Health & Wellness

Introduction to Feldenkrais with Niall O’Rourdin

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Articles, August 2017, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Introduction to Feldenkrais with Niall O’Rourdin

Niall O'Rourdin, a 2014 Galway Rising Star, attended the festival for the seventh time this year. He grew up listening to Sir James Galway, from his earliest years in Ireland when his father would look for Sir James' records every Friday from a second hand shop.  Like most of us, he listened to Galway's recordings every night for many years, his favorites being the Bach E Major Sonata and Beethoven Serenade. These days, Niall is not only an incredible professional flutist, but he is also a certified Feldenkrais instructor. I had the opportunity to take a lesson and speak to him more about Feldenkrais at the class.     Describe how you got into Feldenkrais.   Like any other musician, I struggled with some extra tensions in the body. I didn't have any pains, but I can remember my shoulders would be achy after playing, and I knew there was something I needed to open up physically in myself that would improve my playing.  I did a lot of yoga, but things weren't changing so much for me. I bought a class pass to a yoga studio in London, and I went to a lot of the Feldenkrais classes. We did a lesson where we would lie on our backs and extend our arm out to the side very gently; there were a lot of variations, but it was mostly about creating freedom in the shoulder joint. Before I did this class, I was lying on the floor and trying to stretch my arm out but never able to comfortably touch the floor.  There was a moment in one of the lessons, where suddenly my arm just landed on the floor in a new and comfortable way, and I knew that this stuff works! Then I decided to go to a lot more classes and started to do training, and it was only the second training they have ever done in London. Every lesson I did in the training kept coming back to my flute playing. There is a link between me being awarded the Rising Star and when I was doing the training. The second year I came back and played for Sir James, it was a combination of doing a lot of practice and my Feldenkrais training. Something changed with how I was relating to the instrument; I was much freer.   How can Feldenkrais benefit flutists, and what would you recommend to someone who is new to it?   Feldenkrais isn't as well-known as other methods such as Alexander Technique. Ultimately, the flute is a physical activity, and I think the main thing about playing any musical instrument is that it is very habitual. We stand in a similar position all the time and move in a certain way, so habitual patterns and movement get set up in the system. Some of them are very useful, but there is also a lot of extra effort that starts creeping into our self-use.  The Feldenkrais method provides a way of us learning about our habits and movements and having more choices, so we can let go of some of that extra effort that we use. As far as good first steps for flutists, I have recorded two series of lessons, one is called "Breath and Balance (Volume 1)" and the other is "Better Tone and Jaw Comfort." Those are good introductions because I frame it in...

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Music Is The Ointment That Heals by Dyan Parker

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, July 2017, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Music Is The Ointment That Heals by Dyan Parker

  After years of research on healing, it became apparent to me that our bodies and minds act in unison. It is therefore important to have an antidote to our emotional wounds so that they do not affect our physical health. Music is capable of healing those wounds. How does that happen? How do we come to be wounded in the first place? And then how does music heal such wounds? We are wounded in very various aspects of our lives on a regular basis. We are wounded when we are lied to; we are wounded when we are betrayed; we are wounded when we do not reach our goals and we are wounded when we disappoint others — or when they disappoint us. We are wounded when we disappoint ourselves. We are wounded when we look around and see a world in chaos. We are wounded when we are afraid. And we are wounded when everything seems to be collapsing around us. We are wounded for so many different reasons, many of them rooted deep down in our emotions. If left unattended, however, these emotional injuries can become physical wounds and eventually turn to disease. Over time, they can become chronic and can even be fatal. The fallout from the emotional wounds runs the gamut. It is up to each of us to be alert to what is going on in our lives and all that is happening around us. When we are on autopilot we inadvertently ignore what our instincts tell us. To paraphrase a famous quote…The greatest wisdom comes from a life that has been examined sufficiently so that you can trust those small voices that you hear all day long. You might think you are better off brushing things aside, such as those negative thoughts and experiences, but they remain in your subconscious mind. Every conversation, every interaction, every little thing you hear and see remains with you, stored in your mind and in your body, down to your cellular structure. That storage can create dis-ease if it is not cleared out, in the same way you periodically clean out the refrigerator. At the same time, whatever is put into your cellular structure also becomes part of your response mechanism. You are unlikely to respond appropriately unless you take your time to examine the experiences you store before allowing them to be packed away and become part of your thinking process. You need to first understand that what you are storing in your brain and emotional memory is fact, and not a misinterpretation of the actual facts. This process is no different from placing items into long-term storage. You need to be alert and aware so that you only carry along what serves you on this voyage through life. When you retrieve information and respond spontaneously you want to be able to trust those responses. That process allows you to develop coping skills (see definition below) that will help you in the long run. What are coping skills ? The skills that we use when faced with stress are known as coping skills. People develop a pattern upon which they rely during the emotionally difficult times. To help you cope in a healthy manner you can meditate--visit a beautiful, calm place, without even leaving your...

