Rachael Alaia photo by Cadencia Photography
 

About Me

I am a mother, daughter, and life-partner.

I am a writer, artist, facilitator, speaker, environmental educator, land steward, interdisciplinary scholar, and eco-somatic guide.

I am a seer, philosopher, learner, empathizer, storyteller, and incendiary.

I am an Aquarius sun, Sagittarius rising, and Virgo moon. My Myers Briggs type is an I/ENFP. I’m a Enneagram type 4. And my human design type is a 2/4 Generator.


I feel compelled to "disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”

I tend towards giving voice and validity to the more difficult, paradoxical parts of being human.

I work to stir the pot, to imagine what a different relationship to being human might look like, beyond what we’ve been taught or conditioned to be.

I am committed to disrupting the ways we exist that denigrate dignity, disregard the wellness of all beings, and desecrate that which is sacred and life-supporting.

I reject the notion that I have to deliver my message in a certain manner or tone to be worthy of being received. I value fierce truth and tender compassion, and believe the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. 

I do not stand for homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, sizeism, imperialism, fascism, or any expression of hatred or oppression, conscious or unconscious, towards someone because of their race, gender expression, sexuality, nationality, income level, ability, age, size, or body type. 

I come from a long line of folks finding ways to survive a lot of hurt, and trauma, and pain. I recognize that many of us, including myself, are working hard to break those cycles however we can.

I dream and work consistently towards a regenerative existence that honors and redeems the marginalized, the survivors, the hurt, the silenced, the oppressed of the world. 

I carry with me over a decade of creating and facilitating transformative learning experiences in a variety of different forms. 

I’m humbled and privileged to be able to share myself in this way.


ABOUT MY WORK

WHAT IT IS

My work currently consists of writing, public speaking, teaching online courses, and facilitating group workshops and retreats.

My work seeks to de-compartmentalize environmentalism by bridging the realms of science, culture, and spirituality. It is work that is grounded in animism, deep ecology, story-sharing, and community organizing; It’s work devoted to our collective wellbeing and liberation that aims to connect personal, communal, and structural change.

This work is interested in midwifing the death of unsustainable, anthropocentric, capitalist growth-machine, climate change denying, prison industrial complex, white-supremacist, patriarchal, power-hungry perspectives and practices of being human—so as to attend to the birth of an authentic, regenerative, life-supporting, democratic, liberatory, holistic, integral, Earth-centered paradigm. It is work that collaborates + commingles within emerging commons + serves as praxis for individuals, relationships, + communities seeking to heal.

This work is committed to inspiring a divergent way of doing this thing called being human. It is work that challenges the ideas we take for granted as truth, fact, or reality, while also works to create a cohesive narrative of our stories about ourselves + the world. It is work that seeks re-member our body's felt experience and our self-determination, to take responsibility for our own creative/destructive powers, to recognize our ways of mothering + caretaking ourselves + others, to take ownership of our particular visions on birth + death, to empower our definitions of success + failure, and to cast new myths of grief, rage, pain + pleasure.

This work is intent on questioning, leaning into, learning, becoming—with the primarily objective being a movement towards existing in right relationship, with the planet, with each other, with ourselves, with what’s always left unseen. And by “right” I don’t mean an exchange that’s policed as proper, nice, or civilized. But a way of relating that is grounded in respect and integrity. A way of interacting that is honorable, reciprocal, and real.

This work is rooted in a somatic, systems-based, experiential inquiry of the chthulucene/anthropocene/capitalocene—particularly exploring how we humans might reclaim our wild sovereignty and extracate our wholeness from internalized and systematic structures of oppression, by way of a transformed relationship with our bodies and the land. It asks what it takes to show up fully, connected, powerful in our lives, how we decide to express and act upon our values, and how we might embody the profound complexities of what it means to be human right now on planet Earth.

WHAT IT IS NOT

My work is accessible and available to a wide range of folks, but I do not assume that this work is universally applicable to every single person, brashly covering a broad brush stroke across the lives of all who might engage—to assume so would be to overlook the distinct needs we have as a diverse group. This work does not want to invalidate and erase our differences; it wants to honor them.

This work is not a pathway to bolster a cultural preoccupation with perpetual positivity, constantly being happy, or feeling good all the time. It is not about “fixing” our fucked up-ness or about just making the hurt disappear. Rather, it’s intent on showing up our whole selves in the mess, reconnecting to our humanness there, restoring a certain grounded resilience, and learning to value the beautifully varied full spectrum of our interwoven existence.

This work is not for achieving perfection, receiving any kind of absolute expertise, coming up with impenetrable ideology, diminishing anyone’s direct lived experience, or giving unsolicited advice. It is neither conventional wisdom nor an easily marketable set of rules, conditions, or recipes to success, but is a kind of art that asks you to build + discover + engage with what’s real and important for you.

This work is not here to tell you how to live, respond, react, relinquish, revel in. It's not the magic bullet or the cure-all. I’m not claiming to have all the answers or pretending to know something that it actually doesn’t. It's not trying to be anything more than what it is: a kind of practical creative support that’s wildly curious, deeply humble, and intent on fostering healing, connection, realness.


