YOU ARE ACCEPTABLE.

Wherever you are. Whatever you’re gong through, you are acceptable.

You don’t need to do anything to be acceptable. You don’t need to change anything to be acceptable. You existing makes you acceptable.

Acceptable is the state of being accepted, the root word in Latin is “accepto” meaning to receive something willingly.

Being human in a world full of what feels like endless pressure and illusion isn’t easy. We get caught up in our own neurosis or others and think there is something "wrong" with us. We experience a breakdown and we feel we are not strong enough, not smart enough, or some form of not good enough and that is just not true.

But it’s hard to receive that message willingly when you’re struggling and life can feel fucking hard. Even the lives that appear the “most exciting” have their shadows. Facebook posts are only the tip of the iceberg. Often even the most open people are hiding in plain sight or only showing the first layer of their Russian dolls.

Mental, emotional, and spiritual health is an ongoing practice. The return to love is an everlasting journey.

We all need support, someone to care, someone to ask us how we’re REALLY doing when we automatically say “I’m good!” too fast.

Are you really good?

Well maybe you’re not “bad” and you didn’t think anyone had time to listen to how you feel or maybe you haven’t even had your own time to ask yourself how you feel. It seems the train keeps moving regardless of our emotional state. We think “sucking it up” builds resilience but it really just puts up walls and barriers to the heart.

It’s difficult to be honest and even more so to be vulnerable. I’ll speak for myself, I’m actively creating a life I've dreamed of, working and traveling in Southeast Asia and Australia. It’s been amazing but it’s also been exhausting. I feel deep sadness and wild aliveness, I feel liberated and displaced, clear and confused, on fire and flirting with burnout. I feel like I have no idea how I’m going to deliver on all of my commitments. I often feel stretched to my limits.

My emotional range is vast; I feel many things. We all do, some just have an easier time articulating it. But feeling these things and the ebbs and flows of life doesn’t necessarily mean something is “wrong”.

Why are we conditioned to believe that everything other than rosy is wrong? It’s the critical flaw of the dualistic mind and conditioned self (and that’s a whole other topic, see Samadhi: Part 1: Maya, The Illusion of Self).

I believe we have the capacity to hold space for our emotional range and those of others. I believe we have the capacity to love and be loved in our entirety. I believe we are all acceptable and that to feel that way we need support, love, and a sense of belonging.

To experience acceptance of oneself is an active practice of self-compassion, forgiveness, and loving kindness. To share this with another is to give and receive grace.

So may this serve as reminder that you are loved and you are accepted, just as you are.

And that the person next to you or far from you or that you've thought about but haven't reached out to yet may need this reminder too <3.

With love and kindness,

Lotus

WE ARE [DSIL] GLOBAL CITIZENS

Phom Phenh, Cambodia | Captured by Zachary Habayeb

Phom Phenh, Cambodia | Captured by Zachary Habayeb

There are some who “believe it when they see it”, who make a plan, trust in rationale, and take that leap only when they have the proof to validate the risk.

There are others who “believe it before they see it”, who have a vision, trust in their intuition, and take a leap of faith, risking it all for the great unknown. 

While I come from a culture that follows the former, I am living into the latter.

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

One big belief I have is that you can be a global citizen.

A global citizen is someone who doesn’t belong to one place or one community but belongs to every place and every community. A global citizen cannot be defined by what language they speak or where they come from. A global citizen speaks from the heart and every heart is their home.

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You will know a global citizen when you meet one because they will disarm the default conversation. They will not fit into a single box. They will not walk a prescribed path.

A global citizen lives in MULTITUDES.

To live in multitudes means to be multidimensional; to encapsulate multiple identities, to hold multiple perspectives, and even to be in multiple places at the same time.

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Over two weeks, I had the priviledge of exploring the many multitudes of 15 global citizens as a part of the DSIL Global Course hailing from Costa Rica, South Africa, Hungary, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, U.S.A., and India.

And it is these unique humans, which we now call “Sensei16” (Sensei meaning “Teacher” in Japanese) that have set my soul on fire.

You see we shared something truly special.

Zero Baht Shop | Thailand, Cambodia 

Zero Baht Shop | Thailand, Cambodia 

Together, we leaned into our learning edges, stretched beyond our limits, and leapt outside our comfort zones to discover a whole new realm of possibility. From Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we traveled together, designed together, and lived into insanely curious, wicked questions together.

We touched and were touched by life itself.

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We heard the stories of local Thai and Cambodians who lost everything, their homes, their families, their faith and who rebuilt (and continue to rebuild) their lives from the ground up. We used our entrepreneurial mindsets to work with local social enterprises like My Dream Home Cambodia, Koonsoor Kampuchea Training Academy, and the Zero Baht Shop in Bangkok. We failed forward learning about design thinking, conscious leadership, and inclusive development in realtime. We heard each other’s stories, tales of defining moments that have shaped who we are today and dreams for who we’re destined to be.

