Category: Life online

Polaroids | SusannahConway.com
First, the year in stats:

Number of teeth removed: 1
Number of teeth straightened: all of them
Number of first dates: 1
Number of second dates: 0
Number of photographs shot: 20,000+
Number of books created: 1
Number of new courses created: 2
Number of hours getting inked: 11
Number of trips abroad: 0
Number of years on the planet: 41
Number of personal realisations: too many to count

2014 was a year in two halves. The first half was all about recovering from my dating escapades in the previous year. I didn’t consciously choose to not date this year but it’s turned out to be what I needed the most: time to get back to centre and ground into what makes me me. And I was doing really well — the Sacred Alone was born out of the delicious mindfulness of the first part of the year and I felt more connected to Source than I have done in a loooong time.

But then the book creation process took over.

The Breakfast Club | SusannahConway.com

Shooting Londontown was creatively challenging in the best possible way, and physically exhausting in the worst way. In order to stay focussed on the project and get everything done I let myself consciously numb out for a while — six months, in fact. Rather than deal with the big emotional stuff of life I did the work I needed to do — photographing the city, running my beloved courses, staying on top of admin and blogging when I could — then let myself watch a LOT of Netflix while resting my bones in the evenings.

Exploring the city with my cameras was an adventure in itself and while I felt stressed about the project more often than I’d have liked, there were many moments of pure joy as I rediscovered this beautiful (and maddening) city. It felt really good to sink into my photography for a while, though I learned it’s not possible to develop two big projects at the same time. My plans for the oracle deck had to be put on hold as there just wasn’t enough space in my head (or hours in the day).

I speak the new stories | SusannahConway.com

I hit my deadline early December and now, as predicted, I’ve been sick for three weeks. It makes me realise how effectively my stress levels suppress any potential illness! I’m used to this pattern of manic creation and then full-body shut down, so I don’t imagine it’ll be changing any time soon.

All in all it’s been one of the fastest years of my life. New friendships were made and others were deepened. My relationship with my nephew got sweeter with every day that passed. My love and appreciation of my family is never-ending and absolute. I adore living in London and don’t have any plans to leave just yet. My teeth are now straight after a year persevering with Invisalign, and my body is miraculously still in shape, thanks to working with Carrie at the gym.

Christmas fair | SusannahConway.com
I faced a few demons this year, and though I numbed out for much of it, as noted above, I’m heading into 2015 with a renewed sense of what I need and what I want. I’m also bursting with creative ideas I can finally start tackling — hallelujah! — but first I must prepare myself for an operation in January. I’m having my fibroids removed and need to get my head around that — both the op itself and the recovery afterwards — but once that’s done it’s GAME ON.

Fave books of the year: The Radiance Sutras | The Book of Love and Creation | The Dance of the Dissident Daughter | Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Fave music of the year: Bombay Bicycle Club | Asgeir | Bat for Lashes | City and Colour

Fave moment of the year: the day I looked after Noah, just me and him, and he told me he loved me (unprompted) about 150 times

Second fave moment of the year: Noah figuring out how to call me on his mum’s mobile phone

Fave photo of the year:

In the field | SusannahConway.com

Fave posts of the year:  The (delicious) truth about getting older | How to access our inner wisdom | On aching and love | 25 things you don’t know about me (maybe) | Delaying the big reveal | The end of woo woo | Sometimes you need a creativity reboot | The humans of Londontown | Inhabiting the soft animal of my body | Things I want to remember no. 12 | On wholeness & loving ourselves realistically | My beauty essentials

Thank you for coming here and visiting me in this space. Next year I’ll be celebrating NINE years of blogging and it is still such a joy to be here I honestly can’t imagine ever stopping. Thank you for your kindness and your comments, both here and wherever else we connect on social media. The web has woven us all closer together and I’m so grateful for that, aren’t you? xo

Other years in review: 2013 :: 2012 :: 2011 :: 2010 :: 2009

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Ps. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas/December break and are feeling ready for 2015. Choosing my word for next year has been made extra special thanks to all the lovely connecting and sharing happening in the Find Your Word Facebook group — I think we may have supercharged all our words in the process! I’ll share mine here on Thursday next week!

