There is only silence in the Soundgarden today.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:13-04:00 May 18th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, classic rock, death, depression, drug use, drugs, family, gratitude, grief, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, Music, parenthood, parenting, rock and roll, rock n roll, sadness, stress, stress relief, suicide, suicide prevention|

I woke up this morning to the news that singer Chris Cornell had passed away last night. I was, and  continue to be, in total shock. Shock is one of those emotions that encompasses so many feelings, sadness, anger, surprise, confusion, and many others, that all get rolled in to one numbing category, shock. I immediately think of my kids, especially my two older ones, who rocked out with me at the Beacon Theater in 2015, to Chris and his magical voice. I am reminded of the moment Chris brought his daughter on stage to do a beautiful rendition of “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley.

“None but ourselves can free our minds.”

I remember loving that they could perform together, and I related to it because of moments I share with my children, when we are either at a concert together, or home singing and harmonizing with each other.  And now, now I would have to tell my kids that another musician, another rock star, another beautiful voice, has left us. I messaged their Dad because the boys were with him last night, and he decided that it would be best to let them get to school first, rather than upsetting them on their way to school. So I’ve been waiting for the texts that would inevitably come as they found out the news.

My oldest messaged first: “Chris Cornell, 52. I can’t believe it. I’m so angry.” Anger is good, anger is helpful and therapeutic, I still end up in tears because I know how affected he will be. I wait. My middle messages moments later in a group text to his brother, his Dad, and me: A link to the story followed by “This sucks so much. It’s sad.” I do my best to validate both of their feelings and share my own, and then I have to do the job of inspirational leader, which is not easy when you’re hurting, so best I can do is be honest. I write “I want to send you some positive, uplifting, inspirational text right now, but the only thing I can come up with is that I love you so very much and hope you will always be open and find strength in difficult moments and ask for help. Channel the anger and the sadness into creativity and hope. Easier said than done, but we go on.”

Always create together!

My boys, jamming together, creating together, making music together, being…together. They give me hope. They make sad news like this, shock like this, a little easier to manage, partly because I have to keep it together for them, but also because we have each other. I will hug them a little more tightly today, as we all process the passing of Chris Cornell, who impressed us with his vocal range, and his seeming ability to rise above. It’s not clear how he died, and I’m not sure that it really matters, I just find gratitude that he graced us for as long as he did and that he finds peace wherever he may be.

Stay well.

 

Seizing the moment…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:18-04:00 December 11th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, bulldogs, childhood, children, dogs, holiday, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motivation, Music, nyc, prevention, rock and roll, rock n roll, stress, stress relief, totems|

I always talk about how much I love to hear from people who love their Totems! Sometimes the messages are bittersweet, especially if the Totems have helped them through some harrowing experiences.  For example, I received a message the other day from someone who could easily be a Totem Tamers spokesperson because he “gets it,” and I was glad when he said I could share his testimonial.

“As someone who has suffered from a seizure disorder his whole life, I think the Totems could be a big help to little kids who suffer from epilepsy or seizure problems.”

Bear Totem

Speaker buddy!

Bulldog sits on a speaker sending a regular reminder to take deep breaths and use visualization and repetition to help get through any potentially overwhelming scenario. Sometimes we need this reminder to help us prevent overwhelming situations. Like this Totem owner mentioned after a recent seizure, he was “overworked and stressed out”, which could describe most of us, if not all of us, especially around the holidays. So take it from me, speaker buddy, and our latest Totem Testimony, take a moment to listen to the music and remind yourself to breathe!

Stay well.

Send us your pictures and testimonials, to julie@totemtamers.com, and maybe your story can help others. I know it will help me!

Music is the stuff of life!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 August 6th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, children, classic rock, co-parenting, creativity, Life, Music, nyc, rock and roll, rock n roll|

In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of witnessing , in one form or another, each of my three kids doing something they love. Rocking!! Music has always been a big part of our family life and has always been something we loved to share. Well, ok maybe not all of the music, but most of it. I don’t expect to be going to a Slipknot concert anytime soon, and my youngest son would sooner eat a tub of mushy green beans than be subjected to any Counting Crows! Either way, there’s always music happening wherever we are. Whether it’s my little one banging out a rhythm on the couch while watching TV, my middle listening to a guitar solo so he can emulate it later, my oldest thumping out a bass line while I’m trying to have a conversation with him, or me singing Broadway tunes while I do the dishes! There are some moments that are beyond priceless, when we all sing a line together, or I hear my boys harmonizing on a tune, then I threaten to get out the Tambourine and rent a tour bus! C’mon get happy!! I can see it, I really can!! Ok fine, it’s not about me, it’s about how in the last few weeks, my kids have taken this gift, this love of music, and individuated from each other and created their own space. My oldest hit a rock band camp for a couple weeks (shout out to NYC Guitar School), where they basically put a band together on Monday and less than two weeks later “Stay Hydrated” is jamming on the stage at a local bar!

