My kind of immigration reform!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:56-04:00 September 27th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety relief, ballet, children, immigration, Life, nyc, parenting, stress, stress relief|

This is not intended to be a political statement, but it is kind of difficult to talk about immigrants and immigration without it turning into some kind of my side/your side discussion. This is just me and my observation of the world around me, and occasionally I witness moments that are truly special and act as  a reminder of how lucky we are to live where we live and have the opportunities we have. The Pope was just in New York and the energy in the city was frenetic but happy, and it was cool to hear this holy man’s messages of peace and acceptance. The Pope talked about immigration and immigrants, and sent the message “Never be ashamed,” to the immigrants in this country. This rang through my head as I watched an adorable young Asian girl and most likely her father, head towards me on the sidewalk. They were animated as they walked, the little girl’s hair wound tightly in a bun, probably on her way to ballet class. When they passed by me, I overheard a piece of their conservation that kept me smiling all morning. The father, in a very thick Asian accent, was repeating the word “professional.” He was clearly struggling to get the pronunciation right, and his daughter continued to smile and encourage him, while she restated the word in perfect English. Professional. Think about that image for a minute, and write the narrative with me. Clearly immigrants from some Asian country, this little girl is lucky enough to have the gift of at least two languages, her native one, and now English, as well. She is using that gift to help her father, take command of the English language, just like she has. That’s what this land of opportunity is all about! It’s not about building walls and keeping people away, it’s about breaking down barriers so we can all learn from each other! Next time you’re on a street corner, take a moment and listen to all the languages that pass you by. Find gratitude that we live in a country where people can be celebrated and supported for their differences, and not punished for sounding or looking different. Find gratitude that we live in a country where so many only dream of getting to one day, and applaud the many who have managed to make it here and call the United States home.  
Sidewalk Talk and Totems!

Kenkode Imasu.

If you would like to talk to a Totem, they understand all languages, visit our store  www.totemtamers.com/store!

It's a day of faux-giveness!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:57-04:00 September 23rd, 2015|anxiety, anxiety relief, bikram yoga, childhood, Life, pope, religion, stress, stress relief, yoga|

Faux-giveness: the act of pretending to let go of something that was done to you or done by you, simply so you don’t have to carry around the ugliness of guilt or anger every day. Because we all know, you don’t forgive Dumb Debbie Sue* for stealing away your boyfriend at recess that day, no matter how many years ago it was. Because we all know you’ll never forget the horrible feeling you had when a teacher accused you of cheating. Nothing ever came of it because (a) you didn’t cheat, and (b) he had no proof anyway.  Because we all know when anything has happened to hurt your children, forgiveness is nearly impossible. From the parties where everyone was invited except your child, to the auditions where your kid isn’t chosen, to the girl that broke your son’s heart for the first time, there is no forgiveness there. There is only faux-giveness. I will tell myself that Dumb Debbie Sue deserved Stinky Pants Stuart* because in fact, he did have stinky pants and she was definitely dumb. I could rationalize that the accusatory teacher was having a bad day, but really, when Facebook suggests that teacher as someone I might know, I am immediately back in that moment (20 plus years ago) with him pointing his finger in my face, and no, I don’t forgive. I could explain that maybe the parents sent the invite to the wrong address and weren’t maliciously excluding my child, that the casting director doesn’t know true talent when she sees it, and that I know my son will love again, hopefully a hundred times over. This is all faux-giveness, because we have to go on, because we have to function, and if we didn’t let go of all the crap that mires us down on a daily basis, we would be a miserable society (well, more miserable anyway.) And no, I haven’t forgotten about myself and my own transgressions leading to my personal faux-giveness for the things I have done, not only to others, but to myself. I faux-give myself for letting those Peanut M&M’s fall out of the sealed bag that was tucked safely deep inside the closed pantry, and into my mouth. I faux-give myself for all the horribly inappropriate comments and jokes I’ve made at the expense of others because there was laughter involved and laughter makes everything better. I faux-give myself for cheating occasionally during Awkward Pose in Bikram class, and blaming my knee when I don’t go all the way down. I faux-give myself for all of it, because I am only human, and that little ounce of faux-giveness is what helps me make it through my day, every day. Forgiveness is hard, really hard, and I admire anyone who truly has given it and/or received it, but for me, for now, and for ever, I will faux-give, because I can’t ever for get.

