How To Be A Living, Breathing Dreamcatcher: A Conversation With Rachael Rice

January 14, 2013 § 10 Comments

By T’ai Carmen

www.rachaelrice.com

Rachael Rice is an Oklahoma-born, Vermont-bred dream coach, artist, digital media maven, teacher and dreamcatcher maker —  featured in the likes of People Magazine– living in Portland, Oregon. We met at an event offering free workshops for women — I was leading a poetry workshop and she was teaching a class on making dreamcatchers. Her creations and creative spirit alike are inspiring to behold.

from www.rachaelrice.comRachael, I’ve been calling 2013 the year of the dream. I saw the other day on your Facebook page that you’ve coined the same term! Dream actualization is in the air! Transformative culture is on the rise. What are your thoughts on this moment of history in which we find ourselves and the role of the dreamer in the modern age? 

Well I think it’s some pretty intense karma to be alive now. I mean, now we really know about the consequences of our actions: www.rachaelrice.comhow unlimited growth doesn’t work in a closed system like Earth, how coal and combustion engines make polar bears grip their tiny ice shards. We have more awareness than ever of the scope of human suffering — AND potential.

I choose to put all my energy into working with others who are building whatever is coming next. I don’t get real upset about politics because I don’t think the answers to the world’s problems are going to come from the government (although it would benefit greatly I think from a presence of women commensurate in proportion to its electorate) — I think the answers to the world’s problems will come from creatives: artists, dreamers, song-singers, and the like.

dreamcatcher by www.rachaelrice.com

Can you tell us more about Cosmic American Dream Support? from www.rachaelrice.com, cosmic woman,SOUCRE: biscodeja-vu, via palomaquerida)

So I began to notice that I’d sit down with someone to talk about her website, and we’d end up talking about whether or not she wanted kids, or the fact that she really wanted to forgive her sister, or quit her day job and be a writer. So the conversation about branding quickly turned to the Big Dream, what we want out of life, and I found that I was pretty good at using the online branding process to help clients achieve more clarity about what they really wanted to be doing. Now I have a group of women that I coach in what I’m calling Dream School: A Solopreneur Salon for Creatives. We get together and use various tools — everything from smudge sticks  to Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map to Seth Godin’s blog to Tara Gentile‘s writing about money to Pixie Campbell‘s SouLodge animal wisdom teachings. It’s a very spiritual, very practical approach to running a business as a creative person.

Can you give us more insight into the traditional uses of dreamcatchers, as well as what they mean to you?546194_511917915498133_1654030775_n

Well the dreamcatcher originated with the Ojibwa Nation and were often used above a child’s cradle, as a mobile to capture and filter out the bad dreams (there are various iterations of this theme). The Pan-Indian movement of the 60’s and 70’s saw the dreamcatcher popularized as a uniting image, and it has certainly become quite commercialized and appropriated by white girls like me since then. I grew up in a time when “multiculturalism” was part of arts education and I learned to make them in Oklahoma, much as you would learn to make snowshoes or Ukrainian eggs.

Then I became a public school art teacher and explored all manner of dreamcatcher, Rachael Rice, as featured in People Magazineindigenous and non-western art and craft. Now there’s a lot more mindfulness (or there should be) around cultural appropriation so I understand it’s tricky to create art inspired by Native American imagery. The spiritual nature of the objects I create exists only as an expression of what I think is beautiful, I claim no heritage other than the space occupied by my own heart. They are not marketed as sacred objects (though they are to me, but so is my guitar). I use mostly salvaged materials, and as much as possible I source my feathers from happy birds on farms. I donate to the Native American Youth and Family Association of Portland, as a token of thanks.

What advice would you give to people trying to break through issues of anxiety, depression, creative stagnation and/or self-doubt?

I share this issue. I would call it a spiritual assignment. I’ve had some serious trauma in life that has resulted in the need for clinical support. I do believe in therapy (I’m a fan of the alphabet soup evidence-based therapies like CBT, DBT, and especially ACT). But therapy is like food, you have to try a lot of it to find out what you like. And some of us need medication, as over-prescribed as it is. Prozac is my friend. I haven’t tried ayahuasca yet but certainly psychedelic drugs have influenced my capacity to wonder.

