Susannah Conway is {Living It}


Women living in their joy and guided by their passions are the inspiration behind this series of interviews.

Let their joy inspire you towards yours.

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I usually remember where I stumble into amazing women. I cannot remember this with Susannah Conway, but it felt so comfortable when I started reading her words. The moment I looked through her lens I was hooked. Susannah believes that we must develop a relationship with ourselves, and breathes life into this belief through her course, Unravelling.

I decided that the Unravelling course would be a perfect Christmas present for myself last year and spent time taking pictures and looking at my world through the lens. Susannah’s photos are a treat for me to share on my site, talk about joy.

Susannah is a joy for me. I am in debt to this wide world web for allowing me to connect with women like Susannah who are changing lives, bringing their beauty and creating special in so many ways.
XO to you Susannah, thank you for being here with us, sharing a piece of your world.

Describe (with your camera if you will indulge us)  joy with your senses, what does it sound like, look like, smell like, taste like and feel like?

I’ve talked with other women about living in joy and how it means access to all other emotions, fully feeling and experiencing. How does living in joy allow space for all the emotions in your life?

Well, I certainly don’t live in joy all the time :) My whole life I have erred on the side of pessimism and battled with the black dog, so these days I try to keep things very very simple. It doesn’t seem to take much to make me feel lighter — the magnolias blooming in spring makes me ecstatic, my nephew’s baby talk turns me to happy mush. I suffer terribly with PMS each month, so on the bad days I stay close to home and do whatever I need in the moment to stay sane—hot drinks, favourite snacks, inspiring books, a DVD to zone out. I try to be my own best friend, as cheesy as that sounds. I’m learning to look after myself, and that means allowing space for all emotions, good or bad, happy or sad, remembering that it’s okay to feel whatever I’m feeling; that by feeling my emotions they will pass far sooner (if they’re painful) or be enjoyed so much more (if they’re positive) than if I try to squash them down. When you avoid the pain you also avoid the joy.

Was there a moment that you can clearly remember that defined your decision to live guided by your passion?

There wasn’t a particular moment, rather a series of unfoldings. Going through bereavement (my partner died in 2005) changed everything for me. As I learned how to live again, I discovered what was truly meaningful to me and how I wanted to exist in this world. Thirteen months after he died I started a blog, and I guess that was the most life-affirming decision I made back then, because it became a space for the new me, the one who was living through her grief and finding her way back to wholeness, to have a voice and rejoin the world.

What sort of space opened up in your life when you started living in your joy?

When I began to re-engage with and cherish life again, all sorts of new opportunities came into my life, not least of which were the new friends I made through blogging. Those fledgling relationships have blossomed into true soul friendships. I learned more about myself and my place in the world as I worked through my grief, and in turn I seemed to attract people to me who were on a similar path, which meant we could support each other on the journey.

When fears present themselves, how do you talk to yourself?

Once the panic subsides, I try to talk to myself calmly and kindly — my journal is where I work things out and it has never let me down. Of course, I don’t always remember to do it, and emotions often overwhelm me, but when I remember to be kind, something always shifts.

In the kitchen, what food are you preparing to bring you power and energy?

I survived the winter by making huge pans of ribollita every week, an Italian soup I make with borlotti beans, cavalo nero, carrots, red onion, green beans, leeks and tomatoes.

How do you start each day? End each day?

I start each day with coffee and porridge, incense and emails, and end with teeth brushed, gorgeous-smelling face cream and reading in bed.

Does ritual play a part in your joy?

As I live alone and also work at home I find I have many rituals throughout my day, my favourite being the making of that first coffee in the morning. I really enjoy grinding the beans and filling the kettle with filtered water before savouring my (black, no sugar) coffee while I check my email and contemplate my to do list — it helps to get me focussed.

What made you smile today? Full belly laugh?

Watching a video of my nephew on my iPhone — he always makes me smile.

How does being an inspiration/mentor for others help you move through your life?

All I can do is be honest and that includes sharing the less-than-good days. I always feel a bit intimidated when I come across a blogger who seems to have got it all together — my life isn’t like that, so I just try to be myself and share different aspects of my world in the hope that it might be helpful to someone else.

The outfit that you put on that makes you feel so YOU is?

A dress over jeans — always. With flips flops and a fabulous necklace.

What color when you see it or wear it, do you feel connected to at this point in your life?

RED. Red for passion, for heart, for living fearlessly.

What song when you hear it do you sing out loud?

Wide Opens Spaces by the Dixie Chicks :)

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Vanilla in perfumes, dark chocolate to savour

What book is on your nightstand or in your travel bag?

Currently by my bed are The House by the Sea by May Sarton and Peaceful Action, Open Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh. I carry a Kindle in my travel bag – so useful!

What is your joy and passion guiding you to create now?

Well, I’ve just sent the finished manuscript for my first book to my editor, so that’s the biggest project I’m working on right now. Editing the manuscript will come next — the book is being published in spring 2012. Later this year I’ll be launching my guidebook, Blogging from the Heart, and if all goes to plan I’ll be opening the doors to a new gathering place for women in the autumn. And not forgetting the summer session of Unravelling which starts at the end of May. Plenty to keep me busy!

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Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. A Polaroid addict and very proud aunt, she is currently hard at work on her first book, to be published in the spring of 2012. You can read more about her shenanigans on her blog at and connect with her on Twitter. Registration for the next Unravelling class opens on Saturday May 7th.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Susannah April 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

Such an honour to be here! Thank you for inviting me, Hannah xo
Susannah recently posted..Battening down the hatches


Hannah April 23, 2011 at 5:55 am

Loved having you.


erin @ exhale. return to center. April 23, 2011 at 5:31 am

what an inspiring and beautifully real interview. thank you so much hannah. such a pleasure to “meet” you susannah.




Hannah April 23, 2011 at 5:55 am

Susannah is a beauty!


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