Dance Like No One's Watching: Feed Your Soul with Raina Whitfield
Native of Austin, Texas and current New Yorker, dancer, writer, and inspired by our girl Oprah, Raina Whitfield has a light that shines through her every word! She writes awesome, insightful articles about the dynamics of relationships: including her comments on the overhyping of interracial couples and breaking it down for us in her article, “You, me, & us: Dimensions of a Healthy Relationship.” Raina Whitfield is our type of gal. Her soul foods? Dancing, journaling, introspection and a good ol' cry brought on by rom-coms.
Are there any consistent activities or rituals you do to maintain a sense of inner peace? I try to journal regularly. I am not always as consistent as I'd like, but it is always a good way to reflect on my life and keep myself balanced.
When you are in an emotional rut, what are your go to ways to bring yourself out of that feeling? This may sound silly, but I don't care. Sometimes when I am in an emotional rut, I like to just feel it. I like to curl up and watch a rom-com and cry it out. I like to practice being in the moment and feeling all feelings – even the bad and indifferent. Things usually look different after a good cry.
Before beginning a creative process, what type of preparation do you normally undertake? Before I begin writing, I like to draw on personal experiences. I usually take a scene or memory and try to capture that feeling throughout a piece. This helps me because I am able to think about the content in a different way, whether it's a piece of fiction or non-fiction.
Describe a time you underwent a particularly stressful situation and what measures you took to move through that process. I spent about 4 months unemployed. It was particularly stressful because I didn't feel supported by my partner at the time and my finances we getting tight. In order to move through that time with my sanity, I took a very introspective approach. I coached myself. I learned to understand that there is no shame in hard work and with a positive attitude you will get through anything.
Do you have any favorite movies that always revive your spirit? Absolutely - I have so many, but two that come to mind are Dirty Dancing and Independence Day. Ha-ha!
Is there a particular genre of music that brings you calm? I love to listen to Indie ballads. Even when I am not in a sad or somber mood I love to listen to love songs. I feel like the music is always so real when the songwriter is going through some sort of struggle or heartbreak. I enjoy lyrics and words so I like to connect to music in that way. It keeps me calm and grounded.
What is the most inspiring book you have ever read? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - read it. Crazy memoir…crazy.
Are there any particular exercise routines or practices that you use for grounding? If so, describe how you discovered them. I just started working out again semi-regularly (beach season awaits) and I love cardio dance classes. Being a former dancer, I just love feeling the music and dancing like no one is watching. I feel so good after.
Do you meditate? If so, how did you learn and what methods do you use often? I don't. I'm too in my head all the time. I take some moments to quiet myself to relieve any anxiety in stressful moments, but that's about it.
Who is the most inspirational person you have ever met, and what did they reveal to you that never left you? This is a tough question. I am inspired by people all of the time, but I don't know that I've personally met someone yet who has really stuck with me. Maybe that's a cop-out answer, but there are certainly people whom I'd like to meet, i.e. Oprah :)
Follow Raina on Twitter! @raina_whitfield
Written by Katie Girouard.