"Stay Hydrated"!

“Stay Hydrated”!

You’ll have to forgive the photos, they’re all kind of lame but I was seeing through tears anyway so the blurriness is fitting!! The show was super fun and the lights and the smoke machine was a dream realized for my teenager. Up next is my middle, who is attending a weekday sleep away camp (shout out to Campus Kids!), where he excitedly called to tell me he and his pal were going to perform in the talent show. Even though I couldn’t be there to hear them do “How to save a life” by The Fray, the camp is awesome about posting pictures! I did crop out the pal because I didn’t ask permission to post (even though I’m sure I would have gotten it.)

My middle "saving a life"

My middle “saving a life”

Last but certainly not least, my youngest kid had such a good time watching his oldest brother on stage, he decided he was going to rock band camp, too!! So off he strutted with his drumsticks (given to him by a highly regarded NYC drummer) and had an unbelievable experience with his band called “Gus”! Kids ages 8-11 and they managed tunes by AC/DC and Foo Fighters!

Keeping the beat!

Keeping the beat!

There is nothing as magical as watching your child doing something they love and I am thankful that they each have found something that they can share with each other while maintaining their individuality! Music just happens to be what works in my family, in terms of bringing us all together. Maybe for yours it’s baseball, or geocaching. Whatever it is, find something that you can all enjoy together and you will make a lifetime of wonderful memories. Me? I’m off to get that tambourine!!

Totems in tune!

Totems in tune!

Stay well.

If anxiety keeps you off the stage, maybe you should get a Totem!! Visit our store to find your calm https://totemtamers.com/shop!

Purple rain of tears. #Prince #RIP

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:41-04:00 April 21st, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, Music, Uncategorized|

blooming flowers sunshine

Maybe the light that was breaking through the beautiful blooming trees this morning was the making of another star in the sky. Prince has been one of the most influential musicians of my time and seeing him up close in concert years ago has stayed with me always. He will be missed. We are blessed to have his musical legacy forever.

The music lives on.

The music lives on.

Always pushing the envelope musically and sexually, Prince will be remembered and revered by many who were lucky enough to witness his genius, and generations to come.

Stay well.

The day the music died…..again.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:51-04:00 December 4th, 2015|addiction, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, classic rock, creativity, death, drug use, drugs, family, harm reduction, heroin, loss, Music, overdose, overdose prevention, parenthood, parenting, prevention, rock and roll, rock n roll, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

Score another one for the Demons as we wake up today to the news that former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland, was found dead on a tour bus yesterday. This one is devastating, well they’re all devastating really, but this one hits closer to home. We are a musical family, there’s always music happening in one form or another, whether it’s my two older boys jamming in their room, or my little one tapping out a rhythm or humming a tune. Stone Temple Pilots has been a band my kids have enjoyed a lot lately, plucking out acoustic versions, even my son and I harmonizing on some songs occasionally. Telling them this morning was hard, especially for my older one. It reminds me of when I had to tell them that Cory Montieth, of Glee, had passed away. That one wasn’t easy for my middle son, who was a big Glee fan. I talk about my brother often, he lost to the Demons as well, and as hard as it is to talk about him, it’s important. So this morning when I told my boys about Weiland, I could only offer them my hope that Weiland’s death, like my brother’s, like Monteith’s, would somehow help them make better choices in their lives. I could only feel the frustration that the life-saving drug Naloxone, invented by my step-dad, isn’t more widely available and easily accessible. So I talk about it, and I talk about it some more, and hope that people will be shocked to hear that overdose deaths topped deaths from car accidents in 2013, because that is shocking and a lot of those deaths, likely preventable.

Scott Weiland earlier this year. wrkr.com

Scott Weiland earlier this year. wrkr.com

This image of Weiland gives me shivers because I see my sons in it, and my brother, who also played guitar and sang and loved Stone Temple Pilots. This image gives me shivers because it’s another ghost added to the horror story of drug users who couldn’t be saved. This image gives me shivers because until we realize that the “War on Drugs” has only created casualty after casualty, we will continue to lose more and more beautiful people, like Scott Weiland. I hope he finds peace and that the Demons are satisfied, for at least a little while.

