Totems Around Town!

By | 2013-08-31T16:03:53-04:00 August 31st, 2013|Life|

Can you spot the Totems? They sure get around. Here they are in Vegas, definitely not high-rollers but fun nonetheless!

Totems Around Town!

Totems Around Town!

We love getting pictures of the Totems in your world, send them to info@totemtamers.com! To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-08-28T10:55:31-04:00 August 28th, 2013|Life|

It was 50 years ago today that a wise and brave man stood in front of the world to talk about his dream. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech has moved millions of people since and will continue to do just that forever. If you haven’t read the transcript, the King Center site has made it available and it’s a must read! (It’s an original archive of the written speech so you have to finagle the page a bit to read it but it’s worth it.)

We share the dream!

We share the dream!

There is still plenty of inequality in our nation and in the words of Dr. King, “we are not satisfied,” and we still “have a dream!”

Thank you Dr. King for having the courage to share your dream and I am honored to share it again today.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Happy belated National Dog Day!!

By | 2013-08-27T15:41:05-04:00 August 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|

BULLDOG was busy running around town and making new friends, but there’s always time to celebrate dogs!

Making new friends on National Dog Day!

Making new friends on National Dog Day!

And it wouldn’t be right to celebrate without a shout out to my beloved pup, Zeke!

Happy Belated Dog Day!

Happy Belated Dog Day!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

 

The "baggage" carousel.

By | 2013-08-23T13:08:46-04:00 August 23rd, 2013|Life|

What is baggage anyway? This was a recurring theme this week when talking to friends (and strangers, which is something I do if you didn’t know.)  Baggage definitely has a negative connotation to it and sounds heavy and intense. People have said that my kids could be considered baggage, needless to say I always have a few choice four-letter-words for them! I remember when I first started dating again and was filling out profiles on ridiculous dating sites, several people suggested that I shouldn’t include the fact that I had kids. I was horrified! I am blessed to be a mother three times over and if someone takes issue with that, then guess what, I don’t want to date them!! These so “caring” individuals were trying to help by suggesting that it would be difficult to find men to date because of my kids, which is true. I repeated again, if someone chooses not to get involved with me because of my incredibly cute, smart, charming and well behaved children, it’s their loss!

Two other conversations I had this week touched on the same idea of “baggage” and what to share with people when dating. One friend is a recovering alcoholic, so he prefers not to meet women for drinks but offers up coffee or tea or a meal as an option. The issue is whether to announce up front that he is in recovery or to wait as long as possible. Some people in the “program” suggested that being in recovery can be viewed as negative baggage and therefore people will choose not to date him. My friend, being as smart as he is and as dedicated to his recovery as he is , basically responded that being an alcoholic is a negative, being in recovery is the ultimate positive. I was struck by his conviction and the same thought that if someone has an issue with his recovery, then it’s not the right person for him to date. Being in recovery is not having baggage, it’s just a part of who you are and your way of life.

Yet another conversation with a friend this week was about when to let someone know you’ve had cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy and is in the healing process now (she was discussed a few months ago in another post.) She is now starting to date and is questioning when to let potential suitors know her history. This is a little different because it’s not a condition she wears on her sleeve per se, so there’s a little leeway in when to share this very personal information. Although, her new boobies do look awesome and will certainly attract a lot of attention! But her cancer isn’t baggage, it’s something she is dealing with, and quite remarkably if I may say so myself.

Bottom line, don’t let so-called “baggage” weigh you down, pile it up and climb on top and anyone who is worth it will make the effort to climb with you!

Use your "baggage" as a platform!

Use your “baggage” as a platform!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Can I get my life ticket validated?

By | 2013-08-20T14:15:06-04:00 August 20th, 2013|Life|

We all need validation. We seek it from others, we crave it from others, yet we often deny it to ourselves! Validation for me is just a simple acknowledgement of a job well done, whether it’s how delicious my rugelach is (and we all know there’s never a question there,) or feedback on a blog post, or even a thank you for holding the door open! I like to think that I do my best at acknowledging people for the impact they’ve had on me, from the guy who cleaned out the drain on my washing machine this morning, to my kids for not putting up a fuss when we have a long outing, to the girlfriend who tells me about the spinach in my teeth! It doesn’t take much to tell someone that you appreciate them, that you are thankful for them, that even though you may not agree with a choice, you understand the reason behind the choice. Validation doesn’t necessarily have to be in response to something positive, it can be about giving credence to someone else’s feelings and emotions. “I am sensing you are angry, do you want to talk about it?” I mention validation a lot with regards to Totem Tamers, because people who suffer from anxiety don’t want to be told that their feelings are silly, unnecessary, or irrational, they want to simply be validated, not judged. When we validate someone, we are giving them value and supporting their truth, whatever it may be, and who doesn’t want that? I go back to my earlier statement of validating ourselves and how we often struggle with supporting our own truth. Give yourself the gift of validation today and then give it to someone else! You deserve it!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Litter-ed with Inspiration!

