The Power of Gentle Living

The Power of Gentle Living
With Amanda Rootsey

Amanda Rootsey has a quiet power about her. She’s a real presence and a gentle soul. And in today’s world of hustle, and toxic messages of domination & competition, it’s wonderful to see a leader who shines from a place of sensitivity and gentleness.  

"Gentle living is about finding your own way. It doesn't have to look the same as gentle might look for me." ~ Amanda Rootsey
In this episode

  • The health crisis that sparked Amanda's journey into gentle living
  • What gentle living could really mean for you
  • Amanda's amazing meditation practice (that I’d never heard of) which is now the most important thing in her life

Transcript

Amanda Rootsey 0:00
It’s more about just finding your own way. It doesn’t have to look the same as how gentle might look for me but giving yourself permission to play and experiment and, and trusting yourself.

Tahlee Rouillon 0:16
Have you ever met someone that you were immediately drawn to? Someone who was warm and kind and really charismatic, but in a gentle way? That’s how I feel about today’s guest, Amanda Rootsey. Amanda has this quiet power about her. She’s a real presence and a gentle soul. I first met Amanda about six or seven years ago, when I had really only just begun my journey of self love. I was really drawn to her message of gentle living, as this was something that I personally struggled with. I used to be a real hustler. I had a very harsh inner critic, I used to shame and try to suppress my sensitive nature. So to see someone who was shining from a place of sensitivity and gentleness really blew my mind.

Tahlee Rouillon 1:13
Thankfully, over the years, I’ve discovered that actually, my sensitive nature is one of my greatest assets. It allows me to be incredibly creative, and channel some of my most powerful music. So learning to be gentle with myself, to honor and embrace my sensitive nature has been life changing, which is why I’m so excited to introduce you to Amanda. We talk about the health crisis that sparked her journey into gentle living, what gentle living could really mean for you. Plus the amazing meditation practice that I’d never heard of, which is now the most important thing in her life these days. If you, like me, have a tender heart and a sensitive nature. And you’d like to embrace the power of gentle living so you can shine from within too, you’re going to love our conversation. Enjoy.

Tahlee Rouillon 2:07
Hi everyone and welcome back to the Seekers’ Sanctuary. Today I’m speaking with Amanda Rootsey. She is a best selling author of Shine From Within: a teen girls guide to life, a youth mentor, a certified life and business coach and a co host of the Gentle Gusiness Mastermind. Through her holistic training school Shine From Within, Amanda has helped 1000s of teens and tweens to develop their confidence. And now trains adults around the world to be inspiring youth mentors through their award winning online youth mentor training.

Tahlee Rouillon 2:44
Amanda has appeared on The Today Show, and Today Tonight; been mentioned as a game changer in The Collective magazine; an all round advocate for Mother Earth by Peppermint magazine, and has been a regular columnist for Nature and Health magazine and Profile magazine. It was a two year battle with cancer in her mid 20s that changed Amanda’s perspective on life and inspired her to go vegan, simplify, including living off the grid in a shipping container for over a year, start meditating, enjoy each moment and encourage girls to shine from within. As an international model in a previous life, she still sometimes works as an eco model for ethical, fair trade and vegan brands. Oh my goodness, that is such an incredible bio. Hi, Amanda. Welcome.

Amanda Rootsey 3:37
Thank you Welcome. I mean, not welcome. But thank you. laughs I’m so honoured to be here.

Tahlee Rouillon 3:44
Thank you for being here. You’ve just done so, so much. And I’m really excited to hear more of your story. So let’s just dive right in. Can you tell us a little bit more about your heroines journey and what led you to start your business and how you got to where you are today?

Amanda Rootsey 4:07
Yeah, sure. For me, I think it started back at high school. That must be why I’m so drawn to work with with young people I think. At high school, I really I was just always really pushing myself to be what I thought was the right type of person to fit in with other people at school, to feel successful whatever I was doing at school, and I didn’t know much about myself. Which I guess those teen years… It’s all about that really isn’t it? Trying to discover what you might like to do in the world, who you really are and I was certainly feeling very lost. And when I graduated, I went to uni just because I felt like that’s what you’re supposed to do. I did a Bachelor of Business Management, something super boring. Like, that’s the next step. You know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to do that.

