dsil global

LIBERATING STRUCTURES GLOBAL GATHERING | SEATTLE

57238934_10215573928074223_5820008946135465984_o.jpg

Gotta give a shout out to my PoC (People of Color) Caucus who I met through the "Liberating Structures Global Summit" in Seattle. While my intention was to practice + learn more about Liberating Structures, 33+ mico-techniques used in creative facilitation for opening up the wisdom in a room, I discovered so much more.

POC_CAUCUS

I met a community and circle of new friends that are both REAL & WOKE, who are fighting for justice on the daily and teaching me what it means to SHOW UP for your people and the planet.

57155000_10215573928634237_1794979408386195456_o.jpg

The people who surround you matter, their presence has the capacity to elevate your awareness or keep you small. So watch the company you keep and be vigilant about your vibration, in other words...

YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE!

kelsey-lotus-wong-art2

I also began to come more fully into my artistry. I did a few magical realism portraits for people and a full scale canvas style piece as a tribute to the Global Gathering as a whole.

57253367_10215573989515759_3612282974445240320_o.jpg

This is Carley, she laid down for a bit and I started drawing her with pastels. I encouraged her to share a message and hers was “I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. I know what I know. I care about you.”

“You are more powerful than you think” ~ Nakia illustrated here as a mergoddess!

“You are more powerful than you think” ~ Nakia illustrated here as a mergoddess!

“ When you walk to the edge of all the light you  have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,  you  must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for  you  to stand upon or  you  will be taught to fly.” ~ Paul Overton

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” ~ Paul Overton

Thank you to the organizers of the Liberating Structures Global Gathering for bringing us together and to all the beautiful people I came into contact with.

57227768_10215573940234527_4910253547636916224_o.jpg

Special gratitude to Nakia who introduced me to Adrienne Maree Brown's book “Emergent Strategy”, a radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help book designed to shape the futures we want to live in.

57049104_10215573928354230_393649777201381376_o.jpg

I think this particular passage sums up our collective vision for a new world order and is something I invite you to tap into too:

"At a collective level, this is the invitation to practice the world we wish to see in the current landscape. Yes, resist the onslaught of oppression, but measure our success not just by what we stop, but by how many of us feel, and can say:

I am living a life I don’t regret. A life that will resonate with my ancestors and with as many generations forward as I can imagine, I am attending to the crises of my time with my best self, I am of communities that are doing our collective best to honor our ancestors and all humans to come.” ~ Adrienne Maree Brown

Amen to that 🙏🏽❤️✊🏾

#PoCCaucus #community #belonging #marchingdaily #emergentstrategy#justice #love #adriennemareebrown

56993993_10215573940994546_111909689339412480_o.jpg

PROGRESS ON MY PH.D. (PURE HEART DEGREE)

IMG_8442.jpg

BACKSTORY:

Over the last several years, I’ve been seeking.

I’ve been looking inside, outside, everywhere, on a journey of self-exploration trying with determination (and sometimes desperation) to find myself.

About two years ago in late 2016, I recognized that while on paper, I had “made it” achieving my dream in the material world, something was missing...

ALIVENESS

To quote the wise words of poet Mary Oliver, I was, “breathing just a little and calling it a life”.

I projected this feeling of dissatisfaction externally. Even though I was living in my dream city with a meaningful job, a loving partner, and freedom to travel, I still felt stuck. It seemed mad. I didn’t understand.

I wondered:

  • Who am I?

  • Why am I here?

  • What is my purpose in life?

  • How can I contribute to the world in a meaningful way?

  • Where will I go next?

My colorful messy process of self-inquiry...

My colorful messy process of self-inquiry...

This self-inquiry hit an existential tipping point and I decided I needed a change. Without a clear idea of where to start, I took a more traditional approach and began looking at higher education somehow thinking this strategy could solve all my problems. I began a lengthy research process and over the course of a few months, I looked into about 45 schools and graduate programs mostly in the U.S. and some abroad.

