Intro to TRE: Connection, Compassion & Community (December 6, 2017, Irvine, CA)

You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours.’… We say, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’
– Desmond Tutu (on what Ubuntu is)

Hi everyone,

2017 has been a very challenging year for many people – how has it been for you?

Recently, I had the great pleasure of listening to Dr. Gabor Mate in person for the first time. This morning on Facebook, I was delighted to see, “This Surprising Factor Can Make People 4600 Percent More Prone To Addiction: We know the major reason why addiction is transmitted through families – and it is not what most of us think.” (Read it here.)

An ultra-quick oversimplification of what Gabor Mate talks about is that we are all addicts; some use drugs. Instead of asking, ‘why the addiction?‘ ask, ‘why the pain? At the root, historical and childhood trauma lurk as culprits, often unacknowledged. Present day life situations contribute additional suffering. Addiction to work, activism, chronic busyness, alcohol, other drugs, food, sex, shopping, exercise, social media and more are at epidemic proportions and reflect a desperate collective attempt to escape the pain. Healing addiction requires connection… healthy, enjoyable, loving connection. A host of societal ills could be remedied by adopting and addressing this reality.

As much as we long for a good night’s sleep, and the pleasure and benefit of genuine connection, both are dependent upon feeling a subjective sense of safety. When life has been full of stressful challenges, early on or recent, we might not be able to be as emotionally present with one another as we would like to be. We might not be able to fully let down even at day’s end to rest and recover. One of the most effective ways to calm an over-stimulated nervous system is to make use of the body’s own natural recovery system.

Living Ubuntu wants to ‘share what we have‘ and invite you to join us for one last event in 2017, an Introduction to Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE®). In addition to learning this method that helps relax the muscles and calm the nervous system after stress or trauma, we want you to join us for a time to connect, re-connect and re-affirm living life compassionately.

Intro to TRE®: Connection, Compassion & Community, Wednesday, December 6, 6:30pm – 9pm — FREE ADMISSION | VEGAN REFRESHMENTS | DETAILS & REGISTRATION.

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.

Intro to TRE: Connection, Compassion & Community


This year has been extremely challenging for many. What is challenging for one affects the whole.
In the spirit of Ubuntu we ‘share what we have’.
Join us for an Intro to Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) plus a time to connect, re-connect and re-affirm living life compassionately.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Irvine Ranch Water District Community Room, 15500 Sand Canyon Avenue, Irvine, CA 92618



The Irvine Ranch Water District neither supports nor endorses the cause or activities of organizations which use the District’s facilities. The facilities are made available as a public service.



A Screening of Peaceable Kingdom – Sunday, August 21, Irvine (Living Vegan)


A Screening of

Peaceable Kingdom:
The Journey Home

Sunday, August 21, 2016

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Light Refreshments


Irvine Ranch Water District – Community Room*
15500 Sand Canyon Ave, Irvine, CA 92618




A riveting story of transformation and healing, PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME explores the awakening conscience of several people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic assumptions of their way of life.

Presented through a woven tapestry of memories, music, and breathtaking accounts of life-altering moments, the film provides insight into the farmers’ sometimes amazing connections with the animals under their care, while also making clear the complex web of social, psychological and economic forces that have led them to their present dilemma.

Interwoven with the farmers’ stories is the dramatic animal rescue work of a newly-trained humane police officer whose sense of justice puts her at odds with the law she is charged to uphold.

With strikingly honest interviews and rare footage demonstrating the emotional lives and intense family bonds of animals most often viewed as living commodities, this groundbreaking documentary shatters stereotypical notions of farmers, farm life, and perhaps most surprisingly, farm animals themselves.

Click here to watch the trailer.


Living Vegan is a project of Living Ubuntu supporting, educating and advocating compassion and health for people, animals and the planet.


*”The Irvine Ranch Water District neither supports nor endorses the cause or activities of organizations which use the District’s facilities. The facilities are made available as a public service.”

In a Gentle Way You Can Shake Your World – early registration thru Feb 3 (Forks Over Knives tonight!)

Hi everyone,

This coming Wednesday, February 3, is the last day of early registration for In a Gentle Way You Can Shake Your World, a 5-session group series to learn and refine the practice of the method created by Dr David Berceli, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. (What is TRE?)

