EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Begins runs January 14th - February 21, 2022.
What is this festival?
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts showcases visual, culinary and performing arts from across the globe. Chefs and mixologists have craft items that aren’t just delicious, but truly works of art.
Pick up a Festival Passport to try out the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine, a returning food stroll featuring some true culinary masterpieces. Travel throughout the Festival, and collect stamps by purchasing five of these decadent dishes to redeem a special prize from Deco Delights to enjoy.
You will discover photogenic worthy food, so don't forget to take some pictures before you indulge in the deliciousness! Also, be sure to try each locations beverage pairings, from alcoholic drinks to sipping (non-alcoholic) chocolate flight, you are sure to be in food heaven.
Want to learn more? Check out the Disney's Foodie Blog
Healthy food options and yoga available in Disney Springs in 2022.
Disney is known for its specialty gourmet treats, however, this January we are highlighting Health & Wellness month in Disney Springs. Here are a few things you can expect to find:
Free Fitness Fridays:
Erin McKenna’s Bakery - everything here is vegan and gluten-free with other allergy-friendly options
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant – Check out This Shepherd Went Vegan, a plant-based Shepherd’s Pie, or the Raglan Risotto, an outstanding vegetarian dish. There are also many gluten-free options at Raglan Road.
Other favorites, such as Frontera Cocina and The Polite Pig offer delicious grilled chicken salads and lettuce wraps. You can always share a meal or grab a to-go box and eat more later.
Have you considered visiting Universal Studios? We are going for the first time in 2022. We are incorporating the Harry Potter series into our homeschool coursework over the next year. To celebrate we will adventure to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
If you are interested in The Wizarding World, there are a few things you want to know. There is an Exclusive Harry Potter Vacation Package that comes with a special keepsake box with fun surprises like Harry, Ron, and Hermione luggage tags. You will need a Park to Park pass in order to ride Hogwarts Express. The train takes you between Diagon Alley in one park and Hogsmeade in the other. There are also fun shows, like the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally to get the full Harry Potter experience.
Check out this article about the 2022 Universal Resorts Orlando Vacation Packages.
You can also reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org
As a complex, the B vitamin group is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and are perhaps the most important nutritional factor for healthy nerve cells. The B vitamins also play a role in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy and in the metabolism of fats and protein. The B vitamins support the integrity of the skin, hair and liver. This balanced combination of functionally interrelated B vitamins provides wide ranging benefits, yet is specifically supportive of the nervous system.
- Pure Encapsulations
Are you under more stress than usual? Are you not handling stress as well as you used to handle it? Do you feel tired when you wake up or about an hour after lunch? Do you feel like you are gaining weight or not getting the benefits from your workouts like you are used to seeing?
While there are many possibilities for why you are feeling tired or not seeing results like you are used to experiencing, B vitamins are a great place to begin. B- vitamins are water soluble which means that they are more easily depleted than other fat soluble vitamins. If you are experiencing more stress than usual or feeling tired in the afternoons a B - complex supplement can help alleviate those symptoms by giving your cells the nutrients it needs to create more energy, support the nervous system and blood cells, and keep skin healthy.
A B-complex for most people is better and safer than taking an individual B vitamin, folate or B-12 for example. While in some cases an individual vitamin may benefit for a short time period, it can create an imbalance over time. A B-complex has the appropriate ration to support balance and optimal health in the cells and tissues.
I've recently found myself with a deep sense of needing to reconnect to my practices and to my heart. Today, it led me to picking up a book from my yoga teacher training of 10 years ago. I had woken up before the household did this morning and went to a quiet space to do whatever yoga my body wanted to do. I tried to do a meditation first, but the mind was having none of that. The body was stiff and didn't really want to participate in moving. So, I sat there and just noticed my breath. Gently I was aware that I was moving into child's pose. Appropriate, a position of surrender, of learning to let go of control, of learning to do nothing and everything at the same time. I felt my breath deepen, expanding through my back and pressing against those areas of stiffness. It felt so good. I noticed the stiffness begin to ease and the body being more willing to move. I only did four or five postures this morning, but I stayed in each, noticing my breath, and following the lead of the body. I didn't move when the mind said to move, I moved when the body began to move.
When it seemed I was finished moving for the morning, I was able to sit in meditation again. It was brief, and the mind was trying to make me feel like I needed to get that coffee made before anyone woke up, but I stayed as long as I felt still, calm, and called to sit there. When I opened my eyes, I noticed my bookshelf in front of me, two books were drawing my attention. I chose the one I didn't really remember reading very intently during my training. But, this morning, as I began to read it, I realized that now was the time for this book.
