Learn to do Cupping Therapy at Home

So many people are getting into cupping therapy! It’s a great tool for easing tight muscles, improving circulation, relieving pain and for a general boost in energy, it is no wonder!

After offering cupping for the last several years, I have often found it to be superior to acupuncture, massage and other therapies. Think of cupping as a less painful version of deep tissue massage. Instead of digging into your tight muscles, the suction cups grab onto your muscles and stretch them out.

Yes, you might have those marks on your body afterwards, but believe me, when you experience the pain relief you can get with cupping, you won’t care! Besides, all the cool kids have cupping marks these days. I mean that literally. I have younger clients in their teens and twenties who love showing off their cupping marks at the pool, the gym or the beach. They are actually disappointed if I don’t leave marks on them!

The marks are painless and they go away on their own in a couple of days or so.

I have been teaching cupping to other professionals, like massage therapists, physiotherapists, eastheticians and personal support workers for the last few years and they are loving it.

I also teach people how to use cupping at home on the areas they can reach themselves. It is very easy to learn how to do a bit of self-care between your regular appointments. I have a couple of online courses for facial cupping therapy and for cellulite smoothing, but for those who want a bit more detailed instruction, you can book an appointment and we can do some cupping together. We can address your specific concerns and I will teach you how to safely and effectively use cupping at home.

I even have some basic sets of cups for sale at reasonable prices to get your started.

Contact me to book a personal coaching session.

Why Being a Healer is Tough, and Rewarding

So, you think you would like to be a healer. A holistic practitioner or something of the like?

I am here to tell you that being a healer is tough. It’s damn hard work, but it is very rewarding.

If you are thinking about heading down that path, let me give you an idea what your life might look like. I have been on that path for over 17 years now. Most of what I am about to say assumes that you are going to be self-employed.

You get to have a flexible schedule

Upside:  You can choose your own hours, work them around your family commitments and work as many or as few hours as you like. You can book your holidays whenever you like.

Downside: Most of your clients have jobs. If your clients don’t have jobs, they won’t be able to pay you! You are going to work a lot of evenings and weekends to accommodate them.

You still have to be reliable and consistent. If you are not available, change your hours around too much, or you reschedule your clients too often, they are going to get fed up with you and go elsewhere. You better be damn sure to provide good, consistent service because most of your business is going to come from word of mouth referrals.

You are not likely to get rich

Upside: You won’t have to pay much income tax or worry about what to do with investments. When the stock market crashes it doesn’t impact you at all.

Downside: Do I have to explain this part?

Well, maybe I will just point out that you may have to put up with people thinking that you are making out like gangbusters. People think that you charge a lot of money for a session, so therefore you must be rich. You always seem to be busy, so you must be making tones of money. They don’t realize that much of that “busy” time is spent on admin, marketing, planning, writing blog posts, making videos, keeping up with social media and paying all of the bills associated with having a business – and don’t forget the professional membership fees and insurance.

It takes years to build a practice.

Many.    Long.     Years.

Banks and lenders do not like you. They say you are not reliable. (I say anyone who can keep their shit together and successfully run a holistic practice for more than a couple of years is waayyyy more reliable than the average Joe, but what do I know?)

Everyone wants a discount. You are making lots of money right? They can’t afford to come and see you.

Honestly, I know there are many who really can’t afford your services. This should really go on the “upside” because when you are self-employed you can decide if you are going to slide your fee to help out those who are truly unable to pay you. If someone is genuinely struggling I am the first to offer a discount.

What gets me pissy is when you find out they have a good paying job. They are sitting on an inheritance, going on vacation, or renovating their house. They just got a new car. They go out for dinner a couple times a week. They get their hair done at that fancy place and they get mani-pedi’s every month. They probably make triple what I do, but I am supposed to give them a discount?

I don’t understand why people value so many other things more than they value their health and well-being. I also don’t understand when someone wants to rip you off for the very hard work that you do.

