Full Moon Manifesto

For 6 years I worked in the startup realm designing environments intended to nurture the humans behind some incredibly visionary technology companies, namely Airbnb, SoundCloud, Headspace, and Couchsurfing.

My service to these companies was fundamentally rooted in my desire to connect people to their environment, their earth, to the food they eat, and to one another. I also knew that by giving to companies with a potentially huge [and positive!] global impact, my service and prayer would be amplified.

While I've enjoyed the financial freedom, fun, and *incredible* lifelong friendships that came from these experiences, 6 months ago I decided to stop designing offices and move closer to answering the deeper calling of my heart.

That calling is to design spaces that strengthen people's connection to the natural world. To create more community-run retreat centers on beautiful pieces of land that offer a way of living where the laws of nature are queen. It is a combination of returning to tribal ways and celebrating & integrating technology to improve life on Earth without causing harm to her or damage to us. 

Why is this my calling? Because if there is anything I've learned during my 32 years on this planet, it is that the natural world holds the answers to everything. The indigenous people have always known this, and we see that their knowledge is finally returning to the mainstream. Western medicine has only studied 1% of the plants in the Amazon rainforest. 1%! Our Earth and our species is suffering because of this disconnection, so truly all we must do is reestablish it. To do that, people must experience it for themselves. We must have far more access to nature in order to fall in love with her again.

On a grounded level, what does this look like? Esalen in Big Sur, California, is the closest I've come to experiencing it. I want to create a sustainable and scalable model for places like this, where plants, animals, and humans are connected through the space they share and the way they coexist. Intentional design, permaculture, ancient practices from all cultures, alternative education, natural childbirth, more time spent outdoors, more presence, more intimacy, less addictive distraction. 

What is my next step in achieving this vision?

Gathering allies.

Over the past few months I've had many conversations about this and I've felt a deep sense of validation to learn that many people believe in the vision, in me, or in both. I know that I need to channel this vision into a clear and grounded plan so that I can begin to seek investment. I'll need to ask every connection I've ever made for support, and though I know the vision is worthy of it, it is a very scary and vulnerable thought.

This upcoming winter I'll be studying and preparing for what is to come. I'll be broadening my design experience by creating a yoga center in Aruba. I'll be continuing to live in connection with nature wherever I am. Come springtime, I will move back to California, to the place where I know this must start, and I will manifest this magic with you, my ally.

 

And so it is!

Happy Moon.

 

<3

Kelly

 

10 Day Mind Wash: Vipassana Meditation Retreat

10 Day Mind Wash: Vipassana Meditation Retreat

For about 3 years I had known of this 10 day meditation retreat called Vipassana. I heard it was 10 days of silence and meditation–no speaking, no physical contact, no eye contact, no phones, no computers, no yoga, no music, no writing, no reading, no chocolate. Simply you, alone inside your own mind. Immediately the idea terrified me which was of course a sign that I needed to do it.

Designing for Diversity: SoundCloud’s New HQ

Designing for Diversity: SoundCloud’s New HQ

Creating an office environment for a quickly growing tech company is no easy task. Scaling culture, accommodating hyper-growth, and infusing the brand into physical space are just a few of the challenges. But while designing SoundCloud’s new Headquarters in Berlin, Germany, I came across a new obstacle that I hadn’t faced at Airbnb in San Francisco; considerable diversity. With employees from 30 different nationalities sharing a single office, how could we design a space to satisfy the diverse work styles and cultures of the people who would live in it?

10 Things I Learned from Fasting for 10 Days

10 Things I Learned from Fasting for 10 Days

It was in India that I heard about fasting for the first time and I was totally weirded out. “No food for 10 days? I think I would die.” But over time the subject kept coming up around me and it started to pique my curiosity. I remembered that when my dog was feeling sick, she’d naturally refrain from eating for several days at a time. I learned that pretty much every major religion uses fasting as part of a spiritual practice. I also discovered how many Native American tribes also use fasting as part of a Vision Quest or similar pilgrimage.  Then I read about a man who hasn’t eaten for years, but only sun gazes, as if he were a tree or something. What?? On top of all this, I started to question my own rituals around food when I picked up an ugly habit of emotional eating after a really hard breakup during my mid-twenties. So I decided to give it a try.

Ayahuasca: The Most Powerful Plant on Earth

Ayahuasca: The Most Powerful Plant on Earth

I was called to the medicine for two reasons. The first was to heal a childhood trauma that I’d been carrying around for 25 years. The second is because I am very curious about all paths of healing, especially ancient ones. I am confused by what constitutes as healing today in my native country, America, where money convolutes pharmaceuticals and doctors prescribe pill after pill to numb symptoms, rather than focusing on curing disease at its root. I also believe in the plants of this planet, and that there are many natural medicines that we’ve lost touch with over time.

Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World

Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World

Happy Thanksgiving. Today we travel near and far to gather around a table full of food and family, giving thanks for the good fortune in our lives. No matter who you are or how (and if) you pray, I think we can all agree that without nature, our life would not be possible. Below is a Native American prayer to all parts of the natural world that allows us to live together on the one home we all share, this Earth. I recommend passing this around the table so each person can read a part, giving thanks and sending greetings to all living beings on the amazing and endlessly giving planet.