Million Dollar Monday

Rise Up with Shelly Tygielski

February 07, 2022 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
Rise Up with Shelly Tygielski
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 Show Notes & Resources 
“One individual can really affect change and the best version of the world starts with the best version of ourselves,” shares Shelly Tygielski. As founder the global mutual aid organization called Pandemic of Love, she has connected more than 2 million individuals in need with people who can provide resources. Tygielski discusses the power of radical self-care and community with Host Greg Muzzillo. She also shares insights from her book, Sit Down to Rise Up, on ways to achieve our own mind, body, and emotional balance.

Chapter Summaries

Key Takeaways: 

  • Sense of agency is really just the ability to be reflective and have awareness and be introspective about how our actions can actually affect other people and affect the world.
  • The best version of the world starts with the best version of ourselves.
  • When we look at what self-care is now on the internet, or we search up on Instagram, the hashtag self-care, the things that come up really don't qualify as self-care, because the term has been hijacked by the industrial wellness complex. So we associate self-care with things that cost money, right? Like, bath bombs or green juices or a Peloton. And it's not that those things can't contribute to your health, et cetera, but really that's not what self-care is.
  •  So when I talk about self-care, I'm really talking about communal care. I'm talking about how do we intricately weave these webs of safety nets for each other, and then in a radical way, take on the moral obligation to take care of one another. 
  • When a rising tide lifts all ships and that's the idea is that we all can contribute to that rising tide, all of our ships rise.
  •  Our purpose really is to love, to not only love, but to allow others to love us. 
  • The most powerful words a salesperson can say, although you never say it quite this way, is I have a problem and I need your help.


Resource Links
Book: Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World
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Shelly's Facebook

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Greg Muzzillo:

Hello, and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg. Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand and big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. Well , hello and welcome. Today I have a very interesting and exciting guest with an important message. She is a self care activist and founder of the global mutual aid organization. Pandemic of love her work has been featured by over a hundred news outlets, including CBS This Morning and the New York Times. She is a mindfulness teacher and has been named one of the 12 most powerful women in the mindfulness movement by mindful.org . Thank you for joining me, Shelly Tygielski.

Shelly Tygielski:

Thank you so much, Greg, for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Greg Muzzillo:

I loved your book. Can I appreciate you sharing it with me? Great stuff here and , of course showing up , for ourselves and for others is what life really needs to be about and sitting down to rise up . That's gonna make a lot of sense. And then the subtitle of course is called , how radical self care can change our world. And we're going to get to that in a minute, but f irst Shelly, tell us a little bit about your growing up years and some other life experiences that led you to write the book.

Shelly Tygielski:

Wow. I mean, that's really the whole section of the first part of the book, its loaded question, but, I guess, you know, in brief I, grew up, I was born in Israel, to a, very traditional Sephardic Jewish family, r eally was for all intents and purposes when I moved here to the u s considered, to be an Orthodox Jew. And, you know, so I had grown up with contemplative practices, but, eventually sort of, moved away from, from the traditional and found, different modalities to lean into in terms of how to, just be more spiritual and, really lean into, the inner work. one of the stories that I o pened the book with is a story about how I was kidnapped when I was two years old my mother.

Greg Muzzillo:

Crazy story By the way, crazy, story.

Shelly Tygielski:

Totally. It is a crazy story, but it really seeded and informed a lot of the work that I do today. Interestingly enough. Right. So , the story , the short version of the story is my mother , newly immigrated here to the United States. Barely speaking a word of English. I was two years old. She was getting her , ID or her license from the DMV in Brooklyn was doing her eye exam and I was taken , and a woman who I describe as a good Samaritan was sitting in the waiting room , when this happened and saw me being carried out by somebody who was not who I came in with. And in that moment, this woman had three choices to make. She could have done nothing, which is an active choice. She could have gone to find my mother, which seems like a safer choice. And , the third , choice , which is the riskiest and ultimately what she wound up doing, which could be argued, saved my life or , definitely saved me from whatever fate, you know, was going to befall me, was to , just rise up and , follow these individuals , several city blocks and see where they were heading so that she could go back to the DMV at that point where all hell had broken loose and let everybody know, you know, where I was. And so, you know, it's interesting because the story had been told many times throughout my life. And , the focus was always on having empathy, of course, for my mother, like, oh , I can't believe that you went through that. It's a horrible, right. And of course for me, because people, you know, already assumed that I had , trauma associated with, this incident, which by the way, I have no recollection of it. I was two years old and just, you know, have done regressive therapy before. And I, there doesn't seem to be any trauma there what whatsoever, but, the, the point of the matter is, is that, you know, it was very interesting to me because very few people, when we told the story focused on this courageous and bold act of this woman who had agency a sense of agency, right, we all have God given free, will we all have , you know, agency, but very few of us really understand the sense, what a sense of agency is, which was really just the ability to be reflective and have awareness and be introspective about how our actions can actually affect other people and affect the world. And so that woman, and that act actually later on wound up really fueling within me , the need to , grab a hold of my sense of agency, grab those reigns and understand how interconnected , I am to , all sentient beings on this planet and how I, as one individual , can really affect change in the world and the through line of the book really, and of my life, I think is that the, the best version of the world starts with the best version of, you know, ourselves.

