TODAY, I’m Alright
Research has shown that objects have the potential to hold power and meaning. I chose to call the objects sheltered in TODAY “talismans” because of my goal of providing a tangible object to remind the participants of their experience with TODAY, I’m Alright. Each workshop participant chooses a talisman to keep. The list below grows and evolves as our community learns and shares our strategies for change.
1. an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2. something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects
Higher Power Door Knobs
Everyone who has ever been to a 12 step program, has heard that if you do not believe in a G(g)od(s), you can choose anything for your higher power – even a door knob. As I created these door knob sculptures, they became little soldiers for me – fighting against the effects of their trauma.
Nasty Women Get Things Done Bi-Valves Being a woman of a certain 60 plus age, I have experienced overt and subtle oppression most of my life. Being from Maine, I am well acquainted with how a clam lives wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy down in the mud with a tiny blow hole to the air, the sky, the sun. This title, of course, is a cultural nod to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign slogan.
Loss of a Child Babies
Losing a child for any reason, including self-selection, is a traumatic event. It is important to note that it was quite a challenge to find the babies of color.
Drops of Hair of the Dog
In ancient times the phrase was literally used to say that if a dog were to bite you, putting the dog’s hair into the wound would heal it. “Like cures like”. This hangover remedy is not recommended because it leads to a bad habit of drinking during the day and it doesn’t really work very well. Holding this drop in your pocket will remind you of the trauma the drug brings into your life.
So many people chase the goal of being “happy”. TODAY suggests that a more powerful and attainable goal might be contentment. Spend your time discovering what makes you and the people you love content.
This is a hard one. Oftentimes, one (or both) of the partners has serious physical, mental or emotional issues which challenge the potential for remediation. This does not make the fracturing of the relationship(s) any less sad. Each person needs to develop their own healing strategies. Make a life for yourself. If your identity was focused on your role as a wife or a husband – find out who YOU are – all by yourself!
A death removes the potential of a relationship -permanently. Looking forward with a new menu for seeking purpose and contentment is an essential strategy. This Día de Muertos skull represents what I have found to be a very healthyn strategy. The Mexicans celebrate the life lived with joy…. not the loss with grief.
The power and danger of our pocket devices has been discussed and extensively examined in books, movies and on social media. Our advice is for you to drive the technology. Do not let the technology drive you. Identify a safe circle to call when you are battling a compulsive urge. The phone may feel like it weighs 500 pounds and we are conditioned by social norms not to “bother” people with our problems. When you connect on the phone or through a support group or on social media – focus on positive
topics. What are you reading? What are you doing to support your physical well being?
Files to Smooth the Edges
Our counselor shared that oftentimes his clients share that even when they are in recovery they still feel like others can see “the rough edges”. These files remind us that those edges CAN be smoothed off.
Plush Therapy Animals
Our counselor, personal experiences, the plethora of cat and dog owners and the multi-million dollar stuffed animal industry all support the idea that as a species, we respond positively to stroking fur. There is a LOT of research out there discussing why this preference exists. There is some writing on the idea that stuffed animals may help people challenged by disassociative conditions. Read More
Where, oh, where should we start with Barbie? Several generations of women were given these dolls to play with and encouraged to see them as a physical ideal. Women (and girls) continue to cut their chests open and insert sacks full of poison in an effort to achieve this ideal. Certain men encourage this dangerous practice.
Even more concerning, Barbie’s body aesthetic has transferred to the social media platforms embraced by our current generation of young women. Read more about Barbie and Body Image
The Odds Suck Poker Chips
Gambling is a compulsion which can take your financial life away from you in the time it takes to roll the dice. Common sense ( and statistical evidence) confirms the fact that you will never end up the winner but design of the gambling experience gives the addict an endorphin release just often enough to keep the user coming back.
The solution is to find other strategies to experience the “high” we all need and want in our lives. One idea: Take up a team sport. Hitting that great shot in racket sports or sinking that great basket or putt might give you a similar endorphin release. Signs and Strategies
Artist Layl McDill created these amazing device monsters to help people understand the dangers of overuse of technology.
“After hours of scrolling through social media do you feel like you’ve grown a giant eye and you need a coat of spiky armor to protect you from the jealousy of seeing everyone’s perfect lives? Or do you wish you had ten eyes that could see in all directions so you can keep up with all the different places to check for messages? Or do you just feel like growling and hiding under the bed when you think of all the emails you need to answer? Layl McDill created these humorous “Device Monsters” to personify all the different feelings that come with the onslaught of technology in our daily lives. Sometimes just putting that feeling into physical form can give you the power to engage and conquer it.” See her Work
The Nibcos fit on your finger just perfectly and the metaphoric aspect of the conductivity of copper makes this object even more powerful. As with all compulsions and addictions…we need to develop strategies which provide a “pause” so we can think about what we are about to do. NIBCOS (and other rings) work for sex addiction, cigarettes and all compulsions. Just grab it from your pocket and start twirling!
Skeleton Key to Your Biology
Our counselor suggested we include skeleton keys in our talisman family. So many people challenged by compulsions in their life believe the mythology. We are told if we just had “will power” we could stop our destructive behaviors. According to our experts and research, if a person is challenged by a chemical imbalance, all the will power in the world will not be able to stop the compulsion.
