I am beginning a new journey within the journey. I'll be facilitating a round-table discussion about sexual consent with the undergrads at Rollins College next Wednesday; bringing my skills and experience as a yoga & meditation teacher/empowerment coach and energy medicine practitioner into the arena of sexual assault awareness and prevention. This is a very personal mission for me, as I am a survivor. I am extremely proud that I get to use my experiences with healing that pain and shame to educate and help others. I have educated myself and am ready to hold this space for the next generation to #breakthecycle. We are #strong, we are #powerful, we CAN #heal.
So much thanks to my dear family and closest friends for their love and support as I venture into this great and important work in the world. It is because of you that I can do this. You provide me the strong foundation. Thank you.
And to Oriana Guevara Jiménez and Emmanuel Ayala for encouraging, empowering, and providing me with the platform to engage.
This is only the beginning...
In this workshop style mini-seminar called:
How Far Will You Go?
A Conversation on Consent, we will be covering:
- Creating safe connections
- Exploring characteristics of healthy relationships
- Considering intense attraction and love
- Communication, sex, and intimacy
- Deciphering emotions, clearing confusion
- Developing healthy boundaries
I look forward to more of this in the form of an online platform and future seminars. Venturing onward, taking my tools with me. Peace, R
Living in the Eye of the Storm:
When all is uncertain
When changing tides roll through
When swaying trees blow down
and the wind makes you shudder,
When you wonder how you will survive, and what will life be after this.
Let your cries be felt, Let your heart ring out.
Let your passion reveal truth, and remember
your Fire, your Heart, your Dream -
the Dream of Oneness with All, the Memory
of that place that we are in - that space of
Who you are can change in a second. But what you
are is always constant. You are Pure, You are Soul. You are Divine.
RC - Sept. 14 2017.
I wrote this poem yesterday, in the energy of intensity - in the throes of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. There was much shakiness all around, in the air, the social energy, and inside too. My body has felt a slight shake ever since it swept through here, the Orlando area, just 3 days ago. I also experience the shakiness in the communications and relations we are sharing with each other, in our expressions of fear, confusion, and anxiety.
When I wrote this poem, I was putting the feeling, the raw emotion into word - form, so the poem is not something I thought about, more something I was feeling. When this kind of wisdom comes through so naturally, I always feel like there is a Greater voice speaking through me, as though the essence of Life Itself were using me as a vehicle to help us all remember who we truly are.
Welcoming the New,
Self Care, &
What is Healing?
As we know, the only thing we can truly count on is change. And the conundrum seems to be that when things change, depending on how dramatically the change is felt, it takes some time to readjust everything in order to make room for that change and adapt to the new effects this change is having on the system. Sometimes there is more than one change happening at once. Okay, I dare say that almost always there's more than one at a time. But sometimes when we get 'hit' with multiple large-scale changes, the kind that come from seemingly nowhere and affect our entire perspective, our entire experience of how we engage with life, we can resist like mad and push against it hard for the sake of hoping to prevent that unwanted or unexpected change from a) affecting us, or b) happening at all. The resistance is natural. But over time it takes its toll. And we can experience long-term problems on multiple levels because of it.
We may numb out so that the repercussions are not felt. This is a paradox. They ARE felt, they are deeply FELT, but the surface effect is like a soft pillow for a while, until one day that pillow is slowly squished and barely keeps you from feeling it any more. Eventually you will feel the repercussions. Eventually the pain comes to the surface. And this is where things get tricky and complex. Depending on the individual, we can either have a spiritual crisis because of it, a mental panic, an emotional stand-still or manic pain-filled outbursts, or chronic physical pain, and on and on. The possibilities grow out from there to affect all areas of our lives. Numbing helps for a while, but in the long run it doesn't work out. So, there needs to be a moment of ability to move through that phase, and an acceptance of the nature of trauma and the nature of life's initiatory experiences. I digress, more on that later. I will address those initiatory experiences, what I call opportunities for growth and expansion (which can be quite painful at times), a little later. First, more on resisting change...
Another thing that happens when multiple changes hit all at once, especially those that are disorienting to such a large degree that we feel completely thrown off, we may try be stronger than the change and try to force things back to the way they were or live in denial about any change happening at all, still believing in an out-moded reality that doesn't exist any more. Now, with this scenario it can be very hard to know what is real and what isn't. It can become easy to live in a world that we perceive in a certain way because that's what our perspective is at the time, and we just couldn't adapt if it were any other way. This is something to be very interested in paying attention to, to be curious about. This is a possibility for all of us. We must be vigilant to question everything, and take a lot of time to still the mind so that a neutral perspective can come in. I will talk more about that when I talk about healing.
So this is that conundrum. This thing we know to always be true: CHANGE. So why is it so hard to deal with? Why don't we just roll with it, with ease, every second of every day? I do not know for sure if I have the answer, but when I think of what that might be like - if no one was affected by change, and we all just moved into the next eventuality without a flinch or an outburst or two, or a late night cry session, or the grief and mourning we hold so dear and sacred... When I think of all this, I begin to see a glimpse of the 'why' - more the 'but if'... If we did not feel 'loss' we would never know how to appreciate this very moment, this achingly precious moment. All preciousness would be gone. All sacred honoring would be out of the picture. We would not know the value of anything. Or should I say, we would not place value on anything. Nothing has true value in its own right, only that which we perceive it to have, only that which we give it. --- And yet, we resist. We resist because we don't much like the pain of loss. It is this very pain that causes us to love. We resist that which is actually the gift, in the losing we give meaning to life, to loving, to connecting, and eventually now we give meaning to 'having.' We have replaced loving with having. So now we resist change because we will lose the things we have. (I am grateful to the 15 years of spiritual healing work I've been doing for helping me work through the pain and find out what is truly meaningful for me).
