Get your head in the clouds!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:07+00:00 August 29th, 2014|Uncategorized|

When we hear the description of someone who has their head in the clouds, it’s usually derogatory. It usually means they are not focused, or they are ditzy, or just plain not present. Well sometimes, I have my head in the clouds, and you know what? I like it there!! Down here, I have to think about the US, ISIS, crises, braces (I have three kids, come on!), spaces (I can’t put two after a period now? WTF?!), and so much more. So every once in a while, I want to disappear in to the white fluffy cottony clouds that provide my head some much needed rest. It may be a minute or two, typically when I’m standing at my kitchen counter in the morning and I zone out, only to be brought back by my most adorable 8-year-old clapping loudly in front of my face! Yeah, you know that feeling, where you sort of disappear and end up in Oz for a second or two, because you know when you come back you sort of feel like Dorothy and that you definitely had a run in with a witch and some flying monkeys somewhere in there. I kinda like the feeling, it tends to reinvigorate me in the moment and I know I’m now present, and focused, and ready for the next task at hand. See how I spun that? Or is it spinned, or spang? Hmmmm……

Put your head here.

Put your head here.

CLAP! Ok! I’m back! You shoulda been there, it was beautiful. Well, you can go there! Here is your assignment: Click on the picture of the clouds above and give yourself permission to put your head there, even for just a minute. Look at the different shades, look at the different shapes, feel yourself floating along with the clouds, feel your head resting against the welcoming softness that is the clouds. Allow yourself to go there, heck set an alarm if you need to, either way, you’ll feel revived, you’ll feel lighter, and you’ll move forward through your day knowing that you can put your head in the clouds whenever you need to.

Stay well.

How about a Totem to help you focus throughout your day? Choose from four different Totems and get back your calm today!

Totems Around Town!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:07+00:00 August 20th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Thanks to a loyal Totem Family for sending in these great shots of Bear visiting San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge!!

Bronze Bear, Golden Gate

Bronze Bear, Golden Gate

IMG_1625 IMG_1626

We love to see your Totems Around Town!! Send your pics to info@totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Don’t have a Totem to take around town? Get one today!! Click on the images to the left to see which Totem you connect with, and bring one home!!

My version of the #icebucketchallenge!

By | 2014-08-18T15:53:29+00:00 August 18th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

We have all been seeing the videos of people acting nutty and dumping buckets of ice water over their heads. This is all in the name of raising awareness, and hopefully funds, for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Sadly the message was becoming diluted and I even learned of a friend’s teenager who was participating in the challenge without knowing it had any connection to a disease let alone a fundraiser. So when I was challenged, I knew I wanted to make sure the message was not lost.

I wrote about my friend Connie last year, and I am glad that I am reminded of her presence today. She succumbed to this disease, and more than 5,000 new diagnoses will be made this year. The fundraising needs to happen. The awareness needs to happen. You can do both by visiting www.alsa.org.

My Totems were with me for my challenge because their calming presence gave me the motivation to further the message. What’s your motivation?

Stay well.

Need a Totem? Get a Totem! With four to choose from, you can have your very own motivation whenever you need. Just click on any of the four Totems on your left and buy one today!

Creativity by force!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:08+00:00 August 16th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

It’s hard to be creative. There I said it. My name is Julie, and I struggle with my creativity. I am creative, I know that much. I like to be creative, I know that much, too. What I struggle with is being creative when I don’t feel like being creative yet I know that if I tap into my creativity I will find some peace and pleasure. My name is Julie, and I struggle with run-on sentences. My creativity comes out in a variety of ways, this blog for example helps me unloose the flurry of words that cramp my brain sometimes. The blog is extremely therapeutic for me, as is writing poetry. There is no better feeling than writing a poem that gives you the chills every time you read it. I also like to draw, but I don’t draw real things, I draw the flurry of lines and squiggles that cramp my brain sometimes. It’s frenetic in a way, but at the same time so peaceful and focused that everything gets quiet. I should do this everyday, almost as a meditation, but I forget, or I make excuses, or I deny myself the peaceful pleasure of putting brush pen to paper. Then there are those moments where I force myself to take some time, no matter how long, and just get the colors out and go, and every time, yes, every time, I feel better. I pushed myself today, because it had been a while and with such a hard week coming to a close, I knew I needed to give my brain a little taste of quiet. Also, I have been watching a friend on “The Facebook” as she shares her drawing challenge, where she has to follow a directive for 21 days, and draw. She’s a phenomenal artist, and it has been great fun to watch her reclaim her artist self and man, she is gifted and the validation she is getting from all of her friends is awesome. The validation she is giving to herself, is priceless. I am thankful to my friend for making herself vulnerable to the world of social media and for motivating me to force my creativity. Force yourself to be creative, trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

Creative Totem Force!

