YOUR DEAREST DREAM IS COMING TRUE.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”
— Terence McKenna

Your dearest dream is coming true. 

What is your dream? What is your greatest wish? What is real and true for you?

My dream is to travel the inner & outer worlds.

  • To step into my soul’s path
  • To surrender myself into a realm beyond prescribed reality
  • To reach past the edges of the dualistic mind trap
  • To break free from the matrix and escape the insanity loop
  • To breathe art into my roots and roots into my art
  • To merge mud with lotus, a metamorphosis, born anew

A year ago I took an existential gamble. I risked leaving a good life for an unknown but potentially remarkable one. I tested out a belief that home isn’t dependent on a person, place or thing but is a quality of inner peace and an energy that moves through you. I named it "Year of Lotus" and intended to live in a state of grace where divinity, purpose, and intention meet. I threw my life into the deep blue ocean and allowed spirit to carry me. 

I set myself free and in doing so left a good heartner, home, job, and community. 

A year later, I wonder if any of it was ever really “mine” to begin with. This year I’ve learned that nothing really belongs to me and that there’s nothing but universal love that I belong to. Everything is temporary, we’re wandering travelers just passing through. This was a conscious choice and I’d choose it all again but even though I accept that nothing belongs to me, I see the sun setting on the life I had and I feel sadness. It’s still a loss. 

I try my old life back on and though the faces and places are familiar, they don’t feel quite like they used to. A dear friend once said, “The only consistent thing about me is how inconsistent I am”. Wow does that ring true.

As I make my way in the world, I feel the energy of life move and I must move with it. Rather than hold on to the rocks of a rushing river, I peel back my finger tips one by one, it can be scary but I somehow trust and let go. People wonder how to travel full-time and stay grounded amidst a life in motion. My feeling is that though the scenes change, my heart is always home, and though I go through many ups and downs, I feel the backdrop of consciousness completely still. 

So what dearest dream is coming true? 

I’ve dreamed of being free with peace in my heart knowing all of those I love are okay.

And this time I’ve come back “home” to see that it's not just me that’s moving but that life and the ripples around me have moved on too. I see clearly that though life throws thunder and hailstorms, it’s all going to be okay. I’m not needed anymore.

So with that I say, follow what moves within you. Summon your courageous heart. Do what you need to do. 

When there is no obligation, no story, no “you have to” everything becomes a conscious choice from a place of emotional freedom. A dream come true. 

In freedom,

Lotus 

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CELEBRATION OF LIFE: GOLDEN GRAM

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On November 12, 2017 over one hundred family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of Goldie Don Huie. A beloved mother, grandmother, and longtime educator who lived 93 years on earth. 

Goldie was the daughter of Mo Yin Chan and Don Shack Toy. She grew up downtown where her family ran a market. She attended Davis Elementary, Roskruge Middle, Tucson High, UC Berkeley and graduated from The University of Arizona. Goldie was a longtime teacher with the Flowing Wells School District. Goldie was preceeded in death by daughter, Lauren Lily and devoted husband, Ben Ying Huie. Survived by her five children, Sharon (Stephen), Douglas (Debbie), Patricia (Sam), Audrey (Alberto), Carolyn (Richard) and ten grandchildren, Darren (Amy), Stephanie (Jeff), Kelsey, Elizabeth, Lauren, Daniel, Matthew, Ryley, Lily and Elena.

My Mom is one of the daughters and her gift is creating beauty and that's exactly what she did. Grandma Goldie's celebration of life was orchestrated beautifully at the Tucson Botanical Gardens with a slideshow created by my cousin Stephanie and even a dance to "Halo" by Beyonce choreographed by my sister, Lauren. 

As my offering, I spoke a few words and shared a final "Golden Crane" prayer for Grandma Goldie. Below is an audio recording and also a transcription in tribute to a woman well-loved and a life well-lived.

FOR GOLDEN GRAM

As I take off on what will be a 28-hour, 4-part flight home, I realize that when I get there, Grandma won’t be. She won’t be there for a hug or a kiss or a good story. She won’t be there for a laugh or a smile or even an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen. Her peaceful soul has passed on from this realm to the next.

I’m in tears at this realization. Thousands of miles up in the clouds surrounded by strangers and wondering how I got here. Being on this flight triggers an old memory of when I was little and I used to get motion sickness. I remember being four or five years old, boarding the plane and sitting in the middle seat next to Grandma on my right. Takeoffs were the hardest and as we began to take off I buried my face in Grandma’s warm chest and squeezed her tight. I felt her warm soft body like a safety blanket, my protection from the storm and I realized that’s how Grandma loved, radiating warmth and simply being there when we needed her the most.

Though Grandma was special to each of us in our own way, whether as a loving mother, grandmother or caring friend, in every role she was a teacher. And while she taught me many things, there are two lessons or gifts she’s given that I will treasure forever.

