My name is Kianga Ford, and I’m the very real woman behind Love + Freedom Education. Almost 9 years ago now, I exited the university system that I’d grown up inside of to become a free range educator out here in the world.
I started teaching in university classrooms when I was 22 and barely older than the undergraduates in my classes. I loved teaching and learning, but too many times I found myself facing the limits of how and what the university was prepared to teach. I knew I wanted to teach whole people. In contexts that matter deeply to them.
At the end of my academic career, I was a full-time university professor and a full-time fine artist. I was also a full-time program director, hiring and training faculty and running one of the top fine arts programs in New York City. All those full-times added up to not enough sleep.
When I left the academy, I thought I might spend the rest of my days sleeping off my exhaustion in the jungles of Hawaii (which is literally what I did for the first 6 months). But…as it turns out…my passion for teaching is strong. Not long after The Deep Sleep chapter of my life, I found myself enrolled in a coaching program and learning to work with people around their sexuality (talk about contexts that matter!).
I’m now a full-time entrepreneur with a coaching business that focuses on helping men and women come into creative and relational aliveness through understanding and mastering our masculine and feminine energies. And I do that largely through group programs, workshops, and retreats. Love + Freedom has 7 distinct and ongoing group learning containers.
When I first transitioned into working with adults outside of an institutional context, I made the same mistakes I see so many other people making. I kept working like I always had as an artist–toiling away in the studio, waiting until the masterpiece was complete to unveil it to its audience.
But crafting live human experience doesn’t work that way. It isn’t actually a product that you polish and put on the shelf. It’s a dynamic process of working with people.
I bring the decades I’ve spent thinking about pedagogy together with my love of creating immersive experiences (I was an installation artist) to create group programs that are alive, responsive, and that genuinely move people from an A point to a B point in their lives.
While I’m taking a pause from running my regular programs to dive into the Phase 3 vision, I want to convene around how we run programs without getting stuck in the ego traps of trying to look like the expert and polishing our content to the point of lifelessness. In my most soul-nourishing teaching experiences, I am learning by facilitating. And this feels like a model that is both more sustainable and more sustaining. I wish this for all of us growth junkies who have made our passions for people’s well-being, expansion, and creative expression the center of our professional lives.
In case you’re reading for the titles, I have a PhD (abd) in cultural theory and an MFA in fine art. I’m also a certified coach, Orgasmic Meditation trainer, and ordained intuitive healer. But what really qualifies me to do this work is living the process.