Six years of bean spilling

On this day, six years ago, I sat at my computer and wrote my very first blog post. I remember doing it so clearly. It was a time in my life when I was still smoking, still drinking too much wine, still grieving. It’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself. It started all of this…

For the last six weeks I’ve been teaching Blogging from the Heart, and as I’ve encouraged my wonderful students to share more and more of themselves on their blogs, I’ve been feeling the urge to do the same. That was how I started on April 12th 2006 with a basic Blogger blog and the desire to share. So much of my healing work has happened in this space, sharing my thoughts and feelings as I figured out how to navigate a world that had changed beyond all recognition. And i remember thinking how much “easier” life would be once I’d “moved through” my grief, not knowing that that was just the beginning. That’s why I bang on about unravelling being a lifelong thing we do — peeling back the layers, growing new ones, enriching our understanding of ourselves and our lives. There is always more to learn and experience. New loves to find, old loves to kiss goodbye. Discoveries to be made alone and in relationship with others. The past to excavate. The future to manifest.

It’s the fourth month of the year and I’m discovering if you put a request out to the universe you will get opportunities to test exactly how brave you really are. Things will happen to prepare you for what’s coming down the line. There’s some strange kind of magic happening that first started back when Noah was born. I can feel it around me and it’s uncomfortable at times, but I also know I asked for this. For growth and change. For forward movement. For more.

I’ve been released from my cocoon and now I’m ready for the next adventure. I’m going out every morning to walk round the park, coming home sweaty to lift weights and do stretches. I’m driving better and more confidently with every lesson — I don’t even recogise myself these days. I feel like a tween, stuck in that in-between stage of the before and after, knowing I am about to fly and impatient for my wings to dry.

I keep telling myself it’s all to play for, and then I look for where I left my invisible crown. Damn thing keeps falling off.

Thank you for accompanying me on this ride for the last six years. This space means more to me than I can put into words.


The year in review

2011 has been a year of two obsessions: my nephew, Noah, and my book. Not a single day went by when I wasn’t thinking about one, if not both, of them. My relationship with both grew throughout the year, and both are now bigger, braver and bolder than they were just 12 months ago. There are a lot of similarities between being an auntie and an author — both roles stretch your heart wide open and help you see you are capable of so much more than you ever realised. Both require you to be skilled in nurturing and patience. Both ask you to play your best game, even when you’re tired or hormonal (or both).

I’m sitting here trying to remember what else went on in 2011…

… I started the year in full-on book writing mode, so shared some guest posts here from friends, including Fabeku, Jo and Megg

… there were lots of firsts for Noah: his first shoes :: his first birthday :: first time on a swing! :: first steps :: first time painting together :: first words :: first cuddle

… Marisa and I launched our Aquarian twins podcast

… Jen, Amanda and I completed our Polaroid book and our Pretty Polaroid Notecards arrived

… I wrote a whole honest-to-goodness book all on my own :) I wrote it, edited it, edited it some more, proof read it, prepared the Polaroids for it, consulted in the design of it, shared the cover of it, felt really effing nervous about it.

… I saw my name on Amazon for the first time!

… in January I’ll be celebrating three years of the Unravelling e-course, something I never thought could be possible

… we all took a second August Break and it was awesome

… I wrote about wisdom for Amy, intuition for Louise, recorded an a-ha moment for Jenn and talked transcendent sales with Fabeku, Chris and Alexandra

… I didn’t make it San Francisco :(

… so instead I launched a brand new course!

… this month I celebrate THREE years as an ex-smoker

… and I shared my Photography Manifesto

Favourite moment of the year: it’s a tie, between Noah giving me a cuddle and the magical spontaneous disco on Christmas Eve, when Noah got his mummy, daddy, auntie, nana and granddad all dancing around him — he’d pulled each of us by hand to the living room then stood in the middle and shook his tiny toddler booty to the music. The laughter and elation swirling around that room was the happiest I have ever seen my family.