By | 2013-08-16T11:28:33-04:00 August 16th, 2013|Life|

Road Ribbon!

Road Ribbon!

I often come upon scenes, such as the one above, that get me thinking. Really it was just a simple bow that was littered on the street along with other discarded items like cigarette butts and taxi bones, but something about it made me stop and snap a pic. Maybe because it was such a contrast just sitting there among the trash with the rough backdrop of the pavement, maybe because it was going to inspire me, and that it did. I started to wonder about the bow and the gift that it must have been attached to, would the gift giver apologize for having lost the bow, would the recipient be any less grateful because there wasn’t a pretty bow to accent the gift wrap? I went all philosophical on the bow in the street, but it did result in a profound realization (ok, maybe not profound, but pretty darn meaningful!) The bow may be pretty and make a gift wrapping job stand out, but the bottom line is that it is still a gift regardless of its presentation, just like life. Yes, I did just equate the bow to life, but stick with me please. As we move through our daily lives, sometimes we flow through with ease and patience, other times it’s like a Class 5 rapid and we are twisting and turning and dodging rocks left and right while doing our best to stay in the boat. Basically our lives are not able to be placed in a perfect little box, wrapped in beautiful paper, and topped off with a lovely bow, but it doesn’t make our lives any less of a gift! Enjoy your gift today, even if it feels like a 6-year-old at Christmas tearing at the wrapping paper hoping for the new Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot toy, it is still a gift after all.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY (redux)!

By | 2013-08-14T09:27:00-04:00 August 14th, 2013|Life|

Last week, I had the pleasure of introducing you to yet another WARRIOR in Helane Brachfeld-Colvin. In that piece, I talked about Helane and her efforts with an amazing charity started by her late husband, Dr. Steven Colvin, called Project Kids Worldwide. The short story is that PKW brings children in need of life-saving heart surgery to the US, covering the costs along the way. When I learned about PKW and Helane, I knew it was something that Totem Tamers could get involved in by way of donating Totem Sets to the kids coming in for surgery. I am proud to say we have made our first donation to this week’s WARRIOR, Maricel Rodriguez!

Happy Birthday WARRIOR Maricel!

Happy Birthday WARRIOR Maricel!

Maricel celebrated her Sweet 16 last week by receiving a new pacemaker, just one of the many surgeries she has required after being born with a heart defect. Her first surgery was at just two months old when the late Dr. Steven Colvin performed the life-saving procedure. Maricel and the incredible work of Helane Colvin was covered in a news story last week.

http://www.myfoxny.com/story/23087993/dominican-teen-gets-lifesaving-surgery-in-new-york?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9179822

Totem Tamers wishes Maricel a speedy recovery and we are proud to call her a WARRIOR! For more on Project Kids Worldwide and how you can help, please visit their site at http://projectkidsworldwide.com.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Sometimes all you need to do is wait, and the outlook will be different!

By | 2013-08-13T18:06:31-04:00 August 13th, 2013|Uncategorized|

This is a scene I encountered yesterday and was thoroughly moved at how the visual changed from something beautiful into something truly magnificent in just a few short moments. All that was required was a little bit of patience and a little bit of searching. A lesson I think we can all take in to our daily lives, and it doesn’t hurt to have a wonderful visual to accompany the lesson.

Beautiful before the sun.

Beautiful before the sun.

Magnificent after the sun.

Magnificent after the sun.

Nature is stunning and it’s all around us. Give yourself the moment you deserve and visualize yourself in the place you want to be and know how magnificent you can be.

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

 

Totem Tamers goes to court (in the best possible way!)

