011: The Art of Storytelling with Morgan Harper Nichols


When I stumbled,

I stumbled

not backward,

but forward.

So when I fell,

I fell into grace.

–Morgan Harper Nichols


Poet Morgan Harper Nichols speaks the words that my heart doesn’t know it’s trying to say.

On a whim I reached out to one of my favorite poets, Morgan Harper Nichols, to be on The Refined Collective Podcast. When she replied yes, I was OVER THE MOON!

She writes poetry that I’m sure you’ve seen, even if you didn’t realize it. She also spent time as a touring musician and collaborates with her sister on songs that have found success on Spotify and at the Grammys! This episode, we dive deeper than her achievements and I get to know Morgan, her doubts, and her dreams. Now it’s your turn to get to know her.

Pushing Through Pushback

  • As a creative, she saw fellow creatives around her moving through their careers and lives with confidence, something she didn’t feel she had.

“God gave me these gifts to create things and be creative but at the same time I didn’t feel as dynamic or interesting.”


  • Through all of this there is one major pushback: DOUBT, the subtle lies that tempt us to buy into their convincing narrative over her truth.
  • One of her major doubts is in her compatibility with her passion. She is not always open about her feelings and finds that she needs to think through feelings before she can express them.
  • Beyond all of this, being self-employed can be scary. This idea that it could all disappear in a moment is something I can relate to completely.
  • She doesn’t let these fears slow her down.

“There’s more to the story. There’s a reason you’ve made it this far.”

Intentional Pursuit of the Dream

  • Social media became popular when she was in her late teens and it gave her an outlet for when insecurity and doubt felt overwhelming.
  • She is very intentional about her social media use and it makes all the difference when these platforms can be draining.
  • “I go to share first, and then I consume.”
  • She never goes on Instagram when she has free time to spend. She goes on to share and, when she needs it, to look at a collection she has of posts that inspire her.
  • “There is nothing wrong with dreaming.” She keeps her dreams unattached to people or places. She focuses on her vision for herself and the way she contributes to the world.

Serving Others to Find Yourself

  • She started writing poems directed specifically to individuals who had reached out for them.
  • Looking back at those poems, she found pieces of herself hidden in them.
  • “Oh wow, that was for me all along.”
  • Working through her emotions is always a process, but serving others has helped her find the words.
  • It’s important to sometimes just pause and listen to others. “I pay attention to what stands out to me, it’s typically telling me something about myself.”
  • She often looks to the past as well. She recognizes that memories that stick out in her mind from childhood are sticking out in her mind for a reason all these years later. They all hold meaning. “I have such a passion for memory.”

“She doesn’t have to be someone else’s version of interesting in order to show up and be comfortable in the world.”



Morgan’s Favorite Things

  • Instagram has opened her eyes to the beauty that is storefronts. “There is this whole world of people who just really love looking at storefronts and I guess I have joined them.” (If you’re into storefronts, she recommends the account @storefrontcollective)
  • Google Home was a present from her parents and she uses it all the time, including having it read out information about canyons.

“Wherever you are, you are still free to make the most of every single day.” Go out and use your gifts, tribe. I am so grateful for Morgan and I hope you enjoyed this episode. Go find her on Instagram and send her a message; she loves starting conversations with you!


Kat Harris

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Morgan Harper Nichols’s website

Morgan Harper Nichols’s Instagram

Check out this episode!





Life / News / The Refined Collective

The Refined Collective // Embracing the Temporary

Photo c/o Paige Griffith

When I left LA almost five years ago it felt like the end of an era.

In a way it was.

I lived in a house with a group of women for six years and we did life differently, and in a more intentional way than I ever had before.

We tried our best not to gossip.

If we had an issue with one another we’d talk it out directly with that person.

We made a commitment not to shame our bodies, or do that awful body comparison thing so many women do.

We prayed together.

We would blast the stereo and have Justin Bieber dance parties.

When one of us was heartbroken, the other would hold her and cry with her.

It was in this house that…

  • God really healed me of the last remains of the eating disorder I had in college.
      • I realized I was trying to work out my daddy issues with all the boneheaded guys (maybe say unhealthy guys.  I know you’re trying to be funny but they’re still His children) I was dating
      • I began to understand that God is way more concerned with my heart than whether I am following a set of rules.
  • I learned to let myself need others

That last one was big.  As a kid I always took care of everyone else, so to let myself need another person felt scary.  I knew I’d be there for them, but I wasn’t sure if they could be there for me.  Intimacy often felt like responsibility.  It was here that I experienced the beauty of allowing myself to be known.

It was rare, and it was special.

The day I moved to New York, one of my roommates and best friends, and now editor at The Refined Woman—Elizabeth, dropped me off at the airport.

I was so broke at the time that I couldn’t afford to pay the extra fee to check a third bag.  I got to security and they took one look at my pillow case which was coming apart at the seams with blow dryers and books and trinkets dripping out of its sides, and wouldn’t let me through.  Not only that, they laughed at me. It was awful.

I was humiliated, and my eyes were burning as I choked back hot tears.  I called Elizabeth and told her what was happening, and she drove back to the airport and let me dump all my stuff in her car.  We hugged, and she didn’t judge or laugh at me for being cheap or filling her car with random things from my pillow case.

She gave me a hug and reminded me everything would be all right.  More importantly she showed up—no questions asked— in my time of need.

It wasn’t until I saw the New York City skyline from the airplane that I started crying again.  Big tears were spilling out of my eyes and running down my cheeks, for so many reasons:   ever since my first trip to shoot New York Fashion Week, five years earlier, I knew I wanted to live there, and it was happening. My dream was coming true.

But it was also the end of a season I knew I’d never get back.  I really grieved that.

Some people move because they’ve outgrown where they’re at.  Not me.  I was leaving a life that had shaped me in more ways than I can put down in words.

When I moved to California it was the first time I really left home and began to discover who I was on my own.  And I went through that journey with some of the most incredible human beings I had ever met.

I was leaving something stable, secure, and good for something completely unknown.  I was choosing the wildcard. I had $10,000 saved in my bank account and a dream, and that’s about it.

What if I never made friends in New York the way I had in LA?

No matter what, I knew everything was going to be different. I wondered if I had just made a big mistake.

For most of my first year in New York I only had two friends, and it was a hard transition.  I began to think maybe my time in California was going to be my version of the glory days.  But slowly, as I got my bearings in New York I started to realize something:  I may never experience what I experienced in California again, but that’s ok.

It was a season, and part of the beauty of seasons is that they don’t last forever.  If Christmas was year round, then the magic of a decorated Christmas tree, the anticipation of presents on Christmas morning, or the thrill of ice skating and the first big snow of the season would become mundane.

There is sacredness in the temporal.  Accepting that gave me the freedom to be fully alive and present to the moment at hand, and the ability to hold the past in a special place in my heart while also releasing it.

Once I realized this, I was able to stop trying to recreate what I had, and began to focus on creating something new.  It took a few years, and life and community looks different from what it was in California.  But it, too, is rare and special.

In looking back I can see that that season prepared me for this one.  I would never have had the courage to move to New York if it weren’t for my friends who fought for my dreams to become a reality.  I wouldn’t be a more free and whole version of myself if it weren’t for that season.

As I write this I’m in another transitional season.  I’ve had a sweet tribe of ladies with whom I’ve done life with deeply for the last few years in New York.  In a matter of a few months each of us has gone through a massive transition, and almost all of them have left New York.

It’s the end of another era.  And I truly grieve that.  But I look forward to seeing what lies ahead, because I know it’ll be different and unexpected.  And it will be very, very good.



This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group Erica Chen, Lauren Scruggs, Jessi Green, Brynn Watkins, Emma Natter, Sarah Shreves, Rebecca Hajek, Jackie Viramontez



Boss Ladies / Life / News

Boss Ladies | Jaycee Gossett


Boss Ladies | Jaycee Gossett || Dreamery Events

Photos c/o Jaimie Baird

Jaycee Gossett is a Founding Teacher and the Director of Training + Development at The Class By Taryn Toomey.  Based in New York, she is a truth seeking, wild-hearted and passionate spirit who fights for the greater good in all things. She loves the ocean, the sun and causing a healthy bit of trouble. 

