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Robin Shirley: Take Back Your Health

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Tell us about your journey to becoming a holistic health advocate?

When I was in seventh grade, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's a disease that causes painful joint swelling and disfigurement, chronic fatigue, hormone imbalance, swelling of the internal organs, and painful skin rashes. All through middle school, high school and college, my doctors experimented with different medications for the inflammation, and I struggled with deep depression. After an unnecessarily long, expensive, and painful decade of holistic and conventional treatments, I finally found what I feel is an effective holistic protocol for autoimmune disease. I began teaching the nutrition protocol and healthy lifestyle through cooking classes, to my local community. As I committed to the lifestyle, my health improved dramatically. Within a year of starting cooking classes, I launched the Take Back Your Health Conference to reach more people and create a bigger movement in my city. I started inviting the health leaders and visionaries who had inspired me, to come speak in my community to my family and friends. I wanted everyone I was surrounded by to feel the bliss that I felt from living the Take Back Your Health protocol, after years of chronic pain and fatigue. Take Back Your Health seems to have caught on, and I now host the company in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, along with retreats around the country. I'm committed to helping people live life as they always imagined they would, free from the limitations of chronic disease.

How do you remain authentic within a commercial world?

Put blinders up. It's inevitable that there will be moments when the material world captures me and I get distracted from my authenticity, and we have to be okay with that and realize that is part of being human. But as much as I can, I avoid the commercial world. I'm really particular about the TV and movies I'll watch. I don't read magazines anymore either. That was a difficult one. I used to really enjoy them, until I realized that every page was designed to sell me something. In my work life, authenticity is particularly important when I speak at my events and when I write for my blog. So, to get myself back into an authentic space before I have to speak or write, I say a little prayer and I think of all the people who have come to the Take Back Your Health Conferences and told me how much it has helped them and inspired them. It humbles me, and puts me in touch with who I am speaking to. It takes my focus off of "What will they think of me?" (which makes you want to act like someone you think they want to see), and puts my focus on "What can I share about my life struggles that will help them through their challenges today?" (which requires me to be authentic).

What is your favourite treatment that you like to spoil yourself with?

Massage. I know the best massage therapist in Virginia and every time I go home I have to have a session with him. He knows how to realign my spine without cracking anything and he drains fluid buildup in my abdomen and joints. He was trained in Thailand and they have a completely different way of approaching massage. It's a therapeutic manipulation of the body to realign and drain, instead of a "feel good" rub. After a session with him, I literally feel like I'm floating and breathing becomes effortless.

What do you do on a daily basis that you find keeps your life on track in a holistic way?

I am really into my morning routine - it helps me stay emotionally balanced and on track with my goals. Part of my morning routine is to write out a list of all the things that I am grateful for in my life. I then write a list of all the things I am looking forward to experiencing in the coming months. Making those lists will put my head into a positive space and keep it there all day. Otherwise I would be an emotional wreck. My natural tendency is to focus on what could go wrong, based on what has gone wrong in the past, and that's not a mindset that you can grow with!

Where is your favourite place to nourish yourself? 

The places I go to nourish myself aren't necessarily physical... I do love some quiet time in my bathtub with some candles, and a meal at Cafe Gratitude. But, I feel more nourished from certain activities. I feel nourished when I'm in conversation with my mother. I feel nourished when I'm immersed in a good novel. I feel nourished when I am soaking in sunshine. I feel nourished when I am with people who don't make me feel like I need to be anything other than what I am. I feel nourished when I eat a bowl of steaming vegetable soup.

What practice or treatment can’t you live without?

I couldn't live without Reiki. It completely changed my life a few years ago when I was extremely sick and lost about what to do with my life. I began Reiki training with a mentor of mine, and when I did, things started aligning and life became a little easier. I was able to hear my intuition more clearly and make choices based on my gut feelings, instead of societal "norms". It built up my emotional stamina as well. i used to be extremely sensitive energetically and emotionally, and Reiki has given me more resilience in those areas.

Who do you admire in the holistic world?

I know you're probably looking for a few specific names of people who have done great things in the holistic world, but I truly admire each and every person at home who has chosen to live a holistic lifestyle for themselves, and for their family. I admire those who live to make others happier and to make communities healthier. It is going to take every one of us to heal what needs healing in this world.

Tell us about your company and where we can find you?

I launched the first Take Back Your Health Conference in 2011 when I realized how much my community (Washington DC suburbs) lacked a healthy lifestyle support system. I brought it to LA in 2014 when I started getting requests for a west coast Take Back Your Health Conference. Now, Take Back Your Health Int'l is a small company that hosts retreats, conferences and seminars in Los Angeles and the Washington DC suburbs. I speak at every conference and host every retreat. I am living between the two cities where our conferences are located, loving the people I meet and teach. You can find out about the conferences and retreats on these websites: www.TakeBackYourHealthConference.com www.TakeBackYourHealthRetreats.com I also post videos and recipes to our blog: www.clubTBYH.com

What do you find is the easiest way for you to connect to your holistically minded community?

I'm connecting with them every day - either at my events or on Facebook or email. I listen to what people are struggling with, regarding their well being, and I try solve their problems through the topics I cover at my events and on my blog. And I also find that sharing authentically about what I've been through, and being vulnerable, helps people connect more with me.

You can connect with Robin through her instagram here or email rnshirley@gmail.com

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