The Writings of Gabriela Garcia Medina

February 19, 2009

WANTED: Family Back!

Filed under: Journal — Tags: , , , , , — gabriela @ 5:04 pm

I recently heard a quote by Buddha that goes something along the lines of “if you are lonely, it’s only because you are bored”, and the truth is, I have felt very nostalgic and lonely the past couple of weeks; and though i see SOME truth in this quote, i dont necessarily agree with it (which should explain why i am not a Buddhist), and thus; I am seeking a solution that makes sense to my life!
My best friend….is in San Francisco
My roommate…..is in France
My boyfriend……is in Argentina
And my family…..well…..my family….is all over the world…..

ON THE PHONE…..AND ON THE INTERNET!
This morning (like many mornings), I was awakened by my step-dad’s voice, who called to share thoughts on Poetry, the new book he’s writing, and to have some father-daughter, author-author one-on-one phone time.

Later (the same morning), my grandma called and we spoke for another hour about birthdays, holiday plans, she asked (as she usually does) how I’m doing financially; then she proceeds to worrying about why I’m 25, with no steady “JOB” or medical insurance, then she confesses a few chismes about my aunt and other members of the family, and she ends by sharing her most recent adventures with my baby brother….

Last night, my boyfriend called me from Buenos Aires, we spoke about his weekend in Brazil, shared some thought on his business plan and life goals, I spoke about Salsa Dancing and my growing nostalgia, new poems I still haven’t written; then we expressed missing each other, wishing the other was there, and we hung up with Besos!

My mother sends me anywhere from 3-7 emails a day, each very long and detailed; on logistics, plans, finances, and un-asked-for-advice on life, beliefs, career, and love.

My best friend texts me every once in a while, sends me messages on myspace, posts comments on my pictures, and we leave sporadic voicemails on each other’s phones telling one another how much we miss and desire contact.

AND….i give thanks for ALL these BEAUTIFUL people in my life and the fact that though distance separates us, we are still able and willing to connect on a daily, sometimes weekly basis. And YET as I am writing this, I FIND MYSELF NEEDING MORE!!!

SEEKING PHYSICAL CONNECTIONS!
See, the truth is that sometimes, PHONE is not enough. It just CANT replace visuals, it cant replace intimacy, touch, physical demonstrations of love.. It doesn’t matter if I talk to my grandmother for hours, our conversation could never equate to one of her hugs, seeing a photo of my brother doesn’t compare to seeing him spontanously burst into a smile; my step-dad’s stories are THAT much more interesting when I can see the facial expressions he makes, my boyfriend’s kisses over the phone are not in the same league as the kisses I get when we are spending time together. And so, it’s not that i am bored (like Buddha would suggest), but that my heart and my spirit long for these ways of showing emotion, connection and intimacy.

I know that most of us, are displaced peoples (those of us who are seeking to make it outside of the places we call “home”); and if we are lucky, we live only miles away from our loved ones; others (not-so-lucky), live oceans and continents away from family members; and the most unfortunate ones, cant even communicate via phone or email with their own husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and children, due to political or economic reasons, lack of resources such as the internet, affordable and reliable phone services and even legal/residency instability that makes it difficult and almost impossible for them to travel.

So THEN the question becomes:
IN THIS GROWING POPULATION OF DISPLACED INDIVIDUALS AND DISTANT FAMILY MEMBERS, HOW DO WE BRIDGE THIS GAP THAT KEEPS GETTING WIDER? HOW DO WE CONTINUE TO BUILD CLOSENESS? WHAT ARE SOME CREATIVE WAYS FOR US TO BUILD INTIMACY WITH ONE ANOTHER?

I feel guilty at times when i think that my friends know me better than my aunt, or my mother, or my grandmother. These womyn who raised me and love me unconditionally with all the love in their hearts, because of circumstance, this distance that separates us has, over time; become a Great Wall that divides us from truly knowing one another, our immediate family, and surely enough (by default), separating us from our ancestors.

what do i mean by this?
Well, when i think about my life in Cuba, growing up there till i was 8; i knew all of my cousins, and my neighbors; i knew where my great-great-great grandparents came from, i knew where they were burried, the stories and experiences they had would come alive when we would drive down a certain street or neighborhood. I was familiarized with my roots on a daily basis. My cousins and I, we would play together everyday, my aunts would gather on our porch para chismear, and the abuelos would gather to play Domino (and i always wanted to play with them, but because i was a kid, AND a girl, i was NEVER allowed); and all these memories, all these experiences have not only grounded me in who i am, but have also helped sprout this womyn that i am still in the process of becoming.

