Kelsey Grant talks successful relationships
Kelsey Grant is passionate about living in a world where people feel inspired, fulfilled, balanced and happy within the expansiveness of their intimate relationships. As a Love and Relationship Educator rooted in Radical Self Love Methodology, she writes, speaks and teaches men and women the art of accessing greater alignment with themselves, so that they can deepen connections with others and experience the full essence of true love. Her love and relationship education platform, The Legendary Love Academy, produces live events, online self-study programs, online group classes, local and international retreats, all designed to teach the art of uncrossing the wires of understanding between men and women, expanding self-awareness and levelling up relational development, so healthy and sustainable partnerships are possible in this disconnected digital age. In addition to her commitment to love and relationship education, her passion for producing epic high level events runs deep. She is the producer and event director for MOTU Summit and her flagship day training Get the Love Worth Having. Her previous producing credits include Awesomeness Fest and Mantalks.
We have been following her instagram @radicalselflove and pondering over her brilliant posts full of relational wisdom for a while. Recently Adela had the pleasure to chat to Kelsey about conscious relationships, intimacy, her thoughts on polyamory and a lot more.
HOW DID YOU START WITH RELATIONSHIP COACHING AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I got started kind of unexpectedly, I had no plans to start a business or ever be a coach. I was a musician and for the longest time that was the path I was pursuing. It was after a coaching call in a leadership program I was in that was the pivot point in my story. She suggested I pursue a career in coaching as I had a natural gift for it. That was in 2009. Shortly after that I launched my business and started working with clients in a more business/life coaching capacity. The more I worked with these clients on their business, or the more I worked with businesses and their staff I started to see the root of all the issues were relational. I’ve always been obsessed with love and relationships, so moving in the direction of relational coaching was a natural progression once I started noticing these trends. From that point I came at my coaching from a place of rebooting the relationship to self, while simultaneously working to reboot and often times rebuild relational bonds with others.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I love making a difference, I love knowing that the conversations I have with my clients, or with my followers helps to unlock their relationship to themselves, normalize their experience, support them in practical tools to build really healthy relationships and ultimately return back home to themselves. So many people are disassociated with who they truly are and that is a very painful place to be. By connecting on a heart to heart, human to human level, I see the integration process of self-acceptance and the reclamation of self-worth happen every day. Knowing I’m leaving that kind of an impact on the world fuels my sense of purpose and fulfillment so deeply.
WHAT WOULD A DAY OF PLEASURE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Mmmmm I love this question. A day of pleasure looks like waking up without an alarm, snuggled up to my boo and gently making my way into starting my day. It’s filled with delicious coffee, wearing clothes that feel amazing to touch and look great, and slowing eating foods that are my favourite. It looks like having time to connect with me through my spiritual practice of meditation, gratitude, pulling oracle cards and a mini smudging ceremony. It looks like a lot of playful banter with my partner, laughing with my friends, soulful connections with my best girlfriends and making a difference with clients. It means having some time outside collecting evidence of things that delight me and evidence of love in action (one of my all time favourite pleasure activities). It’s filled with pasta, some high quality wine (or kombucha depending on my mood), playing music and singing, and sensual sexy time with my guy. I basically just described a day in my current life, which is amazing. I love finding pleasure in my everyday life, I am blessed to have created my life in a way that really does feel good to be in. If it doesn’t feel good to me I’m not doing it, it’s my personal, relational and business philosophy.
FAVOURITE FELLOW RELATIONSHIP AND DATING COACHES?
I’m very lucky to be part of a social circle of amazing coaches. My fav fellow coaches are my best and closest friends and my partner of course: Jamie Rea, Mark Groves, Kylie McBeath, Amy Young, Silvy Khoucasian, Brian Reeves, Jayson Gaddis, Sheleana Aiyana some other honorable mentions not personal friends but amazing peeps in this space: John Kim, Mama Gena, Stan Taktin, Terri Cole, Marni Battista, Eva Clay.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am a pretty open book, but in terms of people who may not know me personally, I am a musician behind the scenes of my work. I write conscious country music which basically means I write standard country songs from a music standpoint (chord progressions and melodies) and write lyrical content that helps to program the positive and healthy narratives of love, connection and possibility (without being super cheesy or airy fairy fluffy).
