SusannahConway.com

[video] Portraits in Creativity - esp. Maira Kalman

These beautiful ceramics | these desktop wallpapers

My intent is to be a silent witness to my thoughts

Free goodness: an adventure with Hannah | a magazine from Jen | an August Break with me ;-)

Driftwood amulets | stone amulets

For the moment (and it will come) that has you question your bravery — smarts from Tanya

The universe is self-ordering

[video] The pace of modern life vs our cavewomen biochemistry

Grilled peaches with whipped coconut cream, honey balsamic drizzle + mint (OMG) | turkey pastrami reuben + mustard aioli | easiest fridge dill pickles

Attention: the most basic form of love — wisdom from Tara

Happy weekend, loves! xo

the August Break 2014 | 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, loves!

The August Break prompts | SusannahConway.com
Last year, inspired by Chantelle, I created a list of photo prompts to shoot during August, and this year I’m taking it up a notch with the introduction of daily emails! Each day you’ll get a short ‘n’ sweet email in your inbox with a photo illustrating that day’s prompt and a few ideas on how to tackle it. Nothing too taxing — just a shot of inspiration each day.

The daily emails are completely free, of course — you just have to sign up to get them sent to you. PLUS I’ve invited some photo-loving pals to contribute to the emails, so expect to hear from me and Andrea Scher, Vivienne McMaster, Denise Andrade-Kroon, Ali Edwards, Karen Walrond, Tammy Strobel, Leonie Wise, Xanthe Berkeley, Tracey Clark, Amy Gretchen, Bella Cirovic and Susan Tuttle, too!

Pretty sweet, yes?

Read more and sign up to get the daily emails over on the August Break page — you can also add your blog to the blog roll and join our Flickr group, too.

August? AWESOMISED!

perfection | SusannahConway.com
“There is no human experience that we have alone. It’s up to each of us to tear down the chambers of isolation that comparison and fear build.” — a beautiful post from Rachel

One: In favour of manly men from a girly girl

Two: Men aren’t supposed to understand women (thanks Helen)

The family

[video] The creative process of an Oscar-winning screenwriter

Supermarket sisterhood — wisdom from Hollie

[video] Meryl Streep on beauty

Loving the Curvy Yoga podcast

How to live a perfect life in three easy steps — I heart Karen

Emojinalysis

Happy weekend, loves! xo

inhabiting the soft animal of my body | SusannahConway.com
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

- from the poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

For most of my adult life I’ve felt like a detached head bobbing around on the hot air of my thoughts. I never considered my body to be the real me. I thought our bodies were merely our transportation on earth, the cumbersome things that housed the divine sparks of who we really were. Bodies are bloody inconvenient. They need fuel. They age. They can’t be trusted. Like most women in the western world I still wished parts of my body were bigger or smaller but the truth is I valued my thoughts and feelings so much more than anything that was happening below my neck. I lived in my head, full stop.

Thankfully, things have been changing since I got back to London. 2013 began with the realisation that the previous year had taken its toll and the black dog had come to stay. Determined to get the support I needed to heal I went back on antidepressants — which are not for everyone but with my history with depression they are lifesavers —, joined a gym, and found a new therapist. The tablets brought me back up to normal (whatever the hell that is), the exercise taught me to appreciate the mechanics of my body, and my sessions with Wendy have helped me continue unravelling my self, a process I find so incredibly rewarding.

When I got to the beginning of this year, I was in a pretty good place. I’d taken a break from dating to focus solely on my work for a while, and was doing okay emotionally, all things considered. It was while in this pulled together place I found the next piece of the puzzle. Flicking through The Lotus and the Lily one morning, I read:

“You are an embodied soul. That means what your soul experiences, your body experiences.”

Underlining it with my orange pen, I read it again. There was a bell ringing in my head. I copied the quote into my journal, and then carried on writing:

I spend so much time fretting about being a soul “trapped” in a body, when, actually, my soul permeates every part of my body. I am an embodied soul. My soul and my body are not separate! If I consider that every single cell in my body contains my soul — that it’s not just perched in my head or my heart, or floating around outside of me — but actually IN me, inside every part of me, it makes me look at my body differently. It’s not “just the car I drive around in.”

Maybe this sounds obvious to you, but, friends, it was the first time I really got it (cue the irony) deep in my bones. From the tips of my toes and the in-growing hairs on my shins, to the wobbly flesh on my hips and the freckles on my nose, every single part of me contains my soul. After a lifetime of dismissing my body that was the day the dam broke and my head and body got stitched back together. I honestly don’t know why it had never occurred to me before.

It’s important to note here that going to the gym didn’t magically get easier after this realisation — as if! — but I’ve definitely been experiencing my body in a much more holistic way. I’m taking more time over it: getting a leg wax instead of shaving, slathering on more lotion, drinking more smoothies, and eating far more consciously. I’ve been wearing dresses instead of jeans and painting my toe nails brighter colours. I find I’m more forgiving of my body and moving through the world with more awareness than usual. Where I’d usually be so quick to complain I’m finding more tenderness and gratitude. More patience for my fallible human form.

Most interesting of all, my meditation practice has been evolving, taking me from being in my head to naturally wanting to inhabit more of my body. I find the easiest way to get centred is to feel into the different parts of my body and then visualise breathing colour into each chakra in turn. Whether or not you believe these energy points actually exist, the idea of them helps me get inside my body fast. As an over-thinky person it helps to have something to focus my thoughts on, and visualising colour and energy is surprisingly effective.

I recorded a version of my body grounding meditation for Day One of The Sacred Alone, which you can try by clicking on the audio below. It’s a great way to get back into the moment without needing any bells or whistles. You just sit down, close your eyes and feel into each part of your body. I do this most mornings before I let my meditation take me where it wants to go.

I’m happy to report that my body and I feel like a team these days. I still have mornings when I look in the mirror exasperated at the changes in my face, but on the whole I’m inhabiting all parts of my being and learning to see my self as a whole: body, mind and spirit intertwined. At some point I may even stop referring to “my body” as separate and simply call it me.

Only took me 41 years to get here ;-)

The mid-summer session of The Sacred Alone starts on Monday! This gentle 14 day course definitely feels like the new direction for me and my work. It’s an invitation to take 20 minutes each day to connect to the quiet knowing space in your heart, the place that offers refuge, wisdom and calm. Registration is happening over here — come join us! x

“I absolutely loved the course. I think that is because of YOU as a person first and foremost. The content is secondary. As usual your gentle, loving, fun self shone through. I thought there was a perfect amount of journalling… enough prompts to get me writing but not too much that I felt I had to answer or do. I ended up really valuing the journalling. I didn’t actually write a lot but the content that came out of me was very meaningful. I LOVED your meditations…your voice is lovely. I love having the Facebook aspect of the course and can’t imagine the course without this piece. I so enjoy connecting and sharing with others. In summary the course rocked, you rock and I can’t wait to take another course with you. You are an inspiring, down-to-earth, lovely being. Thank you for being who you are!” ~ Stephanie (check out her blog posts here + here)

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