#TBT for TT!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:37+00:00 April 30th, 2015|anxiety, bears, Life, parenting, stress, stress relief|

I’ve never done one of these ThrowBackThursday thingamajiggies, but here goes!

When Bear was just Bear!

When Bear was just Bear!

It’s really incredible to look back at an idea and see it’s evolution over time. What started as a simple conversation between two friends trying to figure out how to help others, has turned into such a rewarding and fulfilling venture. I’m glad to “throwback” for this moment, but really I can’t wait for what the future holds!!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a “Bear Tamer” yet, you can get one! Just click on Bear, or any of the Totems on the page and order yours today.

Balloon wishes.

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:38+00:00 April 27th, 2015|death, Life, mental health, suicide|

I spent part of my day yesterday in the serene beauty of Central Park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the tears were flowing. I was at a memorial for a dear friend who passed last November. I wrote about the loss in a blog post back then, but still somehow wasn’t prepared to say goodbye, yet again. A group of us were gathered at the site of benches that have been dedicated to my friend, his late partner, and their beloved dog. Benches that we are suggested to come and visit to remember. I will do that when I have the strength, and try even harder to do so, when I don’t have the strength.

Two of three plaques on two benches, for sweet departed friends.

Two of three plaques on two benches, for sweet departed friends.

There were stories shared, and old friends seen, and friends I didn’t even knew were shared. Almost five months have passed and life has gone on, but the pain is still present and the loss will be forever felt. In this moment though, our collective mourning (which hadn’t happened until now) seemed to soften the blow. We all loved our friend, and we will all miss him, and it helps to know that we are not alone in our sadness.

Make a wish!

Make a wish!

One of the saddest sites is the tears of a little kid whose balloon has gotten away, watching the tears fall as the balloon rises higher and farther away. Go through it once with your child and you realize quickly that you never want to go through it again, so I remedied the situation for my kids. The next time my son’s balloon got loose and flew away, I quickly got excited and told him he needed to make a wish before he couldn’t see it anymore. He was confused at first, then I explained it was just like candles on a birthday cake. Make a wish and the loss becomes somehow easier to handle. My friends’ grandchildren released a lot of balloons yesterday, and I made a lot of wishes.

Stay well.

Redirecting an overwhelming emotion is at the core of Totem Tamers mission. If you are ever in a situation with the potential to become overwhelmed, make sure to have a Totem with you. Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page to get yours today.

"Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug."

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:38+00:00 April 24th, 2015|anxiety, cars, Life, stress relief|

Wise words from Dire Straits frontman, Mark Knopfler, although I first heard them sung by country music artist, Mary Chapin Carpenter. Read the line again, “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” Interpretation: sometimes, you see everything so clearly and right in front of you, and sometimes life smacks you in the face and splatters you to bits on the front grill. Can I get an Amen?! What happens when you get a crack in your windshield? Working in metaphors here people, although I really did have a crack in my windshield. That crack is what got me to thinking about that song, which got me to thinking about life, and how we choose to move through it.

The sun still shines through the cracks.

The sun still shines through the cracks.

Not unlike what I wrote about the other day regarding scars, cracks to our foundation can happen all the time. Those cracks can certainly blind us, or get in the way of us truly seeing what is in front of us. A lot of people learn to live with their cracks the best they know how (usually denial), and others make the courageous choice to repair the cracks, fill them with change and opportunity. The awesome technician from Safelite, took a look at my cracked windshield when I asked what might have happened. He was able to point out the initial hit that created the crack, but then noticed how it almost spiders off in another direction. He remarked that he hadn’t seen that before. My windshield crack was different. Yes….another metaphor! We are all different, we all see through different windshields and different cracks, at times. And still sometimes, we end up smushed under the wiper blade. I watched as the technician skillfully popped out the entire windshield of my vehicle and set it aside.

Say no to cracks!

Say no to cracks!

