Welcome to episode 37 with Amanda Rootsey, where we are discussing how to live gently for your health, peace, and well-being.
In today’s episode, Amanda shares with us her story of being diagnosed with cancer in her mid-twenties, and how this caused her to radically shift her lifestyle to facilitate her recovery.
We discuss the best kind of nutrition (which foods for health), organic and natural products (what to look for, and where to find them), and the importance of shedding the excess (stuff, and activities), and slowing down in your life.
Amanda is a huge advocate of living gently. Slowing down, so that you make time for self-care, not over-packing your schedule, and creating time for those things that are important to you. We explore these concepts in some depth, and how Amanda has created them in her life with ease.
We also discuss what she has learned from her work with young teenage girls (and their parents), and the light that it shines upon us, and our struggles, into adulthood.
You’ll love this episode if you:
– Are rushed off your feet and/or heavy handed with yourself, this will teach you how to live gently.
– Want to make time to minimise excess in your lifestyle, so you can make time for the things that are most important to you, but you don’t know where to start.
– Have been ill and want to know how Amanda created a gentle lifestyle to help heal her cancer, and get into good habits and good health ever since.
Time-Stamped Show Notes
[0:30] Amanda discusses how now she used to live a very different life. In her early to mid 20’s, and all throughout high school, she was a people-pleaser. At her first job, she was very reliable, the person who never let people down. During the fast-living lifestyle of studying at University and doing side-job, she felt invincible. And yet, she looked exhausted and she knew she was; yet she stayed the course.
It was when she found a lump on her neck, which turned out to be stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that she was forced to stop in her tracks. From there, she went vegan, meditated, and learned about health after years of modelling. She began to realise the amount of chemicals that were around her: on her face and skin, and even in her food.
The cancer forced her to contemplate the type of life she was living, and how she could help her body to heal going forward.
[2:28] When Amanda was diagnosed with cancer, instead of feeling overwhelmed for her future, she began to research. She trusted whatever came up for her at the time was what she needed.
One of the books that really helped her was “The China Study,” which was a book about proteins in food and how it can impact the body. She wanted to survive cancer through natural means, and so she became vegan, and began meditating.
Her doctor told her about conventional cancer treatments, and also assured that her lifestyle adjustment was a positive step in the right direction.
[09:31] After her diagnosis, the hardest part was finding faith in herself, and believing what she was doing was right course of action for her. This was the biggest lesson for her, because what works for someone else, might not work for you.
She did a juice fast in Thailand for 7 days. She cleaned out her liver through some of the most unusual means!
[10:26] In the year she was diagnosed, Amanda did things naturally for about a year and went down her own path as much as possible. Eventually, she had chemotherapy and radiation.
During this time, her eyes were bright, her skin was clear, and she had lots of energy. All the changes in lifestyle made it seem very quick to see changes; and during the 12 months of treatment, her tumors were reducing. She adopted a new self-care regime, where she consciously began switching-out the product she used.
She encourages you to look closely at the products you are using. Consider buying more naturally where possible when they finish, as there may be organic or natural alternative products you can use. A way to check out how many chemicals impact your products is by entering them on ewg.org. They have an incredible database for almost any ingredient to see and how it’s rated in terms of safety.
Amanda changed quickly because it was important at that time. She stopped wearing a lot of products – especially make up – for a while, until she found appropriate alternatives.
A frequent fear is that this lifestyle change is going to be difficult, which stops many from pursuing it. However you can find products in your local supermarket, and the best items you’ll find are online. These days there is so much on offer compared with 6-7 years ago, even shampoos are labeled vegan or organic.
[13:49] Amanda, her puppy Trudy, and partner David were living off the grid for a while. David dropped everything to look after her full-time. At the time, he was more exhausted than Amanda.
They were living in a caravan. It was simple, and the worries of having a big home to clean were eliminated. Living simply was a great way to go through that healing journey. They grew their own veggies, lived off one solar panel, and battery.
[16:52] The experience of going through cancer, living off the grid, and going through this healing process bought about a change of mindset and beliefs. They were conscious of what was being bought into their lives.
