kelsey wong

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.

I AM AS I AM

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I AM AS I AM.

Six years ago, I was gifted the name “Lotus” 🌸by a past love . He was my reason for going to Burning Man 🔥 and in that magical desert I found Lotus for myself. 

Lotus is a Heroine, an Adventuress, a symbol of rebirth and transformation I had never seen before. Living into her name and spirit helped me expand, deepen and open a wild world of magic, wonder, and possibility I hadn’t seen before 🌈🔮📿. I felt the unlimited love flowing through her veins. She set my soul on fire. We joined forces. We became one.🌛🦋🌜

But in becoming her, I began to deny me. I didn’t like the name “Kelsey”, I didn’t appreciate who I was, where I came from, nothing was good enough, I wanted and expected more. I feared being ordinary and became greedy thinking I had to be better. Traveling across the world searching for more.

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Today, through working with my coach, I revealed the truth. I saw the delusion I’ve been living in. The mind’s projection, a duality and unacceptance of self. My coach said, “I understand you want to grow but I don’t understand what was so wrong with who you were?”

And while everything in my path has been meaningful, beautiful, and I have no regrets. I see that in my urgent quest for reinvention and rebirth, I lost who I am.

So rather than striving for perfection I am choosing acceptance and realness. To accept myself for who I am as I am in this moment now. Who am I? I am that I am. I am free flowing universal love. What I wear, where I live, what I do, that will all change but love, love is eternal. Love is totality. Love has no bounds. Love is the present moment. Love is being happy, healthy, and fully alive. Love is all embracing, all encompassing, all loving no matter what.

So today, I ask the Divine for forgiveness for denying the perfection of its creation. I forgive myself for expecting more and loving less. And I accept my ordinary extraordinary ness as it is. I am as I am. And I’m happy with that. 😊🙃

May you be at peace and ENJOY🐛YOUR 🦋SELF exactly as you are. Perfectly imperfect, it’s all okay.

With light, love, and liberation,

Kelsey 🌸 Wong

Photography skills: Jamen Percy

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THIS IS MY HEARTBEAM.

I don’t know how else to express this feeling welling in my heart. In short, my heart is beaming. Beaming with the gift of this existence. If at first I was fighting with life, today I am flowing, surrendering, and learning to trust again.

I ask the Universe many things. Every morning I ask to be a vessel. A vessel of light and love, a beacon of hope and truth, an instrument and spirit of generosity.

I ask to experience love in all forms. To remove as many barriers to the heart as possible and to help others do the same.

Then life hands me what I perceive as obstacles and the mind asks, WHY WHY WHY? I thought I already did this work, this isn’t what I asked for!

But what if we suspend that judgment? What if the “challenges” we receive are EXACTLY what we’ve asked for in a form we hadn’t considered yet.

What if these aren’t obstacles but divine lessons providing exactly what we need for our souls to evolve?

What if we stopped fighting and started trusting? How might we love and accept these obstacles and watch the suffering melt away?

What if we shifted our perspective, from the mentality where we have to fight for everything towards a posture of surrender, of gifting and receiving?

Imagine living in a world where we are free to give without needing anything in return. No matching. No accounting. Trusting in ourselves, one another, and the Divine that our needs will be met and that it’s okay for things to be easy. Effortless. Natural.

The simple but profound recognition that we are of infinite value. Each of us. Not from a position of self absorption but from a place of grace.

That yes, we can and will still stand up for what we believe in. That we will pursue work that meets the inner and outer worlds needs AND that we can also do absolutely nothing, that being in integrity with ourselves is more than enough.

So today I break the chains and take a swing of faith. I liberate myself from needing to know everything and trust in the divine orchestration unfolding.

Today I surrender and let my heart beam.

With gratitude and grace,

Lotus

 #yearofsurrender#heroinesjourney #heartbeam 💖💖💖 #returntolove

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.

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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.

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

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 

PLEASURE, PASSION, PURPOSE: KOH PHANGAN

The Three P’s of Koh Phangan, Thailand

Everyone’s experience will be unique to them but from what I’ve seen, there are three main regions of Koh Phangan carrying three different vibrational frequencies. These frequencies correlate with the three highly researched levels of happiness that we teach at Delivering Happiness.

1.     Pleasure

2.     Passion

3.     Purpose

Full Moon Party | Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

Full Moon Party | Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

PLEASURE

What most people have heard about when you mention Koh Phangan is the Full Moon Party on the Haad Rin side of the island.  This is “Pleasure-seeking” happiness or “Rockstar happiness”, which is chasing the next high.

I have only passed through Haad Rin but from its reputation, I’ve heard it’s like Spring Break meets Yacht Week in the tropics. Endless bars, cheap drinks, it’s a place you can really party your heart out. Haad Rin is catered towards people looking to have fun (dependent on your definition of fun). What it’s not catered towards is your long-lasting health or happiness.

Lovely Photography: Katsura Sato | Haad Yao, Koh Phangan

Lovely Photography: Katsura Sato | Haad Yao, Koh Phangan

PASSION

Then there’s the East side of the island nicknamed the "Tri-Bay" for its three beaches: Haad Tien, Haad Yao, and Why Nam.  This is what I consider the “Passion” side of the island.

The word passion comes from the Latin root “pati” which means "to suffer". The suffering on this side of the island comes from the Tri-Bay’s unofficial tagline, “DETOX RETOX”. In the Tri-Bay you’ll find beach dance parties at Why Nam, Guy’s Bar, and Eden with good vibes and fun treats to keep the vibes flowing (if that’s what you’re seeking). 

