Hasta Luego, AZ – Shalom, FL

GRANDMA SHELLIE, 2008

SOOOOO HAPPY WHEN SHE DANCES AND WHEN SHE’S IN THE MOUNTAINS

I arrived in Phoenix, AZ on December 24, 2007 to locate an apartment in Scottsdale, AZ and then flew back to Florida to prepare for my cross country drive. I was moving to the Southwest once again to heal, to rest, to regenerate, to re-create myself, to dance and to be with the Spirit of the desert. It appears that whenever I need healing, I am called to go to the Southwest.

In 2001-2003, I was called to New Mexico, to mourn, to grieve and to heal the loss of my mom and all the people who perished on 9/11/01. I was now being called back to the Southwest once again, for it was now time for me to heal, to heal my body and my soul from 3yrs of very, very intense stress. My dad’s life threatening illness in Dec, 2005, his passing in August, 2006 and the August, 2007- March, 2008 forced evacuation from my home in Delray Beach, FL. The hot water heater from my upstairs neighbor’s condo exploded and totally destroyed my home.

I was very, very angry and needed to deal with these feeling and resolve them. I was angry at everyone related to the incident in my condo- the neighbor responsible for the damage, condo association who refused to take responsibility for their part of the repair, the contractors, several of whom tried to take advantage of my emotional state, while another didn’t return my phone calls and were unwilling to keep me in the insurance-contractor-customer loop, the lack of communication from the insurance adjuster and the insurance company , the mortgage company who delayed the progress of the restoration by withholding insurance checks pending four inspections spread out over months.

I’d experienced several significant losses and it was the season to heal my feelings and accept the changes that had occurred. There wasn’t a better place in the world to process and heal than in the magnificence of the Southwest- the sunsets, sunrises and full moons, delicate butterflies and birds, the birth of Spring’s desert flowers and spectacular mountains, the surprising and refreshing creeks and streams in the beauty and peace that only the desert, the mountains and the wildlife can offer me.

A TYPICAL ARIZONA SUNSET DRIVING HOME FROM CANYON LAKE, AZ

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

A BEAUTIFUL FEATHERED FRIEND OF THE DESERT

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

It’s amazing to me that when humans experience intense trauma or prolonged stress, we become out-of-balance in every area of our lives, to the point that we may temporarily lose our sense of self. We learned to live on automatic pilot, blocking our feelings in order to survive; our sleep patterns change; our eating patterns change; our sense of humor changes or disappears; our interests change; our self-image is altered, our strengths are weakened; our life’s purpose loses its direction; our values change and our reflexes are altered. I experienced all this and more and I can only describe it as feeling shell-shocked, lost, empty and feeling detached. These altered states may linger long after the trauma/prolonged stress has passed if we don’t take appropriate steps to heal, to experience nature’s beauty, her sounds and smells, taking the time to rest, sleep and eat nourishing foods. The healing energy in Arizona carried me through the various stages of healing between December 26, 2008-December 17, 2008.

Living in the magnificent Arizona desert for one year, in the affluent community of Scottsdale, AZ, was Spirit’s prescription for me and the best rehabilitation I ever could have asked for- a time to re-structure, to re-generate, to re-store every cell in my body to its optimum level of inner peace and acceptance.

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

I love the Southwest, whether I’m hiking a mountain trail or meditating atop a Sedona vortex. I have an extraordinary mystical experience every time I’m in the desert – I feel closer to God here than anywhere I’ve ever been in the world. I love the clean air, the desert flowers, the wildlife, the stories told by the cactus, the influence of the Native American and the Mexican cultures, the amazing topography with its magnificent mountain ranges and hiking trails, the miracle of man-made lakes tucked away within the highest mountain ranges, the snake-like roads going up/down the vast expanse of mountains, photographing magnificent sunsets and full moons from high upon a cliff. I can feel my body and spirit healing during these experiences. My breathing changes, my heart expands, my cells tingle and the stress disappear from every part of my face.

