Reflections on Changing Times: The New Trump University


So, we are in new territory with our current president-elect, Donald Trump. I have had the array of feelings that many people have had: shock, dismay, anger, and sadness.

I was in Kauai, Hawaii for election night, which meant before I went to bed I knew the outcome. I did not sleep much. I held my daughter and cried. I awakened a short four hours later in a state of anxiety that only could have been the entire world reacting to the news. My body was reverberating – and not in a good way.

As I always do when I awaken early and feel stress, I asked the angels for guidance. I then decided to get out of bed and watch the Kauai sunrise on my last day there, something I had not done all week. Change was already occurring. While on the beach, I drew the peace sign in the sand and watched the sunrise. It was symbolic of drawing a line in the sand. What I share with you below is my line in the sand; what will yours be?

What I know after reflecting, listening, and hoping for answers:

  1. This is a pattern disruption. In the corporate leadership coaching book I am currently writing, this is one of the themes of my coaching. Big things come along and they are what I call pattern disruptors. This event qualifies. The question becomes: What patterns will you allow this election to disrupt for you? If you are uncertain, let me give you ideas: anything you said you did not stand for in this election, but possibly are doing in your life, or where you are guilty of not honoring ALL of you and your values. What is it in your life that you simply will not stand for any longer? Where do you know you could be sharing your voice more in the world?
  1. This is an opportunity to love ourselves and our families more. For me, one of the pattern disruptors is to be kinder to myself and my family. Some of my old ways are just not going to cut it for me any longer. They are leftovers from archaic ways that were born of a generation that exacted fear and intimidation from children and I am complete with them. They no longer serve me. And my children will be peacemakers in this world. What no longer serves you that you WILL commit to letting go of? How can you love you and your family more? How can you take care of yourself better than you have been each day? How can you bring more love into this world?
  1. This is a time to shine your light so amazingly bright. The truth is that I have been afraid to publish my book on self-love – In Love With Me: The 10 Steps to Successful Relationships and Self-Love – due to my own shame and my fear about what people, including my family, might think. That small thinking is no longer tolerable for me. I know this book can help millions because those who have read it to edit or review it said it immensely helped them and has changed their way of thinking. They have asked me to get it out so others can read it. It will be out in the next two months. I am not doing this book for me, I am doing this for anyone it may help. I must shine my light so others can shine brighter as well. All of us who are here for the greater good of others, MUST stand up straighter; we must volunteer, get that book out, be an activist for our own values and causes. And if you are reading this and wonder what greater good you are here for, there is one. Just ask yourself and you will know. If you were placed on this planet, you have one.


  1. This is a time to release our deepest fears. The reality is that any of us who have lived or experienced what the president-elect has emanated are feeling shame and are being re-traumatized (whatever event happened earlier in our lives is now retriggered by having him in a place of power). Wherever power was used negatively against us, we are now dealing with trauma that is being brought back to the forefront by his comments and behaviors because he is now our leader. He reminds us of a time in our lives where we were not treated well. This happened for many during the months leading up to the election and it has hit us to our core right now. I ask you to look at what this is for you, because if you do you can heal this for the rest of your life. At some point in your life, this “power over” quite possibly left you “powerless” in some area. It is time to heal this and regain all your power. You can complete this fear of the old abuse of power. This truly can be your opportunity to let go of any hold a bully, sexual predator, discriminatory person, or abusive person has had on you for all these years. What we fear we manifest. YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOUR FEAR.

We all have experienced our own lives so I can’t tell you precisely how this will look for you. However, what I know is that I have had deep fears of being in front of others in positions of authority, due to some of the same reasons that we fear Mr. Trump. I am afraid of being shamed, humiliated, or hurt when I am in front. What I must know deep down is that I am truly safe with myself and the people I choose in my life. And I must be safe with others in all my actions and words. Safety is a core issue in this election for me and I said it all along: I don’t feel safe with him. However, we are the only ones that can truly create safety for ourselves, it comes from within.

In mere hours after this election, I had a deep shift that was about the fact that if this is what it has come to in our country, then my fears are not worthy of being fed any longer. I am so much stronger than this – that is the bottom line. Look at what you know your weakest link is, or what your deepest fear is, and take this opportunity right now to release it so you can rise up to the be the human you were born to be. Whatever has held you back your entire life, let it go. And if you voted for Mr. Trump, whatever the fear or frustration was that had you vote for him, this can also be released at this time. Because I can guarantee you that whatever fear/frustration you voted from, you can only change this in your life by changing yourself. It will not come from Mr. Trump. In times of chaos, we get a blank slate. What will your new life story be? What will be changed in your life in the next four years? 