After all that research, I couldn't find a single program that fit my variety of interests and budget. The average cost was $60,000 USD for two years!! Which was all of my savings and I couldn’t justify that when I didn’t even feel the programs fit all my needs. I felt frustrated and deflated.

Finally I said, “Fuck it”.

465544_3907787566074_1610952252_o.jpg

I decided to design my own customized self-funded curriculum that combines traveling, working, and learning. My friend Ann also decided to pursue the path less traveled with an alternative education all her own.

We both yearned to go deeper and awaken our hearts to love in every form, so we made a master spreadsheet full of everything from yoga retreats, meditation, Ayurveda, Thai massage, divine feminine gatherings, social innovation institutes, design thinking workshops, global leadership programs etc. and we began calling this process, "Getting our Ph.D.'s = Pure Heart Degrees". (See her blog post on her journey.)

6360774-Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-Quote-Do-not-go-where-the-path-may-lead-go-1.jpg

Almost two years later, I’m in the thick of my Pure Heart Degree (I wrote another post at the start here: "Pursuing my Ph.D. Pure Heart Degree" ).  With all of this travel, learning, and growing many friends and family have asked, "How do you do it?" While that question involves far more than I can put into one post, I decided to document the journey and share my progress so far.

May this serve as an inspiration for anyone who is ready to take a leap of faith and is interested in designing their own life curriculum. If you’d like any support on envisioning the next step in your journey, I am happy to provide some visioning coaching and guidance for you. Reach out to me directly – hi@kelseykwong.com.

Hridaya Yoga School | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

Hridaya Yoga School | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

PROGRESS ON MY PH.D. (Pure Heart Degree)

START WITH WHY:

The first step when starting anything is to ask, why? what is your intention? For me it was:

  • To heal and purify the heart

  • To expand my capacity to lead, love, and create in the world

  • To return to my true nature

  • To become an instrument of generosity and love

Next, what do you value? What is important to you in your learning journey? Make a list of those important elements. For example, for me it was important this experience include:

  1. Variety of Interests - psychology, spirituality, nature, culture, art, social innovation, conscious leadership, international development, dance, movement, creativity etc.

  2. Experiential Learning Environment – on the ground in person learning as well as flexible online learning for digital nomads

  3. Cost – for the costs to be manageable and allow me the freedom to work minimally and travel as much as I want

  4. Process – to be playful, dynamic, and flexible, an ability to move with what’s present in the moment and not to be rigid or take oneself so seriously

  5. Love - the most important ingredient for anything. Self-love and self-care seems to be my ongoing lesson and something I struggle with often. It was important that I design the right conditions to care for, nurture and love myself through the journey. Being able to take breaks and slow down when I needed to.

Words of wisdom at Hridaya Yoga School | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

Words of wisdom at Hridaya Yoga School | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

While many people separate work, education, and travel, I chose to integrate all three by funding my travels and education through my consulting work. What makes this more achievable is that 70% of my work is remote and 30% is in-person, on-site. Plus I worked for American based companies but lived in mostly Southeast Asian countries so my dollars stretched much farther and I could work far less than if I lived in America.

While this all makes perfect sense looking backwards, I will say it wasn’t as clear when I started. But something in me called me from every cell in my being, it was ever so soft and enormously loud all at once. I knew I had to do this, so in December 2016, I said farewell to my partner, friends and family, I put my stuff in storage and took off!

A wise friend said to me, “life is either a problem to solve or a mystery to be revealed” and slowly but surely the path has revealed itself.