Amanda Rootsey 5:15
And while I was at uni, I was also teaching deportment and modeling courses on the side. And I always really loved going into schools and teaching things like confidence building skills, and job interview skills and deportment stuff like skincare and makeup and how to walk with a good posture that those sort of really old fashioned skills. But it was fun. Yeah, it’s always fun working with young people. But I never thought that I would start my own business in that way. Once I graduated, I went and I was modeling overseas for a while, and I found a lump on my neck. And it ended up being stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Yeah, and I was 24. So it was a pretty big wake up call for me. But it’s something I’m so grateful for now that I look back at it. Because I learned so many things over the next two years, when I was I tried to treat it naturally. I then needed to have chemotherapy and radiation as well, which was a good lesson in itself, because I was so against conventional medicine. By that point, I’d read so much about the natural side of things. I really wanted to do it in a natural way. Yeah, but I’m still here today, thanks to both, I think, thanks to both sort of treatments. And it was after going through that, that I really wanted to hold a safe space for young people to explore who they are getting in touch with their values and their strengths and just have like a really nurturing week where they get to learn things like yoga and healthy eating and introduce them to some of the teachers that I had come across as an adult only after I got sick. So that they can really shine from a young age.

Tahlee Rouillon 7:16
Wow, that’s so beautiful. Isn’t it incredible that like these things that we seem to do on the side, as it were, that really bring us a lot of joy and fulfillment, then later on in life kind of ended up being the thing we do.

Amanda Rootsey 7:38
Yes, yeah, so true. Yeah. It’s funny. And you can’t piece those together until you’re looking back from the other side, I suppose. But it can be so random. And they all lead to this point.

Tahlee Rouillon 7:52
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I know that you just said you can’t really kind of piece it together until you’re looking back. But was there like a pivotal point in your life that you were like, Ah, this is it? This is what I want to be doing with my business and my life?

Amanda Rootsey 8:11
Hmm. I think it was… it’s a good question. I think it was after I had finished with my treatment. My partner and I and our little dog, we went and lived in a shipping container off the grid for a while to sort of recover. And it actually took… or I would say it took my partner quite a bit longer to recover because he’d been in care mode for a couple of years. But for me, I really got this new energy back the moment I could start to just walk properly and breathe again and and be able to move my body. I got this new sort of energy for life, I think because it had been a couple of years of not being able to walk more than a couple of meters. Yeah, so I guess I got this real excitement for life. And I just kept thinking of Shine From Within and running these courses. And I would just spend hours in notebooks, writing out everything I wanted to share in those programs and how I wanted to set the space up and make sure that it was different to anything else that was out there and that I had experienced. So I think it was that moment of in between where we’d had… one of the reasons that we went and lived off grid like that was so that it was super cheap so that there wasn’t a lot of pressure to then have to go and get a full time job to be able to survive. So I think allowing us that space to sit and to see what was next was probably the pivotal moment because otherwise I would have just jumped back into my old life I think.

Tahlee Rouillon 10:01
That’s incredible. Yeah, it does seem to be that sort of life theme that when really terrible things happen and the crisis hits and you’re in that survival mode, to be able to have that space to slow down, to really think about what are my values? What means something to me? What does it mean to live a good life? What does it mean to be fulfilled? And to be able to have that space to get really clear on that seems to be a theme that comes through in a lot of people that I’ve spoken to, who have pivoted in their life, or they’ve embraced something that they didn’t think was possible for them.

Amanda Rootsey 10:50
Hmm, yeah. Because there’s nothing like those crises, I suppose to really jolt you awake and evaluate everything that’s around you, and what’s important to you. And recognizing that, for all of us, things can change in an instant. So what is it that truly lights us up? How can we be the best service to the world? Yeah, all those good things

Tahlee Rouillon 11:24
Yeah, absolutely. All those deep questions.

Amanda Rootsey 11:27
Yeah.

Tahlee Rouillon 11:30
Yeah. Do you identify as an empath, or a Highly Sensitive Person at all?

Amanda Rootsey 11:35
I do. Yeah. I’m still learning about that for myself. Yeah, Yeah, I do. And so Shine From Within has been running for about seven years. And because I had that motivation and energy in the beginning, I really almost fell into old… well, not almost, I could sort of fall into old patterns of pushing again, and really being out teaching a lot running workshops and things like that. And it’s just, it’s too much for a Highly Sensitive Person to be out in the world like that.

Tahlee Rouillon 12:15
Sure!

Amanda Rootsey 12:19
Yeah, so it certainly changed the way that I work now quite a bit, where I’m not going into schools four days a week and that sort of thing.