We are a highly traumatized culture, in denial about it, and it is dangerous. We desperately need a better understanding of trauma to enter the mainstream so we as a society might make better choices as to what we think of as solutions.

While the current race for US President stands out as an exceptionally good example of our culture’s trauma, it is by no means the only one worthy of recognition. It is the new norm in our society to live feeling chronically overwhelmed by the day-to-day routine, with most people not recognizing that as trauma. A human nervous system might beg to differ. Beyond overwhelm, we have come to applaud narcissistic grandiosity, disconnection and hyper-independence. Humiliation and bullying have become sources of entertainment, as if sports. It is easy to place blame externally and say if only so and so would do it differently, we could live in a better, healthier, happier existence. Continue reading

When elephants fight, it is the grass below that suffers.

When elephants fight, it is the grass below that suffers.
– African proverb

Hi everyone,

It is beyond time for the collective to deepen its understanding of trauma. The vast majority of social ills we struggle with are rooted in unresolved trauma. Many of us have been deeply disturbed by the trends we have seen this year, suggesting many others among us have lost their way, becoming deeply embedded in destructive mis-perceptions. It is a dangerous thing to ignore the state of our collective nervous system. When fear has its way with us, that which is self-serving takes over. When numbness and disconnection rule the day, we fail to experience that we are part of the greater natural world. Yet, when we are in health, in calm, in subjective safety, we are available one to another. We are able to seek and support the common good, for all living things. As part of the whole, we become more compassionate.

As we near the end of the year, here are a few highlights of what Living Ubuntu accomplished in 2015. We started out the year with our 10th Birthday Celebration and greatly enjoyed the privilege of having Dr. David Berceli out here teaching Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) in person as part of that celebration. Our research project, Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego, continued its success and expanded beyond the female-only groups to include two groups for the men. We provided scholarships for several members of the refugee community to begin training to become TRE Providers. We also participated in two well-received community events, Neurogenic Yoga in the Park, one in San Diego and one in Orange County.

Orange County for Climate Action (OCCA) also had a busy year, raising awareness on a variety of highly significant issues ranging from Water, to Animal Agriculture, to Carbon Fee & Dividend, and more. We held our first ever climate rally and followed up with a second that was extremely well-attended.

You can see our 2015 events here. You can see many of our photos on our website or Facebook.

As climate change progresses, it increases the risk of expanding our collective trauma. Both urgently need more attention and resources.

Please consider including Living Ubuntu as part of your year-end giving. Donate here.
Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will directly enable our teeny-tiny little, all-volunteer-run grassroots organization to keep addressing these critically important issues.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support.

Happy holidays,

Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings


TRE Group Shake
Thursday, January 7, 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Newport Beach

“This Changes Everything” Tugg Screeningticket deadline: Jan. 5
Wednesday, January 13, 7:30p
Aliso Viejo

Grace, Grief & Gratitude:
Using TRE to Increase Resiliency & Compassion in a Traumatizing World
more info soon!
Saturday, January 16, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Newport Beach

Orange County for Climate Action (OCCA) Meeting
Wednesday January 20, 6:30-8:00p
1151 Dove Street #210, Newport Beach CA

Strong enough to love the world, empty enough to sit with horrors

Compassion hurts…
When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.
— Andrew Boyd

Hi everyone,

How do we find balance between holding a compassionate stance in this world, while making sure we are included within it?

I pose that question right before mentioning two items from the Living Ubuntu calendar this week.

