Find people who regulate you well and stay near them (June 2018 events)

Adults remain social animals: they continue to require a source of stabilization outside themselves. …in some important ways people cannot be stable on their own.…
Total self-sufficiency turns out to be a daydream….
Stability means finding people who regulate you well and staying near them.
– Charney et al

Hi everyone,

What are you doing on Saturday, June 16? A bunch of us are taking a day trip to visit Farm Sanctuary in Acton. If you have never been there, it is a wonderful place, so you might want to come with us.

We filled up super fast for the number of spots we reserved on the tour. If you want to come, but did not register on Eventbrite yet, let us know by adding your name to the Eventbrite Wait List. We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but that means, we need you to let us know you want to be there. Do not hesitate, carpool arrangements will be getting finalized at the end of this week. So the time to tell us you want ‘in’ is now (or very soon).

June has many additional interesting things happening, so scroll down for a few more Upcoming Community Events.

In the spirit of Ubuntu,

Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
| facebook | donate »

living vegan (facebook)

(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. We belong to the greater whole


SoCal VegFest: Plant Fest (or on Facebook) — free!
Saturday June 2 & Sunday June 3, 10:00a.m. – 3:00p.m. each day

Neighborhood Congregational Church: “World Peace & Justice Weekend – A Two Day Oasis of Compassion
Saturday June 9 & Sunday June 10
Laguna Beach
* Audrey Waight, Art Trey Carlisle & Barbara English will present: “Healing the Disconnect: Caring for the Earth as a Whole” on Saturday afternoon

Living Ubuntu: “Field Trip from Orange County to Visit Farm Sanctuary in Acton
Saturday, June 16, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00p.m.

Animal Rights National Conference
Thursday June 28 – Sunday July 1
Los Angeles
* Gene Baur, Synthian Sharp & Barbara English will present: “So Give Me An F” on Friday morning


April 15 (2018), Connecting the Dots — time to get your tickets

Connecting_Dots_Final (002)
The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.
— Rachel Carson
Hi everyone,

There is a better path. To find it, we must first recognize the path we are on and its inadequacies.

Call it what you wish, our collective trauma, brokenness, woundedness… pulls us to self-absorption and unplugs our holistic mind. Rightly so. When we perceive a threat, self-survival is top priority. This is exactly what a fight-flight survival defense mechanism that got us evolved this far is supposed to do.

If you encountered the term, species-preservation, given that we are currently on a trajectory to mass extinction, you might think it refers to an environmental conservation effort for endangered wildlife. Yet, two decades ago, in a published journal article on PTSD, Sheila Wang referenced it as a human mindset about other humans. It is what we lose access to when we feel threatened. The fight-flight activation unplugs us from the affiliative sense of being part of the whole. It gets replaced by self-preservation only.

Dr. Bruce Perry is famous for saying, states become traits. A defense mechanism designed for occasional use, to save our life in extreme situations, has become a normalized way of life for far too many of us.

As we look around and see the acculturation of hierarchy, oppression, and pathological narcissism, it points to our loss of healthy state of mind, and it is killing us.

We are not just ‘born this way’. We are not a world full of ‘bad seeds’. We are the product of life experiences across the generations. Within the healing of the collective, a foundational connection to goodness is affirmed and strengthened. At the intersection of our varied forms of oppression, there lies the key to transformation and increased compassion.

There is a better path and we must find it together.

We are hosting what we think will be an extremely powerful, interactive, intersectional, and engaging program. Our featured speakers include Gene Baur, Claire Kim and Katie-Jay Scott. We have assembled many additional speakers from the local area speaking from first hand experiences. While many serious topics will be presented, we will also have some fun and are starting the day by having a meal together.

Please join us for:
CONNECTING THE DOTS: Finding Compassion Despite Our Differences, (Sunday, April 15, 12p-5p) —

Scroll down for UPCOMING EVENTS.

In the spirit of Ubuntu,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer

Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
| facebook | donate »

living vegan (facebook)

(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. We belong to the greater whole


A Screening of “Human Flow” – GWC Peace Studies Program (a pre-conference event)
Thursday, April 12, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Huntington Beach

An Evening with Gene Baur: Increasing Compassion, Sustainability & Equity in our Food System
Friday, April 13, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Connecting the Dots: Finding Compassion Despite Our Differences
Sunday, April 15, 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Santa Ana

Peace and the Global Economy: Emerging Issues & Practical Solutions – 12th Annual Golden West College Peace Conference
Friday, April 20, 8:30pm – 5:00pm
Huntington Beach

An Evening with Carl Wilkens: Beyond Genocide, Respect-Empathy-Inclusion
Wednesday, April 25, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Intro to TRE: Connection, Compassion & Community
Saturday, April 28, 6:00pm – 9:00pm



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Arthur Trey Carlisle * Jose Trinidad Castenada * Barbara English * Michele Martinez * Amina Mohamed * Piper Sample * Audrey Waight


