Friday, January 27, 2012

Cambodia, Day Four, Evening. Growing strong roots.

When we arrived at the Dream House, it was clear that it had been a long week for all of us. The team on the Engagement Trip had had a jam-packed week of time with the girls, time learning about the challenge of fighting sex trafficking in Cambodia, and time taking in the culture and arts of Phnom Penh.

And the girls were alternately revved up and exhausted. Imagine living in a house with 16 other adolescent and teen girls. Imagine that on your best day as a teen. Then imagine that on your worst day, times a thousand, due to the traumas that live in these girls recent memory and in their present bodies.

When we walked in, they were cheerful, sweet, dancing, wide-eyed girls. But the stress of the week and the fact that they were about to say goodbye to the Engagement team they had come to love, was palpable.

So we chose to settle in to a calm and gentle True Body vibe. That's one of the lovely things about the curriculum. It has the capacity to meet a group where they are. Last night, we needed to meet these girls at 80 mph and gently de-accelerate to a humming 15 mph.

We settled into our circle, joined by the lovely Miss Singapore. With the Engagement trip participants, there were 30+ of us. The fantastic Sorida Sbong translated for me.

We settled in to the room with our breath and revisited our feelings, doubly interesting with the sign language echo. We learned a few more. For example, the sign for "inspired" is to rub your hands together, as though you are warming your hands, as though you are excited to begin a new journey or project.

We moved into some easy, seating exercises to ground ourselves (we became enamored with our feet!) and to center ourselves. Then we created a space for meditation.

I reminded the girls that meditation can be done seated or against a wall or with eyes open or eyes closed. And the mind might wander and the body might move and the breath might alter. All these things are perfectly fair game for meditation. The trick is to be aware of these things.

I then led the girls through a guided visualization where they imagined themselves as a tree. With deep roots and tall branches. The rest, once they rooted themselves, was up to them. Was it sunny? Did they have leaves? Were they alone? With other trees? Were children around? Flowers? Fruit?

The girls and guests moved out of the meditation and into self expression by using the True Body Journals to draw the trees they had imagined. Even the trees that were barely discernible in pale yellow colored pencil were lovely.

But the best part yet was when the girls described their trees.

Most every girl related to the strength of the tree, whether she felt it in the present or was hopeful of it in the future. Many felt their roots were growing for the first time because ofTransitions. One girl drew two trees: a small one to show where she used to be and a big tree to show how she would grow. Another girl said the tree represented her personal struggles and she didn't wish to share them with us. Fair enough.

We concluded with rubbing our hands together for inspiration and to bring energy to our hands so we could connect our energies together, hands near hands, in our seated circle. This too was palpable, our connective and collective energy, and I assured the group that once connected, always connected, no matter where we are on the planet.

I hope this was some bit of solace to the girls and the Engagement team as they had to say their tearful goodbyes. Luckily, Lisa and I and a few others get one more night with the girls as we will see them again for a True Body workshop on Sunday.


  1. Really beautiful work Stacey. Thank you fo doing it and for sharing it.

    1. Thank you!!! I took a Feldenkrais class in LA and thought of you. I learned about the importance of my thumb. xo