In this episode of Voices InCourage, we welcome Robin Detmer, a woman whose life is a testament to love, resilience, and transformation.
A physical therapist, mother, published author, and shamanic medicine mesa carrier, Robin’s story is as captivating as it is inspiring. Born and raised in the wilds of Belize, her life was marked by natural disasters, addiction, and sexual abuse. Yet, along with her sister Rosie and their mother Kris, she co-authored The Open Book, a powerful narrative of their shared past.
Listen as Robin shares her journey from a hardened heart to profound self-love and the transformative power of forgiveness and surrender. Her mission is to shine her light and inspire positive changes in others.
Tune in for an intimate conversation that promises to inspire, challenge, and enlighten.
Watch the episode here
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Robin Detmer On Self-love, Forgiveness And The Ultimate Surrender.
Welcome back to the show. We have somebody who I met not long ago through a mutual friend of ours that we both adore. We had a delightful and profound conversation about things that have touched our lives, how we have learned to navigate, and who we’ve become in the process of all the things that we’ve stepped in to do our work. We have these overlapping stories a little bit not only in terms of trauma around addiction but also in terms of our personal journeys to navigate the trauma. For me, I think about it in terms of getting back to my peace and calm. Welcome, Robin Detmer.
Thank you. I am glad to be here.
You’re welcome. I’m so thrilled to have you. She is a physical therapist, a bodyworker, and a shamanic medicine Mesa carrier. Did I get that right?
We have certainly an overlap in the whole shamanic work, vision quests, and journeys that we’ve done along those lines. Hers looks a little different than mine, but it’s all in the same spirit work. Her dad had issues with addiction. She has had a big life in such a short period of time. It’s remarkable. Belize is part of the story.
She, her mom, and her sister wrote a book called The Open Book, which I have not completely finished yet, but it is well done. I love the way you have woven your mom’s writing, your writing, and your sister’s writing into it. We’ll talk a little bit about that in the midst of all of this also. She is married and has three kids, so a big life. She is doing the work and helping others. Welcome again.
Thank you so much. It was fun to meet you. We did have so many parallels. We had such fun going, “Me too.” That was great.
If you would, step back a little bit into Belize, your dad’s addiction and how that impacted you, and then your journey to thriving.
I grew up in Belize, Central America in the jungle where my parents homesteaded for fourteen years. I was born there and stayed there until I was seven and a half. My dad was always an addict. We found out later that he had some mental health issues and that he was probably self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. When we were in Belize, he was quite sober most of the time because we lived in the jungle and there was no access to anything. He worked hard and was a great dad. He was very kind and caring. He didn’t pass on any of the abuse he had suffered as a child to us, which I’m forever grateful for. When we went to town, he would get very drunk at the local bar. It was a big deal to get to any town.
For my time in Belize, it was a normal childhood with a dad who grew pot, which was illegal but it didn’t faze me, and got drunk when he could. When we moved up to the United States to California, he had more access to alcohol, so he started being gone a lot more. He was absent a lot of nights and did not keep his job. He was in construction, so he would bid jobs and then not show up. Things started spiraling.
Also at that time, coming out of Belize, he had gotten into smuggling drugs as well, which is a whole story in the book. It was a story that my sister and I knew pieces of and shadows of, but everybody said, “I don’t think that’s quite right.” We got more of the story and we’re like, “Our memories are more true than we realized.” We then got my dad’s fuller story about it. That was fascinating.
He got pretty into smuggling in a big way. He was the big man for a while. He felt on top of the world because he was getting all this cash and coming home with suitcases of money. He then got caught on a run and spiraled after that. He had a mental break and fell into depression. That’s when it got hard for me and my sister. That was when I was finishing middle school. It was at the beginning of middle school when he got busted, and then he spiraled. That whole 11, 12, and 13 time for me was very much chaotic with him not doing well and my mom trying to make it work. That was after he’d gotten busted. That ruined him. After that, my parents got divorced and he was absent for a very long time.
Did he go to jail?
He did not go to jail. He paid off a lot of very high-up people to not go to jail. A lot of the people he was with did, but he didn’t. He was held, and then he was released. He was very paranoid. He always thought they were tracing our phones. He would use payphones. He would think everyone was following us and would tell us not to talk to people about his name and things like that.
As an 11, 12, and 13-year-old, how was that?
