That’s how the light gets in

That's how the light gets in | SusannahConway.com

 

<< Insert inspiring quote here >>

Hello loves

I was having trouble finding an inspiring quote to put in the space above. Every quote I considered felt at best hollow and at worst patronising, so I have decided to leave it blank for this letter. I had a headache all weekend, the kind that comes from physical tiredness and mental worry. Big changes in one part of the world affect us all, and like the shock I felt following the Brexit result here in the UK, I am saddened by the result of the presidential election in the USA. People from all over the world have taken my courses, read my blog, receive this here letter and reach out to me every single day. I no longer see borders separating all our countries — we are all human beings doing our best to live a life that has meaning while taking care of the people that matter to us. So when votes are cast to leave Europe, build walls and seemingly give a green light to misogyny, bigotry and racism, I just can’t comprehend it.

I do know how easy it is for me to judge the actions of others while I’m sitting over here in my privileged London bubble. I made a conscious decision a few years ago to boycott the TV and newspapers in order to keep my energy levels up. Soaking in all the fear and negativity like an empathetic sponge doesn’t help me or the people I serve. In my previous incarnation as a journalist I worked at several national newspapers and can now see how poisonous that culture was to my system. However, avoiding traditional media also means I lose touch with what’s actually happening “out there” (not that the media always accurately reflects that, but you know what I mean). I live in a city that voted to stay in the European Union. I don’t live in a part of the country where leaving the EU felt like the better choice. Likewise, I have friends, peers and readers who live in the parts of the USA that voted for Hillary Clinton. I have no idea what it’s like to live in a place — physically, mentally or emotionally — where voting for Trump felt like the better choice.

If Brexit and Trump are a reflection of our world right now, and that doesn’t feel like the future you want for the little people in your life, it’s no longer enough to have “Be the change you want to see in the world” as your email sign-off — we really do have to BE it. Embody it. Live it. To teach the next generation — for they are the ones who will create the lasting change for THEIR children — how to be brave and honest, inclusive and compassionate. And I truly believe it starts with us. In my own life I’ve seen how healing the hurts from my past neutralises the hurts that were passed down from the generations behind me. My life and choices are radically different to my mother’s, whose own life is and was radically different from my grandmother’s. “The world will be saved by the western woman” so says the Dalai Lama. This is another quote that frequently floats across the internet and I think he may be on to something. I am a feminist to my core. I believe in equality for ALL and yes, I would have loved to have seen a woman elected president of the country that has a special place in my heart, but it’s very apparent that more healing needs to happen before that change will manifest. We are still living in the shadow of the past. So much has changed since my maternal grandmother was born in 1899, but it’s still such early days in our evolution as a global community. I’ve read a lot of things in the last few days questioning how and why women in particular voted for Trump over Clinton. The word “sisterhood” has come up time and time again and it hurts my heart to acknowledge that as a collective we woman are still so often our own worst enemies. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote a while back:

“As women we were told we were second class for so long it got absorbed into our collective psyche. And now that bras have been burnt and we edge towards a society filled with equals? We’re hit again in our tenderest of places — we’re judged on how we look by the harshest critics of all: ourselves. Has there ever been a more effective way of keeping people down? We’re so busy worrying about how we look there’s no time for anything else. We could probably take over the world if we weren’t stressing about fitting into our skinny jeans.”

That last line has been swirling around my head today. How can we bring about global change when we hate our own bodies — when we hate our own selves? What would happen if we healed that wound once and for all?

Here’s what I believe: right now we are tilling the soil for the next generation of change. My mother’s generation paved the way in the 60s so that we could be here doing what we need to do to ensure our children inherit a world where equality, empathy, peace and kindness are their everyday reality. A world where people talk to each other respectfully. A world where every human being takes responsibility for their emotions and learns how to navigate the world without causing harm. Where people feel seen and heard — and look and listen in return.

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m helping to raise two kind-hearted and considerate boys in this world, one of whom is already marked out as “different” simply because he prefers “girl’s” toys to “boy’s”.

I’m committed to healing the hurts from my past so I don’t pass their legacy on to anyone else.

I’m redoubling my efforts to shine my light into the world in person and online to help others reconnect to their own light.

I pledge to continue creating tools that support others in their journey to wholeness and healing so that they can effectively till their patch of soil.

Politics is not something I would usually speak about in this letter, but it felt important to address it today. Wherever you in the world, I wish you peace and kindness, today and always xo

__________

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” RIP Mr Cohen.

