heroinesjourney

HERSTORY: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Her Place Is In . A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

Her Place Is In. A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

HERSTORY: From One International Woman to Another

I used to have a lot of judgments towards women who stayed home. Who chose to raise families. To give up their lives, their youth and their freedom for those they love.

Caregivers. Homemakers. Mothers. Grandmothers. Sisters.

I couldn’t see them or understand their choices, their struggles, their sacrifices, their pain.

Like many, I perceived passivity, softness, and sensitivity as weakness.

I wasn’t immune to social conditioning or sometimes so subtle most times blatant patriarchy.

With eyes of duality and difference, I went another way, I aimed to be a powerful woman who knew her worth. I aimed to break the notion of not enough-ness by being BRAVE and tapping into my spiritual awakening.

For 2.2 years I flew across the globe East to West and I met women from all walks of life. I heard so many stories. I thought I was courageous in leaving all my privilege for the unknown but I encountered women who’s COURAGE & BRAVERY far exceeded me. 

Her Place Is In . A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

Her Place Is In. A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

I met a Grandma in Thailand who had lost everything. Her husband, her children, her home. She spent many years living under bridges without running water or electricity. This woman wasn’t famous, she wasn’t world traveling but I’ll never forget her or her story, her soft yet resilient heart that has been through more than I can bear to imagine. Pain binds us and I felt so connected through her story. She held my hand, she didn’t judge or see difference, she smiled at me.

I met a young mother and entrepreneur in Cambodia who against all odds received scholarships for her education. While in school, she would ride her bike an hour each way to and from work on the night shift to make money to feed her family. She now works for a design agency, supports the orphanage where she once lived, helps her husband’s family financially, and is raising her own newborn. If that wasn’t enough, she’s starting a business to help women run their businesses legally, financially and sustainably. When I mapped out her life my jaw hit the fucking floor. But it’s not just what’s she’s doing, it’s who she’s BEING, she is one of the most humble and kind souls I’ve ever come across.

In my own life I have a brave mother, sister, soul godmother, aunties, cousins, mentors, guides, coaches, soul sisters, brothers, and allies. 

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And though I may live in a bubble, all over I see signs of LIFE...the Divine Feminine rising.

Women hosting sacred retreats, circles and workshops on every topic related to our Women’s health, wholeness and healing.

 Yes, the world is going through some crazy shit right now but this is also a RENAISSANCE of Divine Feminity.

 Femininity doesn’t just speak to women, it’s essence exists in all beings. Yin&Yang, Feminine&Masculine, Shiva&Shakti.

 And this isn’t a takeover or an overthrow, it’s a REBALANCING.

So let’s CELEBRATE. This is it loves! We’re here and we’re in it together. Let the bells sing!

Her Place Is In . A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

Her Place Is In. A Bay Area group of diverse women who came together to create a platform to inspire the world.

Here’s to the women! May we know them. May we love them. May we BE them.

 INTERNATIONAL. INTERGALACTIC. OTHERWORLDLY.

 Happy International Women’s Day Global Family!

With love,
Kelsey Lotus Wong

 #internationalwomensday #heroinesjourney #togetherwerise

HER PLACE IS IN is an organization dedicated to social action through art.

Focused on building community, celebrating diversity and empowering femininity, we are committed to sharing stories, advancing social education, and creating spaces for conversations that lead to real change.

HEAVY RAIN & ROSE WATER: ADVENTURES & SELF-CARE IN TAIPEI

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Today it rained in Taipei. Hard.

I got swept up in the rain, soaked after getting lost on the train and having a fight with my partner.

It has been a long week and an intense month living in Taipei for the first time. We came here on nearly blind faith, offering ourselves to the Universe. Six months ago we had hatched an idea with another client friend who wanted to introduce us to their friends and potential partners in Taiwan.

After three and a half months of attending a yoga, meditation, and spirituality in Oaxaca, Mexico our hearts and calendars were so open we decided, why not?

Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico | Photography: Sabina Mac

Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico | Photography: Sabina Mac

Arriving in Taipei, the culture shock was real. Going from living in a tiny coastal town in Oaxaca where the farthest we traveled was 1km to and from the yoga school to living in a bustling city in Taipei was startling. We had spent three and half months getting grounded, increasing our awareness and sensitivities and then BOOM! Another country, another language, another culture, and way of doing things.

Welcome to Taiwan.

You could say we were naïve and a little unprepared. We had no idea what was in store.

Songshan District, Taipei, Taiwan 

Songshan District, Taipei, Taiwan 

And yet for all the challenges of city life and the identity confusion for me of being Chinese yet still a foreigner, Taiwan has been amazing. I love the people who for the most part have been so kind, generous and willing to help. The city is incredibly clean and well-designed. The train stations are spotless. I love the food, lots of traditional dumplings, scallion pancakes, and steaming hot pot. The island is full of lush green mountains and tea gardens just outside the city center. And more than anything there’s this air of peacefulness and this love for family and a good, simple life I appreciate so much. 