I'm not very far into the book, but I decided this time, I would actually do the practices as I came across them. Not just read through the entire book, to finish the book, and say "I'll do them". So, the first practice, was a practice in stillness, a practice in learning to find your center and just notice the stillness. I left my ego at the door, the one that says you know how to meditate. It's true, I do know how. It's also true that I've gotten out of practice and the mind has gotten a little to comfy being in control. So, I willingly surrendered into trying someone else's way of finding stillness. It was lovely and I'm sharing it here for you, in case you, too are needing another way right now.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and your back tall. Notice your breath. Don't try to control your breath, just notice when you exhale and when you inhale. When you exhale begin the backwards count from 50. Exhale - 50, inhale - 49, exhale - 48, inhale - 47 and so on, until you reach 20. At 20 begin only counting exhales. Exhale -20, inhale, exhale -19, inhale and so on to zero. At zero, just stop counting and notice the breath.
Sit here in quiet as long as you are able and slowly return to noticing the breath, opening the eyes slowly. Stay there, with eyes open and just notice for a couple of minutes before you move.
My first experience with this, I found it easier to just relax into stillness by not worrying about where my breath was moving, how deeply I was breathing, if I was breathing correctly and what not. I noticed not every inhale and exhale were the same. Some were deep and slow, some quick or short. There was no criticism, I just noticed it. I also noticed, it was super challenging once I hit 20 to not mentally do something on the inhale, I tried to count 20 again or just resigned myself to saying "in". I also noticed as I got to 10 the mind started trying to speed up the count, even though the breath was not moving as fast. But, we made it to zero, the breath, mind, and body together. I was peaceful and had a lot of energy in my arms and hands as I sat in stillness.
So, if you are looking for something to help you relax, maybe give this a practice a try. If you are looking for a new book to read, this practice came from Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann.
So, this is the authentic me.... no make-up, hair isn't fixed, but present and speaking from the heart. I was going to do this talk on our chapters on Love, Compassion and Forgiveness, but after the Florida school shooting that same night, the discussion I knew needed to be had had changed. I moved away from the discussion in the book to talk about the importance of Love and compassion in the midst of tragedy.
I'm posting here because I know not everyone has social media accounts. Thank you all for being here, being present and tuning -in.
Do you set words for yourself at the beginning of each new year? I've been doing this for the past six years. Recently, I've noticed the words change half-way through the year or I have more than one. This year I had four, but upon contemplation of a memory from a few years ago, I realized that two are really the same with subtle differences.
A couple years ago, consistency was a my word, or at least it was for a few days. I chose this word because I wanted to develop habits of marketing my practice better. I would write a post or blog once every few months, I would hold a workshop once a month for a few months and then drop them like a hot potato for the rest of the year. I just wanted to develop a habit, so it became something easy I did with regularity, hence consistency. I was excited and on-board with this word/idea and then I had coffee with a coach of sorts that works with people's strengths based on a test they take. Upon her inquiry of my "word" for that year, she began to steer me away from it. All that stuck with me was that consistency is what people think they want, but it really is something else. That consistency is too rigid. I understood her meaning and ending up dropping the word/intention, but felt a little empty with letting it go. I was not consistent that year and at this moment am not even sure what my word ended up being for that year.
This year, I knew that Devotion was for me. As I started journaling and doing my meditations/breath work practices, I realized consistency was still what I wanted. However, this morning, I understood something even deeper. Devotion is consistency, but in a more intimate, nurturing manner. Devotion is what I truly am interested in because it is the self-inquiry, self-curiosity with a deep loving presence. It's intimate and guided, not the check-list I associate with consistency. It is still consistent, a regular practice, but it is about knowing me and what I am moved to do with gentleness, loving presence.
Consistency, often becomes that "to-do list" that we barrel through unconsciously. I have no problems with checklists, but when we are moving through it without any awareness, it's like going through your day in a coma until all the items are checked off. Then you have this sense of accomplishment, followed by a short burst of energy, then a feeling of "what now?" and then fatigue. Or, maybe that's just me. Bringing loving presence into the activities on the to-do list, being aware of how you are feeling in the body, what you are thinking during the activities can transform your life. You might be surprised at the amount of negative self-talk you have during some of the "to-do's". Taking the time to notice and forgive yourself for thinking about you in that manner will begin to shift your mood, energy and physical appearance. But, if you go through your daily checklist in a coma, you are missing out on precious time with yourself. It may not be easy to hear your own thoughts, but it is enlightening. Finding and allowing more loving presence, gentleness and curiosity into your daily thoughts, behaviors and actions will truly begin to change the way you move through life and the way life moves through you. This is devotion to Self.