Stay well.

PS:If you are a drug user, or know someone who is, and you would like access to an overdose prevention kit, email me at julie@totetmtamers.com

How do you create?

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:47-04:00 February 3rd, 2015|art, Life, Music|

Thanks to a status update on Facebook this afternoon, I was inspired to write! Interestingly enough, it was about writing, or more, how people write. The question was posed “what kind of music do you listen to when you write?” I was first to respond, and I think my answer was a tad surprising to the poster. I replied that I don’t listen to music, and can’t really listen to music when I write, because my words get lost from the moment. He came back asking if even classical music was distracting, and my answer again was “yes.” When I write, I’m in my teeny, tiny office, and I just go for it.  I find for me, the train of thought is just too easily lost. I marvel at my kids who manage to read and do their homework with headphones in (at least they say they manage!) They certainly manage to tune me out. The process from formulating the thoughts in my brain to remembering where the home keys so I can type those thoughts into the laptop, is lightning fast. If something happens in the milliseconds before my fingers start stroking the keys, that train could possibly have left the station. It usually comes back, but sometimes, the thought has been derailed and I am delayed in recollecting it again. My point is that my process for writing, specifically, is contemplating the purpose, and then sitting down and hammering it out with very little to no distracting noises. The TV is actually on in the other room right now, and it’s causing me to struggle with not letting the words I hear impact the words I type. We’ve all done that thing where we are speaking and we read a word and then that word comes out of our mouths even though it isn’t anything close to what we were going to say! Same diff for me here. Yes, I just used the “word” diff, and yes, I’m aware I’m wasting electricity by having the TV on and no one watching it, thank you. I am curious what other peoples’ processes are when they write, or create for that matter? I know when I’ve got my sketch pad out, or I’m at my easel with my pastels, I like music cranking in my ear because I need the words in my head to be drowned out, so that the drawing artistic brain can be heard. The music I choose may definitely impact what happens on the paper, but either way it’s the process of creativity, my process. What’s yours?

Music in my ears and Totems by my side, I create!

Music in my ears and Totems by my side, I create!

Stay well.

Share your ideas and your Totems at info@totemtamers.com. Don’t have a Totem yet? Get one now by clicking on the Totem of your choice on the page and shop for one today!

Never too late to dream!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:47-04:00 January 21st, 2015|Dreams, Equality, Liberty, Life, Music|

We celebrated the birthday this week, of a man who had a dream. I had intended to post a happy birthday blog, honoring Dr. King and his dream. I got too busy and couldn’t get to it on Monday. Then yesterday, more life got in the way and I was managing the schedule of three kids, myself and even the dog (yes, he has a schedule, too!) Once again, no blog post. Then it hit me, it’s never too late to honor someone who had a vision of unity and hope, it’s never too late to say thank you to someone who had the courage to stand up for what he believed in, it’s never too late to dream. Happy birthday and thank you Dr. King! Last night, as our President delivered the State of the Union address, Dr. King’s dream was floating in the space around us all. We heard the President talk about how far we have come, and yet remind us that in so many ways, we are still a long way from realizing the dream.

Dream of reflection.

Dream of reflection.

This is the view Dr. King had when he delivered his “I have a dream” speech, more than 50 years ago. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and looking out across the reflecting pool, I am humbled and awe-inspired. We all have the ability to dream, and in the United States of America, we all have the right to dream. It makes no matter how big or small, how lofty or far-reaching, how minor or how grand, as long as you exercise that right to dream! You dream of being a rock star? Jam on! You dream of being a scientist? Study on! You dream of being a teacher? Lead on! That’s the beauty of being able to dream, there are no limitations. Dr. King’s dream wasn’t out of reach, and yes, look at how far we have come, but still, so far to go.  Dr. King’s dream requires a collective, all of us, dreaming together. Working towards the same reality where we are all treated equally, where you can love who you want to love, work and earn what you deserve, where you can live without fear for being who you are, where we can all rest our heads on our pillows at night and have sweet dreams instead of nightmares. In the words of another dreamer, Steven Tyler, “Dream until your dreams come true.”

Stay well.

Keep a Totem by your bed while you dream to keep you calm even in your sleep! Click on any of the Totems on the page to shop for your dream today!