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The Embodied Musician by Niall O’Rourdin: Review

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Book Reviews, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, May 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

The Embodied Musician by Niall O’Rourdin: Review

This is a series of audio instructions for how to position one's body and pieces thereof in order to be mindful of how the various relationships affect you, including creating tension or stress, using the Feldenkrais method, which is described as "an educational method focusing on self-awareness and learning involving gentle movements which can bring about improved coordination and enhanced functioning."  It begins with "The Primary Movements of the Jaw," for example, and directs you to perform various actions and to think about what you are sensing.  The fact that the program is audio and does not include video is an advantage in some ways; one tends to focus on the words more when there is nothing to look at.  You won't be listening to this while multitasking or driving to work; it requires concentration, and feels more like meditation guidance rather than lecturing. Focussing on what is going on in your own body, particularly as it affects your playing, can only be a good thing, and serious musicians should consider such instruction as a way to fine-tune their motions. If nothing else, it provides a new way to think about what is going on when you are playing and to notice things that you do automatically that you may want to change, in small ways as suggested.  Niall O'Riordan's Irish lilt and soothing, no pressure approach are also appealing aspects of the series.  Definitely, The Embodied Musician is a delightful and important enhancement to any flutist's training...

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Go OrGAnic for Back-to-School Success by Lindsey Goodman

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Articles, Featured, Health & Wellness, September 2016 | 0 comments

Go OrGAnic for Back-to-School Success by Lindsey Goodman

Go OrGAnic for Back-to-School Success:  Get Organized, Set Goals, and Stay Accountable   Lindsey Goodman, known for her “generous warmth of tone and a fluid virtuosity” (Charleston Gazette), is principal flutist of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, solo flutist of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, adjunct lecturer at West Virginia State University and Marietta College, instructor for Goodman Flute Studios, and has given over ninety world premieres.   A new academic year is upon us, so make the pledge to “go OrGAnic” to ensure your back-to-school musical success! Much has been made of eating organically for improved health and, and starting your school year “OrGAnically” by getting Organized, setting Goals, and staying Accountable will get your fall semester off to a similarly-healthy musical start!   Get Organized! Filling a book bag with fresh school supplies signals that a new school year is nigh, and stocking your music bag is just as important! Get organized with necessary materials: Flute and/or piccolo in best playing condition Pencils with erasers Batteries for metronomes and tuners Lesson notebook/practice journal All assigned music Ideally, summer is the time to have flutes and piccolos serviced for their yearly clean, oil, and adjust. Make sure that your instruments are in top working order as the fall semester begins! Your favorite flute tool should be the pencil, so never be without one for you and one for a friend. Prefer a metronome or tuner which can be downloaded to your smartphone? Check out the Bulletproof Musician’s recommendations on the Five Best Metronome Apps and the Five Best Tuner Apps to lighten your music bag’s load. The next most important thing in your music bag is your lesson notebook/practice journal. Accompanying you always, use this to catalog private lesson assignments and record daily practice sessions. (Learn more under “Stay Accountable”.) All assigned repertoire should be purchased, as photocopying copyright-protected music and downloading sheet music outside the public domain is illegal. Once acquired, go the extra mile with repertoire in advance: Listen to multiple recordings Define terminology Research each work Study the score Summer is the best time to get a head start on this list, but it’s never too late! Study two or more recordings of professional flutists for each assigned piece while following along with the music. Buy CDs, download purchased tracks, or watch legal online videos, as sharing copyrighted recordings without permission is piracy. Start a definition spreadsheet, defining every foreign term in your repertoire, and adding to it with each new assignment, creating a cumulative personal music dictionary. (Don’t forget to write the definitions into the music!) Learn more about each composer and piece you’re assigned, taking it further by researching the inspiration, time period, and historical context. Next, turn those study habits to the score, whether a piano part, a chamber music score, or an orchestral one. A good musician knows their part, but a great musician knows all the parts as well as their own.   Set Goals! With materials organized, setting goals is the next order of business for academic-year achievement. Consider these items as you dream big:  Short- and long-term goals Practice expectations New repertoire Opportunities Every student should have clearly-stated short- and long-term goals developed in coordination with her instructor. Short-term includes learning a new skill or piece, whereas long-term encompasses the...