Wisteria Tea House, Taipei, Taiwan 

Wisteria Tea House, Taipei, Taiwan 

Taiwan has never been on my radar and I knew very little about the country before I came but the explosion of creativity and richness of culture here is astounding. The cultural history dates back to the prehistoric Stone Age when many aboriginal tribes lived here. During war times in China, much of the art and culture was destroyed. However, what was preserved still exists in Taiwan and to add to the mix, Taiwan has a true melting pot with Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, American, Portuguese, and Spanish influences.

Jiufen, Taipei, Taiwan 🇹🇼 

Jiufen, Taipei, Taiwan 🇹🇼 

But even with all this cultural wealth, the metropolitan area of New Taipei City is not immune to the struggles of city life. The air quality isn’t great with lots of noisy cars and pollution. Like most modern-day cities, many people you see are glued to their screens. This is the power of technology; it holds within it both the seeds of creation/innovation and destruction. When we lock our attention on it, our minds fall under a collective hypnosis. We lose ourselves.

Taipei, Taiwan 

Taipei, Taiwan 

That includes me. It’s been a mental, emotional, physical rollercoaster. Trying to work fulltime again and navigate my way in a busy new city. I thought I’d moved beyond “living for the weekend” but wow, I’m thankful it’s Saturday and I have a night to myself. A night to go IN.

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I’ve drawn a bath for myself, a salt bath of rose water. I’ve lit candles and diffused some essential oils. I’m drinking creamy honey in my rose tea. Listening to the soul-caressing sacred songs of Peia's album "Four Great Winds" and the heart-moving mighty ballads of the new album "High As Hope" by Florence + The Machine.

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There’s something so feminine about being in the water. A beautiful bathtub that makes even a busy city feel like home. Back to the mother, back to the womb. It’s so comforting, I feel so held. Slowly but surely I begin to relax, the suit of armor that I unconsciously wear to protect myself comes off. I peel back the layers and reveal my still beating heart. I breathe in deeply, filling my lungs with the scent of rose.

In this moment I wash away the rains from the day, the month, the year and I let myself be my own inner mother. Held closely and intimately by my self.

Wherever you are, I wish you some nourishing “you time” soon. It’s a wild world out there. Take care of yourself.

With love and gratitude,

Lotus

Da’an Park, Taipei, Taiwan 

Da’an Park, Taipei, Taiwan 

POSTCARD from HANOI

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 "Life is the road. Love is the goal."

Spotted on the highway near the Old Quarter in Hanoi. A nice reminder to slow down and trust in the flow of life, to recognize that love is a direction not a destination.

This trip I experienced some exciting highs like discovering this creative spin on a traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai dress at Chula Fashion House and also some lows like crashing/burning from exhaustion and landing myself in the doctors office with 7 prescriptions.

But all in all what threads this journey together is a return to self-love. So much to learn! Every time I think I've made some progress, BAM, restart, life shows me that I'm a humble student that's only just begun. 

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LESSONS & DISCOVERIES:

Bustling with motorbikes. Breaking into new art forms. Brimming with market potential.

Hanoi is a city in motion.

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Where there is chaos there is creativity, I discovered the visionary work of Diego Cortizas and wife, Laura Fontan @ Chula Fashion House. Chula is a social enterprise that weaves JOY into wearable art. Each design is first created by Diego and then local Vietnamese artisans with disabilities have the creative freedom to add their flair so that each piece is unique.

https://chulafashion.com/

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Abstract met alternate reality in the solo exhibition of renowned artist, Duong Truy Duong. Inspired by the book Immortality by Milan Kundera, Duong's show, POST AGNES, follows the protagonist, Agnes as she tries to escape reality desiring to experience a new world beyond this universe.

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Duong, like Agnes, also wonders if this is a beginning of a new world? What's behind the creation of the universe? Is the creation of the new world different from the shape of Jesus and Mary in the New Testament? Duong explores these questions in 15 pieces exploring light and dark, creation and destruction, mother and child.

https://hanoigrapevine.com/2017/07/solo-exhibition-post-agnes-duong-thuy-duong/

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My final lesson came from observing the experimental educational ecosystem of I Can Read Hanoi (ICR), an English learning center in Vietnam. As a Culture Consultant, I have the privilege of seeing "behind closed doors" the in's & out's of organizations. These org's courageously "open the kimono" at the risk of being exposed and fully seen. While no organization is perfect, it's the ones who are willing and open to change who will ultimately grow the most. ICR did just that.

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I took a week long deep dive into their org, interviewing various members of their team, attending tactical meetings, and even joining in on their staff pool party. What I found most remarkable about this group is their willingness to go above and beyond to ensure I had a positive experience and stay in Hanoi. I was really WOWed by their dedication to WOW.

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I have so much more to say but for now I'll wrap it up with "Cám Ón!" Vietnamese for, THANK YOU. This leg of the journey has taught me many things and forced me to come back to center. And while I won't miss the relentless horn-honking bustle of city life, I'll certainly miss the colorful people and treasures I found. 

With gratitude,

Kelsey Lotus

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