Greg Muzzillo:

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So a happy ending, but nonetheless, a wonderful life lesson. So the book, sit down to rise up how radical self care can change the world. What is radical self care?

Shelly Tygielski:

Radical Self care is basically , a reclamation of what self care was initially when the movement of self-care started, which was born in , and is rooted in feminism and the civil rights movement. Self-care, you know, for many people, not just back then, but also today is rooted in survival. And I think that, you know, when we look at what self-care is now on the , internet, or we search up on Instagram, the hashtag self-care the things that come up , really don't qualify as self-care, because the term has been hijacked by the industrial wellness complex. So we associate a self-care with things that cost money, right? Like , bath bombs or green juices or a Peloton, or what have you. And it's not that those things can't help contribute to your health, et cetera, but really that's not what selfcare is so radical self care essentially is this reclamation that self care is about having and making sure that our basic needs are met and the basic needs of those individuals in our community are also met that every person in our community has enough. And that's how I describe it in the book. And when we talk about the term self care, this is a really important kind of distinction that I make of the book is that self is not the I the individual that just like lives in this body, right. The self extends far beyond that the self extends to in not in a 'woo woo' way, but just, you know, in terms of like our impact on the world, right? Sometimes just a word, a kind word, or an action can have far reaching effects and actually changes the course of somebody's life and creates these ripple effects that extend far beyond this body right here. When we talk about the I or the self, so when I talk about self-care, I'm really talking about communal care, I'm talking about how do we intricately weave these webs of , you know, safety nets for each other, and then in a radical way, take on the , uh , moral obligation to take care of one another.

Greg Muzzillo:

But like you say, in the book , um, it starts showing up, starts with ourselves first, almost like, you know, that announcement on the, when you're taking off on an airplane, says, you know, if that mask falls down first take care of yourself so that you can take care of your child or whatever, I think your book kind of tells that same story for us to have the maximum impact on each other. We have to, first of all, make maximum impact on ourselves.

Shelly Tygielski:

We do. But I do wanna say that, you know, while yes, we have to take care of ourselves first to take care of others. We need others oftentimes to be able to take care of ourselves in the right way. Yeah . And I think that many of us think like, I'm gonna go at it alone, or I should ask for help.

Greg Muzzillo:

Right . No . Yeah. That's a great point.

Shelly Tygielski:

We have obstacles in our way and we need others to help us remove those obstacles.

Greg Muzzillo:

That's a great point. You know, sometimes when I even think about it, and even when I read the words, it was more like, okay, me, myself, and I have to make sure I'm okay, first then I can go take care of the world. And it's not that way. You're right. I mean, there are so many other people in our world and in our lives, who all are part of the process of are being okay. You know, I like how you say that the book is for those people who have found themselves completely lost. But I think if people were honest, everybody's been completely lost at at least one time in the, their life . Right ?

Shelly Tygielski:

Yeah. Well, I think so. I think that's really I would say that multiple times in our life, we almost have to yes . In order to find ourselves, we have to get lost or, be lost.

Greg Muzzillo:

Right. So your book kind , kind of takes a turn away from finding happy , finding joy. And it's really about not aiming at happiness. Talk to us a little bit about not aiming at happiness.

Shelly Tygielski:

Yeah. So I think that, you know, similar to this hijacking of, the term self care , in our world today, I think this , notion that we need to be positive and happy all the time and that, you know, there's this , kind of feeling of oh, good vibes only, you know, and that's totally not realistic and, and really leads to toxic positivity. It leads us with this notion that there are good emotions and that there are bad emotions. And the reality is is that their emotions are neither good, nor bad. They just are. And that if we can learn to really lean into the entire human experience and be willing to actually sit with discomfort right. And, and have , uncomfortable conversations and really sense , all of it that comes with being human, then I think we are able to really be present and self-aware, and, actually , show up in a fuller way. Yeah. You know, show up in a way that the quality of the way that we show up is completely different and really more genuine.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. Well, beyond the, Hey, how are you? I'm okay. How are you doing I'm okay. All right . Yeah. I love the line in your book. Validation is for parking, talk to us about validation and , what's that all about?

