Excavation of the Heart

My heart was broken when the guy, I moved to the states to try a relationship with, ended on New Year's Eve 2002. I was ready for adventure and growth right after it. I was taking classes that winter at a community college and happened to want to wander out of the room to go to the bathroom - even though it was an anthropology class and I really enjoyed it. Yet, something was pulling me to leave the room at that moment (to pee!) and to take a different way to the toilet. I passed a bulletin board - that I walked past many times without reading anything on it before - and stopped to see the sign for a humanitarian trip to Cuba that spring. I pulled the contact information off the flyer and walked back into the room KNOWING, with every fibre in my body, that I would be going on that trip. 

And I did. 

I went with a group of about 30 people to help build playgrounds for children in some very poor areas of Havana. And it was amazing!

My mother always told me to help others in order to help heal yourself. And I was determined to do just that. I love adventure, so I thought, "why not go to a restricted/(un)desirable place and help people?!"

That was one of the best decisions at that time and was an incredible trip of growth!!!!

In the process of breaking up, you have some choices to make. You can either curl up and let yourself emotionally die a little or you can unfurl yourself open to the possibilities of life and die in a baptism-kind-of-way.

Choose the possibilities of LIFE!

If you choose the latter, you are able to be more present to what is happening. Open to the moments where you pass a bulletin board and are able to see a trip calling out your name. 

On that trip, I saw things that were very hard to witness. I made friends with people I still know to this day. I cried a lot on that trip. I saw the the last survivors of the Bueno Vista Social Club play live at the beautiful, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, where the lights kept going out because the electricity was so shabby even for this fancy hotel. I climbed on a soldier (see pic above) at the Morro Castle to see if he would crack (he was about to start smiling!) I made it to beautiful, untouched beaches. I laughed my ass off. I ate lots of ham. I bought lots of artwork that are still hanging in my apartment. I had an experience of a lifetime. 

I too, wanted what Anthony Bourdain wanted: to shake that relationship off. And in this pilgrimage, I was able to excavate my heart to heal it. 

Sometimes the pilgrimage is a real thing you need to do and sometimes the dive is right to the heart of you. You don't need to go to Cuba or Iceland to make these amazing discoveries.

If it feels good, even if you don't quite understand it, it's usually always worth it.



Jessica Sandhu