The Pandemic of Love with Shelly Tygielski

February 15, 2023
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About this episode

On the surface, it seemed like Shelly Tygielski had it all: she had achieved her goal of becoming a senior executive before her 40th birthday, had a wide circle of friends and a loving family.  But what no one knew was that she would have panic attacks on her way into work, and she felt adrift even as she was achieving everything she thought she wanted.  To counteract these difficult feelings, Shelly turned to mindfulness to help keep herself grounded.  What started as self preservation in the form of meditation at her local beach each Sunday, turned into a movement, and eventually a book: Sit Down to Rise Up. Listen in to hear Shelly’s perfectly imperfect journey, her strong belief that it is only through proximity that we can bridge the divide between people, and how the intersection of that belief with the onset of COVID-19 led her to found Pandemic of Love. About: After nearly 20 years in Corporate America, holding executive positions leading public and privately held companies, Shelly Tygielski decided to stop following the expected path and start following her lifelong passion – mindfulness and meditation – and began to fuse this passion with her purpose – community organization and ensuring equity, social justice and access to wellbeing for all. At the heart of Shelly’s practice is a fierce justice warrior and social activist. She combines her pragmatic business skills 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, On March 14th, 2020, at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shelly 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. Today Pandemic of Love boasts nearly 4000 volunteers worldwide and has directly exchanged nearly $100 million in donations and has connected over 3 million people. This work will continue well beyond the pandemic and Shelly is committed to formalizing mutual aid in communities across the world. Shelly was honored by CNN Heroes in 2020. She is also the author of the book “Sit Down To Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World” which was honored as a Gold winner of the Nautilus Book Award and a finalist for the Fall 2021 Big Idea Book Club. Shelly is certified in MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction). She is a certified Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (founded at Google over a decade ago) teacher. Her contemplations and lessons shared freely over social media have gained tens of thousands of followers, and she was recently referred to as one of the most “Powerful Women in Mindfulness” by She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Shelly’s website: Pandemic of Love: Sit Down To Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World: Available online or at your local bookstore