The color of love!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:09-04:00 February 14th, 2018|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, Creative, creativity, gratitude, holiday, inspiration, love, mental health, mind/body, motivation, nyc, stories, story, storytelling, stress, stress relief, totems|

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Or #galentinesday, which I hadn’t ever heard of until people started posting about it, and I guess it shows that I never watched the whole television series “Parks and Recreation”. Either way, it’s a fun concept and I’m all about it, but that’s not what inspired me to write today.

What inspired me was a heart, not anyone’s heart, but someone’s heart that ended up discarded on the sidewalk near my house. Now before you get all creeped out, it’s not an actual heart! Sheesh you guys are morbid! Here’s the heart:

green heart

Green is for love!

I initially walked right by it and then I knew I needed a picture of this green sidewalk heart. Then it got me thinking, why is red the color associated with love? Is it because when we feel love our blood gets pumping? Is it because when we feel love, we feel it in our hearts which are essentially red? I continued to ponder how the color red actually has a lot of negative emotions connected to it, like anger, rage, and danger. Here at Totem Tamers, red is the first step in our visualization process when you’re trying to stave off or recover from an anxiety attack. Red is typically not where someone wants to be, so why then do we associate the color red with something that is supposed to be a good thing? Red on a stop sign, red on a traffic light, that tells you to hold up, back off, stand still, but green, green means go for it, proceed, pass go! That’s what I got when I passed this green sidewalk heart. That my heart is not red, my heart is green and wide open, ready to receive and give love to all who cross my path. So from now on, I will wear green on Valentine’s Day, not red! It’s a revolution I tell you!

Show me your heart is open, show me your green heart, and I’ll show you mine.

Stay well.

Sake to me!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20-04:00 October 9th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, co-parenting, divorce, family, food, gratitude, Life, liquor, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, rock and roll, rock n roll, sharing, siblings, single parents, teenager, teenagers, teens|

I have three kids whom I adore and treasure for all their uniqueness and sameness and all the rest of the ness’s they might encompass. We get along most of the time, and I mean as individuals and as a unit. Occasionally there’s a fracas or two that threatens to interrupt the status quo of the day, but they are short-lived and usually long-forgotten by the time everyone’s calmed down. It’s not easy to carve out time with each one separately, but I try my best, and even the few minutes I may get here and there are meaningful. The other night I was lucky enough to have dinner with my oldest boy, while my youngest was at a birthday and my middle was off with his friends. My oldest, or #numberoneson, is 16 going on 28, which can definitely be hard to contend with, but also allows for some really great conversation. We are both talkers so it can be challenging, but we always manage to have substantive chats. We talk about a lot of stuff, his video games, his music, his acting, his friends, his girlfriends, you name it! And of course the requisite sex, drugs, and college. Ha! You thought I was going to say rock ‘n roll, didn’t you?! Yep, college talk is on the table now, but currently it’s mostly one-sided, with me talking at him, and him denying that the conversation is happening. That’s ok, I’ll just keep talking because eventually he will hear me and eventually he will participate in the conversation. The best way to get him to participate though, is to occasionally stop talking and start listening. It’s amazing what a kid will tell you when you just let them talk! Of course, that requires treating him with the same respect that I wish to be treated with, which means putting the phone down.

Ooooooh, barracuda!! (That's really red fish, and it was delish!)

Ooooooh, barracuda!! (That’s the really red fish, and it was delish!)

Anyway, we decided to go back to a Japanese restaurant we had discovered months ago, Nare Sushi. The last time we went it was all of us, and the kids tried things they had never had before, like Mentaiko, which is basically marinated fish roe, and they loved it! This time around, #numberoneson and I, were definitely eager to try new things like grunt, striped jack, and barracuda (that was my fave). He ordered a soda, I ordered a sake (cold, it’s way better), and asked for two glasses. I’m all about letting the kids have a sip of an alcoholic beverage here and there, because I believe it takes away the mystique. We shared a toast and I sat back and just let him talk. It was incredible when he found himself going on and on and realized he was about to tell me something he hadn’t planned on sharing and was caught off guard by it!  Lately, he’s found it more and more comfortable cursing around me, so he suddenly said “oh shit, I’m about to get crazy honest here.” I couldn’t help but laugh, but I could see he was truly concerned as to what my reaction might be, so I reassured him that nothing he could tell me would change my love for him, and that honesty is the most important aspect of our parent/child relationship. He shared. I shared. There was no judgment, no anger, no consequence, only growth and a deepening bond between my son and I.

