World Citizen: Cuba

Dear reader,

we just got back from Cuba. After submitting my PhD theory I needed a break, a proper one, somewhere far away where I’d pick myself up and recharge. My husband and I collectively voted for Cuba, as we wanted to see it in its original form before the consumerism and capitalism ruin it.

Cuba is an island which can be described in two words: ever changing. What we read on blogs and websites only a few months old, was no longer true when we arrived there. Our trip was not organised. We had only first two nights booked and the rest was spontaneous. As I was so busy, I did not bother looking at any travel guide or read anything about Cuba. I thought I’d do it on the plane, but there I was learning Spanish (successfully!), so speaking for myself, I had only a rough idea that I am going to visit a Caribbean island where it’ll be summer and dry season and which regime is socialism (but coming from a post-socialistic country I kinda knew what this meant).

Our arrival and travel went smoothly. We reached Havana by evening and had someone picking us up and taking us to our casa. The next day we were served breakfast. I was absolutely astonished by tropical fruit, but seeing the bread on our table I thought: “Na-a, I’m not going to eat that”. See the picture.

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Day one of our breakfast. I only had papayas and bananas. By the end of our travel I ate everything.

I’m not going to eat artificial burger-like bread made of white flour and loads of sugar. Nor am I going to eat butter substitute. Cheese and eggs tasted like soap, my husband said, while me being a vegan, refused to even try it. And here comes the hard truth of socialism: one cannot buy anything. The shops literally had nothing but some huge tins of beans (sugar added of course), loads of tomato sauce, some rice and at least five kinds of rum. I couldn’t find any fruit, nor bread. I thought fine, I’ll live on our fruit bars brought from Europe. Havana was dirty and smelly. The houses were adorable perhaps 50 years ago, but today it was all falling apart. We had not yet discovered Havana Vieja, which is better and truly beautiful, but the rest looks like as if it is going to collapse within the next five years because nobody cares to rebuild or repair what is broken.

We headed off to Viñales, a national park on the west with tobacco and coffee plantation. Our first taxi collectivo ride. Stopped on the way and I thought “nice, stretch my legs a bit” and as I took some pictures, the driver started shouting at me and prohibited to take some more. We were at a place where black petrol was being sold. The average petrol price compares to prices in Europe, which is about 1eur/l but on a black market one can get one liter for 10 cents.

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Cuban black petrol market. You’d recognise one immediately, wouldn’t you?

Vinales was beautiful. The mogotes all around the valley looked friendly and inviting. Cuba is very green, clean and the nature is untouched (which is what I like!). But the city and our tourist experience was insulting for a Slovenian. Slovenians are so spoiled, because we live in a country with such beautiful nature, environment and such high living standard that it is literally impossible to impress us (for me only New Zealand exceeded my expectations, and I’ve seen quite some bits of this planet already). We took a horse ride to the natural park. Stopped by a farmer where I smoked my first cigar. Then off to a coffee plantation where one old man was explaining us the process of making coffee in three minutes and used the rest of his 20-minute tour selling us coffee, honey and rum. We were then taken to a “lago natural” which was an artificial water tank with muddy water. And the Mural de la Prehistoria was someone painting the rocks with modern colours. I understand that tourism is the main cuban industry but I do not understand the tourists who were actually impressed (or perhaps acting so). Anyhow, we thought the show was ridiculous and decided to leave Viñales asap so booked our Viazul bus to Trinidad where I was hoping to see my longing for beach. Unfortunately we both got very sick and spent the night interchangeably vomiting or sitting on the toilet. I got high fever and was freezing and trembling on my side of bed. After such an ordeal, we had to do the “check in” for the bus at 6.10 am. The bus was supposed to leave at 6.45 but left at 7.30. First we had to walk up a small hill for our check in for about 20 mins and then again down where our bus was waiting. It would make it too complicated to pick us up I suppose and the station was only used to drop people off. I swallowed a painkiller and slept throughout the whole ride which took a bit more than 9 hours.

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I can’t tell you what a dear friend that street dog was!

Arriving at Trinidad sometime pm, we went looking for a casa recommended by some people we met in Viñales. Unfortunately it was full, but the lady was kind and recommended us another one. Which was for the same amount of money (25 cuc/room) a box with no water in the shower, synthetic linens and squeaking bed, straight next to a huge refrigerator so we were exposed to a constant light and noise. We didn’t mind and went straight to bed at 6pm and slept until the next morning. I thought to myself

“Shit, what a spoiled cookie you are, girl. You better adjust your standards or you are likely to have the worst holiday of your life!”

Woken up the next day feeling much better. Trinidad was adorable. Went off looking for another casa, as this one was clearly too expensive for the un-comfort it offered, we explored the streets of Trinidad. Then found our place which has been our home for the next 9 days. Our casa of Jachima and Ariel close to Park Cespedes was gorgeous. Having had so much misfortune so far, we decided to give up traveling around and just settle in for a while. And this is when real holidays started.

Not without challenges though. As soon as we got better, we gained our appetite back. Especially mine is quite huge, I eat huge amounts of food but am very picky in what I eat. Since Trinidad shops were even more modest than the Havana ones, I had to adjust. By the end of our stay I’ve probably eaten about 100 buns of that “awful bread that I am not going to eat” and about 50 eggs. Both without any taste, but I stopped complaining, because there was nothing else to eat except some baby food with condensed milk (forget about fresh milk in Cuba, though last day of our trip I saw a soy milk carton which was a huge surprise, but massively expensive).

It is amazing how flexible we are, humans. Being in a country which has very different culture and habits to your own forces you to adjust and think faster. I was very pleased with myself to discover that I’ve been super spoiled. You would not believe the joy I felt when finding a man on the street selling tomatoes. Even managed to get some Swiss chard and it made me the happiest person.

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Behind me is a Skoda. Probably made in 1950’s!

Now about the sea and the beaches. It was so worth it. Playa Ancon was my heaven on Earth. Crystal clear turquoise warm sea with the temperature around 26-27 or even more, not a single rubbish on the floor, a beach where you could easily find a spot to be completely alone or among others, but not plenty. We went there almost every day. I got a nice suntan and a close encounter with a ray fish which was very nice as none of us was scared, so we spent quite some time together in slightly deeper water, curious about each other.

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No filter. The water really was that colour.

Every time you travel, travel changes you. I think there is a proverb saying that every travelling is travelling to yourself. And I agree. I discovered Europe through Cuba, a different perspective. It made me so sad thinking about our excessive consumerism and loads of plastic we produce every hour. Amounts of food, clothes and other things we are throwing away. When we left, our car (my lovely Peugeot 206) broke down and we were thinking of getting a new one. Such a car in Cuba would cost around 8,000 cuc and was considered highly valuable and fashionable! I left with my famous suitcase full of clothes I was gonna throw away in Europe, but in Cuba they all of a sudden seemed fine to me and I almost changed my mind by thinking of bringing it back home again (which I then did not – I came back with only what I had on, no extra luggage :).

Then about people. Cubans are very special. The conditions they live in are rough. The money they earn is scarce, the government salaries are ridiculous so no wonder nobody wants to work. But they are smiling all the time. They stick together. Families are one of the most important networks. They help each other. They are not craving for material things – when we wanted to sell our iPad (because we thought they might be interested and for us was getting rather old) they carelessly raised their eyebrows saying we do like it, but we do not need it. It made me thing how many things I own or am craving for, but actually do not need.

In Cuba I survived with minimum, even less than in India. And I did not feel much deprivation (only food-wise, but again, I am very picky when it comes to that, but thought that okay, this is not forever, so I’ll survive). So being back home now into 30cm of snow and 0 degrees makes me want to take some lessons from Cuba into my western lifestyle. Some you can view below in a short video.

And some other “resolutions” or discoveries are connected to realisation that most people on this planet survive with less than 5 Euro/day. Because they have to. Why don’t I try to survive with the same, but not because I have to, but because I can? So here it goes:

  • I do not have to consume all kinds of superfoods coming from far away. We have superfood in Slovenia, but it is not marketed as much and totally inexpensive.
  • I do not have to eat avocado etc. here, where it does not grow. I simply do not want to contribute to the pollution its production and transportation takes.
  • I do not have to own 369276 different outfits for every other occasion. A few classic pieces would do.
  • I do not have to throw something away just because it is broken or torn. Perhaps I could remember how to sew again. And so what if that coffee cup is broken. If it still holds water, it can still be my favourite.
  • Zero waste. Dear reader, we are going to suffocate if we don’t act now. I’ll do my best to try and go zero waste. Went shopping today. It is very challenging, but I’ll keep going!
  • No plastic. Very challenging again! But I’ve given up on shampoo and shower gels, I will eventually give up on toothpaste and other beauty products and will learn how to make my own.
  • Ancient wisdom. In Slovenia, we have so many herbs and spices, not to mention flowers. My grandmother knew what to pick when. I have no clue. Perhaps time to start asking her for some advice and learn the art of tea and other homemade remedies.

I guess that should do. For all of you who are considering visiting Cuba, do it fast, because it is changing. The prices were similar to European, but for much lower quality or service. Capitalism is definitely going to kick in, especially if the embargo from the USA finishes sometime in the future. So if you are after a romantic Cuba, now is the time to discover it. I enjoyed my experience a lot – pleasant and unpleasant bits. The only question for me now is how am I gonna survive my next trip, which is going to Canada work-wise in a week – from +30 degrees into -10? But hey – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right?

Much love to you,

Biba

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Check the time. We waited for two hours to have our luggage checked in and then our plane was delayed by over an hour. Oh well, the European one as well 😀

 

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I finally did it – my big manifestation came true!!!

Dear reader,

Finally, the day has arrived, the day I’ve been working towards for the last 5 years. Today I finally submitted the theoretical part of my PhD. Not long now, before I’ll finally finish my studies and become Dr Biba 🙂

I can’t tell you what a relief this is. To be honest, I had quite some doubts along my journey of whether I am going to make it, whether I am good enough to be accomplishing such a demanding task as even thinking, let alone writing a PhD. There was a time where I almost gave up, because my life has turned to a very different direction, as those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time, know. In that moment, what was crucial was faith of my two PhD supervisors. As I was that close to tell them it is no use and I am wasting their time, they supported me and encouraged me to keep going. So I pulled myself together and decided to do two things:

  • Withdraw completely from whatever was interrupting my attention, including my training courses, seeing clients, teaching and any other activity connected to Ribalon
  • Manifest my desire to finish in due time.

I manifested to submit the thesis on January 15th. How, was not important. Whether I will make it, was also out of question, because I knew manifestation worked and I trusted myself that I will be capable to do it.

It worked.

Since coming back from Frankfurt World SF Conference, I was hardly doing anything else but writing. I wasn’t very communicative. I have hardly done any trainings or clinical work (except some small workshops here and there just to get myself out a bit). For four months all I did was writing, from morning to evening. My health got worse. During those four months my will and abilities were tested to the ground. By the end I was somehow going nuts and yesterday I couldn’t even recognise the words on the screen anymore. But not even for a moment did I allow myself a thought that I will not make it. I ordered myself to do it and so here it is – CELEBRATION TIME!

In a couple of hours I’ll board onto a plane again and leave Europe for quite a while. Recharge, relax, do nothing but enjoy life for three whole weeks in Cuba. I know I deserve this, because I worked so hard. And now I also know that every task, regardless of how hard it seems at first, can be done in the following manner:

Taking only one small step at a time. That’s all you have to do.

As I stated in today’s vlog, if you want to kill your aspirations and manifestations, put an action plan on it. Action plans kill creativity, perseverance and passion. All you have to do instead is taking one small step at a time. You’ll always know what to do next.

So here I am today, proud as hell, packed and ready to go with my famous suitcase which is so worn out that I plan to leave it there. Best of luck to you and if you are in the middle or close to the end of something really important to you – learn to manifest! :). It will get you to your results faster and will enable you to do the work more efficiently.

Biba

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Wihihihihi on the road again – this time nothing but pleasure!

Going Minimalistic: washing your hair in water only

Dear reader,

One of the reasons I fancied Solution Focused Approach straight from the beginning was that one of its core principles is minimalism or “doing more with less”. I’ve always been a huge fan of this philosophy not only in doing therapy, but also in pursuing my personal lifestyle.

Every year or so, usually by the end of the year, I go through a more intense period of revising, decluttering and trying to rethink my doing and living (see archive posts here which start with “Downsize this”. This year is no exception. And the more I grow older, the longer my endeavours seem to last. I have gone into a quite interesting challenge lately:

I stopped using any commercial hair products. ANY. I’m washing my hair in water-only.

Before this challenge I had at least a couple of these products in my bathroom:

  • a shampoo, usually one to enhance volume, because my hair is rather thin
  • conditioner, following shampoo
  • silicone or the-like for my ends
  • hairspray for easier brushing
  • hair foam
  • dry shampoo in case of emergency or lack of time
  • hair-mask to use once in a week

and I could probably list more.

Now I am only using

  • two brushes and a comb
  • water
  • a smile whenever washing my hair 🙂

I can’t tell you how free I feel. And this discovery came about three weeks ago as I was traveling and have forgotten to pack my hair accessories. All of them. I was also so busy that I literally could not find any store on my way to buy any. So I went without. It is very simple, however, like SFBT, not easy. But in my opinion it is so worth it. We are doing such damage to this Planet. We forget this so often, or at least I forget about and really need some brutal documentaries to show me that this planet is indeed dying of plastic. So I’ve gone “no-poo”, the most radical method.

If you are interested in how to do it, I made a video for you. In it you can find described the whole process with all the resources I had to dig up, and am very happy to share with you to make your transition smoother.

Subscribe to this blog (option on the right bottom of the page) if you would like to watch the video. It is not listed as public due to my privacy (showing you my bathroom and the whole procedure). After subscribing you will receive the video to your mailbox. Thank you!

This is a first post in 2018. And I am hoping to write many more “Going Minimalistic” posts, especially if you’ll find it useful. Enjoy and do come back to me with comments and your experiences!

Biba

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This is only a preview. To watch the whole video, please subscribe to the blog on the right bottom.

This COULD be your kind of year!

Dear reader,

my 2018 has already started. I’ve had a little illumination yesterday and today I am blissful, full of energy and expectation to make a giant leap into 2018. Yesterday I finished with my theoretical reading for my PhD. Meaning I’m only revising from now on and am able to do nothing else but letting myself be creative. Joy, joy, finally, after 6 years!!!!! (btw you do realise this is due to my Manifesting ability, right? Joke, but no joke maybe 🙂

Anyways, here’s what I wanted to tell you. A few things I learned in 2017 and am celebrating today:

  • You are universe’s creation, not your own. Meaning, your talents are your gifts and your skills have been developed by the help of others, so don’t be misled that it was entirely your own achievement. However you have every reason to celebrate – it was you who developed them and the more people you can celebrate this with, the better!
  • If someone hurt you once, it’s their fault. If they hurt you twice, it is your fault.
  • There is no good/bad, right/wrong. At some level, there is no polarity.
  • Don’t think or speak too much. Instead better get up and do.

If you are currently on your path, you might think it is too hard, unachievable, that it is not the right part for you. You might well be right. And you might well be wrong. Whatever you believe, you are right. But here’s one thing: you never know what the path will be like, until you find yourself walking it. Don’t be too occupied by your goal. Because here’s what will happen:

The path will change you. It will likely change your goal as well.

You know: you plan, but life then takes another route for you. And all you can do is wonder, because you’ll never figure out why (it’s the silliest question anyway). As you walk your path and climb your mountain, trust me, you’ll get stronger. Your plastic brain will learn new things. You will meet new people. You will get over past regrets and mistakes. I guess the fear and insecurity is something constant, it won’t go away. It would also be stupid to try to eliminate insecurities, because it is one drive, that helps you get stronger. On the other hand, fear won’t do you any good either. Think about it: in most cases, nothing would actually happen when you let go of your fear.

You can change who you are. You can change your habits, your identity. At any point of life. You might think it is impossible for you to wake up and not have coffee in the morning. You are wrong. It’s just a habit. Try it for 30 times and it will become casual for you not to have coffee in the morning, or at all. You think you cannot get over a certain person you thought was your soulmate. You are wrong again. You could have any number of soulmates, have as many people in your life as you are able to hold. Nothing is set in stone, except your beliefs. And even these can be changed.

Don’t be afraid that people might stand in your way. That they will throw stones at you in your career. In fact it is quite the opposite: most people WANT YOU TO SUCCEED! Everyone wants you to succeed. Because they are looking for a proof that you can be successful, so they can be successful too, so they can be amazing too. You never know who you will inspire and what with. But only under one condition: you have to, really HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO be yourself. Do not copy others. Do not copy their achievements. Behaviours. Looks. They have their own path. And you have your own. And it is stunningly beautiful, you don’t have to try to make it beautiful or exciting. Life is so abundant and never boring. So get up butterfly, spread your wings, shush those doubts, get up and take a deep breath. One more. Really, please stand up and take the deepest breath you’ve taken in months.

We all want to see you shine. We can’t wait to see you shine!

Happy 2018 and now I’m off to cook some lunch, make some pastry and then probably get drunk and die of laughing so hard, I won’t be able to breathe. Oh yes, and by the way, wear red underwear.

Biba

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Make 2018 your year. Regardless of what the Zodiac or anyone says. Welcome aboard!

 

We must do away with ALL the explanations

Dear reader,

for several months I wasn’t feeling too well, as you know. Now 100 people will have 100 explanations in terms of why. I’ve also been part of an intensive online programme where a bit less than 1,000 women are meeting together and learning about ancient wisdom, Chinese medicine, rituals, spirituality, manifestation, care, relationships, etc. It is a very nice community with high vibes and pleasant energy, however I’ve discovered that instead of feeling empowered, I am not benefiting personally. I have begun to neglect my own work, my own path, because I’ve spent too much time in this programme. Until I finally noticed it is probably not the best place for me to be at the moment. Shortly said, I discovered one thing: in order to get things done and move forward in your life

Do Not Educate Yourself Too Much.

I learned about myself, that I don’t want to be trapped in any kind of dogma, not even no-dogma. It just does not fit in with me. I refuse to believe that people can be classified, analysed. Or completely understood. It might be my limited capacity of comprehension and ability to conceptualise, if so, be it. I do not have to be smart. I do not have to be right. I do not have to be anything, really. So while trying to find explanations for my recent health problems, I forgot to live. And of course, not to get me wrong, I guess we, people are prone to looking for explanations, meaning, making sense, me including. But for me, I figured that I don’t have to know everything even if I could. Nor do I want to know everything. In fact, I’d rather not. I do not want to be obsessed with healthy diet, rituals, exercises, self care, knowledge about how things work, when and why. For me, the opposite position is the only way not to be wrong and get at least somewhat close to discovering what works for you. In my line of work, working with people with severe problems, difficulties, traumas or challenges (some would even call it diagnosis), my clients taught me one thing: you never know how and why something happened or what your solution will look like. Hence any attempt to explain and/or understand is an attempt leading to a dead end street. My clients have taught me that people make all sorts of meanings in so many ways, that it is simply wrong to try to make sense or generalise human collective experience.

If that in the eyes of some, makes me stupid, shortsighted, resistant, not willing to change or develop, so be it. But for me is quite on the contrary. When you do away with all the explanations, as Wittgenstein said, you are finally able to see things as they are, not things you think they are. Things for you, of course, for others they might be something completely different.

So I’ll stop educating myself and will stop following. I’ll continue living instead, like I used to – brilliantly, passionately, without the urge to understand, comprehend or explain. Creating contents some people can relate to, inspiring people in my own way, not trying to persuade anyone how they should be living their lives and being happy, if because of my influence, someone managed to find his or her way forward.

Happy Christmas and thank you Universe, for this small reminder 🙂 And thank you dear reader, for your kind presence. Wish you a miraculous holiday 🙂

Biba

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I simply like having life happen as it happens. I like being unprepared.

2017: Letting Go …

Dear reader,

end of the year fast approaching. It seems I just got used to writing 2017 and only a couple of weeks and I’ll have to start all over again, learning how to write 2018.