How would they feel if their boss decided that they were only getting half of their paycheck this week?

If you all just brown-bagged your lunch 2 days a week you could afford a treatment every month!

People don’t understand that you are not booking 7 or 8 people a day. Sometimes you will be lucky to have 7 or 8 people a week! Other times you will be completely swamped, which leads to my next topic!

Your income will fluctuate

Upside: I filled a workshop! Yay! We can have Christmas this year! 🙂

Downside: Half of my clients just cancelled for the week. Better start looking for another part-time job. 🙁

You don’t have an annoying boss or coworkers

Upside: Nobody is bossing you around, telling you what to do and you don’t have to deal with that jerk in the next cubicle. Heck, if you don’t want to work with an irritating client, or with someone who doesn’t respect you, you don’t have to. You get to choose who you want to work with, and if someone doesn’t gel with you, you can just not work with them anymore. Bye Bye!

You can collaborate with other professionals. You can try to work in a cooperative environment like mine. I am lucky enough to have found an office building where we are all holistic practitioners, so we try to support and help each other.

You can promote yourself when you feel you are ready. Want to take another form of training? Go for it. Are you really good at a particular skill? Maybe you can start teaching other people what you have learned. You can be really creative with what you want to offer to the world.

Downside: No vacation pay, no employment insurance, no health insurance benefits, no sick pay, no retirement fund, no IT department, no marketing department, no reception, no customer service rep, nobody to talk to at the water cooler and bounce ideas off of.

That great new idea you had flopped big-time and there is nobody to blame it on but yourself. It’s all on you baby!

You get to deal with critics, skeptics, naysayers and generally not be respected for following your calling 

Upside: You get to develop a thick skin. Who cares what other people think? You know that what you do helps people every day. You will find depths of self-worth you didn’t’ know were possible. There are more studies coming out every day in support of the work you do.

You get to work with positive, open-minded people. The closed-minded people probably won’t be coming to see you anyways. I get to meet the most fascinating people every day.

Every time someone walks in your door stressed-out and in pain, and leaves feeling better, you experience the most amazing sense of joy and accomplishment. How many people get to feel that when they go to work each day?

Downside: It can be tough to feel disrespected. If I hear the term “Flakey Reiki” one more time someone is going to get it!

I am often left wondering if the people who don’t believe in my work think I am an evil scammer or if they think I am just stupid or crazy for doing what I do. If it really didn’t work, why would I still be in practice? Why would people come back and refer their friends and family? Are we all mutually stupid and crazy? I know… thousands of years of anecdotal evidence means nothing at all.

It is physically and emotionally demanding

Upside: You will never be stuck at a desk all day. You will have a variety of work activities. You will never be bored. You will develop strong muscles. You will learn how to push past your own pain and that you can do a lot more than you thought you could. You will learn new skills and become a better healer for every person you see.

You can also trade services with other healers and patch each other up.

Downside: Ouch! Yawn!

Oh, and being empathic doesn’t help. You have to be very aware when you are picking up other people’s emotions and physical pain and spend a lot of time clearing and caring for yourself.

People will tell you their troubles, their fears, their tales of pain, abuse, and suffering. It may just break your heart. You have to learn how to be caring and compassionate without letting it bring you down. It is a huge honour to be trusted with people’s stories.

On the other hand, you will hear a lot of bitching and whining. You may become jaded. You may want to turn around and say, “Really? Is that is your biggest problem? Let me tell you a thing or two!” But you won’t because that would be really mean and inappropriate and everyone has their own experience. It just gets to be a bit much some days.

Unrealistic expectations

Upside: People think you are an angel on earth. They love you. They sing your praises. What an ego boost!

Downside: People expect miracles.

Hey man, how many years have your been abusing your body and you think I can fix all that in an hour?!?!

There can be a lot of pressure to be this holy, perfect, spotless being of light who never has a negative thought or emotion. Who never swears or says anything bad. F that! You are a real, human person and you don’t have to be a paragon of virtue. If you allow yourself to be put on that high pedestal it is going to hurt like hell when you fall off. Trust me, you will fall off.

