Joy Ignites Success

What would happen without an opinion?

By  - Tuesday, August 02, 2016


If you stop to notice, you might realize that most of your feelings of upset are related to having an opinion about what is right and wrong or good and bad. But what if you didn’t have an opinion? (The verse “I wonder if you can” from John Lennon’s Imagine comes to mind.) What would not having an opinion be like? And do you believe not having an opinion is wrong? In other words, do you have an opinion about not having an opinion?

We have layers of beliefs about our beliefs. But, what if, even for just a moment, you could rest beyond beliefs? What if you could recognize that all your beliefs are based on the past and on limited information? What then?   
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Break the habit of looking for happiness

By  - Wednesday, July 06, 2016

What do I really want? (and how can I get it?)


“I need, I want” are mantras for most living in this century. Almost nobody would say they don’t want more of something and less of something else. But most of our wants are at the surface level. It’s rare that we stop and ask questions such as, “If I had more money, what would that give me?”  “If my boss were nicer, how would that affect me?”
Most of the time, when we drill down far enough, the answer to all the questions is the same. If I had more money, I would be happier. If my boss were kind, I’d feel safe and have more peace. If my husband would bring me a present, I would feel joyful.  We all ultimately want peace, joy, love, happiness.
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I Could Choose Peace Instead of This

By  - Thursday, March 24, 2016



Many, many years ago, while I was still single and living in NYC, I read Gerald Jampolsky’s book, Say Good-Bye to Guilt. Of the many brilliant things he wrote about, one piece I chose to work with at that time was the 34th lesson from A Course in Miracles “I could see peace instead of this”. Somehow in my mind, I had translated the word see to choose, but I don’t think it had an effect on how I worked with the lesson. Over 30 years later, I still find this to be one of my most useful lessons.
What the lesson tells us is that peace is always an option because it is an inside job. The ability to find peace even in the most tumultuous situations lies within. This is poignantly demonstrated in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor who writes about psychologically overcoming even the most unbearable of situations.
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Attitude or Gratitude?

By  - Friday, November 20, 2015

 5 Tips for Allowing More Gratitude in Your Life

Last week I had an appointment in Boulder at 9am in the morning. At that hour, they say it will take about 65 minutes to complete the 35 mile drive from Lakewood. I made a conscious decision not to complain (especially not to myself). So I woke up bright and early, got ready and hit the road. The drive up Route 93 was perfectly fine, and I took the turn-off in South Boulder that took me through the back roads that feel very rural. As I was driving, I experienced a profound wave of gratitude. The sights were beautiful, my body was happy and comfortable in my new car and I was excited for my day.
I was consciously aware of how good I was feeling and grateful to be feeling grateful. Definitely something I would be happy to experience daily.
We all know how good gratitude is for us. (To learn the proven benefits, check out these articles , But sometimes, we just don’t feel grateful. And trying to force gratitude when you’re not feeling it is a bad idea.  Read More

Move from Lethargy and Heaviness to Joy and Freedom

By  - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

4 Do’s and Don’ts to Move from Lethargy and Heaviness to Joy and Freedom


Sometimes crappy moods happen. Blame it on the weather, moon cycles, sugar intake, your business partner or hormones. And sometimes, you may have an awareness that you’d rather feel differently. But, contrary to what some may say,  just “choosing to be happy” often doesn’t work.

Here are my 4 Do’s and Don’ts to move from lethargy and heaviness to joy and freedom.


1.    Beat yourself up for feeling the way you do. It happens.
2.    Self-soothe with substances that provide temporarily relief. You will likely regret it later and feel even worse.
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Do What You Love (Whether the Money Follows or Not)

By  - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

At four years old, I was taken to my first dance class. It was a combo class- I learned piques, pas de bourress and port de bras. I was hooked immediately. My parents probably didn’t calculate how many hours they would spend driving me to class until I went off to college. I thought I would be a prima ballerina. But I grew up and got practical and went to college and got my accounting degree. Read More

Want to reduce Stress? Get Curious

By  - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

 “What would happen if I tried doing this differently?”

Curiosity is a playful state that demands presence. It’s very different from the analytical mind that tries to find solutions through thought. When we get curious, we don’t assume we already know the answer and just have to figure it out. There’s a recognition we don’t know what’s around the bend, literally or metaphorically.  Read More

The Wisdom of Gentleness

By  - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

About twenty years ago, I created my own set of angel cards. I took pictures of the people and things I loved and put one quality that each most represented to me on each card with the picture. Of all the wonderful qualities my husband possesses, gentleness was the one that made it on to his card. Gail has a way of being with me that allows me to be who I am, whoever that is in the moment. It took me some time to be able to do this for myself. In fact, I remember the first time I heard myself using his words, “Careful, sweetie,” to myself after burning my hand. In that moment, I knew gentleness was a pretty cool thing he was teaching me.  Read More


By  - Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Are you the one with long to do lists and infinite goals? The one who keeps going in the face of adversity? If so, I’m talking to you. You may be missing an important strategy in your arsenal. GIVING UP!
No, I don’t mean surrender or let go or anything new age or spiritual. I mean give up. Throw the blankets over your head, turn off the computer, your cell phone, and any other device and just give up. Cry if you want to. And for goodness sake, don’t judge yourself. There are plenty of others who will do that for you. Read More

Tips for Being with Physical Pain

By  - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

When we are experiencing uncomfortable sensations in the body, we often feel emotionally fragile as well. Energy is automatically directed to handling or fixing physical pain leaving a shortage of energy for dealing with life. Also, when we are in pain, our belief in our own invincibility is threatened. On top of this, we may have many negative beliefs about pain from childhood—such as “anyone with pain is a whiner, crybaby, etc.,” “you should be able to handle this,” or “something’s wrong with you.” Here are some ideas for being with pain:

Awareness and Attention: with real pain, ignoring it will not make it go away. Pain may be a call for attention and an indicator that something is amiss. Get curious about your pain; is it warning you about a serious imbalance in your system? Is it letting you know something about someone or something in your environment? Keep in mind that when we ignore our pain, it often escalates; much like a child wanting to be noticed. Read More

About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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