The solar plexus is the energy center located above the belly button and below the sternum. It is the area where "it feels like I was punched in the gut" exists. The essence of this energy center is self-esteem, self-confidence, personal power, personal emotions and desires. It is your gut instinct, always available to guide you.
When there is a wobble or disconnect in this energy system it may look like digestive problems, ulcers, low back pain, low self-esteem, controlling personality or oversensitivity to criticism. You might tell yourself, I'm not enough, I'm not worthy of love or money or healing. When it is balanced there is a self respect and a respect for others. You believe you are enough, you are worthy and you are a part of life "me too".
It is important to understand that when a belief pattern sets in like a block into one of the energy centers, it creates an excess of energy behind it, which manifests most often as pain, and a wobble ahead of it. In other words, it is not just the solar plexus, in this example, that is out of balance. The pelvis/hip area as well as the heart area are being affected.
B.E.S.T. adjustments are fantastic at clearing the blocks and building circuits self-confidence with love, trusting the gut instinct with ease, knowing what feels like a "yes" to you and following it. I recommend you find a B.E.S.T. practitioner and do the work to clearing and integrating the solar plexus energy if this sounds like you.
Things you can do at home/work:
1. Notice. Become aware of your "I am" statements. Perhaps, it is only in specific situations or around specific people that you feel unworthy or not good enough. Pay attention to that. When your stomach hurts, cramps, or your attention is brought your your stomach or low back, pay attention. The thoughts and feelings at that moment are asking to be noticed, felt and cleared/integrated. Allowing it to be felt, to be noticed is the first piece.
2. Allow without judgement. This can be tricky, until it isn't. Allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling. If it is hurt, anger, frustration, even joy, excitement, have it, feel it. You do not need to name it (like I just did), just allow it to be felt with your mind's attention. How do you know you are judging it? You named it, you created a story around it, you put blame somewhere. Don't beat yourself up if you did this, be grateful for the awareness.
3. Breathe with it. If you feel intensity or even void in the solar plexus, take a deep belly breath and exhale out the feet (or top of the head if that is where your attention goes). Then breathe from where you just exhaled pulling breath into the solar plexus area (let your belly get big like an inflated balloon). Then exhale out through the top of your head maybe with an "ah" sound. Continue to breathe up and down, feeling your emotion and accepting that it is there in service of you. If you can then begin to feel love, love for yourself, love for your awareness, love for the feeling while you breathe above, through, and below the body even more will transform and quicker.
There are more specific breath works as well as the mPower step that are powerful in facilitating the clearing and integrating of personal power. Ask your B.E.S.T. practitioner about these or check out Dr. Sue Morter's site for some videos to help.
We are three weeks into a new year. Did you set goals this year? Are they the same goals as last year? So, how is it going this time around?
The most common new year resolution is weight loss, but the following information can and does apply to any new year goal, such as starting a new project or business venture. First, ask yourself about your why. Why do you want to lose that weight, I mean really, truly why. Fitting into clothes or being skinny is not enough and may not align with your intimate goal of weight loss. If the goal and the why are not aligned, you are sabotaging yourself. It's time to get real with yourself. Starting a new venture just to have money, may not truly be your why either. What is that deep down desire, the true and lasting shift you want to make in your life? Look at the starting a new venture for more money aspect. Maybe you do want more money, but are you telling yourself it is so you can pay off debt, when in reality you want to go on expensive vacations? If this is the case for you, by telling yourself what you think you want to hear (what peers want to hear), but in the deepest part of you really wanting something different; you begin to create a larger discord. Even if you have success at first, it can't be sustained and it will be exhausting to keep it up and going. You can have both, paying off debt and nice, worry free vacations, but you need to be accepting of what it is you truly desire. Let the judgement go.