It was hard. I had loved my dad and been quite close to him. I always wanted to be with him. When he started disappearing, I put up a lot of guarding around myself and went into this protective, “I don’t even care about him anyways. It doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a dad,” coping package. For a very long time, I was in that place. It was not until writing the book that I realized how close I was to him and how much that had hurt. It took 30 years to say, “That was coping that I said I didn’t care. I did care.”
I had suffered some sexual abuse in Belize not by my father but by someone else. My whole coping from all of that was very much perfectionism and, “Do all the right things and look like a put-together good girl.” I did that well. I did that through middle school, high school, and into college. I ignored what I considered the very broken part of my family. My whole dad situation, I was like, “Don’t even worry about that.” I put that out of my mind.
Through college, he was homeless for quite a while and then he was in rehab because my aunt took him there. He would try to reach out, so I had a little bit of contact with him. He tried to do the twelve steps but didn’t. He was homeless again. It was a very up-and-down situation. I cut off ties for quite a number of years when I got out of college and started having a family. I wanted to protect my family from him and his life. I don’t know if that answered your question.
There are certainly things out of that story that everybody tuning in to this can relate to. It’s the dysfunction, the figuring out, picking how we choose to cope with it when we’re a kid growing up, and putting it in a box and putting it on a shelf. I was the oldest in my family, so being the good girl, I can completely relate to that and doing all the right things to get by, so to speak. There’s the façade of that. Sooner or later, the façade catches up with us.
I got to a point where I was very numb. My whole life felt fake and numb. I write in the book that I felt like I was an actor in my own movie and I was good at being a director but I didn’t feel any of it, the highs and the lows. I was flat. That was acceptable in my family. We were raised by a lot of women who were very, we call it toxic positivity now. At the time, it was optimism. It was like, “Smile. We’re fine. Everything is great.” Nothing was ever talked about that was hard. I was like, “Everything is wonderful. Why would you ask?”
I had a teacher who tried to delve into it a little bit with me in high school because, in my writing, I was able to share a little bit more about how things were. I was able to express a little bit of the darker side. I had a teacher for my AP English or something. He called me in and tried to get me to open up a little. I was like, “I’m fine. Why? Thanks for checking. Bye.” That was my way. I felt flat. At a certain point, that became not okay, but it took quite a long time.
What was the point? I’m imagining it felt like you went from flat and at some point, it began to break.
It started breaking in college because I got physically very sick. I was eating toxic food. I was stuffing myself and trying to fill the emptiness with food. I was drinking too much, not sleeping, taking on too much, and working too many jobs. It was too much. I was beating myself up. My body finally said, “Hello.” I had chronic bronchitis for a very long time that I couldn’t get rid of and some other things that all hit me at once. I suddenly went, “Oh.”
I didn’t realize it at that point. I hadn’t studied the body like I have now in health. I suddenly realized that my body was keeping track of all of this. It wasn’t okay anymore that I had to look at it. I went into some talk therapy in college and started trying to be a little bit more honest about what had happened to me and what that meant.
Talk therapy didn’t do as much for me as some of the later things that I did. The more somatic therapy, breath work, and the shamanic transformational journey are the things that peeled off layers of the onion to where I could soften and feel alive again. Talk therapy was like, “I messed up. It’s good to admit.” I got back to life each week.
I’m wondering and at the same time, I certainly want to touch on the bodywork, the shamanic work, and so on and so forth. How did you get to physical therapy?
I was a swimmer and I hurt my shoulder. I went to physical therapy in high school. I was like, “This is cool. This isn’t a sit-at-your-desk kind of job. It’s neat. You’re helping people.” After my mom and dad separated, my mom needed to work more, so she got a full-time job as a physical therapy aide. She was already a massage therapist, so that was in my blood. She went back to school when I was in high school and became an acupuncturist as well, so she got the whole package of healing things.
I don’t know. I spent a lot of time in the office with her and then I was interested. Out of high school, I planned to go straight to a program for physical therapy. That was what I wanted to do right away, and then I got scared. I was seventeen. I graduated and had early admission to Puget Sound. I panicked. I was like, “I can’t do it. I can’t leave.”