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The Lifting Flutist, By Sarah Howard

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Essays, Health & Wellness, Interviews, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2016, Uncategorized | 1 comment

The Lifting Flutist, By Sarah Howard

Who is the lifting flutist? That’s a tough question to answer, considering the birth of this concept happened naturally by me just goofing off in the gym. Here’s the short of it. I’m Sarah Howard, and I’m a flutist in the U.S. Air Force. I happen to have quite the passion for fitness; particularly Olympic lifting and metabolic conditioning. I studied flute performance at Shenandoah Conservatory and The University of Tennessee before I won my job with the Air Force. When my video started picking up views a few weeks ago I was completely overwhelmed. I certainly believe that when the world hands you a microphone, you should speak into it. Maybe, just maybe, people will listen. So, I came up with this crazy concept of “The Lifting Flutist.” Now, let it be known, I definitely didn’t want this to be some weird musical sideshow. I truly believe there is direct correlation to being physically fit and being a solid performer. I also know that I want to tell people my story, so here it is… Five years ago, this month, my mother passed away from cancer. It was an incredibly stressful time. Not too long after that I, naturally, fell into a deep depression. Everything in my life was a struggle. My depression took its toll on my friendships, my marriage, my playing; pretty much every aspect of my life was withering away. I felt empty. There was still a little spark in me that kept me going. I’ve always been a fighter, but this fighter was at the lowest low. I knew I had to do something. So, one day I walked into this little storefront in Warner Robins, GA. There was a makeshift sign on the door that said “Crossfit,” and it seriously looked a little sketchy. I walked to the back and there was a lady sitting there. I asked her, “Please, can you help me? I think I want to try Crossfit.” She took me through what I thought was a workout. It actually turned out to be just the warm-up, and then my addiction began. It may be cliché to say, but I believe that fitness healed me. I would go through some workouts and literally cry hysterically. Not because they were so difficult, but because I was purging emotions and negative energy. I would think about my mom, about my life, about what I was doing as a musician, about the type of mother I was and wanted to be, just everything would come out in the gym. Then, I would leave it there. I thought I was beginning to heal. Then, I was hit with another huge blow. My marriage was falling apart and the Air Force band where I was working was being decommissioned. I would have to move to another state, start working at a new band, adjust to single parenting, and get divorced simultaneously. I was overwhelmed. Completely. Through fitness, I had developed a group of supporters who truly held me up through that time, but when I moved I was alone again. After my move I literally did not step foot in the gym for six months. I was just going through the motions of life. I would take my son to school, show up at work, pretend to smile, all the while dealing with loads of self-loathing and a sense of failure. I still hadn’t let myself mourn my mother. I was on overload. I was literally...

