All photography by Bernard Henry Manning
Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.
Do that again. Really. Let . It Out.
I offer practices of embodiment and mindfulness to help people who feel disconnected from themselves and their world to discover wholeness and find a true sense of belonging.
We all want to belong.
But we live in a society that rejects difference and creates predetermined hierarchical boxes that we’re expected to conform to. We’re told that to be “worthy” we must somehow find our place and thrive in this structure. Although we don’t always talk about this reality, it is deeply felt.
We all want to feel seen and appreciated for who we really are.
And yet, for many of us, this sense of belonging eludes us.
I believe that once we have the confidence to feel and express all of who we authentically are, we can experience freedom and a true sense of belonging.
That was certainly the case for me.
I grew up in a small suburb outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Being bi-racial and a "non-Mormon," I learned to fit in by perfecting my role in the white world as the person people wanted me to be. I excelled — so much so that I forgot who I was. I had plenty of friends and a sunny disposition, but inside, I felt anxious and alone: symptoms that the real me was dormant.
I could have continued my life like this, but grace and coincidence led me to practices of mindfulness and embodiment.
Essentially, I took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh
I learned that tuning in to the wisdom of the body, establishing mindfulness practices for navigating the day-to-day, and harnessing the freedom of joyful play allowed me to dance outside of arbitrary boxes and reclaim the real me who had been dormant.
My Official Bio
Kelsey Blackwell is a body intellectual, writer and dancer. She works at the intersections of spiritual practice, social justice and creative expression. As an embodiment facilitator, Kelsey offers mindfulness and embodiment practices for exploring power and privilege. She writes the blog: themarvelouscrumb.com Her writing has also appeared in The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society. Kelsey teaches the class InterPlay for Artists, Activists and Dabblers in Oakland, Calif. which offers body-wise practices for expression, health and resiliency. She holds an MS in Magazine Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
What I Bring To My work
My work integrates a mosaic of teachings. I draw on the following practices:
- InterPlay. The body is a source of wisdom. When we synchronize to its intelligence using practices of movement, storytelling and song, we more easily inhabit ourselves to experience ease, joy and connection in our day to day.
- Shambhala Buddhism. Every human is fundamentally worthy. Every society is basically good. It is our separation from this truth that leads to our confusion and suffering. As student of the Shambhala Teachings for the past 6 years, Meditation Guide and Discussion Leader, I invite open inquiry, deep feeling on a body level, and creative expression to skillfully work with the painful results of this separation.
- Karuna Training. Authentic connection is only possible when we learn to feel and honor the potency of our own human hearts. This comprehensive program in Contemplative Psychology joins the deep study of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist principles with contemplative practice.
- UnTraining. Racism is a pre-scripted conflict. All the isms are pre-scripted conflicts. We learned these scripts at a young age. To contend and undo the racialization of society, it requires that we all learn a new script. As a person of color this means unlearning internalized oppression through practices of deep self-love.
- Professional Magazine Writer. Everyone has a gift — something special that lights them up that only they can do. For more than 10 years it has been my job to find and share the passions of others to inform, uplift and inspire an audience. This work requires skills of deep listening, empathy and a propensity to “really see” someone in order to forge authentic connections. I write personally about the things that light me up — Race Equity, Identity and Belonging.
Read some of my writing here.