By | 2013-08-12T12:18:27-04:00 August 12th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Ever have an experience that leaves you grinning for days, and maybe even longer? Well I’m sporting a perma-grin and a warm heart from an amazing experience and it’s a feeling I will carry with me for a long time to come. It all started a few weeks ago when I read an article in The Daily News about allowing comfort dogs in courtrooms to help witnesses testify. It dawned on me that Totem Tamers could do the same thing for witnesses and victims and I immediately reached out to Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes (through Facebook mind you since there was no other apparent way to get a hold of him!) I let him know that Totem Tamers was eager to help and willing to make a donation of several Totem Sets to help victims and witnesses. Within a week, I heard from DA Hynes office, and was told that a proposal would be put on his desk regarding our donation. About a week after that, I received a message from Sarah at the Victims Services Unit, that not only would they be thrilled to accept our donation, but would I be willing to come to the courthouse and speak at their full staff meeting!

with the Victims Services Unit.

with the Victims Services Unit.

I thought to myself “A forum for me to speak about Totem Tamers to a group of people who spend their days listening to horror stories from children and adults who have either been victimized or witnessed terrible crimes? Heck yeah!” That’s what has my perma-grin firmly affixed. Speaking to a group of 20 plus people and watching them react to the Totem Sets with excitement about adding another tool to their toolbox was incredible. I can’t imagine the horrors they hear about on a daily basis, and I can’t imagine the difficulty that so many face at having to relive traumatic experiences. Totem Tamers is thrilled to offer support and assistance to the Victims Services Unit in Brooklyn and hopefully the other boroughs of New York as well. It feels good to do good. Do some good today!!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-08-07T13:03:42-04:00 August 7th, 2013|Life|

I can’t say this enough, I am blessed to be able to do what I do because it continues to connect me with truly incredible people who have come through some traumatic, tragic, and trying events and come out triumphant on the other side. One of these people I am humbled to have recently connected with is Helane Brachfeld-Colvin. In 2008, Helane’s husband, Stephen Colvin, a world renowned cardio-thoracic surgeon passed away from multiple myeloma. Dr. Colvin left behind his wife and two young children, and the legacy of an incredible charity, Project Kids Worldwide, that brings children from around the world to NYU-Langone Hospital for life-saving heart surgeries.

Dr. Stephen Colvin, Founder of Project Kids Worldwide.

Dr. Stephen Colvin, Founder of Project Kids Worldwide.

Widowed and now a single mom, Helane vowed her young children would remember their father and the wonderful work he did before he died. As the Director of Project Kids Worldwide, Helane continues to raise money that ultimately helps pay for transportation, surgery, and lodging during recovery, for kids that need heart operations. The website has very touching stories from patients that were operated on by Dr. Colvin and his team, and that team continues saving lives today.

 

Helane Brachfeld-Colvin and Ashley Gallegos.

Helane Brachfeld-Colvin and Ashley Gallegos, a recipient.

Totem Tamers is honored to call Helane a WARRIOR and inspired by the work that Project Kids Worldwide continues to strive for and accomplish. If you’d like to learn more about Project Kids Worldwide and help Helane continue her efforts of saving the lives of young children around the world, visit their website at www.projectkidsworldwide.com. Totem Tamers is proud to connect with this organization and we pledge to donate a Totem Set to children brought in by PKW to help them and their families through the experience.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Nothing like a little empowerment to start your week!

By | 2013-08-06T16:27:43-04:00 August 6th, 2013|Life|

Thank you Marisa Santoro, founder of InOurShoes, for an insightful and inspiring evening where professional women shared and supported each other! Marisa started the evening and opened up about her history in terms of her life and career and the choices she has made as a woman in charge of her own future. This helped all the women in attendance do just the same and it became evident early on in the evening that it didn’t matter if you were a CEO or an executive assistant, everyone wanted to feel supported and heard and it seemed as if they were. One very enthusiastic participant left the event with a new friend and I heard her say as she exited “That was f*%#ing awesome!” Marisa holds lots of these events throughout the year and you can keep up with her and her amazing tips for promoting yourself and your career on her site InOurShoes! One of the biggest lessons from last night was that no one but you knows what it’s like to walk in your shoes but just as someone can learn from your experience so can you learn from someone else’s “shoes.”

InOurShoes

InOurShoes

Stay well.

To learn about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

It's SHARK Week at Totem Tamers! (and everywhere else apparently!)

By | 2013-08-05T13:46:39-04:00 August 5th, 2013|Life|

SHARK Week at Totem Tamers!

