Rachel Cargle. Photograph by Maiya Imani Wright

60 Seconds on Earth with Rachel Cargle

Words by Rachel Cargle and Hannah Méndez

Video by Emma blackman and Mike egan

Atmos catches up with contributing editor and social entrepreneur Rachel Cargle to discuss white privilege, morning routines, and her upcoming book, Beyond Love and Light—A Memoir and Manifesto on Reimagining.

Ohio-born Atmos contributing editor Rachel Cargle is a woman of many titles, including activist, lecturer, academic, and now, author—to name a few. Her upcoming book, Beyond Love and Light—A Memoir and Manifesto on Reimagining, is examining feminism through the lens of race and explores the relationships we’ve built with ourselves and one another.

 

In our latest edition of 60 Seconds on Earth, Atmos asks Cargle a series of rapid-fire questions to help you get to know her a little better. Did you know she’s learning French? Taking cello lessons? What about the special meanings behind her tattoos?

 

The video includes only a few of the questions, but you can read the full interview below.

HANNAH MÉNDEZ

Hi Rachel, I want to start off by asking—how are you?

RACHEL CARGLE

I’m well. I’m happy. I’m finding ease and joy, and I’m feeling incredibly grateful in this moment.

HANNAH

And where are you right now?

RACHEL

Currently, I’m in Brooklyn, New York.

HANNAH

Me too! Who’s your greatest inspiration?

RACHEL

I think my greatest inspiration, especially as I’ve entered into my 30s, is my younger self. The part of me that decided that she would go for things, and I’m constantly touching base with that version of myself to get motivation and inspiration, to keep going.

 

I’m really inspired by what she’s been able to do, and it’s really motivated me to move forward.

 

HANNAH

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

RACHEL

If I had to eat one meal… right now I’m really thinking about crab rolls and lobster rolls and sitting somewhere in Martha’s Vineyard. So I’m just going to go with that for now.

HANNAH

What’s your proudest moment or achievement?

RACHEL

You know, I get asked this question a lot, and one of the things I’m most proud of is that I have been able to tap into joy throughout various aspects of my life.

 

Things have been hard in some ways, and they’ve been frustrating, difficult, and even uncertain. And even with those memories, I have such big, full memories of laughter and friendship and joy. So, I’m really proud of and hope that I can sustain that ability to find joy wherever I find myself in life.

HANNAH

That’s really beautiful and so important. What’s one lesson or thing you would say to people who still don’t understand white privilege?

RACHEL

It’s not about what you have or don’t have. The conversation of privilege is about ensuring everyone gets equal access. So if you had a little bit or you had a lot, there’s still work to do to ensure that racial issues are not barricades to the way people are able to show up in their jobs, their relationships, their communities, and in society.

 

So regardless of where you land on the privilege spectrum, there’s still always work you can do to push towards equity and equality for everyone.

HANNAH

Absolutely. What’s one favorite thing you’ve crocheted?

RACHEL

Oh my gosh, that’s so funny because I actually never crochet anything. I just do rows and rows of crocheting. Crocheting is what I do on my flights. Crocheting is what I do to de-stress at the end of the day. So I actually don’t make anything. I just do as many rows as the yarn will take up. And then I unravel it all and start again.

HANNAH

Interesting! Makes sense, though. It must be a great stress reliever.

RACHEL

Yeah, it’s a good stress release.

HANNAH

Any songs stuck in your head at the moment?

RACHEL

Oh, wow. I mean, Koffee from Jamaica, I’m so into her and all of her songs. They’re on my mind all the time. And I’ve been spending lots of time in Jamaica, so all of her work has been in my head.

HANNAH

I have been singing that song Hrs and Hrs all day.

RACHEL

Yes, that’s in all of our heads. I could definitely say that, too.

HANNAH

Morning bird or night owl?

RACHEL

Oh, I’m definitely a morning bird. I adore the morning time. This morning, I was up at 5:30 a.m. and I just always have a much better day when I’m up early and can get into the groove of the day.

HANNAH

Goals. How do you deal with toxicity from others?

RACHEL

You know, a lot of the tools that I’ve garnered in dealing with toxic people have more to do with how I manage my own feelings and my own approach rather than learning how to navigate theirs.

 

A lot of it has to do with building knowledge, having data and information in mind so that I can really come in with facts when I’m engaging in debates with people around things. So [that means] really learning, building my knowledge, and knowing when to end the conversation when I recognize that there’s going to be no learning or no goodwill or intention in the conversation that’s being had.