In April, for Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, we will feature, “Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future – A six event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children”. These six events will all take place during weekday evenings in April and our host campuses include: Continue reading

Sometimes compassion requires us to say ‘yes’… and sometimes ‘no’…

When our sense of self-worth is still low, we cannot set limits, make boundaries, or respect our own needs. Our seemingly compassionate assistance becomes mixed with dependence, fear, insecurity. Mature love and healthy compassion are not dependent but interdependent, born out of a deep respect for ourselves as well as for others. …Sometimes compassion for ourselves and others requires us to set great limits and boundaries, to learn to say no and yet not put another person out of our heart.
…In the paradox of life sometimes our compassion requires us to say yes and sometimes it requires us to say no. these may seem like opposites but they are not. Each can express a respect for all beings, including ourselves.
…When genuine compassion and wisdom come together, we honor, love, praise, and include both ourselves and others. Instead of holding the ideal that we should be able to give endlessly with compassion for all beings “except me,” we find compassion for all beings including our self.
— Jack Kornfield

Hi everyone,

One of the best parts of being a psychotherapist is that it increases how often you get to hear people speak from their heart and tell you their deepest known truth. It also gives lots of reminders about how many people are suffering far more than they let on in public. Beyond the therapy office, I have heard countless stories recently that portray great suffering in the everyday lives of many I know. Continue reading

In a gentle way you can shake your world — Intro to TRE

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. – Gandhi

In a Gentle Way You Can Shake Your World

Introduction to Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)
A Six Session Small Group Weekly Series

To Benefit Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego

UPDATE 1/27/2014:
We might offer this series again in a few months. Contact us at is you are interested in participating.

UPDATE 1/19/2014:
I was able to confirm a slightly larger space. We can accommodate 2 more. If you have never done TRE before, you must be able to attend TODAY.
UPDATE 1/17/2014:

Registration for this group is now closed as we have reached maximum capacity.

Sundays 3p-5p in Newport Beach CA
Suggested donation: $180 for entire series or $35.00 per session

  • January 19 *
  • January 26
  • February 2
  • February 9
  • February 16
  • February 23

All proceeds from this series will benefit Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego.
For more information or to register: email:, or call: (949)891.2005.
Due to limited space, registering ASAP is highly recommended.
If you wish to attend, but are experiencing financial hardship,  please contact us.

*Attendance at the first session is required for participation in this series unless you have learned TRE previously. For all attendees, attendance at all sessions is strongly encouraged in order to receive maximum benefit.

This series will offer experiential instruction in Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) as well as psycho-educational material on stress, trauma, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Additional topics will include trans-generational trauma, the anatomy of fear, and how our own recovery from stress and trauma can increase our ability to be more empathic and compassionate with our self and others. Continue reading

“What is Ubuntu?” kickstarter campaign by Ashley Strong

What is Ubuntu? Kickstarter by Ashley Strong

Update 12/20:
Yay! We reached our Kickstarter goal.

Update 12/16:
48 hours and counting…

Update 12/9:
The tshirts have arrived!

Hi everyone,

Time after time, when we meet someone new, we get asked — “What does Ubuntu mean?”

When we started Living Ubuntu back in 2005, we knew trauma wasn’t well understood by many people, and it certainly wasn’t being adequately addressed.  In our culture there are a lot of things we don’t know how to deal with very well.  We ignore our trauma.  We ignore our grief.  We ignore our need to heal.  But we’re good at keeping busy, and we just keep going…

Ubuntu is at the heart of our philosophy about healing.  We are all in this together.  To heal, we need each other.  Healing does not happen in isolation.  What affects you, affects me.

For the past 9 months, we’ve been working with Ashley Strong, a talented local photographer and artist, to design 5 tshirts that explain — What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu refers to the way we are human together.  It means many things including, Interconnectedness, Empathy, Compassion, Authenticity and Forgiveness.

To capture the essence of these themes has been a challenge, yet Ashley’s photographs and design are highly effective in conveying the message of Ubuntu.  We are happy to have met our goal — to create an attractive, premium $30 tshirt that everyone would want to wear.

See all 5 tshirt designs by Ashley Strong »

What do you think?

Here is how Kickstarter works:

  • If you’d like to purchase a tshirt (or the entire set of 5), please put in your order by December 18th.
  • If we meet the minimum fundraising goal of $1000 by December 18th, tshirt orders will ship in early January.  If we don’t meet the goal by that date, your credit card will not be charged.

So, please help us spread the word, so that we can be successful in this campaign :)

Half of all proceeds from the tshirts will go toward funding our project to address trauma (PTSD) among refugees and immigrants living here in Southern California.

Thank you for your support.

With gratitude,

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

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

The snarkiness of our times

Hi everyone,

The election is over, and I might add… finally!  Yet… politics-as-usual threaten to continue to frustrate, and divide.