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Can Failure Help Success? by Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2016, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Can Failure Help Success? by Barbara Siesel

If you’ve never failed you’ve never tried anything new! Last month we spoke about the power of quitting, this month we'll speak about the power of failure to inform our progress as artists and entrepreneurs. While doing research for this article I’ve been reading about famous people who’ve failed numerous times, their failures are as great as their successes! Large failures and large successes. Let’s look at some quotes from some people who’ve achieved great success and along the way great failure as well. Here are a few of my favorite quotes about failure: “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates “Success is failure in progress.” Albert Einstein “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with you failure.” Abraham Lincoln “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan “…we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”. Henry Ford Each of these people experienced great failures before their successes. For example, Einstein didn’t speak until he was 4 years old and didn’t read until he was 7. His grades were so poor in school that a teacher told him “you will never amount to anything”. Abraham Lincoln had almost 30 years of failure before he was elected president in 1860, including being defeated for the US Senate(twice), defeated for the nomination for Vice-President, a failed business and much more. Michael Jordan was cut from his sophomore year HS Varsity basketball team!! What do all these people and quotes have in common- what do they tell us about failure? I love the idea of failure as being an opportunity to begin again, to not be content with your failure, that success is failure in progress, that failing a lot is why we succeed! Most of us have a fear of failure, but maybe, just maybe, failure is one of the ways that we accomplish success. What we learn, what we risk, and the deep understanding of the world that can come from experiencing failure are what makes us more open, more compassionate and more able to withstand the difficulties inherent in our artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors. So on the day that you reach rock bottom, the day that you lose that audition, your new business fails, your entrepreneurial idea is laughed out of the investor meeting, your 100 grant proposals of your new flutrepreneur endeavor are turned down, think--- this failure is the beginning of my success! Think, “I welcome this failure because now I know I’m going to succeed! Many of us have experienced these things, and we at The Flute View would love to hear and share your empowering...

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The Vegan Flutists

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, October 2015 | 0 comments

The Vegan Flutists

Lindsey Goodman   When did you become vegan?   September 2013   What was the inspiration? To improve my health   What is your favorite vegan restaurant? Mission Savvy in Charleston, West Virginia - I credit them with changing my life!   Can you share with us one of your favorite vegan recipes?   Lentil walnut balls with cranberry pear sauce - a perfect holiday meal! http://ohsheglows.com/2013/11/13/lentil-mushroom-walnut-balls-with-cranberry-pear-sauce/       Meerenai Shim   When did you become vegan?   About 7 years ago. What was the inspiration? I saw some barely alive fish in a tank at a Chinese restaurant and finally realized the consequences of my food choices. What is your favorite vegan restaurant? There are so many!! For savory dishes, it's Ravens at Stanford Inn in Mendocino. For desserts, Millennium in Oakland (formerly in San Francisco). Ooh, then there's Vive Bistro in Rochester, NY - they have amazing savory AND desserts that are worth the trip! Can you share with us one of your favorite vegan recipes? Vegan Banana Bread Ingredients 3-4 ripe bananas (about 2 cups) 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup vegan white sugar 2 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 3/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 cup sliced pecans or almonds (optional) Instructions Preheat oven to 425 F. Mash bananas and mix in oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. (Reserve about 1tbsp of dry mixture to flour loaf pan.) Add dry ingredients from step 4 into the wet ingredients from step 3 and mix thoroughly. Fold in nuts if desired. Place mixture into a greased & floured 1.5 QT loaf pan (5.25” x 9” x 2.75”) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for about another 35-50 minutes. Meerenai and Dave’s best guess: This loaf has about 2864 calories total (with nuts). Makes at least 10 servings.     Belinda Brouette   When did you become vegan?   I became a vegan in 7th grade around 12 years old. What was the inspiration? I was a Beatles fan and was inspired by Paul and Linda McCartney's compassion. I was maturing as the internet became more affordable, and I did a lot of research. No one in my community could answer my questions so I had to answer them for myself. I'm not going to lie, “The Simpsons” episode ‘Lisa the Vegetarian’ sealed the deal. I would never be the only vegetarian my peers ever heard of. What is your favorite vegan restaurant? Soul Vegan in Chicago. I've been away from the city for some time,  and I still dream about their "Mac and Cheese."   Can you share with us one of your favorite vegan recipes?   BLUE RIBBON VEGAN CORNBREAD Serves 9     2 Tbsp. ground flax seed 6 Tbsp. water 1 C all-purpose flour 1 C cornmeal 1/4 C sugar [Agave can be substituted ] 4 tsp. baking powder 3/4 tsp. table salt 1 C cashew milk 1/4 C canola oil Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 8-inch-square baking dish with Earth Balance....

