Totem Tamers gladly calls “Bull!”

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:45-04:00 February 23rd, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, Life, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

Bulldog had a pleasant surprise while reading the newspaper this morning!

Everyone loves a bulldog and it’s great to see the breed among favorites, at least in NYC!

Bulldogs Daily News

How about a picture of your Bulldog?! Don’t have one? Shop https://totemtamers.com and get one today!

Stay well.

I am my own Valentine!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:45-04:00 February 14th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, Equality, friendship, Life, love, Owls, relationships, stress, stress relief, totems|

Well, sort of. As a dear friend calls it, this is “love day”! This isn’t a day where you’re supposed to feel sad  if you aren’t in a relationship, for example, this is a day where you find gratitude for being able to love in the first place!! And the best way to find that gratitude is by loving yourself, and then you can make room to love others. I know people who think this day is a crock of you-know-what, others who use this day to lament that they are ever lonely and will never meet the right person, and still others who cherish their loved ones and celebrate them with flowers and chocolates and fancy dinners. Me? Sure I’ve gone through different iterations of this day, but I’m wiser now (fine, older), and I realize it’s not about romance, it’s not about relationship, it’s about finding love in yourself so that you can share it with others. Then it can be shared back with you, and that’s what “love day” is about. I am blessed with three incredible children who fill my heart on a daily basis, so it’s Valentine’s Day every day in my house! So whenever you need a Valentine, start by looking in the mirror, and there you’ll see the best Valentine of all, then offer your love from that reflection, and this day, and every day, will always be special, no matter what!

Totems on valentine's day.

Totem Love!

Stay well.

A Totem is a great Valentine to have because they always keep you company and always keep you calm. Get yours today or even better, get one for you and your Valentine!

 

You say you want a Revolution?

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46-04:00 February 12th, 2016|addiction, adoption, AIDS, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, drug use, drugs, family, gratitude, harm reduction, heroin, HIV, inspiration, Life, mental health, overdose, overdose prevention, recovery, sharing, story, strangers, stress, stress relief|

How about a Gary Revolution? That’s who I ended up in conversation with earlier this week while out walking my dog, and it’s stayed with me ever since. At first glance, Gary, also known as the Brooklyn Cowboy, seemed like a shady character. He was shuffling along with one shoe on, the other shoe in his hand, along with some newspapers and such. He wore a hat that covered most of his overly greasy hair, and the handful of teeth in his mouth that were visible, didn’t look like they’d be hanging around much longer. Normally, I might just give a nod and keep walking, but something made me slow down when Gary hollered to me. He said something about family and before I could answer, my pooch was saying hello. Dogs are great at sniffing out creepers, and my dog is super protective of me, so I know if he sensed anything “off”, he wouldn’t be wagging his tail looking for a petting.

Do you pass my sniff test?

Do you pass my sniff test?

We talked about the dog for a minute and then I asked Gary why he wasn’t wearing his shoe. He mentioned that his toe was hurting him, and with that the chat began. We walked down the block and within those 200 feet, Gary was telling me he has been sober for years and I was telling him I lost my brother to a drug overdose. He mentioned helping people in recovery, and I mentioned my work with overdose prevention. Common ground. We went on like this for a while, sharing our stories. Gary talked about being hospitalized and I asked if it was due to Hepatitis C. He looked at me incredulously and said “Hep C? Hardly! I have the full deal, the whole HIV/AIDS.” I was practically speechless, but I managed to utter a “holy s#*t”! Ever the ladies man, Gary quickly followed up with “I look good, don’t I?” Which frankly, for having HIV/AIDS as long as he has, he did look remarkably ok. He owed his health to his twin cousins who are doctors, he said. We talked a little more and it was clear Gary had a story to tell, and all I could do was urge him to write it and wish him well. Gary has told a little of his story to HIV Positive Magazine, and you can read it here.

Gary called me an angel during that conversation and with tears in his eyes he went on his way. I don’t know about an angel, but I do know that I might not normally have stopped to talk to this disheveled, gritty guy, but I am glad I did. A moment of humanity for me, and a chance for Gary to tell someone else his hopes and dreams.

Gary Revolution

Gary Revolution

So if you see Gary shuffling along, give him a “what’s up”, and you’ll feel good by making him feel good. For that matter, if you see anyone that looks like they could use a smile even, go ahead, it’s free and the return is amazing!

Stay well.