Tahlee Rouillon 12:28
Wow. I’m immediately exhausted just by hearing that laughs

Amanda Rootsey 12:32
I thought you would resonate with that Tahlee. laughs

Tahlee Rouillon 12:39
So do you have any rituals or non negotiables that help you to cope with life as a sensitive soul?

Amanda Rootsey 12:49
My biggest non negotiable is meditation. Yeah. That has to happen every day. And that’s my biggest one. The other one, which might seem a little strange, but I’ve been vegan since that time as well. So about 10 years now, too. And that really supports me in that way as well. Just allowing myself to choose those values I suppose every time I eat helps me to feel gentle. And the meditation, yeah, and then everything else. I don’t know. I hate feeling like I’m boxed in, even if I’m creating that for myself. So having too many rituals or specific things that I do every day freaks me out a little bit. Yeah. The biggest one would be would be meditation. Yeah.

Tahlee Rouillon 14:06
What particular style do you practice?

Amanda Rootsey 14:09
It’s called the Quan Yin Method. Have you heard of that before?

Tahlee Rouillon 14:17
I’ve never heard of that before.

Amanda Rootsey 14:20
It’s not very well known in the Western world, I suppose. The teacher, her name Supreme Master Ching Hai which stands for ocean of love, I believe, and Quan Yin means meditating inner light and inner sound. She has, I would say, hundreds of 1000s of followers, but definitely… Yeah, no, that would be correct. But they’re often in other parts of the world, I suppose. We’re usually pretty unusual when we turn up to a retreat. It’s just not really spoken about so much here, although she did do a tour here in the 90s, I think. Yeah, I feel very blessed to have found it for myself. She’s someone that I really felt connected to the moment I saw any of her YouTube videos or read any of her books. It’s not a particular religion or anything like that. But she has backgrounds… She grew up in Vietnam with Catholic grandparents, I think, and then Buddhist parents, and has always explored lots of different practices and religions too. So she can sometimes read something from the Quran or from the Bible or from the Buddhist sutras. And she just relates it so simply to everyday life. Yeah, I could just listen to it all day. And the practice has been incredible. Yeah, something that’s the most important thing in my life, for sure. And not something that I generally talk about.

Tahlee Rouillon 16:08
Wow. Thank you for sharing. Because, you know, when people say meditation, I think our minds tend to go towards the more common ones that we, particularly in the West, know of. So when I think of meditation, I’m thinking of things like mindfulness, or I’m thinking, transcendental meditation, or, some sort of combination of the two perhaps, or breathwork, or perhaps Vipassana or something like that. So to actually hear about this incredible new form. Yeah, that’s really exciting. Thank you.

Amanda Rootsey 16:49
It’s much more of a… it would be more like a religion, I suppose… That’s a bad word. Not a bad word to use. But it’s a loaded word to use. Yeah, more coming from that Indian philosophy of finding enlightenment and being a practitioner, as opposed to 10 minutes of calming your mind down. Yeah,

Tahlee Rouillon 17:21
Sure. Yep. Do you find that actually that practice has infiltrated into other areas of your life?

Amanda Rootsey 17:29
Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it informs everything actually. Yeah, definitely. It’s certainly helped me to navigate even business stuff. I just find the best ideas will always come after meditation or during meditation, sort of get a spark of something new. Yeah, it’s definitely impacted everything, I think, yeah.

Tahlee Rouillon 18:02
Yeah. I really feel like a theme for your life is gentle living. And it makes sense to me that your meditation would come from someone like Quan Yin, who is famously known for her gentle benevolence?

Amanda Rootsey 18:22
Yes. Yeah. She’s like the goddess of compassion or something. Right?

Tahlee Rouillon 18:26
Exactly. Yeah. Can you tell me what your big Why is? You know, why is your business Shine From Within? And why is gentle living so important for you and for the world?

Amanda Rootsey 18:44
Hmm. I think that’s just who I am. Yeah, they don’t feel separate… but yeah, my why. I just think the world needs more gentleness, in all sorts of forms. Yeah, if I can help a young person to feel more gentle in the way that they treat themselves and the world and the people around them. That’s like gold for me. Yeah, and then for us as adults, if we can tap into that gentle feeling a little bit more and away from the hustle and away from some of those terms that are often thrown around in business, then it can be supportive, but in saying that, I know that that comes quite naturally to me and to you and to lots of your listeners I’m sure as a sensitive person. And gentle is more my natural state and for others that might not be. So when I talk about gentle, especially from a business side of things or business point of view, it’s more about just finding your own way, it doesn’t have to look the same as to how gentle might look for me, but giving yourself permission to play and experiment and trusting yourself to know the best path forward for you, whatever that might be, whatever context that might be. And tapping into that inner knowing rather than it being too much about having to do things in a particular way. Does that make sense?