Once Amanda moved back from being off-grid she slotted back in very easily. She believes that once you start living a certain way, it’s easy to get back into the swing of things and forget what you learnt. And so, she has to remind herself that she lived simply back then. If you want to live off the grid, there is a proper way of doing it. You need to build and set things in a particular way.
[20:00] Amanda discusses being mindful of where your food comes from, and how you fill your time. For her, it’s important to watch her calendar and ensure that it’s not too crazy. When it gets too crazy, she gets pulled away from her partner.
She knows that having lots of white space during the week in her calendar allows her to be freely creative. It also allows her to work the way that she wants to, which then flows through all other aspects of the household. This is how she creates a gentle space.
[26:42] All day, every day, teaching wasn’t something she could sustain long term. More importantly, the fact that it would burn her out meant she couldn’t be at her best for her students. At the moment, she has week-long programs during the school holidays, and ensures that she has the time and support during the week to recover.
She has found this process of balance came from trial and error. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of the online business space, however, she would much prefer to have more time and to feel more relaxed in the day.
She’s a firm believer in working in a gentle way, which means you can find what works for you, and that it is possible to earn a decent income without having to sacrifice everything.
[32:42] Amanda has learned on her journey that natural health is important. She also believes that we are in control of our thoughts, self-worth and goal-setting. At the end of her off-grid year, she was feeling antsy to get out and start doing something. During the following year, she got her first program created: a one-week curriculum. It was well received, and so she kept going.
[37:45] One of the things she really enjoyed was working with young people, in pre-teen and teen years. She learned how much this period of life impacts into adulthood.
She began to understand the psychology of teens. Their brain is developing in a chaotic manner as both sides of the brain are beginning of fire-off at the same time. This can be confusing, and is in addition to hormonal and bodily changes.
It’s intense, and as adults, we are very quick to say, “get over it,” or, “you’ll be fine.” Yet it’s everything to them in that moment; these experiences can be devastating for them.
[40:55] As an adult, you get through friction, but for school kids, peers have some unfiltered opinions and harsh words. Kids are also very curious, and are eager to learn, particularly life skills that are not taught in schools. Amanda feels her courses give these teens an opportunity to sit and chat as young people do, and when you can sit there and ask them, you find that they are so wise in that moment too.
[42:50] To “shine from within” comes back to having open communication with each other, and with children and teens. It’s about finding ways to keep that communication going, particularly around the ages of 14 or 15. Teenagers tend to want to pull back at this time because they want independence, and start to look to their peers for advice.
And so they will argue with everything that their parents have to saying, because they want to be different. If you can make sure that you’re communicating with them really well throughout that time, it makes life smoother, and simpler. Have those moments where it’s just you two whether it is when you’re driving them to sports, or dashboard conversations, cooking, going for a walk.
Amanda completed a mother/daughter retreat earlier in the year. When the mums were apart from the teen girls, they shared with Amanda that “they can see how stressed out parents are, and don’t want to add to their burdens”.
And so “Deep and Meaningful” time that the teenagers could have with their parents was allocated. This was their time together, which was exciting to have. The mum’s really loved hearing that they wanted that, too.
[46:02] Amanda has learnt so much through her program, “Shine From Within”. It has been going for 4 years, and keeps organically evolving.
The beauty of these programs also is that people can be taught to run their own programs. Amanda still runs the week-long courses and, next year, she will be finishing off a book with the publisher Hay House. This will probably lead to more opportunities to work with teams that need an online program.
She is also creating The Gentle Business Mastermind, as she believes there is a need be surrounded by people who want to build a business gently, rather than hustle.
Connect with Amanda on her websites:
Social Media for Amanda Rootsey and Shine From Within
Amanda’s recommended books:
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda
What products have you got are close to running out? You may wish to swap them for something more organic and natural, or perhaps even make it yourself.
I recommend checking out Trash Is For Tossers for some great inspiration on natural and homemade products that are both good for you and the environment (no affiliate, I just enjoy Lauren’s blog!).
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Thank you for tuning in curious friends! Until the next episode, take care of yourself.