BELONGING. A conversation with Tim Nguyen: Meaning Making, Mortality & Medicine (a Breathing Wind podcast mini-series)

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Episode 34: Belonging

“I have to say, a common thread in my life, since the beginning of my childhood and life is the struggle to belong. And when I moved to the United States, I struggled to belong to a new culture. And as I grew up here and grew into my identity, I struggled to belong as a gay Vietnamese American. Yet, at each of the junctures, I found and tried to develop a sense of belonging and foster that strong sense of self.”

Tim Nguyen

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Meaning Making, Mortality and Medicine, hosted by Ken Breniman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified yoga therapist, plant medicine integration specialist and a thanatologist. Ken’s miniseries explores finding ways to bring meaning in our grief journeys, making sense of being mortal and and making the most out of life, and healing medicines, which he defines as “what we create for healing in our grief journey.”

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What is resilience and how does it inform a healer’s work? In this episode, Tim Nguyen and mini-series host Ken Breniman from Season One (ep 08) talk about Tim’s relationship with his father, his father’s diagnosis, ancestral trauma, empathy in understanding trauma and how Tim has cultivated a sense of belonging.

Tim is a Medical Director at HealthRIGHT 360 in San Francisco, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of our community’s vulnerable populations. He is certified as a specialist in both HIV care, as well as addictions medicine, and also teaches master level courses at various Bay Area universities. Tim's approach to medical directorship is to be of service to his staff and his patients. Consistent with this leadership style, Tim keeps his feet on the ground, and his heart in the exam room whenever he has the honor of providing compassionate medical care to his patients.

Tim and Ken talk about:

  • Tim and his father’s relationship after moving to the U.S. from Vietnam

  • Tim’s father’s diagnosis and death

  • Ancestral trauma and how Tim and his sister have coped

  • The role of psychedelics in Tim’s understanding of how his father felt at death and informing his work with trauma

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