(my roots are here with me; “I contain multitudes”)
My name is Lilia Kapsali. I have an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, and a Master’s in Outdoor Environmental Education from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I briefly worked in the field of nature conservation in my home country of Cyprus before getting married and moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I now work as Assistant Program Director for a non-profit called The Red Shoes, which focuses on the personal and spiritual growth of women. I also co-own a business with my husband, designing and making headstones for bereaved families. My dream is to one day set up an outdoor sanctuary for people of all ages who would like to explore ways of connecting with nature, healing themselves and experimenting with place-based practices for living and learning.
Venus de Louisiane is my creative writing project, which combines all my interests and explores my personal perspective. I chose the archetype of Venus as a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Aphrodite-Kypris, the ancient paradoxical Cypriot Goddess of love, beauty, war and sexuality, because I am interested in concurrently exploring the idea of seeming contradictions and creative tensions in our inner and outer nature such as: creation and destruction, agency and constraints within complex systems, spiritual timeless transcendence and earthy sensual immanence.
(not just knowing ‘how nature works’, but knowing as loving)
I am also through Venus’ aesthetic appeal investigating my own process of falling (back) in love with reality and the world around me. This re-enchantment is relevant for me personally as a human being in relationship with other humans and the more-than-human world, but also professionally as an environmental educator constantly trying to find ways to promote a more loving, sustainable relationship with nature than the one our society at large seems to currently have.
I am particularly interested in developing an arts-based and somatic-based practice of engaging with the natural world, which enables us not only to talk about life, but to come alive and learn by privileging not only the dominant or accepted ways of knowing such as our mind or visual sense, but also touch/taste/hearing/proprioception, emotions, imagination and relational capacities (deep listening, care, empathy and compassion).
(connecting with ‘inner’ & ‘outer’ nature; it is one movement)
While Venus de Louisiane helps me in my attempt to root myself more deeply in my adopted home, by focusing my attention on local weather patterns, birds, plants and other human and more-than-human creatures, she is also assisting me in coming back to myself, or becoming indigenous to my soul, often through the deliberate use of a symbolic, dreamlike, mythopoetic language. This is a simultaneous, integrative process, whose premises I explored in my Master’s thesis titled ‘Mother-Nature-Self: An exploration of self-in-relation through writing as inquiry’.
I AND THOU
(writer and reader in relation)
Precisely because I believe the process of becoming a more mature human and better educator is significant, I have chosen to make my writing-as-inquiry process public, with the hope that it inspires you in your own undertaking of the vulnerable, difficult and beautiful journey to a more vibrant, soulful perception of the world. I hope you enjoy exploring my website, and if you have any thoughts please feel free to visit my contact page and drop me a line.
(to act on that flight of inspiration)
Finally, I believe my writing process is really only complete with with the (co)creation and implementation of ideas in the real, tangible world. If you have an idea you would like to discuss or if would like to collaborate on a project, don’t hesitate to reach out.