Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
My Ngoc To was born in a small town one hour south of Saigon and moved to the US when she was a year old. She grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia and somehow did not acquire either a Vietnamese or Southern accent. Her name, pronounced “ME knock,” means beautiful pearl in Vietnamese. Her family nickname, "Buoi," means pomelo. She learned how to speak and write Vietnamese by singing karaoke.
Coming from a strong Buddhist family lineage, My Ngoc is an experienced Vipassana meditator. She began teaching mindfulness out of a desire to share the many benefits of her personal practice with others. She is a trained Koru mindfulness teacher and for the past four years has taught to students through the Harvard Ed Portal, Center for Wellness at Harvard, as well as in clinical, public, and online platforms. She is currently the Mindfulness Director for Mindfully, an innovative startup based in Vietnam that is offering mindfulness meditations in Vietnamese.
My Ngoc received her MSW in Clinical Social Work from Simmons University in Boston, MA and is currently pursuing a PhD in Social work at Denver University. She is dedicated to serving the needs of marginalized, or minoritized populations, with special focus on immigrant and refugee communities. Her clinical journey has allowed her to work with Asian-American survivors of intimate partner violence, Vietnamese immigrants and refugees at large, and grieving children and families.
My Ngoc's current research interests are on the ways that mindfulness-based methods can help communities heal from intergenerational and historical trauma. She is a proponent of applying mixed methods and participatory action in her research. Prior to her doctorate, My Ngoc spent several years guiding the MINDFUL-PC study which focuses on integrating mindfulness programs into healthcare settings. The results of this multi-phase randomized-controlled-trial have been published in the Journal for General Internal Medicine.
WRITER & ARTIST
My Ngoc is the author of The Washing Room, a creative non-fiction account of the intergenerational trauma and resilience within a Vietnamese-American family. She has also published creative works in The Guardian and the Huffington Post. To capture and share her ongoing musings and insights, she keeps a little blog. From her years of working in her parents' nail salon, My Ngoc has developed a strong love and taste for color, which is reflected in her artwork.
My Ngoc feels a strong connection to plants and has a cat named Mr. Squish. Her hobbies include rock climbing, cooking, and being outside. She believes in not taking herself too seriously, and her motto is "have fun!"