Here was my chance to clear the cracks from my windshield and look forward through a clear lens. This is literal and figurative my friends, very deep stuff here. You can certainly work around your cracks, you’ll still be able to see, but seeing clearly is the true goal and that, that takes effort. So with my Totems on my dash, I smile out to the sun, and ride off into life with my eyes wide open. Sure, sometimes life will present as a brick wall and knock me off my feet, and even send another crack to my windshield, but I know that eventually, I can replace those cracks and see clearly once again.

"We can see clearly now..."

“We can see clearly now…”

Stay well.

I’ve heard from several commuting Totem owners, that their Totems help keep them calm in traffic! Do you commute? Grab a Totem! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get yours today.

Happy Earth Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:38+00:00 April 22nd, 2015|climate change, earth, Life, stress|

Held together by duct tape and hope, here’s our little earth. Sometimes it seems like it’s not much different from our bigger Earth! Take care of it people, it’s the only one we’ve got.

We need to take better care of our Earth!

We need to take better care of our Earth!

Stay well.

We also need to get Totems across the Earth, and that starts with you. Order yours today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page!

Sometimes the scars we can't see, are the ones that hurt the most.

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:39+00:00 April 19th, 2015|anxiety, broadway, broadway musical, Life, musical theater, stress, sutton foster|

My little one got a haircut yesterday, and this time got his wish of wanting to buzz the sides and the back very closely to his head. I’m not one to argue about personal style, so I let him own his choice. As the stylist was buzzing away, a “bald” patch appeared on the back of his head. At first I thought he had clipped a little too closely, but then realized it was in fact a scar. It was an injury from a couple years ago that we didn’t think needed stitches, but looking at the scar now, maybe we should have.

Oops!

Oops!

Either way, it got me to thinking about the scars we can’t see. We all have experiences that have left their marks on us either physical or emotionally. Some manage to have both qualities, like my c-section scars, for example. I can see them and they elicit an incredible emotional response because it’s evidence of my three beautiful children. Other scars I carry, are ones that aren’t visible, but certainly hold with them pain and wounding that impact the person I am today. Usually in a positive way, or at least that’s what I hope! There was a Broadway show last season called “Violet”. It starred the amazing Sutton Foster, along with other incredible singers and actors, and was in short, a story of a woman whose face had been scarred in a terrible accident when she was a child. We watch as the character, Violet, makes her journey away from home for the first time to find a preacher who might heal her and remove her scar. As she passes through various bus stops, people react to her scar as though she were hideous and disfigured. What was so remarkable, was that Sutton Foster was not layered with makeup or props to simulate a scar, her face was her typical, flawless beauty.

Sutton Foster as "Violet" Photo courtesy broadwaybox.com

Sutton Foster as “Violet” Photo courtesy broadwaybox.com

However, by the second act, that scar is as real on Violet’s face as the pain in her voice when she sings about the accident that made her that way. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending, and we watch as Violet falls in love with someone who sees her as a person, not just a walking wound. I was certainly a mess of tears by the end. There’s a line in the show (several for sure) that resonated with me, so much that I’m taking it and making it my own. It’s the preacher character, who is giving a sermon and repeats several times “Are you IN the way? Or are you ON the way?” It seemed to be a question of healing and moving forward with one’s life. I came up with an answer for myself and hope somehow it resonates with you, too. “Are you IN the way? Or are you ON the way? If you don’t know, then GET OUT of the way!” For me, it means, stop trying to understand why, or blame how come certain things don’t happen, but rather get out of your own way so that new experiences can present themselves. Some of us have matching scars and we find each other and give each other comfort and solace, but we must take care to make sure our scars don’t define us and prevent us from truly living. That’s ultimately what a scar is, whether physical or emotional, it’s a reminder that we are alive and that we are blessed to keep finding opportunities to create memories even if some of them end up hurting.

Stay well.

A little squeamish about your journey? Take a Totem with you!! Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get one today!

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:39+00:00 April 17th, 2015|animals, anxiety, Life, pets, stress|

'sup?!

“‘sup?!”

Bulldog finds a pal to hang out with!! C’mon, don’t tell me you’ve never imagined what your Bully’s voice would sound like if they could speak?!

Stay well.