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO SO FAR:

COUNTRIES TRAVELED:

  1. Thailand

  2. Vietnam

  3. Indonesia

  4. Australia

  5. Cambodia

  6. USA

  7. Mexico

  8. Taiwan

  9. Canada

DSIL Global Course  | Bangkok, Thailand

DSIL Global Course | Bangkok, Thailand

EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION:

1.) LEADERSHIP : Designing for Social Innovation & Leadership Course – The DSIL Global course is a 5 month executive leadership course certified by the UN University of Peace. The course is designed to expand one’s creative capacities and develop one’s skillset in design thinking, conscious leadership, entrepreneurial mindset, sustainable development, and social innovation (Bangkok, Thailand; Phnom Phen, Cambodia, and Virtual Classrooms). I loved it so much I did it twice, once in 2017 and again in 2018, I then joined their epic team of Creative Consultants and Design Thinkers (DSIL Global) that facilitate around the globe.

Tantra Heart Yoga Retreats  | Koh Phangan, Thailand

Tantra Heart Yoga Retreats | Koh Phangan, Thailand

2.) TANTRA HEART YOGA:·

Tantra Heart Kriya Yoga is a profound and playful way for learning to live in bliss. What distinguishes Tantra Heart is the focus on realizing your true Self, attention to emotional flow, and the skillfully designed sets of yogic techniques for safely activating your kundalini (most powerful and creative) energy.

Hridaya Yoga | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

Hridaya Yoga | Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

3.) HRIDAYA YOGA & MEDITATION:

Hridaya Yoga & Meditation School - Hridaya is a school dedicated to teaching students to live with an open heart and discover their life's potential.  Through meditation sessions, Hatha Yoga classes, silent meditation retreats, and daily life awareness practices, Hridaya shares a path for the revelation of the Self and a way to live a life of joy, compassion, and gratitude. This is the path of the Spiritual Heart.

Social Enterprise Fellowship Program with  Unbound  | Sydney, Australia

Social Enterprise Fellowship Program with Unbound | Sydney, Australia

4.) COACHING & CONSULTING WORK:

Delivering Happiness (DH) started as a book written by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, on his business philosophy and lessons learned in focusing and prioritizing company culture and employee happiness. Today, DH is a coachsultancy [hybrid coaching + consulting], working with individuals and organizations around the world to create successful companies and meaningful lives.

  • Organizational Development and Culture Transformation consulting projects for six companies ranging from 75 to 10,000 employees on behalf of DH (USA and Hanoi, Vietnam)

  • Internal culture development and special projects for DH - 6 months part-time (online, remote)

DSIL Global Consulting - DSIL is a Bangkok-based design company that is dedicated to building creative capacity in people so that they can build innovation, together. DSIL Consulting serves teams in progressive companies working to learn design thinking as a process for development and as a path for innovation. 

  • Social Enterprise Fellowship Program & Changemaker Summit – facilitating experiential workshops for 14 Fellows and 30 Changemakers from 17 countries with Unbound (Sydney, Australia)

  • Branding & Marketing Strategy for 2 months full-time with DSIL Global (Lubao, Philippines)

  • Co-facilitated a Leadership Development Program for AAPTIP with 8 Program Directors for 1 week (Australia Asian Program to Combat Trafficking In Persons)

  • Co-facilitated a 2 day “Design for a Resilient Mind” POP OUT class with Stanford d.school and StreetCode Academy.

Design for a Resilient Mind Pop Out  with Stanford d.school and StreetCode Academy | Palo Alto, California

Design for a Resilient Mind Pop Out with Stanford d.school and StreetCode Academy | Palo Alto, California

More consulting work on my own:

NUTS & BOLTS: HOW

How much did 2 years cost?

  • $19, 800 Education

  • $24, 000 for travel, lodging and expenses to 9 countries and staying in approx ~80 places

  • $14,800 other misc expenses

  • TOTAL: $69,600

How much did I work over 24 months?

  • 60 hrs/week for 2 months

  • 40 hrs/week for 8 months

  • 15 hrs/week for 8 months

  • 0 hrs/week for 6 months

How much did I make? ~$78,000 + used some savings to fund my travels

How much fun did I have? WOW – I can’t even begin to describe this. More than I could have ever imagined and worth every penny.

