Friday night I enjoyed the last True Body session at the Dream House with the girls from Transitions. It had been a week of transitions for them as they had said goodbye to the women and men from the Engagement trip and one of their fellow house mates who needed more intensive medical support to help stabilize her.
So after the girls showed me some of their slick dance moves, from the traditional Apsara dance to Khmer line dancing to the universal silly girl dance, we settled into our work for the night.
First up, the girls introduced their names and expressed something they hoped for or wished for. They wished to continue their education, to get a job, to be an artist, to see the Americans again, to have a home with a family, to be a good girl.
Then we woke up the energy in our body and then learned more exercises to help us ground, center and orient ourselves to shift how we might be feeling. The girls were amazing in their ability to describe subtle shifts of sensation in their bodies and their emotions. With words, sound effects and gestures, they beautifully illustrated what I so firmly know: when you move in a mindful way and stay connected to what the body is experiencing, you can shift your mental and emotional state. And when this intentional sensing practice becomes habituated, you can change essential patterns that are not serving you.
We moved the girls into a guided visualization. They chose a position for meditation that made THEM most comfortable. Some reclined, some sat against a wall, some held hands with a friend, some had eyes open, some had eyes closed. They recalled their tree from a prior meditation and then added into the image a room of their own.
They designed their room as their own safe space. They could determine the size and the color and the decor. They could decide if they would feel more safe if they were alone or with others.
And then they drew their spaces.
For the first time in a week, there was complete silence in our circle as the Transitions girls worked quietly and intensely on their safe spaces. After they drew, they shared their pictures and their stories. The rooms were adorned with MANY pink accessories. There were often tables or shelves for books. There were many windows to see their tree outside and to be able to feel the breeze and see the fruits of nature.
Many of the girls had their entire families with them. "Happiness" family is the term used to describe intact families. Some of the girls had only one sibling with them. "Just me and my brother." "Just me and my sister."
And some of the girls were explicitly alone. "Just me." They seemed to want to know that this was an okay choice. A nod and a smile for them to say, "Yes. You can make this choice."
In the end we held hands again, connecting to each other and reminding ourselves that once connected, always connected.
I am hopeful that it felt safe. And I am hopeful that it made yet another transition easier.