We recently went to Cuba with friends with the intention of seeing the country before sanctions are lifted and the country undergoes much change. It was a quick decision with little research beyond finding accommodation. We chose to stay in a Casa Particular (essentially a bed and breakfast) called Casa Carmen. Initially we made this choice because any hotel we viewed as acceptable was booked for months, and again, we were in a hurry to get there before cruise ships! My spoiled traveler self took a back seat to wanting an authentic experience.
This “necessary” decision ended up being the best choice we made. Carmen and her family treated us like family, and we had the honor of truly EXPERIENCING Cuba; the culture and the people.
Every day I found myself walking up three flights of extremely steep and narrow stairs with a short wobbly railing, looking down to the ground floor as I mindfully took another step up to our rooms. My husband and I were in a tiny room with a tiny, creeky, rock solid bed. We shared a bathroom with our friends. Hot water was unreliable and water pressure was a dribble. By many definitions, Cuba is a third world country, let’s just say first impressions for this rose colored glasses wearing westerner were “Ok…I can do this! 5 days. I can do this…you chose this, remember?”
These split second judgements quickly dissipated as Rolando brought us mojitos and invited us to meet their family. We were greeted with hugs and European style cheek smooches by their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. We were to live in someone’s home for the next 5 days whom couldn’t be more proud and excited to host us.
Joy, happiness, and ease seemed to ooze out of this family, and it wasn’t just them. As the week went on, we met many of their friends who assisted us by driving us to the beach or sight seeing. The energy and vibe was beautiful.
I was present. They were present.
I somehow felt at ease. Even driving around in 50 year old cars without seatbelt that you may or may not have to jumpstart a few times prior to arriving at your destination; I felt at ease and content. No problema. Es Cuba!
How is it that in a country where individuals have very few choices of their own, that people can be so free, so happy, and so at ease? This question remained on my mind throughout the trip as I witnessed it over and over. I never felt unsafe, or anxious. I truly trusted that I would be taken care of; that life would support me. I felt joy in the current moment, even if for that moment I was sweating my ass off in the back of a dirty car, engulfed in diesel fume, waiting for the boys to get it started again.
I began to think… isn’t this what my work is all about? Finding happiness and ease in the current moment; connecting to our Higher Self and trusting that life will support us? To let go of stress, anxiety, and future-tripping in order to remain present? To stop waiting for everything to be perfect so we can be happy. To stop believing that obtaining “xyz” will make us happy, or thinking “I’ll be happy when…”
How have we become a culture that supports living and making choices out of fear? That we are a donkey chasing a carrot? How is it that in a place where anything is possible we are more sick, depressed, and unfulfilled than ever?
These questions weighed heavily on my heart as I returned home.
It felt like a Call To Action. To keep moving with my work to empower women to heal, to awaken to full potential, and to guide them towards alignment of their best self.
If shifting your mindset, and discovering new tools for releasing stress and anxiety sounds of interest, check out this 6 week online class, Soul Awakening.