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Unleashing The Magic – Exclusive Interview With Dana Pemberton And Colleen Robinson

Dana Pemberton and Colleen Robinson bring partnership to a whole new level in their work together. Vastly different in many ways, they deliver their own brand of magic to the groups, companies, and individuals they work with across North America. Colleen’s experience as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, fascination with the intersection between science and spirituality, and focus on healing combines with Dana’s “boots on the ground” approach based on a lifetime of martial arts training (he started at age 3) and several decades of coaching. Together, their focus is to help you find and clear the old patterns that are holding you back, and replace them with simple concepts you can apply to move forward with ease.


Image photo of Dana Pemberton And Colleen Robinson

Colleen Robinson & Dana Pemberton, Wellness and Leadership Strategists


Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

 

Hi, I'm Dana and I'm a first generation Canadian, born to Caribbean immigrant parents. I grew up in a military-oriented family and household where discipline and order were the expectations of the day.

 

This set up a great foundation for me to pursue athletics: from track & field to football to martial arts. I focussed on being better than I was the day before, as excellence was just the standard that was set for us growing up. That influenced me heavily in the way I approached academics and the way I approached my athletic career, to the point where I was seriously lined up for a professional football career by way of high school scholarships and a scholarship to play football at university.

 

In that time I also spent years and years practicing martial arts, starting at a very young age with my dad's instruction in boxing, and growing from there through to karate and many forms of Japanese martial arts. They very much became my passion and still are, and are a great place to exercise the powerful version of discipline that I learned to embrace as a youngster.

 

I’m Colleen, and I was brought up with a really beautiful combination of science and magic. When my sister and I were young, our parents taught English to adults on First Nation Reserves in Northern Ontario and Quebec. I remember sitting at the shaman’s feet with the other kids while he told us stories like how the bear got a short tail. We would go snowshoeing and my dad would quiz us on which trees were coniferous or deciduous. Then when he would head out for a solo faster run, my mother, with a twinkle in her eye, would point out a circular area in the forest and tell us that it was cleared by fairies so they could dance there.

 

My love of language and creativity led me to a scholarship at university and then to an MA in English. When I was mid-PhD I had a moment of shock, realizing that “publish or perish” was more important for tenure-track than teaching: and I was in it for the teaching. I left school and eventually ended up in Vancouver, BC. My day job had resulted in carpal tunnel in my wrist, and I was told that there was nothing to be done except for surgery. One of my friends introduced me to her acupuncturist, who got it sorted in two sessions, and I was hooked on the magic of acupuncture, which of course was the gateway practice for TCM Herbal Medicine, then Integral Medicine.

 

Dana and I have known each other for 27 years, been together for 25 of those, working in business together for 15, and teaching together for 14. It seems like the longer we’re together, the more we do together, so thank goodness we enjoy each other’s company!

 

Can you share the story behind how your partnership and business, integrating martial arts philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine, came to fruition?


We were both heavily involved in the arts and in particular, the craft of acting, which is how and where we met. Both of us were very excited and inspired to pursue an artistic life and acting was the medium through which we decided to do that in our initial individual journeys.


That naturally dovetailed into our constant and consistently growing interest in self-development and health and well-being. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts brought us together in the work that we do in a way that was organic and in some senses, almost unexpected, but once it arrived, seemed almost inevitable.


How do your diverse backgrounds and approaches complement each other in your work of helping individuals, couples, families, and companies heal and evolve?

 

Dana Our work dovetails easily into each other's areas of expertise because of our natural focus on the things that we're most passionate about.

 

I'm very interested in “boots on the ground”, practical principles and concepts that help people make decisions under the immediacy of stress or adversity. This lines up beautifully with the more overarching immediate and long-term goals that Colleen's work supports people in the making.

 

She helps them make better decisions about their health, their values, their heart and emotions. She helps them feel free to live from those centers, and bring all of themselves to anything they do. Together we work with identification of patterns, and consistent behaviors in a person's approach to life.

 

Together we can help people heal, and identify and map out strategies in the real world to bring changes around into concrete plans, goals and manifestations of the things that they truly desire in life.


Dana, could you elaborate on The Black Belt Mind technique and its application in guiding individuals through personal empowerment and change management?

 

I'd love to! The Black Belt Mind is actually a personal compass and a system and tool for helping people make decisions that are deeply aligned with their self-worth and true values. That kind of approach to problem-solving and decision-making is automatically helpful in managing change because you always have a sense of your own true north to lead you forward.

 

With that consistent set of reference points reflecting back to you the importance of your own values and self-worth, you are in a position to make really grounded, really well-assessed, thoughtful, and aligned decisions.


Colleen, what inspired the development of Your Integral Medicine and NAP (New Agreement Process), and how do these methodologies contribute to trauma release and holistic healing?

 

These methodologies – I love that word, it’s so evocative – developed themselves, I believe, and I was lucky enough to be listening when they started to make themselves apparent.

 

YIM (Your Integral Medicine) was something that developed as I studied dozens of healing techniques and loved specific parts of all of them. NAP organically emerged as Dana and I worked together more consistently, and I heard him repeatedly explaining about The Black Belt Mind’s ‘Triple A’ technique, which he calls a ‘triage’ technique to get you through tough moments. It became obvious that if I put it together with some aspects of Integral and Intentional Medicine and got very precise with the semantics, we could use a version of ‘Triple A’ as a way to deal with past traumas, patterns, and challenges. 

 

Trauma release has been such an important part of the work I do and we do together, that it made sense to use these tools to dig deeper and get to the root of trauma, to help correct a lack of physical, emotional, energetic, or spiritual wellness, or to help people who are firmly established in ‘good’ reach for a life that’s great.

 

As for holistic healing, more and more it seems clear to me that all true healing is holistic. Healing an ankle helps the spine align; an aligned spine impacts how our spinal nerves feel and function; those nerves impact everything from our breath to our digestion; our digestion impacts the microbiota that does more for us than we do for ourselves; and on and on it goes.

 

So one of the things I love about these techniques is that you can shift your angle ‘in’ to an issue depending on what’s easiest for each person, each individual situation, and still address things holistically.


How has the evolution of your partnership and work influenced your teaching, consulting, and online offerings, and what do you hope to achieve in the future through these avenues of expansion?


Colleen – There’s no question our work wouldn’t be what it is if we were working separately. We are very different people! Our approaches and techniques are different, and in many of the more obvious ways we’re polar opposites. But we work together extraordinarily well. Because our end goal is always the same, and we work to deepen our understanding of each other constantly, it becomes more seamless every time to ‘hand off the baton’ to each other in order to make sure that the people we’re working with get the most out of things. If someone doesn’t understand one approach or explanation, the other person can jump in with something from another angle.


We’re excited to bring these tools to more people. Finding out that you can heal, that you deserve to heal, that you can move forward past the things that have blocked you in before, is an incredible thing to witness. Every time we are a part of it with someone, it is both exciting and humbling.


If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?


The aspects of competitiveness. Every person, every coach, every consultant, every practitioner who's earnestly in their field to help and support, has a unique and valuable perspective.


The more we share these perspectives and offer our own as just another way of looking at things, allows us all to collaborate more and makes our ability to impact people that much more accessible and impactful and powerful.


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