Shelly Tygielski:

Well, I talk in the book a lot about my own personal afflictions and issues with self-worth and imposter syndrome, which I know a lot of people can relate to, especially people who are successful in business and so forth, you know, you kind feel like, you know, at any point in time, sort of the sales can be, the wind can be taken out of your sales or, you know, how is this even really happening? And you're kind of scared, you know, that, that you're going to lose it all. And so , you know, I talk a lot about this , drive to sort of this pursuit of excellence that I had since I was a little girl and how it was really fueled by the need to be validated the need to feel like I am enough and that I am good enough and that I'm worthy. And how I never really got there through the accumulation of pedigree or awards or accolades or anything, you know? And, and so you end up a great job as a CEO, which is where I ended up, you know, you end up with , with, with a great paycheck, you end up with a lot of stuff with a lot of , you know , material things and obligations and responsibilities. Yeah . But you don't per se end up any happier. You don't end up feeling any , more worthy than you did at the beginning. And so it, what it really means that sentence is like, listen, you know, the need for validation is not , um, something that humans need to focus on. If we wanna focus on presence and happiness and self-awareness et cetera . And so , you know, that that's kind of my plea. And so I thought about that and I thought , in that moment, I think, I feel like I was probably sitting like in a valet line, like waiting for my ticket to be validated when I came up with that term, It was because I love it . Like you , Hey, do you need your ticket validated? And I was like, yes I do, but I do not need to be validated. Yeah.

Greg Muzzillo:

However , and I can only speak for myself. I think that a lot of damage can be done to young souls , young people by parents, unwittingly, surely not purposely trying to hurt their child and teachers. Yeah . And so at a young age, some people can get negative labels that are really sticky labels and sure . And we, you know, we have to do some work to get rid of those labels and know that know that's not me. That might have been your perception of me. That's not me. And I can move beyond that. I'm okay .

Shelly Tygielski:

Yeah. Right . Absolutely. I think that we also tend to sometimes though assign, because we tend to be our own worst critics too. So we also assign labels to ourselves. It's so interesting because you know, obviously through social media, you wind up connecting with people that you knew in high school that you like lost touch with or from grade school or what have you. And there were so many people that I reconnected with that were like, I remember the way you were in , you know, in middle school. And, and they had this whole other view, or lens of myself and it's the exact opposite of how I viewed myself during those years, you know? And I'm like, God, if I only knew that that's how people viewed me. I was, I was my own worst , you know, worst critic. That's a great , I was the one that, that actually you, know's a negative self talker and, and didn't think, and going back to the chance of unworthiness, you know?

Greg Muzzillo:

Right. So through all of that, you get to talking about communities of care, such a beautiful phrase. What does that look like? What's that all about?

Shelly Tygielski:

So I talk about it in the book as something that I think is pretty relatable. All of us had at one point or another, whether it was a grandparent or a parent or a family member who used to nostalgically paint this picture for us of this magical time period called back in the day, right. Back in the day when we were kids, everybody knew everybody's business. Everybody knew their neighbors. We knew, we didn't just know their, we knew what was going on in their lives. And we took responsibility for these individuals so that if somebody lost their job, they never had to worry that there wouldn't be a roof over their head, you know? And, and , and we would all, as a community, help them find a job. If somebody lost a parent, we, the whole village would take care of those children. And if somebody , you know, and so on. And so I , we've obviously lost that along the way as we moved into suburbia, as we became industrialized. And certainly with the advent of technology, which in many ways connects us, but in many ways also superficially connects us. Right? Those, those real connections are gone. We don't really know our neighbors anymore. We may know that don't their name. You know, we may wave , we may know they just got a new car, but do we know if they're suffering from a mental illness or if they're struggling financially or what they're going through. And so the , the notion of communities of care is actually this hearkening, this longing for that nostalgic time period of back in the day, which I, know was oversimplified. And there were a lot of problems that were happening during those times too. But the idea that we all need to take care of one another, and there's this beautiful Buddhist proverb that, you know, I think didn't make it into the book, but actually I love using, because I think it sums things up really beautifully, which is tend to the areas of the garden that you can reach. So if we all look at our own gardens, you know, many times we're spending time looking at our neighbors gardens and, and, and, you know, we're, we're commenting on what they can do to make their garden look better, or we're thinking about the forest. And so we're thinking, gosh, you know, the problems are so daunting. There's no way I could ever like, figure this out or what, what is my garden gonna do? Right. And the idea here is that if we can just make sure that everybody in our circle of influence, right, has enough, has their basic needs met. The world would look so different. So let's get

