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 extricate 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.


OFFICIAL BIO

Rachael Alaia is a facilitator, educator, land steward, writer, speaker, and scholar helping folks engage in body awareness, ecological sentience, and experiential inquiry for personal & planetary healing.

Rachael’s work spans and bridges a wide breadth of topics and disciplines—including culture and ecology, transformative justice and spirituality, trauma resolution and storytelling, bioregionalism and depth psychology, somatics and shadow work. She has been trained in transformational group facilitation, been a practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation for a decade, and engaged in the expressive arts as a therapeutic method for healing trauma for her entire life. Rachael holds a Master's degree in Education and a Bachelor's in Environmental Studies.

Rachael is based in Cabo Corrientes, in the coastal Sierra Madre mountains of Western Mexico, where she lives with her partner and two-year old son building and stewarding a permaculture food-forest, developing a regenerative living community learning center, and running their family’s local eco-tourism adventure business. Her offerings currently include writing, public speaking, and teaching courses, as well as facilitating programs, workshops, and retreats.

Rachael is known for creating spaces that are both nourishing and provocative, comforting and transformative—Spaces that honor the entire spectrum of the human experience. She is humbled and honored to have the privilege to engage in this work.


MY LINEAGE

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

TRAININGS + CERTIFICATIONS + DEGREES

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

  • University of Sussex International Summer School, coursework in Environmental Policy and Media Studies (2008)

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

  • Two 200-hour yoga teacher trainings in the lineage of Krishnamacharya with Nicki Doane & Eddie Modestini of Maya Yoga (2012 & 2013)

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

  • School Garden Educator Certificate with the Maui School Garden Network (2013)

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

  • “Singing Over the Bones” Professional Residency Training through the Institute for Archetypal and Cross Cultural Studies with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés (2015)

  • “Heart of the Wounded Healer” Professional Residency Training through the Institute for Archetypal and Cross Cultural Studies with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés (2016)

  • Facilitator training in the Work that Reconnects with Joanna Macy, Mollie Brown, Constance Washburn, and Mutima Imani (2017-2018)

  • Healing Trauma through Yoga with the Justice Resource Institute’s Trauma Center (2018)

  • Grief Literacy Training: Level One with being here, human (2019)

  • Basic Principles of Somatic Experiencing with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (2019)

TEACHING + FACILITATION EXPERIENCE

  • Docent for the UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration Kids in Nature Program (2008-2010)

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

  • Educator and Intern Coordinator for the South Coast Watershed Resource Center (2009-2010)

  • Outdoor Mentor for the Wilderness Youth Project (2009-2010)

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

  • Lead Educator with Seeds in the Middle at Elementary School P.S. 91 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC (2011)

  • Lead Environmental Educator at the Hawai’i Nature Center on Maui (2012-2013)

  • Yoga and Meditation Instructor at the University of Hawaii, Maui Campus (2013)

  • Yoga, Meditation, Dance, Creative Writing, and Art Therapy Instructor at the Temple of the Way of Light (2014)

  • Facilitator of 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)

  • Producer and Facilitator of the Woman, Reclaim Your Wild! Retreat in NYC (2015)

  • Yoga Workshop Facilitator at davannayoga (2015-2016)

  • Guest Yoga Teacher Trainer with davannayoga’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (2015-2016)

  • Co-facilitator and producer of the Wild Rhythm Journey Retreat with Caroline Cárdenas (aka The Hula Hoop Girl) in San Diego, California (2016)

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

  • Work that Reconnects Workshop Facilitator (2018-2019)

COMMUNITY OUTREACH + PUBLIC SPEAKING + RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

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

  • Program Evaluator for the UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration Kids in Nature Program (2008-2010)

  • Programming and Membership Chair for the NYC Alumni Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta (2010-2011)

  • Communications and Research Intern with public policy action tank Brighter Green (2011)

  • Program Associate and Curriculum Developer with Seeds in the Middle at Elementary School P.S. 91 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC (2011)

  • Editorial Intern with The Feminist Press (2012)

  • Campaign Intern 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)

  • Producer and host of the podcast Feral Intercourse: Conversations with Wild Women (2016-2018)

ONLINE COURSES + PROGRAMS + MENTORSHIPS

INFORMAL LEARNING

  • 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 (2001)

  • Miss Hawai’i Jr. Teen America and Miss Congeniality Jr. Teen America (2001)

  • 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)