This past week on Facebook I saw several posts that left me feeling weighed down.  Sensations in the region of my heart shifted into an ache, and as I made a point to slowly deepen the breath into my belly, I noticed a sense of despair.  What troubled me was noticing that even right after an election, and even for those who had the outcome they sought, the pervasive culture seems to sanction keeping the fight going by means of “otherizing”, pettiness and snark.

In contract to a sense of “Ubuntu”, where your well-being and my well-being are inextricably interconnected, the tone is competitive, dog-eat-dog, and reinforces socially acceptable striving to wind up on top by making sure another is left down below.  I notice more than ever how often disagreements get addressed with reactive variations of the same theme.

“How do we get rid of this person?”
“We would be better off without them!”

In addition to feeling the ache and despair, I also felt enticed by what I read.  Snark can be highly seductive, emotionally contagious, and the urge to pile on once someone starts it can be hard to resist.  How often do we settle for acting out our own unresolved issues, projecting them outwardly onto someone else?  And yet, is it because often, we just don’t know another way to do it?  Ultimately, wherever we focus ourselves, we greatly influence each other, for good, or for ill.

Beyond the politics, the culture of humiliation, and the fear of anyone and anything different than me:  Where and how can we find another way?

In contrast to the destructiveness commonly seen in politics, I felt encouraged after viewing Dan Siegel on TEDx, Nurturing a Healthy Mind: Relationships that Matter, Optimal Brain Matter, and a Daily Mental Diet.  Here he is talking about his struggle with his first-born son when he was an infant.

“… When he would cry, I would really care for him and I could feel his suffering and I would take care of him, and if he continued to cry, I would try to take care of him some more, and then if he continued to cry something shifted inside of me… and I would find that my muscles would get very tense… and I would get very, very irritated with him, and I would become anything but compassionate. I would become impatient, intolerant, I wouldn’t be able to see him clearly and that of course agitation in me, only made him more agitated.  So I was very, very confused…… How could I be compassionate sometimes, but not compassionate all the time?”

As we’ve come to the end of politically saturated week, I hope you will find time to watch it as he reminds us that compassion for other people begins with compassion for ourselves and urges us to take seriously the fact that we are all in this together.

“To make this world different we have to realize that the self is plural, it’s an absolute delusion that’s killing the planet to think that the self is separate.”


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu | blog | facebook | donate
(949) 891-2005

 [Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings. 

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, October 2012

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them, humanity cannot survive.

The creatures that inhabit this earth–be they human beings or animals–are here to contribute,
each in its own particular way,
to the beauty and prosperity of the world.
–Dalai Lama XIV

Hi everyone,

Okay, I confess, I read the second quote and immediately thought about the limits of my love, and where my capacity for compassion meets with struggle.  Yes, there is a long list of what I might be referring to, but in this moment, reading that quote, I thought of cockroaches.

I always think of cockroaches as reminder of where my capacity to see beauty in all that exists runs in to trouble.  Lorraine has proved to be one of my heroes in this area of life.  The day she told me the story of saving the life of a cockroach, I applauded her and was quite excited.

In truth, I too would have probably saved the cockroach the same way I seek to save most other insects that cross my path.  Yet, my affectionate heart needs a tune up when it comes to grasping with robust and devoted appreciation their role in contributing beauty and prosperity on this earth.

Chronic stress and unresolved trauma detract from compassion, so I will continue my own path of recovery, and hope for the best.  I would appreciate having your company along the path.

We didn’t meet last month and belated apologies about that.  I hope to see you there this month.

If you would like more information on how to join the Ubuntu group, please get in touch with us. : )

Most warmly,

Barbara English
(949) 891-2005

Ubuntu Group in Orange County, CA

Friday, October 19 2012
6:30p – 9:30p
TRE starts promptly at 6:30p

Optional:  bring veggie foods to share

We have been doing the Ubuntu group since the very beginning (2004).  Held on the 3rd Friday of every month, it is a time to connect with one another in an authentic way about whatever is happening in life, to share from the deeper self, from our most known truth.  For more information, visit or call (949) 891-2005.

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings.