I was born and raised in Thailand and am a Thai/Filipinx. I came to the U.S. when I was 16 years old. Trauma and tragedy was a part of my childhood; family, community, resilience were also a part of my childhood. In my life’s journey I have reached mountain tops and I have fallen into the deep dark abyss, as I faced into the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, celebrated years of training as a part of the Thai national swim team, becoming close friends with discipline and perseverance; i learned to survive and thrive in a western culture so foreign to a 16 year old; and I have searched and traveled many paths to find my Way back home to who I really am, and what matters to me.

For me, it took a 4-legged furry being to touch and open up my protected heart, and to set me on my path of healing. It was my first dog, a 6 week old, black cocker spaniel named ‘Splat’ (she was named after a racquetball shot as I was playing competitively at the time) who came into my life in 1988. Splat is the reason I got sober. October 1, 1988 is my sober date … it is the day my healing journey beg. I was 22 years old.

After the sudden loss and death to cancer of my beloved dog Shen in 2006 I found my way into volunteering with the animal welfare community in Minnesota and serving as president of a foster-based rescue for 4 years. My work in the non-profit world then led me to working with indigenous communities in northern Minnesota. In 2008, I took my first trip to Red Lake nation in northern Minnesota where I met Ahnung (means ‘star’ in ojibwemowin). Ahnung was instrumental in my healing, and the healing of many others in her work as a therapy dog and hospice volunteer.

Inspired by Ahnung, I created a moral compass/an I Believe credo, which was the inspiration and guiding star for the two non-profits I co-founded and continues to be my guide in connecting individuals, communities, building bridges and creating space for healing.

I share our my home with my 3 dogs: Legacy, Ishkode (means ‘fire’ in ojibwemowin) and Migizi (means ‘eagle’ in ojibwemowin). I believe in the transformative power of practice and commit to daily practices of meditation, qigong writing, and  centering.

I am a certified somatics coach through Strozzi Institute and believe in the power of our own wisdom, and through our body, as a path to embody transformation, individually and collectively.

I am involved with the Coalition for Asian American Leaders (CAAL), and have been a co-guide in the CAAL MOVEE (Making Our Voices Effective for Equity) Summer Leadership Program since 2018. “The MOVEE Summer Intensive offers leaders intentional space for deep self-reflection, growing each leader’s roots, as well as strengthening each leader’s eco-system as they work for justice, equity and prosperity.” (source: CAAL website).

I am a founding member of the Deep Listening for Social Change project. Deep Listening for Social Change (DLSC) is a peaceful action that members of the Twin Cities BIPOC mindfulness community initiated in response to the murder of George Floyd. DLSC envisions a process for listening, led by a coalition of multicultural, multi-gender, multi-generational skilled facilitators that will amplify and empower marginalized voices. A deep listening approach will be used to support self-reflection, encourage individual and collective healing, and build interconnection, resilience and care. DLSC will leverage resources and ancestral wisdom to organize, articulate and act upon common goals that lead to social change.  DLSC follows an iterative and phased process grounded in trust, connection, relationship building and cultural sensitivity. In this multi-year program, participants learn to facilitate listening circles in their respective communities in the Twin Cities. The first cohort began in November, 2020. 

It is my hope, my dream and my commitment to be of service in facilitating deep transformation from the inside out, for the sake of a just world where all beings are treated with honor, respect and dignity, and where we are all living our deepest truths.

In my free time, you will find me hiking with my pups. You will also find me immersing myself in learning and practicing one of my passions, taiko drumming.

Ishka and Migizi Aug2021