from www.rachaelrice.com, source: coyotenegro, via urban--hippie

I love 12-Step work, because of its accountability, and its helpfulness in dismantling egoic narcissism. You don’t have to believe in God(s) to have a higher power, you know? I adore the work of Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hahn, Eckart Tolle and all those folks talking about the nature of the soul. I think body centered practices like EFT tapping, yoga, and other healing modalities can get to places that talk-based therapies can’t reach. You know, none of these approaches work unless you’re really willing to be very, very VERY uncomfortable. And a lot of people aren’t. They’re very attached to their stories about themselves, their Pain Bodies, the narratives imposed upon them by the operating system downloaded into their bodies by their DNA, their parents, their society.

from www.rachaelrice.comMy advice is to stay away from alcohol and read about Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Get a sense of the Observer Self that’s there all the time, no matter how you’re feeling. Cultivate gratitude. Every single day. We have every modern convenience, every imaginable advantage. If you don’t believe me, go turn your water on and off. There is no excuse to not have a life that is meaningful and rewarding, full of connection and service.

We over-emphasize the mind in our culture. We think it’s important to not have negative thoughts a lot. Well, some of us were programmed to have a lot of negative thoughts. That’s not such a big deal. The sun will become a red giant and in 10,000 years none of it will matter, you don’t have to take your negative thoughts and feelings so seriously. Pay attention to the activities that make time fly by, to the things that give your life meaning. And choose behaviors that align with those things, no matter what your mind may be doing. This will often be really uncomfortable. It’s the yoga of the development. But the amazing thing is that, if you choose different behaviors, you’ll have different feelings!

Try to view all your relationships as assignments from your soul. Entertain the possibility that your soul chose this body, and these circumstances, at this time, to best learn how to be at home in your own heart.

from www.rachaelrice.com, source: randomfarks, via moon womanrising

You’ve described yourself as a “living, breathing dream catcher.” I love this idea. Can you describe for us how others might achieve this?

Figure out how you want to feel (specifically, not just generically) and identify actions that create those feelings. Like, I want to rachael rice, www.rachaelrice.comfeel expanded, inspired, abundant, divinely feminine, and useful. I can’t feel that way and have a normal day job. But other people can.

My new thing is to buy the coffee of the person behind me in a drive-through, especially if I’m feeling particularly contracted around money. It shifts everything for me, and I get to drive away before they can even thank me! Awesome!! Abundance is a feeling, and I have plenty. Pay attention to how your body feels in reaction to your environment. To the food you eat. To the conversations you have. If you’re unsure of your soul’s purpose, try to help others in some way. Be of service. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Surround yourself with people who make you feel more like yourself. I spend 80% of my time alone, and that’s ok. I’m sensitive. Always be asking, “why do I want this?” And notice, right in this moment, you are safe.

from www.rachaelrice.com, Source: abstrused, via crystal-elixir

Is there a particular philosophy by which you live your life?

I dig engaged Buddhism. I think it’s important to know the land we walk on, to re-indigenize ourselves: where my water comes from, what plants are edible, who was here before me, from which direction do storms blow in. I believe in forgiveness.

What would you say is your number one inspiration?

The natural world. Or Lady Gaga. It’s a toss-up.

www.rachaelrice.comwww.rachaelrice.com

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§ 10 Responses to How To Be A Living, Breathing Dreamcatcher: A Conversation With Rachael Rice

  • beautiful interview…(I found you through Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map FB group) – looking forward to connecting more:)

  • pixie says:

    Love this! Indeed we are equipped with more awareness than ever…and more potential. Thank you both. xo

  • Kris Oster says:

    Rachel – you are an inspiration. Love how you approach your work in a deep, soul-stirring way. I work a lot with folk’s personal mythology to get into the deeper strata of their psyche-soul … rather than staying at level of, “should I use Twitter or Facebook” and stuff like that.

    It’s a part of it, of course, but the deeper work is the healing and profound aspects of what we are up to.

    Hugs,

    Kris

  • Love this piece Rachel, i share many of the same beliefs and love how you mix branding, spirituality, art, and therapy all in one article! It’s a testament to the new shift in thought- we are multi-dimensional and so are our interests and abilities. We can love nature and Lady Gaga all at once :) Beautiful pics too~

  • Rachael Rice says:

    Thanks Desha! T’ai asked some deep questions, I hope I was able to touch a little on the multidimensions!

  • […] an interview with me on Parallax…we dig deep! Trip over to her blog for the full […]

  • Gale Harris says:

    Hi Rachael,
    Gale here. After 2011, going through hurricane Irene, and living with no electricity or water for 2 weeks, then literally a year plus of renovation, I had less bad days than I would have thought, really–once I really knew I wasn’t going to lose my home, I was fine, and like you said about problems, they are the wellspring of all the learning and creativity. Probably I could live without another flood though…..

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