Posted on August 14, 2023 Let’s Dance: Celebrate Cuba EXIT Pilot
[pie chart]58%Support Pledged

“Transiciones”                                                    “Transitions” a loose translation

De la herida a la Vida;                                              From wounding to Living;                                              

del dolor al olor;                                                        from pain to scent;

de la prisa a la risa;                                                  from “I’m late”to laughter;

del llanto al canto….                                                 from tears to singing….

de los duelos…                                                           from mourning…

 a los vuelos…”                                                           to flight…”


por Idaliana Aleaga Antúnez EXIT Cuba 2023 participant 

“You have turned my mourning into dancing; 

you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

 O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” 

Psalm 30: 11-12 ESV

Our first intensive training for the EXIT(Expressive Arts in Transition) Cuba pilot project finished two weeks ago in Matanza, Cuba, but the yearlong practice and supervision process is just beginning. 10 creative and committed leaders will be artfully accompanying various communities throughout Cuba as they implement early intervention practices to help deal with the impacts of trauma. 

Due to ongoing trauma, we armor up to protect ourselves, get trapped in the past, and hold stress in our bodies. The arts help us to engage our senses to make sense of our stories, practice presence by staying in the here and now, and move forward in healthy ways as researchers of our own bodies. With a focus on salutogenesis, an approach to human health that examines the factors contributing to the promotion and maintenance of physical and mental well-being rather than disease and pathology, we are learning to ask ourselves, “Where is health

here? What do I need to do that will nurture well-being here?

While in Matanza, we held stories of struggle and strength, we processed grief and frustrations, we sat in silence and song, painted and played, used our imaginations to travel in time and danced out animal strengths that would help us face our daily challenges. Immersed in the beautiful surroundings of the seminary overlooking the sea and shaded by flamboyan trees, we rediscovered the resources around and within us that we already possess. With the accompaniment of the community, one participant was able to name and take steps towards healing a debilitating fear that had plagued them for years. Another embraced a new perspective on a negative bias held and saw the benefits of a “both and” approach. By stepping into the future with a resource from the past and surrounded by friends now, another saw themselves accomplishing a long held dream within the year. These are just a few of the glimpses of transformation that we witnessed together.   

I am so grateful for the support of many folks who are making this pilot project a reality. Yim Locke’s name was drawn from the box of gift givers to receive the stained glass art that I made and Barb Shustek’s name was drawn to receive a collage made from the signatures and collaborative painting made by the participants. God works in communities to transform our mourning into dancing and our struggles into strengths.

Thanks for being a part of mine,