hi friend,

yes, carter my consort and i leave for Cuba on Monday, Jan. 12th, arriving in havana with as much over-the-counter medicine, powdered milk, ivory soap and ovaltine as we can carry, plus a wheelchair apiece. we’re going as volunteers with a humanitarian effort, supported by the u.s. gov’t–so don’t worry, we’re not going to get thrown in u.s. or cuban jail or get in touble of any kind. the organization that supports these efforts, for which we’ve volunteered, to help do special art projects with havana artists, among other things, is www.fundacionamistad.com ; “foundation of friendship” between u.s. concerns and the cuban people. we are not going to support the castra gov’t in any way shape or form. we’re going to help the people. the medicine we’re carrying is going directly to children who suffer from cancer. the other goods will be dispersed as needed.

i have a lot of questions about cuba, as i’m sure the rest of the world does, too. i’ll be open-minded, with wide-open eyes, and hopefully my digital camera fully charged (god, do they have electricity in our hotel, with plugs that can re-charge batteries?). all i know about cuba is from old movies and stories my mother tells me about the tropicana, where she and my dad went to dance and gamble back in baptista’s time, and other things I’ve learned from the few exiles i’ve met: in particular our sister-in-law, Carmen Bettencourt Lord, who left as a child in ’59 or ’60, and our yoga-artist friend, Tomas Sanchez. Here is one of Tomas’ paintings:

dsc000541 notice the small, insignificant figure of a person sitting by the water’s edge? in contemplation? well, that’s why fidel made trouble for tomas, telling him over twenty years ago, “make the people BIG and the landscape small. it’s the PEOPLE this revolution is about, not the land!” but tomas, a yoga meditating friend of mine (we have the same teacher), was in love with painting the landscape, and how humanity should reflect upon it to glean knowledge, peace, and guidance from an intimate relationship with it. so…fidel harassed him, and, just before tomas was to be thrown in jail, or worse, tomas managed to get off the island and defect to mexico. consequently he went to live in miami, and now resides in the hills outside san jose, costa rica, where carter and I met him. he’s sad about leaving his beloved country, as all cubanos are. his elderly father is ill and tomas has only just recently been allowed back to visit him. we’d all like to see cuba freed of the kind of iron-fisted dictatorship that decides what is for the people. but the people are starved for freedom, that’s what they are. right, tomas?

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today tomas is free to express himself in however a fashion he wishes. his paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars in all major art capitals of the world, yet he donates the proceeds of several each year to the kinds of mind-expanding organizations such as www.siddhayoga.org that have allowed him to find peace within his own being. raised as a peasant’s son in cuba, tomas is now represented by the very best gallery in new york city, the marlborough gallery, with musem shows (recently at the most beautiful modern art one I’ve ever been to, in monterey, mexico, see: www.marco.com ) and … the most evident sign of modern success … ripoff tomas sanchez’s popping up everywhere, trying to paint in his inimitably subtle, evanescent, mystical style–impossible to do, my friends. beware of when you google: tomas sanchez. you’ll find many of them. the cuban tomas, my yoga friend, is only represented by the marlborough ( www.marlboroughgallery.com ). you can find a poster for sale of his beautiful rendition of swami nityananda, an Indian saint at a reasonable price, at the bookstore of tomas’ meditation teacher: ( www.siddhayoga.org/bookstore )

tomas makes my entire Being smile:

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stay tuned for more about our trip to CUBA…we’ll be back in a week, and i’ll share pics and what i discover on our trip. meanwhile, if you want to read a blogger i’ve recently discovered, who managed to find a way to blog directly from havana, where even computers are verboten (the gov’t can’t shut her down now, because already yoani sanchez, the blogger, has won numerous awards and the outrage would be an avalanche of international proportions, if they did) please go to: www.desdecuba.com to read yoani’s blog in spanish. she’s translated into 13 languages: english address is: www.desdecuba.generationy  . WOW. the power of the blog continues to astound me.

remember to breathe, and as you do, include the sound of Om with your outbreath, and you’ll feel much better. for those of you suffering in any way (physical, mental, spiritual, or materially, with the current economic crunch) if you focus on your breath, and make the sound of Ooooommmm with your outbreath, this is the best medicine in the world. try it and see.

don’t forget: if any of you want to be included on my “lordflea alert” email, sent out whenever i make a new post (i’m pretty irregular with my posting, due to many commitments other than blogging) please write me: dearlordflea@gmail.com and ask to be put on it. i won’t give away your e address, ever. cross my lordflea heart.

in Spirit, with great love for each and every one of you,

your pal lordflea

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