SHARK Week at Totem Tamers!

In celebration of SHARK week, Totem Tamers is pledging to donate 10% of sales of all SHARK Totem Sets to the Wildlife Conservation Society and their efforts to help stop the over-fishing of sharks. Did you know that every day over 100,000 sharks are killed? We know our Totem SHARK helps a lot of people every day, keeping them calm, so we owe it to SHARK, and all sharks to do our part! Won’t you help yourself or friend by purchasing a SHARK Totem Set today and helping sharks worldwide from possible extinction? To learn more and purchase your Totem Set, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Thanks to C.B. from New York, for your kickstarting our campaign with two SHARK sets purchased! Don’t forget, from now until 8/11, 10% of Totem SHARK sets sold will be donated to the WCS!

Shift-Option-Control aren't just keys on your keyboard!

By | 2013-08-04T13:08:52-04:00 August 4th, 2013|Life|

I love when a random conversation or two gets my head spinning and inspires me to throw a few words down, even more so when it hits on the very purpose of Totem Tamers!! I’m all about validation, I need it, I seek it, I crave it, and as a result I try to give it when I can, but as we know, that’s not always easy because we are not always present and aware. Validating someone’s anxiety is not always easy either, because it can force us to consider something that isn’t normally anxiety producing for us, but is crippling for someone else. It could be as basic as one person’s fear of not riding roller coasters, or as complicated as someone needing to be in the fifth car on the subway because they heard once it was the safest place to ride on the train. All it takes is that one horror story and your anxiety level amps up, but some people can function at that level, and a lot of people can’t. Totem Tamers isn’t a cure for anxiety, it’s a coping mechanism for anyone who feels anxiety. Totem Tamers asks that you recognize and validate that you are actually really freaked out, upset, angry, scared, etc., and then that you take the steps to move away from those often very overwhelming emotions. With the visualization process, Totem Tamers, guides from seeing yourself at your most anxious and then leads you to visualizing yourself at your most calm. It’s a process, but the beginning of the process is actually identifying and again validating that you feel anxious.

Totems at the keys!

Totems at the keys!

This is where Shift-Option-Control comes in to play. Totem Tamers helps you Shift from one extreme to another as you identify that you are overwhelmed and then helping yourself manage that emotion. You have the Option to take as many deep breaths as necessary before moving from one extreme to another. You have the Option of not doing anything and allowing your anxiety to cripple you and prevent you from living your life to the fullest. You have Options, period, and sometimes that’s all someone needs to know. Control is the tricky one, because as anyone with anxiety knows, sometimes an attack can come out of nowhere (often panic attacks behave this way) and the increased anxiety comes from feeling out of Control. You hear stories about people who carry around a tranquilizer just as security. They don’t ever use it, but knowing that they have it is sometimes all they need to help them stay calm or regain calm. That’s what Totem Tamers does, it puts the Control in your hand. You can choose to remain anxious, or you can take steps to help yourself get calm. I realized that Control was a big issue for me in handling my son’s anxiety. I wasn’t in Control, and frankly neither was he, but as soon as we had Totems as an Option, I was able to Shift the Control from me to my son, and that enabled him to be more in Control of his behavior. The bottom line, and there always is one, is that with Totem Tamers simple steps of Visualization, Repetition, and Sensation, you can Shift your feelings with these Options and once again seek Control of your emotions.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Blanky, binky, lovey, and mush…add Totems to the list!

By | 2013-08-02T13:43:55-04:00 August 2nd, 2013|Life|

When we created Totem Tamers a while back, we did so with the express purpose of helping people find another way to ease anxiety and stress levels. We knew that creating a product that could be carried around was essential and then we enhanced it by adding the guide booklet that offers additional tools to help people regain calm. I talk to people all the time about Totem Tamers, and a common thread that comes up is security blankets. Whether it’s a child who can’t leave the house without her bunny, or the adult that always carries the lucky nickel from his favorite uncle, most of us have security blankets and most of them aren’t even blankets!

Security Totems!

Security Totems!

I had a “mushy” growing up, which was a ridiculously soft pillow that had to come with me everywhere. I think it’s only been 15 years since “mushy” had to be let go when it basically fell apart. I’m grateful that I have four new security blankets that I can carry with me anywhere, in the form of Totems! What kind of security blanket did you have as a child or does your child have, and what was it called? Which Totem would you choose for your security blanket?

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.