Greg Muzzillo:

To that. Although I need to tell you, a thought went through my head when you were just talking about the way things used to be. And I read a book once it talked about how over time we've moved from a front porch communities, mm-hmm to , the emphasis more being on being in the backyard . And yes , and you know, when I walked home from school, I couldn't even get home. If I was screwing up or doing something wrong, <laugh> there were people on the front porch who'd call my mom or whatever. And , or if I took the tracks, the railroad tracks instead of the sidewalk or whatever, and we really have become way more focused on being in the backyard , if you will, rather than just being out front in that front yard and really getting to know our neighbors. So

Shelly Tygielski:

I love that

Greg Muzzillo:

Mutual aid solidarity, not charity, talk about that some more. What does that mean?

Shelly Tygielski:

Well, that fits in perfectly with the notion of communities of care. Right? I think that, you know, we have moved as a society as well to becoming very focused on charitable causes and nonprofits. Not that they're not great, nonprofits are great. I partner with them all the time I sit on the board of many, but the reality is, is that what happens is in nonprofits specifically is that most of the time , you know, you write a check, it goes to like this central location and then the check gets dispersed out, right. Or a portion of it. Right. And, and the ideas that we're removed once again from actually that human connection and what it also focuses on focuses on a lot of the time is the socioeconomic or the financial means to be able to helping people. And so what mutual aid is, is it's a beautiful idea, right? That is really steeped in , nature in, Darwinian thought of ecosystems. And the fact that in order for ecosystems to work well, to thrive, right, not just survive, but to thrive, there has to be symbiotic relationships that every single one of these creatures or sentient beings, whether it's in a coral reef system, whether it's in a rainforest, it relies on each other to survive and to thrive. And for humans, for some reason, we don't get that. We don't get that we're part of this ecosystem. y ou know, and we i n evidence that when we look at, you know, the depletion of forests, we c ould look at climate change. We c ould look a lot of, you know, different ways that we're kind of not really being cooperative i n ecosystems, we're actually harming them. So the idea o f mutual aid is that every single human being in that community of care in your circle influence in your garden, that you're tending to every person, regardless of their s ocio socioeconomic status, regardless of their, generation or age bracket, e t c etera, has something that they can offer. And every person has something that they need. And if we teach , yeah, every single person, some people suffer from time, poverty. Some people have energy, poverty, some people have financial poverty, et cetera , et cetera . And if we could identify what every person can do or can give and what every person needs. Yeah . And we can create this web, this really intricate web, where everybody has pieces of the puzzle that contribute to each other. then suddenly we do what we create this beautiful equity, this beautiful environment where everybody can have enough. And we also start to remove the stigma of asking for help because people come to the table thinking, well, I need this, but I can give this . Right. And, and so it's, you're not just a burden when you need something, you, you are somebody w ho can give back as well.

Greg Muzzillo:

And I think a couple things, number one, my spiritual advisor that I work with on every Saturday, she says, Greg, you need to work on your attitude. That there's abundance, right? Yes . There's not scarcity We live a world of abundance. And I think so many of us, yeah . Including myself sometimes go through life that the no, no, the world is a world of lack. Like I have to win. So somebody else loses , right. Et cetera . And , but not really, when you, when we experience the world, the way you talk about it. Yeah . There's more than enough for all of us.

Shelly Tygielski:

Right. As Martin Luther king said, you know, said, he said that when a rising tide lifts all ships and that's the idea is that we all can contribute to that rising tide, all of our ships rise.

Greg Muzzillo:

Absolutely. And , and we live in a world of abundance , that we do need to free ourselves up to experience. You know, I think most people truly like to be asked to help. In fact, I teach our folks who are mostly in our business, mostly in sales. I say, you know, the most powerful words a salesperson can say as though, you never say it quite this way, as I have a problem, and I need your help. Of course, you're asking for the order, but I tell them why else would we buy girl scout cookies from cute little girls standing on our porch during the middle of a period of time where most people are on a diet, right before Easter, in certain holiday traditions, why else do we buy magazines from strangers, standing on our porch, asking us to help them get through college magazines will never read. Right? So people I think are wired to want to help and people do people need to and should ask more for help in the right ways.

