Archive for March 2010

Becoming mentally and emotionally healthy

March 18, 2010

Today, I greeted my garden with gratitude. My whole veranda faces the east and is blooming with white and pink bougainvillas. Everyday I notice more bouquets are added and the whole roof is half full of blooms. What does this mean ? Two years ago, I learned plant talk when I read a book about the secret life of plants. Tony and Beth de Castro gave  me the book and since then, I have experimented on the theory that plants can communicate with humans. I told the plants in my house to give me signs as to what I need to focus on by showing me white flowers  first inside my garden and pink outside our gate if I should serve as a bodytalk educator. Well, this summer , the whole front canopy is beaming with pink and fuschia blooms while  my inner garden, white bouquets. So I get the message.

Last year, Dorothy Friesen with Myrla Baldonado  came from the US  to  introduce the Bodytalk system. Ed, I and a group of friends in ELF and  other ngos took the course on BodyTalk Access. We practiced for six weeks and I did it almost weekly for a year. It gave us many discoveries on wellness and illness.  This year 2010,Dorothy Friesen and Myrla Baldonado returned for another schedule of BodyTalk  learning and we met Ben Manalo, a Pinoy-American who is a certified BodyTalk System trainer. The two  modules Ben gave  us opened ourselves to an energy system that is truly amazing.

Many friends whom I offered to have a session on bodytalk have a common feedback : “It relaxed us .We  felt so free when our bodies and minds  were being balanced. We do feel clarity now  in our life. The session is so gentle and empowering.”

When Ed and I went to  Cambodia I offered it to the Pinoy expats and ten people asked for a session. They all got a de-stressing and I added a life goal for each of them. That really made them wonder why their bodies affirmed it.People kept asking me how I get  their bodies to talk even when they were sleeping already. I told them a big word – neuro muscular feedback. I told them I ask a priority from a body part and  wait if it  is answered by a YES or a NO . I have a navigation chart that guides me when I scan the body for messages.   Even if they didnt fully understand it, they felt it was good I listened well. Of course I listened so well that I have now a  clarity I never had. I can almost feel the healing zone when I start the session and request permissions. Oh  how those bodies talked! It was like being in a body universe  where the organs systems , from the brain to the kidneys, want to tell me how they were faring ! Talk of a skull joint that wanted balancing or of a scar that had a long story and needs to heal completely .

When I trained to do BodyTalk, I did  not expect to be informed that our own body wisdom is growing since inception. What did I discover? We have the healing resources to care for ourselves. We can be mentally and emotionally healthy all our life, no matter what stress and issues come into our environment.

I told everyone who came to receive the session that they will experience new and old things in the session about their selves but that is not because of me –  the things they will experience comes with  their own emotional and mental clarity. A session can last for 5 to 45 minutes, depending on how balanced or imbalanced the person is. By balanced, it means the whole body system is able to take care of each other and there are no energy blocks. As a metaphor, the body system can communicate to all the links and there are no communication problems. Everyone gets the attention that the brain and heart give. When a person is well, she/he is able to function creatively and productively. A person at peace  and feels ease with herself/himself – that is a balanced person. A confused and unhappy person – can be ill or experience dis-ease with life.

BodyTalk system is an effective and affordable healthcare system. If I were a policy advocate of the DOH  and the wellness community , I would  promote BodyTalkSystem  as part of  the continuing education course for many of our doctors , nurses and caregivers. It is the complementary medicine of the 21st century. Really portable especially in the rural areas where there are not enough primary health systems in place.


How to enjoy dining in Siem Reap-the secret slimming ingredients of khmer food

March 6, 2010
Apsara Dancers

Angels in Khmer culture

With all the grandeur of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, the food in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is something beauty-conscious women and fitness men should taste. Why? My own body taught me that the spices and herbs of the Khmer menu maybe is  the secret to all those graceful bodies, delicate waist and beautiful skin of the  Khmer apsara dancers.

For a foodie, many dining places in  Phnom Pemh and Siem Reap offer aromatic and delicious dishes. Ed and I spent more of our time sampling the Khmer menu . After a half day enjoying the temples, Ed and discovered the dishes fit for dancers and warriors . Siem Reap is the Khmer phrase for ‘Victory over Siam” – the royal army of the Khmer kings had defeated Thailand in the early centuries. This is my own version of the food story ( Ed and I  still have to check Khmer history) “If a royal feast is the reward of the Khmer warriors, it meant the cooks then had to excell in victory cuisine.”   So we  chose  our hotel, Bhopa Angkor, to sample  a sumptuous meal. Every dish,  from the spring roll to the fish soup, are superb and aesthetically presented. Ed and I also walked  around the old market in Siem Reap  and ordered the steamed fish and coconut drinks. We could  smell the spices  in the dish and when we took a bite, the fish seduced  your enzymes and made us  feeling very good. We only had a week in Cambodia and found many Khmer dining places accessible by walking . We also loved their   fruits of which the dragon fruit is a favorite.