Next, take smaller steps. Set shorter goals, I like to re-evaluate every quarter (season). Sometimes, things will happen quickly and you surpass your goal, other times the goals shift and don't look exactly the same as when you set them. Of course, sometimes you just do not seem to be able to put the steps into action. If you are setting goals for 6 - 12 months and leaving it without room for tweaking or celebrating the little successes along the way you could be setting yourself up for failure. Maybe from now until the spring equinox you set a goal to pay an extra $50 on that loan or only eat out once a week.
The failure mindset you didn't even know was there. This is where B.E.S.T. really helps those stuck with manifesting their goals in life. When we set a goal and it doesn't work, a subconscious belief pattern begins to set into the system. It may sound like "I'm not good enough, I'm not strong enough, I'm not smart enough, I'm too shy" and so many more. Each time you set a similar goal and it doesn't manifest like you imagined, that belief pattern builds. Physically, it might manifest as pain (low back, neck, shoulder, hip) or ulcers, anxiety, fatigue and any other symptom. This is the body giving you information about a disconnect. The truest essence of who you are knows you are enough, but this belief pattern of not being enough is creating a disconnect within you. B.E.S.T. sessions facilitate the process of becoming aware of the disconnect, clearing the belief pattern and integrating the truest essence of you.
Love & Light
Make room for the unexpected. It seems like a bizarre thought, welcoming the unexpected. More often, we seem to be told to make a plan and stick to it, always be prepared, or set specific goals and don't waiver from them. How has that worked for you? Sometimes, it might have worked extremely well, other times it probably didn't work at all. Whether it is weight loss or setting a budget, life seems to take its own twists and turns. If we are rigid in our path, only seeing it in the way we determined it should work, we are often met with perceived failure. Perhaps it wasn't failure, but an unexpected success. If it doesn't work out the way we planned, we call it failure, but is it really, or did it indeed work out for us, just not as we expected?
Does this mean we don't set goals or make plans? Of course not, but there is availability for the unexpected to be part of that plan. Allowing for the unexpected gives us more freedom, more possibility for our goals to happen in a way we didn't even consider or perhaps even know was possible. Weight loss, for example, is often looked at as sacrifice, misery, restriction and a lot of painful exercise. You may set a goal of losing 20 pounds by your vacation, and set upon strict calorie restriction, hours of intense exercise and even avoiding going out with friends in order to stick to your plan. After one week and only half a pound lost, you may give up or turn to even more misery through cutting out major food groups and resorting to exercise practices you detest. Still, the weight doesn't seem to be coming off.
What if, instead, you set the goal of 20 pounds by your vacation (hopefully you have a few months if this is your goal) and you plan to practice mindful eating, staying hydrated and finding activities you enjoy with the possibility that the weight will come off easier than you expected, or that you can be grateful to yourself for taking steps to be healthy and trust that whatever amount of weight is ready to be released will do so easily. This or something better. Learning to detach from the outcome, learning to let go of the rigidity of your plan and allowing for your idea (weight loss in this scenario) to happen in ways you didn't even consider.
Rigidity sets us up for failure, creates friction and more force. What is forced into being will not last long and it will not last with ease. Eventually, the system will break down. It may be a loss of relationships, a loss of finances, a loss of health, sometimes a loss of all three. If we can welcome the unexpected, we set the space for flexibility and as the circumstances develop, new possibilities show up that would have been missed if we stayed rigid in our plan. The new possibilities, new people or relationships that appear might make your plan more fluid, more successful, with ease and fun, and it may become even bigger or better than you could even imagine when your first set the plan or goal.
You don't have to make this a difficult process, you don't have to do anything extra. As you set your goals and plans write into it "this or something better" to make room for the unexpected. As the plan unfolds and things seem to take a twist or turn, take a step back and remember, "this or something better". The second step is to recognize when something good happens, something in alignment with the end goal, even if it doesn't look the way you expected. Thirdly, give gratitude every time you have that recognition. Gratitude that even though it looks different than you thought it would, it is still in service of you.
Make space for the unexpected.
While running the other day, I came to a big hill. I was already tired, but committed to my goal of finishing the run. At the bottom of the hill I could barley see the top and had a moment thought of, "I can just walk this". True statement, nothing would be lost from walking up the hill and much would be gained. I made a choice, a choice to run up this hill. As I continued up, staring at the peak, I remembered something special. Short term goals are just as important as the long term goals." With that reminder in my mind, I shifted my gaze from the peak of the hill to the ground in front of me where my next step would land, and the next. Ever so often, I looked up to remember where I was going and see how far I had come, but then back to the next step. Before I knew it I was at the top of the hill and cruising down the other side. But, in this downhill moment, there was much to be observed. For one, if I just let momentum take me, I could easily have tripped over my feet and rolled down the hill. I was still mindful of the moment and the movement. At the bottom of that hill, I gave gratitude for my experience and the clarity of life I received. So here it is, my reflections from the hill.
