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

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“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.

The End of Woo Woo

The End Of Woo Woo | SusannahConway.com

 

Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you — Rumi

I attended a 3-day workshop with Sally Kempton recently. We were learning about kundalini and the goddess and the joys of spiritual awakening. There was chanting, meditation and a LOT of women in attendance. At one point Sally shared a few book and website recommendations with us, describing one site as “not too woo woo”. And I thought to myself what could possibly be more woo woo than kundalini, chanting and the goddess?! But I knew what she meant because I often use that term myself.

It usually pops up when I’m with a group of people who hold a mix of beliefs — when teaching a course, for example, I never take it for granted that everyone has the same references as me and I try to be as inclusive as possible. To me that’s just being polite and respectful. But lately I’ve become more aware of how I use the term in my everyday life, too. It’s the “this might sound a bit woo woo but…”s that have got to stop.

I know where this has come from. Looking back over my relationships I see I chose partners who didn’t share my beliefs. I still remember the withering looks I received and how I always felt the need to play down that side of myself. The not-an-atheist side, completely at odds with how they viewed the world.

All this has been swirling in my head since I finished reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. While Sue Monk Kidd’s background is vastly different from mine — I had a very secular upbringing — I devoured every word of that book. As ever, reading another woman’s story has emboldened me to own my own. It suddenly hit me that when I diminish what’s important to me I diminish myself, and while I may have been quick to do that in the past I don’t want to do it anymore.

 

feather | SusannahConway.com

 

I don’t follow a particular religion or a single set of beliefs, and while much of what rings true for me lives in the New Age camp for sure, these days I’m most interested in my own first-hand experience of spirituality. The best way I can explain it is this: It’s the connection I feel when I turn inwards, my sense of being connected to something much larger than me yet also unquestionably a part of me, too. And there ain’t nothing woo woo about that.

I enjoy learning about new ways to connect to the sacred within — hence the kundalini workshop — and ever since I bought my first tarot deck as a teenager I have always been interested in the metaphysical. As I get older my understanding of my place in the world is deepening, which in turn makes me more confident about embodying that with others. I love my spiritual accessories — my home is filled with crystals and singing bowls and more oracle cards than is probably necessary — but really all I need do is close my eyes and I’m there. I’m home.

We’ve come up with so many names and rules for what could be ‘out there’ — god, angels, spirit, universe, source, shakti, the mystery, the all-that-is — and while I don’t think any of us will ever really know the truth until we shove off our mortal coil, enough bonkers things have happened in the last nine years to let me know that there’s more to all this than just what we see with our eyes. I can’t prove it scientifically but I know what feels true for me. And that’s the bit that feels important — that we each find what feels true for us.

I guess you could call me a healthily sceptical believer :)