MY LINEAGE

I heavily credit my knowledge lineage in the development of my work, which includes a variety of formal and informal kinds of work and immersive learning experiences:

  • A lifelong immersive study of dance, music, theater, and movement arts; starting at age 2

  • Participating as the youngest attendee of the Maui Writers Conference at age 13

  • Serving as Miss Hawai’i Jr. Teen America and Miss Congeniality Jr. Teen America at age 13

  • Studying with and performing as part of the Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble, and The Dance Center’s Jazz & Contemporary Performance Companies (2004-2006)

  • Performing with the Hawai’i All State Honor Choir (2004)

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Environmental Studies + Minor in Math & Science Education from University of California, Santa Barbara (2006-2010)

  • Serving as UC Santa Barbara’s student Sustainability Ambassador (2008-2009)

  • Serving as Kids in Nature docent, completing undergraduate thesis work in environmental education program evaluation, and restoring native wetland habitat for the UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (2009-2010)

  • Serving as Educator and Intern Coordinator for the South Coast Watershed Resource Center (2009)

  • Serving as Educational Program Assistant for the Art from Scrap eco-youth summer program (2009)

  • Assisting guiding summer and after-school programming as Outdoor Mentor for the Wilderness Youth Project (2009-2010)

  • Assistant teaching in a 7th-grade biology and earth science classroom at La Colina Middle School in Santa Barbara, California (2010)

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University (2010-2012)

  • Teaching environmental food justice with students, conducting professional development workshops with educators, and developing a classroom food justice program, “Hip2B Healthy,” for the community nonprofit organization Seeds in the Middle at Elementary School P.S. 91 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC (2011)

  • Serving as a communications, research, and education intern for the public policy action tank Brighter Green (2011)

  • Six months living in and traveling through Australia (2012)

  • Facilitating outdoor environmental education programming to elementary school students at the Hawai’i Nature Center on Maui (2012-2013)

  • Working as support staff for the Democratic Party of Hawai’i in the election campaigns of Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Mazie Hirono + the re-election campaign of former President Barack Obama in Maui County (2012)

  • Yoga teacher training in the lineage of Krishnamacharya with Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini of Maya Yoga (2012, 2013)

  • Experiencing a Core and Cellular Transformation Healing Training with Ger Lyons (2013)

  • Spiritual retreat with Alan Clements (2013)

  • Teaching yoga and meditation at the University of Hawaii, Maui Campus (2013)

  • Experiencing a Vipassana meditation training, as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin (2014)

  • Three months backpacking through South America (2014)

  • Six-month shipibo plant medicine immersion near Iquitos, Peru (2014)

  • Spiritual retreat with Adyashanti (2015)

  • Professional Residency Trainings through the Institute for Archetypal and Cross Cultural Studies with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés (2015, 2016)

  • Facilitating Mystic Wolf Women, a sixteen-month online group mentorship program, virtual learning experience, and mythological journey through the prominent text, “Women Who Run with the Wolves” (2015-2017)

  • Participating in The Red Thread program with Laura Larriva Page (2016)

  • Facilitating Wild Mother, a twelve-week online community space and interactive conversation series on motherhood (2017)

  • Participating in the Coaching as Activism course with Andréa Ranae Johnson (2017)

  • Participating in the Dismantle group program with Abigail Rose Clarke (2017)

  • Facilitator training in the Work that Reconnects with Joanna Macy, Mollie Brown, Constance Washburn, and Mutima Imani (2018)

  • Participating in the Consent Culture for Kids course with Isabelle Faith Abbot (2018)

  • Participating in the Unraveled group program with Staci Jordan Shelton (2018)

  • Participating in Grief Literacy Training with being here, human (2019)

  • Participating in the Blood and Belonging course + the Writing Resilience mentorship with Marybeth Bonfiglio (2018, 2019)

  • Engaging in Trauma Informed Embodiment therapy with Gwynn Raimondi (2019)

  • Participating in the Getting Free program with Melinda Alexander (2019)

  • Participating in The Numinous School with Carmen Spagnola (2019)


While I’ve not personally known or studied with these folks, I’ve learned a great deal from their art and their bodies of work, and thus feel compelled to name them here:

Gabor Mate, Charles Eisenstein, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Bill McKibben, Bill Plotkin, Judith Herman, Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk, Pete Walker, Stephen Porges, Francis Weller, Martín Prechtel, Naomi Klein, Octavia Butler, James Baldwin, adrienne maree brown, Alok V. Menon, Roxane Gay, Silvia Federici, Toko-pa Turner, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ursula K. Le Guin, Donna J. Haraway, Adrienne Rich, Susan Griffin, Gabrielle Roth, Richard Louv, Tada Hozumi, Daniel Quinn, David Abram, Paolo Coelho, Alexis P. Morgan, Ayana Young, Matthew Remski, Amanda Palmer, Demetra George, Sharon Blackie, Joseph Campbell, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (Rumi), Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Hafiz)

 

OFFICIAL BIO

Rachael Alaia is a writer, facilitator, educator, and scholar helping folks engage in body awareness, ecological sentience, and experiential inquiry for personal & planetary healing. Her work seeks to bridge culture and ecology, transformative justice and spirituality, trauma resolution and storytelling, somatics and regenerative design. Rachael holds a Masters degree in Education and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies. She is an experienced practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation, she’s a trained guide of transformational group work, and she has engaged in expressive arts as a therapeutic method for healing trauma her entire life. Rachael is known for creating and facilitating spaces that are both nourishing and provocative, comforting and life-changing; Spaces that honor the entire spectrum of the human experience. She is humbled and honored to have the privilege to engage in this work.