I didn’t do that. I did a couple years of at City College and then transferred to UC, San Diego. I decided I was going to be a writer. I did this whole circuitous route. Many years later, I kept doing all these tests at the career center and it was like, “You should be a physical therapist, a counselor, or a priest.” I was going, “Okay.” It was some kind of help. It was over and over. I said, “All right.”
In the end, I worked with an amazing manual therapist in Los Angeles that inspired me. I had done some work for people that didn’t inspire me. That’s why I got disillusioned and decided to be a writer. I said, “They just ease them and ice them. They’re leaving people on the table.” It didn’t feel like the therapy I wanted to do. I worked with someone who was incredible. I said, “That’s the kind of therapist I want to be, present, manual, and more holistic.” I then went to grad school. In the end, it took me eight and a half years when it could have taken me four, but that’s okay.
It’s all part of figuring it out. I love that there’s a weaving of your illness in terms of the body keeping the score, PT, bodywork, and all the things. Do you identify the breaking moment where you got cracked wide open and you could no longer deny that the work needed to be done for you to feel?
I had a bunch of moments where I said, “The work needs to be done,” and then I would do a little and back off. The point at which I started doing the work that worked that brought me to where I am now where I feel incredibly on a very good healing journey, thriving, and doing well internally is I had a forgiveness moment. That was way after college. It was after I had even had two kiddos. I got married and I had two kids, and I was still very triggered by all the things.
I had one of those moments where my heart was feeling very closed like a little walnut. My heart was hard all the time. I thought, “What is wrong with me? My life is good. If you look at my life, it’s incredible. I married an amazing man. I had two great kids. I got a house. I did school. What is wrong with me?” I still felt flat, broken, and hard.
I would go to church with my kids and I kept saying, “Please soften my hardened heart.” I was saying that over and over because I was sitting there angry in church. One day, it hit me. At that point, I didn’t even necessarily believe in God or Spirit. I was like, “I don’t know. We’ll sit here and say this and see what happens.” All of a sudden, one day, the sun hit me through the windows and I melted. I started sobbing. I felt my heart soften and I thought, “I forgive myself. I forgive my dad. I forgive my abusers. I forgive my mom. I forgive everything.”
It was like I lost 30 years. I suddenly felt young, light, and amazingly open. At that point, it was like my heart softened and then I could do the work. I don’t know. It was that moment. There were a lot of moments before that when I said, “I should do more therapy,” but I wasn’t able to until I felt vulnerable or soft enough to enter into it. It took a long time.
This is my story, which is true generally. What I love about that is there’s a cracking that needs to take place in order to allow us to do the work. I love the intentionality and your focus on asking for a softened heart. I want our audience to hear that intentionality and focus on that for you, and what took place because you stayed in that space until it did emerge.
Surrendering is such an incredible and powerful tool. All my life, I tried to control everything and hold on tight to the reins because if I didn’t, everything would fall. I was the oldest. I was holding it all together. It worked until it didn’t. What has worked in the past ten years and led to where I feel good is truly surrendering to a higher power, whatever that may be. I use lots of names for spirit, light, source, and Mother Earth. I am surrendering the control. We do not have control. I have realized that over and over now. I have knees-to-the-floor moments when it’s like, “I give up. Please take it. I’m not in control, and that’s okay.” Things are so much smoother. You can get into the flow where you’re not trying to keep changing your process.
I generally think that most parents in particular are dealing with kids or even adult children dealing with addictions or alcoholism, and I don’t know how we have come to this, but we feel like we have control. We don’t have control. For a lot of people coming to grips with that notion, that reality, and that truth, we are not in control. Whatever you want to do with it, turn it over to a higher power, surrender, and so on and so forth, but recognize that this is not in your control. The only thing that you can control is you.
I don’t want to say too much about it, but as a parent, I have also gone through some big things. I had the feeling that I did need to control. When someone’s health is on the line and you are the parent, you feel like you better hold the reins at least as much as you can. I fought with lots of attempts at control for a couple of years and then, in that case, also surrendered and fell to my knees. I’m like, “I give up. It’s not mine. It’s not my journey. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fix it.”
That shifted things when I gave up thinking that it was at all my journey. It shifted things for my child as well and for the whole trajectory of their healing. I get it as a parent too. It’s crazy. You do feel like you have to fight the system and everything else. You have to work and help some, but there’s also this emotional and spiritual release, where you realize it’s not your journey. You have to care for yourself and tend to your own journey, and then let go a little.
