The series of interviews for Awakend Creatress kicks-off and I couldn’t be any more thrilled with the incredible woman featured today.
For our first interview I have the immense pleasure of introducing you to Stephanie Lisa Kelly. A friend, an inspiration and a soul sister. She is one of the reasons Awakened Creatress came to life; thanks to her support, encouragement and guidance I found the courage to surrender to an Awakened Creatress wanted to be born.
Stephanie is an integral transformation coach, retreat leader and a writer. When I think of her, words like quiet confidence, authenticity, purpose, creativity, wildness, sensuous mysticism and leadership come to mind.
⍙ What does being an Awakened Creatress mean to you?
I love the term Awakened Creatress – it feels light and powerful and hot as hell! To me it’s a perfect combination of yin and yang; having a heightened state of awareness, as well as being a powerful manifestor and purposefully creating your life. Balancing the being and the doing. Owning the light and the dark. Being a creatress to me means facing up to all our existential questions as we take on the creative battle – the struggle of bringing what is inside, out – there is something very noble in it, something that invites enormous respect, no matter where someone is on the path. It is the path of the warrioress, because to some extent you must face (egoic) death to truly create; the level of surrender required to really express what is inside you demands of you to let go of control, of fear, of identity – in this way the path of living a creative life is the most inherently spiritual path there is.
⍙ How did you get where you are today?
Relentless refusing to believe in “realistic”, holding on to the truth of life as I knew it when I was a child, inviting myself over and over again to leave my comfort zone, trusting life, trusting my intuition, trusting that I will always be ok (trust is a practice and I got lots of it ;)). Letting go of all my dreams, creating space for new ones, being intimidated by them, dancing with them, committing to them.
It’s been a very organic path (read: wild, unpredictable, highly confusing and often massively disruptive), but in hindsight it all makes sense; I studied psychology because I was obsessed with consciousness from a young age; I embarked on my spiritual exploration when I was 20; I explored many kinds of personal and spiritual development tools, experiences and practices.
Then I discovered the lifestyle I wanted (self-employed and free to travel), and things started to take shape. I became a certified life coach, started my business whilst still in a corporate job, hired a coach, left the job, ran my first retreat, put my stuff in storage, and started traveling. That was almost a year ago, and now I’m in Thailand, coaching and creating products and courses, and running workshops and retreats.
⍙ Was there a turning point in your journey? / Has there been a defining moment in your life that has made you who you are?
There have been several, but two stand out as the most defining. The first one was a decision I made when I was 11 years old. Up until then I had been a very cautious child, but 11 was a challenging year in so many ways, and something in me shifted. I realised that I wanted a life of adventure, a life of colourful experiences and travel, of living in different countries and doing exciting things. From that moment on I began living more boldly, I joined a theatre group, I allowed myself to go fast when I cycled and skied, I started speaking more loudly and stating my opinions, I became an environmental activist at school. I still look back on that as the most pivotal decision of my life. All the best decisions of my life stemmed from that one.
The second was the grace and the transformation that came after a soul-wrenching break up that brought all my dreams crashing down; the depression and anxiety that followed, culminating in panic attacks that landed me in hospital. In the open space that followed (after leaving the job, the apartment, the country) I sank into a presence deeper than anything I had ever experienced before and the spiritual opening that accompanied it was the most beautiful and transformational experience of my life. I got the word ‘gratitude’ tattooed on my forearm to carry that period of bliss with me, and to remind me in moments where I might forget. The peace I found that year has never left me because in it, I remembered; I remembered who I am, profoundly, and I found once again that heart-wrenchingly beautiful connection to all life that I knew so well as a child.
⍙ What is your business / work about?
Clients come to me with a wide range of issues, but at a deeper level they’re all the same; the longing to bring who they truly are into the world, to live a meaningful and purposeful life, and to help. Always the desire to help, and the desire for clarity around the who and the how.
