So here I am again sharing about my time spent in Cuba. Its been such a learning experience for me and deepens my gratitude for the simple luxuries in life which we can easily take for granted in the United States. I also feel that what I’ve experienced after losing everything I had in the Florida Keys during Hurricane Irma is somewhat connected and equally profound… appreciate everything.
Cuba,as I’ve mentioned before… is sort of like entering a time capsule in a sense….. life there is simple and certainly less evolved than United States mainstream living. Its most definitely a mindset and lifestyle adjustment and very grounding. I went more prepared the past times I visited as opposed to the first trip. I knew how limited particular resources are so I brought things that were important for me to have during my time there,books to read, protein snacks, specific personal hygiene items, etc. Theres no Wal-Mart, or CVS, etc if you forget something , so make sure you have it or quite possibly go without. Whats there is there, and its not much. It offers an opportunity to realize that you can get by on less. Those necessities we think we need, maybe they are not so necessary after all. I,personally,although a minimalist, do have level of comfort of living preferences,but recognize that I can let go of my attachment to them and still be happy.
When I travel to Cuba, I go to Cienfuegos , specifically Castillo de Jagua,Cuba. Its beautiful….. yet basic… very basic. It would be described by US standards as poverty, maybe it is,I prefer not to label it. I know that when I wake up there in loving arms,it really doesn’t matter. When I hear the chickens outside at 6am I feel a sense of comfort and peace. Its the simple things that I can find appreciation for and stay in that heart centered space. Its not about things, its more about energy… the music, the smiling faces, the generosity,thats what is most special to me about Cuba.
I see Cuba as a place that offers the idea of simplicity to me.Although, I should add, in that simplicity nothing about Cuba is easy,starting with getting there. To get there from Key West which is only 90 miles from Cuba…. we must fly from Miami,about a 3hr ride from Key West …go figure. After flying from Miami to Santa Clara, its about a 2.5 hour car ride to Cienfuegos. The car ride is always a fun experience with me and my love in the front with the driver and the family that is there waiting to greet us piled in the back seat.Its squishy and close but I love it. Its all about family in Cuba, which is a shift from life in the US. Something I am learning to adjust to and embrace as I’m used to a more independent lifestyle.
I’ve heard about people that have visited and found the scarcity of everyday comforts in Cuba to be problematic. If you go there expecting the everyday luxuries we take for granted in the U.S., your in for a big shock. I love learning about different cultures and truly it has helped me understand and connect the pieces from the experiences I’ve had through opportunities with my face painting and body art in the Philadelphia area and South Florida. We sometimes think of others differences as less than because perhaps we don’t understand another’s reality. I’ve visited and done face painting and body art events in areas what would be labeled depressed areas in Philadelphia but came away having some extremely beautiful connections because of it. I can say the same about Cuba, I could be turned off at the lack of my normal everyday comforts, its not for everybody, but my own heart centered personal reasons keep me going . Through this I learn to appreciate it and be more grateful for every blessing in my own life. In the U.S.,I can go to a grocery store and select that I want to eat based on what I’m in the mood for, that is not happening in Cuba. Perhaps in touristy areas but I have not visited such places yet. I do recognize that much of our food supply in US grocery stores is a “product” rather than a natural source of nourishment, so theres a commercialism piece lacking in Cuba which I find fulfilling in many ways. On another note,I can go to a store and buy clothes I love and feel good in the U.S., not happening in Cuba either. This tech world we live in in the US… mucho limited in Cuba. As in, if I want to connect I must find a WiFi friendly area and pray to connect…. probably slowly. Imagine a world free from materialism and capitalism? No billboards, strip malls, chain stores, restuarants , etc… thats real life in Cuba, I personally think its wonderful as things or outside resources like that never bring true fulfillment anyway.
In closing, for me Cuba has brought me to a deeper state of acceptance, compassion, love and patience . Its definitely helped shift my perspective on many topics and of course bring me to a deeper appreciation for this life and the blessings in it. I feel grateful and appreciative while I’m there for the simplicity of life, happiness just because and focus on everyday tasks. Life is what it is, go with the flow and be happy.