The 5 Elements of the Cuban Spirit

By Chen Lizra, who will be presenting The Power of the Cuban Spirit on May 19 – 24, 2017 at Hollyhock.

In today’s world we are seeing crumbling values and a loss of our core as human beings. As we look around, many world leaders, but not all, don’t set a good example anymore. They have stopped being role models we care to live up to. The problem is that seeing and feeling this change causes many to lose hope. We need hope to be happy and to feel a certain magic. Life is meant to be lived with a little ‘je ne sais quoi.’

On top of this, we chase careers, fulfillment, owning a house, cars, raising kids and giving them a comfortable future, we want more and more, but with that more comes a sacrifice. We get addicted to the race, to the stress, to doing without knowing anymore how to stop. Does it really make us happy? Are we really satisfied with life? Do we know how to really enjoy the journey and not just the end goal?

I’ve been traveling back and forth forImage result for chen lizra work to Cuba since 2005. Cuba
is a country that did not follow society’s trajectory, model of the Western World and capitalism. As such it became a case study and a human laboratory for alternative living, connecting and enjoying life. When visiting Cuba there is a certain magic you feel that can’t be explained. And it’s not just because you are on a holiday.

So what is this magic? What are its components? And can they be learned and can work anywhere?

There are 5 somatic (felt and experienced through the body) elements that can shift how we live life, giving it a unique flavor and a solid core. Thinking of life as having a flavor helps us understand why when we lose our purpose we feel like life has gone tasteless.


  • Elegance – the possession of ourselves, the quietness of being ourselves. It’s about our BEING. Instead of having our energy be scattered and fragmented, which happens a lot due to the media and technology overload, we get collected, focused and feel an inner peace. It’s the element of confidence and feeling pride. Think Michelle Obama & Justin Trudeau. They have dignity and poise. It’s about who they are being rather than what they are wearing. Their being leaves an unforgettable impression on us.
  • Intention – this is the element of meaning. When we are intentional in our body we feel a strong drive, purpose and meaning. It’s about DOING. Intention drives action and the quality of the action. Think about having an intention of enjoyment, or of productivity, they lead to very different qualities. We get intentional towards something. It’s what comes before we act – it’s the why behind what we do. To have an intention is to have purpose, to have purpose is to impact, and to impact is to feel fulfilled and satisfied.
  • Cadence our inner rhythm is the element of enjoyment. As we get stressed from being task oriented, we get stiff in our bodies and tend to lock the jaw. We start to look at what we need to do as things we need to erase from the ‘to do list,’ rather than enjoying the journey itself. In the past, enjoyment was a physical high that got released naturally through our body movements, making us seem more open and approachable. Today we kill our inner rhythm and it penetrates all of our important relationships and actually hurts our human happiness. Connecting to enjoyment is about learning how to make our heart sing while we do the most mundane tasks, enjoying the journey and not just the end goal.
  • Sabrosura is the element of love. It is the magical sensuality that’s inside all of us, that when it gets released in the body, we feel a natural high that produces simple moments of joy in everyday life. We feel it naturally when we soften up, when we flirt, when we feel good about ourselves, when we do something wonderful for another, and more. It ties in beautifully to our inner rhythm impacting our happiness, positivity, vitality and satisfaction. In today’s modern world our lifestyle tends to kill the natural sabrosura preventing it from releasing due to the overload and the constant stress, affecting the quality of our lives. The sabrosura makes us exude something warm and welcoming, and helps us form stronger and more connected relationships.
  • Picardia – is the element of playfulness. In relationships it is about being a bit naughty, but just at the right amount, so we don’t evoke fear. It’s a way to create mystery, unknown and desire, which lacks in relationships over time. In the professional world it is about social charm – the kind of charm that connects us socially and emotionally to others. It’s about our unique gifts and a healthy competition but with a win-win attitude that teases to raise the bar. It’s also the secret ingredient that makes you shine like a peacock when you walk into a room.

In the past, these elements just existed in us and were released naturally through our body movements, as we walked, talked, cooked etc. Due to technology’s overload, chasing fulfillment and the fear of sexual harassment we have disconnected from these body movements. Today we need to bring awareness to them and relearn what we used to know but have somehow forgotten or perhaps never been taught.

On top of this, Dove discovered in a research that only 4% of women feel beautiful nowadays. The self-worth and body-image have been injured by the media. Young girls see their moms chase Botox, surgery and constant diets. Most women cannot look themselves in the mirror in the eyes and love what they see. They mostly see flaws or signs of age which they reject. But if young girls are learning from their moms’ body image and even from their grandmas’, and they are not complete and satisfied with their own, then what are they learning? Role models chase staying younger and younger, avoiding aging. What happened to aging gracefully? Only the brave ones, like Alicia Keys, challenge the status quo of what makes us feel NOT beautiful and perfect just the way we are.

Looking closer at another issue, in the male business world, a wrong equation was formed over the years, where a woman that wants to succeed must be tough and competitive. If not, she would not be taken seriously and she would not reach the desired success. As a result, this kind of a hard shell was formed on top, and a talk about femininity as a weakness. Consequently many women started operating out of male energy which is tiring. Nowadays there are many women in business that don’t know how to soften up and show their vulnerable intimate side anymore. But we must not lose touch with this part because we were always the balancing force in the equation. We have lost our roles a bit in today’s world. We can absolutely be very feminine and at the same time super powerful and strong. But it requires of us to lead from a complete different place and to change our perception.

The 5 elements work on calibrating us back to our natural flow and getting us to use parts of ourselves that we didn’t know how to tap into before. It will meet each person in a different place based on their life stage, cultural identity and self-identity. If you were to take the same program twice, it’s possible you’d get something completely different out of it each time.

As a final note, we can say that we stand no chance against the existing system but this system is made of us – individuals. So instead of caving to the pressures of society, let’s change the status quo. We are born with the very tools we need in order to feel incredible. Owning our own power puts us in charge and gives us hope. These tools are physically innate in our bodies we just need to learn how to tap into them. This incredible knowledge will soon disappear from this world, and this will be the legacy we’ll leave behind for future generations. Let’s make sure we leave them something worth fighting for. Let me show you how to come back home to your body to a magical place that you don’t even know exists – to dare to be uniquely you, and the magic will happen!

Chen LizraChen Lizra, BBA, is an award winning social entrepreneur, seminar leader, best-selling author, somatic life coach and dancer. Chen combines her feminine power with an uncompromising commitment to success. She even lectured about it at TED, a lecture that brought her close to 6 million views. She is the creator of “The 5 Elements of the Cuban Spirit” method, giving people practical somatic tools that bring back the self-enjoyment that affects our level of satisfaction, connection to others, self-confidence, positive body-image, daring and more. She was nominated twice for the “Women of Distinction” award in Vancouver, won an IPPY book award in NYC  and was awarded the Women Add Value award for Humanitarian Leadership. She has been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan (UK), EGO (Spain), Globe & Mail, Haaretz (Israel) and more.

Join Chen at Hollyhock for The Power of the Cuban Spirit on May 19-24, 2017.

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