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Injury Prevention and Strength Training for Flutists Through Yoga. By Christina Guenther and Sherri Fleshner

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, June 2015, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Injury Prevention and Strength Training for Flutists Through Yoga.  By Christina Guenther and Sherri Fleshner

Many musicians are becoming more involved with various body awareness principles, and the desire to take care of our bodies as we put them through the rigors of practicing and performing is great. In order to facilitate this awareness, and in hopes to help strengthen our bodies and prevent injury altogether, we have outlined 15 yoga moves that will help with issues flutists face specifically. We would like to emphasize that if anything does not feel right or is too intense, to modify the move or not attempt it. As with any exercise regimen, be sure you are in good enough health to proceed with the positions outlined below. Additionally, it is always advisable to secure a good teacher to help enforce good practice habits and a proper stance and hand position; you may also like to consult a trained yoga instructor for further development if this kind of wellness approach interests you. Neck Relaxation and Flexibility Head Balance: Find an easy, comfortable seated position. Slowly start to stack up the vertebrae in your spine, one on top of the other, rocking back and forth, until you feel that your back muscles and stomach muscles are fully relaxed. Tilt your chin upwards until you can feel the tension release in your forehead. Find a balancing point for your head so that you are relaxed and all of the muscles in the neck are relaxed. Start to breath in and out through your nose, expanding your chest sideways to make room for the breath. Regular Neck Stretches: As you exhale, release your chin towards your chest, feeling the muscles in the back of your neck and trying to release any tension. On an inhale, bring your right ear to right shoulder, remembering to keep the shoulder relaxed. Breathe. Focus your inhales on any tightness you feel and release that tension along with your exhales. Exhale back to center and do other side. Neck with Arm Stretch:[1] Find a comfortable seated position. While keeping your left fingertips on the ground, or holding on to the side of a chair, release your right ear to right shoulder, breathing into the stretch on the left side of the neck. Take 3-5 breaths. Start to lift the left arm a few inches off of the ground, or away from the chair. Feel free to move the arm slightly forward or backward to find the perfect stretch. Take 3-5 breaths. Rotate the left palm up, feeling the stretch work its way down the shoulder and arm. Take 3-5 breaths. Finally, extend the wrist (towards the back of the hand), pointing the fingers down. Take 3-5 breaths. Slowly release the arm and bring the head back to center. Repeat on the other side.   Shoulder Strength and Stretching Shoulder Squeeze (with & without blanket/towel): From a seated position, start by picturing 3 parts of your shoulder blades: the top tip, the middle, and the lower tip. On an inhale, open the chest as you squeeze the top tips of the shoulder blades back towards each other. As you exhale, release the squeeze and open the shoulder blades apart. Repeat with the middle part of the shoulder blade. For the lower tip of the shoulder blades, bend your arms at the elbows, bring your hands in front...

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A Flutist’s Nightmare. By Dana Joras

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Articles, Essays, Health & Wellness, Issues, June 2015, Lifestyle | 0 comments

