The gift of gratitude from Cuba to Key West

This and every holiday season brings me to a place of gratitude and intention setting for the new year. 2017 in particular has been very profound in regards to gratitude. ALOT has manifested , a lot has changed, I am so grateful for everything. I continue to appreciate this life and the moments we have and the amazing opportunities we are presented with each day. Experiencing the effects of Hurricane Irma, which I could have allowed to shatter my dreams, and also traveling to Cuba and experiencing life there, has brought a deeper sense of appreciation for the little things in this life … Love,family,loyalty,friendship,food,water, and freedom.

Cienfuegos Cuba Hotel Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

Cienfuegos Cuba Hotel Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

My trip to Cuba came upon me unexpectedly in the midst of what felt like absolute chaos in my life and a derailment from the plan I had. That seems to be the theme of the spiritual awakening journey I’ve found myself on over the past few years. I’ve learned to surrender, accept and roll along with it …. As a blank slate . I went out of love,curiosity and an opportunity to experience the reality of Cuban people . I appreciate different cultures and have traveled to several different countries and experiencing life as the locals do. I can honestly experience in Cuba was by far the deepest and most meaningful I’ve had so far.

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua

I’ve wanted to travel to Cuba since the very first time I saw it on the travel channel about 15 yrs ago. I remember watching it on TV and really having a strong desire to visit the island… the beautifully colored water really resonated with me. I’ve felt curious and intrigued with Cuban people for awhile. I think about the courage it takes to want an escape from your homeland so deeply that one will get on a boat and take a chance at a better life not knowing what is on the other side besides a dream of what one thinks it is. As I’ve written before, my life is divinely guided by spirit and I believe in a divine plan. So a couple of years ago in Key West I meet this man… he’s Cuban…… I had no idea what was going to evolve but here’s a snippet of my first experience in Cuba.

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

This trip, October 2017, was probably one of the most organic experiences I’ve ever had. I was excited despite the news reports about so called sonic attacks and lack of US Embassy staff. A friend practically begged me NOT to go, but…. me being me, followed my heart and own intuition. Right away I noticed that visiting Cuba is like traveling back in time. I should add that this trip was not to a heavily tourist populated area. The landing spot was Santa Clara,Cuba. Upon landing,the evidence of the effects of Hurricane Irma were obvious. Aside from that,the energy felt ,slow,peaceful,polite and quiet . Again, It’s an absolute shift in reality which is noticeable right away. Initially, I noticed the cars,(which are awesome) are from the 1950’s,fashion is different than in the US… Looking good is a priority in Cuba it seemed. Also,Cuba operates with their own money system.Paper and coins, no electronic funds,make sure you have Cuban money to get what you need !Leave your cell phone ALONE, there is no international calling or data plan for Cuba, put it down, be present or pay a ridiculous bill ( I can attest to this, I did it) People are friendly and seem willing to help each other out which was nice an comforting. Another interesting thing I quickly learned … Have your own toilet paper on hand,each public restroom in Santa Clara and Cienfuegos that I visited didn’t offer any .😂😂😂😂 Certainly ,little everyday things we take for granted in the US were not readily available in Cuba.

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

Cienfuegos Cuba Castillo de Jagua Jennifer Montgomery Key West Artist Philadelphia Miami www.jennifermontgomery.net

My time there was very eye opening. People are very happy despite the lack of luxuries we have in the US. I appreciated that very much. We have opportunities for more “stuff” and “things” in the US but also a strong disconnect from each other in many places as well. Experiencing and observing the people of Cuba, I felt a connection and deep compassion for the people of this country for some reason. As an American,there’s many things we take for granted. Something simple like an abundance of food choices,or job choices or living options. That’s simply not the case in Cuba as I noticed .The one word that speaks to me is- opportunity. We have so many opportunities in the US, the freedom to choose, to aspire, to set goals and to grow as human beings to our fullest potential. I felt a sense of suppression while I was there. For me, getting up and doing the same thing day after day would drain my spirit. Simple, basic everyday living requires efforts we know nothing about in mainstream USA. For example, you want to shower, you might have to get your water in a bucket and no it won’t be hot. Food, no supermarket or fast food drive through , acquire it and cook it. Travel, well you can walk, ride a horse, take a boat or bicycle. Reminder, appreciate everything.

I saw so much potential in the spirit of these people but nowhere for it to be nurtured. Somehow the people are happy and welcoming. It seems as though the focus is on being happy in the moment which is in direct correlation with my view of life – anything is possible and life, to me is about meaningful moments … We can choose to make the best or worst of our lives with our minds , perception and belief system . The sense of gratitude I felt upon returning to the US was immense . I’m a very present, peacoefilled, calm person but this really brought a deeper sense of that to me and for that I am grateful.

Happy Holidays and 2018 to everyone:) Peace, love, sunshine and sparkles:)
www.jennifermontgomery.net
Face Painting and Body Art in Philadelphia, Miami and Key West call 610.764.0853

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