What I want to give an exclamation point to is the notion that when we release, they release, which is a powerful understanding. For most people dealing with their children, they’re afraid to release. It seems paradoxical that if you release, then it releases them also. They’re then able to do their work on their journey.
Kids are always either trying to care for, please, or do something for their parents too. If the parent is clinging, holding on, and trying to control everything, it adds an extra burden. It’s like they have to do our work and their work instead of, “We’re taking care of us. You take care of yourself. I love you and support you. I’ve got me. You don’t have to also take care of me.” There’s a lot of power even if you don’t voice that, but energetically, there’s a huge power to that release and saying, “It’s okay. You tend to you.”
There’s a gentleman that I interviewed a number of months ago, Andy Graham. His son was dealing with addiction. Andy asked his son, “What can I do to support you?” His son simply said, “Do your work, Dad.” I thought, “That is wise.”
That’s pretty profound to be able to name it, for sure.
Speak about your work in terms of these major stepping stones or milestones for you in terms of opening you up so you can peel the layers back and get more back to the heart of who you are and that ease, flow, and joy that you had covered up.
Talk therapy in groups and things didn’t do a ton for me. It was helpful, but not transformative. What helped me was embracing the spiritual realm of things through shamanism or shamanic work. I found it by accident when I was at a retreat and there was a drumming circle. I saw it and was like, “I have to go at one of those poles. There’s nowhere else I will be at this time. I must be in that drumming circle,” even though I didn’t know what it was going to be. It was one of those kinds of spirits tugging on me.
I went and they said, “You’re going to meet a power animal and do this journey.” I was like, “That’s going to happen.” I sat there and was like, “Here we go.” I tried for a long time. At the half-hour, I was probably saying, “This isn’t working,” and then all of a sudden, I did feel myself doing the journey and met this power animal, a cougar.
That is my power animal.
That’s amazing. That’s incredible. We had more in common than we realized. What I first experienced was incredible unconditional love. Many Christians have had a born-again experience, it’s what they experienced too. It’s this unconditional love enveloping. That’s what I experienced from cougar. It was like a mother’s love that was so unconditional that I’d never felt before. My mother was amazing and she loved me, but it wasn’t that. It wasn’t that amazing warmth.
It stayed with me and it was so real. After that, I started doing journeys on my own. I got books about shamanism and started reading, studying, and doing a lot of journeying. Fortuitously, some patients of mine in my physical therapy practice were shamanic practitioners. After a few sessions, I asked them about that and they pointed me out. I told them some things that were happening to me and they said, “You need to meet Berta.”
I met my teacher, Berta, who lives in Idaho. I entered into her year-long transformational journey, the medicine wheel journey, which is where we built our mesa which is our thirteen medicine stones. I did a lot of work over a year with her. That was transformational. It was very transformative. That’s where I learned to look at everything that had happened to me, all the roles I had put on myself, all of the coping strategies, the masks, and the layers, and look at each of those and receive the gifts of what had that given me, grown in me, or taught me, and then to release it.
I take the gifts in truly into my body and into my energetics, and then let go of the density of it. It is peeling off layers and all the things that we learn from a culture that is all nonsense. It is so many things, looking at all of it. That was very shifting. I was learning to connect to my energetic conduit. I was learning that I was an energetic being. I knew that I had a connection to something. I felt it, but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t consider myself religious at all, so I was like, “I don’t know this.” I learned through that work to feel that I am an energetic being, and we all are. I learned to connect to spirit and Mother Earth, be that conduit, shine my light, and do the work. It’s constantly doing the work.
A lot of work came up this last month. There were more layers. I felt like, “Okay.” August kicked my butt again. Once you feel that openness, you can’t comfortably close again. I’ve done so many different things that I’ve read. Like Michael Singers’ Untethered Soul, I liked letting things pass through me. I’ve read a lot of Eckhart Tolle’s work. I came to show it to a friend. There are a lot of people that I read that resonate with me on how to stay open through crises, hard feelings, or layers that are peeling off again. There are more layers. It’s a lifetime for me, I’m sure. I’m 45. It will keep going on.
I’m 66 and yes, it will. The work that you do is you’re constantly being woven with everybody that you work with as I am. We do different work, but it’s the same work, honestly. It’s all spirit work. In every interaction that I have, like what we had, neither one of us was the same person when we walked out of that meeting.
