You are safe and you are loved


“What I know is that it’s going to be better. If it’s bad, it might get worse, but I know that it’s going to be better. And you have to know that. There’s a country song out now, which I wish I’d written, that says, ‘Every storm runs out of rain.’ I’d make a sign of that if I were you. Put that on your writing pad. No matter how dull and seemingly unpromising life is right now, it’s going to change. It’s going to be better. But you have to keep working.” MAYA ANGELOU


Hello loves

When I write to you about personal insights I’ve usually let some time pass before I share my thoughts, so it’s very odd to be writing to you right in the centre of the storm, but here we are — all of us! As I swirl up and down through frustration and anxiety, I also feel tiny hits of wonderment. It’s surreal that this is happening but also extraordinary that something is going down that unites the entire planet. Not perfectly united, mind. We’re still believing there are borders that separate us, but here we are, a planet filled with humans, all affected by something we can’t even see.

Each of us is dealing with this in our own way and we all have different concerns. For me I’m having to trust that my family is safe — which is hard when your first urge is to go be with them and help — and I’m focussing on keeping myself well and avoiding contact with others. Which you’d think would be easy when you’re an introvert but I’m realising that what keeps me sane — and I mean that quite literally as someone who has a history of depression — are the times I spend with friends and the time I spend OUTSIDE of the house. I can easily do five days straight on my own at home, but by day six I need to go out and be in the world. So the prospect of several months without that is daunting, I’m not going to lie. I live alone and I enjoy it very much, but right now I’d be happier if I had someone here to give me a bloody hug!

So, knowing that life is gonna be upside for a while, I’ve instigated Operation Mental Health Self-Care. Last night I compiled a list of my absolute must-dos while this is going on and I’m sharing it here in case you need some inspiration or a gentle nudge to consider what YOUR absolute must-dos will be.

This is especially important for those of you who are at home alone like me.

The non-negotiables:

1. Daily walks outside

2. Daily journaling

3. Daily juice and lots of water

4. Daily meditation

5. Daily shower

6. Daily calls/messages with family and friends

7. Only check Guardian website once per day, no more

Also very needed:

8. Daily yoga/weights/kettlebells

9. Switch up where I work in the house

10. Daily garden sit!

11. Off phone by 8pm

12. Plan future trips

A lot of this I already do but never has it been more important for me to look after my body and my mind. Some days I will do all of this and some days I won’t, and that’s okay, but my goal is to do as much as I can Every. Single. Day. I’m not tripping on too many thoughts of the future but I am looking ahead at what I’ll need to stay in a good place internally. Just as I’ve bought a few extras for my pantry, I’m also considering what’s going to support me as I square up to a few months of solitude. Having a loose plan helps me feel safe and calm.

There are lots more thoughts I could share but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Like me you’ve probably been getting loads of emails from well-meaning peeps sharing their tools and strategies for getting through this time. There is SO MUCH out there right now! It’s like the online world is truly having its moment, as if all of us content creators and teachers have been in training for exactly this moment. And I absolutely do have a couple of things to share that I hope will help! But I also just want to say it’s okay if this is overwhelming you and you just need to be still. I feel that too. It’s okay to get some sofa time. It’s okay to eat chocolate for dinner. It’s okay to feel lost and not want to do an at-home fitness video! And it’s also okay to do lots of work because it helps you feel safe. It’s okay to want to throw yourself into making things to help you feel productive. It’s okay to want to serve. Just as it’s okay to simply receive right now.

Basically it’s okay to feel however you feel. To do whatever you need or want to do. There’s no map for this journey so we have to trust ourselves, listen inwards and act accordingly. To gently and lovingly parent ourselves just as we parent and look after the kids and animals and loved ones in our lives.

Look after yourselves and your loved ones and know that this will pass and we will soon be looking back at the time we stayed inside to look after each other. What a loving thing we are doing for the human race.