While my work is largely rooted in practical tools and supporting people through the how, I am a deeply spiritual person who loves all the woo woo magical stuff. I put crystals in my bra, I read oracle cards, I get vision/psychic downloads, I have a gift for reading and interpreting omens or signs from the Universe. My nickname in my circle of friends is “The Oracle” and I am the one they all come to when that spiritual, emotional and nurturing energy is needed. The spiritual side of my life is deeply personal and helps me make sense of the world around me and support my clients powerfully, but it's not something I broadcast to the general population.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
This is tricky because I do work most days. As an entrepreneur there is no shortage of things to do and as a creative there is always new ideas and insights coming through. The whole work life balance has been a work in progress for me over the last decade. I balance my anxiety around time off by taking at least 20-30 minutes to connect to my business somehow on a daily basis (on my days off that might mean doing one instagram post or replying to one email). But in the days where I largely take off of doing the bigger tasks, I’m usually having coffee dates with friends, doing sweat dates (spin class and Lagree are my current favs), hanging out with my partner, I love movies so going for dinner and a movie is a normal use of time. I also LOVE shopping, it's one of my social activities with my girlfriends, getting coffee and walking around stores is fun, inspiring and enriching for my feminine spirit.
WHAT IS SENSUALITY FOR YOU AND HOW DO YOU EMBODY IT?
To me sensuality is being connected to all of my senses. While it includes sexuality it’s not limited to that either, and in most cases for me a life of sensuality is more a life of connection to all of my senses and being present with them all. How I embody it is by eating slowly, savouring the smells, textures and tastes, I’m very tactile and so I love touching soft things, I light candles for ambiance, and I like to slowly savour putting on lotion every night after I shower.
IF YOU COULD GIVE JUST ONE ADVICE ON SEX, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Take time to get to know your body and what feels the best to you. Everyone likes to be touched differently, everyone has their unique preferences, so putting the responsibility for your pleasure solely on the shoulders of the other person is likely going to result in you not having the most connected, pleasurable and fun experience possible. When you know what feels good to you, you can teach your partner how to win with you in the bedroom. They don’t know your body, they’re not in your experience and taking our power back by exploring our own unique sexual landscape is so key. I also think it’s critical we bring emotionality and emotional intimacy back into sex, the more connected we are emotionally to our inner world, to our feelings, expressing our feelings cleanly and directly in all areas of life, the more free, connected and expanded in our sexual lives we can become. My rule of thumb is if I’m not emotionally connected, or if I’m not feeling emotionally safe I will not have sex or sexual contact of any kind. The more emotionally connected I am with myself and the more emotionally connected I am with the other person the more incredible the sex is. Feeling emotionally safe lets us let go and get weird, wild and free in our unique sexual expression.
SHARE ONE GUILTY PLEASURE WITH US?
I’ve made it a habit to not feel guilty about my pleasures. It was a big unlearning for me. I am not keen on associating guilt with pleasure, but one of my favourite pleasures that is a tad unconventional are teenage tv shows. I love the teen drama/love stories. The cheesy high school shows or ridiculous love movies are one of my fav’s.
YOUR BEST ADVICE ON HOW TO ATTRACT HIGH QUALITY LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS WORTH HAVING?
Know yourself intimately. Understand your psychology. Learn your wounds. Start building a life you love instead of looking to a relationship to be your ultimate source of fulfillment. High quality love is attracted to a high quality life. A high quality life looks different to everyone and is largely based upon living your core values, living each day with purpose and meaning and find the balance between a joyful life and an honest one. I’m not a positivity bypasser who is all ‘love and light’ I believe that life is a blend of love and life and darkness and shadows. Trying to eradicate the darkness only strengthens its grip and has us live life from a place of guardedness and fear. But when we create intimacy with our shadow and give it space to exist we naturally learn to relate to it in more constructive and productive ways. By creating a life of wholeness and full self-acceptance, we boost our sense of self and self-worth. The key to manifesting anything is rooted in our self-worth. So prioritizing building a healthy internal relationship with yourself is key and also building up the skill sets for healthy relating is key too so you don’t self-sabotage or feel like a fraud when you do call in the love worth having.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRULY FALL IN LOVE WITH OURSELVES. WE ALL KNOW THE THEORY, BUT WHAT ARE SOME REAL AND PRACTICAL TIPS ON HOW TO GET THERE?