Every time I sit down with a client and we have a conversation, which I’m always going to go as deep as I can with them, I’m forever changed, and I know they are. We’re constantly stepping into the river of transformation with the work that we do. We’re also planted in this physical life and life shows up for us. We also have these things that show up and give us the opportunity to practice at a higher level.We're constantly stepping into the river of transformation with what we do. Click To Tweet
It’s true. I appreciate that every interaction is changing us. I do physical therapy and energetic work. I’m becoming a practitioner of the shamanic work. I am in the process of that. I have a much bigger medicine bag. The work I do is much more transformative and much more on a deeper spiritual and emotional level. It’s true. Every time I enter that realm with someone, the realm of vulnerability or spirit, you don’t even have to necessarily say you’re going there. We can talk about your physical reality and it’s still very profound if we’re truthful, and we dig. It teaches me every single time too.
What’s important for the audience to note is that this is a lifelong journey. You’re never going to arrive at a certain point and go, “I’m done.” Life is going to show up and show you that you aren’t and that there’s more to learn. I think of those moments that remind you that you still have more work to do as an opportunity to be curious, be full of wonder, and be like, “What is it I’m meant to learn out of this experience showing up?” To embrace the notion that when life feels like it’s completely falling apart, it’s falling together. If you can even begin to play with the idea that that’s possible, the more you do, the more you see it happen in your life. You then know that it is.The more you believe things are possible, the more you see it happen in your life. Click To Tweet
I always tell people that because it’s hard doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Life is hard. There are a lot of things that come up. It’s a journey of our soul learning the lessons that we are meant to learn in this lifetime. If we don’t open up and notice when we’re trying to be taught, it will keep coming up. It will keep beating you on the head eventually until you go, “What am I supposed to be learning here?”
It’s a lot more peaceful and a lot more internally calm if you don’t see every bad thing happening as, “I’m doing it wrong. My life is bad because I’m bad.” All these stories we tell ourselves are like, “It looks like everyone else is great because, on Instagram, their pictures are pretty. I must be doing it wrong.” It’s all nonsense. It’s hard and beautiful. It’s all of it all at once. It is holding all of it and knowing that it’s a journey. What is it that each moment is trying to show us or teach us? It’s a lot more freeing. You don’t have to torture yourself and make yourself suffer as much.
This is how I think about it. I think about pulling back from your life almost as if you’re watching it take place with a bigger context. Understand that you are exactly where you’re meant to be and these are moments that you get to learn, elevate, and peel away the things that don’t work for you and figure out what are the things that do work for you.
We have what we call a shamanic seeing state that I like to use. It is elevating your energy and watching what’s going on, or even listening to a conversation from the still waters calm place. It’s a place where people practice when we practice meditation. It’s why that’s so powerful. We practice watching the self, the stories, and whatever our brain is doing, and being at this higher level where we’re observing and finding things interesting and curious.
It’s a powerful way to listen as well, especially if someone else is spinning on a story without diving in and spinning with them. You step back, go up to this higher level, listen, witness, and be curious. Everything shifts in the energy and it’s powerful. You don’t have to engage at that lower spinning level where a lot of people get stuck.
For those of you who think we’re in woo-woo land, I want to bring some brain science perspective to the table. Research and science have shown us that what Robin is talking about is in our brains, we have a brainstem, which is where we do flight, flight, freeze, and fawn. That’s when we’re in crisis and stressed. At the top of our head, to make this simplistic, is the neocortex. This is where we’re sabotaging ourselves, and this is where we’re living in sage.
When we’re up here in sage, we can be curious even in the midst of the crisis, the drama, and all of the things, and not go down the rabbit hole of all of that with whoever we’re talking to, sitting in front of, or whatever that is. From a physical perspective, going back to the body keeps the score, out of here, we’re awash in cortisol, which is the stress hormone. That is massively deteriorating our bodies. If we can get more adept at shifting to be up here and you can shift into curiosity, that is a step in that direction.
Noticing and saying, “I’m thinking that thought again,” can bring the neocortex back online. It’s quickly noticing. I also love to always remind people of the breath, which is the most powerful tool that we are given. Doing a couple of deep belly breaths or diaphragmatic breathing, which is breathing all the way into the lungs and letting the diaphragm do its work.
