My journey of becoming a mindfulness-based psychotherapist is a story of interconnection, compassion and courage. I grew up with a Buddhist Vietnamese mother and Presbyterian psychologist father who embodied the delicate merge of Eastern and Western culture in daily life. My mother immigrated to the United States in 1975, fleeing her war torn homeland of Vietnam to seek peace and prosperity in the West while my father, a Stanford-Law-dropout-turned-psychologist, was forging a powerful path in the mental health field. Both were committed to living a spiritual life characterized by compassion and altruism. The lesson of consciously living in the present moment was a gift I received from my parents during childhood, and it was my mother who introduced me to Buddhist meditation at the age of 9.
But far from the zen practices of meditation, the first part of my life was focused on the physicality of being a high-level athlete. I eventually earned a scholarship to play soccer the University of Georgia, bringing me back to my father’s home state. Graduating with a BS in Psychology, I knew I wanted to embark on the journey of becoming a psychotherapist so I entered into the Masters of Social Work program at UGA. During my first year of graduate school, my mother suddenly passed and my spiritual awakening began. In an instant, I sensed a greater, cosmic meaning for our interdependent human existence with the Universe, laying beyond the physical. The meditation practices my mom taught me years ago became the portals through which I returned home to the refuge of peace within. These spiritual seeds of mindfulness flourished into a deep passion to share Eastern healing wisdom with those seeking greater inner peace, emotional balance and a sense of wholeness. It’s been through my own personal and professional journey of East/West integration where I’ve experienced the transformational power of presence ~ both within myself and the beings who I serve. Presence is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world. When we come home to presence, we transform.