Getting Help and Giving Help: A Pandemic of Love with Shelly Tygielski

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Each of us is capable of creating small or big changes in our own lives and in the world. These actions can have a ripple effect if we take time to focus on the needs and wants of our communities and by coming together as a coalition of support in mutual aid, mutual respect, and mutual understanding. However, this doesn’t mean that we need to overwhelm ourselves with the full responsibility of changing the world. Tygielski imparts useful and effective suggestions in how to connect our actions and words in the outer world from an inner source of self-care. She describes the Pandemic of Love which is essentially a nonprofit disruptor that offers direct aid, connecting a person who has a need with a person who wants to be of help. She reminds us that we can “Create massive ripples and changes in the world.” Even though problems can seem daunting and too big to solve, “We start to pare down and look at things on a smaller level (such as within our own families or our children’s schools). Once we start there, it is surprising how far reaching those effects are.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Shelly Tygielski is founder of the Pandemic of Love movement and is a self-care activist, community organizer, and mindfulness teacher. 

Shelly Tygielski is the author of: 

  • Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World (New World Library 2021) 

To learn more about the work of go to 

Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • What was the origin of starting a world-wide movement of person to person mutual aid
  • What was the simple Google document “Get Help – Give Help” that started the mission of the Pandemic of Love
  • How did a liberal activist from New York connect and support a pro-MAGA woman in Alabama
  • Why it is important to know and speak the language of our listeners
  • What were the Beach Meditations
  • What is self-care and why is it important for healthy and sustainable activism
  • How self-care has its roots in the civil rights activism and the feminist movement
  • What are suggestions for changing self-destructive habits
  • What are some of the blocks to our personal agency and our effectiveness in the world
  • How do we tap into our personal agency for creative actions in our circles of influence
  • How even small acts of kindness can be contagious and even life-changing
  • How did her 10-year old son start a fund to save a music program in a Title One School
  • How Tygielski’s work is divided into three equal parts: The inner journey, the connection with our immediate circle of influence, and then from community to community
  • How the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest got highjacked and independence is a myth 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 4/18/2022   Program Number: 3757  

Music Playlist

From Album:  Wave Hands Like  Clouds
Artist: Buedi Siebert
2004 Real Music #4050

Opening Essay: Track 01 From the Distance
Music Break 1: Track 02 Life Breath
Music Break 2: Track 04 Building Chi
Music Break 3: Track 05 The Gentle Way