When the manager of the restaurant came over and extended a sample of a new sparkling sake to us, it occurred to me that he thought my son was a grown man, and in that moment, it also occurred to me that he wasn’t entirely wrong.

Kampai!

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.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY or Happy birthday Serena!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27-04:00 June 15th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, Equality, friendship, gratitude, homosexuality, lgbtq, Life, mental health, mind/body, plastic surgery, sharing, stress, stress relief, transgender|

I shouldn’t be crying when I read my morning paper, but the last few days it’s been hard not to well up with tears in the aftermath of such ugliness and devastation from the tragic events that occurred in Orlando. The outpouring of love from around the world has certainly been remarkable and beautiful to witness. My heart hurts as we learn the names of those who were killed and about their lives, lost too soon.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Many are still physically injured and some clinging to life in the hospital, the emotional injuries are enough to last a hundred lifetimes. We can only hope for some sort of healing for the community and the world, and the courage to live on.

I see some of that courage in a beautiful young lady named Serena, who has struggled, not only internally, but also externally with the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of people she comes in contact with as she moves through her life.

iHate

iHate

This is the text Serena received from someone she actually lived with and shared space with. It makes me sick to think that she had to walk on the same floor, sleep under the same roof, heck use the same door as someone so ignorant and hurtful. But in perfect Serena style, she let her have it on social media, as people like this shouldn’t be allowed to spew hate and not get called out on it! The comments of support for Serena were awesome and the collective that came to her defense even greater. Serena and I haven’t actually met irl (ha, I think I’m so cool for using text speak (it means “in real life”)), but I know her folks, her dad for a really long time, and I get the sense that she’s always been courageous, always a WARRIOR. Serena documented her transition for everyone to see in a blog that she maintained at http://www.cambio.com/2015/07/22/my-gender-confirming-surgery-and-recovery-meet-serena-2-0/. Serena happens to be a great writer, and her willingness to share her ups and downs while claiming her true self, going through surgeries, suffering discrimination and more, is what makes Serena a WARRIOR.

WARRIOR Serena!

WARRIOR Serena!

“In the wake of such horrific violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community, I realize how proud I am to be unapologetically myself and part of a community that is all about solidarity, love, and acceptance. #TransIsBeautiful#GirlsLikeUs #LoveWins #Equality ❤️????????” Serena

Thank you for sharing your story Serena, and I’m honored and humbled to be able to watch it unfold!

Stay well.

The http://www.thetrevorproject.org has tons of resources for anyone questioning, knowing, or curious!

Meet the Parents!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:31-04:00 April 23rd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, teenager, teenagers, teens, totems, Uncategorized|

My son has a girlfriend. MY SON HAS A GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!! Yeah, ok, he’s 16, 6ft tall, looks and acts even older and yeah, ok, he’s a good kid. And now he has a girlfriend. He had a girlfriend once before, like for a minute in 8th grade, and she broke his little heart. He wrote a beautiful song about it and still sings it occasionally. I hate her. She hurt my boy. I saw her not too long ago on the street and my mama bear was all catty and mean (in my head, don’t worry) and I judgy-judged her because she hurt my boy. Now there’s another young lady on the horizon, and my boy’s heart is even bigger than it was three years ago. She’s coming over today so I can meet her. I’ve been wanting to meet her for weeks now, but my son said he wasn’t ready, and she wasn’t ready, and it was clear he was nervous and he said she was nervous. If they only knew how nervous I am, too. I want to make a good impression just as I’m sure she wants to impress me. I’m sure she’s changed her outfits three times already. I’m sure she’ll put less lipstick and eye-shadow on as well. Hey, I’m going to take a shower, so you know this is a big deal. Thing is, I don’t want her to be any different than she is with my son. He’s googly-eyed for her. I want to see why. I want to meet her authentic self, her true self, her sarcastic self (that’s one of the characteristics my son said he really likes about her). I will be her champion all the way, unless there comes a time when my boy gets hurt, then she best get in line for the judgy-judging Mama Bear, because I will find her. Until then, it’s all about innocent until proven guilty. It’s all about the “talk”. Yep, the s-e-x, one. Truth is, I’m a rock star when it comes to awkward conversations so we’re good. We’ve already had lots of talks, my son and I, and now we’ve added consent to the topics of importance. I stress to him, that no matter he wants to do, he must ask if it’s ok, then ask again, and then double-check that. I also had the conversation with him about making sure they practice safe sex. Now I know they aren’t having sex……yet. They might be though, and I want to make sure he’s prepared, not only with condoms, but with all the necessary mental prep he might need. Truth is, I would rather he didn’t have sex, at least not for a while, and I told him there are at least 300 things they could do that don’t risk making a baby. I encouraged him to try all 300 before they move on to the good old in and out. Ya know?! He seemed receptive and admitted out loud that he wasn’t ready for a baby. Whew!! Because I’m not ready to be a grandma, and I’m certainly not ready to let my baby go. Not yet anyway.