Tahlee Rouillon 20:44
Yes. Makes total sense. Thank you. Can you tell us an easy practical tip to help listeners get started? Or incorporate more gentleness, more gentle living into their lives?

Amanda Rootsey 21:04
Yes. It’s so many running through my head. I think finding some quiet always helps. It doesn’t matter what type of practice it is. It could even be just getting outside for five minutes. But yeah, incorporating some kind of quiet into your day. I think it helps you to start tuning into what it is that your heart’s trying to say and what might feel like the next best step. Another thing can just be really honestly taking a look at all the things in your life because I think so often we of course, we want to feel gentle and calm and balanced and joyful and all of those things, but can feel really overwhelmed about how that might look and overwhelmed by the responsibilities that we already have in our life. And so taking the time, even that might feel challenging to even carve out five minutes to do this, but taking the time to really evaluate all the things that you are doing.

Amanda Rootsey 22:23
And there’s something that I really love to use is just a free app online, called toggle, which is t o double g L. Toggle dot com. But you just type in what you’re doing and hit play. And it’s just a time tracker. But it’s been really enlightening for me to see where I am spending time and how much time I’m spending on different tasks, just so that I have a better idea of what’s realistic in terms of my time, where I might be able to delegate other things, where I might just be spending way too much time when it’s not necessary and remind myself to let things go and release them into the world rather than keep trying to perfect them. But yeah, it’s really supported me to tap back into how I’m spending my days. So I think that would be a good first place to start for someone else as well.

Tahlee Rouillon 23:21
Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Amanda Rootsey 23:23
Have you ever played with toggle?

Tahlee Rouillon 23:25
I’m definitely gonna check out toggle. That’s really interesting, because I’m sure that my perception of how long I spend on things is actually very different to the actual time I spent on things.

Amanda Rootsey 23:37
Yes. And I actually found it interesting. In a way I didn’t expect, I thought that I would spend a lot more time working than I actually do. I have this idea in my mind that “Yeah, I choose when I work and those sorts of things, but I’m pretty sure I probably still work 40 hours a week or something. It’s just at random times”. And by tracking it, I realize I don’t work that much at all.

Tahlee Rouillon 24:14
That’s great! It really sounds to me, just reflecting back on our conversation that so much of how you live your life is very aligned with some strong values. Would you say that’s true?

Amanda Rootsey 24:32
Yeah. Yep. It’s a lovely thing to say.

Tahlee Rouillon 24:38
You’re welcome. Do you think you would be able to maybe share what you think some of your deep values are?

Amanda Rootsey 24:47
Yeah, sure. The first one that comes to mind would be compassion. Is that the right word? I think so. The way that I understand that, or the way that that’s reflected to me is allowing everyone, every being, every animal, space to do its own thing. So it certainly comes through in all the things that I do. I’m trying to be really mindful of being gentle with the planet and each other. Another one is freedom, actually, freedom is a big value for me. Freedom in the way that I spend my time, I feel very privileged that I can, mostly I do have that luxury. And a part of that is I can’t have children after the cancer treatment. So I don’t have kiddies running around that would take up a lot of my time. So I’m really mindful of that. It’s easy for me to say that. Yeah. And that’s helped to inform the way that we’ve set our lives up too, my partner, he has his own business as well. So we’re both pretty lucky to have gone out for breakfast this morning, a nice, gentle breakfast. And then at other times when I might be launching something new, and I’ve got that real exciting energy, of birthing something new into the world that I can, I’ve got the freedom to be able to really devote hours and hours of time to it too, because I want to in that moment, as well. Yeah, I think compassion and freedom would be two big ones.

Tahlee Rouillon 26:57
Yeah, I definitely feel that for you. What does sanctuary mean to you?

Amanda Rootsey 27:05
Sanctuary. It’s so beautiful. I mean I feel it the moment I put on your podcast, Tahlee just hearing your voice at the start. It’s so soothing and does feel like a sanctuary in my mind.

Tahlee Rouillon 27:23
Thank you!