  1. This is a time to stand up for what we value. We can and we will stand up for ourselves and our brethren. I believe many of us have been too complacent or ignorant regarding what we can do to change things. We have to stand up powerfully, not in anger, fear, or hate, but to protect what we know in our hearts is right. We must use our voices to be heard. This is not the time to stay small and live in fear. It’s just the opposite, my friend. 
  1. This is a time to be vulnerable and REAL. Let’s be real and vulnerable with our loved ones about how much we love them and cherish them. Let’s be real and vulnerable about our deepest fears and how we can stand up to them. Let’s be real that we will stand for our values of dignity, respect, and equality for all. Let’s be vulnerable and say how much we love our country and we will do anything possible to preserve the strides we have made. That we will choose love over fear in every action and interaction. Most of all, may we remember not to judge others as it only breeds hate and contempt. 
  1. Ask those who voted for Trump what their biggest frustration is. And then just listen with a curious mind (another leadership coaching technique.) This will give you a lot of data if nothing else. I am also saddened by some of the posts I have recently seen and my first reaction was to delete these people from my Facebook. Now I realize I must look a little deeper to find the cause of the frustration people who voted for Mr. Trump voted from. 
  1. In some way Trump is a mirror for you. Sorry to be the bearer of this truth. If he frustrates you, there is something inside of you that is being mirrored. Just take a moment to reflect on this. There is no judgement but we are here to learn from this. I know my own anger and at times unkind words are my mirror. This feels vulnerable to write but until we acknowledge, we cannot overcome. AND WE WILL OVERCOME. It is our birthright to be our best self. No other person can take this right away from us OR give this to us (in the case that some think Trump is the answer). The answer always lies within us. Mr. Trump is just speeding up the process. We are all now enrolled in a four year course at Trump University. I plan to come out so much stronger, braver, and prosperous. Look for many more Trump University posts from me.
  1. LOVE. Again, I will be vulnerable. If you are reading this, I do love you and I do not care how you voted. Truly, I do not. I have so much love inside that has been so hidden and so run by fear. My love is about to shine in a huge way. Look for the release of my new book (12 years in the making) In Love With Me: 10 Steps to Successful Relationships and Self-LoveGod Bless the USA, land of the free and the brave.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. (The quote was originally cited by Gibran Khalil Gibran)

— John F. Kennedy, inauguration address, January 1961.

And for Your Life and All Future Generations…

–Shannon Rios Paulsen MS LMFT

Marry Yourself First: My Marriage to Myself in Guatemala

My solo trip to Guatemala was my first solo trip. I had left my corporate job and was working on my own. I decided to take almost four weeks and journey to Guatemala to find myself after the end of a relationship.  Solo travel after the end of a relationship turned out to be a pattern: I would go and find myself after a relationship ended.  A perfect way to move on and enjoy life fully again! Traveling solo for me is extremely therapeutic.  I’ve met so many amazing men and women, and I’ve seen so many things I would have never seen had I just taken a tour.  Usually on these trips, I would show up with no big plan in mind.  I would “go with the wind,” which felt like the most freedom I had ever had in my life.

During my first solo trip in Guatemala, I was grieving the loss of a recent relationship that was as close to abusive as I have ever experienced. The really good news is that as soon as I knew there was abuse potentially going to happen, I made a decision in that moment that this person was not for me.  I truly had asked the Universe to send me a sign if I should or should not stay with him: Just days later the prelude to abuse occurred.  I was actually fearful of this man, so ending the relationship took a bit of time but was a very healthy step for me.

Young girl looking at the seaI was free, and the land was so rich in Guatemala. During this trip, I was staying at a wonderful hostel location in San Marcos near Lake Atitlan, my favorite place in Guatemala, where I had fun and met a lot of people.  There was a stone sauna, and we would all do a sweat together in a stone house and bond with everyone.  Some people did not wear clothes.   I loved that the level of inhibition is so different and much lower in other countries.

I connected with a very important teacher in Guatemala.  Hugh, a man from Australia, and I made an instant connection. It was like I had known him forever—and he was certainly a teacher for me. The small town of San Marco was having a fair, and there was a ferris wheel we decided to ride.  We were stuck at the top for awhile, and his friend yelled up to us, “That is how gringos die!” Yes, that ferris wheel was truly beyond old.  I remember yelling to the operator “mas dispacio” (go slower).  I was afraid. But when you travel solo, you really don’t focus on fear as much.  That is part of the freedom.

Hugh would become a part of my self-healing journey. We connected so easily and deeply.  I did not want him to leave, and he invited me to travel with him. I said YES.  We decided to travel to a beautiful waterfall with amazing pools, Semuc Champey, Guatemala.  Hugh got sick before our trip was to leave, so I went ahead riding in the back of an old truck the entire bumpy, dusty road to this magical place.  I really hoped that Hugh would join me.  I waited, and he finally showed up but was still very sick.  Taking very good care of him and feeling so close and connected, I truly felt like his long-term girlfriend. We then decided to head to a place very near Honduras, Livingston. However, once we got there, things started to change. We met an Australian woman with whom Hugh connected, and he chose to spend the day with her. That was my cue to leave.  As I was leaving the next morning on the early boat, I remember Hugh looking me in the eyes and saying to me, “I am sorry. You deserve to be treated better.”  Yes, I did.  Hugh taught me once again that loving myself was the most important aspect of my life at this point.

