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Hello friends and colleagues,

As the long tendrils of winter begin to settle on the landscape of interior Alaska, I am reminded of the small pleasures, the sacred pauses, the gentle ways in which I can continue to deeply nourish myself: the mesmerizing crackling of a wood fire; the warmth of a hot cup of tea; the oceanic snores of my dog flopped across my ankles.

The cozy view from my bed

I'm recognising how un-grounding traveling can be, for me, these days. I used to love the sensory (over)stimulation of travel! These days, I owe it to myself (and to the people in my life) to practice checking in with my own nervous system - as foundational to non-negotiable self-care.

I travel with: my travel-sized weighted blanket, essential oils (peppermint-lavender-grapefruit), in a fluffy sensory-soothing pleasant-to-touch jacket, and in tight jeans (I love the compression on my hips and thighs). I do my best to travel during the day (sleep is a precious foundation of my nervous system capacity). I pay extra to not stand in line (the Clear Pass) because my nervous system neurocepts the agitation-anxiety in other nervous systems, and then quickly moves towards feeling trapped (feeling like this moment will last forever).

I often duck into private-ish spaces - to squeeze my face-eyes-shoulders-hands-pelvic floor and then stick my tongue out really far and make sounds.

And, lastly, I scan for cues of safety and connection: children laughing, people smiling, relaxed nervous systems. It's too easy for me to hyper-orient to cues of distress-disconnection-unsafety-danger; I know that I will do this I need to intentionally incorporate balance.

~A new cohort for the Somatic Certificate course will begin on January 17th. I would love for you to join me so we can learn and share about somatic skills to expand nervous system capacity!

~It has been an honor to be interviewed by Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer of The Mash-Up Americans for their podcast series, *Grief, Collected*, which features and centers ***the voices, experiences, and losses of hyphen-Americans***.

"My" episode features conversations about ancestral grief. For many MashUps, there can be generations of losses to unpack.

~Consequences of traumatic uprooting can include: origin stories that were perhaps too painful for our parents to share with us, resulting in broken song lines and incomplete story lines.

A person without an origin story is like a tree without roots. If you don’t know your identity, then you cannot know your destiny and purpose in life. You become bụi đời, the dust of life.

Once metabolized, grief becomes fuel for mending broken story lines and disrupted song lines, and allows us to fully return to the land of risking loving once more, to drink the nectar of dignity as bountiful birthright, and to engage with outrageous tenderness and tender outrage to societal changes for those who have yet to come.

You can access all episodes here:

Or via their websites:

~Healing the Legacy of Historical and Transgenerational Trauma: Ambiguous Losses of Adult Children of Refugees and Immigrants is now available as an on-demand webinar. (Bonus: you can get your 3 Cultural Competency Continuing Education Credits!)

~Thank you to Tracy Jarvis, Dr Eboni Webb, and the team at PESI UK for hosting the 3rd Annual Women & Trauma Conference. I plan to re-record my presentation to offer it as an on-demand webinar via my website sometime next year.

~Thank you to the Trauma Research Foundation for their 3rd annual Film Festival, which showcased a variety of films that explore the process of healing from trauma from different sources and perspectives. It delighted my heart to be in conversations with two of my favoritest people in the whole wide world: Licia Sky, CEO of TRF, and Darrel Toulon, creator of Docu-Dance-Theatre, who is featured in Dhareej Akolkar’s award-winning documentary, The Wound is Where the Light Enters. (Movement-dance-theater people, please check out the trailer in the link to see somatics in action!!)

~This month, for Native American Heritage Month, I’d like to share with you the many award-winning short films made by the Reciprocity Project. They center and amplify Indigenous storytelling in highlighting the value of Reciprocity, to create a paradigm shift in our relationships to the Earth, other living beings, and one another.
~And for those of us who would prefer to uplift, be moved, and celebrate through music, I offer this playlist by Indigenous artists.

~In synthesizing research for my recent presentation about historical, transgenerational and intergenerational trauma, I re-visited the work of Indigenous scholar and researcher, Dr Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, who originally coined the terms “historical trauma” and “historical unresolved grief” in response to what she was seeing her people. Her 50-minute lecture, Healing the Historical Trauma Response in Native Americans, may be of interest to you.

~And for those of us yearning to read about Native American history from a Native American perspective, I offer The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: From 1890 to the Present, by anthropologist Dr David Treur (Ojibwe, Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota).

~In liberation psychology, there is a concept known as the first person narrative: learning about a phenomenon from the person who experiences it. As an example, I certainly learned more about the challenges faced by veterans through watching Stephan Wolfert’s one man theater show, Cry Havoc, than what I could have ever learned through books and research articles.

~This last month, I’ve been listening to “The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness” by Australian artist, composer and author Matt Ottley who has experienced Bipolar One since childhood.

Matt Ottley painted his internal experiences of bipolar ecstasy, mania, psychosis and depression. And then wrote a narrative. In a manic episode when speech became incomprehensible to him, music came: he composed the musical score for a large orchestra, choir and solo tenor (with guest composition by Alf Demasi). This process is detailed in a fabulous article by The Guardian.

“The story follows a boy who, like Ottley, sees things differently. “His gift showed him things so beautiful they made him cry. But it also tormented him with the pain of others that made him feel numb,” it reads. The narrative unfolds around the metaphor of a tree growing inside him: its flower is ecstasy, its fruit is sadness…

“The tree really came out of one of my own psychotic experiences where I thought I had something growing inside me,” says Ottley.”

~Art makes terribly tragic experiences beautiful enough that we can dare to enter into someone else’s world.

To find out more about Matt, to download the music (free), or to purchase his book:
Cover image for the multi-modal book, The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness, by author, illustrator and composer, Matt Ottley.
~I feel so incredibly lucky to have been invited to a Ketamine + Psychodrama Structures experiential/experimental workshop… be in community with fellow pioneers and explorers in the world of trauma healing and for the opportunity to continue to do my own deep emotional work, alongside friends and heart teachers.
Fellow adventurers: Me with Licia Sky, Bessel van der Kolk, and Mariah Rooney
~What helps me to really land after all these recent travels: the endless, unbroken wilderness of a long drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Followed by ice-fishing.

And so, friends, I end with a gentle reminder to consider the conditions that nurture and nourish your life force energy.

With love,
In love,


Copyright © 2022 Linda Thai, All rights reserved.

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