I am so honoured to have interviewed Amanda Rootsey from Shine From Within for Botanical Trader's Steep The Soul – a segment that is curated for conscious souls who want to rise strong, inspire and cultivate a purposeful life. Put the kettle on, make a chai and read on.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Sure! Thanks so much for having me. I'm a youth mentor, author, co-host of the Gentle Business Mastermind and the founder of Shine from Within, a holistic personal development school for teens. Through Shine from Within, I also run an online Youth Mentor Training, supporting people all over the world to create their own youth programs and build a business doing it.
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE JOURNEY THAT HAS LED YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I feel like every random job and experience has led me here, right where I'm supposed to be.
The biggest turning point for me was being diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer at 24. It stopped me in my tracks and forced me to turn inward, find strength within, trust my intuition, fiercely protect and nurture my body and make the most of each moment.
When I was diagnosed I had just come back from modelling in Europe for brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo. I was pushing my body, making the most of every opportunity but to the detriment of my health. That moment, in the doctor’s surgery being told I had cancer, uprooted my life.
I started researching (aka Googling!) and was determined to do whatever I could to heal my body. I went vegan, started meditating, got rid of all the toxins in our kitchen and bathroom, did juice fasts, coffee enemas, vitamin C infusions and what felt like a thousand other things!
I treated it naturally for about a year, before then having radiation and chemotherapy. Once that grueling 2-year journey was over, my partner, our dog and I moved to the trees...living off the grid in a shipping container cabin for a year. It was the best way to recuperate; getting in touch with nature, depending on the sun for power, the rain for water and the earth for most of our food.... the best antidote to hospitals!
Eventually I got my energy back and had a new lease on life (and have now been cancer free for about 10 years). I just kept thinking, "Imagine if I had some of this knowledge back when I was a teenager! What if someone had supported me to tune in, understand more about who I am, how I can thrive and be the best version of me (instead of trying so hard to please and be like everyone else)?
What if I knew how to take care of my body and trust my instincts? Could that have made the difference for me?" I couldn't shake it. That's how my business, Shine from Within, was born about 9 years ago.
Since then I've run teen holiday programs, school workshops, retreats, circles and more with the help of some incredible guest experts and teachers. I've written a book, Shine from Within; a teen girl's guide to life, which is out worldwide with Hay House and has won awards and been on best-seller lists. And I've got an award-winning online course for adults who want to work with teens too called the Youth Mentor Training. This is my main focus these days.
WHAT WAS YOUR LAST GREATEST LESSON YOU LEARNT OR A-HA MOMENT?
That we are the only ones who know what's best for us. We can gather all the info and advice but, ultimately, no one else can know what's best for you.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GREAT BOOK YOU READ?
The Himalayan Masters by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR PODCAST PLAYLIST?
The Art of Creative Living podcast by Nicola Newman
Dream for Others podcast by Naomi Arnold
Seekers' Sanctuary podcast by Tahlee Rouillon
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?
We haven't lived 'off-grid' since that year after chemo but we're now feeling the call to get back to the trees again.
WHAT DOES CONSCIOUS LIVING MEAN TO YOU?
Conscious living is taking regular moments to tune in, adjusting or pivoting as needed.
WHAT DOES KIND LIVING LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
To me, kind living looks gentle, peaceful, sustainable. It's a slow, warm smile in the sunshine. :)
To me, it's about making lots of little conscious choices to be kind. Being vegan and having respect for all life. Asking questions about where things come from, how people were treated and doing our best each day to choose the best option. But it's also about being kind to ourselves. Being gentle and compassionate. Because there's always more we could be doing for people, planet and animals. And that can weigh on a person.
So kind living has to include kindness to self too. Noticing when we need to say 'no' and being courageous enough to say it.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE FUNDAMENTALS FOR LIVING A SUSTAINABLE LIFE?
Asking questions. Asking questions about where things come from and how they got there. Asking questions of ourselves, like 'Do I really need this?' or 'Will this add value to my life?' or 'How can I feel lighter?' or 'What am I grateful for today?'
It's making the most of whatever our situation is and doing our best in that moment. There's no right or wrong way to live sustainably. For some, it's using the community compost heap and riding a bike instead of driving a car. For others it's growing their own food. For others it's going op-shopping instead of purchasing something new. But these are just small actions that might all add up to a sustainable life. Questions help us to learn more, be curious and keep trying to do our best with the knowledge we have.
And then of course it can go deeper to questions like 'what feels sustainable to me?' 'What do I love to do that fuels me and allows me to show up and shine, so I can keep showing up and shining?' 'What do I need to include in my daily/weekly/monthly rituals to keep showing up?' A sustainable life moves away from the cycle of hustle and burn out, to a gentler life that allows it to continue flourishing, season after season.
HOW DOES NATURE MAKE YOU FEEL?
Inspired and rejuvenated.
THE METHODS YOU USE TO STAY GROUNDED, BALANCED AND HEALTHY?
It changes depending on the season, what's happening in my life and business at that moment and where I am.
Right now, we're living in the city, so I feel like I need to do more stuff to feel grounded and balanced. I'm not very good at having specific things I do each week but lots of things I can turn to when I'm feeling out of balance, such as yoga classes, hip hop class, a float tank session or sauna session, a long hot delicious bath, a swim, a bike ride, strolling to a cafe with a book and sitting in the sun, going on a trip to get into nature (beach or national park) and going to group meditation.
It's been a fun couple of years in the city, but it makes me think of that song 'Concrete Jungle' by Au/Ra and a line that goes, "Everything you want in 24 hours, but nothin' that you need." I'm looking forward to getting back to the trees where I won't need most of these things to stay grounded, balanced and healthy.
YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
My meditation practice. It's called the Quan Yin Method.
THE ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
Veganism. I believe that if we all made a conscious choice to not harm another being (for food, fashion, beauty or any other reason) then the world would be a difference place. A more peaceful place.
YOU WANT TO?
Support as many teens as possible (and the adults around them) to feel like they are awesome, just the way they are. And hold a space for entrepreneurs to continue exploring how they can build a sustainable business in a gentle way that works in with their lifestyle, values and strengths. So, I'll keep doing what I'm doing!
ABOUT AMANDA ROOTSEY
Amanda Rootsey is the best-selling author of Shine from Within; a teen girl’s guide to life (Hay House), a youth mentor, a certified life and business coach and a co-host of the Gentle Business Mastermind. Through her holistic training school, Shine From Within, Amanda has helped thousands of teens and tweens to develop their confidence and now trains adult around the world to be inspiring youth mentors through the award-winning online Youth Mentor Training.
Amanda has appeared on The Today Show (Channel 9), been interviewed on morning radio and many podcasts and has been mentioned as a ‘game-changer’ in The Collective magazine, an ‘all round advocate for Mother Earth’ by Peppermint Magazine and has appeared in countless other publications including CLEO, Vogue Australia, Nature & Health and Wellbeing Magazine.
It was a 2-year battle with cancer in her mid-twenties that changed Amanda’s perspective on life and inspired her to go vegan, simplify (living off-the-grid in a shipping container for over a year!), start meditating, enjoy each moment and encourage youth to shine from within.
You can find her at: