I find myself thinking with amazement about our recent trip to Havana to visit family. We have visited the island many times since the 1950’s and have witnessed the gradual degradation of a truly beautiful and vibrant city. Rubble gathers on street corners and city government can barely keep up with the detritus. Yet you can still encounter beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings that the government or individuals continue to sustain.
You meet people in the street, in taxis, at restaurants, or as guides and there is still a unique joy. Instead of wallowing in loss, they appreciate what they have and always find ways to survive and be happy.
After 60 years of an embargo and enmity with the gorilla to the north, it is an amazing achievement. It must also be mentioned that the Cuban government is incompetent and limping along with non-functional Communist ideals. Yet the people go on.
How do they do it?
Could it be a positive mindset? Most Cubans have nothing, yet happiness is part of the culture. There is music and dancing everywhere. They make jokes about the shortages.
One night we were at our favorite restaurant and I heard a group singing in front. This surprised me because we were not in a big tourist area. I immediately went out and there was a quartet of musicians singing popular Cuban music. It was as if the Buena Vista Social Club had visited the restaurant.
I never realized before how this culture tends toward a positive mindset. How they appreciate anything they have in the midst of losing so much. Could it be that cultivating a positive mindset really is the main determinant of a happy life?
And how do you cultivate a positive mindset?
One thing you might do is take notice of the simple pleasures in life – such as enjoying a delicious cup of coffee in the morning, listening to birds sing, observing the first flowers of Spring – all of these can bring us joy. It’s important that we consciously notice these moments, savor them and hold on to them. And here is how hypnosis helps.
Negative thought patterns are endemic to humans and can become entrenched habits. But here’s the thing, any habit can be ‘unlearned’. I know this to be true and have done it in my own life. It takes practice, patience and a desire for change. Hypnotherapy can be an effective tool in automating a positive mindset that becomes an everyday response.
Imagine what a relief it would be to cultivate and enjoy a positive mindset.
To Cubans who suffer constant deprivation, their focus is on what they have and enjoy rather that what has been taken away. I love that.
I took a picture of a bench and skeletal umbrella in someone’s front yard. To me, it represents so much of the Cuban attitude. They did not throw away the umbrella once it lost its cloth but kept it so that they could throw another cloth over it on a sunny day.
Nothing is wasted, what they have is appreciated. Imagine that.
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
Ernest Hemingway, “The Old Man and the Sea”