Archives for the month of: May, 2017

Map of Cuba

I have just returned from a trip to Cuba- a wonderful experience.

On October 17, 2016, President Obama announced that Cuba and the United States were formally reestablishing diplomatic ties with the opening of embassies in each other’s capitals. This agreement is the most sweeping change in U.S. policy toward Cuba since President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the two countries in February 1962.

Tourists from Europe, Canada, and other countries have been visiting Cuba for the past 50 years. Now that travel to Cuba is available to Americans, I wanted to see for myself what this island nations was like.

I flew from Atlanta to Havana where I joined others aboard the Celestyal Crystal which would serve as my floating hotel for the next seven days. This ship has a capacity of 960 passengers but there were significantly fewer than that since this is the low season for tourism. Havana is the only Cuban harbor that can accommodate larger ocean going cruise ships that carry thousands of folks. However, on our smaller ship we were able to dock in three cities in Cuba in addition to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

One of the ship’s publications described Cuba as “a continuing education. Just when you think you have figured it out, it confounds you with another brow-beating riddle…Twenty-first century Cuba promises to be like no other place you have ever visited: culturally rich, visibly mildewed, architecturally magnificent, infuriating, and at the same time uplifting.”

Havana- Christ Statue

 

We toured the old city of Havana, visited the stunningly beautiful National Theater, and stood before the huge statue of Jesus standing high above the city providing a wonderful panoramic view of the harbor and the city. The Spanish influence can be seen in the historic castles, fortresses, cathedrals, mansions, and public buildings of the capitol city. And, of course, the classic American cars were everywhere.

Havana- Old Cars

The coastal city of Cienfuegos, in the middle of the island, is known to Cubans as the “Pearl of the South.” Near the entrance to the bay stands the imposing fortress Castillo de Jagua, built in 1745 to protect the city against pirate attacks and the main square is stunning.

Cuba- Cienfuego

Our third Cuban port was the city of Santiago de Cuba on the eastern end of the island. The Cuban Revolution began here on July 26, 1953 with an ill-prepared armed attack on the Moncada Barracks by a small contingent of rebels led by Fidel Castro. A visit to the fortress Castillo del Morro and the National Cemetery where Fidel Castro’s Ashes are interred served as bookends to Cuba’s history.

Cuba- Castros Tomb.JPG

In addition to enjoying the beauty and history of Cuba we had the opportunity to meet the people. I found them to be friendly, welcoming, and hopeful. We visited an artist’s workshop, a community project, and five churches.

Cuba- artist

My visit to this fascinating, perplexing, paradoxical nation was so enjoyable but I need another visit to fully enjoy the beauty and culture of the country, the food, and the music. So I am planning to make another visit to Cuba in October. You are welcome to join me. If you would like more information, contact me, jjenkins1943@gmail.com

Cuba- Music and Culture

Jamie Jenkins

Body, mind, soul, spirit in old wood type

We tend to think of our bodies and minds as separate systems that function, for the most part, independently. Yet instinctively we know that is not the whole story. The way we think affects how we feel. If we think we are in danger, our body tends to experience stress, our hearts beat faster, and our palms get sweaty. If we think others love and appreciate us, our body responds with positive feelings.

The mind-body relationship has been a topic of conversation and research for centuries.  Scientists and philosophers have debated and attempted to explain mind-body interaction but there is disagreement about whether there is a rigid distinction between the mind and the body or are they uniquely unified.

Image of Human Skeleton Human Skeleton Front En Svg Diagram of

‘Wikipedia states that most modern philosophers maintain in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body. According to one academic journal, “The problem of the relationship between the mind and the body, is one that has always fascinated humanity across all cultures and in all times.” The next two sentences of explanation in that journal contain 104 words, 571 character and takes 10 lines of space. Two sentences- and the wording left me completely befuddled.

Researchers are continually finding evidence that the brain has a distinct power to manipulate the body’s physiology.  I cannot fully understand the debate but it appears to me they are much more entwined than we might assume. Thought processes and physical responses appear to be interrelated but I cannot offer a scientific or philosophical explanation.

Brain

Robert Jones is not a scientist or philosopher. He runs 3 successful martial arts schools, He says, “The mind is the master of the body. If we train and discipline our minds, the body will follow. Once the body and mind become focused and in tune, you will see that your whole life will seem to flow; like you are in the zone.”

 

Recently I heard an athlete talking about his conditioning routine. His belief was that if you train the brain the body would follow. He talked about both mental and physical exercises and suggested that the brain (mind) determined what the body could/would do.

Healthy concept, Spirit, Body and Mind

Ernest Holmes, author of The Science of Mind says, “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” If he is correct, then how we think is very important. What our minds focus on will determine our character and our actions. Perhaps that is what the Apostle Paul knew when he gave this advice: “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 Common English Version).

Philippians 4:8 Inspirational Image

Jamie Jenkins