lotus

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia |  Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It’s both incredibly important what we name ourselves and it’s also just a label.

In Buddhism, when we chant, we see the power of words, which when repeated over and over become well-worn grooves that carry our prayers to the eternal.

In the Kabbalah faith, they believe your name becomes your destiny. That it is already written.

And in Numerology, it is your name that determines your soul’s urge and life path.

Practically, we use our names nearly every day, it’s usually the first thing people ask us, “What’s your name?”. And because that name means “me” it typically becomes one of our favorite words consciously or unconsciously.  

The Power and Significance of Your Name says that:

“The one defining characteristic we all share, the one unique and profound element of each and everyone of us is the name we are given. From the reason to why we were given such a name to the historical lineage and significance of what a name has come to represent, our name, beyond it’s objective purpose, encompasses what and who each of us is. It’s essence is at the very heart of our existence.

It signified what tribe you came from. It represented the language and dialect you spoke. It made others aware of the region you came from. And grew into characterizing the nationality you came from. It effectively describes us in a manner more than we truly understand or choose to realize. It was the mark you put down when coming to the New World, the signature that made your home and the last thing that is ever read in a letter by the one you love. Your name is utterly more powerful and significant than simply the characters that represent it.”

And yet, words are linear. They are carriers of energy but they don’t come close to encapsulating the dynamic aliveness of what they describe.

I think it’s interesting that we have a practice of picking out names for our children before they are born. How can we chose that without knowing who that little soul will be? Is it the name that writes the destiny or the person who makes the name? 

I’d say both.

Lotus pond | National Palace Museum, Taiwan

Lotus pond | National Palace Museum, Taiwan

It’s a rare thing but I recently met someone who chose to wait for 3 months before naming his daughter, Lotus.

While there was a lot of outside pressure, he and his partner decided they wanted to see/feel/know more of who their daughter was before making such an important decision.

I love that.

So what happens when we choose our name or when it chooses us?

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Over the past four to five years, I’ve been experimenting with receiving a new name, “Lotus”.

My dear friend and past love, Max, used to call me “Divine Lotus Butterfly” and when he passed away, I went to the Temple at Burning Man to honor him. After the ceremony, I went adventuring into the night and climbed a big art sculpture. It was there that I saw a massive Lotus art car that transformed its colors from purple to fuchsia to red to blue roaming across the desert into the deep playa. I felt my heart swell and I heard a whisper, “Lotus”.

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I’ve been testing the waters of becoming Lotus ever since.

Two years ago when I journeyed to the East, I shed my Western identity and became Lotus. I found a spaciousness from self and the rise of another aspect of my being. More yin, spiritual, graceful like a crane or swan.

I also discovered that the Lotus is highly revered as a natural phenomena.

One of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet is the lotus flower. This flower has the ability to grow in muddy water and rise above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty AND no evidence of the mud...as if untouched by the impurity. Because of this, the lotus flower often represents purity of the heart, body and mind.

As Thich Naht Hanh says, “No mud. No lotus.”  

The Lotus represents transformation and rebirth.  

The perfect theme for my own personal transformation.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia |  Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

And now as I return to the West, I am Kelsey. My mind knows this is my name but it hasn’t been resonating strongly. Almost foreign. It feels like a label.  

Today, my coach asked me, what is the meaning of Kelsey?

I hadn’t ever asked myself this question. After all this soul diving, spiritual seeking, and meaning making, I hadn’t ever looked up the meaning of my own name.

So I did. According to SheKnows:

  • The name Kelsey is an Irish baby name. In Irish the meaning of the name Kelsey is: Brave.

  • Norse Meaning: The name Kelsey is a Norse baby name. In Norse the meaning of the name Kelsey is: From the ship's island.

  • American Meaning: The name Kelsey is an American baby name. In American the meaning of the name Kelsey is: Brave.

Numerology

Soul Urge Number: 1

People with this name have a deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership, and to have personal independence. They would rather focus on large, important issues, and delegate the details.

Expression Number: 5

People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia |  Jamen Percy Photography

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, Australia | Jamen Percy Photography

Wow…

KELSEY LOTUS

BRAVE TRANSFORMATION

BRAVE REBIRTH

All this time, 29 years, I took Kelsey at face value. Thought it was dull and never inquired more deeply.

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How often do we do this to ourselves and others? Live on the surface of things. Judge a book by its cover. Pass by ourselves without noticing.

It makes me think of a poem by St. Augustine…

What a beautiful lesson to see that the ordinary is extraordinary and the extraordinary is ordinary.