I love you

Susannah xo

* This is an excerpt from my most recent Love Letter – sign up over here to get on this love list <3

How I’m staying safe and calm


I shared the following in last week’s Love Letter and I wanted to share it here too because it’s on everyone’s minds and yes, it’s on mine too. The Coronavirus. Here’s what I’m doing while this is going on.

I’m NOT watching any news on television but I AM going to my most trusted news source online — The Guardian’s website — to check in once a day. No more than that. I want to be informed and responsible for my own health and the safety of my loved ones, but I don’t need a running news feed stoking the flames of anxiety. I think it’s important to be concerned and informed AND not get ourselves into such a panic that the anxiety is greater than the perceived threat. I work from home, which obviously is very convenient when you want to avoid big crowds of people, and I’m probably gonna avoid going into the centre of London on public transport for a bit.

I haven’t gone nuts buying out the supermarket but I have bought an extra bag of gluten-free porridge and coconut milk just like I would if I have a cold and don’t want to go out or cook. I’m already ridiculously stocked up on cat food — if the apocalypse arrives my cat will not starve (that’s a joke — the apocalypse is not coming! We’re all going to be fine, you guys!)

I’m already very into washing my hands so I’ve no problem with doing that fastidiously. I’m also taking my vitamins and generally trying to look after my health. I’m doing my best to get enough sleep and drinking lots of water (this helps my sinus issues). All things I’d do when it’s regular flu season.

Honestly I’m not too worried about catching the virus. If I do I do and I trust my body to recover. What does concern me is passing it on to the more vulnerable members of my family, so if I get so much as a sniffle I will remain here in Conway Towers, with my cat, waiting it out.

I don’t know if that helps anyone feel a little less anxious, but I hope it does a bit. Do consider only reading the news online* — silently — or in paper format rather than having your nervous system assaulted by the sensationalised TV news. You want information and straightforward facts without the music, drama and rolling updates. It’s helping me keep my head and stay grounded in the here and now.

* And if you allow notifications on your phone now is the time to switch them off from any news apps. Seek out the news when you feel calm and ready for it. Do it with intention.

Dear blog


Dear blog

I’ve missed you. Actually that’s not completely true. While I was away I didn’t miss you at all. There’s now so many other ways to connect with people, my desire to connect here was sated by Instagram and Facebook and, lately, Reddit of all places. I’ve been writing courses and love letters and a magazine column and that’s satisfied my need to write, but I’ve been feeling the urge to connect in different ways and share words that aren’t attached to any other outcome other than their expression. I’ve started working on a short story just for the hell of it, just because I need to write. I’ve been looking back at the old days of blogging with a wistful smile. It was exciting to share words on the internet! To connect with people all over the world. We shared our stories on our blogs because that was the only place we had to share them. We wrote poems and took pictures of our homes and dedicated posts to our online friends who were hurting — I have blog posts printed out and stuck in my old journals.

I started blogging in 2006 a few months after I’d turned 33. A year and a few months into my bereavement. A lot has changed since then, and as I read back posts from that time — no longer public but saved as drafts — I want to reach a hand back to that young woman and tell her it’s going to be okay. She will change and evolve and she will thrive. If I’d known then what I know now I might have given up — to still be single and perfectly content with that? To not be a mother and have reached an ever-evolving acceptance of that? My 33-year-old self could not have imagined that’d be possible and yet here I am. I made it into the future.

So I wonder, dear blog, if it’s time for us to renew our acquaintance. Shall we give it another go?

That’s how the light gets in

That's how the light gets in |


<< Insert inspiring quote here >>

Hello loves

I was having trouble finding an inspiring quote to put in the space above. Every quote I considered felt at best hollow and at worst patronising, so I have decided to leave it blank for this letter. I had a headache all weekend, the kind that comes from physical tiredness and mental worry. Big changes in one part of the world affect us all, and like the shock I felt following the Brexit result here in the UK, I am saddened by the result of the presidential election in the USA. People from all over the world have taken my courses, read my blog, receive this here letter and reach out to me every single day. I no longer see borders separating all our countries — we are all human beings doing our best to live a life that has meaning while taking care of the people that matter to us. So when votes are cast to leave Europe, build walls and seemingly give a green light to misogyny, bigotry and racism, I just can’t comprehend it.