This is an excerpt from the Love Letter I sent out today — thought it should be shared here, too.

Remembering we are ALL the same

Remembering we are ALL the same | SusannahConway.com

 

I wanted to repost a Love Letter here to give anyone who’s curious a taste of the sort of content I share in my fortnightly emails. They’ve taken over from blogging for me and it’s feeling really good to share in this more intimate way. This week’s email seemed to strike a chord with many so I’m sharing it here in its entirety. You can sign up for the Love Letters over on this page xo

_______

“When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.”

— WAYNE DYER

 

Hello loves!

If you subscribe to a few newsletters like mine you’ve probably been getting emails lately about how to navigate this world when it feels so upside down. There is bad stuff happening everywhere and with so many different forms of media available we are learning about it faster and more viscerally than ever before. It’s impossible not to see it, not to feel the grief and fear and anger that is warranted when faced with the brutal reality of what humans are capable of doing to other humans. I’m not qualified or even remotely intelligent enough to be able to tell you how we can make any of this better in the macro world but I wanted to share something that happened on Monday that put everything back into perspective for me.

I’d spent the weekend with family at my mum’s house on the coast. It’s the place I grew up and was the first time my tiny nephew, Sam, had visited our childhood home (and dipped his feet in the sea!) so it was a special few days. After saying big mushy goodbyes I got on the train and prepared myself for a noisy two-hour journey back to London. As usual, the train was packed, but I managed to get a seat by a grey-haired lady who was wearing a very proper pink suit. After half an hour of minding our own business we got chatting over our shared dislike of the crappy coffee they were selling on the train and from there a beautiful conversation blossomed. Margaret had been staying with her daughter in Dorset after arranging and attending her sister’s funeral the Friday before. Iris had died suddenly and out of the blue and as Margaret told me the story I had tears streaming down my face. They’d been best friends and spent every day together, going to bingo and arranging little trips away. Iris had never had children but she’d loved Margaret’s daughter like her own, and as I listened I couldn’t help drawing parallels between her life and my own. Margaret told me stories of their childhood (they were two out of six children!) and how she’d “borrow” Iris’s silk scarves and curlers only to get into trouble with her big sis :-) She told me Iris had been crazy about butterflies, so much that she always gave her something butterfly-themed for her birthday — this year it has been butterfly earrings. While walking in the woods the day after the funeral Margaret and her daughter saw the most beautiful butterfly flying past. They’d both looked at each other and burst into tears.

“That was definitely your sister,” I told her and shared all the strange things that had happened in the months after I’d lost my love. “They find ways to let us know they’re still around us.”

“But it’s not the same as them being here,” Margaret replied.

“No, it’s not,” I agreed and we were quiet for a moment.

“I wonder what will come out of this?” Margaret said and when she looked at me she looked just like my grandmother. “Maybe I’ll meet the man of my dreams!” That made us both laugh.

“Maybe you will!”

After an hour of talking and sharing and crying (me mostly) we arrived at Margaret’s station. I took her bags down from the rack and we had the biggest hug ever. Margaret asked my name and wished me all the best and I told her I would be thinking about that butterfly for the rest of the day. She waved to me from the platform as the train pulled away and as I settled back into my seat I immediately texted my sister.

In the cab on the way home I thought about how easy it is to fear others and how quickly that “otherness” disappears when we bravely take a moment to connect. I’m always very aware of how other people might perceive me because I have very visible tattoos on my arms. I’m probably the least threatening person you’ll ever meet, but my beloved ink is considered unpalatable by some and I fully expected Margaret (who’s in her 80s) to be wary of me. But she wasn’t. In fact, I think we were supposed to have a conversation that day. It’s not the first time I’ve been able to talk to someone about loss and grief as it was happening for them. ALL of us feel pain. ALL of us feel loss. We all want to be understood and appreciated and loved for who we are. Being human is actually really bloody hard and I truly believe we are all doing the best we can. When you consider where we are on the evolutionary scale, collectively we’re still toddlers. We’re still putting our fingers in sockets and burning our hands on the stove. We still lash out when we’re scared. We still hurt others when we’re hurt. Maybe it will take thousands of years for us to evolve past this stage, but I do believe it starts now. If we can stop and see that the “other” is simply us reflected back, maybe things will begin to change.