Stay well.

I’ll surely have my Totems nearby to grab if my nerves get the better of me and I start acting like a silly embarrassing mom. If you need a Totem for those just-in-case moments, visit our store www.totemtamers.com/shop, and get one today!

 

 

baby boy

Sometimes being apart together is where the beauty is!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43-04:00 March 26th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, siblings, teenager, teenagers, teens, Uncategorized|

I’m sitting in my teeny office on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m checking in on the baby eaglets on the DCEagles Cam (I’m obsessed), I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee (sssshhh, don’t tell my GP), and I’m keeping myself “hidden” so I can enjoy the symphony of my children in the living room. You might already know that I have three boys, 16 going on 20 (he lives for independence), 13 going on tomorrow (he lives for the moment), and 9 going on 40 (he lives to tell everyone how it is). They are all so uniquely different, but those times they come together are the most amazing ones. Currently, the three of them are in the living room watching some wacky-sounding video and cracking up. I’m talking belly-aching, sore cheek, tear-inducing laughter. The temptation to go in and investigate, participate, and celebrate, is so strong, but I know that my presence will only alter the experience and change the vibe. So I sit here apart, but as together as I could ever want to be. Sure we have whole family moments where we all giggle, sometimes to the point of falling over, and those are awesome, but hearing my boys enjoy each other is what makes me whole. The three of them will (hopefully) be together long after I’m gone, and what gives me peace in that morbid thinking, is that they will all able to comfort each other and make each other laugh. These are the moments that build their relationships and the best place for me to be is not with them. Consider that the next time you hear your kids from the other room and the desire to join them hits you, give them the space to add the mortar to their foundation without you telling them where to lay every brick!

three boys and a fountain

I was tempted to go in and snap a new picture of the boys, but I know they would not have wanted that, so here’s an oldie but goodie from the Lincoln Center fountain!

Apart, but together, is actually pretty special.

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!

 

Sometimes a memory should be just that, a memory.

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:41-04:00 April 4th, 2015|Life, love, relationships|

We all have memories, some good, some bad, some that we question as if they might never have happened, and plenty that we would like to forget. I was reminded a while ago of a beautiful memory that I have held on to for about 25 years. In the age of social media, I decided to seek out the other party in my memory, just in the hopes of reconnecting, for the memory’s sake. Lo and behold, LinkedIn, turned up my search and even though I hesitated, I clicked the invite button and waited. The hesitation was rooted in fear of course, because my memory is just that, mine. The other person involved might have had a completely different experience and not share the same nostalgia with me. I was quickly rewarded with an email telling me that my invitation had been accepted! Now I could send an email, open a dialogue, and possibly, hopefully, validate my memory. To spare you the angst that I experienced in the process, I was able to validate my memory. Amazingly enough, this was indeed a truly shared experience, down to the sweetness associated with it, down to the cherishing we had both done of our short, yet deeply intimate connection. I had taken a risk, and I had been rewarded, we both had in a sense, and for that I will always be grateful. Sadly though, that beautiful shared memory, is shared by people that no longer exist in the way they were 25 years ago. We have had a lifetime of experiences since then and created many lifetimes worth of memories, the good, the bad, the ones we’d like to forget, and those we hope to never forget. These new people aren’t necessarily supposed to be connected today, maybe their time was 25 years ago, in that shared moment that has kept them both warm in heart over the years. These new people don’t know each other, and the attempt to try and box them in to the fantasies of who they used to be, is futile and frustrating at best. As a result, that wonderful memory has lost a lot of it’s luster, and no longer provides the warmth that it had supplied for so long. Now all it gives is a twinge of loss and a melancholy for someone I used to know, someone who isn’t who I remembered them to be, and hoped they would still be.

With that, I bid you cherish those incredible memories from your past and find that the validation you may be wishing for already exists within you. Your memory is just that, yours, and that is enough.

Stay well.

Totems can help you create wonderful memories by helping you through potentially overwhelming situations. Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page to get your Totem today, and start creating a lifetime of memories to cherish.