HANNAH

Any tattoos?

RACHEL

Yes, I am building a sleeve right now.

 

One of the first ones that I got is my mother, my grandmother and I all at the same age. I got photos of us all in our twenties. That’s one of my favorites, as well as my New York City brownstone piece. It’s my little physical love note to New York City.

 

HANNAH

Both beautiful.

RACHEL

Thanks.

HANNAH

What is the best place you’ve visited?

RACHEL

I’ve been to a lot of really great places and I can say that the best could be any of them because I really have found joy in so many [places]. But I’ve really been craving, missing, and continuing to be inspired by Japan.

 

I spent time in Osaka and Kyoto and in Tokyo, and it’s a really beautiful, inspiring place with wonderful energy. I can’t wait to get back.

HANNAH

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

RACHEL

A bird. I think about that often, like, how many bills would I not be paying if I was just a bird, or how much rest and ease would I have? Flying through the air and having everything I need in the Earth? I think about that often.

HANNAH

What’s one book you think everyone should read?

RACHEL

One book that really changed me was Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. It really spoke to racism and race issues in America in such a precise, unique way.

 

It gave me a huge on-ramp to the way I wanted to approach the conversation. So, particularly around race work, I highly suggest Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me as a book everyone should read.

HANNAH

How and where do you find joy?

RACHEL

Mostly in curiosity. And that shows up in curiosity of me trying new things.

 

I’ve been taking cello lessons, I’ve been taking French lessons. In curiosity and community, learning more about my friends, asking questions, just being able to lean into curiosity about the world, discovering different birds that I’ve seen, or looking up different plants that I’ve run into. Curiosity has been the biggest catalyst for joy for me since childhood, and it’s still showing up very potently as an adult.

HANNAH

Tea or coffee?

RACHEL

Coffee, 800%. I… Cappuccino, please.

 

HANNAH

What is your favorite way to rest?

RACHEL

Sleep. I’m a lucid dreamer, and so oftentimes sleep also offers me communication with lots of my thoughts and my feelings. I love sleeping outside, love being in the hammock. I love being able to rest that deeply in natural spaces. Yeah, rest. And sleep.

HANNAH

Favorite bagel topping?

RACHEL

Blueberry bagel with plain whipped cream cheese on top.

HANNAH

Do you believe in ghosts?

RACHEL

Yeah, I do. I haven’t had any personal experiences, but there’s absolutely no reason for me not to believe in them. I hope for them. I’ll even go as far as to say I hope that it’s the truth.

HANNAH

Favorite podcast?

RACHEL

Oh, man. I’m just getting into podcasts. I definitely have not been on the podcast train up until probably the last few months of last year, and then as we came into this year. There is a podcast called Operator on Wondery and it goes through the history—the very dramatic history—of the sex phone hotline industry. And it’s fascinating.

HANNAH

Cat person or dog person?

RACHEL

Oh my God. A dog person, for sure.

 

HANNAH

Any saying or affirmation you live by?

RACHEL

Right now, my strongest affirmation is this too is the living.

 

It’s a reminder that every part of my day is meaningful. Not just when I’m working, not just when I’m producing, but when I’m pouring my cup of coffee, when I’m watering my plants, when I’m laughing on the phone with friends for hours, this too is enough. And it’s just as much part of the living as anything else that I do.

“Every part of my day is meaningful. Not just when I’m working, but when I’m pouring my cup of coffee, watering my plants, and laughing on the phone with friends for hours.”

Rachel Cargle

HANNAH

Love that one. What makes you feel most at home?

RACHEL

I’ve been really working hard to solidify what home is. For me, it’s been my morning routine.

 

I have a morning routine that includes waking up, listening to my news of preference, making my pour-over coffee so it’s more of an active moment. So my morning routine, I figured out something that I could really do from anywhere. And it grounds me wherever I may be in the world, and I appreciate that.

HANNAH

And finally, what can you tell us about your upcoming book?

RACHEL

I’m excited about the book because it’s a crossover of memoir and manifesto. So there’s going to be very clear aspects of my anti-racism work, but then a lot of personal stories and a lot of insight into who I am as a woman, as a creative, as an entrepreneur, as someone in the philanthropy space.

 

So, I’m excited for my readers to engage with a lot of the learning that they’re used to from me, but then [also] get a deep-dive into more of who I am as a person.

 

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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