The year in review

It’s been a really big year for me. Sitting here in the last days of it I’m wondering if perhaps it’s been a little too big as I’m tired and not filled with as much excitement for the new year as I usually am. It’s been a year of accomplishments, each spurring me on to the next, the momentum keeping me going until I landed back in London, the place I left nearly eight years ago. I’ve been living here for two months now and while I started on a high the last few weeks I’ve been honouring my need to retreat — there’s been a lot of inner and outer unravelling going on, much of it taking me back to my most tender places. This year was so mapped out it feels odd to be facing a new year with no concrete plans in place; rather than let 2013 be a fallow year, I’m plotting my next escapades, while also being aware of how down time and space is essential to my sanity. There are places I want to visit, a new course to unveil, a retreat to teach and two new books to plan for…. but first, a look at what went down in 2012:

… in February Jen, Amanda and I led a week-long Polaroid retreat in Marrakesh

…. the same month I launched a brand new course

… in April my favourite person in the whole world turned two! [photo above by his mummy]

… in the spring I dipped my toe in the dating pool

… and I started taking driving lessons, again

… in May our book, Instant Love, was published (it’s already gone to a second printing)

… and in June my own book, This I Know, hit the shelves

… in July I did a freakin’ 4-week book tour across North America with just a carry-on!

… I also cried in front of a Picasso

… I began writing monthly magazine columns for The Simple Things and Somerset Life

… in August I watched my beautiful little sister get married

… in October I explored painting with Flora on a hillside in Italy and taught Photo Meditations in North Carolina

… and if all that wasn’t enough, a week after getting back from the States I moved back to London


Fave books of the year: Dying to be Me | This I Know (obviously) | all of these

Fave music of the year: Bat for Lashes | School of Seven Bells | Ben Howard | Of Monsters and Men

Fave moment of the year: Getting chatted up by a devilishly handsome man at the top of the Rockefeller Center

Disappointment of the year: Stress = I started smoking again

Physical accomplishment of the year: I started exercising and lost 15 pounds

Fave sound of the year: everything that Noah says: ‘Let’s make some cooking, Susie’ | ‘Skipbits’ instead of biscuits | ‘cuggle’ means cuddle | ‘I luz you, Susie’ | ‘Father Crispie’ for Father Christmas

Fave posts of the year: How to make dreams come true | My ABC of important things | The rug seller’s portrait | Sometimes | Always wear your invisible crown | Ode to a life a do not yet have | How to write a book | This I (don’t) know | Following my heart | We all have to start somewhere | The universe doesn’t mess around | The permission slip | The fire of change | On clarity, crapness and tiny flames

Fave blog readers of the year: all of YOU. Seriously, none of this would be possible without your support, understanding and kindness. I’ve received some of the most humbling emails from blog and book readers alike this year, and every time it renews my commitment to keep doing what I’m doing — putting my story out there so others feel less alone. So thank you so much for visiting me here in my online home — you rock my world xxx

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


If you’re in need of a tool to help you look back over this year and plan for the next, you can download my Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook over here

The permission slip*

You are allowed to unfollow the people who make you feel bad,
the ones who curate their lives like interior design magazines,
whose day never seems to be filled with the
dirty dishes of your reality.

You are allowed to unfollow the old school friend
who’s busy repopulating the world
while you wonder if you’ll ever find love again and
listen to the sound of your ovaries going mouldy.

You are allowed to ignore the quick-fix merchants who
offer ten reasons why your life doesn’t work
and then tell you how to fix it
if you buy their program today! Click here!

You are allowed to unsubscribe from the emails that
clutter your inbox. To ignore the teleseminars
and free trainings and video secrets and offerings
that never seem to teach you anything new.

You are allowed to boycott the blogs that trigger
the shit out of you. You know the ones.

Instead, you are allowed to sink back into your
own wise counsel. To make the space for your own
desires and dreams to dance and delight,
no longer distracted by the comparisons and competitions.

You are allowed to be still.
To be quiet.
To just be.

* wrote this for me… thought you might appreciate it too.