Intro to Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), May 17 in Santa Ana

Paradoxically, the more we let go into life the more we discover that we can re-take control of our lives and participate once again in the precarious nature of being human. Only by letting go can we unlock ourselves from the past, be delivered into the future and prepare ourselves for our next evolutionary experience.
– Dr. David Berceli


Introduction to
Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)

An introductory level experiential mini workshop on chronic and traumatic stress, vicarious and trans-generational trauma, compassion fatigue, and recovery

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 9:30a-12:30p

American Red Cross of Orange County
Room 232 PC (in the main building) – ROOM CHANGED TO 208PC
601 N Golden Cir Dr
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Pre-registration by May 15:

At the door, if space available:

*If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Click here to register…
Pay Now

The human body registers everything that occurs to it, both physically and neurologically. And if we do not resolve trauma all it can do is to continue to wear us down over life psychologically, emotionally and physically.
– Dr. David Berceli

Continue reading

Why do we put down “feelings”?

People don’t think any more, they feel.  ‘How are you feeling?’  ‘Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.’  ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, we the group were feeling…’

Do you know one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?  Now thoughts and ideas, that interests me.  Ask me what I’m thinking…

– Margaret Thatcher in the film, The Iron Lady (2011)

Hello everyone,

Once upon a time, in a place not far from here, a group of Darfur, anti-genocide activists went to visit a Congressional aide.  When a member of the group delivered an impassioned plea for intervention and tears came to her eyes as she expressed her heartbreak and anger that innocent children were being bombed by the Sudanese government, contempt for feelings ruled the day, and arrogance reigned supreme as she was told by the aide, “these decisions need to be made by grown-ups”.  A few sentences later, the aide added platitudes, referencing the role of the U.S. government as “we’re doing all we can.”

Having witnessed the above exchange, I couldn’t disagree more with Ms. Thatcher that, “…one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

Why are we so afraid of feelings?  Why so much disrespect and suspicion of them?

I don’t know what happened in Margaret Thatcher’s life that led to such contempt of feelings, but she is not a rarity in her perspective.  Yet, she is targeting the wrong enemy.  Feelings, per se, are not the culprit.

It is a myth that we lose the ability to think rational thoughts, have sound judgment, choose wisely, or are ‘less adult’ when we are emotional.  Feelings are not irrational, immature or mere ‘fluff’.  There would be no warm, empathic relating, or enjoyment of life without them.  Feelings are a necessary companion on the path to knowing who we are and in the pursuit of compassionate wisdom.  They take us beyond the dry and dull to infuse ideas with passion and ‘life’.  Feelings contribute the heart and essential humanness so that we do not fall victim to the cold, calculating, slice-and dice, cut-off automaton influences of a left-brain-only, logical, linear thought process.

Where we get into trouble is when we are not in a well-regulated state, or lack sufficient groundedness in our body.  Then we are at risk to be unable to contain our emotional states.  Feelings can become overwhelming, hi-jack our senses, and unplug the rational.  Chronic stress, and unresolved traumatic experiences only make it worse.

We live in a society that over-values the head at the expense of the heart.  We pay too high a price if we just go along with that.  To counter-balance this, able to feel our feelings and keep our heart open, we’ve got to be able to stay in tune with the body’s sensations.  But how?

That is what we will be working on in our upcoming body group series – Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough: Bringing the body back to life.  All details are below and on our website.  I hope you will join us.

Warmly and with feeling,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

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Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough

Bringing the body back to life

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn't enough

Why is there so much resistance to feeling our feelings?

Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with our bodies?
Why do we obsess about how we look rather than how we feel?
Why is it so hard to slow down?
Why don’t we stop to feel our tiredness?
Why do we pursue success and accomplishment at the expense of relationships?

Living Ubuntu Body Group
February – May 2013
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA

Starts Sunday, Feb 24th
see all dates »

Find out more at

Questions?  Please contact us at (949) 891-2005 or


“If only my stomach were flat…”


“In the midst of a war on Iraq, in a time of torture camps and daily bombings, when civil liberties are disappearing as fast as the ozone layer, when one out of three women in the world will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, why write a play about my stomach?

Maybe because my stomach is one thing I feel I have control over, or maybe because I have hoped that my stomach is something I could get control over….

Maybe… I have bought into the idea that if my stomach were flat, then I would be good, and I would be safe.  I would be protected.  I would be accepted, admired, important, loved.”

— Eve Ensler, The Good Body (read the complete quote)

Hi everyone,

“If only my stomach were flat…”
“If only I made more money…”
“If only I had more time …”
“If only I could just keep going…”
If only…

We are prone to bargaining, a lot.  We fall into wishful thinking, frequently.  It comes in myriad forms, claims a limitless list of topics, and often has very little to do with the real issues that are bothering us.  And if ever there is a time of year when it’s at its peak, it’s the Holidays.

