Dr Lauren Tober: In this moment, what are you grateful for?
Susannah Conway: My health. My eyesight. My sister and nephew. My friends. My cameras.
My new love for the gym (a miracle!) Daylight. The potential for love. Being open. Surrender.
Lauren: What does gratitude mean to you, and how do you practice it in your every day life?
Susannah: I don’t always remember to be consciously grateful — I am generally grateful in that I am glad for the good in my life and mindful of the harder stuff. But I also know life could be so much worse — and has been in the past — so once in a while I will stop and really see what I have in my life and what there is to be grateful for. I am so deeply grateful to have survived bereavement, so thankful to be here on this side of the blast, that most of the time gratefulness is just part of breathing for me. If I’m going through a hard time I’ll try to remember to write a gratitude list every night as that practice has helped me shift my perspective so often. It’s so simple and yet so powerful.
Lauren: What piece of advice have you been given that you’re grateful for?
Susannah: My paternal grandmother always told me to “go gently” meaning to take it all in my stride and not get too caught up in the dramas of life. It’s always been sound advice.
Lauren: Can you think of someone you haven’t met, but you’re grateful they exist (or existed) in the world? Tell me about them and why you’re grateful.
Susannah: I’m grateful for all the women artists and writers and musicians and scientists who have gone before us for paving the way to a life of creativity and choices for women today. For Georgia O’Keefe and Dorothea Lange, Marie Curie and Mary Wollstonecraft, Anita Roddick and Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag and Joni Mitchell. And so many more!
Lauren: What quality in yourself are you grateful for?
Susannah: I recently figured out that I am an HSP — a Highly Sensitive Person — and while this is actually quite annoying a lot of the time (loud or irritating noises, too many people, fabric not feeling ‘right’, visual overwhelm, the wrong smells, a tendency to obsess) I can also appreciate how being this way also brings me a lot of joy. Scents, tastes, sounds, touch and the way I see the world are all heightened and feed my creative life. So yes, it’s also a good thing 🙂
Lauren: What advice do you have for someone wanting to introduce more gratitude into their lives?
Susannah: Be open to feeling it. Not all days will be filled with big jazzy things to be grateful for but there’s always something. The air we breathe. The existence of our loved ones. Another morning. A delicious cup of coffee. Pay attention to the simple things and you’ll be amazed at how much there really is to be grateful for.
Lauren: Susannah, can you share with us one of your gratitude photographs?
Susannah: This is a Polaroid of me with my nephew taken by my sister. Being Noah’s auntie is hands down the best thing in my life. I was there at his birth and have such a magical connection with this little person. For the last six years he’s been top of every gratitude list I’ve written. He is pure joy.
Susannah Conway is the author of This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart and forthcoming LONDONTOWN: A Photographic Tour of the City’s Delights (Chronicle Books, 2016). A photographer, writer and teacher, her classes have been enjoyed by thousands of people from over 50 countries around the world. Co-author of Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids, Susannah helps others remember their true selves, using creativity as the key to open the door. Visit her at SusannahConway.com and say hi on Instagram.
Photo credit: Kristin Perers