Creative hands | SusannahConway.com
I don’t really know where to start so I will begin with the end. During the closing ceremony there was time for each of us to share what we felt we needed to say to the group in order to be complete. After listening to each of our 13 vixens speak so eloquently about their experience and what has changed for them, I was speechless for a moment. Gathering myself together, I shared how nervous I’d been before the retreat and how I’d worried I just wouldn’t have the energy to be as present as I wanted. (As it turns out my fears were unfounded.) I told them it had been an honour to witness their growth and spend this incredible time with them, and that I wished I had the energy (and personality type) to do retreats like this more often.  And that is the truth.

The library | SusannahConway.om
Just like last year’s Redfox retreat we all had a transformational week, made all the more enjoyable because we knew what to expect. This year’s retreat wasn’t “better” — it was just different. A different time of year with a different group of women. We made adjustments and tweaks to the programme as we went, checking in with our intuition and leaving plenty of space for the stuff we couldn’t predict. There was an ease and a softness to it all that felt good, and thanks to the amazing food Denise & Martin prepared for us, we were truly nourished from the inside out.

Goddess light | SusannahConway.com
We certainly had the energy of the goddess in our corner, and not just because we were in deepest darkest Somerset. The four elements kept us grounded: the gusting winds at Glastonbury Tor, the rain failing in the moonlight, the mud under our bare feet and the heat of the fire burning in the grate. We were gifted with music from two of our vixens, an unexpected gift that moved me deeply (and inspired me to reconnect with my singing bowl and place an order for a drum!) We had the most powerful releasing ceremony I have ever experienced. We witnessed epiphanies and a-has every single day. And we watched 13 women blossom as they dared to own their incandescent light.

Intention pebbles | SusannahConway.com
By the end I was reminded, yet again, that this is important work, and while I may not have the energy or the stamina to gather in person like this very often, I do know I want to weave even more connection and magic into the work I currently do. Because it really does make a difference. This deep connecting is so needed by women, a precious chance to refill our cups so we can return to our loved ones replenished and full.

Sharing our stories — in whatever form that takes — fosters empathy and awareness, the first crucial steps on the path to healing and wholeness. And to me, there’s no greater journey we can take. To be whole… to be whole… to be WHOLE.

* Thank you Becki, Caroline, Deb, Heather, Heather, Jen, Jo, Jocelyn, Johanna, Laurie, Michelle, Priya and Valerie for showing up as your true selves and trusting us to help you see your light xo

Glastonbury Buddha | SusannahConway.comThe living room | SusannahConway.comThe grandaughters | SusannahConway.comSunset before dinner | SusannahConway.comThe altar | SusannahConway.comDancing beneath the full moon | SusannahConway.comThe trio | SusannahConway.com

Kingfisher wall | SusannahConway.com

[video] Swimming with icebergs

Harvest chicken quinoa soup | roasted pumpkin seed hummus | salted caramel mocha + nutella brownies (!!!)

How to understand an introvert, in one chart

This tote | and this one, please

Friends doing cool stuff: Liv + Lori’s Infinite Purpose | Sas + Megg’s Heart & Hearth | Tanya + Lauren’s Beyond Compare

A gentleman’s guide to rape culture — an important post, thanks for sharing, Mr Jarvis

Well, I’m all over this: Why you should keep a journal

Idioms of the world

[video] The fire painter

Letterheady

Happy weekend, loves! xo

Gathering my selves | SusannahConway.com
There’s a part of me that still so desperately wants to fit in. Fit in with everyone else’s expectations. What I should wear. What I should think. What I should be doing “at my age”. I have to be very gentle with this part of me for she’s borne out of the smallest most vulnerable part of my self. The part that was squashed into a corner and told not to make a fuss. The part that believes with every cell of her being that she will only be loved if she is deemed acceptable. If she plays the game the others play, the one where she doesn’t know the rules and screws up every which way she turns — if she can master that game then everything will work out. If she wears the right shoes, if she was more outgoing, if she could just be like everyone else, she wouldn’t feel so achingly different. . .

And yet.

There’s this other part of me that covers herself in tattoos, wears tight jeans and all the lipstick and doesn’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. Who would rather die a slow painful death than be thought to be like everyone else. Who strives to be original in all she does — the worst accusation you could ever level at this part of me is copycat. She’ll rip it up and start again if it starts to smell like someone else’s cooking. She’s the big sister going first to break new ground. She’s the pot-smoking, trip-taking, henna-haired part of me that always has something to say. That rarely shuts up. . .

And yet.

Neither of these parts run the show these days. They each had a turn back when I first became them, back when I needed to be those selves. Now they’re integrated into the larger whole of who I am and every day I dance with the many selves of my past, wondering about the selves of my future. The longer we live the more selves we collect, yet at the very core there’s a silky thread connecting them all. Looking back I can see hints of Her in all my previous iterations, and can still recall those rare moments when I side-stepped the scared girl, the needy lover, the devastated woman, and remembered who I was. Infinite, endless, encased in flesh and blood. I’d love to live every day in that remembering, but bills and deadlines and insecurites budge in, tripping me up until the next time I create enough space to touch the thread again.

I’m so ready for more space.

Paint pots | SusannahConway.com

After my sister died I became holey (thank you, Kristen)

What does the moon smell like?

Beet caviar | braised chicken | harissa spiced fall veggie pittas

[video] Monica Lewinsky gives her first public speech in 16 years and says exactly what needs to be said {thank you, Rachel)

25 famous women on getting older

[audio] The path of conscious living (for men)

Tattoo stories

33 thoughts on reading

Some IG faves: thuglifeforevs | Gregg Boydston | I’m obsessed, too

Rainbow donkey knitting pattern!

And finally, the autumn session of Blogging from the Heart starts on Monday! This class won’t run again until June 2015 so if you’re ready to explore the blogosphere with me, now’s the time to jump in :)

Happy weekend, loves xo

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