A muslim-american, african-american, and caucasian-american all walk into my house….

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:47-04:00 January 18th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, civil rights, Equality, family, friends, friendship, holiday, inspiration, Liberty, Life, mental health, parenthood, parenting, racism, religion, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

and THAT my friends is part of Dr. King’s dream. This is just a cross-sampling of the kids that come over to hang out and play video games with my kids. And it’s awesome, because in those moments, it’s only about whose player has better stats or who has annihilated more zombies. There’s no question of religion or race, it’s just kids being kids, and that has to be attributed to all the work Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for and ultimately died for. On this day, when we get a break from school, many get a break from work, maybe we will have a nice brunch or go to a movie, take a moment to acknowledge that we have indeed come very far. Then take another moment and consider how far we still have to go. Thank you Dr. King, for your dream, for sharing it, and for inspiring many to be better human beings.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Be the dream!

Stay well.

What’s in? The skin you’re in!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:47-04:00 January 14th, 2016|anxiety, childhood, family, Life, mental health, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

What a week for impactful events! This includes the loss of two incredible superstars, and the birthday of my oldest boy, who turned 16 earlier this week. Yes, I put losing David Bowie, and Alan Rickman in the same sentence as my son’s birthday, because I’m really skilled at creating the teeniest thread of a connection that will end up tied in a beautiful bow by the time I’m done. Just wait for it.

I woke up on my son’s birthday to learn of David Bowie’s passing. I laid in bed longer than usual, reeling at the news, and marveling at the reactions across my social media network. I’ve been wanting to write about it for days, but couldn’t quite figure out how to put my words to it. I mean I’ve always enjoyed Bowie, but I wasn’t a super fan and I don’t think I ever had one of his albums. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t in awe of who he was, or whoever I thought he was or needed him to be, because he was super freaking cool! He seemed to love everyone, and everyone seemed to love him. He gave the impression of being really comfortable in his own skin. I have no idea what was in his head, except for what he let seep out in his music, and if we really examine it, maybe he wasn’t so comfortable in his own skin after all, but he never, ever, compromised his integrity by conforming. That’s why the spectrum of mourners is as wide as it is. Bowie touched so many lives by not only being a brilliant musician, but by honoring his restless spirit and sharing that with the public.

Bowie tribute

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…..

Then today, we say goodbye to Alan Rickman, an actor who could frighten us and make us fall in love with him almost simultaneously. An actor can only elicit that kind of impact if they become vulnerable to the role they’ve been given, and to find that vulnerability, there has to be some comfort in their own skin that allows them to shed that skin. And yes, sometimes it’s a discomfort that feeds the actor’s vulnerability or motivation, but ultimately, without truly honoring your authentic self, the persona you display will always be a step behind. There are a lot of quotes being attributed to Rickman today and they are all lovely, but one of them struck a chord with me (here comes a stronger thread!), “Talent is an accident of genes…and a responsibility.”

"I like it when stories are left open."

“I like it when stories are left open.”

Wow. It doesn’t matter what your talent may be, but we all have the capacity within, to take that talent and turn it into something meaningful and impactful, just like Rickman, just like Bowie, and just like I hope my son (all three of them) will do. It just so happens that my oldest is an actor, and a good one at that, he is also a songwriter (he’s made me cry), but he’s also a remarkable mathematician with a love of science. He blew me away one night when he was sharing his latest math work and then went on about science class and how he figured something out and how good it made him feel. I realized in that moment, that this kid could be whatever he wanted as long as he remained true to himself, and in his own skin. It’s not about what I think he should do, or what society expects him to do, it’s what makes him shine in whatever he chooses to do. We all have that same privilege, but sadly, we all don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. So watch some Alan Rickman films (Truly, Madly, Deeply/Sense & Sensibility/Die Hard, and many more,) listen to some David Bowie (Blackstar, the album that was released two days before his death, Space Oddity/Young Americans, and many more), and find a way to be comfortable in your own skin and share that gift with your children.

bass playing son

Finding comfort….my son.

Stay well.

Ant-xiety with my morning paper!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:48-04:00 January 3rd, 2016|animals, anxiety, Life, mental health, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

There I was, quietly enjoying some me-in-the-morning time, sipping my coffee, and leafing through the as usual too thick NYTimes Sunday edition, when the ants showed up. I had actually managed to make it as far as the Magazine (which I save for last), and was looking forward to the cover story on brain surgery, when the creepy-crawlies appeared. Normally, I might have skipped over the pages covered with the imposing insects, but when I read the first line of the piece, I knew I had to fight through my discomfort! Author Leah Reich, begins her article with the opening question “Have you ever had an anxiety attack?” Considering that the M.O. behind Totem Tamers is helping people who struggle with anxiety, I was eager to see where this would go, and I’m grateful to report that Ms. Reich nailed it! She nailed it, simply for writing the article, but more so because she attempts to describe to those who don’t experience anxiety, what an attack might feel like to them.

Totems and ants!

I don’t particularly care for ants, especially the ones that look menacing and could bite, therefore the anxiety I experienced while reading this article was palpable. As a result, I think that anyone who hasn’t been able to put a finger on what anxiety feels like, perhaps even their own, may get a sense by reading this piece. It’s about the conversation, and I am grateful to Ms. Reich for being front and center in the discussion.

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem, and you have anxiety, it might be helpful to get one! Visit our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop and get one today!