I work with people in 1:1 coaching programs, as well as in workshops and retreats, and the two biggest themes (and deepest impulses for my own contribution) are empowering women and bringing the feminine back into the world, and shifting the individual and collective narrative towards one that esteems and honors meaning and purpose. Individually we lack deep joy when we don’t have a meaningful personal narrative. Likewise on a collective level, we make decisions lacking in compassion, based on short-term thinking and missing an ecocentric perspective when we don’t have a meaningful collective story. If we are to survive and flourish, both individually and collectively, we must remember who we are, what we stand for, and what legacy we want to leave for the generations to come.
⍙ What is the biggest risk you’ve taken?
The biggest risk has probably been leaving the corporate world for good and launching my business (although there was that one incident on a moped in Ibiza…;)). Not having a background in business, not being particularly competent with money, and not really having a clue about what a business plan is and doing it anyway. It wasn’t actually scary in the end (but making the decision was) because I always have a back-up plan; if for some reason I absolutely needed to I could go back to the corporate world (I could also work in a bar again, which I would actually prefer, come to think of it!).
Taking that risk, believing in myself, borrowing other people’s trust in me in the moments I’ve felt unsure is the biggest gift I’ve ever given myself, the greatest act of self-love – To say YES to my desire, to say YES to expressing myself fully, to say YES to what I have to offer the world.
In the end, it was easy.
⍙ Where do you find your confidence?
I’ve never been an overtly confident person (they exist), but what I have always had is a quiet knowing that I can do whatever it is I put my mind to, and a fierce determination. It’s a sort of quiet confidence that has always felt like the foundation of my being, underneath all the anxiety and fear and doubt. What I’ve learned though is that confidence – that shiny, glitzy thing we all lust after like it’s going out of fashion – is acquired. We get it by doing The Thing. And then doing another Thing. And another. It goes like this:
Step 1. Connect to the desire in your belly (feed the flames)
Step 2. Remember a time you were fiercely courageous. Anchor yourself in the knowing that that is always accessible to you (you are a warrior. you have done this before)
Step 3. Look fear in the eye and say “Not this time” (be gentle but firm)
Step 4. Do the Thing (no mind. full heart)
Step 5. Celebrate yourself for being a badass (this is who you are. own it)
Choosing courage over fear, over and over. Confidence is defined as, “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” And that confidence must be in your own ability to act (without attachment to outcomes). I love this quote because it encapsulates this concept perfectly; “A bird sitting in a tree does not worry about the branch breaking because her trust is not in the branch but in her wings.”
⍙ What advice would you give to aspiring creatresses?
Believe it’s possible. Believe in your dream – if you can see it, you can make it happen. And if you slip in and out of faith, hire a coach who will hold the vision with you until you can hold it by yourself. It’s important that you follow your desire – not just for you, but for the impact you will have on your community and the world when you fully embody and express who you are. It’s not (only) about you; we’re living in a time when we are all being called to stand up for what we believe in, for the vision we have of a more beautiful world. That calling, that longing deep inside is an evolutionary impulse. It matters.
Also: baby steps. It’s ok that it takes time. Don’t give up.
〉Want to know more about her? 〈
Stephanie Lisa Kelly is a coach, retreat leader and writer. She launched A Quiet Revolution in 2015, helping women live more embodied, empowered and delicious lives through coaching, workshops and retreats, and facilitating transformational containers at meetings, conferences and other events. She’s the creator of the Wild&Free Retreat, the Wild&Free Workbook and the Into The Wild adventure, co-hosted the 2016 Lifestyle Design Convention (now the Inside Out Movement) and facilitated at the 2016 Leaders Connect Congress. She believes the world will be saved by women who dare to become powerful agents of change, that surrender leads to magic, that goofiness is medicine and that campfires and mountain tops are sacred.
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Find her here:
⍙ Workbook: wildandfreeworkbook.com
⍙ Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/wildfreetribe
⍙ Facebook Page: facebook.com/stephanielisakelly
⍙ Instagram: instagram.com/stephanielisakelly
⍙ Pinterest: pinterest.com/stephlisakelly
⍙ Twitter: twitter.com/stephlisakelly