Rainbow bright!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:04-04:00 June 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|

These past few days have really been wonderful, with all the love being shouted from the rooftops and the celebration of a monumental decision by the Supreme Court, that gives anyone the right to marry whomever they love. Looking at everyone I know through rainbow-colored lenses has been fun (if not a little dizzying for my sensitive eyes.) Facebook even came up with a specific app to help you “rainbow yourself.” Slowly but surely, profile pics were changing and everywhere you scrolled someone was covered in rainbow. It was a very cool show of solidarity. Heck, even we at Totem Tamers made our logo “rainbow-fied” as a show of support.

#Pride #LoveWins

#Pride #LoveWins

What I found interesting however, was my reluctance to change my personal profile picture. I have been contemplating that for a few days now. I have never been one to follow, per se, or more that I have always been someone who has beaten my own drum, even if in a band of flutes (not sure that really means anything, but it sounds cool.) I am all about the rainbow, and equality, and loving who you want to love. I can’t remember anything different, and I am grateful to my mom for that. See, I had an Uncle Frank and Uncle Al, when I was a little girl. They weren’t really my uncles, they were the hair stylists at the salon my mom used to go to. Frank and Al were a couple, and it never occurred to me that they shouldn’t be or that it was weird that they were two men who loved each other. I remember Frank was this was very skinny guy with an earring, and Al reminded me of John Oates from Hall And Oates. They were so sweet to me and would come to the house for dinners and parties and they were part of my norm growing up. I didn’t understand what happened when Frank died, until many years later, learning he was one of the first to die from AIDS in Miami Beach. I just remember being sad, and being sad for Uncle Al, who was left alone. It’s that simple. We love who we love and we feel loss when that love ends, there’s no difference if it’s someone of the same sex or not. So as wonderful as all the rainbows are, we are all part of the rainbow, we are all colors and we are all blended together as humans to make an everlasting impression on those who look upon us. Our only requirement is to be proud of the rainbow we all represent. Today, and always, I am proud.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers is proud to help those who struggle with anxiety get the help they need, and we do that by offering you beautiful bronze animal Totems, along with simple techniques to help keep you calm. Get your Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page and find your way to calm.

Big things come in small packages, like Totems, for example!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:05-04:00 June 25th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety relief, cambodia, charity, fish, Life, ocean, ocean creatures, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems|

One of our slogans here at Totem Tamers, is “Calm in your Palm.” We like it of course, because it’s simple and to the point, and basically lets you know that when you hold a Totem in your palm, you are taking the steps towards being calm. It’s a process for sure, but the tactile sensation of holding a bronze Totem, or a squishy ball, or silly putty, or whatever, is definitely key to grounding oneself, if in a state of anxiety or stress.

Shark fits in your hand!

Shark fits in your hand!

Shark is one of our Totems, and the smoothness of the underside of Shark, matched with the pointy (not sharp) fins, allow for varied texture, and awesome touch sensations. I’m focusing on Shark because there’s a story out today about a similar sized sea creature that’s also doing an amazing job at helping people.

Iron in your Palm!!

Iron in your Palm!!

The Lucky Iron Fish, is helping people in Cambodia, many of whom are iron deficient. It’s quite brilliant actually, and kudos to the inventors who found a simple way to get this community to add more iron to their diets! The Lucky Iron Fish actually just won great honors at an expo in Cannes, and being modeled after a fish, Shark felt an affinity and wanted to share this amazing story. You can help this project by making a donation, and you can help yourself by getting a Totem! Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get yours today.

Stay well!

Growing up without a "Daddy".

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:05-04:00 June 21st, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, childhood, children, co-parenting, divorce, family, marriage, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized|

Sure, I had a dad, the man who fathered me, but he wasn’t around all that much, and when he was, he still wasn’t all that present. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the time I had with him, even though a lot of it was strained, and I can definitely attribute my sense of humor and timing to my father, but he was never a “Daddy” to me. It’s Father’s Day today, and I’m seeing all these sweet posts with kids and dads, grown up kids and dads, messages of dads long gone, and the best are the ones who are celebrating their first Father’s day. I guess this post is for them, because now as an adult, I realize how not having a “daddy” when I was a kid, definitely shaped how I move through the world. What does being a “daddy” mean exactly? To me, it’s when I see a little girl walking, her tiny hand enclosed by Daddy’s big protective hand. It’s those moments I see a son being taught how to throw a curveball just right. It’s the squealing laughter of a toddler being tossed in the air, and always being caught, just to shout “Again, again!” My kids have a Dad, who thankfully has been a “Daddy”, too! From diaper changes, to duo-couch-napping, to being tossed in the air (mostly to scare me, I’m sure), to learning their first guitar chords. I’m blessed to have been able to experience that through their eyes, at least.

