An Introduction

Welcome to my little corner of the internet.

My name is Jennifer, as you may have gathered already, and I am at the time of writing this, a 43 year old blind woman living on the east coast of Canada. Professionally, I am a registered massage therapist and recreationally a writer, though up until recently I haven’t been writing as much as I wanted to, or at all.

Most people are curious about the blind thing. To be precise, I have zero vision in my right eye, and light perception in my left along with the ability to see colour and sometimes motion if the light is just right. Too dark, and obviously I get nothing, but that also happens if it’s too bright. I haven’t always had this level of vision. In fact I have both had much more and much less, running the gamut from 20/80 (almost enough to drive) to utter darkness, though the right eye has been blind since roughly age five or six. I’m of the mindset that I don’t focus on what I’ve lost, but rather what I’ve gained back.

The massage therapy thing is a career I took on in my thirties. I’d wanted to pursue it for a long time, but never did. Right up until I decided that enough was enough. I’ve been doing it for six years now, and absolutely love it. I like people, or at least I like people in one on one or very small group interactions, and this career path lets me help and also get to know a variety of interesting and wonderful folks. Yes, it is hard work, but it’s also almost insanely fulfilling.

As to the writing, I’ve been doing it since I was a child. I’ve always been a bookworm, and my mother encouraged me to write. She insists that I won a lot of writing contests when I was young, though I’m convinced she’s mixing my sister and I up, as she’s also exceedingly skilled with words. The only contest I remember winning was in the summer before I started ninth grade, and involved writing a ghost story which, if I recall correctly, was called The Will and The Orb. Which now seems a bit pretentious, but I was fourteen, so allowances must be made.

I’ve written short stories on and off, more often than not leaving them unfinished as I ran out of steam or got distracted. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but if you think a short story was hard for me to finish, imagine me going for a novel?

Since starting the massage thing, I’ve written a lot less. I get the ideas, but tend to just daydream about them and leave them at that, while simultaneously telling myself that I could write a darned good book some day and of course get it published. The book you never write can safely be thought of as a sure winner. But 100% of the books you never write aren’t going to see the light of day.

Recently, though, I’ve decided that once again enough is enough. To paraphrase a recent Facebook post I made, writing is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it atrophies. If you want to strengthen it you have to consistently use it.

I set myself a goal. Write something every day. Even if it’s only a paragraph. Even if it’s only a snippet of dialogue for something else. Because I do want to write a book, but a whole book is really, really intimidating. But writing a paragraph isn’t. It is the kind of goal I can meet, and I have. For a week and a half, I have written at least one paragraph a day. More often than not, I write a lot more than that. It’s all been book-related, but it doesn’t need to be.

That’s where this blog comes in. Here, I’ll be writing about a lot of things. About being blind, and the humour that can bring as well as the harder things, though I more often than not see the humour rather than the struggles. About working in my industry. About writing itself. About things that interest me. I’ve decided not to set a certain focus at the outset, though I make no promises that that will always be the case.

So. Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where this goes.

The Pain Of Exclusion

Were you ever picked last for a game when you were a kid?? Ever find out about a party that everyone but you seems to have been invited to? Been in a group of friends reminescing about an incredibly fun memory they shared that you weren’t there for? Remember how the feeling of exclusion felt?

For the blind, we face that almost everywhere we turn. This is a visual world. It always has been, but it seems to be getting more and more so every day.

Video game culture is on the rise, picture sharing platforms are extremely popular, places like Disney World have a plethora of simulator rides based on viewing a screen, even the education of online learning can rely heavily on pictures and videos.

And we can’t participate in that, or if we can we get only a very watered down version of it.

It hurts. It feels like a little jab every time it happens, leaving an inner six year old standing at the edge of the field wondering “What about me?”

The truly frustrating part of that for me is that it doesn’t even need to be this way. Images can be tagged with very descriptive text that would tell us precisely what is in the photo, but no one seems to do it. Rides can have audio tracks, and to be fair many at WDW and other similar theme parks do, but not all of them. Videos can have audio descriptions as well, or at least some sort of back up explination, and not all of them do. Some video games can even be made somewhat or entirely accessible, but designers don’t.

I do not expect the world to bend to meet my needs. I really don’t. The fact that I am blind is always going to limit some of the things I can participate in. But it doesn’t have to limit quite as much as it does, if only those behind designing these things would take a minute to think about the blind and visually impaired community. I’m sure the same goes for other groups as well, but I can only speak to my own experience.

