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

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Dear younger me

Dear younger me | SusannahConway.com

 

Dear 6-year-old me

I wish I could remember being you. I watch my nephew and I see his bravery and exuberance and I wonder: was I like that? I’m not sure if I was.

 

Dear 11-year-old me

For a long time I was ashamed of you, which is ridiculous — you were so vulnerable and scared. But I see that your vulnerability lives on in me, and it took a long time to realise that when I shunned you, I shunned the tenderest parts of myself. You had to grow up so fast and didn’t have the skills that that required. I truly wish I could go back in time and wrap you up in my arms and kiss your forehead. I try to do this for myself now. I try very hard, and I do it for you.

 

Dear 20-year-old me

Oh my love, what a screwed up hot mess you were, and I love how, despite that, you forged ahead with what you wanted. You knew, even back then, where you were supposed to be heading. We couldn’t have predicted what actually went down, which is probably just as well as you were in no way ready to be that person, but thanks for following the urge to go to art college. Thanks for being your tie-dyed, whisky-drinking, tarot-card-toting self. There was so much to be healed, but there would be time for that later. I’m glad we had all those years in the darkroom. I’m glad we found our creative calling, even if it did have a few twists and turns before we found our place.

 

Dear younger me | SusannahConway.com

 

Dear 30-year-old me

Susannah, Susannah, Susannah. Thank you for being brave enough to leave him, even if it did take six months of red wine and endless talks. That year was brutal, and the years that followed didn’t get any better did they. It wasn’t the start to our 30s I would have chosen, but now I look back I recognise the threads that wove the path we stepped on the day we sent that email. And then a fire burnt down our life at 32 — we had no control over that. Somehow — I’m still not sure how — we survived, and more than that, we thrived. I’m so proud of you for healing all that you did. It was a cellular regeneration, my love, and I feel it to this very day. We regrew our skin. We were born again, stronger, braver, and so incredibly tender I now cry at the smallest thing. There is no barrier between my emotions and the world, and it is my superpower. Thank you for birthing it for me.

 

Dear 40-year-old me

You were right. I’m three years in and I can authoritatively report that our 40s are just as empowering as you felt they were the day we turned 40. There are a few things we’re probably not going to experience in this lifetime, and I know you were still hoping they would happen, but I don’t think they will. The more steps I take through this decade of our life, the clearer the path becomes. I’m processing some sadness about this, I won’t lie — but I also have this new clarity that’s propelling me forward towards other possibilities, pieces of the puzzle I hadn’t seen when I was you. I hear my future self calling me, and she is smiling. She is happy. I’m on my way to meet her right now.

 

To all my younger selves: thank you. I love you bigger than the moon and the stars.

Me xo

 

April Love 2016 | SusannahConway.com

 

For the April Love 2016 prompt: Dear younger me

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The word

Providence | SusannahConway.com

 

I spent New Year’s eve in Providence with my soulsister, Elizabeth. Alas, jet lag and a sinus infection meant my usual intention setting gave way to an early night, which is why today’s new moon feels like my new new year. This morning the sun is shining and I sense the antibiotics are starting to do their thing. I’ve spent the last hour trimming the borders off a deck of tarot cards to help the imagery sing (I talk about making the cards your own in my Daily Guidance class which I’m OBSESSED with right now) and I have an afternoon of reading stretching ahead of me #benefitsofbeingsick.

My word for 2015 was NOURISH and what a deeply powerful word choice that was. NOURISH got me through open surgery, a 100-hour yoga immersion, a summer of dating, the birth of a new website and massive new course, and the need to retreat these last few months. “Does this feel nourishing?” was my constant companion last year. “Does this feed my soul? Does this feel good?”

NOURISH is informing how I spend today and is helping me get my health back. I learned that nourish is giving myself plenty of breathing space when creating new projects. Nourish is drinking more water. Nourish is taking a break from dating when I need it. Nourish is audiobooks and podcasts and sheepskin rugs and a new sofa. Nourish is white lined Moleskines and a Nespresso machine, incense and homemade soup. Nourish is drawings by my nephew arriving through my letterbox. Nourish is impromptu plane ticket purchases and new friendships — and quiet time alone in my own bed. Nourish is meditation and it is not meditation. Nourish is frankincense essential oil. Nourish is conversations with my neighbours and ignoring text messages when I feel overwhelmed.