You don’t have to be in perfect health. You don’t have to have the best diet or the best lifestyle. You don’t have to know everything about health and wellness. You don’t have to read every new book on those subjects.

There is a balance to be found. I am still trying to find it, but I know it is out there somewhere. I actually find it quite grounding to eat junk food, drink too much coffee and go out for beers with my non-healer friends.

You get to pontificate on blogs

Upside: I am saving myself some money on therapy by writing all of this stuff down here. I am lucky that a few people actually seem to care about what I have to say. Maybe some of you are healers too. Solidarity! We rock! We have the best job ever! Ups and downs included!

Downside: If you have read this far, you all have to put up with me, but I love you for it. 😉

 

Healing the Layers

I have been a holistic practitioner for over 17 years now.

I have often found myself trying to explain how the different services I offer benefit people in different ways. In short, how the varying layers of healing can be addressed with different methods, and why I include energy work as much as I can in everything  I do.

I started out working mostly with energy work, using Reiki and other energy healing modalities, combined with intuitive healing. I worked on energetic and emotional/spiritual healing for my clients.

Over the years I have been continually adding to my toolset. I have added acupuncture, acupressure, laser acupuncture, electro acupuncture, meridian theory, cupping therapy, cosmetic cupping, heated stone massage and other trainings so numerous I can’t even remember them all anymore.

You could say that I  started on the outside and worked my way in, gradually becoming more physical and hands-on with my work.

The theory of starting on the outside and working inward is also a concept I teach in my classes. I explain that this is how the human energy field influences and interacts with the physical body. Disturbances or imbalances start in the energetic field and work their way in, until they physically manifest into illness or injury.

I will give some examples to explain how this can work:

1. You play baseball and you are hit by the ball, leaving a large and painful bruise. The bruise was caused by an external object entering your energy field and then colliding with your physical body. This is a very obvious example.

2. You commute to your desk job each day and sit for long hours. Your neck, shoulders, back and hips become tight and sore. Yes, of course the inactivity, confinement and cramped position is what causes your physical discomfort, but what energies or influences came into play to put you into this position?

Obviously, you need to earn a living. The energies of money and survival are prominent causes of your pain. You probably would work closer to home if an appropriate job was available, but forces (insert “energies”) beyond your control have not made this option available to you.

If you had a few spare minutes in your day, you would probably get up and move around or stretch more frequently, but the boss is over your shoulder, or you have  deadline to meet, so you sit too long and tighten up your muscles even more.

Maybe you have a performance review coming up or you are hoping for a promotion. All of these things can be thought of as circumstances, issues, etc, but they are also energies.

3. You are in a stressful relationship. You are in disagreements and arguments. You feel that you have tried everything to work out the issues, but nothing is working. You think you are going to have to end things. You are anxious, you are getting headaches, stomach aches and you can’t sleep.

In this case, there is no physical cause for the pain. The pain and disharmony is being caused by emotional stressors. This is another kind of energy. In this case, if the energy is not cleared or healed, the mental/emotional stress will eventually cause physical illness, such as IBS or chronic headaches.

Every physical thing, every circumstance, every thought and every emotion carries an energy.

Some energies are positive and energizing and some are more negative or draining.

Energy workers, work in the energetic field to clear negative energies and balance and harmonize the field. Then they invite positive energies to re-energize the field.

This may not bring immediate physical healing. It may not remove the bruise from the baseball, but it will help to remove the energy of the impact from your energetic field or your aura.

In example number 1, the injury is pretty simple and physical right? But is it really just physical? Perhaps being hit by a baseball is upsetting. Perhaps you were running the bases and about to go home and score a point, and the ball hit you making you lose the point.

Perhaps the next time you go out to play, you will hesitate, afraid of being hit again.

Perhaps it just hurts and it is frustrating because it is limiting you in your activities.