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The first, as I mentioned was the way she loved. Osho says, “Love should be like breathing. It should just be a quality in you.” When I think of Grandma’s love, that’s how it feels. Soft. Emanating. Effortless.  She wasn’t running around forcing her love on you, trying too hard or worrying about what everyone thought. She sat still and allowed the love within and around her to simply be. She was fully present in every moment. She taught me to love just by breathing. The second thing Grandma taught me was storytelling. I will highlight the word “story” singular because 9/10 times Grandma would tell me the same story.

The story is a tall tale about when I was born and she stole me from the hospital “you’re the baby I stole” she would say every time she saw me. She would tell me of how she put me in the car and how we drove all the way to my Mom’s house talking away, “well I mostly talked”, she would say. She said we were so immersed in conversation we even missed a turn. When we did get home, she got a call from the hospital, “Hello, this is Tucson Medical Center, we’re going to need you to bring Kelsey back for her to be checked out.” She would then look at me, “well you didn’t say anything.”

Over the years, that story grew, to the point where in one version the police came. While my Mom has assured me that never happened and at this point it’s unclear whether this story happened at all, it doesn’t really matter. What Grandma told me in her story, no matter what version, is that she loved me so much that she would be willing to steal me from the hospital just to show it. And I think if I had one more moment with Grandma, we’d lay down in her room on her super soft pillows and I’d hug her while she told me this story one more time.

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The last thing I’d like to say is that I believe souls choose their parents before they are born. I believe they chose the lessons they’re meant to learn on this earth. And even though Grandma’s childhood wasn’t easy and I’m only now learning more about her life, I am so grateful that Grandma chose her mother, Lily. That my aunts, uncle, and mom chose Grandma and that each of the grandkids chose this family too.  

Family isn’t always easy, in many cases it’s not, but this celebration of life is sewn together and orchestrated with so much love and grace.

And I thank each of you for choosing to be here to celebrate our Golden Gram.

Grandma, we all love you so much. Thank you for teaching us how to love. 

GOLDEN CRANE PRAYER

Let’s take a  moment to bow our heads in a closing prayer for Grandma Goldie.

Heavenly Father, Divine Creator, we thank you for this moment and this life.

We thank you for the opportunity to honor and celebrate a woman well loved and a life well lived.

While we’ve shared many special memories today, what rings true in each is how Grandma touched our hearts with her unconditional love and grace.

So in this moment, I invite each of you to go into your heart space. And as you go into your heart space, I invite you to allow the love and tenderness of Grandma’s golden light IN.

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As you feel her golden light filling your heart, I invite you to see two cranes: one that represents your soul and one that represents hers.  Maybe these two cranes are dancing together, flying together, watching horses, or having their favorite chocolate ice cream.

The Chinese consider the crane a heavenly bird and symbol of wisdom. Its powerful wings were believed to be able to carry souls up to heaven. It is said that a thousand folded cranes, one for each year of its life, makes a wish come true.

In this moment, I invite you to think of a wish you want to send from your heart to hers.

Connect to your one golden wish, take a deep breath, and set it free as all of our cranes combined carry Grandma’s soul up to heaven to be with Grandpa, Lauren Lily, and her Mother.

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And now a last moment of silence.

I’ll ring the bell three times and on the third bell, you’re welcome to open your eyes and squeeze the hand of someone next to you.

Wishing you all good health, happiness, and a world of eternal peace.

Thank you. Bless you.

We love you, Grandma.

Amen.

My sister Lauren, mother Audrey, me and Golden Gram horsie :)

My sister Lauren, mother Audrey, me and Golden Gram horsie :)

STEP 2: COMPLETING THE HERO’S JOURNEY

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Step 2: Completing the Hero's Journey follows Step 1:  Conceiving the Heroine's Journey.

Over the past seven years I’ve gone alone. 

For my twenty-first birthday, my dream was to go to New York City to celebrate. I spent months planning the trip and invited my best friends at the time that said they were "IN". When push came to shove for many reasons whether it be money or time constraints, they couldn’t go. I was left with a choice, go alone or stay back with my friends. 

I chose to go.

I knew a couple people in New York and on my birthday itself I had planned to meet a friend of a friend. For some reason, her phone went straight to voicemail and no matter how many times I tried, she just couldn't be reached. We had planned to go to the Museum of Modern Art and by noon I finally stopped waiting. “I’m here. I’m going.” 

Through that experience and many others over the past several years, I've learned that pursuing your dreams often requires a solo journey. 

Biography drawing depicting my life in seven-year stages 0-7, 7-14, 14-28 etc.

Biography drawing depicting my life in seven-year stages 0-7, 7-14, 14-28 etc.

