Alone in the World Together

IMG_5019I’ve been taking some more steps towards my goal in becoming a minimalist. It’s taking me years but it’s my journey and I’m doing it at the pace that works for me. Anyway, I’m clearing out the garage. Some of these boxes have been sealed since 2009. It’s been interesting seeing certain things and wondering “why did I ever waste my money on this?” Other things have brought me joy, and brought on waves of nostalgia. It’s amazing, the things which seem to bring me joy are the little things. Pictures of family and friends, cards and letters from family and friends, and other little momentous. On the surface they have no monetary value but scream love and caring.

I found a piece of paper on which I wrote an excerpt from a book I read back in 1992. It must have touched something in me then for me to have taken the time to write it down and annotate the date that I copied it. I was touched deeply reading it again and realized what it says still applies today.

Excerpt from The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham (copyright 1919)

(Each one of us is alone in the World. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.
We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house.)

I can’t say I remember exactly what caused to want to remember this. What I can say right now, today, after reading it again is that it made me think of current social media. We are all out here “side by side but not together.” We say a lot but do we understand each other? Are we “unable to know our fellows?” and do we remain “unknown by them?” I know my “brain is seething with ideas.” I keep ninety-nine point nine percent of my ideas /thoughts to myself because I know it’s not possible to have discussions just for the sake of having a discussion. In my experience it seems everyone has an agenda or thinks everyone else has an agenda. Therefore, because of this we hide from each other and “are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual.”

“We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them.” However I’m going to speak on one of the pleasures of my heart. I want to be able to sit around (with other people) in a room with big comfortable furniture. Surrounded by books, the smell of incense burning, eating pound cake and finger sandwiches, and drinking wine and coffee. Where no one has a chip on their shoulders and we talk about everything and nothing because no one has anything to prove to each other or the world. Instead of being “lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.” We can lay our souls bare without fear of judgment and really get to know each.

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My Brief Tips – Trip to Havana, Cuba

View from across the water at the ferry port in Regla
IMG_0468 It is perfectly legal for Americans to travel to Cuba without applying for permission in advance as long as your trip falls within one of the 12 allowable reasons. If you are doing a self guided trip it may be more economical to travel through another country. Of all the Lonely Planet guides I have referenced for any of my travels the one on Cuba has been the most valuable. I would recommend obtaining a Cuba edition and reading through it during planning and well in advance of your trip. It outlines everything (visa requirement, money, etc). If however you have questions about my personal experience please feel free to ask.

San Francisco de AsisIMG_4759As of this writing your American phone, iPad etc., will not work in Cuba even if you would be willing to pay roaming charges. It will say “no service” the entire time you are there unless you are connected to wi-fi and wi-fi is not readily available. I was fine other than the one hour of wi-fi time I purchased to let my family and friends know that I was alright I did without internet. I did all of my research prior to arrival and printed out whatever I thought I’d need. If you are someone who absolutely needs to be constantly digitally connected you may have a problem.

IMG_0517Cash is King. Your US credit card/debit card will not work in Cuba and if you exchange USD for Cuban currency you will pay a 10% penalty. At the time I was there the going rate for the USD was .96 cents to one CUC with the additional penalty it worked out to about .87 cents rounded up. I brought GBPs and Euros I had from some of my other travels and a non US debit card for use at the ATM. Plan carefully if you don’t want to run out of money because you’ll have to bring all the cash you think you’ll need with you. Although I did see a Western Union I would not plan on using it. Some people chose to purchase Canadians currency prior to going to Cuba instead of having to exchange US dollars.

IMG_5080There are tourists from all over the world in cuba and they do not have some of the limitations (most importantly access to their money) that US travelers have there.

IMG_5025Most everyone is friendly just be aware that the hustle is real. Cuba is a safe country and though you will probably not get mugged you should definitely look out for smooth talkers who want to separate you from your money (the technique is not as abrasive as I’ve encountered in other countries but it’s there) pay attention, you’ll recognize it. I almost wished I had visited prior to the internet age. I didn’t see any homeless people. Everyone seems to want more material things. In my opinion sometimes more is just more and not always better. (Maybe I think that because I’m working my way towards minimalism). But what do I know? I am just a visitor, I do not live there year round.