Taking your Totem Around Town? Send us a picture to julie@totemtamers.com. Don’t have a Totem, just click on any of the images on the left side of this page and get one today!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:39+00:00 April 15th, 2015|anxiety, artists, Life, mental health, rock and roll, rock n roll|

It ticks me off that I have to write this post. Not because our WARRIOR isn’t just that, but because what inspired me to name this kick-ass chick a WARRIOR shouldn’t be something that makes news. Unfortunately in the last couple weeks, comments regarding women’s bodies have been front and center! One newscaster publicly apologized to singer Kelly Clarkson, for an insensitive remark that was made about her weight gain. He was goaded into that remark by another doofus newscaster, but somehow that guy wasn’t called to the carpet. Meanwhile, Kelly has a voice that can make people weep, and that’s all that we should be focusing on!

Our WARRIOR this week is another singer, and all around performer, who sadly, but gracefully, felt the need to come out and address fat-shaming comments that have surfaced about her. WARRIOR Pink, posted a picture of herself in a beautiful dress, and haters took to Twitter to slam her about weight gain. You know she looked freaking amazing in the dress, and that’s what blows me away.

Pink in hot black! (Getty Images)

Pink in hot black! (Getty Images)

I guarantee you that the judgement we render upon ourselves when we look in the mirror is bad enough, we don’t need other people to chime in. And we certainly shouldn’t have to apologize or defend why we look the way we do. Isn’t it enough to say that “Gee, she looks really happy”, or “Wow, how does she keep her boobs from falling out of that dress?” Actually, that last one is a real query. How?! I struggle with my body image every day. Even when I’m at my fittest, I still struggle. In the last few years however, I have come to love my body and all it’s bits and nooks and crannies, and bra-fat be damned, I’m not going to apologize for it! Thank you Pink, for being a voice, for being a superstar Mom, trapeze artist, sexy beast, and inspiration, among a gazillion other attributes, and for being this week’s, WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

Stay well.

I always try to imagine which Totem our WARRIORS might choose. Pink was tricky, but ultimately I would choose Bear for her, because Bear can be simultaneously cuddly and fierce. What Totem would you choose? Get yours today by clicking on any of the Totem images on the side of the page.

We are all siblings!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:40+00:00 April 12th, 2015|addiction, childhood, drug use, family, Life, overdose, parenting|

When I looked up the definition of the word sibling, (yes, of course I know what it means) I was pleased to find the second listing that reads: one of two or more things related by a common tie or characteristic. With that definition, we are all siblings. We all have a common tie or characteristic with someone, right?! I ended up on this path because of all the beautiful posts over the last couple days about National Sibling Day. It made me sad a lot of the time, grateful the rest of the time. I kept thinking, I don’t have a sibling anymore, but in reality, even though my brother is no longer here to tease me, make me laugh, or sing with me, he is still and will always be my brother.

How cute are we?!

How cute are we?!

I will never forget a conversation I had with my ex-husband after my brother passed away. He comes from a family of four boys, and at the time we had two boys of our own. I had my brother, who had just succumbed to the demons of drug addiction, and now it was just me. My ex looked at me and said “We need to have another baby.” Of course, I was taken aback because that was certainly the last thing on my mind, but when he explained himself, it all made sense. He went on, “If heaven forbid, one of my brothers were to die, I still have two more. We need to have a third kid so that if heaven forbid something happens to one, the other one won’t be left alone.” No one wants to think in terms of “what if”, but in that moment, it was hard not to. Three years later, we welcomed our third little angel, who has my brother’s eyes, and reminds me that I am still a sibling, no matter what.

My three sons!!

My three sons!!

By virtue of reading this, we now have a common tie, so we are siblings, too!! Thank you.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers are here to help keep you calm in any potentially overwhelming situation, if you need one, get one! Just click on any Totem on the side of the page and order yours today.

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:40+00:00 April 10th, 2015|family, holiday, mental health, parenthood, siblings, stress, travel, vacation|

Thank you to one of our loyal Totem Tamers for sending in this gem, all the way from Santa Fe, New Mexico!!

Must be a pic-a-nic around here!

Must be a pic-a-nic around here!

