The Marvelous Crumb

Follow Joy. Find Belonging.


Kelsey Blackwell

My theory is that everyone, at one time or another, has been at the fringe of society in some way: an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign country, the best at someting, the worst at something, the one who’s different. Being an outsider is the one thing we all have in common. -Alice Hoffman


Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.

Do that a few more times. Really: Let. It. Out.



I offer practices of joyful 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.

14-year-old Kelsey Blackwell.

The perilous junior-high years.

I grew up in a small suburb outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Being bi-racial and 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 auspicious coincidence led me to the practices of mindfulness, embodiment, and play.

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.

The path towards reclaiming who you really are is both deep AND joyful.

My work integrates the mosaic of teachings that has led to my own liberation. I draw on the following practices:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and skill development.
  • 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.  On this blog, I write personally about the things that light me up — Race, Identity, Belonging, Dating and Curly Hair.

I believe that when we learn to belong to ourselves, we’re equipped to claim belonging in our world.

We can free ourselves to be ourselves.


  1. clayborne blackwell

    September 25, 2015 at 7:44 am

    its hard to believe that im the father of such a brilliant young woman. your introduction makes one want to dive head first into your blog for more!!

  2. Hi Kelsey,
    I love you and your delightful blog.
    thanks for sharing.

  3. You are an amazing human soul. I love you dearly and love reading your crumbs! Your words make me happy.

  4. Your clarity and honesty are a light in this difficult time!

  5. Love your writing and hoping to connect as our work is close. I teach in a way that is closely aligned with what you do, across the Bay at Stanford, and in Japan.

    • Kelsey

      May 10, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Hi Stephen! Thank you. Yes, there do appear to be parallels though you seem a bit further down the stream. I’d love to connect with you.

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