“Having a sense of agency and having agency are two completely different things. And so, I just wanted to emulate that and I wanted to hang onto that story and really pay it forward.”
Meet Shelly Tygielski
After spending nearly 20 years in Corporate America, immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations and holding executive positions leading public and privately held companies, Shelly decided to stop following the expected path and start following her lifelong passion – mindfulness and meditation.
Her journey began by teaching free meditation classes Sunday morning on the sands of Hollywood Beach, Florida. What started as a group of 12 friends blossomed into a community of more than 15,000 in a matter of two years – a diverse mix of souls that proclaimed itself “The Sand Tribe”. The class is always free. The warm welcome is for anyone who shows up. Shelly’s work is built around one simple precept: No Barrier To Entry. She wants everyone to have access to the joys and health benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Not just those with means.
At the heart of Shelly’s practice is a fierce justice warrior and social activist. Shelly combines the pragmatic business skills she learned in the corporate world with the tenets of mediation and mindfulness to make the world a better place.
Shelly is deeply involved in offering trauma-informed healing practices to communities affected by gun violence and mass shootings and has led fully funded retreats for survivors and victims’ families representing Parkland, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Aurora, Columbine and more. She was featured on the cover of Mindful Magazine® in June 2019 for her work in this space.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, once again Shelly rose to the occasion. On March 14th, 2020, at the dawn of the crisis, she posted two simple Google forms online. One read “Get Help” the other “Give Help”. The next morning, she was shocked to find hundreds of requests from both sides of the equation. She began directly matching those in need with patrons willing to help them meet their needs and the Pandemic of Love movement was born. Those few hundred requests grew to thousands; which grew to over 600,000 people matched within six months.
In This Episode
In this episode of the Get Loved Up Podcast, Koya Webb welcomes Shelly Tygielski, public speaker, author of Sit Down to Rise Up, and Founder of Pandemic of Love. The road to healing does not run in a straight line and it does not have to be a lonely journey. Shelly shares how her book helps turn all the lessons of self-help into concrete action. She zeroes in on the power of community in healing you and how this community of care can inspire you to heal others too. She shares the genesis of Pandemic of Love and how it is rooted in the concept of mutual aid. Being in community with others doesn’t just help you survive, it is actually a requirement to thrive. Shelly shares many anecdotes that have all been instrumental, in one way or another, in the creation of her book. She looks back on that time she was kidnapped, the trials of being a single mom, and wrestling with the duality of being Jewish with a meditation practice.
It’s about understanding that we are all carrying the pieces that each other person needs to really be the best version of themselves. And so, even if we feel like we’re not an expert in something… somebody else can help us along that journey, and vice versa.”
– Shelly Tygielski
Get Loved Up with Shelly Tygielski
Shelly Tygielski is the author of Sit Down to Rise Up and founder of the global grassroots mutual aid organization Pandemic of Love. Her work has been featured by over 100 media outlets, including CNN Heroes, The Kelly Clarkson Show, CBS This Morning, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
A trauma-mindfulness teacher and a Garrison Institute Fellow, she has been called one of the 12 Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement By Mindful.org and teaches self-care and resilience at organizations around the world.
I hope you find an incredible amount of hope, inspiration, and value, as I did, in what Shelly shares with us in this episode. If so, please tag her @mindfulskatergirl, and I, @koyawebb, on Instagram with a screenshot of the episode and your favorite takeaways. Hearing about what you’ve learned from us, and what your favorite moments were, inspires us to continue making a positive impact in this world.
Until next time, love yourself, love others, and love the world. One day at a time, one breath at a time.
- 6:19 People Need Each Other
- 10:20 Getting Kidnapped at 2 Years Old
- 16:32 Inspiration for Pandemic of Love
- 25:57 Heart to Heart Proximity
- 29:52 Mutual Aid
- 35:03 A Community of Care
- 39:18 Generational Trauma and Healing From the Past
- 44:10 Living the Duality
- 47:19 A World Without Cancel Culture
- 49:31 Book Recommendations
- 52:48 Connect with Shelly
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Get Shelly’s Book
- Order Koya’s book Let Your Fears Make You Fierce
- Learn more about Koya’s Yoga Teacher Training Programs
- Join the Get Loved Up Membership