Inspiration from animation!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:46+00:00 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+00:00 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!

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

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:47+00:00 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+00:00 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+00:00 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!

Happy You Near!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:48+00:00 December 31st, 2015|animals, anxiety, childhood, family, Life, mental health, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

You did it!! We did it!! I did it!!! Made it to the end of another year, the beginning of a new one. There are so many sentimental posts floating around about the hard years that were had, looking forward to easier times ahead, and I get it, I really do, if you’ve ever read my blog, you know I know sentimental. Right now, though, that’s not what I’m feeling. I’m feeling motivated, inspired, eager, and excited for every possibility. I don’t want to look back, I was already there! As great as some of it might have been, as awful as some of it might have been, I don’t want to do it again, I want something new and shiny! I want better than it was, for me, for my kids, for my family, for my neighbors, and for goodness sakes, for my country. We can do better, always, and if for some reason you don’t think you can, all you need to do is try! Trying is better than not doing anything at all, so it counts! Go right ahead, wish everyone a happy new year, but keep in mind the wish for a happier YOU near.

Totem reflection!

Totem reflection!

Take a moment to look at YOU and see who YOU are, and don’t walk away until you are committed to YOU! Mirrors serve to remind us that even if we can’t see ourselves, we are reflected in others, so make sure you’re a worthy mirror. Happy and healthy new You, and new year!

Stay well.

 

The question isn’t “What presents did you get”, but rather, “What presence do you have?”

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:49+00:00 December 27th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, family, Life, mental health, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

I keep hearing and even asking people what gifts they got for the holidays, because it’s fun to see people light up about the trinkets a loved one gave them, and then I like to ask what gifts they gave to other people, because that’s fun to hear about, too! Intermingled with all the lovely tales of unwrapped and surprise gifts, missing directions and vital pieces to anticipated toys and games, were also hints of sadness and heartbreak and frustration. This is what got me thinking about presence as opposed to presents. Having a presence in someone’s life in times of struggle (and in times of happiness) is a gift, and all it costs is a little time. Like when I got a message from a friend who is securely locked inside his “closet” for fear of being disowned by his parents, and I was able to give him love and support and guidance.  Like the moment I was hugging a neighbor on the sidewalk on Christmas because it’s the first one she’s spending without her mother, who passed away a month ago. Then, later still on Christmas, happily sharing with my own mother, the heartbreaking, yet rewarding gift of serving Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter, where our presence was felt not only by the folks eating dinner, but by the staff who got a little break from serving while we were there.

Christmas dinner at shelter

Hairnets are cool!

The list goes on and on, and even in it’s underlying sadness, those moments of presence might have offered a gift of peace, even just for a breath or two, and all it required was time. I am grateful to hold this presence in many people’s lives, and that is my present, one that gives and receives simultaneously. So as you go through your holiday loot and slowly start to put away the decorations, think back not only on the presents you got and gave, but on the presence that you always have.

Stay well.

R2-D2 made me cry.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:49+00:00 December 23rd, 2015|anxiety, childhood, family, Life, mental health, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

Don’t worry, you won’t find any spoilers here from the new Star Wars movie. By now, you’ve probably heard all sorts of things, and some of them may be true. I will say that people were getting really worked up about all the potential spoilers out there, with one guy getting arrested for threatening to shoot someone over leaked information. Personally, I had an experience that really ticked me off. A comic strip appeared in The Daily News before the movie premiered, giving away one of the biggest spoilers. I was shocked, although I didn’t have the energy to complain, there was a HuffPo article about it! The article does contain a link to the offending comic strip, if you really want to see it. Anyway, I finally went to see the movie yesterday, it was the last part of my middle son’s birthday celebration. It was my three boys, my ex-husband, and me, all ready for the IMAX 3-D experience, and I don’t know who was more excited!

Star Wars

There we all were with our silly glasses on, in a packed theater, with a bunch of really excited geeks and nerds! (Oh yeah, and Chris Rock, not sure which category he fits into.) When the opening credits began and that iconic John Williams score sang out, I was immediately 8 years old again. The theater started clapping and hooting and hollering, it was awesome! We were instantly transported to a galaxy far, far away, and for the next two hours everyone was transfixed! There are new characters that we connected with right away, one of them being the newest droid in the crop, BB-8, a cuter more compact version of R2-D2. BB-8, wheeled his way into everyone’s hearts from his first beep beep boop boop, but he wasn’t R2. There are old characters in the film as well, and we all know Han and Leia are back, and even space creatures are familiar, like General Akbar, and there was comfort in that. And yes, it was cool to see Han and Leia doing their thing, and the nostalgia was there, but it was the moment R2-D2 came onscreen, that I became a bit unglued. Suddenly tears are streaming down my face, and this was a happy scene! I was perplexed at first, but then I realized in that one moment, my whole childhood came rushing back! All the afternoons spent with my pal A.J., playing with his massive Millennium Falcon built out of Legos, imagining that I understood R2, and that the droid, not only understood me, but was my friend and my protector. Seeing the droid onscreen reminded me of some of the happier, more simple times of my childhood, and now I was sharing that with my own children, and that’s when I recognized they were tears of happiness on my face. My kids will remember seeing this film, just like I remember my dad taking me to see “The Empire Strikes Back” with my brother, when I was a little girl. It’s amazing how different generations can share love for the same characters and story, so many years later. Thank you JJ Abrams for bringing it back the right way, and thank you George Lucas for letting him!  May the Force be with us all!

