I started out my ‘career’ in 2017, when I started doing coaching work around undoing racism through somatic approaches. This piece of work evolved into something I referred to as ‘cultural somatics’, which is an approach to both individual and cultural change that posits that cultures are in fact bodies made of bodies. Because of this, individual change and collective change are necessarily embodied processes that have a fractal relationship.
One of the great benefits I saw in this kind of ‘cultural-somatic’ approach was that it showed us that everything we learn about our own somatic process can be applied to an understanding of how to work with social transformation.
Through this piece of work, I met Dare Sohei, who had a great impact on my work as they introduced me to foundational concepts of what I could call contemporary liberatory animism, which led me to develop a cultural somatic framework that saw the ancestors and other intangible presences our cultures speak of as beings that live in the ‘cultural nervous system’ of our ‘cultural somas’. If you are interested in learning more about this, you can read this article that goes into more detail.
In pursuing this work over the last few years, from late 2017 to early 2021, I experienced what might be called ‘canceling’ through continual sabotaging by peers via false and projected accusations of harm. This made me realize that the social justice discourse and community that I had implanted my work within, was not the right for me place to be.
From my own experiences and the experience of others, I’ve come to more deeply observe that the reason why we collectively cause unnecessary violence is that we have lost agency in our relationship to information and ideology. This has happened through a series of historical traumatic events that have disconnected us from a healthy relationship to both our erotic desire and fear of death, which I see as being intimately connected to each other.
Currently, I am experimentally moving towards a more intentional integration of the erotic into my practice based on the observation that humans experience transfer of sensate, emotional, and cognitive knowledge as an erotic, or even sexual, experience.
Here are some of the lineages my practice of life and work draws from:
- Schools of modern creative and somatic therapies such as dance movement therapy, somatic sex education, Hakomi Method, and expressive arts therapy (which I am certified in through Langara College and is my main training). I acknowledge that these lineages of modern therapy derive much of their healing resource from the traditional practices of cultures of color as well as European folk cultures.
- Asian/Japanese ancestral embodiment lineages from energy medicine to martial arts that I have immersed myself in through self-practice and research (I am a fluent Japanese reader/speaker). There is a great ocean of knowledge here but people who have been particularly influential are Kenji Ushiro, Hideo Takaoka, and Corky Quakenbush (Please note that I am not a practitioner who can explicitly instruct on the arts I draw from).
- Animist-indigenous ritual and ancestral healing, a lot of which I have absorbed through my ongoing work with Dare Sohei as well as my personal research of Japanese folk animism. Other inspirations for animism in my work include Sobonfu Some, Malidoma Some, and various writings on Wetiko (an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit). To be sure, I’m a very beginning practitioner within animism.
- Street dance, particularly ‘popping’, an umbrella term for mechanical street dances that emerged from black and brown communities of the West Coast of Turtle Island during the early 1970s.