When setting goals, we are best served by having short and long term goals. It's great if the long term goals make you weak in the knees, focus on the short term goals to strengthen those knees.
Don't forget to look up (and around) once in a while. If we become too rigid or too focused and single-minded, we miss the beauty along the way, we miss new opportunities or possibilities that show up and we might lose sight of our goal.
Don't stop once you reach the top. Sometimes reaching a goal can be anti-climatic, but that doesn't mean to just jump into the next goal. Take time to celebrate your success. Celebrate! Maybe on a run like this it is just a smile at yourself or throwing your hands up in the air in victory, but whatever you do, don't forget to celebrate.
Then, reflect, restore and relax. The downhill portion is easy, gravity will just take you all the way to the end. But, this is the time to reflect on what you learned about yourself, your beliefs and abilities. It's time to ground that expansion that occurred inside you on the journey up so that it anchors into the cells of your being. "I did this." "I am enough" "I am supported". It is a time to rest and restore the body, mind and spirit. Many people forget about this step and find themselves forced to rest because of illness or severe body pain or fatigue. Reflect, rest and restore.
The journey up and the journey down are just as important as reaching the goal, I would say more important. It is where we learn about who we are, who we can be. There is an understanding, a clarity and and expansion of wisdom that occurs when we stay in line with who we are as we climb towards those goals. It doesn't matter if you reach the top, it matters if you pay attention to who you are on the journey, what you choose on the journey and what you learn on the journey.
Life isn't just about the peaks and valleys, it's about the lessons in between.
This time of year people begin to think about setting goals for the upcoming new year. Few will reflect upon the goals they set for the past year. Some of this could be due to not having written down their goals, or remembering where they were written, but often it is because they don't believe that anything happened for them this year.
My question is, are you paying attention? Recently, I worked with a patient that came in with low back pain. We talked a little about what was going on in her life and about her complaint before beginning the B.E.S.T. session. She mentioned that she couldn't wait for the new year because nothing seemed to have gone the way she wanted this year. During her session I kept wondering what she was missing, what she wasn't paying attention to that did work for her this year.
After the session I asked her some questions and this is what happened.
"What is it that you wanted to happen this year, that you don't think happened?" I asked
"Well, I, my weight didn't change." she replied, but we both knew that wasn't it. I waited a moment and the asked, "What else? What did you really want?"
"My own bank account." she said as she hung her head. "But, I couldn't open one because of past student loans that are in default. I was devastated and thought my dreams of starting my side business was gone." I could see the tears forming in the corner of her eyes.
"Didn't you tell me you had started selling things online? How is that going?"
"Oh, it's going great! I've been so excited with the orders and my PayPal account has had more than enough money in it to buy all our Christmas gifts online without touching our bank account."
I began to smile, this was it and she didn't even see it yet. "That is wonderful. It sounds like you got your business started AND opened your own account."
"What do you mean? This isn't the business I wanted to start and I didn't open an account." I could feel her anxiety beginning to express itself.
"Well, it may not have been how you thought it would turn out, but it did turn out. You have started your own business, but not in a building with lots of inventory and a shiny sign, but you started it and it is something you can manage with success. And, the account may not have been in a bank, but it is money that you have available to you for things you need and want, basically, it's an account."
"Huh." Silence for a few mintues as she thought about it. "You're right. I did get what I want, but not exactly how I thought it would work out, how I wanted it to work."
"How do you feel about it now?"
Pause, huge smile with big tears, "I love it and have been so excited. It's been going so well. I can't believe I didn't notice."
Wow, so how many times do we miss it, miss that thing we wanted so badly because it didn't show up exactly how we wanted it? If we miss it, we can't express gratitude for it. Missing it means staying in the same victim story cycle of "nothing good ever happens to me". Really? Maybe it does, but you are so focused on what others have or the exact way you wanted something to happen that you can't even see how much good does indeed happen to you.
She left with pep in her step, a smile on her face and no low back pain. Maybe this year she will notice her successes, in whatever manner they show up.
Hi, I'm April
I have always loved a good adventure. Traveling is one of my favorite ways to meet new people, see amazing places, and have incredible experiences.