 

Desktop contemplation

Desktop wallpaper for July 2016 | SusannahConway.com

 

Click on the image above to download the wallpaper

(There are lots of other wallpapers + ebooks and meditation audios in the Inspiration Library which you’ll be able to access when you sign up for the Letters)

 

The August Break, 2016 | SusannahConway.com

 

It’s that time of year again! Back in August 2010 I realised I needed a break from blogging so decided to only post photos on my blog that month. I don’t remember if I kept this up, but I invited my readers to join in and just like that, the yearly August Break was born.

This is a community project that has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there. If it’s the summer where you are it’s a lovely way to be present to the moments that will be gone before you know it. If it’s the winter, what better way to liven up your day than with a creative project to play with? :-)

You can use any camera. You could shoot every day or every other day or just on weekends. You can share your photos or just enjoy taking them without sharing. You can start and not finish. You can join in at the end. Anything goes!

As always I’ve put together a list of photo prompts (can’t wait to see what everyone does with day 15!) and we have a Facebook group, Flickr group, blog roll and an Instagram hashtag so there are plenty of ways to gather as a community and discover the world through other people’s eyes.

We start on Monday!

Monthly reading for July 2016 | SusannahConway.com

 

This month’s cards are from the Mary-el Tarot

The first card I’ve drawn, The Magician, tells us we have everything we need inside us — all the potential, all the magic, all the inspiration needed to make change happen in our lives and in the world. If everyone remembered how powerful they were we could change this world overnight. This month I feel we’re being asked to remember this light inside us and to work towards integrating the light AND the dark we hold within. It would be so easy to let fear overtake our thoughts but that won’t solve anything. The second card, the three of Disks, reminds us that when we work together we can birth new life. It says to me: we are all in this together.

Questions to ponder:

What fears am I holding in my heart?
How can I begin to release these fears?
How does the light flow through me?

When you next leave the house look for opportunities to connect with someone you don’t know — chatting in a shop, in the line at lunchtime, on the bus, saying hello to a new colleague. When you get home journal about how it made you feel. Where you able to see any of your own experience of life reflected back in this person? Could you see how two humans can be the same even if they seem to be different? That the differences are really just an illusion?

I’m still thinking about Margaret’s butterfly <3

Sending you all my love,

Susannah xo

 

 

 

 

The Inside Story | SusannahConway.com

 

The Love Letters also include info about any courses that are currently enrolling plus discount codes. This week it was a £30 discount for The Inside Story — it’ll be sent out in the next Love Letter, too, I promise :-)

 

Dear Shadows

Dear Shadows | SusannahConway.com

 

Dear Shadows

For a long time I thought you were bad, something to be gotten rid of. I thought I had to push you away and disown you. That if I admitted you were within me, even for a second, I would somehow fail the Good Person test. Yet you were like a little dog nipping at my heels, and when everything fell apart so spectacularly there was nowhere I could hide from you. Everything WAS you. My life became shadow and we danced until our feet bled.

That’s when I understood.

Without the dark there can be no light. We need the contrast, the yin and the yang. We grow in the darkness of the womb and are reborn each and every night. I learned there were riches to be found in my shadows, once my eyes got used to the dark. Our shadows show us where we were hurt in the past and what needs healing. They remind us that we’re only human (and what a hilariously messed up blessing that is). Pushing our shadows away doesn’t make them disappear — they only way to “get rid of” our shadows is to accept and embrace them. The shadowy parts of my Self do not define me — my regrets and disappointments and spiky thoughts are not all there is of me — but they ARE a part of me. When we can embrace our shadows like we embrace our light we truly become whole.

So, my smoky-fingered friends, I promise I will not push you away. I will continue to dance with you because you always have so much to teach me. Thank you for showing me how to be truly vulnerable.

With love and gratitude

Susannah xo

 

April Love 2016 | SusannahConway.com

 

For the April Love 2016 prompt: Dear Shadows

You can still sign up to get the prompt emails over here

The liminal space

The liminal space | SusannahConway.com
I’m back in the liminal space. I’m waiting, wanting, preparing, exhausting: my self, my ideas, my patience, my nerve. I’m creating a new website and don’t want to write here any more. I’m creating new things for my tribe and finding it hard to narrow it down to the First Thing to make, already thinking about the third and the tenth. I’m drinking my coffee from a new mug and writing on a new keyboard. I’m so ready for the new, so ready for more. I want to be kissed, touched, seen, heard. I’m ready to slip out of this old self and step into the next incarnation, the next chapter. Yesterday is too small for me now; I want to run towards tomorrow. I want tomorrow to be today.

I’m ready.