Ideal images of perfectly selected gifts, decorations and dinners all fall flat when stress and unrealistic expectations take a toll on relating… when there is an absence of feeling ‘together with’ those one is together with.

(Sigh…) “If only this year could be different…”

We are doing a retreat in January called “If only…” because accepting painful realities can be really, really hard, and grief, our best friend in need of embrace on the long, long, long road to acceptance, has a tendency to show up incognito.  After the holiday season is over, come join us for this retreat in Julian the last weekend in January (25-27).   All details are on our website.

The deposit deadline is easy to remember if you are up on the end of the Mayan calendar.  Same date, Friday, 12/21/12 :)

From the belly,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

* * *

“If only . . .”

Grief and the long, long, long road to acceptance

2013 Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat

Friday to Sunday, January 25-27 2013

Julian, CA

Click here to find out more »

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Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat (January 2013)

“If only . . .”

Grief and the long, long, long road to acceptance…

“If only I was prettier, then he’d want me.”
“If only I could find the ‘right’ way to say it, then she’d understand.”
“If only I can be there for her enough, I could save her.”
“If only I keep quiet, it’ll all work out in the end.”
“If only I just keep going, I know it’ll be ok.”
“If only I could get a better _______, my family would be proud of me.”

Some aspects of life are hard to accept ‘as is’, yet, there are limits on what we can influence or control.  In this society, we frequently go to great lengths to avoid painful realities, and we avoid the very thing that would help us reach acceptance, being at peace with ‘what is’.  Far too often, we don’t grieve. 

We see it in:

  • the chronic seeking to win acceptance of those who have rejected us by pleasing, performing and doing everything possible to try to finally be deemed worthy, loveable and good-enough.
  • the downcast eyes and low energy of collapse when resignation has set in.
  • the oppressive wielding of power as a weapon, heels dug in, tightened fists and jaw defiantly refusing to give up, insisting they are going to “make it happen”.
  • those who perceive ‘justice’ as ‘revenge’.
  • the refusal to be vulnerable.
  • the denial of normal human limitations.
  • the defense against recognizing the helplessness of life and accepting the fragility inherent in living an ‘alive’ human life.

We give up when we ought to hang in there, and we refuse to let go when surrender would be best.  Either way, we lose.

If we don’t grieve well, we stay stuck in our illusions. We fight the wrong demons. We’re chronically unfulfilled because we reach for the thing that isn’t what we really want.

Underneath, we have angst. We have quiet desperation. We stay busy because we don’t know what else to do.  We have lost access to the natural rhythm of life.  We can’t even hear our own wise inner-knowing.

We don’t really live.  We don’t really love.  At least, not in the ways we could…

We need to grieve… and… we can’t do it alone.

This is what we’ll be addressing in our Winter Retreat in January.  All details are below.  To create an emotionally safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to 10 people.  Hope you will join us.

If only we could think of the right thing to say, people would come to our retreat…

:) Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
– Hermann Hesse

* * *

2013 Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat

The retreat will be in Julian, CA. Click to see more pictures of the cabin.

Friday to Sunday, January 25–27 2013

Julian, CA.  Here are the cabin details.

$195 per person. This includes food and lodging for the weekend.
If there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us. We will do our best to accommodate your situation.


Barbara English is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field. As a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, she works from a mind-body perspective, and utilizes relational somatic methods as part of the process toward healing and a sense of well-being. Much of her training has focused on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and healing after abuse or trauma. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Living Ubuntu.

Like at our past retreats, we will:

  • Arrive at the cabin by mid-day on Friday and leave for home on Sunday afternoon. We will arrange a carpool to drive up together (leaving Friday morning).
  • Lunch and dinner will be provided, as well as supplies for breakfast (on your own).  Meals will be vegetarian, and organic as much as possible.
  • The daily schedule will include multiple sessions of body work (e.g. Bioenergetic grounding exercises, and TRE).
  • Most bedrooms will be shared (i.e. with roommate).
  • To create a safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to no more than 10 people.

To register, please contact us at or call (949) 891-2005.

Space is limited and 50% deposit is due by December 21, payable to Living Ubuntu, 1151 Dove Street #210, Newport Beach CA 92660.

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PBS Video: What is “Living Ubuntu”?

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David Nazar from PBS recently did a feature story on Living Ubuntu regarding our work to create a Trauma Recovery Program for Refugees & Immigrants in Southern California.

75% of the displaced children from Darfur living in refugee camps met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. A 2007 study of Sudanese refugees in Uganda found that

  • 36% met the criteria for PTSD, and
  • 50% met symptom criteria for depression

Over 4000 Sudanese refugees currently live in San Diego.  And many more from Congo, Uganda, Somalia, and other countries.

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?
Help us find out »

Online fundraising for What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

See the original story at SoCaL Insider with Rick Reiff.