I do know how easy it is for me to judge the actions of others while I’m sitting over here in my privileged London bubble. I made a conscious decision a few years ago to boycott the TV and newspapers in order to keep my energy levels up. Soaking in all the fear and negativity like an empathetic sponge doesn’t help me or the people I serve. In my previous incarnation as a journalist I worked at several national newspapers and can now see how poisonous that culture was to my system. However, avoiding traditional media also means I lose touch with what’s actually happening “out there” (not that the media always accurately reflects that, but you know what I mean). I live in a city that voted to stay in the European Union. I don’t live in a part of the country where leaving the EU felt like the better choice. Likewise, I have friends, peers and readers who live in the parts of the USA that voted for Hillary Clinton. I have no idea what it’s like to live in a place — physically, mentally or emotionally — where voting for Trump felt like the better choice.

If Brexit and Trump are a reflection of our world right now, and that doesn’t feel like the future you want for the little people in your life, it’s no longer enough to have “Be the change you want to see in the world” as your email sign-off — we really do have to BE it. Embody it. Live it. To teach the next generation — for they are the ones who will create the lasting change for THEIR children — how to be brave and honest, inclusive and compassionate. And I truly believe it starts with us. In my own life I’ve seen how healing the hurts from my past neutralises the hurts that were passed down from the generations behind me. My life and choices are radically different to my mother’s, whose own life is and was radically different from my grandmother’s. “The world will be saved by the western woman” so says the Dalai Lama. This is another quote that frequently floats across the internet and I think he may be on to something. I am a feminist to my core. I believe in equality for ALL and yes, I would have loved to have seen a woman elected president of the country that has a special place in my heart, but it’s very apparent that more healing needs to happen before that change will manifest. We are still living in the shadow of the past. So much has changed since my maternal grandmother was born in 1899, but it’s still such early days in our evolution as a global community. I’ve read a lot of things in the last few days questioning how and why women in particular voted for Trump over Clinton. The word “sisterhood” has come up time and time again and it hurts my heart to acknowledge that as a collective we woman are still so often our own worst enemies. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote a while back:

“As women we were told we were second class for so long it got absorbed into our collective psyche. And now that bras have been burnt and we edge towards a society filled with equals? We’re hit again in our tenderest of places — we’re judged on how we look by the harshest critics of all: ourselves. Has there ever been a more effective way of keeping people down? We’re so busy worrying about how we look there’s no time for anything else. We could probably take over the world if we weren’t stressing about fitting into our skinny jeans.”

That last line has been swirling around my head today. How can we bring about global change when we hate our own bodies — when we hate our own selves? What would happen if we healed that wound once and for all?

Here’s what I believe: right now we are tilling the soil for the next generation of change. My mother’s generation paved the way in the 60s so that we could be here doing what we need to do to ensure our children inherit a world where equality, empathy, peace and kindness are their everyday reality. A world where people talk to each other respectfully. A world where every human being takes responsibility for their emotions and learns how to navigate the world without causing harm. Where people feel seen and heard — and look and listen in return.

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m helping to raise two kind-hearted and considerate boys in this world, one of whom is already marked out as “different” simply because he prefers “girl’s” toys to “boy’s”.

I’m committed to healing the hurts from my past so I don’t pass their legacy on to anyone else.

I’m redoubling my efforts to shine my light into the world in person and online to help others reconnect to their own light.

I pledge to continue creating tools that support others in their journey to wholeness and healing so that they can effectively till their patch of soil.

Politics is not something I would usually speak about in this letter, but it felt important to address it today. Wherever you in the world, I wish you peace and kindness, today and always xo


“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” RIP Mr Cohen.

This is an excerpt from the Love Letter I sent out today — thought it should be shared here, too.