For the first time in my life I am facing and noticing the process of impermanence. For some reason, in the past several months I have been in a position where everything seemed to be falling apart for me, especially my health. Not that I would do anything specific or disastrous, but my body has failed me totally and I haven’t reached the edge where I would see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

My relationships are changing too. People are leaving my life, even people I wanted to stay close. I myself have dismissed quite many people, sometimes simply because I cannot manage it all, sometimes because I am too stupid to pay attention to what I say.

I am quite successful in my line of work, but even here I am noticing that I am becoming slower, am quickly tired and cannot tolerate mistakes the same way I used to only a year ago. Well, to be honest, right now I am in complete agony and boredom finishing my PhD, which is a hell of a work (am slowly beginning to understand why so few people actually have PhD’s).

The bottom line, it seems I might have every reason to feel sad, lonely and abandoned. However I am not. I learned that my body, my life, my presence, my relationships, etc. … is all very temporary. It shall all pass. One day I won’t open my eyes anymore. If I fight it or not. I am too small to influence things. But I can learn to let go.

I think life is sending me a lesson to learn how to let go.

I have realised my time here is limited. Perhaps very limited. My body will probably continue to bring me lots of pain and today I know I will never be able to wear high heels again. Or run. People in my life will continue to leave me. My mom will die (my dad is already dead). My husband might die before me. My closest person is too far away from me to share my life. When it comes to it, I guess everyone is on their own. We all have to go through this path alone. Sometimes in some nice company, but most of the time, you are likely to be alone. Which is not the same as lonely.

As I was observing those thoughts and have eventually managed to embrace it, I realised that my attention’s been focused on wrong things. I was focused on finding joy, following passion, being successful. I was seeking recognition, acknowledgement. I wanted to make a difference, perhaps a big difference that many people would benefit from. Now I am realising that the most I can do, is let go. The most I can do is try to live a life with integrity, honesty and with no expectations. Live the life as it is. If it means that in a couple of months I will not be able to walk anymore, I will have to let go of the idea to walk and accept my new reality, being grateful for the things I still can do, knowing that I might lose it as well.

Thoughts of impermanence make you think about your footprint in this world. What kind of a footprint would you like to leave once you are gone? I certainly do not want to be one of the people who help make this planet more polluted as it already is. I do not want any animal to suffer for my comfort (btw I am selling all of my Ugg boots – let me know if you want it). I do not want to be obsessed with material things. Or relationships. Right now, I am not quite sure what I do want and am at the moment in a position where I do not wish for much. But I do wish that those who will remember me once I am gone, will think of me as of a kind person. Which is currently not really my public image, I should think 🙂

So I am thankful to you, for letting me share my thoughts with you. I really appreciate all of your reads, even though I rarely hear back who you are. Thank you for being and pretty cool that our paths have crossed. It certainly isn’t a coincidence.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Biba

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Where to next? I am confused.

 

All I Want For Christmas …

Dear reader,

greetings from a snowy, cold and dark London. I haven’t been here since August and it is truly good to be back. I remember leaving it quite confused, with vague feelings and no plans, yet life never happens according to your plans so one might be surprised by how vague and gloomy predictions might turn into a quite bright and jolly future.

Anyways, every time I go to London and if I have time, I must visit some of my favourite places. And some of my favourite shops. Which include Victoria’s Secret. I really like nice lingerie and having a good bra is one of the things which are quite important to me. Not that I would have any preferred brand, but the truth to be told, I quite like VS ever since I first visited it years go in the US.

This time was no different, I had to sneak in the store and act as a completely spoiled western consumer (which feels quite good sometimes, no?). And then on my way home on the red bus, I had this small tiny moment of bliss.

I don’t need any of the VS’s fancy bras. In fact I don’t need anything.

All of my lovely, carefully designed shopping plans all of a sudden meant nothing. All of a sudden I was completely happy in my old, half torn jeans. All of my girly wishes vanished. And what remained was pure gratitude. Gratitude that I am alive. That I am safe. Warm. Relatively free to choose what I want to do. That I have a place to go. A thing to do. People to care for and care about. And that was pretty much it.

I realised I don’t need anything. I’ve already got much more than I need.

So this year I wish I had no wishes. Because it’s so f****** good 🙂 (sorry about the language!)

What do you want for Christmas?

Biba

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You really need very little. You might want a lot though.