A Daddy and his first born, and some Totems!

A Daddy and his first born, and some Totems!

I just went back and read what I had written last year on Father’s Day, so I guess I’m at least consistent with my feelings. Even though I didn’t grow up with a “Daddy”, I did have plenty of father figures around, and I will always be grateful to those who have influenced me. Those of you who still have young kids, please, for their sake, and yours, be a “Daddy”, as well as a Dad, a Father, a Pops, and a Papa, because it’s never too late. Happy Father’s Day!

Stay well.

Maybe you want to get a Totem for your Dad as a symbol of his calming presence in your life? Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today!

Charleston on our minds and in our hearts.

By | 2015-06-18T16:45:11-04:00 June 18th, 2015|charleston, church, death, gun violence, hate crime, Life, prayer, racism, south carolina|

The only thing that can keep us going when faced with horrible scenarios like the one that occurred in South Carolina last night, is togetherness. We need to stand together in the face of this violence and mourn with each other, as the families and loved ones of those killed and injured yesterday will mourn. We now know that young man allegedly responsible for this hate crime is in custody, and the only hope is that there will be some light shed on what could bring someone so deep into hate as to take the lives of so many. Let’s not make this about religion, even though violence in a house of worship is sickening. Let’s not make this about race, even though this was yet another white against black crime. Let’s make this about people, about humans, about how we treat one another and about how there are still those who are taught to hate. Yes, this is a hate issue, a gun issue, a mental health issue, but underneath it all it is a people issue. We must teach our children that this kind of violence doesn’t have to occur. We must teach them to understand and accept the differences in people and embrace the beauty in those differences. In the last couple months, we have seen a champion change identities and become a woman. Does that make her less of a champion? More recently, we have seen a woman’s claimed identity stripped from her. Does that make her accomplishments and advancements for the organization she led any less impactful? We need to talk. We need to cry. We need to change. Then, and only then, will we be able to truly love each other because we will have found love within ourselves. I am grateful that I can have these open dialogues with my children, and counter their questions and reactions with communication and exploration. I won’t get everything right, but I’ve also learned not to be afraid to say I don’t know, or don’t understand. I don’t understand what drives someone to want to kill so many people. I don’t understand what those affected by this tragedy are contending with right now. I don’t understand how this keeps happening. I only understand that I can do my part with my children, to foster goodness within them, because I know I would not want to be that alleged shooters mother right now. Hug your children. That’s all we need to know.

Stay well.

Totems Around Town (on purpose!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:05-04:00 June 16th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, birds, Life, Owls, stress, stress relief|

Can’t say it enough, it makes me feel so good when people are not only willing to share that they have anxiety attacks and panic attacks, but further still, acknowledge that having a Totem helps them!!! This picture came with the quote “I never leave home without my Owl!” Thats what I call, being prepared with a purpose!

Owl and putty working together!

Owl and putty working together!

That cool little blob next to Owl is actually Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty! We love learning about other tools and resources that help children and adults find their calm in potentially overwhelming environments!

Thanks for sharing, and if YOU want to share a picture of your Totem Around Town, just email it to me at julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well.

Don’t have a Totem to take around town? Get one today by clicking on any of the Totems on the page and shop now!

Totems Around Town! (Sort of)

By | 2015-06-12T14:42:41-04:00 June 12th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder|

We love hearing from our loyal Totem Tamers supporters, especially in picture form! This one came in a couple days ago:

 
Bulldog at Saks!

Sorry our Bulldog wasn’t there to meet this pink lovely, but maybe one day! Thanks for sending this in. You can send in your pictures of Totems or even Totem friends, to julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well. 

If you need a Totem to take around town, get one today! It’s as easy as clicking on any Totem on the side of the page and ordering.  

World Pet Memorial Day….

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:06-04:00 June 9th, 2015|animals, cats, death, dogs, Life|

This is a day to remember all the pets that are now gone from your family, but that once gave you joy and happiness and above all, unconditional love! I think about my kitties, Peanut and Butter, they were the best. I had always grown up with dogs, and other types of critters, but Peanut and Butter were my first cats and they taught me a different kind of love, a patient love. Anyone who owns a cat, knows what I mean. Here they are from years ago:

My girls!

My girls!

My kids had always talked about getting a dog, and being a dog lover, I wasn’t totally opposed. We had the pleasure of taking care of a Bulldog named Steve, for friends of ours, and that experience helped us make up our minds. We welcomed this guy almost 5 years ago!

That's our boy!

That’s our boy!