As a child I dreamed of becoming

An astronaut, a pirate or​​ a cowboy. Someone who explored the unknown and had exotic adventures.

The last photo I took on my phone

My fiancé, Adam, sleeping. We have a running joke…he falls asleep everywhere and I document it as proof that he spends half of our relationship sleeping. 

My guilty pleasure

Sleeping in on Saturday mornings followed by coffee made by Adam and served in bed. Multiple cups of coffee. Long baths with TCTT Pursoma Bath Salts, wine nights with the ladies and really good food.

One thing people might be surprised to learn about me

I love bowling and Elvis Presley. 

My favorite way to unwind

Massages, Aire Baths in Tribeca and a long beach day that consists of lying in the sun, sweating for hours and swimming in the ocean.

Boss Ladies | Jaycee Gossett || Dreamery Events

My real life hero

The people who dedicate their life to some form of service. 

What I love about my work

Teaching is a huge passion for me. Moving my body to music is my great love. As a kid I would listen to music and want to live inside the song. My soul wanted to be in the movie the singer was creating – and now I get to do that every day! So much of my time is spent listening to music and curating experiences for other people to live and move with the music, which is just the greatest.

Being a part of a movement revolution that is creating huge change for people offers me a sense of purpose. It is rewarding to see people experiencing healing and transformation, and it brings a tremendous state of humility to my life on the daily, which reminds me that none of what I do is about me.

The hardest thing about my work

There many days of fatigue, over working and just over-doing everything ….to the point that my spirit and physical body gets tired. In those moments it’s challenging to find the energy to give and the wisdom to give to myself. A lot of my time is spent changing roles, which can get a bit chaotic as I go from teacher to executive to administrator.  I need a certain amount of space, quiet and uninterrupted time to be in the creative zone from which I like to create and teach my Class, and I don’t always get it!

How I got started with my current career

I was the only girl in a house of five boys. Mom was so excited to finally have a girl to do all the things that she felt were “little girl” activities. She had me in dance classes as soon as I could stand on my chubby legs, and I have been moving ever since. The dance path led me to yoga, fitness, spirituality, healing movement, commercials, performing, acting, TV and travel. I spent years traveling around the world studying the origins of movement and healing. This led me to creating a show for the Travel Channel called Dance The World. After that venture I reconnected with Taryn serendipitously and took her Class. From the moment that Class began, I was intuitively struck that this is where I needed to be. I had no idea how or what that would look like, but I knew I wanted to work with her.

Boss Ladies | Jaycee Gossett || Dreamery Events

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out

So many moments of comparing, judging and not listening to myself, thinking I knew everything, wanting to have everything right away, and the lack of patience to wait it out really brought a lot of suffering to my life.

I used to think success meant

Having no stress. No worries. Financial freedom. Living above the boring mundane responsibilities that are required to be in the real world! Not having to really need anyone.

My current definition of success

Feeling a sense of honor to be able to do the things that are required of us to exist in the physical world. Having a life of purpose and meaning. Feeling a sense of deep ease in oneself. Being of service to those around you. Surviving another day.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities

I push through my insecurities every day. By nature I can be very introverted, quiet and self reflective. I struggled for a long time to live in the open where everyone could see me.  It was hard to be vulnerable, open for judgment and criticism, exposed. That process is a challenge. My insecurities sound like…can I trust this, will I get hurt, will I be disappointed, am I smart enough, what if I choose wrong, what if I miss it.  It’s an ongoing process to feel safe in my body and to set down the insecurities that make me want to run. 

Boss Ladies | Jaycee Gossett || Dreamery Events

A few ways I practice self-care

Drinking tons of water. Drinking green juices and eating as nutrient based as I can. Having mornings with Adam where we can drink coffee together. Making time to laugh with my favorite people. Getting my butt in our other Teacher’s Classes at TCTT. Making time to be a student. Breathing clean air. Watching This Is Us.

My happiest moment in the past 6 months

I can’t pin point one moment but I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be with Taryn Toomey ​and Natalie Kuhn in the Dominican Republic leading The Retreatment and we bunked together. There were many nights of laughter and much needed soul joy.


Jaycee Gossett