Stay well.

*names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. 🙂

PS:I realize you might be wondering why “faux”, and besides the obvious lingual pleasure, the truth is that I will once again let M&M’s fall into my mouth, and I will not always complete the postures in Bikram, and so it’s not a total forgiveness because the behavior is repetitive.

PPS: The other component to this whole rant, is remorse. I think forgiveness may be easier to achieve and offer, if the offending party is actually sorry for their choices or their behavior, and that includes ourselves. I’m not sorry for the M&M’s. There I said it!

This is my son's brain, this is my son's brain with anxiety!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:57-04:00 September 15th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, Life, parenting, soccer, sports, stress|

Yes, it’s a dramatic title, because it makes you think of that ridiculous PSA about drugs and the fried egg sizzling in the pan, because everyone knows that drugs will sizzle your brain, right?! (Well, some actually will, my issue was/is more with the message of abstinence. Totally for another post.) Comparison being however, that when my son is anxious, his brain gets totally sizzled. He practically forgets where he is and who he is if he is feeling extreme anxiety. It is so unnerving to witness, and initially infuriating until I’ve figured out that’s what’s going on!! That’s why I talk about this stuff, so maybe it will help you the next time your child claims to have forgotten left from right and you’re pulling your hair out and ready to blow a gasket! There are times when blowing a gasket is important however, and the other day, was one of those times. There were sports tryouts at school, and my kid was eager to have a go, but needed new sneakers. I ended up having to get him a pair during the day with the plan in place to meet him before the tryouts to deliver the shoes. This was where I first noticed the anxiety. My son was not sending me clear text messages as to where he was and where I was to meet him. At one point, he actually texted that he didn’t know how to get from one place in his school to the front door of the school. He’s been going to this school for TWO YEARS!!!! That’s when it became clear he was totally freaked out about the tryouts and his brain was overcome with the anxiety and therefore not functioning at full speed. Recognizing this, helped me release the pressure that had been building inside me with all the confusion, and then when I finally saw him, I was able to help him see how the anxiety was affecting him. We moved quickly getting the new shoes on and even taping his suspected broken toe, and all seemed well and good. Here’s where the blown gasket comes in to play. My boy started to panic that he was late and the tryouts must have already begun and that he wasn’t going to be able to participate because we took too long. The tears were flowing, the jittery hands were going, and the sabotage was coming. This is not a moment when using the calm, nurturing technique will work, at least not for my boy. This is the moment your inner Bobby Knight is needed (or whatever hard-ass coach you choose, minus flying chairs), and you just have to psyche them up in whatever way you can. I gritted my teeth, and lowered my voice, and basically growled at my son that he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and that he would regret it if he walked away and that he was going to get out there and do the best darn job he could because it mattered to him. And of course, I softly told him I would wait on the other side of the fence and watch and cheer him on. (I’m not a total jerk!) He did it, and he enjoyed himself, and whether he makes the team or not isn’t important anymore. My sweet, sensitive, anxiety-ridden boy, even apologized to me for “losing it”. Anxiety can take many forms, but it doesn’t have to take over!!!

Stay well.

Having a Totem handy can definitely help bring calm in some of the most tense situations. Visit our store https://totemtamers.com/store, and get your Totem today!!

Totems Around Town! (Perspective is everything.)

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:57-04:00 September 5th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety relief, Life, lions, stress relief|

I came across this gnarly beast in a downtown building. I decided it needed a little calming, so I put Bear on its head.

Beast taming beast?

Beast taming beast?

That lion looks angry. That lion is scarred from battle and looks as though it is still holding the remnants of some poor victims clothing. Fierce and protective but definitely scary. Then all I did was to change the angle of the photo, and the beast became something else entirely.

Beast tamed by beast.

Beast tamed by beast.

With this perspective, what was scary and looming before about the beast, has become quite the opposite. I now see a wounded beast, even filled with remorse and asking for acceptance. Bear resting on the beasts’ head, shows the power of a Totem. That no matter how small a Totem (or any therapeutic tool) might be, in comparison to the size of your fear, anxiety or anger, you only need to take a deep breath and change your perspective and you will find calm.

Stay well.

If you would like to have a Totem to help you change your perspective, visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/store. Friendly warning that Bear has been in big demand and is now on back order, but we are expecting more very soon, so get your orders in now!