I had used my limited Spanish and booked the early boat that they over packed by probably 50 people over to Puerto Barios.  I was so scared, and I literally thought to myself, “if I die now, my mom will never know what happened.”  But the boat was the quickest way to get back to Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan had become my safe haven.  I was hurting from this experience with Hugh.  I took the boat, a bus and then a chicken bus—yes, there was a chicken—and then a boat all the way back that day.  That was a true feat to make all of those connections! Times like these really allow you to realize your strength. This was a large part of my lesson on this journey.

I had a few days left, so I focused on taking care of me and continued my healing. One night I rented a nice room at a small hot springs in a neighboring town.  I was the only one there and had an idea as I gazed up at the twinkling stars: I did a wonderful little ceremony and vowed to love and respect myself for the rest of my life.  I married myself that evening. I first was married that evening in Guatemala, and I was married to me.

This vow and accompanying ceremony proved to be a turning point in my life.  I knew that I was loved because I loved me. I bought myself a beautiful jade ring on that trip, which I wore as my wedding ring.  I recommend this initial marriage to anyone who is single. We must truly marry ourselves first. It is such a wonderful way to acknowledge our love for ourselves. My journey had truly just begun, but I was finally looking forward to it with anticipation. I realized I had the power to make myself happy.  I am forever grateful to Hugh and all he taught me.

This is an excerpt from Shannon’s new book “In Love With Me: The 7 Self-Love Strategies for Successful Relationships, Parenting and Performance”.

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT ( has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting) ( She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.

Eating Well, Living Well

Monday April 7th, 2014.  Today I started the Whole30 food nutrition plan  I will share below what I am eating every day to assist you in knowing you can do this too!  I also want to give you ideas when you start the plan.   I know that the way we eat can change our lives.

Eating Well, Living WellFor me I realized three years ago in the midst of health issues that food affected not only my body, but my mind in a huge way.

As a female entering “those years” when our hormones begin to change, I realized that I could no longer eat what I wanted and still feel good.  Sugar and carbohydrates (the most offensive being wheat) can send me into a place where I am not the best person to be around.  I learned this very quickly with feedback from my husband!  I also felt more mentally balanced when I cut out wheat from my diet.  I cut it out for physical health reasons but realized it really helped me mentally as well.   My physical health reasons were truly scary for me.  I had arthritis like symptoms, memory issues and chronic fatigue symptoms.  After cutting out wheat, most dairy (including milk) and taking a probiotic every single day, I felt amazingly better.  You can read my whole food journey here,  My husband literally thought I was nuts when I told him I was sensitive to wheat but he started to do his research and he is now a believer.  Now he actually watches food more than me!

I am completely grateful that my body told me what it needed three years ago.  Doctors could not figure it out and even told me “we may never find out what is wrong”, and I had a low-grade continuous fever!  I found out I was truly poisoning my body with the food I was eating and now I have a passion to assist others in this journey.

I have been traveling for work and have “fallen off the wagon” in some respects so I want to completely reset my body and see how my mind responds once again.  I have been a sugar addict most of my life (until recently) and it is time to fully make that change.  I am also focused on my fertility and I know that having a healthy body could increase my chances in that area as well.   Intention: healthy, happy child 🙂

For me, communicating with you, my readers, truly assists me in toeing the line.  Thank you!  I am going to share this journey with you in the hopes that you may be inspired to do the Whole30 or really decide to eliminate foods we know are not good for us.  It just makes so much sense to me to NOT eat processed foods.  Our bodies  (especially or intestines where all the issues truly start) break down from these foods over time.   If I can’t pronounce it on a label, I will not purchase that product.  I see it as poison for my body.  I look for “clean” ingredients.

If you want my support in your journey, please reach out.  As a professional life coach for the past 12 years, I have assisted so many in achieving health through self-love and self care.  Eating well is a significant part of truly loving ourselves.

Join my husband, Jonas and me in this journey if you like!  I know switching to this type of nutrition plan can be SO daunting, it truly has taken me three years to figure out what I can eat that works for me.  I want to share this journey with you and let you know what is possible when we feed our bodies right!

Just a note:  we buy only organic and grassfed products.  I know there is the concern of cost.   For me, there is truly no price I can put on my health.  My husband’s motto is “eat less and eat healthy”.   I also really don’t eat out much at all on a plan like this which truly saves money. I would bet anyone that they truly do not spend that much more.  And it is also helpful if you have a reasonably priced health food store option available like we do (  But again when I think of the cost of health care and what I will have to pay ($4,000 deductible) if I get sick, over time a bit of extra cost is worth it every time I think of it.  I encourage you to think about what you can give up in your budget to eat healthy.   Again, there is just no price I can truly put on my health.