That simple, physical injury could be causing a lot of other disturbances.

Energy workers are adept at clearing those energies or stressors out of your field. So in the case of example number 1, an energy session could help alleviate the emotions of fear and frustration around the injury. Energy sessions are deeply relaxing. Deep relaxation eases muscular tension, helps to improve circulation and balance blood pressure. These benefits can help physical trauma to heal more quickly.

In example 2, there is a combination of physical and emotional stressors or energies going on. This person would benefit from physical therapies and energy sessions to work out the tight muscles and to ease the stress of their lifestyle and work life.

Energy work can also ease mental-emotional stress, so who knows? An energy session might just help our commuter to find creative ways to deal with their situation, or find the confidence to pursue a job closer to home.

In example 3, the cause of the disharmony is mostly mental-emotional stress. Physical therapy would still be beneficial. It is relaxing and stress reducing as well as being more direct, but my first response would be to help soothe the mental-emotional stress that started the whole issue in the first place. Supporting the person through the troubles in the relationship is the most helpful course of action. Chances are that the headaches, stomach aces etc may go away with the energy work alone.

In closing, I will reveal that all 3 of these examples are of people that I have worked with.

I feel fortunate that I get to see amazing things happen every day. Perhaps the most surprising things I have seen come from the energy work I started with so long ago.

The person from example 3 (the relationship issue) ended up getting rid of all physical pain in just one energy session, and the person from example 1 (the baseball bruise) and I sat in wonder as we watched the swelling and bruising on her leg shrink before our eyes in just one 20 minute acupuncture and energy session combined treatment.

This is why I always try to address every layer of healing when I work with people. Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies are always connected and intertwined and we must try to be open to helping on all levels if we truly want to help people.

 

 

Indoor Workout Ideas for When It’s Too Cold to Go Outside

Guest Blog by Jason Lewis of Strong Well

Exercising is an important part of our weekly routine. According to Statistic Brain, 49.6% of American exercise 30 minutes three days per week. But what can you do when it’s too cold to go outdoors for a workout? It may take a little adjusting, but here’s how you can go about working out indoors.

  1. SET ASIDE SOME SPACE FOR A HOME GYM

No, this doesn’t mean converting your entire basement into a home gym. One spare room will do. If it’s a small room, then choose your workout equipment wisely. A pair of dumbbells should be at the top of your list, followed by a weight bench. If you’re into yoga, a yoga mat is a necessity (you may think yoga mats are all the same, but they aren’t). Other items you may add include a stationary bike, treadmill, Bosu balance trainer (there are clips online showing the proper way to use them), and adaptable resistance bands.

It’s no secret that a good workout can be achieved with little or no equipment at all. Basic push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks will do. But the Bosu balance trainer and adaptable resistance bands make it more fun, and fun is important; otherwise workouts can seem more like a chore.

 

Try adding some art or inspirational posters on the walls to cheer up the space and dreary feeling of winter.

  1. GET INTO AN INDOOR ROUTINE

If you’re accustomed to jumping out of bed every morning and running a mile or so in good weather, it may be quite a culture shock when winter snow hits and you have to find a way to work out indoors. The key is to be adaptable. Don’t give up on fitness just because it’s cold and icy outside. There are a lot of ways to work out. Find a routine that works for you, and stay with it until the snow melts and you can go exercise outside again.

Running on a treadmill isn’t exactly the same as running around the block, but it’s a good substitute if you absolutely love to run. Some treadmills are more expensive than others, so if it’s going to be used for only a few winter months, you may want to purchase one on the cheaper side. The same goes for biking. If you like to bike in your neighborhood every day but can’t because of the snow and ice, invest in a stationary bike.

  1. DON’T FORGET TO EAT LOW-CAL

Since most people are a little less active in the winter than they are in the summer, it’s important to remember to eat low-calorie foods in the winter. But this doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Eating a high-protein, low-carb diet will provide the energy you need for your workouts and will help keep the weight off till winter passes and you can be more active.