IMG_5019Plan wisely (have a plan but be flexible), bring a small folding umbrella (for the sudden showers). Please bring your sunscreen and walking shoes and enjoy your trip. Cuba is a beautiful country.
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Dating and Religion (or the lack thereof)

Most of my writing lately has been very personal and maybe a little controversial so I’ve kept everything in my journal under wraps. However, I decided to share this piece. I feel like I’m putting myself out there naked by sharing this but somehow I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.

Dating and Religion (or the lack thereof)

Dating is hard. In this religion obsessed world we live in, it’s frustrating to be authentic when everyone expects you to be normal. Everyone talks about wanting people to just be themselves but I’ve come to the conclusion that they really don’t. The message I keep getting is “why don’t you just try to be normal?” How is that being myself when “normal” means being like everyone else? I’m not asking everyone else to be like me. I do not want to convert anyone. Just accept me for who I am.

The question of religion always comes up:

Question: Do you go to church?
Answer: No

Q: Why don’t you go to church?
A: I don’t believe in religion.

Statement: I’m looking for a God fearing woman.
Me: Why should I fear God?

Q: Why don’t you fear God?
A: I respect the Universe and the natural world.

Q: Don’t you believe in God?
A: I don’t believe there is any one man, woman or thing that is omnipotent. I believe we should take care of the universe and each other to allow the natural order of things to continue. You do not have to believe what I believe.

Q: Do you believe in heaven and hell?
A: No, I don’t. We all carry good and evil inside of us and choose to follow one or the other.

I once had someone say to me. “Can’t you just go to church even though you don’t believe?”
Me: No, I won’t go to church just because. I’m not a hypocrite. I want to be true to myself.

My response: You go to church and you don’t live by the teaching of your church.
Their reply: I ask for forgiveness. So aren’t the most important questions; What kind of person I am?  How do I treat others? Am I kind etc., etc.,?

I grew up christian but I’ve changed my mindset and I’m finding it difficult to stay in a relationship where my point of view is dismissed or trivialized as a passing fancy. I will hold out for understanding or continue this life journey solo. I’ve had my share of relationships some good, some bad, some indifferent. I’ve learned enough from them to know “to thine own self be true.” I’m not trying to debate anyone nor change anyone’s mind about what they believe. However, I will not go along with the status quo just to say I’m in a relationship and half of a couple.

As long as there are humans on earth there will always be war

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I am aware that I hold a different viewpoint on a lot of things than most of my family and friends. A million thoughts go through my head each day. Ok, I’m exaggerating, not a million but quite a few. Mostly, I keep them to myself because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I’ve decided “what the hay?” Get some of these thoughts out and if people do not want to be my friend anymore because individual thought is not valued then maybe they are not meant to be my friend.

Here are my thoughts for today:

Humans always find a reason to start/fight wars. Nations and countries are formed and destroyed. New nations and countries are created to replace the old and the process repeats itself over and over again. Humans create/rewrite history to suit their needs. They create religions and try to make sense of what they don’t understand. There is no heaven and no hell. No chosen people. We humans need to learn to live in harmony with each other and nature.

Here’s to A New Year

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I have decided to start my year in February because February is my birthday month. So Happy New Year everyone. I can’t believe we are already in 2015. It seems like 2014 flew by. I woke up, winked and a year had gone by.

I am not even going to attempt to make resolutions or affirmations. I’m just going to live my truth and get on with it. I have started keeping a journal again. I like holding the pen between between my fingers. I like the feel and smell of the paper.

I don’t know how long that will last or whether I’ll eventually just destroy it like all my other journals, but for now it’s working. I can say in there all the things I dare not say in public or on social media. I can empty my thoughts for the day unto the page and start each day anew. I can scribble down notes from the books that I read and come back to them later.

Here’s to another year of Life on this Earth. I embrace Life. I embrace Change, I embrace Love, and I embrace the Universe.

In the Moment

I’m trying something new. I’ve started to jot down on paper ideas that pop into my head. This composition happened yesterday while I was outside planting some rose cuttings. I took off my garden gloves  went inside. Grabbed a notebook, wrote it down then returned to my task. Please tell me your thoughts. What came to mind when you read it? What feelings did it invoke in you?

In the moment

The party always ends,
does that mean you should not attend?

Do not pick of the unripe or rotting fruit,
there are opportune moments when the time is right.

Do you enjoy the rain with your rain gear on,
or curse the weather because you are unprepared?

Splash in the gullies, play in the mud.
Let your guard down, get drenched in the rain.

Look out for rainbows when you are all done.
The pleasure is flitting but so worth your while.