On the midnight train to NYC! (Woo, woo!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 July 30th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, civil rights, Creative, creativity, elections, Equality, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Life, motivation, nyc, poetry, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, strangers, travel, Uncategorized, voting|

There I was on Tuesday, dropping everything because a dear friend called to say she had secured me entry to that evenings proceedings of the Democratic National Convention. I try not to get too political in this space because we are all entitled to our own opinions, (except of course for those voting for the Cheetoh-man).

Chilly train station

Amtrak station welcome!

I’ve never been to Philly, and I had been warned by my friends already at the convention that it was insanely busy with people, protests, street closures, etc.. I have a friend that lives in Philly and he was patient enough to text-guide me through my visit. (Thanks RC!) I navigated the subway system with the confidence of a New Yorker and only had to ask a few people for directions along the way. That’s not where my anxiety was, my anxiety lay well ahead of me when it was time to turn back and head home. A midnight train from Philly to Penn Station. A <ahem> young lady traveling on her own. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and made my way to the convention, which was electrifying and inspiring! Yes,I got a picture of me with the unbelievable Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker! Yes, I got a picture of me with the Vice Presidential nominee and Senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine! Yes, I met Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who was brave enough to lead the moving and powerful sit-in regarding gun control a couple months back. Yes, I was still going to end up in Penn Station in NYC at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Fast forward and I get to hear the end of President Clinton’s speech (the first Clinton president) and I run out to make my train! I get to the station in plenty of time, but there’s still the issue of getting home from Penn Station. I figure I’ll find someone to talk to and see if they’re heading uptown and maybe we can share a cab. If that doesn’t work, thankfully I have a night owl friend who will gladly sit on the phone with me while I navigate my way home. (Thanks PR!) I board the train and I confirm for a gentleman that this is the train to NYC and I find a seat.  That same gentleman comes down the aisle and asks if the seat next to me is available, which it is, so he sits down. Then I oh so casually say “it would be great if you were heading uptown, because then we could go up together.” Not only does he say he is going uptown and that we can take the subway, but he even offers to get off the train and walk me home. Wow, this man was raised right!! I thank him and explain that once off the train I’m really only a block away so I’ll be fine, and I have my phone friend, of course. We introduce ourselves, he’s Paul and he was in Philadelphia because his son had just moved there and he was helping him with his apartment. We chatted a bit, Paul snoozed, I read my book. The trip to New York was pretty fast! We chatted some more and I learned that Paul came to New York years ago to pursue acting and through a series of fortunate events found himself a Librarian for the New York Public Library! That’s a big deal by the way. Paul also happens to be a writer and is clearly brilliant. I tell him that I write as well and we have a sort of meeting of creative minds, talking about the things we’ve done, the things we’d like to still do and in a way we push and inspire each other to keep going. Paul likes to quote famous creatives from Pablo Picasso to Georgia O’keefe. I smile and tell Paul that someday, people will be quoting him. Turns out I have the honor to be among the first to quote him, from a poem he sent me the morning after our journey. Paul wrote that “our chance meeting was a poem waiting to be written”, and I now hold that as a mantra for every chance meeting to come. Here’s the whole poem for you to enjoy!

 An Amtrak Ride To New York From Philadelphia 

at 12:A M On A Tuesday Morning

(To Julie @ Totem Tamers)

Chance meetings can reveal

the color of one’s eyes

if you take the time to look;

chance meetings can be a

conversation in which you

hear yourself in another person’s voice;

chance meetings can be pleasant

as homemade lemonade

on the front porch of a sunny day

Our chance meeting was a poem

waiting to be written, a time to

wrap ourselves in the shared

moments of what we already know –

how else can we change the world?

An Amtrak journey and a subway ride

uptown to 72nd street offered

the usual perspectives

on renown habits of the world;

nothing much has changed

It is better to practice caution

when a woman is coming home

in the peculiar darkness

of New York sorrows

aware and alone

Still, we made our way to wherever

We had to go, asking questions of ourselves

asking questions of tendered days –

one day, and if We meet again

We should compare answers

But, never accept things as they are

when We know how things should be –

How should We live within the days of our lives?

 

Stay well.

Textual healing!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:26-04:00 July 20th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, coffee, friends, friendship, gift, gifts, gratitude, inspiration, Life, mental health, mind/body, stories, stress, stress relief|

Don’t you just love a good pun?! I know I do. I also love when a simple texting conversation leads to some inspirational words of wisdom! Not sure the author would want me to call him out, but AC, you are in fact the “Man of the Match”! Thanks for making my morning a brighter one!