Keep bottles of water and low-cal snacks in your workout room. A small fridge is a good idea, if you have the space. Some low-cal snacks that pack a lot of nutrition include fresh fruit, nuts, popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, cheese, peanut butter, soups (preferably some type of veg soup), and hard-boiled eggs. When working out, think protein and lots of water. Water keeps you hydrated and aids in digestion. It also keeps your skin moisturized during dry winter weather.

Cold winter weather can be a challenge to anyone used to their warm-weather routine, but with a little planning and openness to temporary alternatives, a great winter workout routine indoors can be exhilarating.

Photo credit Pixabay

 

 

Heated Stone Massage

You may have seen photos of pretty models with stones on their backs, but what is actually included in a heated stone massage?

Watch the video to find out more:

Online Cupping Courses

Cupping therapy is effective, easy-to-use and now even more affordable.

I have redesigned my Facial Cupping Course and added a Cellulite Cupping Course!

These courses are available online. Simply use Paypal or a credit card and follow the links on the sales pages.

You will receive an e-book that. In that book there is a password to the video tutorial. Follow along with the tutorial and learn how to safely and effectively perform cupping for health and cosmetic uses at home.

Soon after, you will get an email with shipping info for your cups. (Or, if you are local to Guelph, Ontario, Bonnie may even be able to deliver your cups.)

See the video below for more!

 

Thailand and Cambodia, Final

Final Update

After a week of waiting for test results, I found out I had Salmonella. Canadian Public Health is very responsible, and contacted me to see if they could trace the Salmonella to warn others about any possible health risks. I told them that I was really going to be no help to them at all.

I had been through the perfect storm for bacterial infection. There was really no way to know if the source of the bacteria was from food, from wading through flood water, from swimming in polluted rivers with elephants, from riding in open tuk tuks with flood water spraying all over you, from contact with children who lived in flooded houses, from not having adequate places to wash your hands before lunch, etc etc. I am surprised that everyone in my group didn’t get sick, but I have pretty much fully mended now.

There really is no treatment for Salmonella other than time, rest and fluids.

People are asking me if it was all worth it, considering I was so ill when I got home. They answer is, it was completely and totally worth it!

Getting away from the North American rat race for even a couple of weeks is food for the soul. The Thai’s especially are such happy and relaxed people. They work hard, and they play hard too, and they don’t bury themselves in stress like we do here. Sure, everyone is busy, but when you return from somewhere like South East Asia, you really notice how small and ridiculous so many of our stresses are. We even stress about being stressed!

In Cambodia, the people live a simple life. Many live in what we would consider to be a state of poverty, but they are happier than almost any westerner you might meet. If we could only learn to be happy with what we have instead of always clamouring for more, perhaps we could be as happy as they are.

 

Thailand and Camboda, part 8

Oct. 5th, 2017

Part way through yesterday it was becoming obvious that my feet were not going to allow me to stand on concrete for another teaching day. We would usually leave our hotel at 7am and not get back until about 5pm. The long days were getting to me and the swelling was getting out of control. The arthritis in my knees and ankles was screaming at me. I had been using acupuncture on myself frequently, but the last few days I had basically chickened out of even trying to use a needle on myself. The skin was so tight it would make acupuncture very painful.

I had been taking Advil, but it was beginning to bother my stomach.

This combined with the heat and humidity had me feeling pretty crappy by the end of the work day. I went straight to my room and put my feet up on the wall, but the inflammation barely budged. Getting upstairs for dinner was difficult.

I mentioned to a few people that I didn’t think I would be able to do another day. Truth be told, I had already made up my mind. If I had this kind of swelling I would not be able to get my shoes on to get on the plane, so I had to find a way to get it down.

Sleeping didn’t go well with the aching and burning pain, so I asked my room mate to tell everyone I would not be going to the school. It was a sad decision as it was our last day there. I wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the children.

Our guide, Mai came to check on me before leaving for the day. She was always so kind and conscientious.