Favourite sound: hands down, it’s the way Noah says my name: “Shoo-she”

Favourite taste sensation: all meals shared with family and friends at Jamie’s this year

Favourite email: the one my mum sent me telling me she’d just pre-ordered my book on Amazon and was so proud of me. I kept that one :)

Favourite phone call: calling Jo in tears of laughter

Favourite TV show: True Blood

Favourite tipple: champagne quoffed at Sas’s wedding

Proudest moment: helping my sister at her very first craft fair — and watching her sell loads!

Favourite blog readers: all of YOU! Thank you so much for visiting me here this year, and for all your love and support. It means so much to me — thank you xxxx

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Other years in review: 2010 :: 2009

A question (or two) for you

I blame it on the time of year. The horse chestnut tree outside my window, the one that accompanies me throughout the year like a calender, is practically bare, the russet leaves mulched down on the pavement. I’ve been hoovering and dusting and taking books and clothes to the local charity shops, making space in my home for… I don’t know what yet. I think I just need the space. More room to breathe.

And I’ve been doing the same in my Google Reader — clearing out a few blogs to make space for new discoveries. Finding new inspirations on Flickr. Paring back my Twitter lists to open the way for new words.

And this autumnal cleaning has got me thinking about this blog. I don’t have the time to make any big changes in the design, but that’s not what’s needed. This morning I realised I simply wanted to check in with you guys and make sure you still enjoying coming here :) Because I’m in that in-between space of half writing for you and half writing for me. Private thoughts are kept in my journals, but my blog is where I get to share the stuff that’s in my head with readers — and in my five + years of blogging, this really has been the greatest gift of all. To be able to get a witness. To be able to share thoughts and theories. To be able to feel part of a tribe. Never for a moment do I take this (or you!) for granted — blogging is my happy place, even when I get the occasional rude comment.

I’m not big with the blog content planning — it never works when I do that. My blogging style is more talk-about-what’s-on-my-mind-today. So I wanted to ask you:

1. Why do you come here?

2. Are there any topics you’d like me to muse more on? More about blogging, perhaps. Or writing. Or healing. Or photography?

3. Are you digging my one-and-only blog feature, the Friday link posts? And the occasional interviews?

Looking forward to reading your feedback — thank you, loves! xo

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In other news, Photo Meditations sold out on Saturday (in four hours!) and because I was getting so many emails i have opened a waiting list — so email me if you’d like to join it x

Thoughts on a name

On Monday I changed my Twitter name to @SusannahConway. This might not sound like a big deal but, strangely, it felt like one. But it’s less about this happening on Twitter and more about me stepping into my name. I’ve been easing into this since I started blogging under my own domain last year. That felt huge. When I first started blogging in 2006 I only ever used my first name and was always worried that “someone” would find my blog. I couldn’t tell you who that someone actually was — it certainly wasn’t a real person — but for some reason i wanted to retain a smidge of anonymity in my online dealings.

Obviously that didn’t last long :)

I bought my own domain name back in 2005 — a friend had suggested I make a website to showcase my journalism and it’s thanks to her foresight that I snapped up when I did. I was still swimming in grief back then, but putting together that site was my first step on the internet highway and gave me something to focus on when my days were aimless, tearstained and, more worryingly, unemployed. A few months later I stumbled upon my first blog and the rest, as they say, is history.

So now here I am, more visible on the internets than i ever thought possible.

When I first joined Twitter it was just for fun– i had no idea that i would ever actually a) understand why anyone would bother with the site and b) come to enjoy it myself. @photobird was my user name and an alter ego of sorts. I tweeted as myself, of course, but i quite liked having a nickname i could use in different ways.

When I’d finished writing the book I figured it was time to tweet under my own name, being an author and all… but the name was taken. The account wasn’t being used, and I could tell the ‘other’ Susannah had it — the one who lives elsewhere in the UK and is also a photographer (what are the odds?). It took me a while to build up the ovaries to contact her. But I am so glad I did because she was LOVELY and was happy to let me take over our name (thank you, hon!)

So now I’m out on Twitter. And it feels good.

Do you guys feel comfortable using your name on the internet?

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Tomorrow I’m going to show you something else that bears my name… the cover of my book!