Stay well.

Gratitude before my eyes.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:50+00:00 December 16th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, beach, creativity, depression, earth, gratitude, inspiration, meditation, mental health, ocean, stress, stress relief, therapy, totems, Uncategorized, weather|

Natural beauty!

Natural beauty!

I took this picture a couple weeks ago and just came across it again. It takes my breath away now, just as it did when I snapped the shot. I remember standing there and feeling so grateful for the picturesque view and in that moment finding peace. Since that picture was taken, there have been plenty of moments that haven’t been peaceful, and I don’t mean the global tragedies that we’ve witnessed recently, but on the smaller more manageable scale of my life. Thankfully nothing terribly dramatic has happened, just the hustle and bustle of the every day that pulls me away from those moments of peace. When the picture popped up on my screen, it gave me pause because the reaction was to actually stop what I was doing (searching for a picture of one of my kids) and take in the view again. What a powerful tool that I didn’t know I had! This picture will find a place on my computer desktop now, so I can be reminded regularly to take a pause and find gratitude. Thankfully there is beauty all around us and in the simplest things, we just have to give ourselves permission to experience it and know that our busy, hectic lives will still be there waiting for us two minutes later. The gift is that we get to come back to the chaos with a renewed energy and appreciation for what we have. It’s the renewed energy that helped motivate me to share this with you! Enjoy the picture, or better yet, look for the beauty around you in this moment and capture it for your own gratitude! If you like, and I know I would, please share it with me at julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well.

Building blocks of humanity.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:51+00:00 December 11th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, childhood, children, earth, inspiration, Life, meditation, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, motivation, parenthood, parenting, stories, story, storytelling, Uncategorized|

I’m very blessed to be able to walk around New York City, where even in a place brimming with people, I can revel in the solitude that throngs can offer. I was at a holiday party the other night where the view out the window was the scene stealer of the night.

As I stood there during this event, plenty of people around me socializing and being festive, I was captivated with the outside world. With all the tiny little windows before me in this tiny stretch of Manhattan. What was happening inside those homes? What were those people experiencing at this same moment? This “deep thinking” continued the next day during a conversation with my 9 year old as we walked around. He’s at a stage where he is questioning everything, which is wonderful, but can also be a tad overwhelming, at times. He looked at me with his gorgeous brown eyes and asked “What if we are just ants in someone else’s bigger world?” Wow, profundity from the mouths of babes. There are plenty of ways I could have answered this question, but I chose to go with the method that allows for all possibilities, and I simply responded with, “What if?” This spurred the conversation further to considering that maybe we were fish in someone’s fish bowl and natural disasters are a result of someone bumping into the bowl that rests on a table in the living room. I was moved that my son experienced this existential questioning with hope as opposed to fear. We were going deep, I tell you!! Deeper still, as I look into the tiny windows in the buildings that surround me, is the notion that we have no idea what might be going on in someone’s life. We have no idea what happiness, what sorrow, what fear, what excitement might be brimming in someone’s doorway. So even though we might just be ants in someone else’s bigger world, or fish in a fishbowl in some well decorated living room, we are all in it together and the possibilities don’t have to be scary but can be filled with the same hope reflected in my son’s eyes.

Stay well.

The day the music died…..again.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:51+00:00 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

Theater of the absurd.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54+00:00 November 18th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, artists, broadway, broadway musical, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, creativity, family, Life, lions, mental health, motherhood, musical theater, nyc, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

IMG_4071 (1)

Cue lights. A hush falls over the audience. The first actor takes position on the stage and the first note is heard, crashing like a wave over all of us: “Ahhhhh-segon-ya babba-di sebabba” or whatever it is Rafiki calls out in the dramatic opening of The Lion King on Broadway. No matter, it’s beautiful, and the african jungle comes to life before your eyes in the middle of Times Square. The opening of the show still chokes me up because it’s so exquisite and masterful, and not many shows have an elephant move so gracefully through a theater. I’ve given you the show setting, now picture me sitting with my three boys, who, living in NYC, are lucky enough to experience the theater on a regular basis. My three boys understand that the actors spend hour upon hour rehearsing, and then hours putting their makeup on, that the least they can do is wear clean socks to a show! (I do try for the occasional collared shirt, too.) My kids have been going to theater since they were fairly young, and respect for the actors on stage was something instilled from their very first show. My two older ones have seen The Lion King before, and they were super excited for their younger brother to experience the magic. Back in the theater, gazelles are prancing across the stage, birds flying above, the elephant makes its way through the house, and it starts, “Where Simba?” “Is that Simba?” “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Where Simba?” These are not the sounds of animal calls deep in the african jungle, these are the sounds of the unrestrained 3 year old in row L, orchestra left. I took a deep breath and thought, he’s just excited, he can’t wait to see his pal Simba, he’ll calm down once the dialogue starts. Right? WRONG! When the little boy wasn’t talking, even trying to be quiet with what I will refer to as “whisper-screaming”, he was bouncing in his seat. That meant bouncing on the not one booster seat, but two booster seats that propped him up right in front of my kid (my boys switched seats so my youngest could see.) I am incredibly tolerant, and generally very patient, and I tried very hard to remind myself that theater, especially family theater, is a wonderful blessing to enjoy. I realized that getting angry and complaining wouldn’t help, because we were surrounded. There were chatty little kids everywhere!!!! Even the website for the show has an FAQ that reads:

Does my child need a ticket? Is there a minimum age requirement to attend the show?

All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. We recommend that children be at least six years old to attend a performance of THE LION KING.

For younger children, consider one of these exciting Disney touring productions: Disney On Ice or Disney Live.

Which is why I decided I would take to the internet with this simple theater primer for families.

  1. Do NOT bring children under 6 years old (probably even under 8 years old) to a Broadway show where other patrons have spent well in to the hundreds to escape into some other world, and not to be assaulted with your child’s pleas of “pee-pee”  and “soda”, “Now, MOMMY!”
  2. If you do bring a child, make sure that they are prepared to sit for an hour and a half at a clip without making any noise, other than the appreciative clapping after every number. Maybe even a respectful hoot and holler.
  3. If your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, for goodness sakes, DON’T bring them to an 8pm show and expect them to behave!
  4. Consider buying a less expensive seat, perhaps in the mezzanine, so that if your child is struggling to sit still (and it’s a struggle for most under 8), you won’t feel terrible having to leave midway through the show, out of respect for everyone else in the theater!
  5. Start with shorter theater experiences. New Victory Theater has great children’s programming and is perfect introduction to the wonder of acting.
  6. Be respectful of others around you, and hey, even apologize for what you know is distracting and detracting from the experience.

I could go on and on with rules and such, but I won’t. I will add the suggestion that family shows should consider offering those with youngsters a special section, so that other theater goers can choose their seats accordingly. FAR, FAR, AWAY! Hey, aren’t matinees tailor-made for the family set?

Stay well.

Paris in our hearts and on our minds.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54+00:00 November 14th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, death, family, gun violence, hate crime, Liberty, Life, loss, military, nyc, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, soccer, totems, travel, Uncategorized, victim|

We wake up to a new day, the sun shining in New York City, a chilly wind providing shivers and reminders that winter is around the corner. Those shivers hardly distinguishable from the ones I’ve experienced since last night while following the tragic, and horrific attacks that took place in Paris. I can only consume the news in small doses, and find that watching it is even too much, so I periodically check Facebook and Twitter for the latest little tidbits. It is just so overwhelming. Some people need to know every detail and not miss any news update, because that’s helpful to them, but not me. A friend’s status update on Facebook  helped me find the words I wanted to share this morning. She was contemplating having the conversations with her children about what was happening in Paris, understanding that her older child would be able to process more info than her younger child. This made me consider how I would talk to my children as well. I know there will be lots of counselors and authorities out there giving their tips and suggestions, and they will all surely be helpful in some way or another. Please know that I am not a psychologist, or a social worker, or some “lettered” authority, I am a parent, and that gives me a voice for my experiences, and gratitude for a forum to share them. This is not about advice, this is not about right or wrong, this is about one person’s process, mine. My youngest (9) is sitting in the other room now, blissfully unaware and playing some game on his computer. I will go to him and plainly give him the facts about what happened in Paris, because opening that communication is more important than protecting him from reality, no matter how horrible. “Honey, I want to tell you what happened in Paris yesterday because you will probably be hearing a lot about it over the next couple days.  There was an attack, and many people were injured and killed by some very angry and very bad people.” That’s how the conversation will start, and then I will take his lead while guiding him along the way. He may ask tons of questions, he may also choose to go right back to watching silly YouTube videos, and that’s perfectly ok. I am all about honesty and being very straightforward with my kids, because I have found that the imagination can color way more horrifying pictures than the truth can. That being said, my almost 16 year old will be able to handle a whole lot more information than my little one, and even my middle one, and he’ll discover it on his own on the internet. So with him, the conversation will surely be different and maybe even more philosophical, but again, he may not want to go into all the details, but I will reassure that I am here to talk if he needs to. The bottom line is giving your children permission to ask questions, and giving yourself permission to being ok with not having the answers. Also, not being afraid to be open with them, even if it is about your own fears. Because sure I’m scared, and that’s reasonable, but I have faith that the people we charge to protect and serve us will do everything they can to protect us, and that’s how I go about my days. That’s what I will share with my children as I pray for their innocence to last just a little bit longer, and as I pray for the people of Paris and the rest of the world while we mourn right along with them.

Praying for Peace in Paris

Praying for Peace in Paris

Stay well.