There is a lot of research and writing on the vagus nerve. It is everywhere, so I’m sure you’ve seen it. The vagus nerve puts us into this parasympathetic, not cortisol, rest, digest, heal, and quieter state. Our nervous system needs that so badly in our culture. We’re stuck in the fight or flight too much. I tell people, “At each red light, take four belly breaths. Don’t close your eyes. Let yourself know that you’re safe in this moment right now. Let your body settle a tiny bit.” Those little steps are so powerful towards longer-lasting calm little baby steps.
One of the things that we talk about at the show so much is the whole self-care component. A lot of people, when they get into crisis, that’s the first thing they drop. It is the first thing they should ratchet up. What do you do at this stage of the game? You have a very busy life. You are holding this space for a lot of different people, including yourself. What is it that you routinely do that keeps you in more sage, more centered, and more calm in peace?
This is also a journey. I go on the teeter-totter. Sometimes, I’m doing better than others. With three kids, work, and all the things, that’s a challenge. I try to do little check-ins. I try to do my breathing, connecting into my body and calming my body through my breath. I try to do that with each client I see before I pick up the kids.
It’s not a big long breathwork. It’s just some breathing to check in with myself like, “How are you in there?” I will put a hand on my heart to say, “I hear you.” Sometimes, I feel a lot of sorrow and I have to check in with that and say, “I know there’s still some sorrow that is in there. I hear you.” It’s a compassionate presence with myself. That’s the main thing.
I have stopped the stories and the beating myself up. That has helped with the amount of suffering that has taken off of me. It is self-care moment by moment by not beating myself up. I have work that I love. I lead groups that I love. I do the work with others, which is doing the work for myself too. I keep my toe in that.
I am going away with my sister for a couple of days, which is a big treat. I’ll do bigger things like that. That’s a big deal to get to go away and disconnect for a few days. The biggest thing is regularly, not constantly, checking in with myself, breathing, noticing when I’m getting a little bit revved up and stressed, going out and putting my feet on the ground, and taking a few breaths. It could be pausing and checking in with myself. It’s more than, “Go get a facial,” and doing all these “self-care” things. I feel like self-care for me is compassion for myself and others. It’s more of a loving presence that stops the beating.Self-care is compassion for ourselves and others. Click To Tweet
I love that loving presence piece and the stopping from beating yourself up. Generally speaking, people are caught in the habit of that. They are pattern interrupting it, stopping it, and observing it. It is being aware that that’s in fact what you’re doing and that is to what end and how that serves you. Being gentle and kind with yourself is so important. You tack on, “Please get great sleep at night. Eat cleaner. Exercise.” I’m a big exerciser because I run at a pretty high energy. I need to spin some of that off. The gentleness of what you spoke to is profound for a lot of people.
I agree. I like to walk. That’s my favorite form of exercise, or hike. Research shows that sleeping eight hours a night or so is huge for combating depression and other things or getting a half hour at least, or just a walk. You do whatever you want, whatever you enjoy. I believe exercise should be because it feels good, not because you’re punishing yourself. Eating whole foods, I like that you said that because I try to feed myself food that my grandmother would know was food. They say to shop in the periphery. That’s where you find the fresh stuff that’s going to go bad, and it’s going to go bad because it’s real food that your body recognizes.
Also, friends. Social connection is huge. Over and over, the research shows that longevity, health, and all sorts of good things that we want are connected to social well-being. I have a lot of friends in my network. I try to take time to make that a priority. I play volleyball once a week because it’s fun. It’s stuff like that. It is little moments and little hours here and there.
I’m going to make one little point. The friends that you hang out with, make sure that they are life-giving instead of life-sucking.
Trim the ones that are exhausting where you feel depleted when you leave. Once you start putting out the energy of life-giving and holding yourself in higher regard, I feel like you find the right people. We put out and we attract. I feel like as long as we start loving ourselves a little better, then we find people who love us a bit better too.Once you start putting out the life-giving energy and holding yourself in higher regard, you find the right people. Click To Tweet
They show up because they’re looking for us too.
With social media and everything else, the good thing about that is you can search groups that are feeding you in some way or that are doing things you enjoy. There are hiking groups. There are all sorts of meetup things that you can connect with. That’s a fun thing. You don’t have to wander the streets hoping someone in the grocery aisle might be your next friend.