I do want to send a very heartfelt thank you to anyone who has taken the time for accessibility, I’m not unaware of you, it’s just that sometimes the pain of not being able to participate in things that everyone else is doing hurts.

Like all those nifty Facebook avatars people are sharing. Like the buzzfeed personality test I saw yesterday that relied entirely on photos with no description. Like the online courses I’d like to take to maintain my status as a registered massage therapist that require me to see the video.

It sucks. It hurts. And it could be so much better. All society needs to do is take a little bit of time to consider those with disabilities during the design phase and if there is a solution that would include them, do it.

As always, be kind to yourself and to others.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

One Year In

On May 21, 2019, I posted this: https://jennifermorash.com/2019/05/21/an-introduction/. It was my very first blog post. In it, I introduced myself, gave a synopsis of where I was, and a bit about where I wanted to go.

The final line of that post reads: “”Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where this goes.”

That was one year ago tomorrow. So, where did it go?

Well, the introductory material has almost entirely remained the same. I’m still a blind woman and still a massage therapist, though you can tack a year onto the age and length of time in the profession.

But I am not a recreational writer any longer. More on that a bit further in.

I detailed how I was finally trying to write a novel, wich I’d only been at for a week and a half when I began. Since then, I have completed first the rough draft and then the second one, taken the novel through the beta reading stage and began the third draft, the one I intend to submit for publication. So, I call that a goal completed.

I no longer write every single day. That is unsustainable. However, I never intended for that to be a permanent state. I only wanted to do it for long enough to build up my writing muscles from a state of atrophy, and I did. I am still writing frequently.

After a few posts, I settled on a schedule of publishing one post per week, every week, with occasional bonus posts when the mood or situation struck. That is a schedule I have kept to, with two exceptions. I missed one week last fall while utterly miserable with the flu, and took a planned and pre-announced break over the holidays. To be honest, I’m surprised at myself. I doubted my ability to come up with something to write about each and every week. Somehow, I have.

So, why do I say that I’m no longer a recreational writer? Because I’m a professional one. Starting this blog led to the opportunity to do paid writing for the blog that my clinic runs, which you can find here: https://www.massageexperts.ca/blog/

That job makes me a professional freelance writer, which is absolutely not something I thought I’d achieve in under a year. I am exceedingly grateful to Massage Experts for the opportunity, and sincerely passionate about my work there, as it brings together my love of writing with that of educating my clients.

Blogging has not always been easy. There are weeks I just don’t feel like writing. There are subjects that can be difficult to write about. And in our current global crisis, it gets even harder some days. However, writing is cathartic, enjoyable, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction.

To those who have been with me from the start, I thank you. Your support has encouraged me at every step. To those who have joined me somewhere along the path, I thank you, too. Your joining in shows me that I’m not just shouting into the void.

So. Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where else this goes.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Self-Massage For The Face

Tension in the TMJ, or jaw, area of the face is common in many of the clients that I treat in my career as a massage therapist. There are many reasons for this, ranging from a tendency to clench or grind the teeth, frequent singing or a lot of public speaking, or just general stress.

Jaw tension can cause headaches, ringing in the ears and even a runny nose, because the body is a wonderfully whacky thing. Right now, we’re all separated from our massage therapists… and believe me, your therapists miss you. I do. I also miss helping my clients.

Now, self-massage isn’t always effective. The act of reaching for the part of your body you want to massage more often than not activates the muscles you want to work on, which renders the exercise rather pointless. The face, however, can be worked on to an extent. You can do this without oil or lotion, but if you want to add that in, go with something that won’t clog your pores. I suggest coconut or jojoba oil, but if you work this into a face moisturizing regime, you could use your usual product.