Inspiration from animation!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46-04:00 February 9th, 2016|acting, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, bulldogs, children, creativity, Dreams, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Kung Fu, Owls, Panda Bear, parenthood, sharks, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

The kids had a day off yesterday in celebration of the Chinese New Year, so we did what most of our neighbors did, and we took in a movie. Kung Fu Panda 3! Even my 16-yr-old woke up to go because he had been wanting to see it, so you know that means it was a big deal. What I didn’t expect, was getting blasted with a burst of inspiration within the first 15 minutes of the film, that was a bonus to the popcorn. If you don’t know anything about this trilogy, I will sum it up for you fairly easily, a panda with little self-esteem becomes the Dragon Warrior, the fiercest fighter in the realm. The panda, Po, struggles to believe that he is meant to be the Dragon Warrior, but through perseverance, training, and support from his friends and his master (beautifully portrayed by Dustin Hoffman), Po finds his way. This struggle is a theme throughout each film, and you can’t help but cheer for Po and the process undergoes to come out on top. It’s a kid flick, so I’m not ruining it for you when I tell you there’s a happy ending, always, but it doesn’t come without it’s drama and challenges. The drama and challenges were present bright and early in the third installment to this film series. A villain, the scariest of all villains, is coming for Po, and once again, Po is convinced that he can’t win, let alone even fight the villain. This is where the wise Master Shifu delivers the line that had me buzzing through the entire film. As Po continues to say he can’t, Master Shifu advises “If you only do what you can, then you will only ever be who you are now.” Wait….what? I repeated it to myself again, “If you only do what you can, then you will only ever be who you are now.” I interpreted this as, if we don’t try new things, then we will never grow as people, we will just stay the same. Even though sometimes staying the same is ok, don’t you want to be more than just the same? I do!! I have lots of ideas, and dreams, and hopes, but I am an expert at placing obstacles in front of me, so those ideas, dreams and hopes never get realized. Well, I’m writing this out in a public forum to let you know that I am going to make every effort to do something I currently can’t (or won’t, haven’t, am in fear of, etc.) and create a new level of me! I’m not sure what it will be since I have so many desires, but in a way, that just makes it easier for me to keep trying. Who will join me? Let’s keep doing what we can, but then lets also do whatever we can to try and do something we can’t!

totems and panda

Kung Fu Totems!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem yet, make sure to visit our store and get yours today!

 

Just call me “blockhead”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46-04:00 February 3rd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, Creative, creativity, Design, inspiration, Life, mental health, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

There it is, mocking me once again, that blank page. I swear it’s even laughing at me, through text shorthand of course, you know, the “Lol’s” and the “LMFAO’s”. I can’t write! I’ve wanted to, I’ve even contemplated some topics, more than once, and when it comes down to it, I just can’t seem to frame enough to get it on the page. Oh, there’s been plenty to talk about for sure, from parenting frustrations, to societal wins, to politics….wait a minute, no politics. Please! Regardless, I’m never the one that people refer to as “quiet”, or “lacking opinion”, or “subtle” for that matter, I’ve always got something to say, except for those moments when I can’t seem to say a freaking thing! Then it hit me, that’s what I have to write about! I am struggling with writing. I remember when my therapist/guru/kirtan leader, who I refer to as “Chai-ma” (she makes amazing chai), suggested a book called The Artist’s Way. I dutifully went out and got the book, because Chai-ma has never steered me wrong (thank you again for “Outlander“). I still haven’t gotten through The Artist’s Way, but that has nothing to do with the book and more to do with me and my incredible gift of placing obstacles in front of my personal growth and progress, but I did manage to get through a very important part of the book! The part that suggests you write every day, no matter what, even if you have nothing to write about. It’s an important, although difficult exercise, because you have to flex the muscles even when they may not be working properly. I needed that reminder today. Therefore, you’ll have to forgive this Seinfeldian post (a post about nothing, get it?) while I work through my block and get back to the regularly scheduled program where I hope to enlighten, inspire, motivate, and who knows, maybe even surprise! I recommend getting The Artist’s Way, even if just to serve as a coaster for the time being, because at some point, you (me) may pick it up and actually take advantage of the suggestions within to help feed the creative soul that we all have to nurture. For now, the Totems are doing their part, and nudging me that I have to do mine.

Artists and Totems

I would certainly appreciate hearing from the lot of you creative types out there, and I know you’re out there! What tricks, tips, suggestions, might you impart to someone experiencing “blockhead” syndrome? TIA!

Stay well.

Thankfully my Totems help keep me calm (even if they don’t help keep me from judging myself), I’m sure they could help you, too! Get one today!