A psychologist friend recently took my colleagues and I through a powerful exercise called “Biographies” (above) where you chart your life in seven year stages. In each stage you record the significant events and then examine it for themes and unfolding patterns. What I discovered from looking at my "going alone" stage from twenty-one to twenty-eight is that it strongly correlates to the “Hero’s Journey”

After decades of studying ancient myths and stories, Joseph Campbell, developed the “Hero’s Journey” to describe the “monomyth” or universal storyline present in each. The general arc of this story unfolds where the hero (often male) hears a “call to adventure” and leaves the “known world” of home and family to undertake the “unknown world”. Whether alone or with the assistance of minor characters helpers, the hero conquers adversaries, obtains treasure and returns home with greater status or goods where he is welcomed and validated as a new leader and master of two worlds. 

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What Campbell also discovered through his studies is that we can apply this same storyline to our own lives and that each of us is experiencing our own hero’s journeys.

For me, my hero’s journey has been one of growth, learning, and exploring. I’ve traveled across twenty-five countries from the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia. I’ve held over twenty-four jobs ranging from serving in restaurants to managing graphic design firms to leading coworking spaces and doing global culture consulting.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Through these adventures, I've been blessed to meet many mentors, helpers, and friends and though it's taken many forms, I can see that the Hero's Journey is a cycle I’ve repeated over and over and over again. I answered every call. I went all in. I threw myself into the ocean and became a “Yes woman” or “Yes-mad” a digital nomad that says “Yes” to life. 

As I round out this last year working and traveling in Southeast Asia, I see my hero's journey coming to an end. While it has been an incredibly insightful and useful framework, I’ve made a new discovery.

 “The Hero’s journey is a search for one’s soul and is chronicled in mythologies and fairy tales throughout the world. This quest motif does not, however, address the archetypal journey of the heroine. For contemporary women, this involves the healing of the wounding of the feminine that exists deep within her and the culture.

In 1990, Maureen Murdock wrote The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness as a response to Joseph Campbell’s model. Murdock, a student of Campbell’s work, felt his model failed to address the specific psycho-spiritual journey of contemporary women. She developed a model describing the cyclical nature of the female experience. Campbell’s response to her model was, “Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological tradition the woman is there. All she has to do is to realize that she’s the place that people are trying to get to” (Campbell, 1981). That may be true mythologically as the hero or heroine seeks illumination but psychologically, the journey of the contemporary heroine involves different stages.

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The first part of the heroine’s journey is propelled by the mind and the second part is in response to the heart. The heroine has been working on the developmental tasks necessary to be an adult, to individuate from her parents, and to establish her identity in the outer world. However, even though she has achieved her hard-earned goals, she may experience a sense of Spiritual Aridity. Her river of creativity has dried up and she begins to ask, “What have I lost in this heroic quest?” She has achieved everything she set out to do, but it has come at great sacrifice to her soul. Her relationship with her inner world is estranged. She feels oppressed but doesn’t understand the source of her victimization. (Article: Heroine's Journey, Maureen Murdock)"

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

The Heroine's Journey describes with absolute accuracy what I am experiencing now. I’ve achieved a “successful life”. I’m doing work that I love, traveling around the globe with the support of a community of family and friends but in the process I’ve sacrificed much of my body and soul.

Though the soul is eternal and cannot die it has still suffered and been silenced beneath the noise of my mind. Additionally, my body has struggled to do all the things I demand it to do. My inner man has been in control with lofty performance goals and ambitions to live a life rich in life experience. And while this journey has been enriching it has also left me quite exhausted.  

The body is an amazing vehicle for the soul and at a young age, I’ve found tools that allow me to heal just enough so I can keep going. That said, this isn’t sustainable. One mentor has said to me, “the biggest reason brilliant people fail is they burn out.” I know I have an inner journey of healing to surrender to do. My soul needs me to slow down, to listen. 

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Though I've been offered a full-time role with an amazing innovation company in Southeast Asia, I've decided to shift my focus from "doing" to "being" by taking the next three to six months off. 

Sounds easy but keep in mind, I've built my entire identity on what I do. In making this decision my spiritual teacher asked me, "What feels like the hardest thing you would have to push yourself to do?" I replied, "Letting go. Letting go of "what I think I know" and "who I think I am" to explore my undiscovered multitudes, my "unknown unknowns" asking gently, who am I?" 

As I step into my next seven-year stage from 28 to 35, my sense is carving out space to reset the currents of my life is timely. 

“Finding out about being instead of doing is the sacred task of the feminine. Being requires accepting oneself, staying within oneself and not doing to prove oneself. It is a discipline that is accorded no applause from the outside world, it questions production for production's safe. Politically and economically it has little value, but it's simple message has wisdom. If I can accept myself as I am, and if I am in harmony with my surroundings, I have no need to produce, promote, or pollute to be happy. And being is not passive, it takes focused awareness." (The Heroine's Journey, Murdock, 1990, pg. 128)

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

So here’s to the next stage, a time of going inward, of healing, recovery, and rediscovery. 

With gratitude and grace,

Kelsey Lotus Wong