Kind Kindred : Susannah Conway on Kindness & Online Friendships

Kind Kindred

Good Morning & Happy Monday to each of you! We are so excited to share this post with you by the lovely & super talented Susannah Conway! Both of us have been following her story, watching her life unravel, for quite sometime – this post resonates so deep for the both of us that it scaled up & down the sides of our souls. She captured the essence of what it means to have online friendships & how they can blossom into some of the best deep-rooted connections & camaraderie you could hope for in a life. I am so very grateful for the people I have met this way. Thank you Susannah, we are truly touched to have you be part of our Kind Kindred series. Enjoy! Peace, skies full, Amanda

Believe it or not, when I think of kindness I think of the Internet.

What could potentially be a place filled with faceless words and pictures has been a home from home since I started blogging five years ago. I’d bought books on the internet and used Google countless times, but it wasn’t until I left a comment on that first blog that I began to see how the internet could connect us. I was excited when the blogger e-mailed me back, and as the weeks passed a friendship blossomed virtually that is now deeply cherished in real life too.

Not that I differentiate between my virtual and real lives much these days; what you see online is what you’ll meet in a coffee shop, albeit dressed up in a British accent with plenty of expletives 😉 It is this willingness to be ourselves online that connects us to each other — I see you and you see me — I’ll tell you my hurts, you’ll share your joys — back and forth it goes, snippets of life shared and celebrated, people all over the world connected through story-telling and truth sharing.

When I started blogging I wrote often of my grief following the death of my partner the previous year — it’s not an exaggeration to say that the kindness and support I received from readers helped to heal my heart. People who had never met me sent me treasures they had made; bloggers who’d experienced similar losses reached out with gentle words; poetry was shared; gatherings were arranged. Grieving is a solitary activity, but to have a place to share my thoughts, and exercise my creativity with words and pictures, was transformative for me, and deeply healing.

Blogging changed my life. No, strike that: bloggers changed my life — the (extra)ordinary people who reach out to me from behind their screens. And now I’ve taken it a step further by creating communities online with my e-courses. Again and again I am humbled by the kindness and generosity shown by my Unravellers: the stories they share and the way they reach out to each other and me. When women come together a shift takes place, and whether we’re sitting in a living room or connecting in a virtual room, it only takes one brave soul to share her story before we’re all nodding and smiling and sharing ours too.

The Internet has provided us with ways to connect that we’ve never had before; countries suddenly have no borders as we work and play in this global space. But it’s not the servers and social media that make the magic happen — it’s us — each of us daring to put our selves out there in the hope that someone will see us and wave back. Whether it’s a cupcake recipe, a beautiful piece of art or broken heart, by infusing kindness into our online transactions I really do believe we’re changing our world — one tweet, one comment, one kind word at a time.

Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer and the creator of the wildly popular Unravelling e-courses. She is currently hard at work on her first book, to be published in autumn 2011, and counting down the days until she sees her nephew again. She has a clinical obsession with Polaroid cameras and is very proud to call herself a family-of-one. You can read more about her shenanigans on her blog at SusannahConway.com and connect with her on Twitter.

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