Wouldn’t want to consider what life would be like without him, but with the loss of the pets that came before, we learn to love even stronger!

Here’s to remembering!

Stay well.

If you are allergic to animals, or can’t have pets where you live, a Totem might be the next best thing!!! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get yours today!

Finding peace with Option B, or even Option C,D,E, and so on…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:42-04:00 June 4th, 2015|anxiety, death, family, Life, marriage, mental health|

By now you have likely read the essay by Sheryl Sandberg, and you have taken in her words and her grief and yes, even her hope. If you don’t know the story, Sheryl’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died in a tragic accident a month ago, and the only reason you might know the story, is that this couple was very well known in the tech world and beyond. Sheryl is a bigwig at Facebook, and her husband was a biggie at Yahoo and then Survey Monkey. They were as you might call them, a power couple. That’s why we know them, that’s why Sheryl has been so incredibly courageous in sharing her grief with us, because we feel like we know them. Sure, she could have crawled away into the “void” she mentions in her essay, and grieved privately, but instead she is making her pain public with the goal of helping others. She’s helping others by being candid about her experience and about the experience of others around her, what helps when someone is grieving and what doesn’t, for example. Sheryl, also finds the strength to choose to live and stay present with her pain, rather than embrace that void filled with emptiness. She is choosing, as her friend who counseled and inspired her suggested, to find peace with Option B. Option B is the one where she lives without her husband, without the storybook marriage we have all read about it, without the father to her children, and her partner, but still with life, and the ability to do the best damn job of life she can. Not only for herself, but for her children. Option B is a gift, and a lot of us have had our shares of Options, or being forced to change our direction from what we thought something might be, to what is now something else entirely. It makes me think about my Option B, and then I realize, I’m kind of up to Option F or so at this point. I am grateful for having Options. I am grateful for the realization that if my “plan” doesn’t go as follows, I will just make another plan. It sounds simple, and in a way, it really is, but simple doesn’t mean easy. We either choose to remain with an Option that is no longer viable, available, or even possible, or we move on to the next Option which is filled with possibility, and potential. My Dad wasn’t around growing up, and died when I was young, next Option. We moved and then moved again, next Options. My brother died and now I have no sibling, and my kids do not have their Uncle, next option. I got divorced, next Option. See where I’m going with this? I’m MacGyvering the heck out of my life and wouldn’t have it any other way. There are Options, and Sheryl Sandberg, in her moving and eloquent piece, is moving to her Option B, and I’ve no doubt she will “kick the s*%t out of it!”

Leaning in for love.

Leaning in for love.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers helps give you the option of calm in the face of potentially overwhelming situations. Get a Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page.

"I don't do calm!"

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:42-04:00 June 1st, 2015|anxiety, childhood, Life, marriage, parenting, stress|

That was one of the remarks I received this weekend while displaying Totem Tamers at an outdoor street fair. Seriously!!! This young-ish gentleman was sort of wandering around the fair and came over to get a closer look at the Totems. (They are eye-catching if you haven’t seen one up close!)

Shark will give you an idea!

Shark will give you an idea!

Well, when someone approaches my table, it gives me the opportunity to engage them in conversation, which as most of you know is one of my favorite pastimes. This guy wasn’t having it. He’s looking at the Totems and I encourage him to pick one up. “They’re heavier than they look,” I say. He says no. I explain that the Totems are a tool to help keep you calm whenever you’re in a potentially stressful situation. He looked up at me and said “I don’t do calm. Ask my wife.” I didn’t really want to touch that one, and at that moment it was clear that he didn’t “do calm.” All I could do was let him know that Totem Tamers come with simple techniques that might help, and maybe this could be a gift for his wife. I’m sure you can imagine how that went?! I saw the whole family a short while later, the husband barely managing to hold on to a squirming child, while walking at a good clip ahead of his wife. The wife, pushing the stroller, struggling to keep up. Both had harried looks on their faces, and the scene made me sad to consider how that child will turn out.

Who wouldn't want to come talk to me?!

Who wouldn’t want to come talk to me?!

The good news is that more often than not, people who came to the table had really wonderful things to say. From the Special Education teacher who worked for years with preschoolers on the autism spectrum, who was so excited that she took cards to share Totem Tamers with her colleagues. To the mother of a sweet little girl who has taken to picking at her skin as a coping mechanism for her anxiety, who was thrilled to have another option that might help her daughter without harming her. And those were just two of the many people I spoke with that day, so there’s hope, that for every one person that doesn’t “do calm”, there will be a handful of others that can’t wait to be calm.

Stay well.

If you can’t wait to be calm, get a Totem!! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and be on your way to finding calm in what can sometimes be a very stressful world.