BOYCE THOMAS ARBORETUM, SUPERIOR, AZ

CACTUS BLOOMS

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

THE CACTUS OF LOVE

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

BLOOMING CACTUS IN THE DESERT

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

Moving to AZ was a significant move for me as I was guided here primarily for self- healing, for recuperating from several years of extremely intense stress. First, when my dad became seriously ill in Dec, 2005 as he was dressing for his 90th birthday party. As dad was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, we cancelled the party . Friends and family waited with my sister and I in the emergency room at Delray Hospital. praying for his recovery. For the next nine months, I was my dad’s primary caretaker and juggled my life between my extremely heavy schedule as a medical massage therapist, teaching 4 ZUMBA GOLD classes a week, darting from hospital to nursing home and back to the hospital, following ambulances and being on alert 7/24. Emergency phone calls came at all hours of the day/night as I slept with my cellphone and home phone next to my pillow. I wore my cell phone around my neck and programmed a special ringtone for dad. I left many clients on the massage table as I ran to his side, to be there for him.

It was a very difficult year and Acupuncture and Chiropractic treatments helped to keep my body and mind strong. I’m truly grateful that I continued to teach/dance ZUMBA FITNESS which became a wonderful moving meditation for me. ZUMBA helped to reduce my anxiety and depression as I was able to take my mind off my worries and fears for 1hr. I spent the rest of 2006 dealing with the loss of both parents and the medical diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion or burnout.

THE HEALING POWER OF YELLOW

A FLORIDA HIBISCUS

Photographer Dr. Shellie

I was beginning to feel healthy and whole again and spent the summer of 2007 upstate NY, closer to my family. It was a fabulous summer, teaching 2 ZUMBA GOLD classes a week in New Paltz, NY , visiting my children and spending quality time with my delicious grandchildren. At the close of summer, August, 2007, on my way home to FL I received a phonecall from my housesitter advising me that all my ceilings were leaking and my condo was flooding faster than he could catch the water. The upstairs neighbor’s hot water heater exploded damaging my entire condo . Immediately upon my arrival home from NY, I was forced to evacuate. My beautiful condo, just redecorated prior to the flood, was now a construction site- huge commercial loud blowers in every room and water extraction units everywhere. My beautiful home had walls torn down, carpets ripped up, ceilings collapsed, furniture moved to storage,bathrrom vanities damaged and removed. For the next 7 months, I moved into/out of a different friend’s home every month, living out of 2 suitcases.

I felt displaced, disconnected from my familiar, comfortable surroundings, separated from my personal belongings. I slept in a different bed every month, didn’t eat my usual diet of organic foods, didn’t have my beautiful selection of clothes or jewelry to choose from. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going to be living from one month to the next. I was overcome with fear, panic and still in shock, never having unloaded my car from my wonderful NY summer. I didn’t know how long it would take to restore my home or when I’d be able to return. Many of my friends in my condo community have not yet returned to their homes from hurricane damage that occurred 3 yrs before and I was concerned that this might be happening to me. Problems with insurance companies, condo associations and contractors froze the restoration of their homes, similar to what was happening to me.

FINDING PEACE IN THE BEAUTY OF COLOR

Photographed by Dr. Shellie

As it turned out, it’s been 12 months of hiring and firing contractors, difficult communications with contractors, insurance companies, upstairs neighbor, condo association and mortgage company. Most of my calls were not returned, faxes sent to various companies were lost and had to be re-sent repeatedly and insurance checks were delayed. I rarely reached my insurance adjuster, nor the same person in the insurance company handling my claim. I was put on hold, disconnected, calls forwarded, had to repeat my account number, my case number, my claim number over and over again.Most of my calls to the insurance company directed me to voice mails and seemed to be ignored. I didn’t receive paperwork I was told I’d receive. Appointments with me were cancelled. Money was withheld pending inspection after inspection after inspection by the mortgage company. This horror seemed like it would never end. I was in limbo. My dilemma was, should I rent a place in Florida, month by month? Should I take my furniture out of storage and move to another location? I was unable to ascertain a date as to when all the insurance money would be paid, when the condo association would pay the contractor’s for their responsibility in the matter and when the contractor’s would complete the job.

