Joy Ignites Success

Use Your Breath to Get Unstuck

By  - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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Six Ways to Handle Lack of Respect

By  - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Does a  friend, loved one, or coworker make constant digs about you?  And then say they are “just joking” or “having fun”?  Read More

Are You Really Running Out of Time?

By  - Saturday, October 26, 2013

Philosophers and physicists have debated about the concept of time since Socrates was alive. Carl Sagan believed it might be possible to travel into the future. Einstein said time is an illusion. But tell that to your boss? Or your publisher? Or your five year old? Whether time is real or not, most of us are still stuck with the clock and the calendar. We have deadlines to meet and schedules to keep. What good is it knowing that time doesn’t exist? That’s just another concept.
Concepts can be constraining or useful depending on our response to them. Allowing myself to play with time as an illusion conjures up many images. I think of the White Rabbit (I’m Late, I’m Late), the movie Back to the Future and Salvadore Dali’s  painting of melting clocks . When I think about running out of time in the context of ‘there is no time’, it takes the steam out of the worry engine. Think about it; if time doesn’t exist, how can I run out of it? I never had any to begin with. If there is no such thing as time, it’s pretty silly for me to be trying to manage it. And I notice that my body lets go of the contraction that seems to correlate to time itself contracting.  Read More

Can We Really Choose to Be Happy?

By  - Tuesday, October 08, 2013

After several people commented to me the other day about choosing to be happy, I had an opportunity to see if it could be that simple.
I woke up in a crappy mood, the reason not important. So, I said to myself, “Well, you could just choose to be happy”.
Guess what? It didn’t work. Not even a little bit. And I gave it my very best effort, willing to be wrong about what I previously believed.
Instead, I am writing this blog about why we can’t just choose to be happy.
Humans (and animals) experience their emotions first in the body at a cellular level. Humans feel a sensation, and then, with the pre-frontal cortex, label the sensation and only then do we feel angry, sad, happy, scared. Without the label we just have a sensation.
For example, if my body starts to tremble, I could identify that as fear, excitement or a response to the chill in the air. Without the label, I just have trembling.
The other morning, my crappy mood was accompanied by feelings of heaviness that I labeled dread. There was no way I could ethically call that feeling happiness. Sure, I could get up and lie to my husband and myself about what I was feeling, but that would not change the heaviness into happiness.  Read More

But What Will They Think?

By  - Tuesday, October 01, 2013

How much time do you spend wondering and worrying about what someone else may think about about you? If you are like most, it's probably way too much. There’s a book title that I reference to my clients regularly. It’s by Terry Cole-Whittaker: What You Think of Me is None of My Business, and there’s a similar quote "Your Opinion of Me Is None of My Business", credited to several different authors. Whoever said it first doesn’t really matter. It’s true. Approximately 99% (okay, I made that statistic up, but I’m sure it’s close to accurate) of what someone else thinks of you says more about them and their past, than it says about you.
Everybody’s perception, including yours, is colored by personal life experience. Read More

Too Many Demands on Your Time?

By  - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Does Everybody Want Something From You? Read More

Feeling Stuck?

By  - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do Something, or Do Nothing
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To Play or Not To Play- Part 2

By  - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Stops Us From Playing?

Many adults, with many good reasons, resist playing.  Play has been judged harshly by our work oriented society.  Many of us have grown up with such messages as 'stop playing around, get back to work', 'you're acting like a child', 'aren't you ever going to grow up?', and 'there's no time to play'.  We have also been told there's a right and a wrong way to play and there's a time and place (which never seems to be here or now) to play.
In every workshop I’ve ever done, there is a quiver in the room when I say ‘let’s play’.  For some it’s a quiver of excitement, for many it’s the anxiety that gets produced when they feel like they may be put on the spot or embarrassed.  Because of its very nature, play often asks us to step out of our comfort zone and risk feeling foolish.  We are afraid of losing control, making mistakes, comparisons and failure.  We use the excuses of being too tired, too old and too busy to play.  
Almost every impediment to play revolves around fear.  Most of it imagined.  

What are the benefits of playing? Read More

7 Useful Tips When Feeling Overwhelmed

By  - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ever feel like there's too much to do and you can't keep up?  (or should I say always...)

Some things you can do (most of them in 30 seconds or less) to help yourself:

1.     Breathe

2.    Allow yourself to feel as overwhelmed as you do (just for a moment)- That means get conscious, stop what you are doing and say to yourself  “wow, I feel overwhelmed”.  Racing around and saying you are overwhelmed does not count for validating a feeling.  When you acknowledge the feeling and the sensations,  your system will settle down and begin to dissolve the upset. Read More

Be Gentle with Yourself

By  - Saturday, June 15, 2013

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."  Saint Francis de Sales


About 20 years ago, I created my very own set of angel cards.  I took pictures of the people and things I loved and put one quality that they most represented to me on the 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.  Even in the moment, I knew this was a pretty cool thing he was teaching me.   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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