Star Spotlight 20: Minga

I start with this, today:
One of the most striking and beautiful things about Minga is the way she greets people. Whether she is meeting someone for the first time, or seeing them again after just a day apart, she receives with awe and graciousness and beatific wonderment. Her open arms and open heart seem to say “Hello! I see you, I care for you, I respect you, I celebrate you, I love you.” Years later, it still astounds me to witness how quickly she is able to dissolve the walls we humans often erect.
Throughout this Star Spotlight series, I’ve been choosing to primarily spotlight folks who have a daily practice of being online and virtually connected; it feels nice to provide links to the folks I feature on social media, and feel the resultant love that reverberates through the interwebs. However, there are a whole camp of people in my life who, for some reason or another, have chosen not to welcome in the sphere of Facebook to their everyday rhythms. Today, I’m so honored to share with you someone in that category, who is no less fabulous (in some ways, maybe she is even more so!) despite not smacking us all in the face with status updates. She’s also one of the most amazing healers I’ve ever met, and I do wonder whether there may be a correlation here; her energy isn’t zapped by endless scrolling or digest and upchuck of the unfiltered information so many of us are barraged by on a daily basis.

That’s actually a really good place to start with Minga. Minga chooses to be ruled – non-negotiably, without fail – by her connection with source. She doesn’t really do anything that’s culturally dictated; doesn’t let the wand of what’s “societally (in)appropriate” get in her way. She’s not bothered by folks who raise an eyebrow at her lifestyle choices, or give her grief about not doing things because she’s been conditioned to, or will receive praise and recognition and external validation, or simply for the sake of doing them. She engages with the world from a space that is awake, alert, and fully alive. She is empowered and magnetic: a woman who’s lived a lot of life(times), learned a lot of brain & body wisdom, and stands strongly and unwaveringly in her truth.

And yet, despite often dancing exultantly to the beat of that irresistible Minga-drum, she simultaneously achieves that which is seemingly impossible: she runs an incredibly successful business! She is in high-demand as a Thai massage therapist: she charges premium prices, leads yearly retreats in Brazil and flies to Los Angeles and San Francisco every month to see private clients. She is consistent and accountable, organized with payments and clear and firm with scheduling and boundaries. I admire the way she navigates both the “real world” and the spirit realm with such finesse and prowess.

I first met Minga when attending one of her explorative moment classes she called “Self Care Essentials.” It was soon after I moved to Portland, and I was still fresh to this scene of alternative health; still processing the dramatic effects that non-non-NON-traditional healing could have on my life. I was struck by Minga’s playfulness and deep knowledge, alike; she led a class that manages to be light-hearted and also reverberative, pungent, potent. She invites her students to explore their body from the source – their own body – before entertaining the teachings of others. This was revelatory for me; also revelatory was Minga’s genuine adoption of that oft-spoken but not-oft-lived adage: “The best teachers are the ones who teach their students how to learn, rather than giving them the answers.” Minga epitomizes this. She teaches mostly by listening, by softening, by being curious, by holding space. Of course, she also shares wisdom, when appropriate — pulling from the magnificent bank that is partially accumulated and partially intuitive. She is a treasure trove of teachings and guidance about how to nurture and care from a confluence of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual perspectives. She also teaches through modeling, and leading by example, and inspiring by the simple and resonant choices she makes every day: do good work. Work hard and play hard. Trust yourself, and trust others only when you have learned they are worthy of your trust. Trust your history, but be willing to let it go when it no longer serves you. Celebrate change, without forcing it; crawl into its cavities and crevices, listen to what its quietest voices are saying. Be faithful in relationship, both to your partner and to yourself. Allow yourself to experience wanting, experience pleasure, experience beauty.
Minga is a wealth of knowledge on muscles, bones, tissues, tendons, ligaments, digestive tracts, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, supplements, and how this all relates to Who We Are on all the levels beyond the physical. She’s a dreamer who still manages to be practical and realistic; a visionary who demonstrates grounding and depth of understanding of what it means to navigate this worldly plane (in addition to that ever-enticing shimmering spirit world!); an idealistic who identifies the spaces of truthiness and connection in our culture, in our backyards, in the forests and deserts and oceans. She examines and demonstrates deep comprehension of the literal and metaphorical landscapes that surround each of our daily lives, and make us uniquely challenged, blessed, wise, and foolish. She has an incredible capacity to connect with why we are who we are, we we do the things they do, and then help gently (or forcibly!) disentangle us from that which no longer serves us.
Additionally, Minga can see to realms far beyond what the eye can reveal. There have been numerous occasions when I’ve walked in the room for a session, and upon one look or gentle touch she’s said “Goodness, there’s something going on with your kidneys, isn’t there! Let’s take a look at that.” Her assessments are always stunning in their accuracy, and her ability to affect visible and noticeable change over the course of the 90 minutes of work is unparalleled.
There are so many things I could tell you about Minga. She has amazing stories of New York City in the 70s — I imagine her cloaked in a dark kimono or full-length cape, head shaved, the epitome of high fashion meets “I don’t give a shit.” She has past lovers across the globe, many of which are likely still in love with her. She has friends in high places (she just returned back from a visit to Alanis Morissette’s beach house, #nobigdeal), but values her friends in low places no less than those with fame or notoriety. She was born in Thailand, to one Thai parent and one European one, and weaves this fascinating cultural narrative into the persona she presents to the world. Oh, and did I mention she has a master’s degree from Yale University, which also aids in the depth and magnitude of her work? The information she’s able to assimilate, on both a intellectual-based and psychoanalytic level, and on a spirit-based and psychosomatic level, is simply extraordinary. It’s other-worldly. It’s mesmerizing, and what I believe “true healing” really looks like. Healing in the present, healing from our past, harnessing the wisdom both our bodies and our minds have accumulated.
It feels only fitting that I have chosen to spotlight Minga on this solstice day: a day of transformation, of darkness-into-light (and let’s not devalue that darkness!). Minga is a harbinger of inner solstice for many; a catalyst for people who are ready to examine both their darkness, and their light, and emerge stronger, more connected, and more in alignment. Her life’s work is dedicated to helping people make shifts of their own accord, with her simultaneously gentle and ferociously loving guidance. She is a wealth of teachings and wisdom; a jeweled cup with a seemingly limitless supply of support, discernment, kindness, and guttural truth. She is able to lithely, playfully, joyfully catapult herself through roles of healer, partner, caregiver, nurturer. She is also open to being on the receiving end of these: gracefully modeling how to accept support and care, nurturance and partnership, healing and health.

If you are curious, or interested in supporting Minga and her wild and transformative ways, please visit or check out Metta River on Facebook. I will be sharing this post with Minga personally, and asking her to choose the organization that I will be donating today on her behalf.

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