Creative Totem Force!

And because it’s only fair to show just how brilliant my friend is, I am sharing one of her daily drawing challenges, where the assignment was to draw one subject throughout the day.

SS Skulls! Isn't she awesome?

SS Skulls! Isn’t she awesome?

Stay well.

What will you create? Do you need a Totem by your side for motivation? Click on one of the four Totems on the left and buy one today!!

 

The Butterfly strikes again.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:08+00:00 August 14th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

The Butterfly had become sort of a theme this week when I passed a dead butterfly on the street the other day. I wrote about how beautiful the butterfly looked even though it had passed. I contemplated the change that comes with death, whatever form that may be, and I offered “the butterfly” the chance to take me in flight and prepare me for the next change. Then we all shared in the tragic death of Robin Williams, and I referenced “the butterfly” yet again in a post. This time I still tried to look for the beauty and offered “the butterfly” the chance to take me to yet another flower. Well, I am starting to think “the butterfly” is a bitch. I just deleted this whole hokey, sentimental post about death and how the last couple days has brought a lot of it and I was trying to be all positive and bright and looking for the good, but you know what? It sucks! Saying goodbye is hard, it’s painful, and it’s not supposed to be beautiful, we can only hope it is peaceful. Don’t get me wrong, I am not giving up my rose-colored glasses just yet, because I can find the good so to speak. On Tuesday, we said goodbye to a family dog (my stepbrothers’) who was way too young, but was diagnosed with an illness that would have ultimately caused him tremendous suffering. On Wednesday, it was another family dog (my moms’) and he was really old and was struggling and although he would have happily chowed on a cheeseburger, Archie’s time had come. Ok, I said to “the butterfly”, I think we’re good now, we can rest for a bit. But no, that damned beautiful butterfly had other plans, and now we have to say goodbye to a dear family friend who never even got the chance to fight. I’m looking for the beauty, I swear, and ok fine, our friend was in some pain, and it would have gotten worse and we don’t want anyone to suffer, but come on!! So now I’m asking beautiful butterfly, can we please just admire you from afar for a bit? I get that change is good, even when it’s hard and painful, but there’s something very peaceful about just being still. I wish stillness for you all and the knowing that when “the butterfly” spreads her wings, there will be beauty in it, somewhere.

"The Butterfly"

“The Butterfly”

…..and still, there is beauty.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:08+00:00 August 12th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

What I wrote about on Sunday, became even clearer as the news of Robin Williams’ death spread last night. Devastating is the silence of a brilliant actor and funny man, yet even in the sadness, we are all remembering and sharing the beauty of his comic genius. That is the gift he leaves behind, the archived works of a tortured soul putting himself up for view to make other people smile, laugh, and forget about all their ills, all the while his insides eating him up. I passed him on the street a couple years ago when he was on Broadway in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” I saw this old man in a track suit headed in my direction, he looked like Santa Claus because he had this full, white, bushy beard. The contrast of this really old looking dude in a bright red track suit made me giggle. It wasn’t until we came face to face when I saw that twinkle in his eyes, and the crinkle around his nose, and he smiled at me as the recognition crossed my face, “Holy shit, that’s Robin Williams!” Don’t worry, I did that in my head, but I smiled big, and continued to smile the rest of the day because that’s what Robin Williams could do.

Comedian Caged, Forever Free

Comedian Caged, Forever Free

Even in this photo, which is so apropos, the twinkle is there, but Mr. Williams was caged by his demons and sadly, his death is what hopefully brought him freedom. Depression is one of those subjects, much like anxiety, that we don’t really talk about enough, but that’s because so many people don’t understand it. Plenty of people will offer advice like “Snap out of it”, or “get over it”, but that’s mostly out of ignorance and fear. Depression is an ongoing battle, because it’s one of those things always nipping at your heels wanting to drag you down, and sometimes it feels like relief to stop pulling yourself up. Some people, once they’ve been dragged down, can’t find their way to the surface, others (like me), get into the battle and thankfully find the will to dust themselves off and reset, readying for the next wave. Thankfully there is help, there is medication, there are options that don’t involve ending your life, and I can only urge you to seek that help if you ever feel yourself slipping into that darkness, no matter how appealing it may be. The sun always shines another day, and the wings of the butterfly can always lead you to the next flower.

