We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachael Gula and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachael, how has your work-life balance changed over time?

My father often encourages me to “make good choices” and live with “everything in moderation, including moderation itself.” This mantra has been a helpful north star as I navigate the early stages of my life and career. My health was feeling the impact of my imbalanced lifestyle, I was not prioritizing self-care. Since our initial pause of 2020, I have felt a healing restoration of balance personally. I feel grateful to have rested this past year as the world moved through collective grief and transitioning of life. I have allowed myself to move through life at a pace slower than before. I took time for myself to reconnect with nature in introspection.
Rest and play are beneficial aspects of this new found self-care. Incorporating mindfulness meditation into my morning and evening routines, especially positive affirmations, has helped me feel more balanced overall. When I feel my best and fill up my own cup through self-care, I can show up for others and give back to my community.

These days, I’m allowing myself more time to bask in the sunshine and fully embrace the experiences which bring me joy. Realigning with my priorities of health, family, and leading with love, I am evolving to measure how my day was by how I felt, rather than what was accomplished. I embrace the days where I congratulate myself for taking care of my mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Through my own journey of witnessing the world shifting around us, I’ve learned that it’s ok to experience an imbalance sometimes. Like the ocean has calm days and storms, we can live more harmoniously with ourselves and the world by letting go of the pressure to always be working. Taking my Dad’s advice to heart, I’m swimming downstream in the direction of making good choices which benefit myself and the world.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

After studying Theatre Arts and Film/TV at UC Santa Barbara, on the unceded land of the Chumash and Shmuwich people, I took a break from school to travel. I followed my curiosity to Seattle, Washington, traditional land of the Duwamish people, where I explored my connection to nature and art. I returned to California and served as an environmental instructor for a youth program, Ventura Wild, incorporating song-writing as an educational tool.

I enjoy singing, playing ukulele, piano, guitar, and harmonica, which are featured on my first album, “Sneakers” (2018). This past Spring, while taking classes at Moorpark College, I directed a short film written by a student in the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility and incorporated American Sign Language into our story.

Since the climate crisis is of the utmost urgency, it feels energizing to explore the possibilities of continuing climate activism with music and performing arts. I feel inspired to flow towards sharing stories of positive climate solutions, intersectionality, and allyship. One of my most profound experiences occurred recently in Washington DC, on the unceded land of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) people. I played the bucket-drum and marched with Sunrise, a youth movement advocating for a Green New Deal. It was here that I met Water-Protectors taking non-violent direct action to defend our Earth from devastating tar-sands oil pipeline expansions.

After hearing Indigenous elders share their message of walking with peace, the drumming, singing, and dancing continued. I recently spent ten days on the frontlines of Pipeline 3 resistance in Minnesota, treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, where I joined the “Treaty People Walk for Water” on their final 50 mile stretch of marching towards the State Capitol. I’ve learned that music is an incredibly powerful tool for storytelling and healing.

Going forward, I’m especially jazzed to create and collaborate on projects which drive positive, tangible action. I am launching a new interview-series through the global network, Climate Designers, where I am co-hosting a live-stream segment, “Designing Climate Action”, highlighting positive steps we can take towards systemic transformation.

Next fall, I’m continuing my education at Naropa University in Boulder, CO,on the traditional territories of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ute, Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Pueblo and Shoshone Nations. Art is a powerful catalyst for healing and transformation. I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue what I love while making a positive impact.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When my best friend comes to visit, I am definitely taking them to Monty’s for a plant-based burger, fries, and milkshake. We’ll head to the Silverlake Flea market on Saturday, then off to Elysian park for a hike. Our visit will include a sunset lap around the Silverlake reservoir then to the meadows for yoga. We’ll grab a bite from Cosmic Vinyl, record store and vegan coffee shop, then swing by the Sunset Boulevard Nursery for new house plants and ceramics. For live music, I’ll see what’s playing at The Echo or The Wiltern. I will take them up to Lake Arrowhead for a few nights to enjoy fresh mountain air and paddle-boarding.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to the incredible writer, ally, and friend, Nicholas C. Pappas.

Website: linktr.ee/RachaelGula

Instagram: @RachaelGula

Linkedin: @RachaelGula

Twitter: @RachaelGula

Image Credits: Josh Yoder, Rachael Warriner, Liz Lattimer, and Julia Earnst.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.