How do you start your day?
I drink coffee in bed. I don’t look at headlines, but I do check my newsfeed which I curate to be the posts of people I admire and respect, as well as some folks who are outside of my demographic or typical experience. I put a lot of folks who don’t look like me in there. I help get the kids out the door on the days we have them. Notice that what I thought was a temporary result of being tired is now my permanent face, LOL. Take my supplements with a full glass of water. Put some music on, light incense, smash the patriarchy. You know. I've been doing ten sun salutations before diving into email or the news. It's a daily struggle, even moreso lately. But I'm making progress there, prioritizing some morning movement.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
I bring it back to the basics: hydrate, movement, making, gratitude, justice, pizza. Ha! I do have to work on not using food to numb out. I’ve made a lot of progress there, as someone with trauma that shows up as PTSD + disordered eating. I try to go be around trees, if possible. And I lean against them, and try to download my anxiety into the ground. I eat root vegetables and drink water, put my hands in the dirt somehow, or walk barefoot outside. I have my partner just apply pressure to my body by simply lying on me. Plant medicines of various sorts are very helpful. Simple somatic practices like legs up the wall or EFT (tapping) or chanting mantra. Kirsten Hale’s online anxiety + herbalism course has been tremendously helpful lately. Mostly, I try to remember that these feelings are actually a healthy response to a toxic system. I ask for help. I often just need to be alone. Or re-up my service work to get out of my own thought patterns around scarcity: of money, of time, of comfort. Sometimes I try to give comfort and connect to someone whose life looks very different from mine. We can share our comfort. That’s how acts of solidarity are good self-care. And I make myself make. When I'm creating, there's more space inside of myself to handle big feelings.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
I’d have to say the creative process and justice. Facilitating groups of people who want to make things while also discussing Big Questions is the best. Genuinely connecting with other people, both human and “more-than-human” brings me true bliss. Making things brings me bliss.
WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
I’ve made a commitment to reading only women of color for maybe ever and ever, but I did recently deviate from that and started to read Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, an anarchist activist and Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. That plus Dead Pledges by Annie McClanahan are really helping me connect the dots between personal development, being an artist, capitalism, racial justice + climate change. So I read 100% nonfiction. Also on my nightstand right now is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, and Anarcha-Feminisms: Perspectives on Anarchist Theory magazine by AK Press.
WHAT ARE YOU listening to RIGHT NOW?
DJ Drez and Trae Sevn, Alsarah + The Nubatones, Babeheaven, Strange Familia, Shira, early Kanye, The Root by Magna Carda, and Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall as done by Leon Russell. And Solange.
What does nourishment look like to you?
Nourishment looks like saying no to a lot of stuff. Mostly social stuff. I need long, uninterrupted periods of time to be alone with my own thoughts. It’s interesting because the word “nourish” comes from nurse, the one who gives a breast for food. I do things my mom would do, I try to engage in “mothering” of myself and the children who live with me -- by trying to be more gentle, by making my home environment soft and comforting and beautiful. Rose oil and revolution. Service work is nourishing. Justice is an essential nutrient for my well-being. So I’m involved with movements like #BlackLivesMatter, Standing Rock, anti-fascist groups, and houseless folks where I live. Sex, running, stretching, art, music, humor. Humor might be the most nourishing thing of all. It helps me with all the heavier aspects of this particular incarnation.
how do you make space for play?
I make space for play by surrounding myself with really funny people. And I’m a maker, so I play a lot, and when I sell the stuff I make while playing I call it “work.” I’m silly and deeply irreverent. Even when I’ve lived in small spaces, I’ve dedicated big parts of it to making. Spending time with children will make you play, whether you feel like it or not!
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
Resistance is fertile.
Keep it weird.
I am whole, I am magic.
I can do hard things, I’ve done harder things that this.
First things first.
I was made for these times.
No one’s ever died from being uncomfortable.
Joy is real.
I have a good heart, I am capable of change.
Please share some words of wisdom you've learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
I’ve learned that being respected is much more important than being liked. Marianne Williamson said, “If what you're saying is always getting applause, you're probably not yet doing the right stuff.” Being spiritual doesn’t mean being above conflict, and it doesn’t mean we need to be allergic to shame. There’s a lot of work to be done in the world to make it a place safe place for everyone, and that will require the dismantling of oppressive structures within ourselves as well as outside ourselves. And so we must cultivate resilience and integrity in the face of shame, of accountability, of calls for reparations, of the times we’ve been called to inhabit. We have a lot of tools and a tremendous amount of resources and collective wisdom. We need to use them for collective liberation, in whatever time we have left together.
Rachael Rice is a full-time artist, writer, and educator. Her work lies at the crossroads of creative expression, community, justice, teaching, healing and magic. She is white, cis-gendered (she/her), able-bodied, no uterus, has had many queer relationships but is currently living with a man and his two daughters, whom she co-parents part time as a “bonus mom.”