Rest in peace, Robin, and thank you for the everlasting gift of laughter that will be cherished always.

This link is a suicide hotline, if you or someone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to ask for help.

Stay well.

Even in death, there can be beauty.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:08+00:00 August 10th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I apologize for the dramatic and maudlin title, but I guess it’s just where my head is with lots of people around me experiencing loss in some form or another, and therefore me, by association. That’s called empathy! I was struck by an image today as I was walking with my kids, and it was sad to see, but for some reason I knew I needed to take a picture.

Beautiful Butterfly Beyond

Beautiful Butterfly Beyond

I love butterflies, and even moth’s that look like butterflies, which I suspect this little creature may have been. There it was on the ledge of a brownstone looking peaceful in death with the still-beautiful markings stark enough to catch my eye. My kids are used to my wackiness, so there was no question when I stopped and insisted on taking a picture, and it was made more meaningful when the notion of still being beautiful in death was something I could share with my kids. Obviously it goes way deeper than that, and death can mean anything from the actual death of a person or beloved family pet, to the end of a relationship or a move from a long time home. We need to strive to find the beauty in change no matter how painful, confusing or devastating it can be. When we can see that there are lessons learned or new experiences to look forward to, then we can process that our lives have been changed, and hopefully for the better. Everyone we meet, every animal we encounter, every experience we have, changes us, what we do with that change is up to us. I walked away from this beautifully expired insect feeling a bit calmer about my days ahead, and I mean tomorrow, not years from now, and sometimes just feeling calmer about tomorrow, is enough. I hope someone else walks by to see the beauty laying there, and that it gives them the sense of calm it gave to me. My wings are wide and I await the winds of change to carry me to my next destination. Join me.

Stay well.

A Totem can always help keep us calm, so if you need one by your side, click on any of the four Totems on your left, and get one today!

Testimonial is hot like lava, Lava Records, that is!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:09+00:00 August 4th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I often mention how blessed I am to be able to live in New York City, and that’s because I mean it!! You never knew who is going to be passing you on the street (remember LeBron, last week!), you never know what kind of street art you will witness, and you never know whose house you might end up at because you share a common cause. It was months ago when I was invited to attend a gathering in support of the Drug Policy Alliance, at the home of one of their board members, Jason Flom. Turns out Mr. Flom is a pretty big deal in the music business as President of Lava Records, evidenced by the many photos of him online with superstars from Jay-Z to Katy Perry!

Mr. Flom and Ms. Perry!

Mr. Flom and Ms. Perry!

Also turns out that Mr. Flom and I have some friends in common, and we share a love of Bulldogs. When I walked in to the apartment, I spotted my host across the room and made my way over to say hello, but not before the cutest, most adorable, smush-faced bulldog made her way over to me to say hello first! I politely put my hand up to Mr. Flom, and said, “Sorry, Bulldogs come first,” which of course, he fully understood. The evening was a success as we heard from DPA Founder Ethan Nadelmann, and all the progress that has been made in the war against the war on drugs, as well as making sure Naloxone (a life-saving drug invented by my Stepfather) gets in to the hands of all first responders. Mr. Flom was a great host as he charmed the crowd and raised some much needed funding for DPA. (By the way, I can almost guarantee, that every time I write Mr. Flom, Mr. Flom is cringing.) As a thank you for hosting the evening, and because of our Bulldog fascination, I dropped off a Bulldog Totem Set the next day. Mr. Flom sent over an email of gratitude and we agreed that we would connect again at another DPA event. About a month later, Mr. Flom, became Jason, when he sent me an email thanking me, yet again, and telling me “I’ve been carrying her

[Bulldog] with me every day and she has brought me good energy (-: Jason.” I was thrilled and definitely touched, and grateful that he took time out of his very busy, and surely very fabulous schedule, to write me that email. Several months later, there was another email still. “Just a quick note to say hi and to tell you that I carry my little golden bulldog with me everywhere I go! Jason” As I wrote back and thanked him effusively, I realized that it’s all these little emails of encouragement that push my business partner, Daniel and I forward, because we know with Totem Tamers, we have created something that can help people, from my then 8-year-old who was suffering from anxiety attacks, to the President of a record company that is churning out superstars like Lorde and Jetta! Again, I say thank you to Jason, and to everyone who shares their stories with us, and their pictures of Totems around Town! We love to hear from you, so send along your words and your photos to info@totemtamers.com, and we can share them here!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem yet, what are you waiting for?! Click on one of the four Totems on your left and get one today!