Soho selfie | SusannahConway.com
Love this idea: tagging your notebook | the memo book archive

So simple and gorgeous! Flower embellished photo art

I know who I’d send a Certificate of Awesome to

But seriously, how cool is this keyboard? And this?

The part where I was naked in front of 11 people and it was okay — this from Erika

How to use oracle cards in business

I’m sharing my thoughts on gratitude in this lovely ebook (and it’s free)

My current iPhone screensaver (thanks Austin)

I want to live in this house

And finally, let’s make some electro music

Happy weekend, loves! xo

Little stones | SusannahConway.com
I am in LOVE with the Expose project — women of *all* shapes and sizes photographed in their beautiful birthday suits. YES.

A window seat reminder of humanity

Effective marketing for introverts — smarts from Mr Jarvis

Fabric food | colour-coded photographs

Pulled pork fried rice | healthy pumpkin spice latte | grain-free pressed herb biscuits

11 tips to better phone photos

On my reading list: Diane Ackerman’s latest

Friends doing cool things: Create Your Dream Career with Michelle | Marisa has launched her Kickstarter campaign! | honoured to be featured in Susan’s awesome new book

Why I’m done with dreaming big — loved this from Laura

How to dine blissfully on your own

[audio] Marion Woodman on listening to our deepest wisdom

Happy weekend, loves! xo

On wholeness & loving ourselves realistically | SusannahConway.com
I often get emails that deserve a longer more considered response than I usually have time for — here’s one that I’ve been sitting on for a while. Today was the day to reply:

Hello Susannah,

I’ve been really enjoying The Sacred Alone class. This is the second class I’ve taken with you. I am so happy I found your blog and read your story. Honestly, I’ve been needing to get to know the girl in the mirror for a long time. I identify with a lot of parallels in your story. My father, while he didn’t leave us, was painfully absent and I’ve been through a good many years of therapy to fill the hole. In the past month I wrote a letter to my father as homework for my therapy visits. I read this letter in our last session a few weeks ago. I feel freer. The anger I use to feel is at rest, but a part of me wonders if I will ever be done with the “daddy issues”. To fill the hole I’ve longed to have a man in my life that is to me what he never was. I am a serial monogamist, bouncing relationship to relationship. After nearly 28 years, I’m tired. I’m taking the Sacred Alone to rely on the only person who I feel like can truly fill the hole – me.

I’m afraid and I have a question. It’s a bit of a personal one, but from someone who has fought this battle 12 years longer than I have, how did you know or how did you get to the point where your own love – your own self – was enough to feel whole?

Through reading your blog and taking your classes, I’ve thought several times “I want the strength of this woman.” “I want to be able to take control of my life and career the way she has.” You’ve truly been an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You’ve made the idea of a girl who didn’t have a good relationship with her father, and doesn’t have to remain broken and depleted a little more attainable. That she can become strong and successful.

Love, M

Dear M,

In all honesty, I still have occasional daddy issues. Not with the man who left 30 years ago as I’ve worked through all that. And not with the man who lives on the other side of the world, as I don’t know him and don’t feel the need to be in touch with him. My issues, such as they are, are a lingering part of my blueprint, the stuff I learned in the first 18 years of my life. (I sometimes wonder if we’re just supposed to spend our lives untangling all the crap we learned as kids.) The old programming surfaces every so often, just to keep me on my toes.

I was in back-to-back romantic relationships from the age of 17 to 32, right up until the day my partner died. In my 20s I was self aware enough to know I needed time on my own to really get to know myself, but back then I wasn’t brave enough to do it. I relied on another to make me feel whole, although truthfully it wasn’t that effective. I still felt lost, still felt unsure — I just had someone else to blame for not making me happy (nice, eh?)

Because I was so caught up in the patterning of the past, and the dysfunctional idea that another person could fill the father-shaped hole in my life, it wasn’t until I was forced to be alone that I finally got the chance to heal. My bereavement wasn’t just about the loss of my love — I also had decades of scrambled thinking to unravel. I had to learn to be on my own, and give myself the chance to discover who I really was.

“how did you know or how did you get to the point where your own love – your own self – was enough to feel whole?”

It happened very gradually. Obviously there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but when I trace my journey backwards there are some key practices and milestones that stand out:  

— I learned how to live on my own, in a home I created just for me. I learned to take pleasure in cooking for myself, in arranging my furniture the way I liked it, in being solely responsible for the bills. I figured out how I wanted to spend my weekends at home, without the comfortable distraction of another’s company. I learned to let go of the need to have others around me to feel okay. I learned how to go places without needing to check in with anyone else. I became independent for the first time in my life.

