Shelly Tygielski joins Ethan Nichtern to discuss mutual aid communities, corporate mindfulness, and the Pandemic of Love.
Ethan invites Shelly Tygielski to the podcast for a timely conversation surrounding topics pertinent to life in modern times. Ranging from Shelly’s meditative beginnings and first meetings with Buddhist teachers like Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman, to her decision to quit her corporate job to find ways to bring mindfulness to her community, this episode of The Road Home explores how we can offer true service through imbibing our authentic self.
Get to Know Shelly
After spending almost 20 years in Corporate America immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations, and the past decade as a high-ranking executive in public and privately-held companies, Shelly Tygielski has turned to teaching “modern-life mindfulness” full-time and has become a “self-care activist” who focuses much of her time on underserved communities, social justice organizations, non-profits and schools. Shelly is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and is certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. She was selected by the South Florida Business Journal in 2014 as one of their “40 under 40” honorees, and in 2015 as a “Most Influential Business Woman” in the region. Stay up to date with Shelly’s offerings on shellytygielski.com, her ongoing community care effort at Pandemic of Love, and her daily contemplations on @mindfulskatergirl on Instagram.
Are you in need due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic? Do you have the resources to help another individual or family who is running out of hope? Visit Shelly’s pandemicoflove.com to find out how you can give or receive aid quickly, discretely and directly. This grassroots mutual-aid community-of-care connects people in need with patrons who can help.
Shelly shares her early years of first getting into mindfulness practice and Eastern traditions, and the troubles that coincided in reconciling these new perspectives with her Orthodox Jewish background. A meeting with mindfulness and metta teacher, Sharon Salzberg, spearheaded by a quick, soft joke, helped Shelly untangle these inner knots, opening a harmony between her two worlds.
“That was the single most important interaction that led me on this path, because it gave me permission to have two truths; to hold this path of meditation and contemplation, alongside the traditional path that I had always been on for my entire life. It gave me the permission that I had been seeking.” – Shelly Tygielski
For more with Shelly and Sharon, as well as tips for mindfulness in modern times, tune into Ep. 121 of the The Metta Hour with Sharon Salzberg
Corporate Mindfulness (17:31)
As Shelly’s Sand Tribe meditation community grew, she was able to take a step back from working in corporate America. She decided to quit her job and find ways to bring mindfulness and meditation to the community. With her experience and understanding, she felt it made the most sense for her to bring these practices back to the corporate space she had just left. She quickly realized; however, that even though mindfulness is heavily needed in that realm, if the initiative is not something that will create a full cultural shift in an organization, including the people up top, then you are simply teaching people to cope, rather than creating a lasting transformation.
“I started to realize that the only way I wanted to be involved in the corporate world was if i could help to create a new fabric, a way of being that would start from the top and filter down culturally within an organization, because I don’t think that teaching people to cope is the right approach. To use mindfulness to make people more productive and have more resilience to work stress, actually is doing more harm than good, so it really has to be a partnership if it’s something that’s going to make a change in a corporate culture.” – Shelly Tygielski
Check out David Ellner’s unique fusion of corporate America and mindfulness on Ep. 12 of the Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck with David Nichtern
Mutual Aid Community (36:27)
When Shelly saw that her community members were heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, she heard the call to weave together a community of care. She put together a mutual-aid community for her local area, which quickly accrued steam, growing into a worldwide grassroots movement. Spreading rapidly, Shelly’s Pandemic of Love continues to help individuals affected by novel coronavirus, but her long-vision is to keep the organization alive to continue the mutual-aid flourishing far beyond the pandemic.
“The driving principle of my life is that if I’m spared from the flames of something, then it’s my responsibility to go grab buckets of water to go run into the flames again and try to help.”– Shelly Tygielski