Practicing my life-juggling | Nogales, Mexico

Practicing my life-juggling | Nogales, Mexico

LESSONS LEARNED:

I don’t think I can compile these in bullet points. While so much of it has been practical, I can’t say it’s concrete. Who I am is what I’ve learned. I’m living, practicing, and breathing it day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.

The learning journey continues. But somehow I’ve found a resting place in my heart. I’ve discovered that though life will take many forms, there is something unmovable and unchanging, a background of stillness, of peace in my heart. And a really simple but profound truth, that my essential nature is love. I don’t need to do anything to become this love, only to let go of everything preventing me from being what I naturally am.

What's next?

My intention for this year is to SURRENDER.

To be as open and available as possible. To live in alignment with the divine, continue deepening my spiritual practice, to activate the artist of life within, and to engage in meaningful consulting projects along the way. That said, who knows what’s in store, many wise people have reminded me to listen to my heart, it knows the way.

"The only spiritual authority is the sacred heart."

With gratitude and grace,

Kelsey 'Lotus' Wong

A visual expression of the life I want to create with an inner feeling of WHOLENESS and a spirit of ALIVENESS.

A visual expression of the life I want to create with an inner feeling of WHOLENESS and a spirit of ALIVENESS.

WHERE ONCE THERE WAS GREY THERE IS COLOR.

FullSizeRender 84.jpg

I’ve been working on a rebrand project for  DSIL Global trying to conjure and call in its brand essence.

Something that rings true to every multitude at the table.

  • Something that speaks as clearly to the wise old sage as the 5th grade adventurer
  • Something that represents the world of the rebel revolutionary and the architect
  • Something that embodies the heart and spirit of the olympian from the ghetto, the riser
IMG_6727.jpg

What we’re talking about here is something that can’t be quantified or qualified but only felt.

  • Business people will call it the UVP.
  • Spiritual junkies will call it the soul.
  • And everyone else who can’t quite put a finger on it will call it magic.

For me, I can only attest to how DSIL has radically rerouted and reframed my life and it all started four years ago with the girl who cried, “Southeast Asia.”

Four years ago, I was highly considering leaving my job to seek adventure. I had seen photos of a friend’s travels in Southeast Asia and something about the vibrancy of the aquamarine waters and the pungent hues of street side delicacies drew me in.

I had to go.

I was living in Phoenix, Arizona at the time and Southeast Asia seemed like a far off and not commonly visited destination. Nevertheless, without a plan or a budget, I put my thirty days notice in with the intention of getting out there as soon as possible.

Long story short, I didn’t end up making it. I postponed that dream for another. I moved to my dream city, San Francisco, California.

Rooftop dance parties at Sunrise beneath San Francisco's infinite sky.

Rooftop dance parties at Sunrise beneath San Francisco's infinite sky.

Fast forward three years later, after living happily in San Francisco, I still had the Southeast Asia itch. When I wasn’t working I’d spend my free time pursuing personal growth at social innovation institutes, global leadership programs, and changemaker intensives.

Often at these types of things there’s an opportunity to introduce yourself and make a pitch or an ask. My ask was always the same, “Hi I’m Kelsey Wong. I’m passionate about people, culture, and community. If you know of any fellowship programs or courses in Southeast Asia, please send them my way.”

While many people sent me ideas or places to visit, the only program that was sent to me consistently was the DSIL Course. This globally certified executive leadership course includes a ten-day field immersion in Thailand/Cambodia or Indonesia and a virtual classroom setting for teaching design thinking, conscious leadership, and inclusive development applied to social innovation.

After receiving knock after knock, I finally looked up the site. To my surprise, I recognized the course, when I was living in Phoenix and first considering going to Southeast Asia, a social entrepreneur friend, Courtney Klein had taken the course and had encouraged me to check it out. At the time, I had read “Executive Leader” and been too intimidated to pursue it. But by this time, I had honed more of my leadership skills and creative capacities and could see myself doing something like this. Then, to my even greater surprise, as I was scrolling through photos of the current cohort, I saw a former mentor and dear friend, Tom.