Missing my last day at the school with the kids was tough. We had planned to gift the children with toothbrushes. Thankfully my team mates were able to do that without me. The kids at the school were all full of such joy and mischief. They are much rougher than kids at home. They push and shove and hit each other all the time, but you never hear any crying or whining. The staff just let the kids run wild. They seemed to be keeping an eye on them in case things got too rough, but they never really got out of hand. I really felt like the kids had so much freedom that they were happier than kids at home. They didn’t have an adult constantly hovering over them, making up rules every 2 minutes about what way to use the slide, or how to get along with each-other. In a week at the school I heard only one little girl cry. She had fallen, and after a 2 second hug she ran off to play again.

One day, when it was a bad flood morning, we weren’t sure how many children would show up. My teacher came to tell me that 2 students had come in, so we could start teaching. When we went into the classroom, there was nobody there. Or, so we thought. They kids had climbed up into the rafters of the classroom and were soon giggling at the confused looks on our faces. The teacher just laughed at their little joke and waved them down to their desks. They scrambled down and we did some small group work with them for an hour and then worked with two older boys for another hour.

October 12, 2017

Coming home I had a bit of a let down. Not because I did not have a fantastic time, and not because I wasn’t happy to be home!

Only because I brought home some unexpected travelers with me!

The last day in my hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I started feeling unwell. I had fever and chills and diarrhea. Without getting into the gory details, I will say that the 35 hour trip home with 2 layovers was not the most pleasant. I was paranoid I was going to be found out and put into Chinese quarantine! You actually had to walk through temperature sensors at the airport. I took Advil to keep my temperature down and the only other solution that seemed to work was to not eat anything, or to eat as little as I could to stay on my feet, but not trigger my stomach. I didn’t really want food anyways.

My travelling companions (big love to them!) had gone out to the stores and gotten electrolyte powder for me to mix in my water bottle, and I pretty much survived on that until I got home.

I came home, greeted my family while telling them I was too disgusting to touch, had a shower and went to bed for about 10 hours.

The next day we pretty much went straight to the hospital, where they hooked my up with some iv fluids, checked my electrolytes, (which were low) and started testing me to find out what bugs were in my system.

Four days later, still not well, I was into my second round of tests, and still wondering what is going on in there. I could really only eat toast, bananas, and a little apple sauce. .

A week in, I broke down and risked half a cup of coffee. I hadn’t had coffee in over a week and I was past the point of caring if it triggered a relapse!  The doctors at the emergency room told me that the wrong treatment could be disastrous with these kinds of things, so I was pretty much stuck waiting to hear back from them before trying anything. Sigh!

Thailand and Cambodia, part 7

Oct. 2nd, 2017

Organized chaos is the best way to describe teaching at the volunteer school.

Mr Sophara created and runs the 2 schools we volunteered at. I read something about him before coming, and I had assumed he would be a benefactor who still worked elsewhere, but he is there every day. He greeted us on arrival and did our orientation himself. He is very involved on a day to day basis. He took us on a tour of his village on our lunch break. They are all very proud of the improvements they have been able to make with help from companies like Bamboo.

Mr Sophara was raised in the village outside of Siem Reap. He became successful and decided to return to his home village and start a school. One school became 2 schools, serving over 200 children.

There are public schools in Cambodia, but the children must be able to buy a uniform, books and school supplies in order to attend. Many families are too poor to provide these basic items, and so their children had nowhere to go.

The schools we volunteered at were free schools. Anyone could attend and most of the supplies are donated, so there is no cost to the students. A little brother of one of the children wandered in without any pants one day, so uniforms and the like certainly weren’t an issue!

Children attend when they can, so they may not be able to come every day. Classes were always varying in size and in age, depending on who showed up that day. I had anywhere from 2 to 32 children in my class, aged anywhere from 4 to 17 years old.

They try to group the children into at least 2 levels. A basic and a more advanced level and they will seat the children in groups with others at their own level, so you can kind of figure out who needs help with the lesson and who has mastered it.