As humans we have the ability to use our awareness and perspective to see the realness behind things. However, as humans we often get confused or stuck in the mud and miss the point.

But that is our nature and that is our opportunity to learn and grow.

I believe as human beings we are both human and divine (being).

Our humanness allows us to make meaning, connect to ourselves and one another in a profound way. It allows us to chart our destiny and become masters of our ships, all the while knowing there’s a cosmic orchestration at play.

Our divinity, reminds us that we are also part of this grand eternal mystery that is unchanging, immovable, destined to be. It came before us, lives on after us, it is ever present in both its darkness and luminosity.

In Eastern tradition they call this the “Tao”

“Tao is the nameless beginning of things, the universal principle underlying everything, the supreme ultimate pattern and the principle of growth.” ~ Bruce Lee, Artist of Life

In other words, “the truth”.

So whatever is your truth, whether it be in your name, your voice, your identity, your history, your work in the world. I encourage you to explore yourself, make it a self-study.

Inquire deeply into the nature of who you truly are.

“To know yourself takes a lifetime.” ~ Bruce Lee, Artist of Life |  Jamen Percy Photography

“To know yourself takes a lifetime.” ~ Bruce Lee, Artist of Life | Jamen Percy Photography

Enjoy the journey!

With love, light, and curiosity,

Kelsey Lotus Wong

p.s. you have to be Brave.

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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STEPPING INTO STILLNESS | 17 DIAS EN SILENCIO

“Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and also quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don’t do anything. In that state, truth will reveal itself to you.” — Kabir

Tomorrow, I begin 17 days of silence as a part of a silent meditation retreat at Hridaya Yoga in Oaxaca, Mexico.

While I mostly feel open, willing and ready to step into stillness, I also feel scared.

It’s amazing to paint yourself up to be this strong, capable, trail-blazing woman who of all things, is scared of silence and sitting still.

In the yogic tradition, realized beings transcended themselves and surrendered to something much greater. They sat in silence and meditated in caves for days, months, even years, reaching states of Samadhi (ecstasy, absorption in the essence of reality) and Nirvana (ultimate bliss) that most of us could never imagine.

While I won’t be sitting in a cave, I will be journeying inside into my innermost chambers, where I hope to come into deep resonance and intimacy with self (and Self). It is there that I also hope to engage in a process of discernment.

You see, while I know I have the gift of “a voice”, I also recognize I’ve accumulated many perspectives over the years, countless stories, media, messages, and loads of social and cultural conditioning. And while I accept and embrace all of this as a part of my karma, I also understand that the mind, even a beautiful mind, can be a prison.

Yogic sage and mystic, Ramana Maharashi says, “Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”

I dedicate this time in silence and this lifetime as a whole in service of That.

100 blessings to you and see you on the other side.

xx,
Lotus

#heroinesjourney #yearofsurrender

SWAN DIVE. HEART FIRST.

“We are of the same drop. A multitude of droplets made into the whole.” As channeled by Anne Koller as part of  Follow the Water  | Captured by Zanette Johnson

“We are of the same drop. A multitude of droplets made into the whole.” As channeled by Anne Koller as part of Follow the Water | Captured by Zanette Johnson

I find myself at another turning point, completing another cycle of letting go. 

On the outside, it looks like one big adventure but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 

There is far more beneath the surface. There are tidal waves in these waters. It’s emotional. 

I’ve spent the last year “Completing the Hero’s Journey” (<-- see blog post), answering the call to adventure and charging into the unknown. Over the course of the last month and a half, I've been making the return journey down memory lane in a live-in van to see the people and places I’ve called home. 

And as this sun sets, another sun rises on the next stage called the Heroine’s Journey (<-- not the same as a female Hero's Journey, read Maureen Murdock's article). It is here that I take the plunge, diving deeper into my inner chambers and subconscious on a quest for healing and wholeness. 

As I take steps into this new realm I often feel clumsy, messy, unruly, flawed, and unacceptable. Combine this with full-time travel, balancing work and relationships and all of a sudden you unearth trigger after trigger. Connected to a host of untrue stories, hidden insecurities, fears, and worries. 

I have insecurities about the "imperfections" of my body, the frenetic tendencies of my mind, the restlessness of my spirit, and the sensitive unpredictability of my heart.

I fear I am an imposter. I fear that I don’t know what I’m doing. I fear that I can’t take care of myself. 

I worry I’m too much. I worry I’m not good enough. I worry I’m not worthy of love.

At the temple at Burning Man this year I read one message I hope to never forget. It was a tribute to an amazing man named Robert. On the back of his memorial program, it said,  “Thank you to Robert who taught me that fear is just a lack of faith and worry is a misuse of imagination.”