We met each other through a mutual friend who I was introduced through a mutual friend. The lineage goes back at least 3 or 4 generations, so to speak, for us to come together to have a meeting and for us to be on this show together. Follow the people that bring you life, that you enjoy being around, and that is your laughing tribe or whatever, and ask them, “Who else do you know that is part of our tribe but I don’t know them yet?”
It is following the joyful moments. What is it that sparks excitement and joy or makes you feel good? It is following that. I feel like in our culture, we work our tails off and then retire and die culture. We don’t make enough space for enjoying and knowing that life is for enjoyment and pleasure and following that. I feel like we almost feel guilty if we’re doing something fun or pleasurable because we’re not working hard enough. Believe me, we’re all working hard enough. I don’t remember who said it, but if you think th
at you need to work harder, what you need is help. We are all very skewed on that.
We have enough people like Steve Jobs’s commencement speech and people who have been on the edge of passing, looking at their life in retrospect, and wishing that they had had the wisdom that they had in that moment. They are leaving it for us to hear, read, or whatever. When we get to the end of our lives, all this busyness, all these things, and all the “things we think are success” melt away quickly.
It’s the connections and the little moments.
If you could give somebody who’s in crisis, whether they’re dealing with a spouse or a child, whether it’s an adult child or a friend that they love, what is one of those 1, 2, or 3 things that you would encourage them to think about?
The first thing I would say is it’s not your fault. No matter what it is, you didn’t create it. Even if it’s your child, your spouse, or yourself, it’s not your fault. You can give yourself a little bit of grace around that. In the same vein, it’s also not yours to fix someone else. We can’t. It is giving yourself permission to check in with yourself as to what you need, what space you need, and what you need to feel well.
It’s been said a million times that it’s so cliché, but I believe in putting on your own oxygen mask before you help another. We have to be well in order to be of use to others. That’s checking in with yourself and giving yourself permission to have your own needs that don’t always revolve around someone else’s crisis or someone else’s needs.
Be gentle. I keep saying that, but I strongly believe that we need to be gentle with ourselves. When someone else is in crisis, it affects us and we’re in crisis too. Even if you disconnect, it does affect us. It is saying, “That’s okay. I’m doing my work.” I’m asking myself what I need. I’m surrendering. I’m saying, “I don’t have control,” and yet, it’s still hard. That’s okay. Keep being kind to yourself. Find the people that can hold you up and love you through it. Reach out. That’s what I’d say.
That’s great. I love all three of those. That’s super wise. As we wrap up here, if people wanted to get ahold of you, how could they?
I have a website, RobinDetmer.com. That’s my physical therapy, wellness, energetics, and all that website. TheOpenBookMemoir.com is for our book. It’s called The Open Book: A Family Memoir of Adventure, Trauma, and Resilience. That’s available on Amazon or in Tsunami if you live in a town in Eugene. We have a website for that. I’m on Instagram @RobinDetmer.
My cell phone number is on my website because that’s how people directly schedule with me at the moment. Since COVID, I don’t have online scheduling because it got too confusing. You can email me through that website too. Go to my website. You can also find me on Google. If you search Robin Detmer or Robin Detmer, MPT, which is Master of Physical Therapy, you will find me because there are all the things. It keeps track of you pretty well on the internet.
I would encourage people to reach out to her. She is delightful, full of wisdom, still gaining wisdom, and open. Her heart is open wide. We’re all on this incredible journey. I’m so grateful that our paths have crossed and that you created the time for this.
Thank you for inviting me to your show. It’s great. I’m excited you’re doing this. This is important work. Thank you.
Thank you. Until next time, everybody, please take care of yourselves.
- Robin Detmer
- The Open Book
- Andy Graham: When the Outside Looks Perfect, But the Inside is Shut Down
- Untethered Soul
- @RobinDetmer – Instagram
About Robin Detmer
I grew up in Belize, Central America on a homestead carved out of the jungle by my parents and their friends. In April 2022, my mom, younger sister and I published a book called The Open Book, in which our voices are woven together to provide a unique portrait of our family’s wild-but-true experience from four different perspectives.
My mission is to shine my light brightly and to work with other human beings (clients, friends, groups) to facilitate positive, lasting changes to their overall health and well-being. I hold each person’s highest potential as possible and teach clients tools to help move toward this vision.