The stars aligned.

Tom put me in touch with the two partners, Courtney and Katy. It took a bit of time coordinating schedules but Katy and I finally had a chance to Skype. After just a twenty-minute call, I was hooked. Katy was so real, down-to-earth and yet for all intensive purposes, such a badass. Her extensive design and teaching background, the complex problems she was working on and the countries she was working in really amazed me and I was eager to learn more.

The badass that is Katy Grennier, Partner at  DSIL Global.

The badass that is Katy Grennier, Partner at DSIL Global.

It felt like synchrodestiny. I expressed my enthusiasm and said as soon as the course application came up I would apply.

When applications opened I didn’t think I could be more stoked and then I read the application itself. Never have I ever loved applying for anything so much. The questions felt different. I felt different. Never had I applied for something where I felt I could be my whole self and breathe into my fullest possibilities. 

On top of that, I had manifested an opportunity to travel to Thailand and Vietnam six months before the course with two friends. I mentioned to Katy I would be in Thailand and she instantly volunteered her apartment to us. Remember, I had only ever spoken to Katy on Skype for 20 minutes and yet she offered me her house. WHO ARE YOU?! I thought. 

IMG_3570.JPG

In December, I did stay at her house. While I was there, I knew she was my people when I saw on the inside of her door that you see as you walk out, a hand-written note that said, “How are you contributing today?”

IMG_3572.JPG

Fast forward, not only was I accepted to the course but after spending the month in Southeast Asia I knew I had to be here full-time. So I made it happen. Katy and I had kept in touch along the journey and in May she started a dialogue about capacity gaps DSIL had and asked if I was interested in collaborating more with their consulting team.

I was simultaneously flattered and floored. I signed up for THEIR course, why would they hire me if I’m trying to learn from them?

We talked and she asked if I was interested in working together and even co-facilitating on an upcoming project to test it out we could. To say I was keen is an understatement; I was thrilled.

A week later she sent me an invitation to join her in co-facilitating a leadership development program with the Australia Asia Organization Combating Human Trafficking in Bangkok the following month. I was in Bali at the time and was so ecstatic receiving the invitation I let out a full-bodied YES.

Katy also let me know she’d be in Bali the following week and invited me to meet her local team.

FullSizeRender.jpg

So this is where it gets interesting.

The day before I met Katy in person I had a life-changing tarot card reading.

After a series of wild events, I found myself frazzled as I checked into the White Lotus Meditation Center. After sensing how disoriented I was, Sandee, the owner asked, “What’s going on? Are you okay?”

After I flooded her with neurosis she made me some tea and asked if I would you like to do a tarot reading. She thought it would be good for me.

I nodded and so we did.

FullSizeRender.jpg

I’ve only done a few tarot card readings in my life but the times I have were spot on.

Sandee had me shuffle the deck, lay out the cards and take a deep breath.

The first card she asked, “Which card represents you?”

I closed my eyes and sensed for the light. Wherever a golden light beamed in my minds eye is where I chose.

transformation_osho

XIII 

TRANSFORMATION

in the Major Arcana, depicting Shiva sitting in a flaming lotus with a phoenix rising above his head. 

Fitting.

The next card she asked, “Which card represents your current work?”

sorrow_osho.jpg

 

SORROW

I felt into it and pulled a card. I flipped it around only to see the card of Sorrow staring into my face. When I saw that card, I felt like the wind got knocked out of me.

 

My gut tightened. My face paled. I didn’t want to believe it but I knew exactly what it meant. I saw the hunched over monk in the darkness crying and I saw myself working late on my computer in the dark unhappy.

Sandee shook her head, “if you stay working for this company, this will be your life.”

I didn’t like hearing her say that but I knew deep down as much as I loved my team, that she was right. I had been working remote with a U.S. based company for the last four years and while it was an amazing ride and wonderful place to practice my skills, now that I was living in Southeast Asia, the time difference wasn’t healthy and the opportunities to grow were limited.