Such a good reminder to get out of my head and return to the heart. Still, sometimes I feel completely mad like I am on the brink of schizophrenia.  

One recent discovery that has provided support was found on a hypnojourney (small group healing hypnosis experience, a bit of a mix between meditation and visualization, which I plan to write about in full soon!). The theme of the hypnojourney was "Tending the Inner Garden" where we were led on an inner voyage to discover our Creative Muse.

As we were guided into our inner gardens, we were led by our spirit guides (mine is a Cheetah) to meet our potential muses. The first one I met was a blossoming flowering Earth Goddess. I was ecstatic to meet her and was certain she was my muse! She embodied my ideal vision of a Creatrix with all of her colorful, flowing vibrancy and fertility. In the hypnojourney we were asked to send light from our hearts to the being and if the light was returned then they were our muse. 

As I beamed my light to her with immense joy, she did not beam back. 

I waited and waited to see if it was really true.

Nothing.

Disappointed and confused, I finally accepted that perhaps she and I might have a different relationship but that she was not my Creative Muse. I carried on and after a while, my spirit guide brought me to a dark forest.

In the forest I saw a lake surrounded by lush trees. It was a bit spooky. But then I saw a Swan gliding silently beneath the luminescence of the moon. This is when I truly became hypnotized, I watched as the Swan glided effortless with ease and grace in an infinity-shaped loop.

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My next reaction after seeing this exquisite creature was, she’s not my muse. She’s too elegant and I’m too messy. It can’t be her. I tried to leave and move on to another area but she kept presenting herself in my consciousness. Enchanting me.

As the hypnotherapist had instructed, I sent a light beam from my heart to her and to my surprise, she received it. What she did next astonished me. She responded by beaming her light and creating a golden orb beneath the water that radiated into ripples. 

From there, we were encouraged to offer our muse a gift. I thought what can I possibly give a swan? The hypnotherapist said, "Whatever it is that comes to you first, go with it." So I offered her an eternal rose. When she accepted the rose it was enveloped by her white feathers and left a trail of rose petals behind as she glided.

She offered me a gift in return, a thin golden vile with an elixir to transcend time (WOW).

The last thing I heard before I woke from the hypnojourney were two words, “Swan Dive”. 

I didn’t know what a Swan Dive was so after waking I asked my friend Harper who said, “A swan dive is standing on the edge and leaping into the darkness.”

And that’s exactly how this next stage feels. 

Follow the Water  presents "H2Flow: A Sunset Water Dance" | Captured by Zanette Johnson

Follow the Water presents "H2Flow: A Sunset Water Dance" | Captured by Zanette Johnson

The journey continues! The very next day, I attended "H2Flow: A Sunset Water Dance" at Alameda Beach where these photos were taken. Together, we sat in a circle and offered our intention and prayer. When it was my turn I offered my surrender with the intention of a "Swan Dive Into the Darkness". After we danced, a soul sister and one of the hosts of the evening, Anne said, “Lotus are you ready for your Swan Dive?” 

Hand in hand, step-by-step we journeyed into the cold ocean water towards the setting sun. This moment was overwhelming, I was brimming with joy and tears. 

Letting go is a mostly difficult and very necessary thing to do. That evening I saw how Mother Earth so graciously let's go of the sun. With love trusting that it will return the next day. 

And so I must summon my willpower to surrender too. 

It's going to be a windy journey with plenty of up's and downs. But I'm no longer running and hiding, I’m ready to go all in.

Swan Dive. Heart First. 

xx,
Lotus

P.S. Join Follow the Water for more "H2Flow: Sunset Water Dance" in Alameda, California. If you're curious to learn more about Healing Hypnosis or want to schedule a virtual hypnosis session, email me hi@kelseykwong.com and I'll put you in touch. 

Follow the Water  presents "H2Flow: A Sunset Water Dance" | Captured by Zanette Johnson

Follow the Water presents "H2Flow: A Sunset Water Dance" | Captured by Zanette Johnson

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 

Pursuing a Ph.D. (Pure Heart Degree)

A wise friend once told me that the reason why most brilliant people fail is they burn out. He had been one of those people; an incredibly talented photographer and art director flying all around the world shooting for some of the largest companies in the world. Wayne suffered a severe brain injury that landed him in the hospital where he nearly died.

Ever since Wayne shared that, it’s really stuck with me and over the last few years I've been flirting with burnout. I consult with a firm that is self-managed and mostly remote, which allows me to travel 50-80% of the time.