Will my great-grandchildren KNOW their ancestors?
I get nostalgic when i think about these things and i realize that my children will have a watered down experience of what i had; they will not know Cuba as “home”, they wont feel entitled to claim it as residents, but rather as outsiders, tourist. They will know their cousins as acquaintances instead of friends. They will be shown where their great grandparents lived and were buried, but they will be disconnected from them. And what breaks my heart is that my children’s children wont even  have a watered down experience, they may only have drops of if, and their children will have to put in a lot of work and even research to find remnants of their identity, of who I was, their great-great-great grandmother, a womyn of the world, but who’s heart always remained in Cuba.

I BREATHE and I remind myself that everything happens for a reason. I KNOW and TRUST that this is so, and therefore, i dont see it as a coincidence that people who i am closest to and who know me intimately, are all away form me at the same time. I am trying to see this as a gift and as a lesson that will make me a stronger individual, add depth to my relationship to myself and by default, add depth to my relationships with each and every one of them!

Who knows? Maybe the reason they are all far away is so that i could write this Blog, get these thoughts out so i can sort through them, and maybe inspire readers to question their relationships to their ancestors, their loved ones.

Family, Friends, Community are all such an important element in my life that right now i am trying to understand the gift in the distance.

So I humbly disagree with Buddha and agree with him at the same time, I don’t believe that “if you are lonely, it is ONLY because you are bored”, if you are lonely it is because you are human, and you have built beautiful relationships with family, with friends, and with people in your life who’s energy, touch and intimacy you long for when they are not around. And at the same time, I agree with Buddha, in that surely, when we are lonely, we must not dwell in self-pity and get lost in ourselves, that WOULD be a waste of time, a misplacement of energy, and a symptom of boredom; instead, we must engage ourselves and those we love, in finding creative ways to express our love, or writing about our feelings, our thoughts, our truths given life’s obstacles and limitations, after all, it is overcoming those obstacles and growing from them, that bring us closer together.

I like it RAW!

I LIKE IT RAW!

Yes….life tastes better RAW!

On July 28th, 2007 I began a new lifestyle….

Since I was 14 years old, I have felt insecure about my weight. My family who contributed to my insecurities would feed me traditional Cuban and Caribbean foods….which included much fried chicken, fried steak, fried platanos, fried EVERYTHING……(well at least we weren’t going to McDonalds everyday like a lot of families do here!)

Over time I had become co-dependent on an unhealthy diet; by the age of 9 I had developed a sugar addiction…and later in life…..(college to be precise)….i developed a caffeine addiction (from the many years of soda, and now coffee to keep me up all night studying for midterms and finals!)…..

So up until recently….i had not been treating my body with the care and nurturing it deserved, for 25 YEARS, I have been putting junk into my body….partly done through ignorance, partly done for comfort, partly done through insecurity and partly done for punishment and the self-fulfillment of disappointment.

As I continued to grow in the realms of spirit, intellect, and awareness of the world around me, I had not developed a healthy consciousness over my own body and it’s need to heal from all the extreme crash diets, and unhealthy (almost self-mutilating) patterns that I would submit myself to, which often left me spiritually and emotionally depleted, 10-15lbs heavier, more insecure, more self-conscious, and worse….more unhealthy….

It wasn’t until I began to listen to my body and my spirit guides that I decided to try RAW foods…at first…I was only going to do RAW foods for 2 days before entering the master-cleanse for 10 days; but after two full days of nothing but RAW foods….my body was in a strange shock…and it was asking me for more of the same….So I decided to extend my RAW foods to a week…..and after 7 days had passed….i was experiencing so many changes in my body, new energy and understanding of foods, self-love, active self-care and renewed self-confidence.

I decided that I wasn’t going to give myself an end date and that I would continue a RAW foods lifestyle until my body and spirit guides told me otherwise….

