Live Long & Prosper


The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.Nadia Boulanger

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Yesterday I waited all day for a call from my doctor.

I had some uterine tissue biopsied earlier this week, and she promised me the results by Friday.

I told myself not to worry, but I felt a tide of hysteria building up, as the days passed in somewhat glacial fashion. I kept up my Buddhist practice  and tried my best to stay positive. Still, the inevitable ‘what ifs’ cycled through my brain. What if something’s wrong? What if I need surgery? What if the mystery deepens?

The whiners flew the freak flag inside my head all day on Friday, and were out in full force by 3 PM. Nattering nabobs of negativity. You know the kind.

She didn’t call until 5:01 PM.

“Good news,” she said, sounding totally cheerful. “Everything’s normal.”  I’d promised her I wouldn’t worry, but I discovered I am a total liar on that front.

The biopsy showed nothing but normal tissue (as opposed to cancer). I gave her the number of my local pharmacy so she could call in a prescription, and hung up, feeling relieved.


Clearly, the most beautiful word in the English language.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Moments later, the phone rang again. I picked it up.

My friend, Barbara said, “Well?”


“Thank god! Jeez, what a year we’ve had.”

We exhaled in relief and proceeded to tell each other menopause jokes for several minutes, exchanging horror stories about hot flashes and night sweats.

It felt so good to just laugh. 

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.Nelson Mandela

Polishing My Inner Life

Barb and I have been tag teaming each other on many tough internal issues for the past six months.

We’ve been unpacking our losses, dealing with largely unconscious bouts of self-sabotage.

Turns out, we’ve often worked at cross-purposes with ourselves. Despite two decades of inner work, we felt stuck. Unraveling all the ways in which we were taught incredibly negative things about life, money, and love, proved to be a huge challenge. 

We found we needed to forgive ourselves first,  and then forgive others.

All while taking a crash course in radical letting go.

It’s been tough, rigorous work. You know what they say, though?

Spiritual work’s not for sissies.


Ripping Out Self-Doubt

To me, a lot of the work I’ve done has been about deciding to live the remainder of my life. To live it fully, without rancor or recrimination or doubt. To embrace my life and choose to see it through a lens of grateful joy.

See, I’m done telling myself sad stories. I’m finished singing ‘poor, poor pitiful me’ and lamenting the way I’ve allowed myself or others to piss in my punch bowl.


Yesterday I realized my body’s been writing me a letter — holding on to a nest of tissue and blood at the center of itself — uncertain whether I had the guts to let it rip and actually go after my dream.  

How could I release the last vestiges of what might have allowed me to experience motherhood, if I couldn’t allow myself a place at the banquet table of life? Not just for scraps I could easily sweep up off the floor, dropped by others who are living large.


I must give myself the raw, pulsing core of my creative life as a woman. Anything less, will not do.

Living Out Loud

It’s no secret that I will never give birth; not this lifetime, anyway.

However, I have and I will birth books, ideas, treatments and screenplays. I will design cards and illustrate children’s storybooks. I will dandle those creative projects in my hands, giving voice to the part of me that wants to howl at the moon in heartbreak and surprise.

So, when I recently found myself facing the possibility of illness again, I blanched. Not again. Not a chance.

Something inside of me shouted:

I will not go to my grave with any part of what I came here to do, undone.

And the universe answered back, her breath rattling in her chest:

“You’d best get crackin’, hadn’t you?”

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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