Shelly Tygielski:

Yeah. But I think we have to normalize that. And so that's where we have to, we have to set the conditions for that in our society. Right. Because what society tells us today is that if you're asking for help, then you're either, you're not enough. You're not sufficient in some way, or you're deficient, or you're a burden right. In our , minds, we think, oh, people ask for help or become burdens. And, and really that's, that's the wrong kind of message to send out to people. We have to create these conditions, which I think we can do with mutual aid and with formalized communities of care to make it completely normal because none of us can go at it alone. None of us, I don't care how independent you think you are. You are reliant on so many people, people that you don't even know exist,

Greg Muzzillo:

You know ? Absolutely . And I would encourage our listeners to think about how do you really feel when somebody says, can you help me? Can you give me advice or all the different ways, those words show up, we always feel honored. And , right. It's an honor to be asked. It's nothing short of that,

Shelly Tygielski:

Right? Yeah. Yeah. But imagine, so if you create , and I know we do this a lot in like the business world, you know, like we create these organizations, like I was part of YPO you k now, young presidents, organizations, there's organizations called Vistage. You know, there's all these different, really great organizations where people come together to network and to ask for what they need and to offer help. And that's a formalized sort of closed c ircuit network. So the idea is like, why can't we translate that into like, real life? Why can't we translate that into real life? And to some degree, you know, the religious organizations like churches and synagogues and, a nd Mosques, and so forth used to do this, but as you know, like as a society, we've also moved away from, from formalized, religious organizations and so q uickly. S o I think, yeah, so I think we really can, get back to, without necessarily having to have those structures or infrastructures live in, you know, under a church roof, for example, but it could still exist as a community.

Greg Muzzillo:

I think our whole world is on its way there. You know , I don't want to get too far overreaching, but I think we've just started entering something called the age of Aquarius. My guess is you're very familiar with that. And I think we're going through a lot of alt right now is certain institutions the way things used to be start to fail or to change, to start to really serve the world of more loving each other and the way things really were meant to be. And , so tumult, sometimes it kind of concerns me when I read the news. And I think now what, because it's almost like every day , but I think there are certain ways that things happen in certain institutions that, that used to be that don't serve the who we're on way to be coming and , I think it's exciting where we're heading, but the change sometimes on our way, there could be frightening. Very , I love how you finish your book, talking about our purpose is to love and that's not just a feel good kind of a thing. Our purpose really is to love, to not love others, but to allow others to love us. I think as we close our time together, tell us a little bit more about how each of us and all of us can create a more loving life and a more loving world.

Shelly Tygielski:

Well, I'll give you something really tangible. And this actually is born in , my personal practice. So when I , identify when I'm self aware of an emotion that I'm feeling right, again, no bad or good emotions, but like, let's say there's something happening in the world and it , I feeling outrage or I'm feeling fear, or I'm feeling confused about it, or what, what have you, biologically evolutionarily, we tend to enter this like fight flight freeze mode. Right, We're like, wow, I'm feeling this negative or very uncomfortable emotion. And I'm just like stuck in it. I'm stuck in this place. Yeah . If we're able to identify what it is that we're feeling like really label it, or as Dr . Dan Siegal says name it to tame it . If we're able to do that, then we can move beyond that emotion. And we can ask two follow up questions. And so the follow up questions are this number one. What can I do about it? So for example, if I'm feeling anger, I could say, okay, I've identified what I'm feeling, why I'm feeling it. I'm nurturing that, what can I do about it? But the follow up question, right? Because think about it. If you're feeling anger, what can I do about it? Sometimes the response is not necessarily very productive or pleasant. The follow up question is just as important, which is, and how do I come from a place of love and how do I come from a place of love? And so if you can get to the point where you're like, I feel very uncomfortable or I'm seeing an injustice in the world or in my life that is not right. Or is not sitting well with me and what can I do about it? And how do I come from a place of love? It could lead you to, you know, even the tiniest pebble , That you can throw into a pond and really start to create ripple e ffect.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. To be that ripple that can I actually change The world?

Shelly Tygielski:

Absolutely we all are.

Greg Muzzillo:

I , we all are . And I love your book Sit down to rise up. I encourage all of our listeners to get a hold of that and , work on yourselves and work on the world that we all share together. Thank you for the time you share together with me. I appreciate your time and your wisdom.

Shelly Tygielski:

Thank you so much. I appreciate you too .

Introducing Shelly
Rise Up
Radical Self-Care
Toxic Positivity
Communities of Care
Mutual Aid
Rising Tide Lifts All Ships
Our Purpose is to Love