Story #5: Susannah Conway

We Know What We Need

I learned how to trust my intuition in the worst of circumstances. When the man I loved died from a heart attack in 2005 I fled our home city of London to be closer to my family on the south coast of England.  I instinctively knew I needed to be closer to the sea, even though it meant leaving behind so many memories in the city. The experts tell you not to make any big decisions in the first year of bereavement, but I knew I had to move, I knew I needed to find my own space to be able to truly heal. And even though that first year was excruciating, painful beyond anything I had ever experienced, my intuition had been right. I found a therapist I could spill my heart to as I began to process what had happened and slowly learned how to live on my own and rebuild my life. Those years by the sea were profoundly healing, and in many ways it feels like that was when my life truly began.


Three years later, in the summer of 2008, I knew once again that it was time to move, and this time the decision was unquestionably divinely-guided. I was feeling the need to stretch my wings when a close friend mentioned that she was thinking of moving to Bath, a small city in the south-west of England. I’d visited Bath before and had always admired the Georgian architecture and cosy feel of the place; as it turned out, my friend didn’t move, but the seed had been planted in me. I took a trip to the city and spent the day walking through the streets, feeling weightless after all those years of grief, suddenly able to picture myself in a new phase of my life, one that was bigger and more abundant than ever before. Returning back home I threw myself into packing and preparing. Even though I was scared to leave the coast—and even more scared to move to a place where I knew no one—I was convinced it was the right thing to do. Looking back I’m amazed I made such a brave leap, but my conviction was absolute, and when I returned to Bath a few weeks later to find a place to live, the nerves were tempered with a sense of rightness.

With so little time to look, I was prepared for the flat hunt to be a nightmare, and despite all my visualisations of my perfect home, my initial calls to estate agents looked bleak—not much property available in the area I wanted, not the right time to move, blah blah blah. The first morning I sat with laptop and phone and made the calls, booking a few appointments; in the other room, my sister was doing the same, and it was she who found The One, quite by chance, shouting through to me: ‘Have you called this number yet?’



The flat was the third one we viewed, a small attic conversion with views over the entire city and fields on the horizon. It felt right, but I was still cautious—what if there was something better? As we drove through town in search of coffee, I sat in the passenger seat wringing my hands: ‘I think that might be the one, but I need a sign!’ At that exact moment we drove past a shop that caught my eye—there were mirrors and vintage lace in the window, and chandelier crystals that glittered in the sunlight. I pointed it out to my sister, who turned to me with big eyes: ‘It’s called Susannah!’ she said, laughing, and there was my sign, quite literally, right in the middle of Bath. It appeared I was here already.

Two weeks later I moved the contents of my life into that attic flat, and two and a half years later I am still here, typing these words as the sun begins to set, casting golden rays across my living room floor. Moving to this city changed everything, but it wasn’t just the physical relocation—I offered myself up to possibility, bravely letting go of the ballast that had kept me safe, and opening the windows in my head to let new opportunity to flow in. The first few months were hard, as I adjusted to life away from the safe cocoon I’d built by the sea; I had moments when I questioned my decision and yearned to be safely ‘back home,’ but as I created new routines, I started receiving confirmation that I’d made the right move. New opportunities came my way that I’d never have been open to before: the chance to create and teach a self-awareness class using the tools I’d developed in my healing journey; the inspiration to share the class online; the founding of a creative business that brings me joy every day; an unexpected email from a publisher, and now, a precious book written, ready to send out into the world. All of these creations were possible because I listened to my intuition, because i took a leap into the unknown and trusted that I knew how to navigate my own life.


And that’s the key, really—we know what we need to do, we just have to remember to stop and listen for the clues. I believe we all have unlimited wisdom inside of us that we can draw from whenever we’re feeling lost and uncertain of the next step. If we can get quiet enough and tune out the noise that fills our lives, we can catch a whisper of that knowing—it may come as words, as pictures, as an urge to go somewhere or call someone. It could be a sense of rightness, or a very definite no. I know I’ve got it wrong more times than I’ve got it right, but when I listen to my gut and get brutally honest with myself, life seems to flow with more ease than when I cross my fingers and hope for the best. And this isn’t some woo-woo magic that’s just for the mystically-inclined—this is learning to access the infinitely wise part of ourselves, the part that’s present in every single one of us. And that, to me, is true magic.

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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 editing her first book, ready for publication in spring 2012. You can read more about her shenanigans on her blog at SusannahConway.com and connect with her on Twitter- @photobird. Registration for the next Unravelling class opens this Saturday, May 7th.

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4 Comments

  1. thanks for inviting me to contribute to this series, Louise — so much lovely inspiration here already! yay for intuition :)

    Reply
  2. Susannah, Thanks for sharing your story with us. So sorry to hear about your husband love and peace always be with you.

    Reply
  3. Inspiring, indeed! Thanks for the opportunity to get to know Susannah. These series of stories are amazing!!! Bravo Louise!!

    Reply
  4. For me, a “sign” is this kind of connection, when I find that two of my favorite people, women whose art and open, brave hearts inspire me are linked, even if just through this essay. It’s in these ways that the Universe lets me know I am looking in the right places, headed in the right direction. Beautifully written, beautifully shared. Thank you both.

    Reply

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