Bulldog finds "Puppy Love"!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:46-04:00 February 24th, 2015|animals, children, divorce, family, Life, parenting|

Ah, puppy love! Conjures up images of puppies bouncing around with tails a-wagging, little kids expressing themselves sweetly and innocently, and a slobbery Bulldog Totem, of course! A friend of Totem Tamers has created a short film entitled “Puppy Love:A Short Tail”. Certainly, whenever there’s a puppy involved, Bulldog is on the scene! Actually, Totems were on set during the filming of this inspiring and moving film, but with a tendency towards shyness, the Totems kept to behind the scenes inspiration. Totem Tamers loves to get involved and support up and coming artists whenever we can, because we know that creativity is healing. The best way we know how to show support is by sharing information and hoping that you will be inspired just like we are!

Puppy Love!

Puppy Love!

Check out the campaign for this film, created by a dear friend and talented artist, and hopefully this short film will be made available for all to experience. Bulldog will be forever in your debt, although can’t promise not to slobber on your shoes!

Stay well.

How about your own Bulldog? Click on the Bulldog Totem on the left, and get yours today!

Sidewalk Valentine!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:46-04:00 February 13th, 2015|children, Life, love, parenting|

Sidewalk Valentine!

Every once in a while, looking down has its rewards. Obviously, avoiding the remnants of the obnoxious owner who refuses to pick up after their dog, is first and foremost. However sometimes, you look down to see something beautiful. I was walking along with my son who was chatting away, and we walked by this grungy, dirty, cut-out heart, stuck to the sidewalk. I kept walking, but then I stopped and took myself back to the heart, thinking that sometimes, our hearts may get grungy and beat up and tossed aside, but somehow, they are still beautiful. As Valentine’s Day approaches, remember your heart, whether you share it with someone significant or not, your heart is beautiful and capable of so much love. Grungy, dusty, wounded or even broken, see your heart and use it love yourself first, and then share that radiance with the people around you! Even though we should always keep our heads up and eyes forward, every so often, take a look down, because you never know what beauty you might uncover!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stay well.

You can always give the gift of a Totem to your loved one, or love yourself enough to buy one of your own!! Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today. Find us on Facebook and “like” us, so you get all of our updates and can share your Totem pics!!

A heart has to be full before it can be broken.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:15-04:00 May 1st, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

This was the message I conveyed to the sweet young lady in the doctor’s office who felt comfortable enough with me to confide that she was nursing a broken heart. Her face was priceless when I remarked how wonderful that was. She asked why it was wonderful, and I explained that for her heart to have been broken it must first have been filled with some beautiful and wonderful memories. It took her a minute but her face softened and she understood where I was coming from. The good times she shared with this person who was responsible for her broken heart, still happened. She still experienced them, and she can still hold on those thoughts (and yes, curse her ex repeatedly whenever necessary.) We talked further and I shared my wisdom (learned only by experience, thank you very much), and I assured her that the pain would ease eventually. I also advised her to sit with the feelings she was having, the hurt, the loneliness, the fear, and only when she recognized everything she was going through, would she be able to move forward. Yes, I do have an awesome therapist!! By the end of my appointment, the young lady and I were laughing and commiserating about dating and how awful it can be, but there was hope, for both of us. On the way home I walked passed something remarkable.

Street He-art!

Street He-art!

On the sidewalk in front of me was this beautiful heart, cut out by some sweet child, somewhere. A child who hopes for love and can’t wait for heart to be filled up. I know plenty of “children” who are seeking the same.

Stay well.

Have a Totem? Great! Need a Totem? Click on the left and get one today!

"There's gonna be a heartache tonight."

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:19-04:00 March 7th, 2014|Life|

There are so many songs about love, falling in love, searching for love, and just as many songs about losing love, breaking up, and heartbreak, just like the tune in my title. For many, it’s the music that helps us process our feelings, even recognize them if we didn’t before. I mean, think about The Carpenters’ and their song “Close to you.”

We know they are talking about love even though they don’t actually come right out and say it. Then there’s Ben Folds Five and “Song for the dumped.” There’s absolutely no mistaking what that tune’s about.

Then there’s my son’s song. I can’t share it with you yet, but he finished it yesterday, shortly after his “friend-girl” broke up with him. I wrote about them on Valentine’s Day. His song is filled with both love and heartache and I couldn’t be more proud. I told him that I wished for him a thousand heartbreaks. He looked at me like I was nuts. I explained that with every heartbreak comes love and there is nothing better than that. The song is just a bonus.

Stay well.

Look left to choose a Totem to keep you company whenever you feel down, or up!!