Sacred Selfishness: Where Have I Been?

Christian Schloe - Austrian Surrealist Digital painter - Tutt'Art@ (63)
Art by Christian Schloe via Google Image

Some of you may wonder where I’ve been.

I haven’t written here (or anywhere else for that matter) since November of 2018.

I’ve been walking through the dark night of the soul. I’ve been tending to my mother after her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. I’ve been saving my life. I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in January.

For the past nine months, I’ve been focused on eating the right foods, staying hydrated, napping, taking my meds, sitting out in my backyard watching tanagers and hummingbirds and unraveling the mess I’d made of my health.

I’ve lost 48 pounds since December.

My brain fog has lifted; I am eating to live, rather than living to eat.

When I was diagnosed, my fasting blood sugar was 328. (Normal is 89.) My A1C level was 11.5.

You are diabetic if it is over 7.0.

Now, my sugars hover just above normal, between 98 and 110. I’ve lost the voracious appetite that diabetes brought on. Now, I eat three small meals of mostly protein, veggies, and low glycemic fruit, watch my carbs, avoid all sugar, alcohol, and white foods (rice, pizza, pasta, potatoes) and get outside in the sunlight every day to boost my vitamin D levels.

I have found my way back from the darkness that threatened to kill me at the end of last year.

At the time, my mom was hospitalized; I nearly lost my youngest cat to a UTI, and I was spinning into a real health nightmare myself.

Nothing made sense. I felt horrible and exhausted all the time. No matter what I ate, nothing satiated my appetite. I was constantly thirsty and blindly tired.

Of course, now I know that these things are all signs that something is seriously out of whack.

At the time, I simply wondered what in the fucking hell was wrong with me.


My doctor talked to me about the possibility of diabetes in October of 2018, but I wasn’t ready to listen. I didn’t want it to be true. My father had Type II diabetes. I didn’t want to end up with my health in total shambles the way he did.

So, I pretended I was OK for a few more months.

I continued to run my body into the ground and worked incessantly and pretended I needed no downtime, no care, no intervention.

In January when my fasting blood sugar was tested again, the doctor called me, concern staining her voice.

“I want you to come in on Monday for another blood test,” she said. “I seriously think you are diabetic and we need to start treating you.”

Her words somehow woke me up.

So, then and there, I decided to see my diagnosis as a gift.

It was a gift, an awakening, another chance to stop mistreating my body and to practice something my friend, Darla, calls, “sacred selfishness” (

Sacred selfishness is tender, light-infused, guilt-free self-care.

I became my own beloved.

I began to see that if I didn’t put on my own oxygen mask first, I would be useless to my mother and to anyone else I needed to serve – be it my students, my friends, my colleagues, or my Buddhist sangha.

Once I shifted my focus, the changes became easy.

I wasn’t hungry, so eating less was easy.

I no longer craved things that made me feel shitty, so I didn’t eat them anymore. I was no longer lying comatose on my bed after every meal. I didn’t need ten cups of coffee to wake up. I could finish more than one thing on my ‘to do’ list each day.

And the weight that I’ve carried for the past 30 years started to fall away.



Three entire seasons have passed since diabetes became my reality and I made my decision to quit being an asshole to my body.

I grocery shop carefully – choosing only clean, organic foods — and prepare my meals with love and tenderness.

I eat things I love and avoid things that trip me up.

“You, more than anyone else, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha

There’s more light in my face.

I am able to be wakeful all day, most days.  For me, this was unheard of for the past 10 years.

I started therapy and I took some long overdue downtime.

The result of all this care and compassion?

I feel completely alive for the first time in years.


A Note to My Readers

Perhaps many of my readers have fallen away during my long hiatus. Perhaps some of the hardy souls who were reading these missives are still here, listening, waiting patiently for this patient to return.

Whatever happens next, I hope you will come along for the journey.

I will be making some changes, adding some writing courses, revamping this site, adding merchandise and coaching, and just generally starting to kick some artistic ass as I move forward in much better physical and mental health. It is tough being highly sensitive to this world – whether it be through food, news (turn that shit off!), noise, interactions, or just general malaise and overwhelm.

As an empath, I am learning I must be caring toward myself.

Please reach out to me if you are interested in working directly with me. Perhaps you are interested in taking some self-paced basic writing courses (via Wet Ink) or you would like to be on my email list. Send your details to I would love you to join me as I embark on some destination writing workshops in Santa Fe, NM, some year-round writing workshops online, some book projects, and some publishing projects over the coming months and years.


Do you relate to my experience, dearheart? Leave me a comment below or click the link to get connected to my website and email list so we can exchange stories. You can also find me via the links below to my Facebook writer’s page.


Everyone has a book inside of them. Everyone has a story. Wouldn’t you love to share yours with the world? Get your free writer’s toolkit packed with tricks and tips to get you started.

Just do it.

Don’t wait.

Don’t die with an untold story inside you.

© 2019  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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6 thoughts on “Sacred Selfishness: Where Have I Been?

  1. Similar circumstances… Doctors warnings…blood sugars … chronic pain… the list goes on…I had almost given up caring… and then last year I was given a contract at a school…a Librarian…and for the first time I would have a job I loved, a livable wage and all the extended health benefits as well as a pension…and the glorious free time to make art again… wake up call… started Keto…working out…and now down 35 pounds…good blood…no pain…better sleep and no brain fog…. I turned 56 this summer…I feel better now than I did 46… Something to be said about food being medicine…or poison…

    1. Hi, Adrienne! So happy to hear that you’ve had a similar experience this year in terms of healing! I am 59 – and I’ve been in a pretty bad state for a while – so being able to actually recover to the point that I feel good is a miracle. I am thrilled the same has happened for you. Keep going. I am so encouraged. ~ Shavawn

  2. Well done for taking charge, and more importantly for taking care of yourself! I like to remind myself that I cannot help other people if I am ill, and so my health and well-being must come first so that I can do what makes me happy and fulfilled. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Hey, I completely agree. We cannot serve from an empty cup, so to speak. This has been a hard lesson to learn but I am finally learning it. I just bought a tee-shirt that says, “Do what makes you happy.” I love that phrase. Right on!

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