RACHEL RICKETTS

Get ready! We have such a special #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY lady for you. Meet Rachel Ricketts aka RayRay! This beautiful human will surely inspire you as much as she inspires us! RayRay is a woman who does an impressive job of wearing many hats; she is a grief coach, a breath-worker, a writer, and a lawyer. She has experienced the depths of loss throughout her life and has come out on the other side bigger, bolder, and brighter. This brave female didn’t stop at just overcoming her obstacles. RayRay decided to create a company called Loss&Found to help others and their loved ones through a similar grieving process.

Rachel has a fascinating and intriguing list of credentials. On top of obtaining a Juris Doctorate from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria, RayRay has gone through extensive training to become the best grief coach that she can be. She’s a certified Death Doula (helping patients and families through the end of life process), and she’s a certified level 1 Reiki healer. She also has a certificate in Grief & Loss Training for Professionals, and she studied the Pranayama Breathing Techniques at The Chopra Center. In addition, she has also completed a Yin Yoga Teacher Training Intensive. Needless to say, you are surely in great hands with Rachel as your coach.

RayRay is all about love, support, and community, and that is one of the many reasons why we love her. In creating Loss&Found, she has created a place for everyone to share their story in a real and sincere way in order to heal their hearts. After experiencing traumatizing experiences such as heartbreak, death, miscarriage, divorce, or loss of identity, Loss&Found provides the space for you to be YOU -- exactly as you are, unabashed and unafraid. RayRay shines light on the importance of being real with ourselves in order to move through grief. No sugarcoating, no self-censoring, just honest, authentic feeling for the healing. Amen to that! Get to know Rachel Ricketts a little better, and let her words inspire you.

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Where to begin?! Ray Ray, you own your story and life experiences so beautifully! You have shown and continue to show so much strength and courage. Would you give our readers a sneak peek of who the lovely Rachel Ricketts is and what she has had to overcome in the past few years?

Y'all are too sweet, thank you! I am an intuitive grief coach, writer, death doula, "recovering lawyer" and loss sur-thriver. I am well-versed in loss in a variety of forms and got a masters degree in grief from the School of Life. At 13 my single-mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and as her only child I immediately became her primary emotional, mental, and physical caretaker. I became a lawyer, partially so I could make the money required to adequately provide for her, and it really took a toll on my soul. I worked 16 hour days. I had no time for friends, family or my own thoughts. I finally quit "big law" in 2014 and shortly after doing so, my partner's father died. Pretty much out of the blue. Two months later I was in a car accident that left me in chronic pain, and my closest Uncle passed 1 month after that. The following Fall, after years of being bedridden in excruciating pain, my mother died. I took her ashes to Paris a few weeks later and was there for the Paris Attacks (a few blocks away from Le Bataclan) and 6 weeks following that I witnessed a father drown in front of his entire family on New Year's Eve day. All that amidst the perpetual loss + grief of navigating the world as a Black woman, which is what I'm most grieving over these days given the political climate. Still, I believe grief can be the gateway to grace if you so choose, it ain't easy, but it's absolutely possible.

Your company Loss&Found is truly a gift to so many people. Was developing this idea and service something that came to fruition really quickly?

loss&found has been slowly brewing in my bones since I was young. I've always had a deep desire to help folks in tough times and in particular to let peeps know that they're not alone.  The grief from dealing with all of the loss in the last few years nearly killed me, but when I came out the other side I knew my life's work was to help others minimize the pain of loss and educate folks about grief.

Not only are you a lawyer, but you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you are a writer, you are a Reiki healer, and a grief coach (just to name a few things). Clearly, you are a #boss and you kick ass at successfully wearing so many hats. What advice would you give girls and young women that feel pulled in multiple directions career wise?

Follow. Your. Bliss. Sounds like a lame spiritual t-shirt, but that ish is true. I wear a lot of hats, sometimes it feels like too many, but I'm doing my best to continue to get clear on what lights me up and do more of that; and it doesn't have to be one thing! I love a range of things and they all help me serve others in a way that energizes me and brings me joy, so that's what counts. The important piece is about the intention behind what you're doing. The why. Are you taking on 10 different jobs because you're afraid you're not good enough at any one of them? Are you living in lack, so you're scared you'll never have enough without doing a million things? Some folks need to hustle at 10 jobs to make ends meet - I totally get and respect that hustle (and I've been there!). But that's different then running yourself into the ground when you don't actually need to because you're trying to meet someone else's unreasonable expectations, or perhaps your own. Also, just 'cuz you're good at something doesn't mean it's what you were put on this earth to do. Never stop asking yourself: what brings me the most JOY?

In our society today, it seems like getting anywhere close to talking about loss or grief is very uncomfortable and almost taboo for some. What first steps or advice would you give someone who is trying to help a friend or family member who is grieving?

First off - it aint' easy! In the West, we aren't socialized to talk about, let alone understand or properly address loss or grief. So be compassionate with yourself and, most importantly, the person who is grieving. My biggest tip for being a source of support to those in grief is to ask the person how you can best support them right now and offer some specific ways you can help like taking them for a walk, bringing over food, doing their laundry, or sitting with them without the need to offer platitudes. Be prepared if that person has no clue what they need or want - in which case just. show. up. Physically, emotionally, spiritually etc. And keep showing up. Reach out, check-in. Not just a few days or weeks later, but months and years. Let them know you're thinking of them. That you haven't forgotten. It's okay if you don't know exactly how to be there - it will be different for everyone, but be integral with your word. Listening, sitting in silence and just holding space are always helpful. I have a bunch of resources on my site specifically to help folks help their grieving loved ones so check those out too!

When we say the word “community”, what value do you attach to that word and how did creating a community with Loss&Found enhance your life?

Community is everything. I would not be where I am today without the people who've helped love me back to life and continue to support me so I can hold space for others. The loss&found community has absolutely changed my life because it lights me up to bring folks together who are in pain so they feel heard and seen. I'm a grieving grief coach so this community helps me as much as anyone else.

What is your definition of a YGTGgirl?

A girl who is aware of herself and those around her. She is integral, confident, compassionate, unapologetic about who she is and does her best to shy away from playing small. She endeavors to blow sh*t up and leave this world a better place than she found it.