important to receive as it is to give. More than that, I learned how to graciously receive–to allow others to pour into me because I am worthy of it. And I must admit that it felt great to let others pour into me.

I learned to trust myself, thereby extending that trust to the Universe.

I learned how to listen to my body and rest when it called for it without feeling guilty.

I learned thatI don’t need to constantly “do” to be productive.

I learned how to truly stand in my own power. I said No and Enough so much in 2017 and it felt amazing!

I learned that no matter how sh*tty a day is, there’s usually at the very least one thing to make me happy or smile in that day.

I learned that no matter how “tight” or “sticky” the situation felt at the time, some kind of way was made me to get me through–whether it was through my own means or through the help of others it always appeared.

I highly recommend you get yourself a happiness jar. I found it so much more helpful than I imagined. It was so nice to spend the day going through each note and being reminded of the wonderful moments, people, places and things that made me happy.  I think one of the most profound things keeping this jar has done is allowing me to realize that life is so much more than the few memories we attach to and allow to tell our story.  Were there disappointments in 2017? Of course. But keeping this jar shifted my mind and heart to a space where I didn’t attach to the disappointments and hurt, allowing them to color the rest of my life.  My happiness jar forced me to start to look for reasons to be happy instead of looking at my lack, or finding reasons to be disappointed. Through keeping this jar I learned that life is so full. We just have to be open to seeing it. With keeping this jar I learned that the point isn’t whether the jar is half empty or half full. The point is more about what’s filling the jar.

The Same Ole’ Song

Happy Friday!  I’m severely under the weather today and I actually haven’t had a voice for much of the week.  As such, I haven’t been able to record any new videos.  However, I did come across a video that I recorded earlier this year that I never got a chance to post and I feel like it’s really fitting since it’s the last few days of the year and we’re going to start assessing 2017 and declaring what we want for 2018.  Look at Gawd! Won’t He do it! The Fizzle actually inspired this. I watched her do the same thing and become frustrated because she felt that she wasn’t. I was all set to get upset with her and then it hit me. How often have I done the very same thing over and over again. I’ve put my song of life on repeat and thought that since I changed a lyric or two that I really did something different. But I hadn’t.  And while I won’t put you on the spot, I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  At first it made me sad. But as I looked at it further, I recognized that it is good news for us. That means the change we seek is closer than we think because it is within us.  Hooray!  Happy changing my friends.

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