But what I found a bonus was the kind of beauty detoxification the meals gave me. At first I thought I had an irritable stomach but there was no pain nor symptoms of lbm. Every time I wore my pants, my waist was slimming and I wondered why. I asked Ed if he had any food issue “No, am fine.”, he replied.  Then I examined my stools and they looked like a baby’s stool – golden and round. There was not even the hint of foulness so I went on eating for as along as Ed and I could afford it. After noting the beauty byproduct of  Khmer food, Ed and I bought the Khmer spices – black pepper and amok are the popular ones. These were  my pasalubong to the clan and friends. I will tell them to cook with  these spices and see what it brings – the  fitness of warriors and the grace ful movement of Apsara dancers. Apsara is the Khmer equivalent of angels who dance in heaven.

Khmer food

first meal in Siem Reap

how to enjoy phnom penh

March 1, 2010

today is our working week in phnom penh. ed has already chaired two meetings and on his third day. for those who dont know the work on chairing, it means listening to all kinds of agenda from various stakeholders, participants and friends, then setting a formal and informal venue to get voices heard and then decisions made. when ed sits with various nationalities, which he is doing now with the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), he has  to use listening and synthesizing skills so that the agenda gets to be discussed and everyone gets satisfied. international meetings can be really tough. in my women’s movement days during the early mid-80s,chairing international meetings were real negotiations and conflict-management work. i always had to prepare adequately the agenda and see to it that all the silent women get to speak during the meetings. 25 years after that, i have seen many women navigate global conferences quite well. but this is not the point of the blog. while ed is working, am bodytalking my way to enjoy cambodia and making friends.
first, if you want to go around phnom penh, befriend a tuktuk driver and haggle your tour with him. the city can be really confusing because traffic rules are not traffic rules, in the pinoy mind, these are traffic ideas. same case with khmer drivers.

if you are a museum lover or art gallery advocate, visit the museum but have the tuktuk driver go around scenic places on your way. because for  ed and me, the living museums are the people and their houses, almost palatial houses with gilded fences and bas relief enriched walls. the architecture of the city is a combination of french, khmer and buddhist elements. when you see the posh places where pinoy expats live, you will think, what a rich place for pinoys to rise socially!  according to pinoy friends,there are 5000 pinoys already in cambodia and many are in development work. but they told us the tall fences are really to protect everyone from robbery and violence. well, i havent seen anything violent yet and hope that never comes. what i see are beautiful dancers whose dances are so intricate .

last night while dining along the mekong river, a khmer friend explained the hand and finger gestures of the khmer dancers. he said they are trained in the art of a traditional dance that uses the 2000 meanings of their culture. the sculptures in relief you see all over cambodian wall and roof temples have these dancers enshrined. i observed the hands and feet of the dancers. ed and i tried to imitate the gestures and movements of the fingers but we couldnt. the khmer friend said the dancers are trained when they are very young so they can move their fingers like lotus petals and move like buds about to blossom. even their feet are like leaves and petals. i also saw their toes curl up gracefully when they rotate. for me, their dance is really almost mesmerizing, so different from the ballet and samba of other nations.

if you want to really enjoy the food, make friends with all the expats, pinoys, australians, germans, indians and europeans. then you can be invited to their regular gatherings and have free meals and drinks. that is really a big savings of one’s tourist budget.every night, ed and i are invited for pinoy get together and is really entertaining. we get to eat both pinoy and khmer food. we also get invited by the khmer friends who are in intl devt work but since we have so little time, we chose to be with pinoys in the evenings.

the other item to plan is the volume of shopping you can carry. today, we thought of a few items to buy but when we haggled our way in the russian market, we found loads of silk and cotton cloth and bags to buy. it was pretty cheap and for the price of $100, our two luggages were already difficult to zip up.

friends, food and funds – they are the three items on my agenda for enjoying the first part of my 60th yearlong birthday celebration.arent you happy to be a 60 year old woman? i am and thanks to my working husband . am a woman of laklak….according to our khmer tuktuk driver, it means good luck.

so friends, good luck when you fly to phnom penh. on wednesday, we fly to siam reap  to enjoy what angelina jolie had when she went there as the movie icon lara croft. a sunrise and a sunset of magical qualities in the midst of temples.

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