from 2006
[my artsy period circa 2007]

I’ve been blogging for eight years as of yesterday. Eight YEARS! It was a couple of months after my 33rd birthday, one month after the first anniversary of his death. It felt like such a daring thing to do (still does sometimes) but I knew I wanted to join in with the few friends I’d made online. I wanted to write stuff on the internet, too! I didn’t know if I’d have anything to say. I didn’t know if I’d keep at it. I only had a film camera so didn’t know how I’d share photographs. I worried that people would find out who I was so I never revealed my surname. I didn’t tell my mum I had a blog for the first three years. If I’d been able to articulate what I was searching for back then it I probably would have said I wanted to be seen. Not in a showy me-me-me way — rather, I was very carefully shedding the layers of invisibility my grief had wrapped me in. Starting a blog, even if no one read it, was my way of stepping out of my cocoon. It was my first public declaration of healing.

And it completely changed my life.

I don’t know how or why the universe guided me to find that first blog in 2006. Or why I left that first comment. Or how it was I found the courage to write that first post of my own. But it did, and I did, and now I am here. And it hasn’t exactly been a straight line from there to here, but this blog, in all its various incarnations, has been my constant companion. So while it may only be some words and pictures floating around on the internet, this space has come to mean everything to me. A virtual through-line that’s brought community. Friendships. Purpose. Direction. I’ve found all of this and so much more.

CRAZY.

Thank you for being here. I’ve no doubt that I’d still be writing even if not a single soul passed by, but I gotta be honest — it’s more fun when we hang out together :)

The space that started it all (though, sadly, not the first post — this is probably the 10th):

My first blog home | SusannahConway.com

sea
First, the year in stats:

Number of teeth removed: 1
Number of moles removed: 1
Number of stitches: 3
Number of muscles built: a lot
Number of years on the planet: 40
Number of first dates: 6
Number of second dates: 1
Number of third dates: 0
Number of new tattoos: 2
Number of trips abroad: 1
Number of new courses launched: 1
Number of book contracts signed: 1
Number of years deleted from my blog: 3 (2006 – 2008)

I feel ready to say goodbye to 2013. After all the outward movement of last year, 2013 has been positively hermit-like in comparison. I started January wading through the depression my return to London had triggered, and for the rest of the year my goal has been to heal myself, physically, mentally and emotionally. Knowing I couldn’t do this on my own I reached out for help and found Wendy, my therapist, and Carrie, my personal trainer. I’ve been diligently working with these two wonderful women (who are both Americans living in the UK, interestingly) each week and the progress I’ve made in both my physical fitness — planks and push ups weren’t even on my radar last year — and emotional health has been enormous.

spin
Of course, committing to an inward journey like this has meant I’ve been less present online this year. I’ve been plugging away at this biz of mine since I created my first ecourse back in January 2009 — after four years of steady growth, and a LOT of time at the computer, it was time to pull back and devote energy to my offline life. This hasn’t been the most comfortable transition, but it was definitely necessary. As I gave myself space to figure stuff out, I also started online dating again, and though I haven’t had that many dates the few I have had let me see the gap between my online and offline life needed to be tackled. My solution was to blank slate the first three years of this blog, a decision that’s helped me let go of the grief story I’ve felt defined by for so long and stand firmly were I am now.

As I greet the new year as a single woman, it’s clear the dating hasn’t been the greatest success, and while there’s a part of me that wants to quit, the desire for love and companionship still burns strong. I’ve made big strides in the direction of my dreams, and opened my heart in ways I hadn’t expected, so while this year didn’t bring me what I wished for, it’s certainly moved me closer — I have to believe that.

In summary, it’s been a quietly challenging year and I’m leaving it physically stronger, mentally clearer and emotionally humbler. I feel raw and opened, but rather than close down, I’m staying this way so I’m ready for whatever 2014 has in store for me.

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Fave books of the year: Shockingly, I haven’t read any fiction this year, but I’ve had non-fiction coming out my ears. Some of the most useful include The Highly Sensitive Person, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, True Refuge, Writing Down Your Soul

Fave music of the year: Gabrielle Aplin | London Grammar | Haim

Fave moment of the year: with Noah in the John Lewis loos

Fave week of the year: The week away with my family in May was wonderful, and my birthday trip to NYC in February was just what I needed, but it was our Redfox retreat in October that truly blew me away

Redfox retreat
Physical accomplishment of the year: maintaining a respectable level of physical fitness all year by going to the gym and working out with Carrie — her arrival in my life has been such a blessing.