We love seeing your Totems as they visit different sites and come upon different creatures! Send us your pictures to julie@totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Need a Totem to take around town? Get one today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page!

It's a jungle out there!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:40+00:00 April 8th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, children, dinner, Life, parenting, sharing, strangers|

Totems in the wild!

Totems in the wild!

My kids and I were invited to a Passover seder last week, at the home of a dear friend. The kids all know each other and have a great time together, and the adults, well, we’ve known each other so long, we are family. I dropped my kids and went to park the car. As I was walking to our hosts’ home, one of my kids sent a text that read “There are strangers. Yay!” If you didn’t catch it, that was sarcasm. OMG! There was another family invited to Seder! How dare they expose us to completely unknown individuals? What were they thinking? From my perspective, I’m always happy to meet new people, and I baked, so I’m even happier when I get to feed new people! This “stranger” family was absolutely lovely, with their two kids being the same ages as my youngest two. My oldest son clicked well with the stepdad because he’s a music guy, and the mom and I immediately bonded over parenting issues. Sure there were moments of discomfort as we all gathered around the table, but food is an incredible equalizer. The kids giggled at my youngest, who delighted in the attention, as he munched heartily on the parsley. The grownups recited passages from the Seder pamphlet (religiously and affectionately known as the Haggadah), which was sponsored by Maxwell House, of course. We had a nice giggle at that. Food was served and enjoyed and even though it was not a deeply religious event, the spirituality in just coming together and sharing a meal was truly felt. My kids had begged before the evening to make sure that we didn’t stay too long. Five hours later, with plenty of laughs and full bellies, we were all in agreement that it was a lovely evening spent, even with strangers.

Next time you end up in a room or at a gathering with people you don’t know, open your hearts and your minds, and you may just end up making some new friends! There’s that saying that sounds something like “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!” I like it, and I’m going to try and live by it.

Stay well.

If you’re headed to an event with lots of unknowns, maybe bring a Totem along to help keep you calm. Get one today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page!

Sometimes a memory should be just that, a memory.

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:41+00:00 April 4th, 2015|Life, love, relationships|

We all have memories, some good, some bad, some that we question as if they might never have happened, and plenty that we would like to forget. I was reminded a while ago of a beautiful memory that I have held on to for about 25 years. In the age of social media, I decided to seek out the other party in my memory, just in the hopes of reconnecting, for the memory’s sake. Lo and behold, LinkedIn, turned up my search and even though I hesitated, I clicked the invite button and waited. The hesitation was rooted in fear of course, because my memory is just that, mine. The other person involved might have had a completely different experience and not share the same nostalgia with me. I was quickly rewarded with an email telling me that my invitation had been accepted! Now I could send an email, open a dialogue, and possibly, hopefully, validate my memory. To spare you the angst that I experienced in the process, I was able to validate my memory. Amazingly enough, this was indeed a truly shared experience, down to the sweetness associated with it, down to the cherishing we had both done of our short, yet deeply intimate connection. I had taken a risk, and I had been rewarded, we both had in a sense, and for that I will always be grateful. Sadly though, that beautiful shared memory, is shared by people that no longer exist in the way they were 25 years ago. We have had a lifetime of experiences since then and created many lifetimes worth of memories, the good, the bad, the ones we’d like to forget, and those we hope to never forget. These new people aren’t necessarily supposed to be connected today, maybe their time was 25 years ago, in that shared moment that has kept them both warm in heart over the years. These new people don’t know each other, and the attempt to try and box them in to the fantasies of who they used to be, is futile and frustrating at best. As a result, that wonderful memory has lost a lot of it’s luster, and no longer provides the warmth that it had supplied for so long. Now all it gives is a twinge of loss and a melancholy for someone I used to know, someone who isn’t who I remembered them to be, and hoped they would still be.

With that, I bid you cherish those incredible memories from your past and find that the validation you may be wishing for already exists within you. Your memory is just that, yours, and that is enough.

Stay well.

Totems can help you create wonderful memories by helping you through potentially overwhelming situations. Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page to get your Totem today, and start creating a lifetime of memories to cherish.