A Flutist’s Nightmare.  By Dana Joras

Winters in Chicago can be very dangerous. By mid-February, however, my mind was focused on the warm Spring months ahead, not the unexpected layer of black ice beneath my feet. I fell on Friday the 13th while walking my dog and managed to break two bones in my left arm, the radius and the ulna, as well as badly dislocate my wrist. I rushed to the emergency room, leaving my dog and manual transmission car with a friend. When the nurses in the ER cut off my glove I was able to see the full extent of the damage. My arm looked akin to Harry Potter’s after his inept professor tries to magically mend it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The arm bent where it was not supposed to and the wrist was swollen beyond recognition. And then the fear set it. I couldn’t feel my fingers. What if the nerves were damaged? Broken bones are one thing, but what if I damaged the muscles? Would I ever be able to play my flute again? Two hours after falling, I cried for the first time, and not because of the pain. A few days later and after a long, painful weekend (by the way, never break your arm on a Friday afternoon), I finally had a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon who assured me that I would have absolutely no difficulty playing flute after proper recovery time. He was a trooper, surviving my barrage of questions and concerns regarding the surgery and recovery process. I was probably the worst patient ever, the kind that reads every possible WebMD article and suddenly knows the anatomy of the arm backwards. I knew all the complications, all the terminology, and my chances at getting my full range of motion back. In order to avoid atrophy and jump start the recovery process, the doctors removed my cast two weeks after surgery. I cradled my arm, the strange feeling of the uncasted bones startling me. It felt very unstable and I couldn’t bend the wrist more than a degree or two in any direction. A doctor came in with my x-rays and having noticed me cradling the arm said, “Don’t worry, dear! That arm isn’t going anywhere!” She pointed to the x-rays, “You see this piece of metal? That’s going to hold everything together so there is no need to be so careful. Just don’t bang it on anything,” she said. I felt relieved. She continued on to say that I should slowly add small rotation exercises in every day prior to the start of my physical therapy. The next few weeks were bad. I couldn’t drive my car or motorcycle and I couldn’t play my flute. Most flutists’ posture requires a slight bend in the left wrist and turning the left arm almost completely inwards so it faces the body. Not only was I unable to bend the wrist, but I couldn’t rotate my forearm at all. Depression set in. I tried to keep my spirits up through teaching and composing, but I hated everything that I wrote and my darling students only reminded me more of how much I missed my flute. I could see my composition and flute goals slowly spinning down the drain. I started to feel...

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From Body Casts to the Stages of the World by Viviana Guzman

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Articles, Blog, Featured, Health & Wellness, March 2015 | 0 comments

From Body Casts to the Stages of the World by Viviana Guzman

I was born with dislocated hips, with dysplasia, con-genital hip dislocation. I was never supposed to walk. I was the worst case in Chile, so my parents brought me to the States, to Stanford Hospital so that I could undergo better medical treatments. The coolest thing was that if I was flipped over on the hospital gurney where I lived, I was able to play the piano. To this day I say that music healed my life. The doctors told me that I would never be able to walk. So, at age 6, I joined a swim team. And by the age of 7, I became Champion Swimmer in Butterfly for the state of California. Ever since then, the Butterfly has served as a metaphor for my life. My body casts became my cocoon from which I grew my wings that later enabled me to fly. In the Tales of King Arthur, Vivian was Merlin’s Mistress, the Lady of the Lake, the bearer of Excalibur. I like to see my life as magical journey and that my flute is my wand, my sword. I have been able to travel and perform on all 7 continents, including Antarctica, after being told that I would never walk. I have learned how to become a Master at Manifesting and I believe everyone has these same capabilities. In fact, I participated in 5 fire walks just to prove to myself that whatever we set our minds to, we can accomplish. Dreams do come true! I learned to to embrace my challenges, and to strive further than what I was initially told I could create in my life. I spent 3 years performing in Tahiti where I learned about the cultivation of the pearl. The clam creates a pearl when a grain of sand gets introduced inside. Little by little, what is an irritant to the clam, becomes a precious gem for the rest of the world. The pearl also became a metaphor for my life. I spent my whole childhood in and out of body casts. It would be a year to recover from a surgery. I would have to go from the body cast, to the wheelchair, to the crutches, to the cane, only to have the doctors say, it didn’t work, we have to do it again! So back into the body cast I went! And this is how I spent the first 11 years of my life, life now seems so incredibly easy! After the ball and chain were taken off, it really makes life’s challenges seem like a piece of cake! Every step I take is so full of gratitude! Every minute of the day without pain is an absolute miracle! I feel so full of joy and blessings that I just want to sprinkle the world with some of this magic. I have spent my whole life limping and in ridiculous pain. It has only been since 2008, 7 years, since my second total hip replacement, 11 surgeries later, that I am finally pain free and limp free. Having to relearn how to walk each time, taught me the value of doing a little bit every day. I learned discipline. My threshold of pain is so much greater than most people’s. This is a normal person’s threshold of...

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