  1. Start off light and general. That basically means that you should gently rub the entire face at first. If you’re using oil/lotion, this is a good time to get it evenly spread. Start at the forehead, above the eyes, and sweep out to the temples and then down over the cheeks, ending at the underside of the chin. Just be cautious around the eyes.
  2. Once you’ve done that for a minute or two, you can get more specific. Again, start at the forehead and work down, rather than starting at the chin and working up. You can use the edge of your forefingers or flat of the palm to stroke from above the nose towards the temple, then use your fingertips to rub in circles above the eyebrows.
  3. Come down to your temples. Again, rub in circles, and don’t be afraid to go up to the scalp. Your largest jaw muscle, the temporalis, goes that far. An easy way to find it is to clench and relax your jaw while you explore with your fingers, you should feel it moving. Just don’t massage while clenched.
  4. Time to pay attention to the cheekbones. Start in next to the nose and trace the underside of the cheekbone from the nose to ear. Repeat this several times at least, but you can do it for longer. Try not to dive right in with all your might, the pressure should be gradually increased, not suddenly.
  5. Next, come down over the cheeks. Again, start in near the nose, just beneath the cheek bones and stroke down towards the chin with the tips of your fingers. Come back up, this time a bit further out and do this again. Then again, until you’ve covered the whole cheek. You have more jaw muscles than you realize, and the major ones are in the cheeks, so don’t skip out on the inner part.
  6. Stroke over the mouth from the center of the lips and out, then do the same below.
  7. Stroke around your lower jawbone. This is the mandible, the moveable part of your jaw. Using the tips of your fingers, stroke from the center outwards, above the bone, over the curve of the jaw, and also under it. There are muscles down there that you don’t think about, the ones that move the tongue. All you singers and frequent talkers, this is an important one for you.
  8. You’re not done yet. Massage is like working out. Just as you warmed up with lighter, general strokes, you also have to cool down. Repeat the same light, general strokes you made at the start from the forehead, around to the temples, over the cheeks and down to the chin.

A few things that you should note:

  • do not massage to the point of pain. If what you are doing hurts, ease back to a lighter pressure.
  • Do not dive right into firmness, either, you need to build up to that.
  • If you have any cuts on your face, don’t do this. Wait until it heals.
  • If you have pre-existing medical conditions involving the face/jaw, consult your doctor before attempting this.
  • If you want to use a lotion or oil on your face that you’ve never used before, do a spot test first. Put a tiny amount on a tiny area of skin and wait for at least twelve hours to make sure that you don’t have a negative reaction. (And again, you can do this with no oil or lotion at all).

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. And once again, be kind to yourselves and those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

The Longest Month

I think April of 2020 has been the longest month of my life.

I’ve certainly had other long and difficult months. I’ve spent months at a time in the hospital, often not being allowed to get out of the bed or, sometimes, sit up. Much of that as a child who wanted to go outside and play. I’ve spent months in some very serious pain. I’ve spent months where depression and anxiety kept me away from the world by choice.

But nothing has been like last month for me, and I know I’m not alone.

It’s not just a matter of boredom, though there was some of that. It was the worry, the fear, and eventually the overwhelming grief and confusion.

(Let me put in a warning here. My posts tend towards the positive. This is not going to be a happy post. For those reading when I post it, you may have already taken in more sad and worrisome things than is good for you to handle. I won’t be offended if you stop reading.)

Right now, as I type this, we are in the midst of the pandemic known as Covid-19. It has infected millions, and killed over 200000, it has brought life as we know it to a standstill globally. It is like nothing I have experienced before. We are all stuck where we are. Public gatherings are not happening. Travel has stopped. Public venues are shut down. Grocery stores have arrows on the floor to indicate what direction you are allowed to go in, and taped marks to show where you can stand. We are all staying six feet apart from one another. Many are off of work, more are working from home, and the essential workers still have to go out and brave getting sick to keep us going.

Then, here in Nova Scotia, a maniac whose name I will not include here because it doesn’t deserve to be remembered, went on a rampage in a place near and dear to my heart, perpetrating the worst mass shooting Canada has ever seen, in a tiny little place most had never heard of. A place we can see from the cottage. A place close to family. Too many lives were lost.

The next week, a NATO helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece, costing the lives of six more Canadians.

April was, in many ways, a series of blow after blow. It seemed like when we started to pick ourselves up off the ground, or even start to, something else happened.

I can count on one hand how many days in April didn’t see me crying at some point. From sadness or just because everything got so overwhelming. And, yes, sometimes in joy because there have been some wonderful things people have done to bring us together, too.

So, why am I writing all of this? Many of my readers are in Nova Scotia or have ties to it, you already know all this. Those who aren’t still heard the news.

I’m writing this for myself. I’m writing this because for me, at least, getting it all out and down into words is good for me. Thoughts can get all cluttered up in my brain, sometimes I just need to sit down and type them out. I’m writing this for you guys, as a reminder that while you may be by yourself, you’re not alone in how you feel.