Day 1:


Green Breakfast Smoothie:

  • Cucumber (1/2)
  • Celery (3 stalks)
  • Parsley –handful
  • Kale – lacinato
  • Spinach – handful
  • Olive Oil – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 1-2 tablesppons
  • Dash of lemon (or lemon squeezed)
  • Garlic – clove or two 

This is a variation of another green smoothie I sometimes do (with what I had in the refrig today).


  • 1 egg – fried
  • bunch of kale with some great spices and salt, sesame seeds and coconut oil (fried in the same pan).
  • Spices are Bragg Organic Sprinkle.  I buy a lot of this brand:


  • BunnyLov Carrots
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Cashews


  • Chicken and Spaghetti Squash (with olive oil).


  • 3-4 Strawberries and 2 tablespoons Almond Butter

Day 2:


  • 2nd half of smoothie from yesterday.  Saved in a ball jar.


  • Stir fry with cauliflower, kale, asparagus and mushrooms,  with grassfed organic butter – kalona super natural.
  • Spices: Salt, White Pepper, Garlic Salt
  • Mulays Natural Mild Italian Sausage


  • One hardboiled egg with salt
  • 3 strawberries with a tablespoon of almond butter
  • Sunflower seeds and cashews.


  • Beef Burgers with avocado and onions (in the burgers).
  • Spaghetti squash and Spinach (cooked with salt and white pepper, garlic salt).

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT ( has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting) ( She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.

Vamos gringa! Let’s go single women: solo travel is the path to self-love and successful relationships

Traveling solo as a female has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life.  I recommend it to anyone.  In my 30s, when everyone else was getting married and having kids, I decided to love my single life.  When I decided this, everything changed.  I was able to look forward to the wonderful trips I took during those years.   Working on my own, I was always able to set aside 2-3 weeks each year.  It truly does not matter the amount of time but my advice is just do it.  Traveling solo has its highs and lows but when you return, truly you only remember the highs.  I believe this is because you learn so much about yourself that you can only see the trip as positive.  I work now as a life coach and coach women who want to travel solo.  I can not imagine those years single without my constant companion, solo travel!   It helped me learn to love myself more so I could be the best partner possible once I did find that relationship I hoped to create in my life.  My new book  In Love With Me:  The 7 Self-Love Strategies for Successful Partnerships, Parenting, and Performance highlights some of my travels and there will be more books to come dedicated to self-love and my trips!  Solo travel prepared me to think of life as a journey in whatever I do.  I even met my Swedish husband on my “last” solo trip to Thailand, little did I know it would be my last solo trip.  The article below discusses one of my “lows” that turned out to be a “high”.  I encourage you to learn, grow, love yourself and TRAVEL SOLO!

solo healthy single womanI was a 37 year old solo female traveler in Peru.  The previous day I had left my ATM card at the ATM and had missed my upgraded bus.  The 10 hour bus ride was now on the economy bus in Peru.  As we were driving through the middle of a huge, what looked to me like, a desert, the bus had a mechanical issue.  I was the only tourist on this bus, we had been sitting there over an hour and it was growing dark.  I knew a robbery was very possible and I began to feel afraid.  I began to pray and within 15 minutes the bus was moving, however you could tell it was still having issues.  We made it to the nearest town and everyone started getting off the bus.  I have very limited Spanish skills and I had no idea what was going on, when all of a sudden this huge Spanish woman with all of her petticoats looked at me and I am sure sensing my worry and said “Vamos Gringa!”  I knew what that meant, “let’s go white woman!”  She and I were fast friends, even though we could not communicate.  What I have learned from traveling in other countries that I can not speak the language well is that a smile is worth a thousand words.   Once we were safely on another bus, she was very proud of herself for helping me; she was smiling from ear to ear and telling others in Spanish.  I will never ever forget this amazing woman that helped me in a time of complete fear.  As a solo female traveler, I have met so many people along my journey that give me faith in the goodness of others, whom I will never see again.  I want to dedicate this story to all of them and thank them for their kindness and for the difference they have made in my life.  I would not be the person I am now without all of them.  I am so very grateful.

Shannon R. Rios Paulsen MS LMFT ( has spent the last 12 years learning, writing, and coaching about self-love. She is a professional life coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the author of two best-selling guided meditations: The Healing Journey Within: Meditations for Abundance and Love, Volume I (Deserving) and Volume II (Manifesting) ( She also wrote the best-selling book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict (  Shannon lives in Denver, CO with her Swedish husband whom she met on one of her solo self-love journeys in Thailand.