The real inner circle

The real inner circle |
I always know I’ve been spending too much time online when the chatter in my head is not my own. I’ve been umbilically attached to my computer since I discovered blogging back in 2006, and while having access to this extraordinary global connectivity has been truly life changing, as an introvert with hermit-like tendencies, it’s far too easy to feel like I’m interacting with the world when in fact I’m hiding out behind the screen “researching”.

The internet is a noisy place. On days when I feel vulnerable and porous, this is what being online feels like:

Outside noise |
As the highly scientific diagram from my journal shows, it’s like being boxed into a tiny square while  ricocheting in all directions. It’s disempowering and draining and makes me doubt myself unnecessarily — a self-perpetuating cycle of crapness. I’m well aware that no one is to blame for any of this other than myself. It’s not so much what I’m consuming online — it’s more about choosing to do it when I’m not in the right headspace. That’s when it becomes toxic.

On the days when I feel centred and on top of my game, being online can be incredibly inspiring and motivating. On those days I feel less inclined to see what everyone else is doing and just get on with my own creative work. I look after my heart emotionally and digitally. In fact, I don’t have to wait until I feel centred to do this — I can centre myself by remembering (and practicing) the things that connect me back to me:

The real inner circle | SusannahConway.comI drew this diagram as the antidote to the first (mad drawing skillz, I know). Once I’d identified the unhelpful things outside of myself I jotted down everything that truly fed my insides — the stuff I DID want to consume savour. The circle represents my inner world and I get to choose what’s inside there.

Some days I forget to tap into the circle but lately I’ve been paying closer attention to the pattern of centred days and porous days. In her book, The Optimised Woman, Miranda Gray shares the four different phases of our monthly cycles and how we can use them to our advantage. I knew there was more to my month than just PMS days and non-PMS days but it’s so helpful to get really specific. Like knowing that Day Five of my cycle is the day I get REALLY down. It happens every. single. month. and knowing this means I can prepare for the dip and plan accordingly. Ditto that block of five days when I’m on creative FIYAH!

Being self-employed helps, of course, but even just knowing what’s going on helps me navigate the difficult days. Awareness is the first step towards making meaningful adjustments — and frankly checking out the moon’s cycles helps too. I’ve never been much for astrological things, but I can’t deny how synched I am to the big white ball in the sky.

This year I’m making a conscious effort to get out the house more. To be around actual living human beings more. To seek out nourishing community. To experience the world through ALL my senses, not just my eyes. And part of this nourishing mission is knowing when to reach out and when to retreat. Working WITH the rhythm of my cycle, not against it.

21 responses
  1. TJ Wood

    Love this…and needed to hear it today! Lovely reminders to be more in touch with the needs/cycles of body, mind and spirit. I was on a road trip last week with infrequent access to the online world–a wonderful and much needed break!

  2. susannah

    It makes such a difference, doesn’t it — being disconnected for a while! :) x

  3. Becki

    Thanks for this, Susannah! My biggest challenge is that I don’t really “know” my cycles because of birth control, but I really need to start jotting down my moods and looking for patterns. I KNOW there are days every month where I’m sad, or down, or just need to sleep more, and it’s probably because of my cycle, right? You’ve inspired me to stop being lazy and start writing it down so I can effectively nurture myself when I’m down. xx

  4. Sandra Pawula

    I so resonate with this, Susannah. I’m taking most of my week off to reconnect with myself and take care of my health. Thanks for drawing it out for us!

  5. Whitney

    as usual your timing is just right. this resonates so much with what i am experiencing. thanks for a new book to check out as well!

  6. Nina

    I just decided today to consciously cut down my online social media time as it consumes so much of my productive time, my energy and my self-centeredness. Very inspiring and reassuring to read how you feel about the online madness! I just said to a friend yesterday: “can someone please shut down the internet??” :)

  7. Mel

    Protecting my vulnerability is a huge thing for me. Yet just recently I started doing a “video diary” – talking on camera – on instagram. *what was I thinking!?!?* It lasted 3 days and they are now deleted. :) I would love to pay attention to my cycles, but post-cancer medication means I don’t currently have that obvious sign-post of where I am in the month. I’m sure daily journalling would probably help with finding patterns, so perhaps this is a new habit I need to nurture. x

  8. Carole

    Lovely, lovely Susannah. Simple yet deep and wide. I’m a lover of simplicity. These diagrams speak volumes. My eyes instantly knowing which words to zoom in on and expand in my thoughts. xox

  9. Jen

    Hi Susannah, I have often wondered if other people (esp introverts and hsp’s) feel as affected by being online as I often do so really nice to hear your experiences and positive ways you try and deal with it. I often feel a dichotomy of wanting to be more active online with privacy and protecting my energy.

  10. Catalina

    being disconnected for a while is to connect with your being. Nature always help me well to do that.


  11. susannah

    yes, sometimes being online as an HSP introvert can be just as draining as socialising in person :)

  12. Jen Farrant

    thank you for this, I recently went back over the blogging from the heart notes and wrote the list of my top bloggers and you are one of them. So when I am blocking out all of the internet noise you are one of the few that I let in!

    I find your work to be nourishing and even though I am somewhat in envy of your work it doesn’t make me green with jealousy or make me feel awful or competitive.


  13. susannah

    Thank you, Jen (and thank you for your honesty! :) big love to you xox

  14. Stella

    Love your diagrams! Very helpful, thank you.

  15. Lucy Chen

    I’ve been going out more this year, too, looking to connect with the “right” people, and it’s been great! The energy vibration between people, the sparks etc. can be amazing!

  16. leonie


  17. leonie

    oops. sorry, i meant to put <3

  18. Cora

    “Awareness is the first step towards making meaningful adjustments” I so appreciate your words here Susannah because you demonstrate how you do self-care. As a fellow HSP and introvert, I can completely relate. I’ve been on a journey of introspection in order to gain awareness (and wisdom in the process) for a few years now. I feel like I’m finally waking up to my life. Your self-care diagram will help me create one for myself. Thank you! :)

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