A truth seer, an empath, a contemplative and much more, Michele L. Kong is full of curiosity, laughter, love, play and discovery.
Michele sees each individual as a unique expression of creativity. With her warm presence and intuitive wisdom, she opens her heart, listens deeply, shares her observations and raises questions that likely have not been asked before.
Michele began developing her style of inquiry as a teacher. When she left a tenure-track university teaching post in the midst of the global economic downturn, she was both following her heart and seeking greater fulfillment. Such a bold and unexpected move led to a journey full of questions, uncharted territory and an adventure to embrace life anew.
After spending many years as a visual artist, Michele views life as a work of art in the making. Some painters create layers upon layers of varying textures and compositions leading up to what is seen as the final masterpiece. A novelist may spend years painstakingly drafting a book, and after a decade hit upon a new insight, throw out much of what’s written, start again and create an award winning epic tale. Regardless of the medium, artists know to practice, study, experiment and trust an intuitive process that unfolds over time. Michele extended her philosophy of art making to her approach for living a fulfilling, wholehearted and soulful life.
Michele’s primary intuitive impulse was in her hands. She found such enjoyment first working with clay and eventually making things in all sorts of mediums and forms of expression. What excited her was the ability to discover beauty in the ordinary, often hidden in plain sight. She shared her enthusiasm through teaching children and youth, later adults. She also worked in support of the arts in various capacities including nonprofit, for-profit and government settings. In addition, she shared her artwork publicly as a platform for engaging in dialogues on creativity, inspiration and self-expression. Over time and with her career on the rise, Michele struggled to balance her dual role as an exhibiting artist and university professor. In spite of her outward success, she felt an internal dissatisfaction.
To leave a secure academic job, which she had worked hard for many years to attain, may have been one of the most difficult decisions Michele made in her life. To turn away from what was known and hard-won, to instead embark on a romance with the unknown was a huge risk to say the least. Choosing to listen to her inner wisdom, Michele looked directly into her dissatisfaction to find the teachings in it. In a work of art, sometimes a bold stroke makes the entire composition.
Michele’s journey was a leap of faith. She did not know where she would end up, and simply trusted her inner stirrings to guide her. Part of her journey involved traveling outwardly; Michele visited sacred sites in the US, Japan, India and Spain where her creative projects and interests led. More importantly, much of her adventure required journeying inward to the depths of her own dissatisfaction.
In following her instincts that “something was not right,” Michele had to become intimate with her own disconnect. There were confusing and dark periods. No amount of positive thinking was going to eradicate her dilemma. Problem solving, strategizing and trying to figure things out were not producing answers. Neither goal setting nor action plans could circumvent or resolve the issue. What came before was not a predictor for what was next.
Considering the shape of her life path along with existential questions seemed like enough, then her body said no. Between physical pains that she could no longer ignore and other debilitating symptoms, something needed to change in Michele’s life and little did she know that it was going to be nearly everything. She slowly learned to listen to the wisdom in the body. She repeatedly had to relinquish her grip on what was familiar and make radical choices following: aliveness, ease and wholeness. In so doing, she has experienced moments bordering on the miraculous, illuminating openings, the sweet taste of freedom and much more. Connected with the intrinsically healing intelligence in the body, Michele continues on her path of discovery in an ongoing way, which she loves sharing with others. Not only does her life look much different now than she ever could have imagined, Michele also finds profound joy in witnessing others overcome what once seemed impossible.
Many teachers along the way have influenced and inspired her. From decades of combined practice in yoga and Aikido, Michele invites explorations which engage the physical, emotional and energetic bodies. As well, she offers a space of mindfulness and presence that is supported by her ongoing meditation practices and spiritual inquiries. She received her professional coach training through Leadership That Works at the Open Center in NY. Michele also was certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SETI) with additional advanced training in trauma-informed therapeutic touch (Somatic Practice). She also completed extensive post-graduate training at the Gestalt Associates For Psychotherapy (GAP) to become a Certified Gestalt Psychotherapist and in conjunction became a Licensed Psychoanalyst in New York State. She pursues ongoing learning in a variety of healing modalities to provide comprehensive, holistic and integrative support for her clients.
Michele has always revered nature and loves taking long walks whenever possible. She enjoys the wonder, beauty and mystery that connects all living things.