The Art of Awareness

Some of you may know that I live in a place called Shelleyland.  No, no, that’s not my response when people ask me where I live nor do I have a penchant for referring to myself or my world in the third person because to me, that’s an indicator of narcissism.  I once had a very narcissistic boyfriend, let’s call him Tad, because after all, that is his actual name and if, perchance, you happen to forget, he is certain to remind you in a forthcoming statement without your needing to ask.  Any lack of anonymity, Tad used to say things like, “That’s not the way Tad does things” or “Tad is the man when it comes to grilling.” Come on, his name is Tad, he either has to grill, surf or both.

So I’ve been referring to this place called Shelleyland.  It’s really magical.  It’s not a physical location nor tangible place and I can’t give anyone directions on how to get there in fact, I am surprised I know how to get there given it’s a long-forgotten place to where I honestly never thought I would return.

When I was a little girl, Shelleyland was a hot-pink carpeted bedroom with a hot-pink ceiling to match where the whimsical, feminine calico pattern of the wallpaper matched the bedspread and the curtains.  The room was filled with the sounds of the Osmond Brothers, John Denver, Karen Carpenter, and Carol King playing on the turntable and the white-washed with pink trimmed bedroom furniture patiently waiting for the dance of rearrangement day to become familiar with their new positions. The two twin beds might be pushed together for a lavish faux queen bedded look or perhaps they would sit lengthwise across the far wall leaving space for adventure and drama.

Oh yes, the daily “what will happen with Barbie, Ken, and misc. friends’ drama.”  Will it be Barbie opening the door to find Ken returning from Nam minus a leg?  Will she still love him?  Of course, she will.  After all, they stripped down to spend some time on the tissue box, and shortly after, in her arms still plastic arms, Barbie held her new baby, the final doll in the Russian wooden doll set.  Other times, Barbie and friends were subjected to an unfortunate carnival accident at the hands of a crazy Carnie ride operator who turned the record play on high-speed causing the dolls to go flying off resulting in massive hot pink carpeted carnage and very little chance for survival.  Other games included cosmetology involving scissors and a BIC pen, a myriad of irreversible aesthetic skin conditions created with a pin as well fashion designing day a la toilet paper couture.

Shelleyland wasn’t a place I consciously chose, however; it certainly provided a safe haven amid the rampant screaming, yelling, and fighting or during another tough day of, “Nobody likes me” or “No one will play with me.”

I found refuge in the reem of lined notebook paper I used to draw all of my haute couture designs, my round Panasonic Panapet AM transistor radio, Colorforms, paper dolls, six-string guitar and fish tank with the African Frog whose skeleton I later found attached to the fur of one of my dogs.

And then I died and stopped visiting Shelleyland.  I don’t remember everything that happened nor is there any need to open the curtains to reveal a narrative that no longer exists. I just know I died for a while. I got swept away like fragments of glass.  The pain and hurt of life’s waves tossed and turned my tatteredness as I desperately treaded water yet wishing I could drown, let go, let go, float away, float away…disappear…

And then I slowly floated to the surface.

The expanse of awareness transcends that of the sea

I arrived in Shelleyland.  It’s not the same as I remembered.  It’s better.  It’s actually more colorful, beautiful, and bountiful.  It’s the vast, barrierless, boundaryless space of awareness that beckons and calls me to witness sparkly, vivid-hued ideas with pretty pictures dancing like shiny little specks of glitter gently nudging me to notice and inviting me to play. When the muse shows up and embodied joy is sensed, I begin to play.

Shelleyland is my maximum aperture of my awareness that I discovered through the practice of mindfulness inviting me to be present, to practice noticing without judgement, to cultivate a beginner’s mind to see through the eyes of a child and to practice living intentionally.

The intention of my writing and art is to #joyitforward.  I captured Shelleyland as best I could in a statement:

Shelley Brown
The Glue is Drying – Collage Art & Stories
Growing up as an odd, chubby, artsy child in the late 60’s’, early 70’s, I aspired to become Barbie, a Stewardess or a Playboy Bunny.  With my untreated addiction to candy, paper dolls, Vogue & House Beautiful magazines as well as Colorforms, I lived for anything to take me away into a fantasy world of pointy breasted, high-fashion, feminine whimsy.  Later in life, after my 19th nervous breakdown, I returned to my artistic roots reflecting my childhood passions.
My stories and collages are quirky little, “left of center” musings; like a little drop down the “rabbit hole”, the collective components find their way together to create deliciously weird, jewel-toned messages.  I never know what I am going to create.  The “Muse” arrives and guides the way.
My mission is to delight. anything can happen.  Anything is possible. Mostly, my stories and collages are grounded in joy.  My hope is that they bring some to you.


With love from Shelleyland

If you would like to see more of my stories & collage art.  Please visit:



Corporate Mindfulness:


Shelley Brown
Shelley Brown
I’m Shelley Brown, A "Type A" Meditator. I spent 25 years in corporate sales, climbing the ladder and making great money, all while stress slowly consumed me. Then, after a particularly difficult time, I decided it was enough. So I learned how to address my stress. Then, I became better at my job AND my life. Today I teach sales leaders and their teams how to mitigate stress so they can be human beings at work and win more deals. And, BONUS! I help teams cultivate a sales culture that drives continual success. I’m not your typical corporate mindfulness trainer. In fact, I’m probably a lot like you.

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    • OH MY GOSH!!!! THIS!!! THIS!!! I don’t have words!!! Thank you so much. I am sensing into the most overwhleming feelings of joy and gratitude. Thank you!!!

    • Like what am I supposed to do with this enormous compliment. It’s like one of those Italian restaurants where each person orders an entree and then you realize that they are all family sized… kind of like this compliment!!!

  1. Oh, Shelley, I adore your creative expression and I’m grateful you rediscovered “Shelleyland” in a new and magical way now! Your collages evoke joy and often laughter. Your writing regularly makes me smile. and/or laugh out loud. You are definitely offering #joyitforward! I love you, my friend!! Thank you for being you!!