In my opinion truly falling in love with ourselves requires us to create more self-acceptance, more self-respect and more self-awareness daily. The root of self-love is self-worth. We’re able to love ourselves when we know we are worthy. Being in love with ourselves isn’t some woo woo spiritual concept that is all about ONLY love and light. True self-love is the capacity to hold ALL of who we are. Our shadows and our light, our love and our pain. If we reject certain emotions, experiences or areas of challenge, we’re simply not integrated. I believe self-love is when we have learned to integrate all of who we are and we’re able to sit in that space of integration with acceptance, self-validation and appreciation for the whole human being we are. To build this practically: - Stop the self-abandonment. Meaning learn to name your emotions when they rise. We have 7 core emotions: fear, anger, sadness, disgust, excitement, joy, sexual excitement. When we get triggered, the first step to building more self-acceptance begins with being able to NAME our emotional experience. Next after we name it we tame it by self-soothing other wise known as self-validation. A statement like this works really well: “Right now I’m feeling ________. My experience of _______ is valid, normal, real and ok. I am ok. I love and accept myself even if being with my _______ is tough for me. I am willing to stay with me through this.” - Build your self-worth. Follow through on your micro promises and small commitments you make to yourself. Everytime you break a commitment to yourself you train yourself you’re not worthy of commitment, love and respect. Everytime you over step your needs you communicate to that inner child within you that they’re not important. Making promises you CAN and WILL follow through on is key to having healthy self-worth and creating the conditions for more self-love.
YOU TALK ABOUT PARTNERSHIP VS RELATIONSHIP. WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO?
This is a really complex one and so I’ll give a simple answer as an invitation to explore deeper. My perspective is there are two different tracks we can go down. Relationship or partnership.
Relationship: Runs on autopilot, no strong sense of intention or mutual purpose.
Partnership: Is created intentionally, strong shared intention and purpose and a commitment to working as a team, which means learning each others wounds and using the container of the partnership to serve as the place for great healing, transformation and growth.
The easiest way to understand it is relationships are for people who aren’t interested in using their romantic union as a vehicle for growth, and partnerships are for people who are committed to a life of growth, expansion and see the partnership as the vehicle for this growth.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON POLYAMORY? CAN A CONSCIOUS PARTNERSHIP EVER WORK WITHIN A POLYAMOROUS SETTING?
I think there isn’t a one size fits all model for relationships. What I am keen on supporting people inside of is making the best relational choices for them and their path. Who am I to say monogamy or polyamory is better or worse? I think we only get trapped in a never ending battle of judgement with those stances.
I will say that it is important for people to potentially explore different relational dynamics to be CLEAR on what feels most aligned and in resonance for them.
In terms of conscious partnership, while I’m not ruling the possibility out, I have not yet seen a polyamorous setting create the conditions for the type of deep conscious partnership I value and maintain that long term. I’ve seen successful poly dynamics in the shorter term. One of the possible reasons I’ve speculated is that my personal definition of conscious relationship requires incredible amounts of emotional safety, availability and presence. While safety can be achieved to a degree in polyamorous relationships, full availability and presence is difficult (not impossible though) when you’re maintaining multiple intimate relational dynamics. I think it really depends on the people creating the relationship whether it’s conscious or not.
My path is the path of monogamy and inside of that container I am able to surrender and become more and more available to the essence of my being through that emotional safety and presence.
And, that could just be my path. I am the teacher for the people who wish to create conscious partnership inside of a monogamous container, but I am certainly not against poly relationships- I just wouldn’t be the right guide for those people. In the full scope of possibility I’m sure there are people who are deeply fulfilled and having amazing relational dynamics in their open/poly containers. And if people are integrated prior to entering into poly dynamics I think it can work but I’m not sure we’re dealing with the same definition of conscious partnership because the “rules” of the game are so different in those dynamics. Perhaps this becomes the invitation in the relational world to have a definition of conscious partnership that suits poly connections and one to suit monogamous ones and they can be unique and different and just as valid as the other.
What is most important is that as individuals we generate the most authentic version of relationship that HONOURS, RESPECTS and INSPIRES our heart.
It’s also none of my damn business what is going on in other people’s relationships nor is it my place to judge how “conscious” their style of relating is. Who am I to tell people who do relationships differently to me that they’re not as “conscious” as the way I do partnership, I think that would be the opposite of consciousness for me to do so.
HOW DID YOU AND YOUR PARTNER JAMIE MEET AND WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU TWO ARE ALIGNED?
We met on Instagram. The whole alignment thing took time. Right away we had a lot in common and were aligned in how much we liked to communicate, the things we liked to talk about and what we were both looking for in a future relationship. We talked for 5 months before meeting in person. Then we dated for 2 months after meeting before we agreed to be in an monogamous partnership. We both wanted to take things slow and make sure we were aligned physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and sexually before commitment. We both take our relationships seriously and both are very serious about walking our talk and acting in ways to reflect what we teach.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER ONE TRIGGER IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?