We all have to start somewhere

I sometimes forget how vulnerable blogging can make us feel; I’ve been doing it for so long it’s become a muscle I guess I take for granted. As I watch my current Blogging from the Heart group take flight with their own blogs and sharings, I’m reminded that it can be scary to put our thoughts and feelings into words for others to read. That we get choked up with perfectionism and wonder who we think we are to do something so daring. We want others to like our words and for connections to grow. We’re hungry to be seen just as we’re shy when people see us.

I still get nervous about certain posts. This post I wrote earlier in the year was raw and straight out of my disappointed heart, and it took a lot of courage to leave it online when all i wanted to do was take it down the next morning. I still remember the posts from the past that were turning points in my healing. And there are plenty of others that no longer exist on this blog, deigned not good enough and deleted out of space and time.

I tell my BFTH peeps that a blog is a constant work-in-progress, a space that’s never finished. How often do we get to create a place that’s just for us, an online home we can change and evolve as we ourselves change and evolve. Last week I showed them screengrabs* of older versions of my blog so they could see how it has developed over the years — and, frankly, to reassure them that we all start somewhere. I’ve loved every incarnation of this space, and if i’m honest I sometimes miss the simplicity of my first Blogger blog. Blogging felt simpler back then — I had absolutely no expectations for it. I wrote my feelings out onto my computer and put them online. It was such a release, such a joy to be able to get it out while I was still reeling from my bereavement. And then people came and said hello – the community feel was like it is today but on a much smaller scale. There were no ecourses, no advertising, no Facebook, no Twitter. Flickr was the new kid on the block and figuring out how to upload a new banner onto my blog remains one of my greatest tech achievements :)

So as I looked at my old blog designs last week I felt such tenderness for the beginning blogger I was. The links in the sidebars reminded me of the blogs I used to visit (some of them I still do; others no longer exist) and the people who have come in and out of my online world. But most of all, I remembered what it felt like to be sitting at my desk with a cigarette in my hand and those first blog posts pouring out of me. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet, as I make my plans to move back to London nearly eight years after I left, it could have been yesterday.

Time doesn’t really have any meaning any more. I think when we write a blog we’re really making a time machine for ourselves.

Ink on my fingers, April 2006 – view full sized here

Ink on my fingers, August 2006 – view full sized here

Ink on my fingers, November 2009 – view full sized here

*hat tip to Kelly Rae for finding this fantastic site

My superpower

My friend Andrea launched her gorgeous new site, Superhero Life, today and to celebrate she put the call out asking us a question:

What’s your superpower?

There are many things I feel i’m pretty good at, but the one trait that seems to be infused through everything I do is… truth-telling.

I had a few moments when I was writing the book when I worried that I was sharing too much. When I wrote about the stuff I wasn’t proud of — failed friendships, family difficulties — or embarassed by — anecdotes about my body were particularly hard to share — I wondered if I was going to regret being so open, laying it all out for public consumption. I have absolutely no idea why I share the way i do — it just feels very natural to do it. As I wrote about recently, i don’t share everything, but truthfulness comes up in my work again and again.

You want to talk about grief? I’ll tell you everything I felt and experienced. PMS? Easy peasy. Why being single for eight years is actually rather hard? Bring it on. That I rarely shave my legs? Done.

One of the most challenging side-effects of our 24/7 access to others on the internet is how easy it is to think that “everyone else” has a perfect life. We can curate our lives in social media, showing the bestest shiny parts and editing out all the less-than-stellar moments. Who hasn’t scrolled through their Facebook feed and thought shit, everyone else’s lives are so awesome and mine is so boring. I only have to glance at my Twitter feed on the wrong day to feel like an absolute failure. <—- truth.

Sometimes I have to unfollow people on Instagram because their photos/lives are so photogenic and fabulous I end up feeling crap about my little single existence. <—- more truth.

But then I also know that others may look at my Instagram feed and think it’s all rainbows and unicorns over here in Conwayland. It’s not. Some days are really great. Some days just plain suck. You know — a normal life :) On the sucky days I tend not to post any images to Instagram, or post anything to social media at all. Maybe that’s letting the side down, somehow, I don’t know. I just try to get the balance right between being truthful and moaning.

So yeah… truth-telling. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to do even more of it here on this blog.

But I won’t be posting photos of my unshaved legs on Instagram. <—- the truth to end all truths.


What’s your superpower?