So! Back to that age-old wisdom - the wisdom of appreciation. The secret to life is truly gratitude after all. If we can learn how to understand ourselves more deeply, allow the changes to happen and have their affect on us, accepting the emotional strain that happens at that time rather than running from it or telling it to go away or that it doesn't exist, we can actually mitigate the harmful affects. However, there are many times when this is not such a clear understanding. We get caught in the fight, flight, or freeze habit.
So what do I do about this? I come back...
Back to the Breath. Back to the Breath of Life. Back to letting myself be still to bring back the remembering of who I am again, and back to the place of deep relaxation where the healing takes place. I see that my personal resistance is in the area of self-care. If I did more self-care, I could grow even stronger and create even more effectively. Now, you might think that from where you sit I do plenty of that, or may not know me at all. But I do a lot of it, and I realize it's still not enough. In these changing times, and given the nature of my life's experiences, I can tell I need more. And I see this in others around me too. We as a culture are not taking care of ourselves and are breaking down. The complex and chronic stress is really doing a number on our health and well being. And also what I can see is that as I change, it helps others to change. As I shift my experience, others shift too. So it has to start with me. I am working on it. And I will do better - for me, and for all of us. Breathing in to all the cells of my body, and exhaling slowly... Relax, relax, relax... I Let Go, and I Allow.
I will share more about those initiatory phases in a forthcoming blog, because I'd like to talk about healing first and explore a bit on that topic. I think doing this will help provide greater understanding and make the idea of 'initiatory experiences' more clear when I broach the idea again. Thanks for bearing with me.
I am working on my next blog which will explore this question:
"What Is Healing?"
Thanks for reading, hope this was inspiring in some way,
or at least food for thought.
Love and Blessings to All...
Until next time,
Peace - Rachel
I just wrote this piece as a submission for my school's seasonal newsletter about the healing power of art... Enjoy!
Hello there. I am a graduate student in the masters counseling program at Rollins College. I am also an artist, arts educator, and yoga teacher. I work with people to help them express their creativity and intentions for growth through meditation, yoga, and art. I love these vehicles of therapeutic activity. I believe that they, along with other modalities of self-care like acupuncture and healing foods, have saved my life. These past two years, my art making has slowed to a near halt. And it’s left me feeling stifled, sad, sluggish, and as though a part of me is missing.
Recently I saw an opportunity to go to a painting party event, and something inside me screamed out that I must go. I registered immediately. The theme of the night was to do our rendition of a famous painter’s painting. This week’s artist – Georgia O’Keefe. This was clearly a shimmering message from the Universe – synchronicity at its finest. O’Keefe just so happens to be my art hero – much like Wonder Woman, who has been my archetypal super heroine since childhood. Georgia was a rebel in the art world: subversive and evocative, a naturalist, feminist, and lone wolf. She blazed new trails.
O’Keefe, who passed in 1986, was calling me from the beyond, “MAKE ART!” she was tapping on my shoulder, “Remember who you are!” All my life, fulfillment has meant creative expression in one form or another; first dance, then visual arts, always performance of some kind, art videos and music videos as well. The therapeutic power of art, for me and many others, is undeniable. When we get into the ‘zone’ and let our inner child play in the field of pure creativity, there is a connection with freedom that unlocks something within, healing and reconnecting pieces of our soul that are irretrievable any other way.
As I painted that Iris painting the other night, in the spirit of Georgia, I made it my own; bold, evocative, and redolent. I danced around the canvas with paint on brush and let my spirit fly. This is the feeling of someone in their joy. This emotion went into my hidden places of grief and sadness, soothing my soul and helping me let go of some of the resistance to change I’ve been having to living a happier life, to making those changes that might seem small and inconsequential to some. They have felt like mountains for me. And now those barriers are softening because I’m letting myself make the art I want to make, to do the thing that is most enjoyable to me.
Here’s the funny part…
Confession of a conceptual artist: Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that painting flowers was not really making serious art… Like I had to make art that makes a statement ABOUT something, as if painting flowers isn't making any statement - like a 'fluff' piece for a writer.
This I realize is completely ridiculous.
This idea has kept me incapacitated as a painter for quite some time - stifled and standing at the precipice of obscurity and losing my identity as an artist, trying to get a million other art pieces going, but never finishing them because there is this inner me crying out to just paint what I really want to paint - FLOWERS.
What more great thing is there than a flower? They are each so tenderly unique, expressive, fragrant, emotionally stimulating, and have the ability to transform our indoor spaces in powerful and miraculous ways. They are what makes our planet BEAUTIFUL. And BEAUTY is what makes life livable! Let's enjoy that shall we?
So I am on a mission now to create one flower painting per week for as long as feels good to me. I am taking a stand for what I know makes me feel alive and full of passion and purpose. It's week two and I'm ready to take on the next flower project.
No more excuses, no more - "but I'm in grad school and I have no time!" Last Saturday night's event with expressive arts facilitator Phyllis Anne Taylor at Kaleidoscope Venue For The Arts in Longwood showed me the fallacy of that excuse when I created my Iris masterpiece in less than 2 hours. So, here's to Grace, Beauty, and courageously painting flowers!
be the change. love heals. forgive. breathe...