She asked me, “What other possibilities are opening for you?”

I told her I was meeting someone tomorrow that was a partner at another consulting firm I was very interested in working with.

She said, “What’s the name of this person you are meeting?”

“Katy.”

“And what’s the company?”

“D/O consulting."

“Pull a card that represents Katy and D/O.”

Again, I closed my eyes and sensed for light.

integration_osho.jpg

XIV

 

INTEGRATION

The light shined on a card right in the middle. I picked it up and turned it around to see the card of Integration, XIV in the Major Arcana.

Looking at the two cards next to each other. Sorrow and Integration was like night and day. The card of Integration represented a world of color where the card of Sorrow was all grey. Furthermore, the card of Transformation, which represented me, was 13 in the Major Arcana and Integration was 14, a natural progression, the next step.

“The next card is the most important,” Sandee said, “It represents what you need to do now.”

Again, I paused and took a deep breath, looked for the light and then…boom.

postponement_osho.jpg

4

POSTPONEMENT

At first, I thought that meant postpone meaning the D/O opportunity is not going to happen. The card showed a woman in grey looking into a frame of color.

But Sandee said, “No, what this means is that if you don’t act soon this opportunity for color will be gone and you’ll be stuck living in the grey. This is the most important card for you. If I were you, I’d resign today.”

My heart stopped.

Was she serious? That’s crazy. I can’t do that. I’ve been with this company for four years; I’m not just going to throw it away after some tarot card reading.

Yet even after thinking that, I knew she was right. Agh. She was really right. The writing was on the wall.

I wrote my letter of resignation that afternoon and though it took me two weeks to have the conversation, eventually I did. And to my surprise I received so much love and support.

Today, I write this blog post from my room at Prado Farms. It’s a biodynamic farm, eco-resort, and inspirational sanctuary that DSIL is living in and working out of for the next two months. I’m on the new team of four core staff leaning into the business as it undergoes a [r]evolution.

FullSizeRender 66.jpg

Not only did I complete the DSIL course in Thailand and Cambodia in September, but I’m working with the very team I was so intimidated by years before.

In short, I can’t believe I’m here.

And as I dive deep into this [re]brand and organizational transformation I can’t help but see what’s real and true.

dsil

This company, this course, these people have given me the lens of possibility. I’ve been equipped with new tools for designing, building, and doing. Together, we practice new ways of living, being, listening, and seeing. Creativity is streaming out of me like never before.

So I say again…

  • Where once there were roadblocks there are rivers.
  • Where once there were walls there are worlds.
  • Where once there was grey there is color.

With love x light,

Kelsey 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.

Frangipani Living Arts Hote l | Phnom Penh 

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.

IMG_6054.JPG

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.

With the founder of the  Zero Baht Shop  - a shop that exchanges trash and recyclables for food | Bangkok, Thailand

With the founder of the Zero Baht Shop - a shop that exchanges trash and recyclables for food | Bangkok, Thailand

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.

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the  Zero Baht Shop  | Bangkok, Thailand

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the Zero Baht Shop | Bangkok, Thailand

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 Thailand.

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the  Zero Baht Shop  | Bangkok, Thailand

Collecting trash with the Trash Pickers Association at the Zero Baht Shop | Bangkok, Thailand

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?

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

Call it synchronicity. Call it destiny.

Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

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 and 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 wiser, weller 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.

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. 

As Global Citizen, Musa Nxumalo says, "Your dreams must be greater than your excuses." at  Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

As Global Citizen, Musa Nxumalo says, "Your dreams must be greater than your excuses." at Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

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.

And 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 forward your wildest dreams!

With an everexpanding and open heart,

Kelsey Lotus Wong

See full journey photo album and apply for the DSIL 2018 Course with field immersion in Thailand and Cambodia on August 24-September 2nd. 

Ma:D Hub  - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo

Ma:D Hub - a club for a better society | Bangkok, Thailand | Captured by Mo