NOURISH has been my favourite Word of the Year to date and rather than let it go in favour of a new word (though I have one of those) NOURISH is coming with me as I step into this new year and beyond. It’s a soul word, that’s for sure.

So what about 2016?

My new word chose me a long time ago but I have been reluctant to use it. Every year I dance with it, and every year I back away from it, choosing other words that in hindsight were definitely what I needed more. And still this word calls to me…. And now I am ready to step into it.

 
LOVE: My Word of the Year | SusannahConway.com

 

I know this is going to be a year of LOVE because it’s already begun. While staying with Elizabeth I fell madly in love with her dog, Ollie, and ohmystars, the feeling was mutual. Apart from our family dog, Sadie — who I still dream about — I have never felt such an immediate connection to an animal before. I honestly can’t stop thinking about him with his sweet face and soft ears and gentle demeanour. Elizabeth’s “Daily Ollie” emails to me are helping with the transition :)

 
Ollie I know this is going to be a year of LOVE because it’s already begun. While staying with Elizabeth I fell madly in love with her dog, Ollie, and ohmystars, the feeling was mutual. Apart from our family dog, Sadie — who I still dream about — I have never felt such an immediate connection to an animal before. I honestly can’t stop thinking about him with his sweet face and soft ears and gentle demeanour. Elizabeth’s “Daily Ollie” emails to me are helping with the transition :)  I’ve been pondering how funny — and maybe silly — it is to fall for a dog and declare him your #dogsoulmate but then it hit me on the plane ride home — of COURSE this would happen now! This is my year of LOVE and I’ve started it exactly as I mean to go on — with a thumping heart and fluttery eyelids, broken wide open to serendipity. So yes, 2016 is my Year of LOVE. Love for my family as we welcome my new nephew into the world in May. Love for my friends as connections ripen and deepen. Love for myself as I recommit, over and over, to looking after myself on every level: heart, body and soul. Love for my community as I share new courses and bring people together to explore their innate creativity. And the opening to romantic Love in my life again. I am so fucking ready to meet my guy. So ready to write this next chapter of my story and (re)learn all the blessed lessons that come when you share your life with another human being. I have been on my own for 11 years and I am whole and complete. And I am ready to find another soul who is also whole and complete and up for walking this path with me, side by side.

 

I’d been pondering how funny — and maybe silly — it is to fall for a dog and declare him your #dogsoulmate but then it hit me on the plane ride home — of COURSE this would happen now! This is my year of LOVE and I’ve started it exactly as I mean to go on — with a thumping heart and fluttery eyelids, broken wide open to serendipity.

So yes, 2016 is my Year of LOVE. Love for my family as we welcome my new nephew into the world in May. Love for my friends as connections ripen and deepen. Love for myself as I recommit, over and over, to looking after myself on every level: heart, body and soul. Love for my community as I share new courses and bring people together to explore their innate creativity. And the blossoming of romantic Love in my life again. I am so ready to meet my guy, so ready to write this next chapter of my story and (re)learn all the blessed lessons that come when you share your life with another human being. I have been on my own for 11 years and I am whole and complete. And I am ready to find another soul who is also whole and complete and up for walking this path with me, side by side.

May it be so.

What’s your word for 2016?

 

Me and Ollie | SusannahConway.com

[Photo of Ollie by Forrest | photo of me and Ollie by Elizabeth]

100 words of feeling

 

Overwhelm. Determination. Disappointment. Sadness. Longing. Ache. That feeling you have when you want to burn everything to the ground and start again. When nothing makes sense any more except the absolute knowing that nothing will ever make sense. Trust. Is that a feeling or a doing? Blindly trusting even though there are no signs up ahead and you don’t know where you are going. But then you look out the back window and see all the signs that were there and, in fact, you did see them but not with your eyes. So you close your eyes and look again.