Moment captured by: Marva Merci Dixon&nbsp;

Moment captured by: Marva Merci Dixon 

The travel bug more than bit me, it's under my skin, and I have been crisscrossing the U.S. like my life depends on it. For the most part the life I designed looked and felt like a dream. Though it was fulfilling, the problem was it wasn’t sustainable and the very things I loved most (travel, community building, purposeful work) were also creating a tremendous amount of stress.

Even with this awareness, I continued to try to manage and maintain it. With each long trip or 12-hour computer day, I thought, if I just hack at this harder or work smarter I’ll make this ship sail.

But in January 2017, the writing was on the wall and my body, energy, and spirit could feel it. I was overweight, feeling trapped in a body that wasn’t mine. I was having my biofeedback therapist work on me almost every other week, rebalancing my energy, only for me to deplete it two weeks later. And my spiritual practice was an "MVP" minimum viable practice with a bit of stretching and prayer in the morning and journaling late at night.

Moment captured by: Vanessa Deering

Moment captured by: Vanessa Deering

I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew I had to make a change.

From what I’ve learned about change, the greatest transformations occur not in the doing or the thinking but in your state of being.

I was done putting so much of my mental energy towards this state of imbalance. I got really clear on my desire to live in a State of Grace where intention, purpose, and divinity meet.

Doesn’t that sound lovely? It does but getting there felt impossible. 

Einstein says you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness in which you created it. If I had any chance of evolving into a State of Grace, I needed to do something radical.

Moment captured by: Vanessa Deering

Moment captured by: Vanessa Deering

I decided to pursue what I called a "Ph.D. in KPG" meaning a Pure Heart Degree in Koh Phangan, Thailand. 

Even though I had only spent a week in Koh Phangan I recognized it's an island designed for healing and growth. I felt this was the place I needed to be so I jumped through hoops, made leaps and bounds, let go of everything I knew and crossed oceans to be there again.

It felt risky but I went all in.

“There is no perfect place to meditate.” — Buddha

As soon as I arrived back in Koh Phangan I felt anxious. All of my insecurities and fears began to bubble up and stare me right in the face. I felt naked (which I love feeling now but definitely not then). I felt paralyzed. I felt lost and completely transparent like people could see right through my bullshit (and they could).

Everyone was a mirror.

Everything was a trigger.

It was inescapable.

And with no family and very few friends around to save or distract me I actually had to sit in the sweat lodge of my own shit and sweat it out.

Every day, step-by-step, breath-by-breath, story-by-story, I began to peel back layers of my conditioning. I thought I had already done a lot of internal work but wow was I humbled.

Through formal and informal healing sessions and experiences I began to release code after code of programming creating space for a new way of being. 

Ecstatic Nature Retreat |  Tantra Heart Love  | Captured by  Maxinne Bjork

Ecstatic Nature Retreat | Tantra Heart Love | Captured by Maxinne Bjork

Slowly my mind released control. I became more and more aware of my ego, my darkness, my inner child. Once you start digging you realize how much is REALLY there.

I began to let go of everything I thought I knew. I surrendered.

All with plenty of resistance of course, that’s actually one of my favorite Koh Phangan sayings my friend Wendy and I joke about, “Breathe into the resistance” someone will say when you're having a hard time and all you want to say back is FUCK YOU and FUCK YOUR ELITIST SPIRITUAL BULLSHIT. But then you remember, it’s not about them, you’re having your own experience. Everyone in your life is just playing a role in your dream sequence.

You’re the one who’s suffering and that's your choice. 

Moment captured by:  Maxinne Bjork

Moment captured by: Maxinne Bjork

While I see this as a lifelong journey, what I’ve learned so far from KPG is this:

  • In the cave you fear is the treasure you seek.
  • Health, balance, and grace are directions not destinations.
  • Every trigger is a teacher and an opportunity to purify, thank it. 
  • Anger is not a bad thing, channeled properly, it is an enormous well of creativity.
  • On the other side of anger is often deep sadness, on the other side of sadness is often anger.
  • It's less about what you are doing or how much you gain, it's more about who you are being and how much you're willing to let go. 
  • While we all have differences, we each have a desire to love and be loved.

Though the "Pure Heart Degree" is a work in progress, at the moment, self-love and healing feel like the most important things to study.

 Be well soul friends, 

Lotus

p.s. View the entire Koh Phan photo album and another post about the island: 3 P's of KPG: Pleasure Passion Purpose.

Moment captured by:  Maxinne Bjork

Moment captured by: Maxinne Bjork