Today you will meet Nhut Thanh Vo from Westminster, CA . He is a dog trainer, mural and portrait painter, tattoo artist, and devout Buddist. After meeting him it is unfathomable to visualize this gentle, considerate man as a former gang member charged with murder and given a life w/o parole sentence. Nhut speaks thoughtfully with raw honesty about his past intentions, mindset, and assumptions. His awareness of his past weaknesses help him relate to others experiencing the same sense of isolation, prejudice, and self-doubt he was mired in as an immigrant youth. Becoming aware of his self-limiting beliefs through the teachings of Buddhism is what eventually turned his mindset and life around. That along with finding something he was good at - training dogs, began to breathe hope and life into him again.

Show Notes

Nhut enlightens us about why insecure kids are drawn into gang life - the feelings of loss of control, inadequacy, not belonging to their culture of origin or their new culture. In this light, broken people are taken with the allure of gang life by finding a place to belong and come together - not for healing their brokenness - rather ,to encourage the trifecta of false pride, false power, and false respect. He's intimately aware of this mindset and has compassion on those who find this their only way of escape and belonging.

Nhut told me, "You will not gain any wisdom unless you suffer" only someone who has walked that path can utter those words. And he now sees that suffering as a gift. I believe he has internalized the words of the Dalai Lama, "A genuine change must first come from within the individual, only then can he or she attempt to make a significant contribution to humanity." May we all learn to become more aware our self-limiting mindsets so that we can grow in acceptance, loving-kindness, and character...just as Nhut has.

Pawsitive Change Program - Instagram - @pawsitivechangeprogram
Nhut's Instagram - @art_noumenon
Nhut's dog training Instagram - @humblek9

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Stories from those who live and work on the margins of society.