Teaching Statement

A Message from Linda

I greet you and your ancestors with respect.

My people are from southern Vietnam, where the river meets the ocean, and yet upstream enough that the water is sweet. I am the child of small-time merchants and traders, and people who tended to the land and received her abundance in the form of fruits, vegetables, fish, frogs, chickens and pigs. I am the daughter of fragrant rice.

These days, I live and work on the traditional lands of the Tanana Athabascan people of interior Alaska, as a somatic therapist, trauma therapist, storyteller, and educator. I use the pronouns she, her.

My teaching philosophy is grounded in the values of my people, the wisdom portal of my ancestors, and a relationship with the land: generativity, mutuality, reciprocity, respectfulness, kindness, gentleness, humbleness, and collective responsibility.

As a result of the early childhood trauma of forced displacement, I have lived my life not remembering anything, so that there would be nothing to forget. Walking backwards through the snow. Erasing my own footsteps as soon as they appear.

For my own survival, I started researching into the intersection of trauma and the body. I learned that I thrive when I am taking in new information that changes my own worldview because of the resulting paradigm shift - and my experience tells me that upending my perception was necessary for healing. As such, I am an advocate for self-psychoeducation and the powerful introspection and self-awareness it brings.

Speaking for myself, as a trauma survivor, exposure equals death. The echoes in my body tell me that being seen and being heard makes me a target. Teaching lights me up inside beyond belief and fuels my soul, but it has taken substantial work for me to be able to be present, to stand before others, to have a voice, to teach from my heart. I have also had a ton of privilege, to be able to set aside periods of my life, to heal.

Learning brings me great personal satisfaction, and I believe that low-cost education is the fastest way to disrupt the colonial patriarchal power-over $y$tem$ of knowledge gate-keeping as a form of dominance and oppression. I believe in pricing that makes my classes accessible and affordable. I believe in offering equity scholarships. I believe in acknowledging my teachers and their schools of knowledge. I believe that we must disrupt the systems that keep education unavailable, inaccessible, and elitist.

Being trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive or trauma-driven without conversations about oppression and social justice is impossible. Trauma is political. We cannot truly heal from trauma without naming and resisting those forces that have woven their way into the systems and institutions of society: Sexism, Racism, Classism, Ableism, Colonialism, Homophobism….to name a few.

Within that framework of confrontation disruption, I believe in igniting potential, and fueling our innate desire to grow, to learn, to heal. I believe in empowering you to take what you learn from our time together, and applying it to your own circumstances responsibly. I invite you to share what you learn from your experiences with this community.

With sincerity, humility and gratitude, I look forward to sharing and to being in community with you,



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