Amanda Rootsey 27:29
But it means a couple of things to me too. One is, is that inner sanctuary that I feel like I’ve found with my meditation practice, but also home, it makes me think of home and creating sanctuary, in my space at home, so that it does feel gentle, and nurturing and spacious, and all those lovely things. And I was inspired by something you posted the other day, too, about interior design as well. It reminded me that it’s important to bring more plants into the space and in those sorts of things make it feel more like a sanctuary because we spend so much time here, and it impacts on everything that we do and the way we show up in the world.

Tahlee Rouillon 28:20
Absolutely.

Amanda Rootsey 28:23
And it means space to me to actually. We just moved from a one bedroom unit into a two bedroom unit. And this feels like much more of a sanctuary than the one bedroom.

Tahlee Rouillon 28:34
Sure. Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you so much, Amanda. We are coming close to the end of the podcast. Do you have time to do a few rapid fire questions?

Amanda Rootsey 28:52
Sure.

Tahlee Rouillon 28:54
These actually have become some of my favorite questions to ask because I feel like they really, really show so much about what people value and desire in life in a really quick little snapshot so I’m curious to know your answers. Okay, so here we go. Coffee or tea?

Amanda Rootsey 29:15
Ah, tea. Oh… I think coffee now actually.

Tahlee Rouillon 29:20
Have converted recently.

Amanda Rootsey 29:23
Yes.

Tahlee Rouillon 29:28
Sunrise or sunset?

Amanda Rootsey 29:31
Sunrise.

Tahlee Rouillon 29:34
What’s worse laundry or dishes?

Amanda Rootsey 29:37
Awww dishes

Tahlee Rouillon 29:42
Beach or forest?

Amanda Rootsey 29:44
I feel like they’re all in flux at the moment. All of your questions. It’s always been beach, but I think it’s forest now.

Tahlee Rouillon 29:54
Oh, interesting. Why do you think that is?

Amanda Rootsey 29:59
I’m not sure. The forest… it could be a few things. We recently moved to the city so I just craved being out in the forest with no one around and being immersed in nature in that way. Whereas the beach just feels busy to me now. So many people at the beach. Yeah.

Tahlee Rouillon 30:23
Very true. Indoor plants or veggie patch?

Amanda Rootsey 30:29
Right now indoor plants.

Tahlee Rouillon 30:33
Singing out loud in the car in the shower?

Amanda Rootsey 30:36
The car. Just love a good singing session in the car.

Tahlee Rouillon 30:41
Absolutely. Favorite color?

Amanda Rootsey 30:44
Like a apricot-y pink color?

Tahlee Rouillon 30:47
Ah, interesting.

Amanda Rootsey 30:50
Does that mean something?

Tahlee Rouillon 30:52
No, I just never heard anybody say apricot before. laughs

Amanda Rootsey 30:59
Yeah, I’m just looking at my walls. It’s like, it’s pink. But it’s not like a bright vibrant pink. It’s more apricot.

Tahlee Rouillon 31:09
Favorite sound?

Amanda Rootsey 31:12
Oooh, I don’t know. Birdsong.

Tahlee Rouillon 31:16
Oh, yes. Favorite scent?

Amanda Rootsey 31:24
Lemon Myrtle

Tahlee Rouillon 31:27
Yes. I love that one. So refreshing.

Tahlee Rouillon 31:40
I will create a blog post for you with all the links to everywhere that people can find you, but just for our listeners where can people learn more about you?

Amanda Rootsey 31:50
AmandaRootsey.com. ShineFromWithin.com.au. And we didn’t really talk about this, but I also co host a gentle business mastermind. So GentleBusinessMastermind.com as well.

Tahlee Rouillon 32:05
Oh, beautiful. Yay. Thank you so much, Amanda. It has just been such a pleasure to talk to you today.

Amanda Rootsey 32:14
Thank you. It’s been beautiful chatting with you too. Thanks for having me and for inviting me into your sanctuary.

Tahlee Rouillon 32:21
Oh, that’s such a pleasure, darling. Thank you for listening to the Seekers’ Sanctuary podcast. I’ve been your host Tahlee. If you’ve enjoyed the music on this show, then you’re going to love becoming a Seekers’ Sanctuary member. You can access hours of calming meditones music on any device with our premium streaming service. Head to seeksanctuary.com for your free trial today. Special thanks to our editor Justin Rouillon for helping bring these episodes to life. Until next time, big love.

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