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.

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 Reservation in northern Minnesota where I met Ahnung (means ‘star’ in ojibwe). 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 home with my partner and our 3 rescued dogs: Our 2 Leech Lake reservation pups, Legacy and Ishkode, and our Mille Lacs reservation pup, Migizi. I believe in the transformative power of practice and commit to daily practices of meditation, writing, centering, and jo-kata;

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

I am a commitment to holding a vision of a just world where all beings are treated with honor, respect and dignity.

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

Ishka steps
Ishkode (means ‘fire’ in ojibwe)