We had some staggered attendance, especially in the mornings. We had intense rain every night while we were there and there was lot of flooding. Some of the children were telling us that the water in their houses was up to their knees or up to their waist.

It didn’t seem to dampen their spirits much. They came to school anyways, always happy to be there.

A typical house in the village. Bamboo helps to build better houses and toilets in the villages.

October 3rd, 2017

Another day of teaching.

We had a fun night drinking cocktails in the pool. I developed a taste for Mai Tai’s. Cocktails, served at the poolside are $2.50. We have a running joke with our guide Mai. She is our “Mai Thai.”

There was even more rain overnight, so more flooding. Some streets were completely washed out. Many homes were flooded. The teacher I was working with said the water was up to his knees in his house, but he showed up to teach anyways. His resources were ruined by water as he rode his motorcycle to school, so I quickly ran off to the supply room to look for flash cards with the “oo” sound. There is a lot of improvising going on at those schools.

The older group in the afternoon wass more challenging, but still lots of fun. It was harder for me to step in with their lessons as much of the explanation was done in Kmer. (The language spoken in Cambodia.)

At one point when I was at a loss as to what we could try next, I asked the teacher if I could teach them a song. They love to sing, so I asked if they knew, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Most of them didn’t seem to know it. I started to sing and they caught on very quickly. The teacher wanted us to go through every word of the song and learn all of the words and their meanings. I wrote out the song on the board and we went through every word. We then spent at least an hour singing the song over and over again, stopping here and there to ask the children if they knew this word or that word.

There aren’t really walls between the classrooms. They are more like partitions, so you can easily hear what is going on in another room. The children were completely enthusiastic about everything they learned. Whenever they had and answer they would all shout as loud as they could. Singing was no different for them. By then end of the day, we had all three classrooms screeching “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at the top of their lungs. My friends who were teaching in the other rooms had to give up their lesson plans for the day because all their kids wanted to do was sing along with my group.

The children loved it when I marked their work and drew stars on it. I couldn’t help but allow them to fix any minor errors to get a perfect score. It made them so happy. They all drew pictures for me. I had a stack to take home.

I went to the Cambodian Circus in the evening. This circus is staffed entirely by locals. The project trains young Cambodian kids as acrobats so they can have a career and improve their lives. They have traveled extensively. The performance was excellent. I have been to Cirque due Soliel and I think these kids could rival some of those performers.


Thailand and Cambodia, part 6

Oct. 1, 2017

Yesterday was a busy day of travelling. We took a small bus to the Cambodian border, stopping at the ATM and 7-Eleven.

Many of us have had trouble getting cash out of the ATM’s. We are all loaning money back and forth between each other depending on who can get cash. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who can get cash when.

The other problem is that the ATM’s only give out large bills, and almost nobody can make change for us.

Buying snacks for the road lead to some interesting discoveries. I bought something that appeared to be Animal Crackers, but turned out to be some sort of chocolate filled cookie. I also got something that I thought was a chocolate-nut cluster, but is more like Count Chocula Cereal.

After the long bus ride and a long and hot processing at the Cambodian border, we took the tuk tuk into the heart of Siem Reap and were treated to a delicious dinner. Pumpkin curry is one of my favourite new dishes!

We had our orientation and I received some lesson plans for what were supposed to be teaching at the school.

I had almost no idea what to expect. All I knew is that there were 3 groups. Some of them repeat the same lessons as the previous group. They are grouped according to ability, more than by age and the teachers are unqualified volunteers. Many of the teachers are university students themselves.

After dinner and orientation, we explored the shops and had a few beers on “Pub Street.”

We didn’t stay out too late, as the next morning we were due to be in our tuk tuks, ready to head to the temples of Angkor Wat by 4am to catch the sunrise.

The sunrise did not cooperate. We had a downpour right before we arrived and the sky was cloudy. We got great photos anyways.

