The Khmer people

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Before I realised what had happened, I woke up looking out over the river and fresh green country side. Phnom Penh was hours away. Boarding our boat early in the morning, way back in Phnom Penh, to cruise down the Mekong river into Vietnam, I must have instantly fallen asleep.

Knowing a little of Cambodian history didn’t really prepare me for what I was about to see. We visited the very sad but very important parts of Phnom Penh – the killing fields and Tuol Sleng museum. I’m not going to delve too deep into these places of horror. We had to visit both places over two days, as visiting one after another was too heart breaking. You can read over and over again what went on in the those dark years, but when you stand where those people stood, it leaves you much emptier than you can imagine.

A survivor of the genocide talked years later about how she is trying to move on from her experience and heal. To hear her even begin to use the word heal after such a short amount of time left me overwhelmed. Strength like this must be so hard to find, but with time and the right kinds of help, people do seem to find a way. Mediation was one of these ways.

In your practice don’t forget to take the time to stop and stand or sit. Close your eyes and take some breaths. In no way shape or form am I comparing the events of Cambodia to our usual “struggles” in the western world, all I’m saying is don’t underestimate the power of simply stopping and taking a few minutes.

Mountain pose or Tadasana is great if your mind is full. Sometimes I don’t want to sit down, so you can stand with your feet a little distance apart. Keep your hands down with palms facing the outside of your thighs or, if you want to feel more energised, turn the palms outwards. Grace x

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