Ohhhhhhh, you want me to tell you what the inspirational text was? But of course! I am here to share. AC delivered some chuckle-worthy words via text message this morning. As I sat here almost snorting my coffee, it occurred to me that laughter is vital, and how wonderful it is to begin the day with a good chortle, snicker, guffaw even. I thanked AC for helping me start my day with the gift of laughter and he thanked me with brilliance: “Start as you mean to go on”, he typed back.

Totems!

Small screen, massive inspiration.

Mind blown! Start as you mean to go on! So I should start every day with a cackle, a belly laugh, a har-de-har, or a tehee, and then carry that with me throughout the day? YES!!!! There is so much sadness, hate, ugliness, divisiveness, and more going on in the world today and if we start our day with it, we will take it with us wherever we go. So from now on, I will “start as I mean to go on”, and that’s with laughter! Send your jokes, your one-liners, and your puns to me at julie@totemtamers.com, and I will gladly share them and we can spread good cheer to all!

Ever notice how you feel after a really good laughing fit? Those few minutes where you’re wiping the tears from your eyes because you were laughing so hard you cried? Where you’re slowly getting your breath back and calming down? Yes, I said it, calming down!!! Laughter is a perfect precursor to calm!!! Take a Totem, tell a joke, and feel calm!!! If you don’t have a Totem, get one in our store https://totemtamers.com/shop-2/, then you too can giggle your way to a calmer day!

Stay well. (And start as you mean to go on!)

 

Where is my sun?

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:26-04:00 July 8th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, depression, gun violence, inspiration, Liberty, Life, loss, love, mental health, mind/body, poetry, racism, sadness|

darkness and the sun

Looking for my sun….

 

Where is my sun?

Woke up and it was gone

Clouded by a rain of ammo and tears

Shrouded by sadness and awash in fears

 

Darkness is here but not the dark of night

it is the dark that suffocates the power of light

I am searching in vain to understand what’s become

to understand why I can’t see my sun

 

I am not wise to how this all started

I only know I am broken hearted

my brothers and sisters demanding justice be done

all of us waiting for the light of the sun

 

The list is too long of those we have lost

we claim we want freedom but look at the cost

Two sides against each other but no one has won

as we stand in the dark longing for the sun

 

There can be no more death, no more blood spatter

and yes it is clear that all lives matter

now more than ever we have to stand as one

now more than ever we need the light of the sun

 

Where is my sun?

Woke up and it was gone

clouded by a rain of ammo and tears

shrouded by sadness and awash in fears

 

As I wait for the chance to feel the warmth again

I choose to shine my love on others from within

My right to bear my arms that I use to hug all and one

my right to laugh and smile and be my own sun.

 

Stay well.

Love welcoming new Totem owners to the Totem Tamers family!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27-04:00 July 7th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, co-parenting, friends, friendship, Life, mind/body, parenthood, parenting, sharks, single parents, stress, stress relief|

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Meeting Shark at eye level!

Shark has found a new home in Vegas!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Happy kid, Happy Shark!

Thank you to our friends in Vegas for sending these great snapshots along. We really enjoy seeing pictures of your Totems in their new homes! Send yours along to me at julie@totemtamers.com, and we can feature you too!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem to help keep you calm, then visit our store at https://totemtamers.com/shop and get one today!

Happy 4th of July from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27-04:00 July 4th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, civil rights, Liberty, Life, military, mind/body, nyc, soccer|

I was lucky enough to enjoy a soccer game with my kids and dear friends yesterday at Yankee Stadium, which feels American in and of itself. There were peanuts and popcorn and lots of rah-rah’s! It also happened to be Military Appreciation Day at the NYCFC (New York City Football Club) game, so we were blissfully serenaded with our national anthem by the Sergeants Choir which was just awesome.

Bear waits for the flag!

Bear waits for the flag!

There were many members of the military on the field and it was heartwarming to watch the entire stadium rise to their feet even before the announcer asked everyone to rise.

Bear watches as the flag unfurls!

Bear watches as the flag unfurls!

This was definitely a beautifully choreographed scene and then it took an interesting turn, this was no ordinary flag!

American flag of America!

American flag of America!

The flag is in the shape of the United States of America!!! Never seen that one before and it was awesomely patriotic!

Celebrate safely my Totem Tamers friends, and marvel at the world we live in and keep those who are suffering and struggling and living in fear in your thoughts and prayers. We fought for independence but we are dependent on each other to stay safe.

Stay well.