AY: Robyn, thank you for joining me today! So how would you describe your life right now?
RD: It’s been a journey to get to a place where I can truly say I love my life and who I am. Is everything perfect?!? No, but I no longer want it to be perfect. The true magic began in my life when I realized the power that lies within imperfection – the magic in being grateful for the joy, the mess and the journey. I am thankful today for what I have, where I’ve been and who I am. It is my passion and desire to take my education and life experiences and walk alongside others as they discover this same magic in their lives! I believe everyone deserves to live their happiest, healthiest, most grateful life!
AY: I love your positive energy! Tell me, what do you love most about your life?
RD: Where to start? I love so much about my life.
- I love my family, friends and others I surround myself with
- I love my ability to be courageous
- I love stepping into vulnerability and growing as an individual, wife, mother and friend
- I love sharing my life, my story and my passion
- I love knowing everything is a choice – my beliefs, my thoughts, my actions
AY: Where did that decision lead you?
RD: Post-graduation, I was incredibly happy and had so much going for me. I married my high school sweetheart who has been my rock since our first date at his Junior Prom. We have been blessed with two incredibly beautiful daughters who feed our souls and bring so much joy and laughter into our lives. I have worked at the same Fortune 500 company and I’ve been surrounded by loving family and friends, but slowly day by day my world began unraveling. First it was an intense beating in my chest, rapid heartrate and unexplained nerves (later to be called anxiety). Then it was stomach bloating, hair loss, unexplained weight gain, medical tests and increased emotional breakdowns. If anyone would have told me during this time that these were all signs of what was going on inside my body I would have never believed them. I was oblivious to the emotions and limiting beliefs I had buried so deep inside and the impact it was having on my health. It took a tough, personal healing journey to finally discover this for myself.
AY: Where did your healing journey begin?
RD: In the beginning, I set out to just get healthy and feel better about myself. I found a love for exercise and health which lead me down a path of becoming a certified personal trainer and holistic health coach. I learned a lot about myself and started helping others live a healthier life, but the anxiety I was experiencing started to peak after competing in bikini competitions.
My “search” for answers and fulfilment began. I started attending classes, workshops, retreats, went back to school and eventually found myself in a year of intense weekly trauma therapy.
AY: Mmm-hmm… Describe what this “searching” was like, Robyn.
RD: Despite being surrounded by loving family and friends, it was one of the loneliest things I’ve ever done. I felt lost and kept wandering from class to class, retreat to retreat looking for an answer which later I realized I had been holding inside all along. Deep down I had known for years that I should address the impact being abused as a child had on my life. It wasn’t until my daughters got to the approximate age I was when I started experiencing this abuse that it all came rushing to the surface. I didn’t let others into this journey as I felt as though I would be judged, misunderstood or looked at differently. It was six months after starting therapy that I spoke my story out loud for the first time. I shared it to a group of women at a weekend fitness and empowerment retreat. It was at that moment that I started to get my voice back. Just a week later, I confronted my biggest fear and showed up at the door of my abuser. It was at this moment that I learned the power of forgiveness! My past was truly set free that day and the “search” for answers stopped. It took a willingness to be vulnerable and act with courage to start living the life I desired most. I finally dropped the mask I had worn for so long and stood in my own truth.
AY: What did you learn throughout your personal transformation?
RD: Going through trauma therapy while working full-time, raising a family, getting my yoga certification and going to school was the hardest year of my life. However, it brought the most healing and growth I’ve ever experienced. The most powerful lessons I learned were this:
- My past does not have to dictate who I am or what I believe
- Releasing the constraints of the past and expectations of the future allowed me to live fully in the present
- Forgiveness brings a deep sense of freedom and peace
- Expressing self-love and self-care must be a priority
- Looking for something on the outside will never fulfill the inside
- Gratitude is the secret ingredient to living a happy life
AY: What’s the one thing you’ve dealt with that others might say is taboo to talk about
RD: Hands down – it’s SHAME! That nasty aching, sick to your stomach feeling. The feeling of not being good enough. The thought of hating your body. During the peak of therapy, I was only four pounds away from my full-term pregnancy weight. I hid behind big, baggy clothes. I didn’t want to be intimate with my husband because I felt fat and ugly. I didn’t want to socialize with my fitness friends as I felt as though I didn’t belonged. What I didn’t realize at that time was the thirty pounds my body held onto was part of the process, part of my healing journey. As I’ve opened up about my “shaming” thoughts and experiences, I’ve been blown away by the number of women who experience similar thoughts. It’s not uncommon for a client or friend to tell me they hate their body or that they take their stress out on the ones they love most (their significant other and kids) or they don’t like to be in social situations. Over the last year, I’ve leaned heavily into Brene Brown’s research on shame, vulnerability, courage and worthiness. I couldn’t agree more when she says, “shame cannot survive being spoken…and being met with empathy.” If you experience any of the shame triggers I felt, just know you are not alone. It just takes vulnerability and courage to say it out loud and be met with empathy by others. Just know we are all worthy of love and belonging.
AY: What are the top three values you hope you’re passing onto your children?
- Family & Togetherness
- Courage & Vulnerability
- Gratitude & Presence
AY: What is the biggest impact your journey has made on your life?
RD: I am a different person now – my true self, someone who’s not afraid to shine, walk a different path, and express gratitude and love for everyone. My journey made a significant impact on my life, how I interact and communicate with my husband and children and more importantly how I treat myself. I’ve learned that the beliefs I had about myself and the stories I held about my life were not all true. They were simply the beliefs and stories I made up, repeated and lived out. I’ve learned now that I can create the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors I want to have in my life. Life is a choice and I choose to live a life I love.
AY: I’m sure everyone is curious… where do you see yourself going?
RD: I know I am meant to do something much bigger and I have a deep calling to partner with women who feel stuck and long for something much bigger in their lives. My mission is to coach women toward embracing who they are and gain the power and confidence to live the life of their dreams – a life free from self-doubt and full of self-love. I want to make a significant impact and help others see how they can live their happiest, healthiest, most grateful lives without being afraid to take risks or explore life.