I’m also writing this because I don’t want to forget. I want something out there that I can look back at next year, or in five or ten years. I want to remember, not because these are good memories, but because to forget is to once again take for granted what we have.

And I want to write this down because I want to remind all of you, as well as myself, that it is a new month. Spring is coming (in theory, it did snow last week here). A time of renewal. We’re going to get through this. Nova Scotia is as strong as she is beautiful, and we humans are a resilient folk. And beyond my beloved province, we’re all, as a society, going to weather this storm.

Once again, please be kind to yourselves and to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

I Am Small

I am small
I am small, and the world is large
Too large to see me
And there is comfort in that
In my smallness, I have room to grow
In my smallness, I can fit myself into the cracks of the world
I can change
I can change the way I grow
I can alter my shape to suit myself
I have space
I can expand
I can stretch and stretch
Perhaps one day, I will fill the world
But now, I am small
small and happy

xWant to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

It’s Okay

I’d like to talk to you all about grief.

We are all experiencing it to one degree or another. For those of us here in Nova Scotia, or with ties here, it is unfortunately far stronger now, but the whole world is going through it.

Grief for lost liberties, grief for loss of free movement, for loss of employment, for loss of social interaction, for loss of human touch.

You may not even realize that grief is what you’re feeling, but you are.

The thing is, grief takes some really unpredictable forms, and that makes it harder to recognize sometimes. That outburst you had the other day when your shower turned cold? Grief. The sudden onset of sadness for no reason you can actually name? Grief. A tendency to lose track of time? That’s grief.

The thing is, it’s okay. What you’re feeling is okay. You’re allowed. You know that thought of “but other people have it worse, so I should just suck it up?” That thought is wrong. What you feel is okay.

However, let me tell you what else is okay. Laughter. Joy. Positivity. That funny meme you want to share, but you’re worried you’ll be seen as insensitive for posting it when others are going through so much sorrow? Post it, people need a moment of laughter. That sweet video you saw? Share it. It’s okay for you to enjoy it, and it’s okay for other people to see it. It will help them.

It’s okay to want to enjoy things. It’s okay to want to feel good. You are allowed to feel good, you should try to feel good.

I’ve said this a lot lately in my posts, but let me say it again: be kind to yourself. Those aren’t just empty words I keep tacking onto my posts. I mean it. Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack here.

It’s okay.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

When This Is Over

Right now, as I write this, the world is still in the grip of the pandemic lockdown. All of us are affected. Some of us are stuck at home, unable to go out for any but the most important errands, if that. Others work in some essential capacity and so are having to risk their own health to go out and work.

This isn’t going to last forever, thank goodness, and I’m fairly sure almost everyone is eagerly anticipating the day when all of this is behind us. I certainly am.

However, there are some things I devoutly hope to see when the dust clears.

  1. Remember what you learned

It’s darned difficult to live through something like this without learning some sort of lesson. Perhaps you’ve learned to really appreciate the people who deal with your garbage, deliver your mail and ring you up at the grocery store. Perhaps you’ve learned patience. Maybe it’s the importance of checking on your more vulnerable friends and family. And hey, maybe it is as simple as appreciation of the freedom to go out into the sun just because you can.

I hope that whatever you learn, you hold onto it when this is over. When life returns to some semblance of what we used to think of as normal, don’t let these lessons slip away, especially the hard ones.

  1. Keep some things going

There are people out there for whom this pandemic has changed very little about their lives. They are the people who are stuck at home as a general rule. Those with disabilities that keep them house bound, those with social anxiety that make it harder for them to deal with people. Those who live in remote areas. For them, things have suddenly popped up that are actually making their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Virtual choirs, online courses, writing groups, free audiobooks… there is a long list of clever and inventive ways we’ve come up with to keep in touch and keep one another sane.

Please remember, when we step back out into the world, that some people can’t. I know that not everything can be kept up, but I’d love to see some of these wonderful things kept in place for those whose lockdown is permanent.

  1. Remember that we did this for a reason.

If this works, and I am in the firm camp of believing it will, there is going to be a segment who will claim that we over reacted. There will be those who point to the fact that death tolls were less than initially projected, or that not as many people got sick as was initially claimed could happen. There are those who will look at success, and interpret it to mean that we did all this for nothing.

They will criticize the response. They will criticize the measures put in place. Don’t listen to them. What we are all going through isn’t pointless, and it isn’t an overreaction. If this works, it will be because of the measures.

  1. Take note of the world

Dolphins are returning to the coast of Europe. The canals of Venice are running clear. The tops of mountains are visible for the first time in decades. Sea turtle eggs are popping up in higher numbers. I could go on with a list of all the marvels of nature that are showing up in the short time that we’ve been prevented from causing our usual mess.

Most of us aren’t doing anything out of malice. We don’t set out to wreck the world. But we’re doing it anyway. We haven’t been stuck at home for all that long, and look at the incredible difference it’s made.

I know we probably can’t keep up this degree of lack of pollution, but I hope to the depths of my heart that we can at least look out at what’s been happening and use that as a lesson. If it took such a short degree of time for major improvement to become visible, that should tell us just how much damage we’ve been doing. Maybe we can learn from this, and do a little less.

So, what do you hope to see when all of this is done?

As usual, be kind to one another and to yourself.

An Honest Answer, a short story

A quick explanation before we get into the story. I decided to post this because I think we all need a diversion right now. It is part of a writing challenge I’m doing this month. We were told to get someone to tell us a true story, and then write that story in such a way that changed absolutely everything but kept the core of the story. So here is mine. Can anyone guess what the original story was?

Captain Carole stood in the hangar bay of the enormous space station she called home, staring at her small craft. Granted, it was only precise to call this place home when she wasn’t on the move, which she often was. Still. A lady needs some place to keep her things.

The problem was the anti-grav lift. A tiny fracture had grown, all unnoticed, over time. Or, she thought it was an overuse fracture. For all she knew, some unexpected bang had caused the minute break. It didn’t really matter, though. At the end of the day, it made the lift completely useless until the self-repairing nanobots were done with it, and that was going to take at least a week.

In the meantime, she had the drive crystal to replace. The very heavy drive crystal. Though Carole looked a good deal younger than she was, and no one seemed to believe her actual age, she just couldn’t lift something as heavy as that crystal, no matter how independantly minded she might be.

And until she replaced the crystal, she couldn’t leave. She might make it to her destination at the distant Denys Outpost, but she’d never make it back again on that old drive crystal.

Captain Carole’s musings were interrupted by footsteps, and she turned to see a young, short man emerging from the inter-station travel pods. When he spotted her, he gave her a friendly sort of nod.

“And how are you today, Ma’am?” he asked.

The polite thing to do, of course, was to say that she was doing just fine, thank you, and let him go about his business. It was the acceptable thing to do. Even in these advanced days of interstellar travel, polite social fictions hadn’t died.

On impulse, Carole gave a rueful half-smile, running a hand through her short hair. “Honestly? Not so great.”

All she expected from this was some offer of sympathy before the man stroede onwards to his own destination. Instead, he stopped, cocking his head.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

Such a simple question. She wondered for a moment if he was just being polite, but there was such an earnest look in his soft, brown eyes.

“Oh. Well. It’s the drive crystal. I need to replace it. But my anti-grav lift is busted, there’s no available ones to be borrowed or rented, and there’s just no way I can move the replacement from where it’s waiting over there to the engine casing.” She gestured off across the bay to where the large crystal sat, right where it had been delivered.

The young man smiled. “I can get it for you, Ma’am.” He gestured for her to step back, an all too common occurance these days, as spacers could bring back who-knew-what strain of disease from worlds, so strangers just tended to stay two meters apart at all times.

Carole stepped back, and found herself blinking back tears of gratitude. The man vanished, and reappeared toting the huge crystal in his arms. He hadn’t even grabbed one of the manual, rolling dollies that were available.

“Goodness. You must be strong, to carry that all on your own,” the captain said, still blinking back tears.

“I’m in the space marines, Ma’am,” the man, who Carole realized was even shorter than her own petite frame. “Just waiting to be deployed. The daily exercise regime is intense.” In moments, he had stepped aboard her ship and deposited the new crystal in its bracket, where her own vessel’s machinery could lift it into place. When he emerged with the old crystal in his arms, though, a tear actually did escape Carole’s blinking eyes. That was just going above and beyond.

Once the crystal had been taken to the reclamation zone, the marine turned back to Captain Carole. “Anything else I can do?”

Shaking her head, Carole smiled. “No, no. Thank you so much. I’d give you a hug if I could.”

Grinning, the young man merely offered her a jaunty salute, despite her lack of military rank. “Just happy to help, Captain. You have a good day, now.”

The fellow turned to head off, and Carole boarded her ship. It was time to head out to Denys Outpost. Sometimes, an honest answer got you kindness. She’d remember that, and pay it forward.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Disney Planning Resources

The world isn’t feeling very magical right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan and dream about magic in the future.

I’m sure my regular readers know me well enough to know that this means that we’re going to talk about Disney. Well. That and the title.

Are you planning a Walt Disney World trip for after this storm has passed? Are you feeling just a bit lost or overwhelmed? Here are some resources for you. Some are niche, some are general. All are ones I have used myself, and still check out for entertainment.

Pammie Plus Parks

Let me start with the disclaimer that I write articles for this one, and Pammie is a friend of mine. Some bias exists, but both the writing and the friendship came about after I discovered the greatness that is Pammie. So that totally negates it, right?

You can find Pammie on youtube, and also at http://www.pammieplusparks.com which is where you’ll find the stuff I wrote. Pammie focuses on plus sized, accessibility, mobility, sensory and cognitive issues around travel and, more specifically, central Florida themeparks. She is a ray of sunshine and positivity.

Will Save For Travel

Erm. Again: this is a friend. But she still has some great things to say, and I am convinced I’d feel the same even if she weren’t someone I went to college with. She does travel in general, but is a huge Disney fan and so you’ll find that, too. You’ll learn all about how to budget for travel. She’s also just an awesome person.

You can find her at her youtube channel of the same name, and her blog is at http://www.willsavefortravel.com which is where most of her material can be found. It’s super useful.

Ivy Winter

Moving out of the territory of plugging my friends is Ivy Winter, who you can find on youtube. It’s a small channel, but she talks a lot about solo trips, as well as travel with anxiety, so if that is something that relates to you, this is a great place. She also cohosts the Tomorrowland Transit Authority podcast with fellow youtuber Rob Plays, who isn’t a great resource for trip planning but is an awesome one for fascinating videos on the esoteric history of the parks and is more than worth checking out.

Christine is warm, encouraging and smart. Bonus: she hosts a monthly, Disney-themed bookclub.

The Disney Food Blog

This is probably the largest of the resources I use in terms of subscribers. Largely, as the name implies, they talk about food at Disney, and food at Disney is far better than you think it’s going to be. They also do a lot of general tips and tricks that are almost mandatory viewing.

You can find them on youtube under DFB and at http://www.disneyfoodblog.com

All Ears

Found at http://www.allears.net and on youtube under All Ears.net, this is another one with lots of tips and tricks, from how to score fast passes to all the best Mickey shaped foodstuffs (spoiler: there’s a lot of them). I also like that they do a lot of long-format videos, which is useful right now when we desperately need things to watch. Plus, the website has a section for reviews of rides, shows and places to eat, so you can see what other folks think.

So, got any suggestions of your own? Feel free to leave links in the comments below.

In the meantime, keep on being kind to one another, and we’ll seeya real soon.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

The Empathy Challenge

We are living through some very difficult times right now, and at times like this, a little bit of empathy for one another can go a very long way.

So, what is empathy? Empathy is the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes emotionally and understanding, to the best of your ability, how a given situation might make another person feel.

We can never truly understand every last nuance of how those around us feel anymore than they can understand completely how we feel, but we can make the effort. That effort can make all the difference.

Just now, a lot of people are scared. Fear can manifest itself in many ways, none of them particularly logical. Those around you may be saying or doing things that just don’t make much sense to you. It’s all too easy to get frustrated.

But that’s not going to make things better. Compassion, however, can.

So, this week, I’d like to challenge all of you to give this a try: put yourself into the proverbial shoes of someone else. Not someone who agrees with you in all things. It doesn’t need to be someone diametrically opposed to you, either. After all, I’m not expecting or asking all of us to become saints. But just pick one person. Try to think of why they might be doing or saying something. Try to think of times you acted irrationally. Try to understand where they are coming from.

You don’t have to agree with them. In fact, changing your mind to mirror theirs isn’t any better than outright dismissing them. But if you can understand, even a little bit, why they’re acting in a given way, it gets a lot easier to meet them with kindness and compassion.

And right now, we need a little more of that.

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