St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Outside activity, inner peace

Published February 28, 2007


Some people might be suspicious when a lawyer says to "open your heart," but Meg Bertini says she has the best of intentions.

"Attorneys aren't known for being warm and fuzzy," said Bertini, an attorney who could never bring herself to practice law. "I've always been a little ashamed of my profession."

Bertini is not the least bashful about her new role as president of DreamTime Publishing, a small imprint she started from her home after leaving the field of legal headhunting and marketing for attorneys. She says she's found her place in the universe and now wants to help others with a series of books that teach readers how to open their hearts through the contemplative practice of hobbies.

"You lose yourself in the activity and you're basically meditating, but you don't know it," said Bertini, 40, whose company is pitching books about opening your heart through art, writing, basketball, pets and geocaching. "Then you take it to other aspects of your life that are not so peaceful."

Bertini said the book series is a cross between Chicken Soup for the Soul and the For Dummies series. The books are to be a practical guide to enlightenment. Knowing one's harmony through an activity can help people cope with life's trials.

"You can't change the world, but you can change yourself," Bertini said. "It's an inside job. If you can keep yourself calm on the inside, then you've won. The rest of the world can spin around outside."

Bertini said many people achieve greater self-awareness but often through difficulties, so these books are to be a painless way to find yourself. Open Your Heart with Basketball, for example, traces the experience of author Christopher Bibey, who left college basketball to fight cancer and later wrote how sports had helped him through the ordeal.

In less than a month since launching, Bertini said she's already sold several hundred books. She said she started marketing on Amazon - "the path of least resistance" - but is about to have her books on conventional bookstore shelves.

Her own enlightenment, achieved through a "challenging relationship," gave her the personal impetus.

"It's living my dream," she said, "but I'm a business person, so I did the research."

Cheap technology and Internet marketing are opening the publishing world to lots of novices, said Fern Reiss, CEO of

"There's been a virtual explosion of people opening small publishing houses from their homes. And I'd say that the content areas that lend themselves to this endeavor tend to be the nonfiction topics, such as 'how-to's'."

Though Bertini is a writer herself, she said her intent is not to publish her own works. Her job is to find others with specific expertise in an activity and its enlightenment potential.

Any activity is ripe for the series, Bertini said. The goal is to encourage people to think about the deeper meaning of life.

"A Buddhist would call it being awake," she said, "but I don't think the label really matters as long as you get there one way or the other."

Paul Swider can be reached at 892-2271 or or by participating in


[Last modified February 27, 2007, 20:55:12]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters