The Sunday check-in

to feel alive |
The Divine Feminine Fire by Teri Degler and Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman

Feeling… the pain in my teeth. I’m half way through my Invisalign treatment and so far so good — but there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not deeply aware of the braces, and for some reason, this new set are really doing a number on my molars. Ouch.

Smelling… fried eggs. This incense.

Tasting… coffee, always with the coffee.

Listening… to the silence of Sunday and the gentle rumble of cars passing. Birdsong.

Creating… two guided meditations to give to my Love Letter peeps soon.

Wanting… to be kissed. I can’t deny it. It’s the lazy Sunday morning effect.

Pondering… that today is father’s day and I have no one to send a card to. And how I am completely at peace with that. I was less so last year.

The Sunday check-in*


Reading… The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Oh this book, this BOOK. So many ahas, even though we share such different backgrounds.

Feeling… filled up from yesterday’s workshop with Sally Kempton and conversations with new friends.

Smelling… minty lipbalm. My new favourite perfume oil.

Tasting… a perfectly ripe white nectarine. Iced coffee.

Listening… the sound of my washing machine. The cars passing by. The hum of my laptop.

Creating… making notes about the oracle cards, ready to send to my co-conspirators this week.

Wanting… more time to read. I’m craving a whole month to just lie on my bed/sofa/in the park and devour books.

Pondering… the bravery of beautiful Jenna, who had brain surgery last week. She wrote to me yesterday: ‘Hi Susannah, I was part of the first Sacred Alone group. I just wanted to write a quick email of thanks! Right after the class doctors discovered that I had a brain aneurysm. This meant weeks of tests and just a week ago brain surgery far away from my home (I live in the United Arab Emirates). I just have to say a huge thank you because the meditations from that class have carried me through this really rough time. So often when scared I meditated – the lake meditation I found especially helpful. Also the doctors continually remarked how peaceful I was and how perfect the procedure was (like my body was helping them!). I am so thankful to you and to that class. It is part of my life, my soul, and my spirit. You have touched my life and helped me to go through the most difficult thing I’ve every faced – brain surgery. Thank you is not enough. I hope each who takes this class is as blessed by it as I have been. Thank you.’

Holy WOW.

* a post inspired by all the lovely lists I’ve seen around the internet. If you feel inspired do share your own check-in in the comments or if you blog your answers leave a link!

Delaying the big reveal

in the pub
We attended my cousin’s funeral yesterday. Only a few years younger than my mum, he was really more like an uncle to me. A sweet and deeply kind man, he lived a simple life with the ones he loved and it feels dreadfully unfair that the last few years of his life were plagued with illness. So many beautiful words were shared about him at his funeral, it made me wish he was there to hear them. And I’ve communed with death enough to know that he was there, but for those of us left behind it’s not enough. We want them here, in the flesh, breathing, smiling, holding our hands.

After leaving the crematorium we went to look at the flowers laid out in the garden. On the way back to the car Mum said she wished she’d taken a photo so I ran back to snap a few shots with my phone. In that moment I was thinking only of my mum, but after taking the pictures I reflected on how even though I didn’t have photos of the flowers laid out at another crematorium, I could still remember the white lilies and freesias, and the roses I’d laid out myself. Walking back to the car, with not a soul around me, I turned a corner to find the most perfect grey feather lying on the ground at my feet. It actually made my heart jump. “Oh,” I smiled, “I was wondering where you were.” It never fails to amaze me how they keep in touch with us. I continue to find the feathers in the most important moments and the most needed moments. Always the feathers, sometimes seeming to appear out of thin air.

Little miracles.

In the pub afterwards we shared drinks and stories, looking at photos and getting to know the members of D’s family we hadn’t met before. As my sister and I gingerly sipped our halves of Guinness we started planning our own funeral (as you do). Because, you see, we’ve already decided that we will be popping our clogs on the same day. By then we’ll have reached the end of our nineties and having outlived everyone else we’ll be ready to get in the car and drive off a cliff, Thelma & Louise style. We both agreed that we’d want to have a gathering beforehand so we could hear the kind words that everyone shared. We’d kiss our children and grandchildren goodbye and tell them not to miss us too much because we’d see them on the other side soon enough.

Abby said she wanted to be laid out in a white dress — like the Lady of Shalott — on a huge pile of branches. This would then be floated out into the middle of a lake at which point a burning arrow would be shot, setting the pyre alight. I agreed this was a stellar idea, and the conversation continued with the discussion of a joint pyre and whether or not we’d have prayers or meditation at the ceremony (Abby wants prayers, I want meditation — there will be both). When my sister said no one would be allowed to wear black I nodded in emphatic agreement.

All this might sound a bit morbid or inappropriate considering we were at a funeral, but I actually found it incredibly comforting. Death has to be one of the last taboos we have, something we all have to face when our loved ones take their leave, hopefully in timely and expected ways but often not. Learning we’re all going to die is so shocking. I remember the finality of my pet rabbit dying and trying to untangle the idea that it was permanent, that we couldn’t make her “better”. I can still remember trying to imagine what being dead was like — would it be an abyss of black nothingness? I don’t recall putting much stock in the clouds-and-harps of heaven, but as I got older, and started reading more new age-y books, I began to formulate theories about what comes next. In some twisty way I can’t wait to find out, but I’m happy for the big reveal to be 50 years from now.

Last week Noah and I were reenacting Frozen-lite with his dolls and at some point one of the girl dolls died only to come alive again with true love’s kiss (he watches a lot of Disney films). Even then I wondered what it was going to be like for our tender sweet boy to learn about death — how can we possibly explain it to him? Through the smiles and tears of yesterday’s gathering, my heart was warmed when I saw D’s grandson clutching the hand of his grandmother during the ceremony. These little people make everything better, they really do. Noah was playing at nursery all day, and I’m glad that for now he believes in Father Christmas and fairies and true love’s kiss. There’s plenty of time for the big reveals of life… just not yet, not yet.

(For D: I have no doubt that you’re reading this from the big golf course in the sky. Rest in peace, dear cousin x)

25 things you don’t know about me (maybe)

25 things you don't know about me (maybe) |


We’re coming up to my 8-year blogaversary and in that time I reckon I’ve shared all the beans by now. Let’s see…

1. I don’t have a driver’s license. Still. I’ve learnt to drive three times, and if you put me in a car right now I could drive the thing. But for some reason me and driving just hasn’t clicked long term. It’s something I regularly feel embarrassed about.

2. Having said that, there’s not much else that embarrasses me these days.

3. I let my bathroom sink get really limescaley before I give in and clean it. And every time I think “I should do this more often.”

4. I just hate doing housework.

5. I’m very tidy though. Bordering on obsessively so.

6. I know where everything is in my flat. It helps that I downsized when I moved back to London.

7. None of my crockery matches. My plates, bowls and mugs are a mishmash of colours and styles and it makes me happy. 80% are secondhand.

8. I’m always late. I’m sure it drives my friends mad. I just always think I have more time than I do.

9. I just had deja vu writing this list. I think I may have done this before. In fact, half the time my posts feel like a rehash of older posts. I worry I’m getting repetitive in my blogging old age ;-)

10. I never completed my A levels at school. 23 years on I can authoritatively report this has never mattered one bit.

11. I made a conscious decision to stop reading newspapers when the Tories got into power. Sometimes I feel I’m missing out on world news, but mostly I just feel a lot calmer.

12. My middle name is Catherine.

13. My next book for Chronicle is a photography book about London! On shelves spring 2016 (It would have been next year but our hideous winter meant we’ve had to put the deadline back.)

14. I own 5 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of trainers and lots of flip flops but no shoes.

15. I can’t walk in heels. At all.

16. I can do a good impression of being extroverted for about half an hour in a social setting but then I have to run away and recover somewhere quiet.

17. I have only ever dated extroverts. My three big loves were extroverts. Might be time to try something different.

18. I have no shoes, but I do have 150+ bottles of scent and perfume oil. Planning to write a post about that soon…

19. I like and will eat pretty much anything, but I will literally spit out fresh coriander/cilantro. Even the smell makes me gag.

20. As a teen my favourite band was Wham, but now I pretend it was Duran Duran. #80steenshame

21. I’m currently on week 13 of wearing my Invisalign braces. I’ve wished for straight teeth all my life but must admit it’s not the most fun I’ve ever had. Eight more months to go!

22. Moleskine notebooks turn me on. I’ve used them as my journal for the last 11 years and love the uniformity of my stack of 28 black Molies. No. 28 is the Hobbit special edition.

23. I have never read The Hobbit.

24. Speaking of… I once met Leo Sayer.

25. My biggest regret is that I didn’t say I love you more. But I am so grateful to be here now, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Got any beans you want to spill? I’m all ears!