I have to say that since I have been eating RAW, i have never felt so full of energy, so full of life….now my physical body is a reflection of my spirit and mind. Everything is aligned and flowing with the grace of the universe….As a water flows down a creek, as the wind blows through the valleys, as the earth is fertilized by the rain, I have aligned myself to the natural flow of my body through the ways in which I have learnt to feed it…..now I know this sounds super NEW-AGEY……but there’s really no other way for me to explain the changes I have witnessed myself undergo the last few months!

i have lost 20lbs (for the first time in a HEALTHY WAY) a goal I had never been able to accomplish before; my moon cycles are now shorter, regular and painless (no CRAMPS!)….my skin feels and smells different, I was able to kick my addictions to sugar and caffeine; and i have never been so connected to my body, which in turn, has allowed me a deeper connection to spirit, and a clear connection to my mind…..
So not only has my RAW life-style helped my physical body, spirit and mind, but it has also influenced my relationships with my family and friends; transformed my perceptions of life and the people in it….

What’s been amazing is that my friends have witnessed a tremendous difference in me….from the way I look, to the way I interact with them, to my energy levels, my “glow” (like they would call it), to my emotional state of mind as well.
So now when we go to the movies, instead of buying popcorn, my friends bring me nuts and grapes! Other community members send me editorials and articles on nutrition; other friends recommend lists of super-foods while others send me RAW recipes. I feel blessed to be surrounded by a community that supports my growth and my health……And its been good to have inspired people around me to also try out the RAW foods lifestyle for themselves.

I LIKE IT RAW…YES….FOOD TASTES BETTER RAW…and full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and living organisms…YUMMY….
So finally…the second part of my RAW foods article….in which I will tell you about all the delicious superfoods available for your consumption…..as well as recommend some ways of staying raw…..ENJOY…INDULDGE…IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

RAW foods is not a DIET…it is a LIFESTYLE….and what this means is that you CANT starve yoru body from the nutrition that it needs….before you start eating RAW….ask yourself what it is that you want to manifest for yourself….

All the foods I have eliminated from my diet:
- Anything cooked (except when I am on my cycle, I do add cooked lentils to my diet for extra protein, I add boiled beets and some cooked veggies).
- Anything processed, pasteurized, or non-natural
- No lactose products, no rice, no pasta, no refined sugars
- No meat (with the exception of Raw Fish in Peruvian Ceviche…which I have learnt to make exceptionally well!)
- Any food that is not organically grown…..! (since I am eating so many veggies, I’d rather buy organic food to eliminate pesticides and such!)
- No Tofu or “imitation” meats

All the foods that I have added to my diet:
- An Abundance of fruits and Veggies
- Bee Pollen
- Ginseng and Royal Jelly
- Hemp Milk
- Sprouted lentils, and beans
- Maca Powder
- Agave Nectar
- Mesquite
- Flax Seed
- Spirulina
- Nutritional Yeast
- Gogi Berries (and other dried berries high in Omega3 and Fatty acids).
- Acai (lots of it in my morning smoothies)
- Kale, Kale hmmmm…yummy kale!
- Noni Juice
- Raw Chocolate (Cacao Nibs)
- Raw Coconut and Coconut Milk
- Medicinal teas such as Dandelion, Licorice Root, Burdoch, Pao d’ Arco among others
- All kinds of soaked Nuts and dried fruits
- Dates, figs and an abundace of fruits
- Abundance of Kale, Spinach and other greens and veggies

Some people have asked me if I feel at all limited with this new lifestyle….and my response is usually the same….IF ANYTHING…I feel like now….i have to be a whole lot more creative about what I put on my plate….which fuels my imagination and gives me the opportunity to experiment and create new and delicious healthy options for myself….for example…
If I have a sweet tooth…instead of resorting to the local bakery, I will make myself a concuction of nuts, dates, raw chocolate, mesquite and carob powder into a most delicious desert…
If I have a desire for ice-cream…I make myself a fruit smoothie
If I desire coffee…I make myself a glass of MACA
If I feel like chips….i eat flax seed crackers or kale chips….
If I feel like a light snack…..i dip my chips in some raw humus or home-made spinach dip!

There are so many possibilities and I am so excited to get creative and explore all of them! I am looking forward to loving my body and allowing it to reap the benefits from my new relationship to food and nutrition!

Some books I would highly recommend which helped shape my new relationship with food:
Michael Pollan “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”
Michael Pollan “In Defense of Food”
Brigitte Mars “Rawesome: Maximizing Health, Energy and Culinary Delight”

I would also youtube David Wolfe and Gabriela Cousens!

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