You may need to find the key to your BIOLOGY!
If you include alcohol and cigarettes, some finding report over 50% of addicts are self-medicating for mood disorders great and small. Is this you? Read More
Yin Yang Stress Balls
Stress balls are small balls or objects filled with a malleable gel or clay that are held in the palm of your hand. The act of repeatedly squeezing the ball releases tension and helps to relieve stress. The benefits of stress balls also include boosting blood circulation.
Yin Yang is a Chinese philosophical model coming out of the 3rd century B.C. We feel that the concept of duality may need to be challenged. As we mature as a species and use our great big brains in the quest to understand ourselves- there seems to be more and more evidence that many things in the universe seem to be fluid. Read More about Yin Yang
Recovery Wranklets can be worn on your wrist, ankle or arm…hence… Wranklets.
Each of the wranklets includes a recovery or trauma talisman to remind the wearer that THEY have the capacity to embrace strategies which allow them to build their own life raft. THEY are in charge of the joy in their own life.
Millions of people use food to treat feelings of anxiety, depression or shame. It is one of the most complicated compulsions because it can present as binge eating and not purging (which leads to obesity), binge eating and purging (bulimia) and and avoiding eating all together (anorexia) and a myriad of conditions bridging all of these.
Again…if you are using food to treat an anxiety disorder… you may need chemical help. TODAY’s mirrors are to be kept nearby to ask you important questions.
“Don’t weigh your self esteem.” “What do you value more than what you see in the mirror?” “Does this reflect what matters to you?”
In the AA program, the person in recovery chooses a sponsor. The sponsor is a person who has been recovered for a certain period of time and is there for the person struggling with their wish to become sober. This is an important component of success since it is a guilt-free resource. These sponsors are often called “angels” by their sponsee as in “the angel on my shoulder helping me to make choices to help the success of my quest for sobriety.” Read more
TODAY, I’m Alright button
Marya indicated when people ask her if she is “in recovery” she responds with strength, contentment, and peace of mind “Today, I’m alright.” I decided to name the work after this insight. I now believe my loved ones are sick of people treating them like it is all over-that they are recovered. I now know that Today- they are alright.
Embrace Cognitive Dissonance button
Cognitive Dissonance is a state in which what you know to be true is in direct conflict with what you see to be true. It happens right before you change your mind. It happens when you are presented with a new data point which challenges your existing belief system. Cognitive Dissonance is present when we learn. For reasons that are unfathomable to me as an educator, we are frequently taught to construct a belief and stick to it. We are taught that our truth is THE truth. With 7 billion people on the planet, I find it breathtakingly arrogant that anyone could think that their truth was THE truth. It is also statistically improbable. Read More about Cognitive Dissonance Workshops
My dear friend, Theresa, is a cancer survivor. Her experience is an inspiration for us all. We created an event to make hats for her. Plan an event like this for YOUR friend. See the message below to see how powerful and healing it was for Theresa. Contact me if you would like us to come and organize an event.
The Hamsa Hand is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings its owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. The hamsa hand has a wide variety of different spellings which includes hamesh,hamsa, chamsa, and khamsa.
At first glance, it can be pretty self-explanatory; the heart suggesting emotions and the dagger through it demonstrating hurt or pain. A popular theme with the heart dagger tattoo is betrayal.
The Holy Rosary (/ˈroʊzəri/; Latin: rosarium, in the sense of “crown of roses” or “garland of roses”), also known as the Dominican Rosary, refers to a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. … Five decades are recited per rosary.
How to pray with a Thumb Rosary
On the ten beads – pray a Hail Mary on each bead; on the chain, pray a Glory Be. Although a decade is 10, these 12 prayers form a decade of the rosary.
Heart Stitch Card
This card drawn by Dr. Bridges is meant to remind you that you can mend your OWN heart. You are in control of your own joy. You have permission to make choices which will produce contentment.
Here’s something to think about the next time you’re craving something sweet: it could be more than just a sweet tooth. It could be an addictive itch begging to be scratched. Brain scans have confirmed that intermittent sugar consumption affects the brain in ways similar to certain drugs.
A highly cited study in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews found that sugar—as pervasive as it is—meets the criteria for a substance of abuse and may be addictive to those who binge on it. It does this by affecting the chemistry of the limbic system, the part of the brain that’s associated with emotional control.
Read More about Cognitive Dissonance Workshops
Research reports that strong relationships are important to a person’s general well-being.
Because of legal, cultural and societal expectations you may be allowing people you are connected to by DNA treat you badly. You can stop that.
It is not imperative for members of your beloved inner circle to share your DNA. What leads to healthy relationships is a willingness to listen to your self-selected family and support them- even if they sometimes do not share your exact worldview.
As I move about the world, I am always on the hunt for “objects” to include in my art form. I consider myself simply and intervenor.
One drawer in TODAY is full of these inspirational messages which will take on the memories of the learned knowledge in the interactions of the workshop.
Savers on Tuesday is fertile hunting ground for these objects and offers another 40% off their already 80% off re-cycled objects.
Religion is a very powerful option as a strategy for recovery from all kinds of trauma. Holy cards are a physical representation of a certain set of doctrinal beliefs.