I get triggered when I feel like I’m being used, taken advantage of or unappreciated. The root of that is a wound of betrayal, rejection and humiliation. So I can be really sensitive about things being “fair” and what are really tender for me are the feelings of fear related to being betrayed. I am so blessed to be with a partner who respects these tender places and works with me to heal them over step by step. It’s an ongoing process (these wounds run deep into my childhood and were reinforced in relationships with partners cheating, being easily replaceable or other instances of betrayal/lying).
IS CHEATING EVER FORGIVABLE?
Yes I believe it is forgivable. Forgiveness is internal. It has ZERO to do with whether you’re going to accept that person in your life going forward. You can forgive someone and love them as a person and still say no to having them in your life. The big issue after infidelity is figuring out whether it’s workable going forward or not, which is completely situationally dependent. If both parties are willing to do the work to heal and move through that trauma the relationship can become stronger eventually. Cheating is always a symptom of something bigger at play, aka something relationally is out of sync. It is also likely both people are really out of their alignment personally and relationally. Cheating can also happen as a result of undigested trauma which is why it is so important to process your pain, deal with your shit and heal before heading into a new relationship. I did a TedX talk in 2015 that has been viewed over 400,000 times, on this topic called “The Gifts of Infidelity’. It’s not an easy thing for people to accept and digest, because it means we have to meet the edges of our own shame, the darkness of our shadow and the ways we are actually opposed to the love we say we stand for.
ONCE A CHEATER, ALWAYS A CHEATER? DO YOU THINK CHEATING IS MORE OF A PERSONALITY TRAIT?
I am a strong advocate for transformation and change. If I truly believed people couldn’t change I would have no business doing what I do for a living. I do believe someone who has cheated can heal the root of that behaviour. Labeling someone as a “cheater” is a slippery slope though. Saying that’s who they are binds them to that identity. By separating the behaviour from the person we give space to see their humanity. The truth is people who cheat, are deeply wounded and traumatized whether they know it or not. I believe cheating is a symptom behaviour that often rises when we don’t have tools to cope with our shame, with our shadow and we don’t have adequate support to properly heal the relational wounds we carry in our psyche from early on. I’ve never met someone who was cheating who also had high self-worth. Across the board, clients I’ve worked with (both the person cheating, the one who got cheated on and the person who was involved other person) all share one thing in common- a belief that they’re not worthy of being loved, accepted and chosen fully. While each of these roles acts out the trauma belief differently they are all playing the same game. I do believe that self-worth can be repaired and grown just like any other muscle. But again, there must be a willingness to do the work. Why people continue cheating is often rooted to their deep fear of intimacy, deep fear of meeting themselves and hating what they find. Self-loathing is very common when cheating arises. As more work is done to repair the self-worth, usher in true love and bear witness to the inevitable relational trauma and wounding in the pasts of all people involved, we see this is more an issue of people not being loved properly from a very young age. Villainizing cheating (and the people who cheat) does nothing to actual solve the problem, in my experience and opinion only curiosity, a culture of loving acceptance and heart open compassion (with fierce boundaries) can.
ESTHER PEREL SAID THAT "TINDER IS A REJECTION PREVENTION APP FOR DUDES. THEY DON'T HAVE TO DO THE EFFORT ANYMORE." HOW DO YOU SEE DATING APPS EXPERIENCE BEING DIFFERENT FOR MEN AND WOMEN?
I am not the expert on dating apps. I’m not anti dating apps but I’ve also never used one. One could argue that while they have us make choices in a split second about someone based on what they look like, we’re actually doing that in real life all the time anyways. It’s no different for men or women in that reguard. Dating apps just highlight and magnify the things we already do. If it’s a common complaint that men don’t have to put in any effort anymore I would push back on that by arguing that the only time men don’t put in effort is when women are ok with them not putting in effort. Meaning if women stopped accepting and interacting with the sub-par behaviour, the behaviour would change, this is human behaviour 101. We do what we can get away with. If no one calls us to be greater we’re ok camping out in our mediocrity. But when people act congruently with their standards, those low grade behaviours (minimal investment behaviours) stop receiving the benefits (attention, sex). When we’re not getting the benefits we are ‘forced’ to upgrade to play the game of higher standards. The people complaining about no effort are the same ones who are entertaining these guys hoping they’ll magically change. People with high value standards simply refuse to interact and continue on with someone who shows they’re not willing to put in any effort AND they don’t bitch about it either. They filter that person in the camp of “not for me” and keep living their life. I also just haven’t found it to be true that guys don’t put in effort. Fuck yes they do. A guy will put effort into anything he sees value in, just like a woman puts effort into anything she sees value in. My beliefs about dating and the large amounts of high quality men out there, shape what I see and what I’ve historically experienced. When I stand in my worth and value I naturally attract in people who also stand in their worth and value and are WILLING to show up powerfully.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO A COUPLE THAT STRUGGLES WITH DIFFERENT LEVELS OF DESIRE TO EXPLORE SEXUALITY. IS THE RELATIONSHIP DOOMED?