Bonus physical accomplishment: giving up gluten has transformed my body, in a really good way. Decades of digestion issues have finally been resolved.

Fave posts of the year: Journaling & me: a love story | 40 lessons from 40 years | Eight years | This boy | Three | Notes on being a hermit | The exercise-hater’s guide to loving the gym | How I shoot with my iPhone | This is why therapy rocks

I’ll be finishing my workbook tomorrow with candles, incense and a heart full of intention. Thank you for sharing this space with me this year. I know I haven’t been here as much — in all honesty it’s been weird not to be able to blog about every aha as I had it! — but I’ve got plans for some ace new stuff in 2014, and I think you’re going to like it. xo

Other years in review: 2012 :: 2011 :: 2010 :: 2009

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Wishing you all a peaceful end to 2013 — I’ll be back here on Wednesday with my word of the year (have you picked yours yet? The workbook helped me nail mine down, so give that a try if you’re still undecided. Then tell me what it is on Wednesday :)

useful
There’s an elephant in the room that I have to address. I touched on it in last week’s post — that was my attempt to let a little steam out of the pressure cooker, but it’s still building and now I have to say something.

I have blogger’s block. More specifically, there’s stuff I can’t talk about on the blog and it’s blocking the way for any other posts to emerge.

As some of you have guessed already, it’s the dating. Not that there’s anything major to report in that area right now, but I’m so acutely aware that current and future dates will be able to read my blog (some have been clever enough to try Googling “Susannah” and oh, there I am, plastered all over the bloody internet for all to see). Being famous in my own virtual living room is proving to be as much of a hindrance as I feared it might be. I mean, there’s SEVEN FREAKING YEARS of archives to explore — it’s like handing someone my diary. And yet it’s not. This blog is the public face of the last seven years. It’s what i felt comfortable sharing with the world, and there is plenty I have not shared. But when you dive into the archives for the first time… it’s overwhelming. God, it overwhelms ME sometimes.

I mention this because I don’t want to leave you guys hanging, and even though blogs are more like online magazines these days, this space remains personal for me. I have no intention to fill the pages with guest posts and impersonal Tips for Fixing Your Life. I started blogging to chronicle my healing journey, and here we are, nearly eight years later, and things have changed. A lot. The healing journey has morphed into a life lived with intention and curiosity. I share my stories and experiences because that is what I know. And I do it in the hope that it might be useful to someone else, and frankly, because it’s helpful for me, too. There have been many moments over the years when I’ve wondered why I think anyone would give a toss about me and my journey. But then I only have to look at the majority of the books on my shelves to see that sharing stories and experiences is the language I understand best. Leading by example. Reporting back from the trenches. Yes and yes, I love all of that. The books that have had the greatest impact on my life are all personal tales from women sharing what they know. Writers like Julia Cameron and Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Dawna Markova and Ann Lamott. May Sarton. Joan Didion. Erica Jong and Natalie Goldberg. Diana Athill and Cheryl Strayed. Anais Nin and Sharon Olds. I’m not saying that my writing comes even close to the magic of this tribe of extraordinary women, but these are the writers who’ve inspired and supported me over the years.

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I wrote the first part of this post yesterday. This morning I woke with a possible solution — perhaps it’s time to blank slate this space. To let go of the literal archives that weigh me down. I no longer need the ballast of my story to justify my presence here. As I wrote the book in 2011 I knew I was putting the past to rest; now it’s time for the blog to catch up. So as of right now I’ve started archiving the archives. 2006 has gone, 2007 is next. Then 2008. Maybe some of 2009. I won’t get rid of everything as there are still plenty of useful posts here, but I’m ready to let go of the heaviness of the story. It’s not me anymore and honestly, it hasn’t been for a long time. I honour the past — and yes, i still have my moments — but I am more interested in the future. And the awkward humbling reality of the present.

Onwards.

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