— I mapped the terrain of my heart through my creativity. I’ve always journaled but it reached prodigious new heights in those first years of my healing journey. It’s amazing how fast you can cut through the undergrowth when you truly open up to self enquiry. The journalling of my 20s was decidedly shallow compared to the places I went to years later. I asked the questions and finally excavated my insides for answers. I still do this today.

— I began figuring out what truly lit me up. Relationships take up a lot of time and energy (usually in a good way!) so being on my own gave me time to figure out what was important to me — not me as somebody’s girlfriend, who generally went along with what her boyfriend wanted to do. Starting a blog and picking up a camera again changed everything and paved the way for what I’m doing now.

— I befriended the woman I saw in the mirror. We don’t have a perfect relationship — far from it, in fact. I intimately know the less appealing sides of myself — the stuff I’d rather no one else ever sees — but rather than cover it up or run from it, I embrace it. I own my “bad” as well as my good. My shadows as well as my light. I don’t believe there’s ever a point where all the crappy parts are healed out of existence — there is no perfect state to be achieved. Instead, I believe the goal is simply to embrace all of who we are. To get to know all facets of your being, from your body and outward appearance, your age and experiences, to your secrets and desires, your broken bits and your brilliance.

I do feel whole. In my bones I know I am complete exactly as I am. I am my own best friend. I trust myself completely. But that doesn’t mean it’s all perfectly shiny days over here — again I say FAR FROM IT! Outwardly it may look like I have it all together, and in many aspects I’m doing pretty good, but there are parts of my life I’d like to make over. After nine years my single status is long past its sell-by date. I will always be a pessimistically-inclined lone she-wolf — that hasn’t changed. I love my family above everything, but I often let friendships fade out and that’s not a side of me I’m proud of.

But on the whole, yes, I am whole. I own the good in me and the shit in me, too. I do a fairly good job of loving myself — a realistic job is perhaps a better way of putting it. I love myself realistically. In this lifetime this is who I am and 99% of the time I am happy with that. There will always be days that I’m not, and that’s okay — I find I’m less stressed about it these days.

So in summary, dear M, give it time. Gift yourself with the space to get to know yourself. Trust that the desire to be whole is the beginning of the realisation of that goal. And that getting older is very often the making of us. It has been for me. Let it unfold. And take yourself out on dates — just you and you. xx

Bella Grace magazine | SusannahConway.com
The very first time my name was mentioned in a newspaper was 1988. I was 15 and had won first place in a local painting competition. Seeing my name — and photo! — in the local paper was thrilling, and also a little embarrassing. But mostly thrilling.

The next time my name appeared was as a byline attached to an article in a national Sunday newspaper. I was 26-year-old mature student in the final year of a journalism degree, working as an intern for no money but a lot of experience. That first piece spun out into a regular weekly column and heralded the beginning of my short-lived but much appreciated career as a journalist.

Between then and now there have been many published articles in newspapers, magazines and websites. The loveliest thing is seeing my name in print never gets old — it’s always as thrilling as it was that first time. Obviously these days I mostly write here and I truly love the freedom to share whatever’s in my head or heart — I am the ruler of my own virtual queendom here and I like it! But there’s also a beautiful new magazine on the block and I’m thrilled — there’s that word again — to be a part of it.

Bella Grace is Stampington’s newest baby, a gorgeously tactile cross between a magazine and a journal. Imagine your favourites bits of the creative blogosphere mixed together with dreamy photography and inspiring words. As the internet takes over the world I’m glad there are still publishers creating magazines I can hold in my hand. I love my Kindle but I prefer paper books, and I adore Pinterest but I’d still rather collage images cut out of magazines. Bella Grace is now sitting in my pile of favourites, alongside Cereal, Kinfolk, Frankie and Flow. She’s a beauty :)

Bella Grace magazine
To celebrate the magazine’s launch I have a copy of the premiere issue to giveaway PLUS I’m adding THREE places in the September session of Journal Your Life which starts on Monday. So that’s 4 winners in total!

To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question: what’s your favourite way to get creatively inspired?

I’ll update this post with the winners’ names on Sunday and will be in touch by email to get your deets — good luck! xo

* And the winners are! Heather, Michelle, Francine and Danielle — emails coming shortly x

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