The beachside resort and healing hub for your DETOX is the Sanctuary where you can take various workshops, experience healing sessions, or do a five-day cleanse. When I first arrived, I did a week long Thaivedic Massage course Thai massage + Ayurveda) and really enjoyed it. Though people are mostly on holiday coming and going, there’s also a pretty close community so you’ll see familiar smiling faces wherever you go.

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

PURPOSE

Finally, there’s the side of the island I call home. Along the West coast of Koh Phangan lies the “yoga” or “hippie side” of the island called Sri Thanu. To me, Sri Thanu is so much more than a bunch of yogi’s. Sri Thanu is a small village and conscious community where people come to heal and grow. If that is what you're longing for, you’ll want to pinch yourself when you arrive because the entire village is designed for your healing and spiritual awakening.

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

With the elevation of our collective consciousness, there are more and more communities like these sprouting up around the globe, but what I think makes Sri Thanu unique is the gentleness with which it heals and holds space for you.

Geographically, the beaches are shallow and low tide, perfect for floating. The sunsets reflect like mirror images onto the sea. The lush green jungles surround you in a state of serenity.

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

Culturally, the local Thai people are kind and loving. The majority are Buddhists who live their lives humbly, respectfully, and with honor. Most speak some English and are willing to teach you some Thai. Koh Phangan has virtually zero crime and in my experience is very safe to travel solo.

Stunning Photography:  Maxinne Bjork

Stunning Photography: Maxinne Bjork

Communally, the people who really tap into the Koh Phan-magic always return. Whether they come back every season or 14 years later, this sacred place opens your heart and stays with you long after you leave her.

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

Wondrous Photography: Vanessa Deering

KOH PHANGAN RECOMMENDATIONS LIST:

Culinary wise, the options are mostly either Thai or Vegan-Vegetarian.

FAVORITE THAI RESTAURANTS IN SRI THANU:

  1. Cafe Wan - try the orange curry! it's unbelievable, my favorite.

  2. Bai Jai (try the pumpkin and egg special and the massaman curry

  3. Mamma Pooh's - massaman curry and seafood

  4. Anutta - quick, easy, yummy spot! love their shakes and veggie noodles.

FAVORITE VEGETARIAN SPOTS IN SRI THANU:

  1. Karma Café - I love the breakfast burrito, Kale-ifornia Salad, and Perfect 10 Salad

  2. Orion - their Buddha bowl and hummus!

  3. Green Gallery - excellent Israeli food

  4. Eat.co - their mushroom shishkabab and vegan desserts!

OTHER SRI THANU FAVORITES:

  1. Seed to Feed – gorgeously vibrant salads with micro-greens from their hydroponic garden

  2. Barracuda – the best fresh Seafood, the owner is Italian or French? he is super passionate about fishing and really is gifted!

  3. Taboon - Israeli - I like the Sabih eggplant salad, hummus with mushrooms, and chapatti bread yum yum yum!

  4. Three Sixty Bar - not for the food but for the view!

HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND:

Getting to Koh Phangan is a trip. There’s no direct flight and it’s not for the high maintenance.

  • The two main airports to fly into are Koh Samui or Surat Thani.

    • Koh Samui flights from Bangkok are faster, easier, and more direct (1 hr flight) and ~$100. Use Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways and then take a Ferry. Use FerrySamui.com to book your ferry ticket. Note that there are different piers and the timing from the Koh Samui airport to the pier is different. Bangrak and Maenam piers are the closest to the airport. Usually the ferry does not need to be booked in advance. You can just ask in the counter in the airport. I recommend going on the Seatran ferry it’s 30 minutes. The last ferry leaves around 4-5pm. Also check Lomprayah Ferry.

    • In case you arrive in Samui later than that you can also sleep in Samui for a night and take the ferry in the morning (8-10am). Resort which is Convenient, cheap and close to airport: The Mermaid Samui: http://www.samui-mermaid.info/ (can be booked on Booking.com or Agoda.com)

    • Flights from Bangkok to Surat Thani flights are cheaper than to Koh Samui ~$45 but usually the ferry from Surat Thani takes 5-7 hrs. Fly n Ride n Ferry” - Nok Air & AirAsia.com can get you all the way to Koh Phangan from Surat Thani.

    • International Flights: SkyScanner.com or Kiwi.com is a useful flights search engine.

  • When you arrive in Koh Phangan you'll arrive in Thong Sala, which is a little town, you can then get a taxi of your choice to all three sides of the island (Sri Thanu, Haad Rin, or the Tri-Bay - well the Tri-Bay you'll take a boat taxi).

WHERE TO STAY IN SRI THANU:

WHAT TO DO IN SRI THANU:

HOW TO GET AROUND:

  • Andoo Bike Rentals - right next to Eat.co ask for Andoo or Yik. Tell them Lotus and Wendy sent you and they'll take care of you!

  • Trusted taxi drive - Pele, he speaks good English and is super helpful and available. He also provides a much more fair price than others. Tell him Lotus sent you! +66 93-679-5215)

OTHER PRACTICALS:

  • Visa: For most countries, entrance to Thailand for last than 30 days, doesn’t require a visa application beforehand and you can get 30 days when flying in (not if you arrive by land). To check if your country suits that, please see links below

  • After 30 days you can extend your visa in 30 days more in the immigration office in Koh Samui. (cost 1900 THB). This means you can stay in Thailand for 60 days without Visa application beforehand.

  • In case you plan to stay for more than 2 months please apply for a tourist visa at your homeland embassy. If you plan to stay more than 60 days in Thailand you can apply for a tourist visa in the nearest thai embassy (get 60 days + option to extend 30 days)

  • Travel Insurance - I recommend to get it. I use WorldNomads Travel insurance.

If you make it that far, hit me up and I’ll shower you with more Koh Phan Love & Support. 

Godspeed and safe travels,

Lotus

p.s. see full Koh Phangan photo album