My condo was in the process of repair/replacement of floors, walls, ceilings by the end of the year and I needed to find a place to live. Where should I go? I couldn’t heal in Florida. I needed to be in the mountains and in the desert. It was time for me to recuperate, to mourn my losses, to reconnect with my dad’s spirit, to mourn the loss of my home, to nurture myself by taking photographs of nature, to nurture myself with spa treatments and to cook again in my own kitchen. I needed to eat my own delicious home-made healthy meals in my own kitchen with my own pots, serving pieces which I didn’t have while I wasn’t living in my own place. I needed to rest, sleep in my own bed and put my clothes into my own bedroom furniture.

It was time for me to reconnect with friends in San Diego, New Mexico and Las Vegas. It was time for me to take courses to refresh and regenerate my mind, my body and my spirit. It was time for Grandma Shellie to dance and to teach ZUMBA GOLD classes.

It is time to say Hasta Luego to the Southwest, to my wonderful new friends, and Welcome Home to Florida. Fortunately, I will be returning to AZ every year for my healing infusion at my beautiful Sedona Retreat. I’m so ready to return home and very excited to be closer to my family in NY. I am returning refreshed, regenerated and renewed and extremely grateful for my Arizona Adventure.

Grandma Shellie returned to FL to close another chapter in her life.  In 2009, she returned to NY,  to reconnect with her family, to make peace with the present and to heal the past.

With her spiritual work from the past completed, Shellie is now living and teaching in Virginia Beach, Va  beginning another adventure on her life’s journey.

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10 Comments

10 thoughts on “Hasta Luego, AZ – Shalom, FL

  1. Shellie:

    I have missed you and know that you are a devine spirit and am happy that you feel you have rejuvenated yourself and are ready to move on. I am selfish and are glad that you are moving back here.

    We have missed you.

  2. Hi Shellie,
    Great Sharing and Video….I know that best place to rest and heal is indeed AZ as I know
    that I never felt closer to God than there…It is like you are surrounded by that
    wonderful energy all the time…Wishing you the very best in your new adventures in Florida…
    Take good care.Love, Marie

  3. Nice Closure Shellie!
    I am so happy to have met you, and enjoyed our hang-out time and many sharings about deeper purpose and life’s journey. I will miss you but wish you love, happiness and success. We are kindred spirits and know we will continue to stay in touch. Take care and enjoy your journey!
    Peace! Kathy

  4. Shellie,
    Thanks for being a friend in life this year, short time but really enjoyed you. I will be moving back to Nebraska next week to be close to my children and granchildren. I wish you the best and God Bless. Check out the networks in Fl.
    Norma Earl
    Scottsdale Express Network
    American Business Women’s Association

  5. Well, Shellie, we will miss you. We really enjoyed your presentation and would have liked getting to know you better. Never got to go to one of your classes or had a massage! Oh well. time passes too quickly.
    I hope you will be happy in Florida. I think you know more people in a closer way. God bless and take care…
    All the Best to you, Rosemary

  6. Dear Shellie,
    I can understand your need to retreat. Returning to nature and beauty helps rejuvenate me.
    I’m glad that your year was healing but “gladder” that you are coming back. I missed you and look forward to renewing our friendship.
    We’ll welcome you back with open arms!!!!
    OOOXXX, Elisa and Robert

  7. Just took my first Zumba class (I’m 50). I was searching the net to learn more and came across your site. You are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your video.

    p.s. The belts you and the other ladies are wearing are beautiful. What/where are they (from)?

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