  • Living in and traveling through Australia (2012)

  • Spiritual retreat with Alan Clements (2013)

  • Living and traveling through South America (2014)

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

  • Spiritual retreat with Adyashanti (2015)

  • Trauma Informed Embodiment therapy with Gwynn Raimondi (2019)


AWARDS + HONORS

  • UCSB Dean’s Honors (2008-2010)

  • UCSB Environmental Studies Program: Distinction in the Major (2010)

  • UCSB Environmental Studies Program: Outstanding Academic Achievement (2010)

  • Phi Beta Kappa Society

  • Golden Key International Honor Society

  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars

  • Sigma Alpha Lambda Honors Society

  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2018, 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, Carl Jung, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Bill Plotkin, Judith Herman, Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk, Pete Walker, Stephen Porges, Francis Weller, Martín Prechtel, Stephen Jenkinson, Naomi Klein, Octavia Butler, James Baldwin, Zhiwa Woodbury, Deb Dana, 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, 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), John Bowlby, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Glen Albrecht, David Whyte, Marion Woodman, Rachael Rice

 

FEATURED PRESS

PODCASTS
rise up! good witch podcast with Corinna Rosella (in production)
Belonging podcast with Becca Piastrelli (in production)
The Radical Radiance Show podcast with Camille Rose Fields (in production)
Threshold podcast with Sarah Durham Wilson.
Empath to Power podcast with Lola Pickett.
Ladies Who Lead podcast with Luna Love.
The Untangled podcast with Alana Helbig.
Ashley Asti podcast with Ashley Asti (now inactive).

PUBLICATIONS
Featured writing on Medium.com.
Wild Woman Magazine.
Rebelle Society online publication.
Over the Moon online publication (now inactive).
Nabalo’s The Year of the Goddess feature.


ACCOUNTABILITY STATEMENT

IDENTITY
I am a woman with a known ancestry of Scottish, English, Irish, Swedish, French, German, Dutch, and Indigenous Native American (Haudenosanee, Pawnee) origins. I am a straight-presenting queer cis-woman in a long-term, monogamous, heterosexual, bilingual, intercultural, mixed-race partnership with a cis-man of mestizo descent. I am a mother to an active and healthy, mixed-race, two-and-a-half year old boy. I am mostly able-bodied, with “invisible” health burdens related to autoimmune conditions, neurodivergence, and a variety of symptomatic manifestations of Complex PTSD. I have access to education, healthcare, and safe housing without substantial worry of lifelong debt. I was raised as white, dissociated from much cultural heritage or any indigenous roots. I was raised with loose familial ties with Christian science and Reform Judaism. I identify as a witch, and practice an Earth-based spirituality rooted in my own ancestral lineage. I am an only child in an upper-middle class nuclear family. I am bilingual: English was my first language, and I learned Spanish before puberty. My father’s family were made of poor, working class Jewish immigrants that did not possess generational wealth. My mother’s family descended from early colonizers, settlers, and indentured servants that do possess generational wealth. I was born in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to “expatriate” parents who were both born in the United States. I have dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States. I spent most of my formative years on the stolen and colonized indigenous lands of Mexico, Northern California, and Maui, Hawaii. I currently steward and occupy a small tract of land, per an ejido community-land agreement, in Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, Mexico. This land was originally stewarded by the Nahua/Mexica, the Wirarika, the Cora, the Tecuexes, the Tecoxquin; The people originally of this bioregion have experienced forced colonization for several hundred years.

POTENTIAL FOR HARM
I am committed to engaging in anti-oppression. And although I do a great deal of ongoing work to unhook from the harmful systems, institutions, and patterns of relating that I’ve been culturally programmed to perpetuate (ie. colonialism, whiteness, misogyny, ableism, classism, transphobia, scientific reductionism… among many others), I know that I simply cannot trust that these weapons won’t wield themselves unconsciously in my work, my words, my actions. No matter how intentional I am about creating an inclusive space that’s committed to the liberation of all beings, my own identities, cultural associations/dissociations, privileges, and patterns of trauma contribute to an oppressive colonial framework that is inherently violent towards marginalized bodies, namely Black folks, Indigenous folks, and People of Color. I will inevitably be responsible for causing harm. There’s no pretending otherwise. However—I am here, committed to preemptively reducing the potential for harm, just as I am wholeheartedly committed to showing up with as much integrity as possible in the face of whatever harm is done.