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What to make of Grandma Michele; Spreading the power of happiness

Grandma Michele in full parade dress at last year’s Trout Parade in Livingston Manor, NY. Parade goers can expect to see her again at this year’s parade.
TRR photo by Sandy Long

By Jane Bollinger
June 5, 2013

Michele Schuchman is a free spirit who marches to her own drumbeat, as many people in and around the Upper Delaware River Valley can tell you. Perhaps you’ve seen her in full costume, marching in a parade, or at a local event somewhere, or engaging an audience of children in conversation with her ever-present puppets. She is perhaps better known only as “Grandma Michele,” someone that (if you were writing a novel) would be a somewhat odd character who provides “local color.” Grandma Michele definitely provides color.

Schuchman’s blog (allaboutgrandmamichele.com) identifies her as an intuitive life coach and a psychic healer who helps people learn to use their own innate power and energy to address their problems.

Drawing attention to herself as a colorful local character is no accident. Having been a businesswoman since age 19—she has owned hair salons, a restaurant, and a successful gourmet sauce-making company—Grandma Michele and the wigs and costumes she wears are her “brand.” These days, her business is spreading happiness and harmony, love and laughter; because what Grandma Michele believes in is trying to help people heal their emotional pain to become happy. (Not a bad job, if you think about it.) Her method is not a mystery; she provides a friendly ear for people to tell her their stories, and then she gently shares the insights she’s heard by telling a new story back to them.

Sometimes she encourages people to tell her their stories by using the fantasy tale she wrote in her self-published book, called “Grandma Michele: The Story Teller and Listener.” It’s about an alien planet where “there is no disease, no famine, no crime, no fear, and no hatred. It is rich with love and harmony.”

Sometimes she relies on her ever-present puppets to get people to open up. Sometimes she uses “past regression therapy,” which she learned at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY with Dr. Brian Weiss and Carole Weiss, and sometimes she does healing “energy work” learned from David Feinstein and Donna Eden also at Omega Institute. “I don’t understand why,” she said, “but sometimes I’ve been able to pull pain from people. I have done it with homeless people; I teach them how to use their own natural [healing] energy.” (It is perhaps worth noting that at one point as a young adult, Schuchman herself was homeless for two months in New York City, working three jobs to get herself back on her feet.)