I can only stop, stare, and try not to blink. Did this really just happen?

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They say you have space in your heart for people you haven't met yet.

Call it synchronicity. Call it destiny.

Better yet, as Global Citizen Lili Camacho says, call it SYNCHRODESTINY (and a lot of hard work, thanks DSIL Global Team!).

No matter what you call it, there is space in my heart for you all and I sense there is something important for us to do together. And while I can only begin to imagine the infinite possibilities, I’ll allow the purpose to reveal itself.

So for now, I leave the DSIL Global Course with an expanded vision and a greater capacity to love.

I have a vision of social transformation and planetary regeneration. Where we transform broken systems of exploitation and oppression into generative sources of justice and liberation. Where we value people and planet over process and profit. Where we dedicate our lives first to our inner worlds and self-realization an then to exploring our passionate curiosities and sharing our gifts sustainably.

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

I dream of a world where we return to our hearts.

In this vision, I aim to be an integral part of crafting transformational learning experiences that uplift and inspire. I want to create wildly, express colorfully, and weave a divine tapestry of togetherness.

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

While this vision may sound idealistic and a long way off, I have been blessed to travel around the globe meeting hundreds who ripple out touching thousands of people who are catalyzing their own part of this very vision and building a new world.   

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Yes, many of the problems we face are gravity problems (ones we will not solve in this lifetime) but that doesn’t mean your energy and efforts are not worthwhile.

As Global Citizen, Musa Nxumalo says, "Your dreams must be greater than your excuses." 

So while this way of living is not always graceful and it can be truly exhausting at times, the Global Citizen looks inward, lives their truth and moves forward, onward and upward anyway.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia | Photographed by Zachary Habayeb

Phnom Penh, Cambodia | Photographed by Zachary Habayeb

So here’s to you Global Citizens, my friends, my family, my teachers.

May you live your wildest visions and design your wildest dreams!

With an everexpanding and open heart,

Kelsey Lotus Wong

See full journey photo album and join the DSIL 2018 Course!

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Phan Dara

Love Lost & Found | Part II: Love is a Mystery

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Love Lost & Found.

What could me more worthy of dedicating space to than love?

Sharing stories, symbols and suffering from love lost. Discovering hope, belonging, acceptance from love found. I've written a three part series dedicated to these insights. 

  • Part I: Love is a skill [here]. 
  • Part II: Love is a mystery [this post!].
  • Part III: Great love and great achievement require great risk [to be published].

So here goes Part II...

"Love is a Mystery. We’ll learn what life is as we go.
No maps, no guides, or answers." — Max Mendoza

Love fascinates me. My favorite stories are love stories. How people met. What drew them to one another. How they knew that person was their person. How their love grew. Their favorite things about one another. How it feels to wake up in the other’s arms. What lessons they’ve learned from one another. What gifts they’ve shared. What challenges they’ve faced together. What’s their vision? What’s next?

All of it.

Some people call that being nosey. I call it being passionately curious.

Studies show that sharing these stories releases oxytocin. People experience gratitude and joy as they reflect on some of the most meaningful moments of their lives.

Sometimes when I ask couples these questions, they have never heard one another share these feelings so deeply or tell these stories so vividly.

One of my favorite moments was at Burning Man this past year. I befriended a group of “technicolor teddy bears”, we were all wearing technicolor fur coats and became a crew.

There were two bears named Astonish Bear and Beastie Bear. At first, I didn’t realize they were a couple, then I sensed something and asked one of the other bears. She smiled and said, “they’re Care Bears.”

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We all cuddled up together and I said to Astonish and Beastie, “You’re Care Bears.” They looked at each other, smiled, and said, “Yes, we are.”

I asked Beastie Bear how they met.

They met in Tennessee. He hosted a Burner dinner party and Astonish Bear was invited by a friend. He saw her and it was like time stood still. She astonished him.

Her beauty, her energy, the way she lit up a room.

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She started hosting events in the area too. She even led the first regional Burn in Tennessee, mostly by herself.

You could hear the admiration in his Tennessee twang as he spoke.

But the best part was seeing the way she looked at him while he told his love story about her.

“She’s my Playa Queen,” he said.

It was pure beauty.

I could hardly bare (no pun intended) the love and delight I felt in my heart from being able to witness their connection.

I felt like I got to soak in their lovecuzzi (love jacuzzi) for a moment. Bubbles and everything!

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Feeling safe, love, and accepted by a special someone is no small thing.

Looking into the well of someone else’s soul. Starting into the eternity of their eyes. Feeling the warmth of their skin on yours. Lying entangled in a web of affection. Seeing them at their worst and loving them even more for it.

There’s nothing else like it.

My first love told me, beauty is meant to be shared.

And your beloved is someone to share the mystery of love with.

With love lost & found,

Lotus