 

Our hosts had packed a breakfast for us, which we enjoyed while waiting for the temples to open.

Angkor Wat was the most difficult temple for me with all of the stairs. We stopped in the middle for photos and I received a blessing from a monk.

We went up level by level until we finally reached the inner tower. The stairs to the inner tower were about double the size of a regular stair and very steep. Going up wasn’t so bad, but coming down was terrifying. I didn’t realize I was getting vertigo until someone below called my name to take a photo of me. Everything went swirling around for a minute. After that I stayed focused on just one step at a time until I finally reached the bottom.

After leaving the temple, we stopped for water and found ourselves walking on a path surrounded by monkeys. They were not the most friendly creatures. Of course we knew enough not to approach them, but one of them did charge at a girl in my group. It was really scary.

 

 

 

 

When we got to the next temple, Angkor Baylor, it was a smaller one full of beautiful carvings. I could see most of the carvings from the main level and decided to not go up all of the stairs to the next level.

The next temple, my favourite, Angkor Ta Prom, was the setting for the movie Tombstone. This temple was surrounded by huge and beautiful trees. The dilemma faced by Angkor Ta Prom is this. The trees have grown through the temple to such an extent that their roots are intertwined with the stones. The tree roots are holding the temple together. If the trees die ad the roots lose strength, the temple will fall apart. At the same time, the roots of the trees are continuing to grow into the temple walls and causing more damage.

This temple was a little more sprawling. We had a temple tour guide who kept a close eye on us so we wouldn’t get lost. When we were finally on our way to lunch we were all soaked with sweat and exhausted.

 

Here’s an interesting tidbit: On our way between temples our tuk tuks were pulled over by the police. Our guide said they were, “checking for licenses.” But it was quite obviously something else. I noticed our drivers were all handing money to the officers. One of my friends from my group questioned what was going on and I whispered behind my hand to her, “Shh, Bribes.”

Our guide, who I will not name for his own safety, noticed that I had figured out what was going on and surprised me by talking openly about the ongoing corruption of the government and the police.

He told us how rich corporations from Viet Nam and some from Cambodia as well had bought the government and the police and that those who spoke openly against them were still taken way and killed. Corporations will take a persons land, giving them a very substandard price for it and build a fancy hotel etc. If the person complains about getting kicked off of their land they usually disappear. I also heard from another one of our guides that people who live around the temples are routinely kicked off of their land to make way for tourists. They are only allowed to build their homes from easily torn down materials, so that if the government ever wants to move them, they can knock their homes down with little effort.

It is no wonder that people are so desperate to make sales in the market places, and in front of the temples. We are constantly approached by people trying to sell things and offering rides in tuk tuks.

Bamboo has hired a team of tuk tuk drivers to safely drive us where we need to go. There are scams everywhere and stories of people getting into tuk tuks and being taken off to places unknown. They then have to pay extra to be taken back to where they really wanted to go. Some drivers also take you to a different hotel than the one you ask for because the owners of the hotel give them a commission for bringing people there.

The worst part was the people selling in front of the temples. They were very insistent. Blocking your path and harassing you with every step. We had been asked not to buy anything from children anywhere in Cambodia. That was the hardest part. We had small children chasing our tuk tuks down the road trying desperately to sell us things. The reason we were asked specifically not to buy from children was because they want the children to be in school, not out selling things on the street.

We were told to just say, “No thank you.” and keep on walking. Never be rude or short tempered or touch anyone. It could be unsafe to be rude here.

After our temple trip, some of my group were more adventurous than I was and went off zip lining or to cooking classes. I sat by the poolside. The bar was open, cocktails were $2.50 and beer was $1, the music was playing and the next morning we would leave for our teaching project at 7am.

 

Who Is Bonnie?

Bonnie Adam is a Registered Acupuncturist, a cupping therapist and a Reiki Master and intuitive healer. She also teaches a variety of workshops including Reiki and cupping therapy.

"Follow your healing pathway."

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