Oooh juicy question. No I don’t think the relationship is doomed. Sex is usually a big indication into what is happening on a deeper level with the connection. How you fuck mirror's how you relate. So, if there are issues sexually with a couple I would first invite them to look at where their connection outside of the bedroom is lacking and get to work building that area back up.
Usually, it's a breakdown in the emotional connection/intimacy part of the relationship. When we’re feeling disconnected emotionally, it will be very difficult to connect sexually to our partner. You can’t escape the energy and information being transferred during sex. When there is something within ourselves we’re trying to avoid, the best way to avoid it is by not engaging sexually. Our partner’s are designed to pick up on changes in our biology/chemistry, but also they will be able to feel changes in you emotionally and spiritually through sex.
If you’re hiding out in your shadow that shit gets highlighted and transferred to your partner through sex. By looking at the ways we’re disconnected from ourselves and our own alignment first (and doing the rebooting), then looking to see where we’re disconnected emotionally from our partner second (and doing the repair) then sex becomes a space for celebration and deepening of connection again.
It is also important to note that in every couple there will be ebbs and flows to your sexual connection and no two sex drives are the same. This is why regular check ins and connection is key. I think partners misinterpret cues ALOT and even bringing that information out into the open can improve the sex life. By giving your partner the specific behaviour/communication cues you’re using to signal your desire for sex you increase the amount of time you pick up on those cues/interpret them correctly which helps fuel the evidence of being wanted/desired/loved/cherished.
In addition try a 30 day acknowledgement challenge. For 30 days each day appreciate something positive your partner did that impacted you, or share with them a way they enhanced your life. The appreciation needs to be specific and emotionally connected for this to work. Both of you share one of these acknowledgments daily and watch how your desire, turn on and passion shifts inside of a relational container of appreciation, acknowledgement, validation and recognition. Relationships can become routine where we take our partners for granted. We assume they know we love them and appreciate them, but if we never say it, that relational bank account gets depleted fast.
THREE FAVOURITE BOOKS/RESOURCES ABOUT RELATIONSHIP/INTIMACY?
• Loving Bravely- Dr. Alexandra Solomon
• How To Be An Adult in a Relationship- David Richo
• Good Sex- Jessica Graham
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR YEAR OF LOVE MASTERCLASS COURSE AND WHO ITS FOR?
The year of love masterclass is a year long small group coaching program (no more than 6 women per group call) that focuses on assisting women who have a history of dating unavailable people, chasing people who don’t choose them and tend to over-give and over-function in their relationships how to heal the roots of those patterns, develop healthy boundaries, connect to their personal and relational needs and transform how they date and relate so that they can call in and keep the love worth having. We do this deeply intimate work in a year long container to ensure we properly integrate habits of re-parenting, self-soothing, and emotional literacy as these are essential for partnership. This class is best suited for women in their mid-30’s and beyond who are tired and fed up of attracting the same relationships that go nowhere or women who are in a relationship that has gone stagnant and her needs aren’t being met. This class will be running once a year now, and for those who are looking for a shorter term coaching program my partner and I run a 6 week group coaching program called “Confident Dating” as well as offer several self-study class options in our online school the Legendary Love Academy.
About the author:
Adela is a multifaceted fitness, wellness and nutrition professional . She holds a Master Degree in Chinese studies, is a certified Health Coach, Nutritionist, Pilates, Yoga & Barre Method Teacher and a serial entrepreneur. She is the brains behind product creation and creative direction of China's very first cold pressed juice company Vcleanse. Adela coined the term THE ART OF SLOW PLEASURE and created ONNA brand with the intention to introduce more beauty, conscious pleasure into every woman's life. She believes that sexual self-care, conscious sexuality, healthy relating and deeper connections with others are vital components of a woman's wellbeing and growth. You can follow her @adelideli and @onna_lifestyle.
Glad you liked it!
Amazing interview. Such a well-spoken, wise, and powerful voice.